Arugula and Parmesan Salad with Lemon Vinaigrette


Super simple salad that you can make to accompany any meal. The lemon vinaigrette is bright and tasty and meshes well with many other main dishes. I paired it with a burger and potatoes to put a little green on the plate.  I used pre-shredded Parmesan cheese but you can certainly take a block of the cheese and carve thin slices off for a bolder flavor.

This salad is such a simple flavor that you can actually use as a topping on a sandwich or burger as well. A great trick when serving a salad is to make sure that the lettuce portion is chilled in the refrigerator right before you toss all together.

Salads are great way to add a little layer to your meal and a great way to experiment on flavors. Take a cobb salad, who would think of adding all those flavors together and yet they work. Hove fun with salads, you might surprise yourself.





Turkey and Black Bean Burgers


Who doesn’t like a good burger and who says that a good burger can’t be made out of turkey?  This was a very easy and yet very delicious recipe that you can make ahead of time and then cook up when you are ready to serve.  The burger is so tasty that my husband and I ate them without bread, since we are on a low carb diet, but I served my daughter in a delicious Sara Lee Artesano bun.


I chose to cook these on the stove top and not the BBQ because I love the crust that it makes and more so the crust when the cheese gets crispy from dripping down the burger. Turkey meat is actually not that expensive so you can make these burgers for about 8 people for about $20 (meat, cheese and buns).  Since only 3 of us ate, I still have 5 burger left for tomorrow.








Tomato Soup & Grilled Cheese – The Perfect Comfort Meal


If you are looking for a tasty, simple and comforting meal then look no further. This is a great adaptation to the classic tomato soup. This meal screams sophistication and comfort that it would  even pair nicely with a glass of white wine.  Making everything from scratch will impress any guests you decide to have over.  I attribute the inspiration for the soup to Ree Drummund of Food Network Channel.  The recipe that she has was similar to others, but I made a few additions and deletions to come up with my own version.  Six of us ate and there was soup left over for about 3 additional meals.

Products Used Worth Buying
“>Dutch Oven 


Black Bean and Corn Burger

I love creating things from ingredients I have in my pantry. I had some corn on the cob that no one ate and I hate to see food go to waste. I looked in the pantry and saw that I had plenty of canned black beans and I even had cooked rice from the night before to use as a binder which I figured that would be a natural combination. I enjoy making burgers, especially vegetarian burgers so voila!

I made these for myself and my son’s girlfriend and she wanted cheese and I did not, hence the two photos above. I served them without bread, as that I did not have, but it did not matter, this is a stand alone dish and was worth it all the way!

Ingredients – makes 4 burgers 

*Black beans – 1 can (drain a little of the liquid only)
*Corn on the cob – 2 cobs, kernels cut off
*Cooked rice – 1/2 cup
*Egg – 1 large egg
*Seasoned bread crumbs – 1/3 cup
*Garlic powder – 1 teaspoons
*Onion powder – 1 teaspoons
*Chipotle powder – 1 teaspoon
*Smoked paprika – 1 teaspoon
*Kosher salt – 1 teaspoon
*Pepper – 1/2 teaspoon
*Canola oil – 2 tablespoons
*Sharp cheddar cheese – 4 slices (optional)

  • In a large bowl add the black beans, corn, rice and egg and mash and mix well; leave the beans a little intact
  • Add the bread crumbs, garlic powder, onion powder, chipotle powder, smoked paprika, salt and pepper and mix until well incorporated
  • Place in the fridge for about 15-30 minutes
  • When ready, heat a non-stick large pan on medium high heat and add the oil
  • Form 4 nice size patties and add 2 at a time to the pan and lower the heat to medium
  • Cook first side for about 2-3 minutes and then flip over and add the cheese
  • Cover the pan and cook for another 2-3 minutes or until the cheese is melted
  • Repeat again with the other 2 patties or save them for later

Tips: you can add some raw onions to the mixture if you like. Serve with avocado slices, tomato slices or even the bruschetta I made a few days ago. If you are going to serve on a bun, make it a good one!

Spanakopita Empanadas

IMG_0759So I love spinach and I love to make spinach in so many different ways and since the flavor is subtle, you can add many different ingredients and spinach can adapt. I finally got my daughter to eat spinach by lightly baking spinach leaves into chips and then adding a little salt.  I also try to always add spinach leaves to the shakes I drink for the added vitamins and nutrients. If you add a small amount (about 10 leaves) the color will not change much and you will never taste it.

I also love most if not all mediterranean food. I think one of the things I miss the most about being a pescatarian is lamb (lol) but I supplement with many other great dishes, like this one. So spanakopita is usually made in Phylo dough, but I decided to make it in an empanada. This is a good way to make individual servings that I can freeze and then make later. They are great for snacks or lunch and you can even make small ones as appetizers. They are delicious!

Ingredients: makes 20 empanadas
* Spinach – 3-4 12 ounce bags, fresh
*Vidalia onion – 1 cup, small dice
*Garlic – 3 cloves, minced
*Feta – 8 ounces, crumbled
*Egg – 1 large
*Salt – 2 tablespoons
*Pepper – 1 tablespoon
*Dill – 1 tablespoon, dry
*Olive oil – 2 tablespoons
*Empanada Dough – 2 packs of 10 discs

  • Defrost the empanada dough and preheat the oven to 350 degrees
  • In a large pot on medium heat, add olive oil and onion, and cook for about 2 minutes, then add the garlic and cook for another minute
  • Add the spinach, one bag at a time, and stir until the spinach is wilted
  • Remove from the heat and let cool. Drain the spinach to remove as much water as possible
  • In a large separate bowl, add the egg and feta cheese and stir
  • When the spinach is cooled add to the egg mixture and mix
  • Add salt, pepper and dill and mix until all incorporated
  • Separate the disks and add a large spoonful to one side of the dough and then fold the other half into a half-moon. With a fork, press down on all the sides to make sure that the edges are sealed.
  • Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and bake for 20 minutes, turning them over after 10 minutes

Tips: This is a great Quiche recipe as well. You can add additional cheeses or different cheese to change the flavor.



Chickpeas Curried up


Chickpeas are not everyone’s favorite, but they are definitely up there on my list. I love foods that are versatile and that you can turn into so many different flavors and textures.  Just as an example, hummus…I have had hummus blended, mashed, or whole; with roasted garlic, raw garlic, olive tapenade, red peppers, you name it.

However, today I did not make hummus, I made a sandwich and a very delicious sandwich stuffed with a curry flavored, chickpea salad. Since I do not eat chicken or meat, but I used to love making chicken salads, I decided to make it with chickpeas. Also, these kinds of salads can be made in advance and will last you a few days.

*Chickpeas – 1 (15.5 oz can) drained and rinsed
*Green onions – 2-3 sliced thin (white and green parts)
*Haas avocado – 1 split in half and tender to the touch (see directions below)
*Red pepper – 1/4 cup, small dice
*Garlic – 1 clove minced
*Ginger – 1/2 teaspoon fresh, minced (you can use ginger powder if you want but then use about 1/4 teaspoon)
*Curry powder – 1/4 teaspoon
*Turmeric – 1/4 teaspoon
*Kosher salt – 1/2 teeaspoon
*Pepper – 1/4 teaspoon
*Lemon – juice from 1/2 lemon
*Cilantro – 1/4 cup chopped

  • In a large bowl, add the chickpeas, green onions, 1/2 of the avocado, red pepper, garlic, ginger, turmeric, curry, salt and pepper.
  • In a separate bowl or in a small food processor add the remaining half of the avocado and the lemon juice and puree until smooth. You will use this as the binder for the salad (unless you like mayo, then by all means)
  • Add the pureed avocado to the mix and stir everything to combine well.
  • Add the cilantro at the end and then fold in so to not break it too much.
  • I served it in atoasted “everything” pita pocket,

Tips: If you puree the salad and add a little sour cream or Greek yogurt, you will have a dip or a hummus that you can serve with crackers and veggies. You can also replace the red pepper with green pepper and change the flavor profile a bit or even roast the red pepper first and then let it cool before you add to the salad.


Yummy Veggie Burger


This is one of the best veggie burgers that I have ever made. The combination between the sweetness of the butternut squash and the black beans, along with the different spices is delicious. I made this burger for my son’s 20th Birthday (today), as per his request along with the pesto potatoes and it was a hit. The bun was store bought, brioche, and it was the perfect selection for this burger and for any burger. You can serve it with avocado, tomato, onion, pickles, mustard, etc.

*Butternut Squash – about 2 pounds
*EVOO – 2 tablespoons
*Kosher salt – about 1/2 teaspoon (I usually eyeball this)
*Walnuts – 1 cup finely chopped (I recommend buying them like this if possible)
*Vidalia onion – 1 cup small dice
*Garlic – 3 tablespoons minced
*Black bean – 2 cans (14 ounces)
*Spices – Kosher salt (1 tsp), Black pepper (1/2 tsp), Onion powder (1 tsp), Garlic powder      (1 tsp), Dried oregano (1/2 tsp), ground turmeric (1/4 tsp), dried thyme (1/4 tsp), smoked     paprika (1/4 tsp)
*Flat leaf Parsley – 1/4 cup chopped finely
*Panko breading – 1 cup
*Flour (all purpose) – 2 tablespoons
*Buns (I used Euro Classic Brioche buns from Whole Foods) – they were a little pricey but worth every penny!

  • Pre-heat the oven to 375 degrees for the butternut squash. Peel the squash (this was a little difficult but you can get through it).  Then you want to cut the squash in half and remove the seeds, along with the top and bottom tips. Then cut the squash into cubes about 1 inch and place in a bowl. Add some of the EVOO and a pinch of salt and stir well so all pieces are coated. Place cubes on a baking sheet, lined with parchment paper. Roast for about 25 – 30 minutes and let cool for a little.
  • In a large non-stick saute pan, on medium heat, toast the walnuts about 5 minutes making sure to move the pan around. Go ahead and transfer to a large bowl.
  • With the same pan, wipe off any left over walnuts and put back on medium heat. Add some of the EVOO (about 1 tablespoon) and cook the onion and garlic. You want to cook for about 4-5 minutes making sure you do not burn.  Place the mix into the same bowl as the walnuts.
  • Drain the beans in a wire mesh and rinse them under water. Add them to a food processor and pulse about 5-6 times. You do not want to have them liquefied as they are going to act as the binder for the burger. If there are beans that are lift whole, that is okay.
  • Add 3 cups of the butternut squash or all of it and add the large bowl with the walnut and onion mixture. With a large fork, squash the squash and then add the beans and all the spices. Mix well with a large spoon so that everything is well incorporated. Add the Parsley at the end and fold into the mixture.
  • Make as many patties as you can, I made about 14 medium size ones. Place in the refrigerator for about an hour to come together a bit. (You don’t have to do this, but if you make them in advance then you can).
  • Place a another large non-stick pan on medium to medium high heat and cook the patties for about 2-3 minutes on each side. Yo can add a little salt on each side for some extra flavor.
  • Serve on the bun. I warmed the buns in the microwave for about 10-15 seconds, but you do not have to.
EuroClassic Brioche Bun
So worth it Brioche buns