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Crave-Worthy Recipes

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Try these wines at your next backyard barbecue

Barbecue season is in full swing, but there’s no reason why beer should be the only alcohol available to guests in your backyard. July and August are the perfect time for wine-soaked weekend cookouts. Since these late summer days can be scorchers, it’s important to find wines that will keep you feel refreshed and not contribute to your heatstroke (be careful out there!). BBQ wines also need not be expensive — chill summer nights don’t sit well with anything too stuffy. The search can be difficult, but wines ready for grill days are out there. Here are a few of my favs — whites, rosé, and reds, too! Clos Beylesse Cotes De Provence Rosé 2016 You’ll find nothing more refreshing at a backyard summer soiree than a glass of chilled rosé. Readily available in most wine stores throughout American and Europe, this soft yet zesty wine is extremely light and delicious. $26 Bieler Family Daisy Pinot…

Sun-Dried Tomato Basil Tortellini with creamy spinach and cheese sauce

It’s a classic combo that never disappoints: Sun-dried tomatoes, spinach, basil, garlic and fresh mozzarella. This modern variation on those Old-World flavors is easy to make, but tastes like something you would order at your favorite Italian restaurant. Be sure to serve with some slices of crusty bread to soak up the creamy mozzarella sauce. The fresher the ingredients, the better your dish will be. Since it’s summer, definitely go for fresh basil — maybe grown in your own yard. And pro tip: always spring for fresh cheeses, particularly parmesan. Sun-Dried Tomato Basil Tortellini with creamy spinach and cheese sauce Serves 3-4: 30 minutes Ingredients 1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes separated from oil (I like to visit my local grocer’s antipasto bar for freshness) 2-3 tbsp oil (drained from sun dried tomatoes, see above) 4-5 cloves garlic, finely minced 2 big handfuls of spinach (about 3-4 ounces) 1 and 1/4 cup half and half…

Celebrate National Piña Colada Day with Boozy Piña Popsicles

If you haven’t made it to the beach recently, you might be lacking on your piña colada consumption for the summer. Today, we fix that. July 10 is celebrated annually as National Piña Colada Day, and what’s best is you don’t have to be sitting on a beach or the deck of a cruise ship to celebrate. Just mix some rum, cream of coconut and pineapple juice, and shake with ice. Try this delicious recipe from Bon Appétit. For  a more unusual take on the classic drink, try these easy five-ingredient piña colada popsicles! Boozy Piña Colada Popsicles Serves 4 Ingredients 1 cup chopped fresh pineapple 2 tbsp coconut rum + some 1/4 cup coconut milk 3 tbsp organic sugar 2 tbsp shredded coconut (optional) Directions Add pineapple to blender and pour rum over top. Let sit for 5-10 minutes. Stir occasionally to help the pineapple soak up the rum.…

Citrusy, cilantro pasta salad with peas, green beans and almonds

Pasta salads are one of the most simple and versatile dishes around. There’s a seemingly endless combination of delicious pastas, veggies, herbs and spices out there. With fresh ingredients, they rarely fail. This pasta salad uses whole wheat penne for a hearty base and matches it with the snap of green beans, the pop of peas, and the crunch of almonds. Yet, it’s the citrus and cilantro that take it to the next level. Enjoy this light and summery pasta salad with chicken, fish or even on its own. (Use fresh green beans for best flavor. You may substitute Royal Burgundy (Phaseolus vulgarism) for a purple pop along side the green peas and oatmeal colored pasta. The color combo is a real show stopper!) Citrusy Pasta Salad with Peas, Green Beans Prep time: 30 minutes, Serves 3-4 Ingredients 8 ounces whole wheat pasta (I like the shape of penne to match the beans) 4 cups…

How to perfectly cook a pot of rice

It’s one of the most commonly consumed foods in the world. It’s also seemingly one of the simplest to make. So how is it that we are still perplexed over how to make a perfect pot of rice? Sure, you can purchase a rice cooker, but that will run you from $30 to $200. And unless you’re cooking rice every day, it could just become another cumbersome appliance. Cooking basic, fluffy white rice, where each grain is separate and slightly firm, is possible if you know a few pro tips. Step 1: Rinse or soak your rice Rinsing rice in cold water helps for two reasons. Some rice mills outside of the U.S. may coat the grains in glucose or talc, so this step is extra important for imported rice. Although safe to eat, the coating could cause your rice to become downright gluey if not properly rinsed. Rinsing will…

Watermelon, mulberry, lime smoothie is light and refreshing

Smoothies are a great way to use up extra watermelon. With so much juice inside, there’s no need to give your blender any more liquids to power through the other ingredients. Mulberries are about 85 percent juice anyway, so be prepared for a light, refreshing summer smoothie. And don’t let the dark color fool you. Mulberries aren’t as strong as other common berries, so they won’t crowd out the watermelon flavor. The two flavors are enjoyed in perfect harmony — and hopefully outside on a sunny porch somewhere. Enjoy! Watermelon, mulberry, lime smoothie Serves 2 Ingredients 4 cups ripe watermelon, seedless 1 – 1 1/2 cups mulberries 1 half lime, juiced 2 cups ice Directions Combine all ingredients in blender. Mulberries have a dark juice that easily stains, so be sure the lid is on tight! Blend on high for 30 seconds to 1 minute. Pour over ice and enjoy this…

Watermelon layered popsicles are a perfect summer treat

Kitchens with appliances and gadgets for everything tiny task bring to mind one thing — A&E’s Hoarders. Not to say all are appliances are bad, but unless you have unlimited shelf space, surely you don’t have any real need for an separate appliance for making hotdogs. This week I broke that rule — but I’m not even ashamed. I now own a popsicle mold. But in defense of my new purchase, it seems like a perfect opportunity to make healthier version of the sugary store-bought treats, but also as a great way to use up leftover fresh squeezed juices and smoothies. (More on that in a coming post). I had a giant watermelon already cut in my fridge, so I decided to start there. Watermelon is a perfect popsicle fruit since it has such high water content. It purees and freezes easily. In one bite, I became a believer. The sweet watermelon pairs perfectly with just the…

Simple watermelon salsa is sweet, mildly spicy

Who would have thought watermelon and jalapeño would be such a delicious pair? What’s better, is that this quick condiment only requires six ingredients. I’ve been experimenting with a lot of watermelon lately, so get ready for quite a few juicy recipes coming up.. This one was one of my favorites, since it’s a perfect match-up of sweet and spicy, combined with saltiness from the chips. I’ve only tried it as a salsa so far, but I could see this going great with grilled chicken or fish, or atop a grilled vegetable dinner. Watermelon Salsa Serves 6-8: Prep time 10 min Ingredients 4 cups watermelon (seedless, or seeds removed and chopped) 1 cup cucumber, chopped 1 cup red onion (about 1/2 large onion, chopped) 2 medium jalapeños (remove seeds for less heat, chopped) 1 cup fresh cilantro, chopped 1 lime, cut in half salt (to taste) Directions Add watermelon, cucumber, onion,…

Basil Pesto with Almonds Ready in Minutes

When a recipe calls for an ingredient that requires a special trip to the store, I find it rarely gets made. That’s been the situation with me and pesto. Does anyone really have pine nuts handy? This recipe is great because the almonds easily substitute for pine nuts, and most of us have almonds stocked in the pantry. Just about any nuts will add a nice crunch, really. A medley of almonds, pine nuts, and walnuts would add great texture and flavor. Pesto is easy to jar and save all year, but enjoy it fresh, now that basil is growing abundantly in the garden. To make this recipe, simply add all ingredients to a food processor or high power blender, and pulse until ingredients are chopped finely. Pesto works well with chicken, vegetables, pasta, grilled sandwiches, Caprese salads and more. Pesto with Almonds Ingredients 3 cups packed fresh basil (or about 3 ounces)…

9 Tips for making the perfect fruit salad

Summertime is synonymous with fresh fruit, so it’s no wonder why we consume so much fruit salad during these warm months. It’s sweet, refreshing and so easy to make, but for those in the know, there is actually more to it than just chopping up a bunch of fruit and tossing it in a bowl. Not all fruit salads are created equal. There are a few tricks you can follow to enhance the flavors and make the dish more pleasing to the eye. Here are 9 tricks to help you make your best fruit salads this summer, and all year long. 1. Buy fruit in season Fruit is flown in daily from around the world, but that doesn’t mean it’s fresh. It was likely picked weeks ago — before it was ripe and ready. It was packaged, bruised, stored and shipped before it ever made it to your grocery market. Instead, you…