Meatless Monday: Bruschetta Pasta

Ticking all the boxes for Monday dinner requirements, this dish is a total winner. It’s easy as anything; it’s light; it’s full of flavor; it’s kid-friendly; and it’s FAST. Plus, you could easily turn this into a non-meatless dish by adding grilled chicken or quick-seared shrimp, so it’s also totally modifiable, which adds bonus points! Who doesn’t love bruschetta? A perfect combination of acidic tomato, earthy basil, sweet balsamic, a punch of garlic – another example of ticking all the boxes, right? And pasta… DUH. Here you go.

WHAT YOU NEEDbruschpasta3
* 3T balsamic vinegar
* 2t minced garlic
* 1-2 shallots, minced
* 3-4 large Roma tomatoes, seeded and diced
* big pile of fresh basil leaves (~1/2C tightly packed), sliced into ribbons
* lemon pepper
* 1lb wide noodle pasta (like fettuccini, tagliatelle, etc.)
* 1/4C olive oil
* freshly grated Parmesan cheese for serving

WHAT TO DO
Heat a large pot of salted water and bring to a boil. Cook the pasta to al dente according to package instructions (approximately 6-8 minutes usually).

While the water is coming to a boil and the pasta is cooking, dice and mince and slice everything else.

Add the balsamic vinegar, minced garlic, and minced shallots to a large serving bowl. Let it sit for a bit to allow the flavors to come together a bit. Add the tomatoes, basil, and lemon pepper. Mix carefully to combine, and then let it sit and marinate a bit while the pasta finishes cooking.

As soon as the pasta’s ready, drain it and add it directly to the serving dish. Pour the olive oil over it, and then carefully mix everything together until the noodles are all coated and everything is well blended. Serve topped with freshly grated Parmesan and enjoy!

Meatless Monday: Egg + Veggie Pita Pockets

Not too long ago, I posted a “Food for Thought” post asking what your go-to meal is for those nights when it either all falls apart or you just completely failed to plan or organize. Mine is an omelet or omelet sandwich. Didn’t get home in time? Omelet saves the day! Protein plus fast, and you can add in any other goodies you *do* have available (cheese, veggies, leftover shredded chicken, etc.) and give it a little extra something without having to spend a lot of time or energy. As far as I’m concerned, it’s a guaranteed win. But even when you’re not scrambling (get it?!) to get something on the plate, that same combination of goods can make for a darn delicious–and easy–weeknight dinner success. And that is how we ended up with this very simple, very quick, very very yummy Meatless Monday meal. Note that, of course, the cheese and veggies are up for interpretation, and you could easily add some kind of meat, too, if you want. Here you go.

WHAT YOU NEED
makes approximately 4-5 servings
* 6 large eggs
* salt
* pepper
* onion powder
* garlic powder
* optional crushed red pepper flakes
* olive oil
* 1/2 an average-sized zucchini, sliced into rounds and then quartered
* 1/2 an average-sized yellow squash, sliced into rounds and then quartered
* 1 small head broccoli, cut into small florets
* 1/2 red pepper, diced
* 1-2 shallots, sliced
* 1 heaping teaspoon minced garlic
* crumbled feta cheese
* pita bread, sliced in half for serving (1/2 a pita per serving)
optional for serving: fresh sliced avocado or guacamole; mayonnaise; hot sauce

WHAT TO DO
In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs and seasonings, to taste. Set aside.

Prepare your veggies and then heat the olive oil in a large pan over medium heat. Add the veggies to the pan all at once and saute until they begin to soften, just a few minutes.

Reduce heat to medium low and then add the egg mixture directly into the pan. Immediately begin gently mixing the eggs around the pan with the veggies, stirring carefully but constantly as they cook. When the eggs are almost done, add the feta cheese to the pan and continue mixing another minute or so until they’re ready. Watch the eggs carefully – good scrambled eggs are cooked through but not dry at all. You want to remove the pan from the heat at just the right moment.

Warm the pita bread up just before serving, then fill each half with a generous portion of the egg and veggie mixture. Serve as-is or add any toppings or condiments you like. Enjoy!

Quick Meal: Honey-Lime Salmon

If you’re looking for healthy, easy and quick to prepare weeknight fare, salmon is one of the best choices you can make. It’s one of the most nutritional fishes you can eat, and it’s chock full of all the good stuff: antioxidants, healthy fats and oils and omega-3s, and a boatload of other vitamins. It’s also incredibly easy to prepare, totally versatile, and FAST. And the fast part is actually what I’m selling here, because I’m not a nutritionist or a health expert by any stretch of anyone’s imagination. This quick little preparation will not disappoint. It’s light and delicate, but drops the flavor and could pair well with a whole variety of veggies or pastas or whatever you want. Here you go.

WHAT YOU NEED
* 4 6oz (fresh) salmon fillets
* 2T olive oil, divided
* 1/2T honey
* zest and juice of 1 large lime
* 1t minced garlic
* 1/2t salt
* 1/2t black pepper

WHAT TO DO
Place your fillets into a large shallow baking dish and set aside.

In a bowl, whisk together 1 tablespoon of the olive oil, the honey, the zest and lime juice, the garlic, and the salt and pepper. Pour the mixture over the salmon, and flip it over a few times to make sure it gets on both sides of each piece. Allow it to set a minute or two to absorb some of the flavors (you can also truly marinade your fish in this mixture, up to four hours if you want, and then cook, but for a busy weeknight, which is what I’m working with, that’s not likely going to work).

Heat the second tablespoon of oil in a large pan over medium-high heat. Place the salmon in the hot pan, skin side down, and pour the additional honey-lime mixture in as well.

Cook the fish until it’s pink 3/4 of the way up, about 4 minutes or so. Then flip it over and cook it about 2 minutes more to finish.

Beautiful crust on the outside, soft, delicious, flaky perfection on the inside thanks to 5 minutes of prep followed by 6 minutes or so of cooking. I’d say that’s a pretty solid weeknight dinner win, wouldn’t you? And btw, it’s a kid-friendly win, too. Not too strong of flavors, easy

, flaky texture, and so so good for them, but they don’t even know it!

Big Kitchen Sink Greek Salad with Chicken

This was another of those happy accidents. No time to plan dinner, no time to shop, quick scan of the available ingredients (including some staples strategically always kept on-hand), and quick creative thinking led to a healthy, fresh, easy, delicious, complete dinner on a busy weeknight. I’m going to give you the recipe for THIS salad specifically, but note that the idea is pretty flexible – have a few solid foundational go-tos in your freezer and pantry, and a little of this plus a little of that can turn into dinner. The veggies and the proteins are modifiable – just use what you have! Or make this one. But get ready – “kitchen sink” is pretty accurate. I put a TON of stuff in this salad. Here you go.

WHAT YOU NEED
* 1 large head romaine lettuce, chopped
* 1 ripe avocado, cubed
* 1 pint grape tomatoes, halved
* ~4oz hard salami, sliced into small chunks
* 3-4T pitted kalamata olives, sliced (or ant other kind of pitted olives)
* 7-8 of these simple Roasted Sweet Peppers, sliced into small pieces
* crumbled feta cheese
* 1lb chicken breast, sliced into thin, small pieces
* olive oil
* lemon pepper
* garlic salt
* Greek seasoning
* juice of 1/2 a lemon

WHAT TO DO
Add the lettuce, avocado, tomatoes, salami, olives, roasted peppers, and feta cheese in a large salad bowl, and set aside.

Place the pieces of chicken breast in a large bowl. Drizzle with 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil and sprinkle, to taste, with lemon pepper, garlic salt, and Greek seasoning. Toss to coat.

Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add the chicken pieces to the pan and cook until cooked through – just a minute or two per side. Remove from heat and add to the salad bowl. Drizzle with a little extra olive oil (about a tablespoon at most) and the lemon juice and toss carefully to combine.

bigsalad