grilled bruschetta

An appetizer that just screams summer to me is bruschetta. Once the tomatoes are good (ie not mushy and tasteless like they are in January) you can be sure that bruschetta is showing up on our plates on a regular basis. Always partial to my Mother’s recipe, although my friend Anna makes a delicious version with mozzarella, simplicity is key with bruschetta and nothing is better than tomatoes, basil, garlic and some olive oil.

This was the first time I’ve tried bruschetta grilled and as with most foods, grilling just takes it to the next level. The tomatoes were slightly roasted, the bread imparted with a smoky flavor that just can’t be replicated in the oven.

Grilled Bruschetta

  • Whole grain baguette
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 cup grape tomatoes
  • olive oil
  • salt & pepper
  • fresh basil, julianned

Cut bread into 1 inch pieces and rub with cut side of garlic clove. Set aside. Rub tomatoes with garlic clove.

Thread alternating bread pieces and tomatoes on skewer. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.

Grill over medium heat for about 4 minutes per side until bread is toasted.

Remove from skewer and put on a plate, and sprinkle with basil.

orzo salad with zucchini & feta

Orzo is not as easy to find as one might expect. Maybe Minnesota has too much Norweigen influence and prefers lefse over orzo but once I finally tracked some down, the hope of finding a whole-grain version was long gone. As long as I left the store with orzo, I would worry about fitting in whole-grains later.

I wanted to come up with a salad that was light, but flavorful and this turned out just as I had hoped. Bright and citrusy flavor, full of good-for-you zucchini, and a touch of pasta for good measure. Because you can never have too much pasta. And I’m not even Italian!

Orzo Salad with Zucchini & Feta - about 2 servings

  • 1/4 cup orzo
  • 2 small zucchini, cut into half length-wise and then into 1/4-1/2 inch slices
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1-2 Tbsp feta cheese crumbles
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tsp Greek Seasoning
  • salt & pepper

Prepare orzo as directed. Set aside in medium sized bowl.

Heat large pan and spray with cooking spray. Add zucchini and garlic to pan, seasoning lightly with salt and pepper. Cook for about 5-7 minutes, until golden brown. Add to bowl with orzo and let cool.

Prepare dressing: mix olive oil, lemon juice and greek seasoning. Whisk until combined and pour over orzo and zucchini mixture. Add feta crumbles and toss until combined. Let cool and serve cool or at room temperature.



entertaining: how to plan a cocktail party

By no means am I claiming to be an expert, but throwing and attending cocktail parties is one of my favorite things to do! I think it has a little to do with my love for hors d’oeuvres but it can also be easy to build a healthy meal with cocktail party fare, while enjoying delicious food and great company.

Choosing the Menu:

Choosing your Cocktails:

Setting Everything Up:

  • Fresh flowers are a must!
  • Set aside a specific bar area: glasses, bottle openers, wine, pitcher of signature cocktail, ice, etc.
  • Have 2 or 3 different food areas so the guests can mingle
  • Area of plates, napkins and necessary utensils

Planning Ahead:

  • Choose things that can be made ahead and don’t need to be served immediately as they will be sitting out for a few hours
  • Make everything as much ahead as you can and give yourself an hour for last minute things that will come up (they always do)
  • Make a great playlist
  • Have your friends help!

Make sure to have fun! That is the whole point after-all, isn’t it?

What are your tips for throwing a great party?

herbed goat cheese with edible flowers

I believe that my food and meals should not only taste great and be made from real ingredients but should also look great. I give great consideration to how food looks and how I plate meals, and in case you needed anymore reasons to eat fruits and veggies, it is those fresh foods that always look great on a plate.  A rainbow of color or a sea of white flour and sugar? The answer is simple to me!

But this dip relies on more than just its good looks, it happens to taste as amazing as it looks. Thanks to Susan for this recipe, it is definitely one I’ll be making again. I took it to my friend Morgan’s Bridal Shower and it was a perfect appetizer for a shower, because aren’t they all about flowers and pretty things?

Herbed Goat Cheese with Flowers

  • 1 large log of goat cheese
  • 8 oz neufchâtel cheese (light cream cheese)
  • Fresh herbs of choice (I used basil and chives)
  • Edible flowers

Combine goat cheese and neufchâtel cheese. Fold in chopped herbs. Form into mound and place edible flowers on top. Serve with bread or crackers.