Heather’s Sunday Brunch Potato Salad

Heather's Sunday Brunch Potato Salad

Heather’s Sunday Brunch Potato Salad (Photo by Jathan Fink, Jadeworks Entertainment)

There’s something comforting about cool, fresh potato salad on a hot summer day. Heather prepares a batch for me every time I get a hankering for it, which is pretty much every time I start craving fried chicken. Both are good cold and are quite portable and thus ideal for a picnic. Top the meal off with your favorite cobbler, and your family will look forward to picnics for years to come! Read more of this post

Martina McBride’s Autumn Chopped Salad [RECIPE]

Martina McBride's Autumn Chopped Salad

Martina McBride’s Autumn Chopped Salad (Photo courtesy Jason Wallis)

The Balsamic-Poppy Seed Dressing has a pleasant tanginess that is a nice change of pace from the usual super sweet poppy seed dressings, plus it balances the sweetness of the dried cherries and pears. Read more of this post

Four Lettuce Salad with Tomatoes and Avocado

Four Lettuce Salad with Tomatoes and Avocado

Prepare our quick and delicious Four Lettuce Salad with Tomatoes and Avocado as a satisfying lunch or a crisp and refreshing starter.

Sometimes we’re craving something light and refreshing. When that’s the case, this Four Lettuce Salad with Tomatoes and Avocado is the perfect dish to satisfy our hunger. Filled with nutritious veggies like silky avocado, juicy tomatoes and a blend of lettuces that range from sweet to peppery, it is topped with a subtle dressing that perfectly complements this salad. Serve this with nearly any meal as a healthy starter or side, or eat a bigger portion for a meal unto itself.

PREP: 10 minutes

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 head romaine lettuce, chopped
  • 2 cups escarole, chopped
  • 1 cup radicchio, chopped
  • 1 cup endive, chopped
  • 2 plum tomatoes, seeded and sliced
  • 1 avocado, seeded, halved and sliced
  • 1/2 red onion, sliced thin
  • 2 tablespoons sunflower seeds
  • 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper

DIRECTIONS

  1. Toss romaine, escarole, radicchio, endive, tomatoes, avocado, onion and sunflower seeds in a large salad bowl. Drizzle vinegar and oil over greens and season with salt and pepper. Toss thoroughly and serve.

TIPS: Serve with your favorite soup and crusty bread for a delicious lunch. The sunflower seeds can be replaced with chopped walnuts or sliced almonds if preferred.

YIELDS: 4 to 6 servings

© 2011 Jadeworks Entertainment. All rights reserved.

Cannellini Bean Soup

Cannellini Bean Soup served with Parmesan cheese and a drizzle of olive oil

Prepare a big pot of Cannellini Bean Soup in advance for great lunches or to feed a hungry crowd.

Ever have one of those days when everything seems to fall into place? Yesterday, following our religious services, we discovered that we needed to feed seven unexpected guests and only had thirty minutes to put everything together. We rushed home, took out some of our Bread with Herb Butter that we’d stored in the freezer, boiled some pasta, whipped up our Spaghetti Pomodoro, made a tossed salad and served it up with this phenomenal soup that we happened to make the day before. And guess what? Dinner was on the table in 25 minutes! Afterward, we served up our Fudgy Brownies with ice cream and an assortment of toppings for dessert and everyone went home full and happy. When we were alone and had a moment to catch our breath, we looked at one another and were amazed how far everything stretched, and couldn’t help but think that this must have been how Jesus and his apostles felt after they fed everyone with the loaves and the fishes. Tired but relaxed after a fun afternoon, we knew we needed to share this menu with you. Because with a little forethought, and a bit of serendipity, you too can make last-minute “miracles” like this possible.

PREP: 15 minutes + 1 hour soaking time
COOK: approximately 3 hours

INGREDIENTS
  • 2 3/4 cups dry cannellini beans
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
  • 2 1/2 onions, chopped (about 2 1/2 cups)
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 5 small (6-inch-long) carrots, peeled, halved lengthwise and sliced (about 1 1/4 cups)
  • 4 celery stalks, peeled and chopped (about 1 1/4 cups)
  • 1/2 cup chopped tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, chopped (or 1 tablespoon dry basil)
  • 1/4 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon Kosher salt
  • Freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • Freshly ground black pepper
DIRECTIONS
  1. Rinse the beans well and place in a large pot. Cover the beans with 4 quarts of water. Bring to a boil, cover and turn off the heat. Allow to soak for 1 hour.
  2. Place the olive oil, onions and garlic in large heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat. When the garlic begins to sizzle, after about 30 seconds, add the carrots and celery and continue to cook, stirring, for about 5 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes, basil and parsley and cook, stirring occasionally, for an additional 3 minutes.
  3. Drain beans, add to pot of vegetables, cover with 10 cups of cold water and stir to combine. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer, partially covered, until the beans are tender and creamy, at least 1 1/2 but up to 2 1/2 hours. Add water if necessary to achieve desired consistency; the soup should be thick. Add the salt halfway through the cooking. Serve with freshly grated Parmesan cheese and freshly ground black pepper and a drizzle of olive oil.

YIELDS: 8 servings

© 2011 Jadeworks Entertainment.

Meatless Italian Dinner

A meatless Italian dinner with bread, salad and pasta.

Caesar Salad with Garlic Croutons, Bread with Herb Butter and Spaghetti Pomodoro comprise a hearty but meatless weeknight dinner.

As the weather warms up, sometimes you want filling, lighter fare served without a meat entrée. This quick, simple dinner pairs an authentic red sauce with pasta, soft flavorful bread and an easy salad with homemade croutons. Of course, if your family is comprised of die-hard carnivores, you can always add ground Italian sausage, ground beef or poultry to your pasta sauce for additional protein.

Caesar Salad with Garlic Croutons

The secret to a cold, crisp salad is found in the preparation of your greens. Wash the lettuce in a water bath, drain and repeat until water is clear. Then spin dry the lettuce leaves in a salad spinner (like the ones made by Oxo and IKEA) or lay them on a clean towel, then layered with a paper towel and another layer of lettuce. Roll and keep in the refrigerator until needed.

PREP: 15 minutes or more
COOK: 3 minutes

INGREDIENTS
  • 3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 2 cups fresh bread cubes, cut 3/4-inch square
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 2 heads romaine lettuce, blemished or wilted out leaves removed, cleaned and prepare as instructed above, then cut into 1-inch strips (about 6 cups)
  • 2 large eggs, soft-cooked for 3 minutes in boiling water
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Anchovies (optional)
DIRECTIONS
  1. Infuse 1/2 cup of the olive oil with the garlic by placing both in a small bowl. Set aside for a minimum of 15 minutes. (For best flavor, do this the night before.)
  2. When ready to cook, heat the garlic oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the bread cubes and cook, stirring, until golden brown, 2 to 3 minutes. Drain on paper towel and toss with 1/4 teaspoon of sea salt and cracked pepper.
  3. Place cold lettuce in a salad bowl. Pour the remaining 1/4 cup of olive oil over the lettuce. Add the remaining 3/4 teaspoon salt and toss well. The soft-cooked eggs will break apart and combine with the lemon juice to coat the salad with creamy dressing. Add Parmesan cheese and toasted croutons, toss again, and top with pepper. Top with anchovies, if desired, and serve immediately.

YIELDS: 4 – 6 servings

Bread with Herb Butter

The great thing about this recipe is that it creates enough bread for two meals. I assemble both loaves simultaneously, put one in the oven for dinner and put the second loaf in the freezer for another night. If you have leftover herb butter, seal it in an airtight plastic container in the refrigerator where it may be kept for up to three days, or wrap it in waxed paper and freeze it for up to three months.

PREP: 5 minutes
BAKE: 15 to 20 minutes

INGREDIENTS
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • A few tablespoons fresh flat leaf Italian parsley, chopped
  • A few tablespoons fresh oregano, chopped
  • 1 baguette
DIRECTIONS
  1. Combine butter, parsley and oregano to make the herb butter. Make a slit in the baguette 3/4 of the way through, making sure not to cut all the way through.
  2. Preheat the oven to 375°F.
  3. Wrap the baguette in aluminum foil and bake for 15 to 20 minutes.

YIELDS: 6 servings

Spaghetti Pomodoro

This recipe has become our family’s go-to sauce. It is simple and quick to prepare and has marvelous flavor. It may be served with pasta, pizza or your favorite bread sticks.

PREP: 5 minutes
COOK: 30 minutes

INGREDIENTS
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • Pinch of red pepper flakes
  • 1 28-ounce can whole tomatoes, lightly pulsed in a blender
  • 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Small pinch of sugar
  • 1 spring fresh basil
  • 1 pound spaghetti
  • Freshly grated Parmesan cheese

DIRECTIONS
  1. Bring a large pot of water to boil.
  2. Place the olive oil and garlic in a 2-quart saucepan over medium heat. Swirl the pan to coat the garlic with oil and heat until garlic sizzles but doesn’t brown, about 30 seconds. Add the red pepper flakes and stir. Add the tomatoes, salt, black pepper and sugar and stir to combine. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer. Cook for 25 minutes. Add the basil and cook an additional 5 minutes. Remove basil before serving.
  3. Meanwhile, 10 minutes before the sauce is done, generously salt the boiling water. Add the pasta and cook until tender but slightly firm. Set the timer for 2 minutes less than package instructions. Taste for doneness. Pasta should be slightly al dente (firm, but not too hard). Drain the pasta. Place 1/2 cup of sauce in bottom of a serving bowl, then top with pasta. Using tongs, toss the pasta in the sauce to coat. Add additional sauce to each serving as desired, then top with Parmesan cheese, a drizzle of olive oil, and freshly ground black pepper.

YIELDS: 4 to 6 servings

© 2011 Jadeworks Entertainment.