Cauliflower Puree

A couple weeks ago, I had this delicious cauliflower puree planned as a side dish for one of our meals.  But, when I went to make it, I realized that we had made a mistake on our grocery list so I didn’t have all the ingredients I needed.  I hate when that happens!

Rather than scrap the side dish and come up with something else, I decided to improvise and make my own version with ingredients I had on hand.  I started by cooking the cauliflower in chicken stock, instead of water, to add some savoriness to the dish.  I considered adding sour cream but went with goat cheese to balance the sweetness with some tartness.  And, of course, butter makes everything better, so I had to include some of that.  Lastly, I added some seasoning and gave it a whirl in my food processor and called it done.

With fingers crossed, I served my family my new version of cauliflower puree.

The verdict:  HUGE SUCCESS!  We all loved it!!

This cauliflower puree is super tasty without being overpowering, which makes it a great side dish for almost anything.  It’s also a great way to fill picky eaters with healthy nutrients!   Lovebug was so fooled by the flavor and texture she kept calling it mashed potatoes!  I will definitely be making this puree again!

Cauliflower Puree
Serves 4
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Cook Time
10 min
Cook Time
10 min
  1. 1 head cauliflower, stems trimmed and florets broken into medium pieces
  2. 1 1/2 cups chicken stock
  3. 2 tablespoons goat cheese
  4. 2 tablespoons butter
  5. 1/2 teaspoon salt
  6. 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  7. 1/3 teaspoon garlic powder
  1. Place the the cauliflower florets and chicken stock in a medium saucepan, cover with a lid and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Allow the cauliflower to cook until tender, about 10 minutes.
  2. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the cauliflower to a food processor, adding 2-3 tablespoons of the cooking liquid, and mix until smooth.
  3. Add the goat cheese, butter, salt, pepper and garlic powder and mix until thoroughly combined, about 1 minute.
  4. Serve hot with main dish of your choice.
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A couple weeks ago, we were invited to attend a pool party / bbq at a friends house and they offered to make most of the food, but we wanted to bring something to share.  I was hoping to serve something nutritious and tasty but it had to be something that could sit out for an extended period of time too.

I decided that a chopped vegetable salad would be just the thing.  I grabbed some of Lovebugs favorite vegetables and cut them up so that they were all about the same small size.  I tossed them with a simple vinaigrette and we were good to go.
This salad is tasty, refreshing and has the perfect satisfying crunch!  It is full of vibrant colors and the small pieces are very kid friendly.  It is healthy and a perfect side dish for a hot summer day.  Plus, the salad can be made in advance so it is perfect for parties, picnics or bbq’s. 
This salad is terrific on its own but would make great meal if it was served on a bed of greens with some grilled chicken.   I absolutely love it and plan on making it often this summer! 
Chopped Vegetable Salad

Chopped Vegetable Salad

1 cup chopped green beans
1 cup corn
1 cup chopped  carrots
1 English cucumber, chopped
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
1/2 cup chopped red bell pepper
1/2 cup chopped yellow bell pepper
1/4 cup chopped red onion

NOTE:  All vegetables should be chopped to about 1/4 inch in size.

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground garlic
1 tablespoons chopped parsley

1.  Blanch the green beans and corn in a pot of boiling water for about one minute.  Transfer them immediately to an ice bath for about 5 minutes to stop the cooking.  Spread the cooled corn and green beans on a kitchen towel to dry.
2.  Next, blanch the carrots in the pot of boiling water for about 4 minutes, transferring them immediately to an ice bath for about 5 minutes when done cooking.  Spread the cooled carrots on a kitchen towel to dry.
3. Place the green beans, corn and carrots in a large bowl.
4.  Add the cucumber, tomatoes, red and yellow bell peppers and red onion and stir to combine. Set aside.
5.  Pour the ingredients for the dressing into a small mason jar.  Shake to combine.
6.  Pour 3/4 of the dressing over the vegetables and toss to coat.  Add the remaining dressing, as needed.
7.  Keep refrigerated until ready to serve. *

* This salad can sit at room temperature for several hours but I recommend you keep it refrigerated because it is more refreshing that way.


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We usually dress our dinner salads simply with just oil and vinegar.  But, when we have a hearty salad for dinner, like a Cobb or salad Nicoise, or if we have guests over I usually make this simple balsamic vinaigrette dressing.  It is tangy and creamy and full of delicious seasonings that give it a super tasty complex flavor.   I always have the ingredients on hand and the dressing pairs nicely with any vegetable and/or salad.  It really is the perfect all around dressing.  I just love it.

Homemade Balsamic Vinaigrette Dressing

Homemade Balsamic Vinaigrette

1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
1 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon mayonnaise
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

Pour all the ingredients in a mason jar, seal and shake vigorously.

– OR –

Mix all ingredients except the extra virgin olive oil in a blender until combined.  Then with the blender running, slowly add the extra virgin olive oil.

Use immediately or store in the refrigerator for up to a week.


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Today I’m continuing the healthy streak of recipes I’ve shared so far this year with Twice Baked Potatoes.

HA!  Have you seen what I’ve shared lately?  
Pizza Sauce and Dough
Chicken and Pasta in a Light Cream Sauce (at least I lightened this one up a bit!)
And now Twice Baked Potatoes?  It’s a miracle that we don’t weigh a million pounds!!  
I swear we don’t eat rich, decadent foods like this every day!  We really do our best to eat well balanced and healthy meals and save the calorie rich stuff for special occasions.  In fact, My Love teases that he only gets the benefit of my culinary school training when there is an event or when we have company (there is probably some truth to that).  I guess I’ve just found more excuses to make yummy treats lately since I’ve been on maternity leave.  
Anyhow, like I said, today I’m sharing my recipe for Twice Baked Potatoes.  We typically reserve this recipe for holidays because these potatoes are a tad heavy in calories and everyone knows that calories don’t count on holidays. ;o)  Seriously though, these Twice Baked Potatoes are incredibly tasty, super filling and full of yummy ingredients.  They are a favorite in our house and while we’d like to eat them on a weekly basis, we exercise restraint since they aren’t the healthiest side dish option.  But, they are so good that they are worth the calories every once in a while.  Everything in moderation, right?
Baked Potato Recipe

Twice Baked Potatoes
Serves 4

3 large russet potatoes
1/2 cup room temperature butter
1/2 cup sour cream
1 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese, divided
1/4 cup chopped bacon
1 green onion, chopped
salt and pepper to taste

1.  Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.
2.  Wash the potatoes really well, pat them dry then pierce them with a fork a couple times.
3.  Place the potatoes directly on the oven rack and let them bake for about an hour to an hour and 15 minutes, until they are completely cooked through and soft.
4.  Remove the cooked potatoes from the oven and set them aside to cool slightly.  Drop the oven temperature down to 350 degrees.
5.  While the potatoes are cooling, mix the butter, sour cream, 1/2 cup cheddar cheese and bacon in a large bowl.
6.  Using a dish towel to hold the potatoes, cut each potato in half and scoop most of the flesh into the bowl with the other ingredients.  You will want to leave just enough flesh in the potato to help keep its shape.
7.  Sprinkle four of the six potato shells with salt and pepper.  You can discard the two other shells; you won’t be using them.
8.  Using a potato masher or a large fork, mash the potatoes into the butter, sour cream, cheese and bacon mixture.
9.  Stir in the green onion and season with salt and pepper to taste.
10.  Generously spoon the potato mixture back into the prepared potato shells.  Remember, you started with 6 potato halves and you are only filling four.  So, pile it on there!
11.  Sprinkle the top of each potato with the remaining 1/2 cup of cheddar cheese.
12.  Bake in the 350 degree oven for about 15-20 minutes until the cheese has melted and potatoes are warmed through.
13.  Serve hot!


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My husband loves potato salad.  Unfortunately, I’m not as big a fan so we don’t prepare it often.  But, when we do, we always use this recipe that I got from his mom years ago.  It is the perfect side dish to anything grilled… burgers, grilled chicken, steak or ribs.  It is really easy to pull together and only gets better the longer it sits in the refrigerator.  So, it is a great option for parties or gatherings as you can prepare it the day before.

If you like potato salad you should give this recipe a try.  It is moist and tasty and is definitely a crowd pleaser!
Potato Salad
Mouthwatering Potato Salad
1 cup mayonnaise
2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 tsp sugar
1 1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
4 cups red potatoes (5-6 medium potatoes), cooked and cut into cubes (cooled slightly*)
1 cup chopped celery
1/2 cup chopped red onion
1/4 cup chopped dill pickles
1.  In a large bowl, mix together the mayonnaise, vinegar, sugar, salt and pepper until combined.
2.  Add the warm red potatoes, celery, red onions and pickles and toss to coat.  
3.  Refrigerate for at least 2-3 hours to allow the potatoes to cool and the flavors to marry.  Keep refrigerated until ready to serve.
* Warm potatoes will absorb the flavors better than cold potatoes.


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