The inspiration for this came from a 3 and 6-year-old. We were to host a small, casual gathering and we sought to satisfy everyone without killing ourselves. Aha! A charcuterie board is like fancy buffet but far simpler to build. We used two cutting boards that Mr. Chef made, but you don’t need custom end-grain cutting boards to accomplish this festival of food. The cutting board could come from IKEA, or use serving tray. Have a bit of fun with your imagination and what you already have in your cabinets. Presto!
In hosting, as in life, we prefer balance and elegant simplicity, and fun with perhaps a *sprinkle* of fancy. It’s okay to throw something together and even bring in a bit of whimsy.
So, to keep things classic and chill, the idea of having a variety and simple foods- a smorgasbord- stood out. Call it that, a Hungarian cold plate or “Hidegál”, or, because it sounds so nice to say, charcuterie board (the way we like to remember to pronounce it: “shar(k)-coo-ter-ee”; say it fast enough and the “k” glides you right through the word). Other reasons we love this:
Unstuffy – at its heart, a charcuterie board is very finger-friendly and is even great for kids
Healthy – we went mostly for organic produce & gluten-free items but also had quality meat products for omnivorous types.
Visually appealing – because we all ‘eat’ with our eyes first, we really wanted to provide a cheery, colorful palette of foods from which to choose.
Think about your guests – do they have dietary restrictions or allergies? Food preferences? Will children be present?
Plan your board(s) – think of food groups (healthier versions of fat, protein, carbohydates) and accessories (dips that go well with chips, carrots, and celery for example). This helps provide a balanced and light meal. Bonus: make a ‘rainbow’. Get creative and perhaps offer a fruit and vegetable option for each color – such as orange bell peppers and orange slices.
Go shopping and prep the produce. Here are some items you might want for your custom board(s): vegetables (bell pepper, carrots, celery, cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, radishes), fruits (orange and apple slices, blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, kiwi, grapes – dried fruit is also an option!), cheeses, deli meats (salami, turkey, ham or chicken), crackers and/or bread, dips (hummus, Ranch, herb-infused olive oil), olives, pickles, seeds (pumpkin and sunflower), chips, and chocolate.
Decorate your boards! Use little bowls for dips, dishes or plates, cutting boards, and utensils to design a beautiful, curated offering to your guests.
We initially debuted this 8-ingredient Quinoa Salad during National Vegetarian Month on 10TV with Valencia Wicker and Ross Caruso – watch here if you’d like. This dish is quick, delicious as well as gluten- and dairy-free! Enjoy!
2 cups cooked quinoa
1/2 cup chopped radishes
1/2 cup chopped cucumber
1/2 cup chopped celery
1/2 cup chopped red onion
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
1/2 cup chopped red bell pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
Combine all ingredients together in a large bowl and mix well. Garnish with cherry tomatoes.
Gazpacho is a quick, raw, and delicious soup that hails from southern Spain. It typically includes tomatoes, peppers, onion and garlic but unique versions include pickles, avocados, cucumbers and watermelon.
Did you know that gazpacho can also be used as a salad dressing or with pasta as a sauce?
This gazpacho recipe is gluten-free, dairy-free and good for the body. It’s a healthy snack that can also be served at lunch or dinner. Watch the video segment here.
4 medium tomatoes, chopped
2 cucumbers, sliced into chunks
1 bell pepper, chopped
1/2 red onion, chopped
2 celery ribs, chopped
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tsp balsamic vinegar or red wine vinegar
1 cup cilantro, chopped for garnish
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper (optional)
Salt & pepper to taste
Blend and serve chilled. Garnish with chopped cilantro, if desired. Enjoy!
Aaah, the freshness and promise of the back-to-school season. Even those of us not in school still seem to embody the spirit of excitement of learning and accomplishing goals. As every probably knows by now, a healthy breakfast is a key part in providing us with proper energy and focus. Enter the Fiesta Egg Frittata – these little muffins are colorful, easy to make, nutritious AND delicious. So many wins in such a small package!
Fiesta Egg Frittatas
Total Time: 30 minutes
10 organic eggs
1 cups chopped bell peppers
1 cup chopped spinach (or baby kale)
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
1/2 cup chopped onion
I cup diced mushrooms
1 tsp chili powder
½ tsp cumin
½ tsp sea salt
½ tsp black pepper
Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly coat (12-compartment) muffin tin with non-stick cooking spray or use baking cups. Heat 1 tbsp olive oil in pan and add onion, mushrooms, and bell peppers; sauté for about 3 minutes. Add spinach and cook an additional 2 minutes. Place about 2 Tbsp of veggies into each muffin cup. Whisk eggs in medium-size bowl with chili powder, cumin, salt and pepper. Pour egg mixture over veggies in the muffin tin until about 80% full. Cook for about 25 minutes, until inserted butter knife comes out clean. If not using baking cups, take knife around the edges of the muffin tin to remove egg frittatas.
These breakfast treats are best enjoyed hot but can be kept in air-tight container in fridge for up to 5 days. Grab 1 or 2 on your way to school or work!
With Labor Day celebrations right around the corner, we have some delectable vegan options for your family and friends. Shared last week with Karina Nova and Russ Caruso on WBNS 10TV, the video can be viewed here and we have the ideas below!
Such a simple and beautiful arrangement can be made with four simple ingredients, including zucchini, red onion, mushrooms, and bell peppers. Pop the pieces onto skewers and grill for a few minutes. You can brush some olive oil and balsamic vinaigrette over them and your choice for herbs.
Five Star Foodies Burgers
These burgers work very well to satisfy your vegan, gluten-free crowd; top with guacamole, mustard, or salsa.
Vegan Potato Salad
Potato salad – full of potassium and fiber, can be made vegan simply by choosing a different mayonnaise (we used Fabanaise from Whole Foods). It’s an excellent side dish and the recipe can be found here.
Grilled fruit with ice cream
Pineapple, pear, and peaches have their sweetness brought forth with grilling. Serve with a vegan ice cream.
Let us know how you like the recipes; have a safe, enjoyable, and delicious upcoming Labor Day weekend!
But first, some fun facts about potatoes: they were first cultivated by the Inca in South America about 7-10k years ago; the English word ‘potato’ comes from the Spanish ‘patata.’
Americans eat about 124 lbs of potatoes per year; Germans eat about twice that.
Potatoes are relatively low in calories yet they pack a nutritional punch in terms of vitamin C, potassium, and fiber!
Prep time: about 15 minutes
1 lb potatoes (we used 4-5 red potatoes for a bit of color in the finished product)
1 cup of chopped celery
1 cup chopped red onion
1 cup plant-based mayo (the one we used included avocado oil and aquafaba as the first two ingredients)
1 tbsp mustard
1/2 tbsp dill
1/2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1/2 tbsp tumeric
Boil potatoes until tender and easily pierced by fork (about 10 minutes). While the potatoes cool, mix the rest of the ingredients together well in a bowl. Once potatoes are cooled, combine with the mixture. Refrigerate and let the flavors meld for at least an hour (it’s best-tasting the next day).
As mentioned in the tv segment, these are recipe guidelines – have fun and try variations with bell pepper, parsley, and even hot sauce!
Our favorite Indian food delivery service stopped. Rather than languish, cry, and starve, we put on our big kid pants and decided to channel our inner Indian cooking guru. The result? Almost unbelievable but it’s way better than what has been arriving at our door steps.
This is a quick prep but slow cook meal (the longer you can wait, the better!). If you don’t know us by now, let us explain that we are pretty experimental in the kitchen, rarely is anything measured before we add it, but we’ll recount the end result in the recipe below. May your autumnal evenings grow warmer and your taste buds do a dance of joy!
Prep time: 20 minutes
1 cup cashews
1 can chickpeas
1/2 tbsp olive oil
1 jar tomato sauce (we used fire-roasted tomato sauce)
1 red bell pepper
1 baby bok choy
1 onion, chopped
Heat cashews and chickpeas in a pan with olive oil for about 10 minutes, stirring often. Prep other vegetables – chop carrot, red pepper, cilantro, and bok choy. Transfer chickpeas and cashews to a pot to rest and now heat the vegetables in the pan with jar of tomato sauce for 10 minutes. Add vegetable mix to pot with the nuts and chickpeas along with spices and 1/2 liter of water. Simmer for as long as you can stand or about 45-60 minutes. Serve with blend of wild rice if desired.
Winter = slow cooker; at least for us. There is nothing better than loading up up the ceramic bowl with a variety of greens, protein, and vegetables, and letting the ‘kitchen servant’ work its magic while we perform ours in the nutrition world. Coming home to a cooked dinner is a relief and a joy – even better when shared with loved ones!
We are huge fans of cooking once and eating twice. You’ll notice that the caramelized parsnips and turkey, made in advance, provide the benefit of 1. using leftovers wisely and 2. making preparation so much easier.
1/2 lb ground turkey (or use 3 leftover turkey sausage patties from this recipe!)
1 lb parsnips, caramelized
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1 bunch dandelion greens, chopped
1 jar (25oz) tomato sauce
1 jar salsa
1/2 tbsp red pepper flakes
1 medium onion, chopped
1 cup arugula, rinsed
If you haven’t already caramelized the parsnips or made the turkey patties, start them. Once turkey is cooked, add to bottom of slow cooker, layer with chopped green bell pepper and red pepper flakes. Saute onion and set aside. Pour jar of tomato sauce and salsa on top of turkey mixture in slow cooker and greens. Then add caramelized parsnips and the sauteed onion. Set crockpot timer for 4-6 hours.
Serve turkey chili over fresh arugula. Enjoy!