Quick and Easy Lentil Soup

Lentils, a tiny little member of the legume family, but a mighty source of fiber, minerals and vitamins. All at virtually zero fat and calories! These little guys fill you up and keep you full so you don’t go searching in your kitchen for a snack a few hours later (we can all admit to doing this after having a ‘light’ salad for dinner). Sure, lentils aren’t the prettiest to look at, but with just a few spices and ingredients they are extremely satisfying and delicious.

I’ve played around with a few different recipes for lentil soup, but this is my favorite version. It’s simple, quick and easy. What I love most about this recipe is that you can just throw all the ingredients into one pot and let it simmer. In less than an hour, you have a hearty and delicious soup for dinner. It’s perfect for any cold day this winter! (Have leftovers? No worries. It freezes very well!)  Continue reading

Charred Tomatoes with Fried Eggs on Garlic Toast

I first came across this recipe in June this year. It immediately reminded me of being in a country farmhouse somewhere out west. Crunchy rustic bread with a slight hint of garlic, sweet, bright red tomatoes, and country farm eggs with deep golden yolks. Well, the closest to country farmhouse I could get to was the Alps! Needless to say, I couldn’t wait to make this breakfast dish during our stay in Austria over the summer. It takes a little more effort than simply frying some eggs and toasting bread, but boy is it worth it! The charred tomatoes and garlic add so much flavor to the dish that you won’t ever want to have your eggs any other way!  Continue reading

Sausage Stuffed Zucchini

I was so excited to try this recipe from Martha Stewart Living because it’s such a fun and convenient way to combine protein and veggies in one dish! You don’t even need to make any side dishes with this sausage stuffed zucchini because it’s surprisingly satisfying. There are so many wonderful flavors already mixed into the Italian sausage. Plus, the fresh lemon zest and juice add such a nice brightness to the dish.

I’ve already made this dish several times because Michael loves it so much. I used sweet Italian sausage the first time, spicy Italian sausage the second time, and a mixture of the two the third time. If you can handle a little spiciness, I would definitely recommend mixing the sweet and spicy. I find it to be the perfect balance of flavors. (If you’re planning to serve this dish to kids, definitely stick with just sweet Italian sausage!)

Be sure to give this sausage stuffed zucchini a try the next time you make dinner! This recipe yields about 4 portions if served with side dishes and 2 portions if served without.

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Burrata and Tomato Salad

burrata tomato
Ladies and Gents, this is NOT your typical Caprese salad. Sure, who doesn’t love fresh mozzarella cheese sandwiched between sweet tomatoes and basil? But once you replace the mozzarella with fresh burrata cheese, you will never want to have Caprese salad any other way! Trust me.

Burrata is cheese made from mozzarella and cream. As you bite into burrata cheese, your initial reaction will be “oh, mozzarella.” But as you continue eating, your taste buds will get an unexpected burst of creamy goodness oozing out! This creamy goodness takes the Caprese salad to a whole new level.

Flavoring each layer of the salad is also very important, so that you get intense flavors with every bite. I like to sprinkle sea salt on the tomatoes because it’s not as salty as regular table salt, and it adds a nice crunchy texture to the dish. Freshly ground black pepper and good extra virgin olive oil are also a must.

My Burrata and Tomato Salad is the perfect dish to serve on a hot summer day. It takes no time to prepare and you and your guests will LOVE it!   Continue reading

Garlic Bread

garlic bread

Michael’s favorite side dish is garlic bread. I don’t know how a German ended up loving garlic bread so much, but I guess who wouldn’t find a warm and crunchy piece of baguette topped with garlic, melted butter and parsley irresistible?! The wonderful aroma that fills your kitchen will make the 8 minutes of baking time seem like an eternity! Just to make myself feel less guilty about eating bread and butter, I like to serve this with a big bowl of salad for dinner. 😉   Continue reading

Honey Corn Muffins

honey corn muffins

I LOVE cornbread with just about anything. I could eat it for breakfast, lunch or dinner. The best is when it’s fresh out of the oven – still warm enough so the butter melts as you’re spreading it on. I used to buy those little Jiffy boxes from the grocery store to make a quick batch of corn muffins. But after discovering this delicious and easy recipe from the Neely’s, I will no longer have to buy those boxes again! I had no idea how easy it was to make cornbread from scratch. What I love most about this recipe, however, is the addition of honey. It gives the corn muffins a slightly sweet taste, which I think goes very well with butter. These muffins should keep for two to three days if kept in an airtight container, but I doubt you’ll have many leftover! 😉 Continue reading

Easy Strawberry Muffins

strawberry muffins
I somehow believed that muffins were extremely difficult to make. Hence, I never even attempted to make them in the past. This all changed after I watched an episode of the Barefoot Contessa. Ina Garten is one of my favorite chefs on the Food Network and her recipes have never let me down. She made these muffins look so easy to prepare, I had to make them the next day! In less than 40 minutes, I had delicious, warm muffins to enjoy with my cup of coffee. They were so moist on the inside, but had a nice sugary crunch on the outside. This is due to mixing in the sugar at the very last moment.

I made two tweaks to Ina’s recipe: I added whole wheat flour and vanilla extract. If you don’t have whole wheat flour or prefer not to use it, simply use all-purpose flour instead. This recipe is great to use for a muffin “base” as well. Just follow the recipe to make the batter and use other kinds of fruit instead. You could make blueberry, apple, banana nut or even chocolate chip muffins. The possibilities are endless!  Continue reading

Easy Rigatoni Bolognese

rigatoni bolognese
Nothings says comfort food better than a big bowl of pasta bolognese topped with freshly grated Parmesan cheese. Sure, you can go to your local Italian restaurant and order this dish, but who knows what quality of ingredients are used? Or how much oil or calories are in the dish? We all want a delicious, homemade meal where we can control the quality of ingredients and fat content, but not everyone has hours before dinnertime to simmer a pot of this meat sauce. That’s why I came up with this quick and healthy recipe that takes no time to prepare. You’ll have all the delicious flavors of a bolognese sauce in 45 minutes!

This is my take on the classic – I hope you enjoy! :) Continue reading

Black Bean, Corn and Tomato Salad

black bean corn tomato salad
This bean, corn and tomato salad has become one of my favorite side dishes to serve because it is such a great complement to many dishes and is so incredibly fast and easy to prepare! I’ve served it with eggs for a Southwest inspired breakfast, steak fajitas for a Mexican inspired dinner, or as a simple and healthy salad for lunch. The black beans add tons of nutrients and fiber to your daily diet. Since the spices and fresh lime juice add a burst of flavor to the salad, you won’t miss the fact that there is very little oil in the dressing. The hot sauce (optional) also adds a nice kick to the dish. The salad also makes for a fabulous presentation on any dinner table with all its vibrant colors!  Continue reading

Dưa Chua (Vietnamese Pickled Mustard Greens)

dua chua
Dưa chua, approximately pronounced y-uh chwa, is a very common and popular Vietnamese side dish. Often served with lunch or dinner, this dish is loved by Vietnamese people of all ages. It is probably one of the easiest, quickest and cheapest Vietnamese dishes to make. The recipe requires only five ingredients and is ready to eat in just two days! I decided to pickle a batch of mustard greens myself and post the recipe because my cousins wanted to learn how to make it. Well, this one is for you all! <3
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