Asian noodle salad (vegetarian)

I never make salads. For some reason, the salads that I do make never taste as good as the ones I get in restaurants. I don’t know why. And I don’t know what I’m doing wrong.

I recently was at a restaurant and I had an Asian style salad that was so good! It had really healthy and filling ingredients and a peanut dressing that blew my mind. I needed to recreate it. But, like I said – salads that I make aren’t always that good. So I had my reservations.

I normally don’t like to toot my own horn, but this salad is wayyyy better than the restaurant version. It is seriously so good. If you know what’s good for you, you will make this salad.

It is so delicious and is something totally different that your average salad. It is so flavorful and has so many different textures which makes it a really interesting and tasty meal. I know that the ingredient list looks a little overwhelming. Don’t be scared! It is totally worth it in the end. You can also add chicken to this if you feel like it would be a more complete meal, but honestly you won’t even miss it if you leave it out!

Makes enough for about 8 people (or lots of leftovers)

1 package Broccoli slaw
3 hearts of romaine, chopped small
1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
4 scallions, finely chopped
1 bunch cilantro, roughly chopped
2 mangos, cut into 1 inch pieces
1 cup shelled edamame
1/2 cup unsalted roasted peanuts, chopped
1 lb Whole wheat spagetti, cooked and cooled to room temperature

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl. Mix to thoroughly combine.

Peanut dressing

1 serrano chili, finely minced
2 Tbl freshly grated ginger
1 clove garlic, minced
1 lime, zested and juiced
1/2 cup peanut butter
2 tsp sesame oil
1 T rice wine vinegar
2 Tbl soy sauce
1 Tbl agave
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
3 Tbl water

In a bowl, combine all ingredients except olive oil and water. Mix well. Slowly drizzly in olive oil. If the dressing looks too thick, add water one tablespoon at a time until it reaches the desired consistency.

Pour over salad and toss to combine. Serve!!

Father’s Day

This is the first Father’s Day in five years that my siblings and I have all been able to spend with my dad at our home in Naples. We had a really great day and I made my dad an authentic Italian meal.

From top left: Whole wheat turkey and artichoke lasagna (recipe below), Caprese salad, parmesan garlic knots, Pete’s carrot cake, my dad and Bruin

Whole wheat turkey and artichoke lasagna


1 lb whole wheat lasagna
Olive oil
1 lb ground turkey
9 0z artichoke heats, diced
One small yellow onion, diced
1 Tbl dried basil
1 Tbl dried oregano
1 Tbl dried parsley
2 cloves garlic, minced
15 oz part skim ricotta cheese
1 egg
2 cups mozzarella cheese, divided
2 cups parmesan cheese, divided
Tomato sauce, homemade or bottled

Prepare water for pasta and cook according to directions on the box. Set aside once cooked and allow to cool slightly.

In a large skillet, heat olive oil and add onions to the pan. Cook until soft and translucent. Add in all dried herbs and garlic and cook until fragrant, about five minutes. Remove from the pan and place in a large bowl. Set aside.

In the same skillet, heat and add a little more olive oil. Add turkey and allow to brown. Once browned, add in artichoke hearts and saute for five minutes or until artichokes are soft and starting to brown. Remove from heat and place in the same bowl with the onions. Mix ricotta cheese, egg, one cup of mozzarella cheese and one cup of parmesan cheese in the bowl with the turkey/onion mixture. Season with salt and pepper.

Spray a large baking dish with non-stick spray and ladle in one ladle full of tomato sauce. Coat the bottom of the pan. Arrange one layer of noodles down and evenly place a fourth of the filling mixture on top. Sprinkle with 1/4 cup of each of the cheeses. Ladle one more ladle full on top of the filling and cheese and then place another layer of noodles on top of that. Repeat these steps three more times so you have four layers total. Sprinkle the top with more cheese and cover with aluminum foil.

Bake in a 400 degree oven for 45 minutes. Remove foil and place under the broiler for about five minutes, or until the top is brown and bubbly.

Florida quinoa

First and foremost, I want to apologize for being MIA for the last few weeks. As most of you may already know, I graduated college two weeks ago and relocated back to Naples from Charlotte. It has been a crazy few weeks. But I have really missed all of you 🙂

Because my sister and I have lived in North Carolina for the last few years, we wanted to make sure to hit up all of our favorite restaurants before we moved away. This included an array of food that was fried and/or laden with butter and cream. It was all so good. But so bad. I need to detox.

Quinoa is so healthy, so any time I get the opportunity to make it, I do. I recently had a salad that was very similar to this recipe in Whole Foods and decided to put my own spin on it once I got home. It has so many really healthy ingredients in it – but is so flavorful. You would never guess there is no added fat in it!


2 cups quinoa
4 cups water

Cook quinoa according to directions on the box. Once cooked, allow to cool completely.

1 mango, diced
1 cup shelled edamame
1 red bell pepper, diced
1/4 cup sliced almonds
1/2 cup golden raisins
1 orange, peeled and cut into segments
1 bunch cilantro, chopped
Zest from one lemon
Juice from one lemon
Juice from one orange
Juice from one lime

Combine all ingredients into a bowl. Add in the cooled quinoa and stir to combine. Allow to sit in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours to allow all the flavors to be absorbed into the quinoa before eating.


Roasted potato and green bean salad with caramelized onions, blue cheese and balsamic vinaigrette

I love this salad.

There are few salads that I really enjoy eating. One is a strawberry, spinach and kiwi salad my mom makes. One is this salad. And one is this roasted potato and green bean salad. This salad is so easy but it has so many different flavors and textures that it makes it seem like the most complex salad. But its not. Its so easy. And so tasty. And you must make it. Trust me. People will love you after you make this salad.

I have been making this salad for years. Its a really great salad to make if you’re having company over or need to bring something to someone’s house for a dinner party. It has something in it that will please everyone, and the ease of preparation makes it an instant go-to salad for me.

It is also a great salad to make and then add things to it to make it a complete meal. Sometimes I will add grilled chicken or steak to it and it becomes a really great, fast, and easy dinner.

OK, so I just planned your next dinner. You’re welcome.


1 12 ounce bag of field greens
1/2 lb fingerling potatoes, cut into small chunks
1 onion, thinly sliced
1/2 lb green beans, trimmed
1 sprig of rosemary, minced
2 sprigs of thyme, minced
2 sprigs of parsley, minced
5 Tbls. extra virgin olive oil (divided)
2 Tbls. butter
Salt/pepper, to taste
Blue cheese, optional

Pre-heat your oven to 425 degrees.

In a large bowl, toss together potatoes, herbs, 3 Tbls. olive oil, and salt and pepper. Coat potatoes and spread onto a rimed baking sheet cut side down. Roast in the oven for twenty minutes, stopping halfway through to loosen potatoes with a spatula and flip them.

While you potatoes are roasting, heat a large skillet over medium heat and add butter and remaining olive oil. Add onions to the pan and season with salt and pepper. Caramelize onions by stirring them around the pan every five minutes (Lower your heat if the onions are becoming too browned). After twenty minutes, add 1/4 cup of water to the pan and stir onion around. Let onions cook for ten more minutes. At this point, the onions should be a deep brown color. Remove from the pan and allow to cool. Reserve the pan with the leftover oil from the onions for green beans.

In the same pan, saute green beans until cooked all the way through. Season with salt and pepper. set aside to cool.

To assemble the salad, place field greens into a large bowl and add potatoes, green beans, onions and blue cheese. Toss to combine. Drizzle vinaigrette over the salad and toss.


1 Tbls dijon mustard
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1 tsp. dried italian seasoning
1 clove garlic, minced
3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

In a large bowl or blender, add all ingredients except olive oil. Whisk or blend until all ingredients are well combined. Slowly drizzle in the oil while whisking or while your blender in on. Blend until all of the oil has been added. Drizzle over salad right before you are ready to eat.


Lemon basil risotto with peas corn and spinach

Risotto is a labor of love. If you have ever had authentic risotto, you know that it is a creamy, satisfying rice dish that is full of flavor. And, if you have ever cooked risotto, you know that it requires your time and patience – standing over the stove constantly stirring it until it is perfectly cooked.

I don’t make risotto often. It can be heavy and I usually don’t have the time to make it the way it should be made. But tonight was an exception. And after I ate this, I realized the true reason why I don’t make it too much. It is SO good! And I would be a balloon if I ate this all the time.

Although this is an indulgent dish for me, the addition of veggies and lemon really helps keep it fresh and light tasting. Feel free to add in your own variations to this recipe. Some mushrooms or shrimp over top would also be amazing in this and would really make it feel like a complete meal.

This is a perfect spring or summer dish to add to your table and I know you will love it if you take a little extra time to make it right.


3 Tbl olive oil
1 cup arborio rice
4 cups low sodium chicken stock (If you are a vegetarian, you can certainly use vegetable stock here)
1 cup dry white wine
1 small onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 cup frozen corn
1 cup frozen peas
2 cups baby spinach
1 Tbl butter
1/4 cup parmesan cheese
1 Tbl basil, minced
1 Tbl lemon zest
salt/pepper to taste

In a small sauce pot, keep the chicken stock warm until needed.

In a deep saute pan, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onions and garlic to pan and cook until slightly softened. Pour rice into pan and toast for five minutes, stirring constantly. Add white wine to pan and allow rice to absorb most of the liquid. Once the liquid has almost all absorbed, add in one ladle full of chicken stock. Stirring constantly, allow rice to absorb the liquid in the pan and then add in another ladle of stock. Continue this process, stirring the entire time until all of the chicken stock has been absorbed into the rice and the rice is al dente.

Once all of the chicken stock is absorbed into the rice, add in the corn, peas, and spinach. Let the risotto cook for five minutes or until spinach has wilted and vegetables are heated through. Turn off the heat and slowly stir in butter, cheese, basil and lemon zest. Serve immediately.

*If your risotto seems a little dry, add in extra stock to thin it out.