Caprese Salad

Caprese Salad

I think one of the prettiest salads you can have is the Caprese Salad.  It’s vibrant colors are so inviting, promising something creamy, fresh and delicious.

What you may ask is a Caprese Salad.  It’s an Italian salad of fresh mozzarella cheese, tomatoes, and basil with a light vinaigrette dressing.  It’s said that Caprese Salad was originally made to honor the Italian flag which is Red, White, and Green; the same colors of the salad.

Caprese Salad is definitely a family favorite.  It’s not only delicious but it’s so easy to make.  We have it for lunch, as a panino or sandwich.  You can place the ingredients between 2 slices of bread or better yet a ciabatta roll, grill it just until the bread is toasted and the cheese melts, and you have a wonderfully simple meal!

The most important thing to remember when making Caprese Salad at home is to use the freshest ingredients you can find.  This mean unless absolutely necessary the prepacked balls of mozzarella in the supermarket’s dairy case just won’t do!

Short of bringing home fresh mozzarella from Italy (which I’ve actually done) I usually find fresh mozzarella at Costco or the deli counter.  It’s the balls of cheese that’s usually floating in the tub it’s packaged in.  You’ll know it’s fresh because it’s softer than those hard balls packed in plastic wrap.

Tomatoes of course are fresh, pick nice ripe ones.  I get mine from my garden along with the fresh basil.  If you don’t have a basil plant (and you should! it’s so easy to keep even a small one in the kitchen window) you can buy fresh basil leaves at the grocery store.

Once you have all the fresh ingredients all  you really need is some extra virgin olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and a bit of Italian seasoning if  you have it, and some salt.  If you don’t have Italian seasoning you can use dried oregano, parsley, or basil or you can just use black pepper.

Caprese Salad is great for a light lunch or as a fresh addition to any meal.  It’s tasty and refreshing, the perfect summer salad!

Caprese Salad

Ingredients:

5-6 slices of Fresh Mozzarella Cheese (slices should be about 1/2″ thick)

1 Firm Ripe Tomato – sliced in about 1/2″ thick rounds

3-6 Fresh Basil Leaves

1/4 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil

1/4 Cup Balsamic Vinegar

1 Tsp. Italian Dressing

Salt & Pepper to taste

Directions:

Slice mozzarella and tomatoes into 1/2″ rounds and arrange on a plate.  Alternate tomato and cheese to make it look nice.

You can also add a basil leaf between the cheese and tomato or you can place the leaves in the center.  Place the three ingredients on the plate any way you find pleasing.

Mix together oil and vinegar.

Add 1/2 Tsp. of Italian seasoning to the oil mixture and stir well.

Drizzle over the fresh ingredients just before serving.

Sprinkle remaining Italian Seasoning over all and season with salt and pepper if desired.

 

 

Caprese Salad
Print Recipe
Caprese Salad
Print Recipe
Share this Recipe
Powered byWP Ultimate Recipe
4th of July Brie

4th of July Brie

We used a BIG wheel of brie for this video, which can be very expensive. You can get away with something about (or a little over) half the size. A little bit of brie goes a long way.

YIELDS: 8 SERVINGS       PREP TIME: 0 HOURS 15 MINS      TOTAL TIME: 0 HOURS 40 MINS

INGREDIENTS

1 (35-oz.) wheel brie
6 strawberries, tops removed and sliced
1/2 c. blueberries
1/4 c. freshly squeezed orange juice
2 tsp. honey
Graham crackers, for dipping

DIRECTIONS

Preheat oven to 350°. Cut off the top rind of brie then place brie in a skillet about its same size. Bake until brie is bubbling and totally melted throughout, about 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, place strawberries and blueberries in separate medium bowls. Divide orange juice and honey evenly between each bowl and toss to combine. When brie is ready, arrange fruit in the pattern of the American flag. Serve immediately, with graham crackers for dipping.


4th of July Brie
Print Recipe
Servings
8 SERVINGS
Servings
8 SERVINGS
4th of July Brie
Print Recipe
Servings
8 SERVINGS
Servings
8 SERVINGS
Share this Recipe
Powered byWP Ultimate Recipe
Balsamic Watermelon Chicken Salad

Balsamic Watermelon Chicken Salad

Watermelon on a salad like what is going on.

I’ve had this idea written up on my nice little kitchen chalkboard for at least three weeks now. The name “Watermelon Chicken Salad” sat there happily on the board right next to all my other random ideas, most of which have since gotten scratched off and erased and replaced with something new because I actually made them and posted them. For whatever reason, this little guy lingered. Another week would pass with no sign of a watermelon chicken salad, but for whatever reason when I’d clean off my board for the week, I really didn’t want to erase the idea just yet. I had this premonition of great things to come.

Speaking of great things.

In the three weeks that “Watermelon Chicken Salad” has been staring me down from the chalkboard, I’ve bought 8 million watermelons with very good intentions, thinking that each of them would be the one I’d use to make some kind of inspired and beautiful salad. But then I discovered this drink instead and every single piece of watermelon since has been doomed for the blender. Or my mouth. Today I ate it for breakfast, which is so weird, but actually not as weird as watermelon in a salad.

And I have a really important question. Why is watermelon like candy? It’s so incredibly good. Juicy, bright, sweet, red… it’s basically large 

 

cubes of all-natural Jolly Ranchers. Have you ever frozen watermelon cubes? <— That. You’re welcome.

So I got a really great bottle of balsamic and starting thinking about salads, and BAM. The inspiration for this salad finally hit and wowzzer. The long wait to actually make this combo happen was totally worth it. Here she is, in all her blue cheese crumbled, rainbow colored, crunchy almond, sweet balsamic glazed glory.

Pinky promise, as I am writing this, I can hear Bjork’s fork + plate clinking together at record speed as he is devouring this in the next room.

The salty blue cheese to me was the thing that tied it all together. You have the sweetness of the watermelon and the balsamic glaze, the savory of the seasoned chicken, the crunch of the almonds, the freshness of the spinach, and then that blue cheese. Oh, the salty, creamy tang that makes my heart go wild. I am making a weird “I LOVE IT” face right now as I’m writing this because I don’t even really know how to describe what I’m trying to say – you get it, though, right? Through computer food osmosis, are we kind of experiencing it together?

Color, crunch, and yum. I want that to be the tagline of my life.

Pretty salad, come to mama.

DESCRIPTION

This Balsamic Watermelon Chicken Salad has blue cheese, watermelon, almonds, herbed chicken, and a balsamic glaze. Simple and fresh.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1 lb. boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 3 teaspoons all purpose seasoning (I used a spice mix I got at a specialty food store)
  • 1 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 cups baby spinach or greens
  • 2 cups cubed watermelon
  • 1/2 cup blue cheese crumbles
  • 1/4 cup sliced or crushed almonds

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Pour the balsamic vinegar into a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 15-20 minutes until the balsamic vinegar is significantly reduced and starting to become syrupy.
  2. Meanwhile, turn a grill or nonstick skillet to high heat. Sprinkle the chicken with the seasoning on both sides and drizzle with the olive oil. Transfer to the hot grill and cook until no longer pink on the inside and nicely browned on the outside. Let rest for 5 minutes; cut into small cubes.
  3. Layer the spinach with the chicken, watermelon, blue cheese, almonds, and drizzle with the balsamic reduction to taste. Top with additional olive oil if desired.

Balsamic Watermelon Chicken Salad
Print Recipe
Servings Prep Time
4 10 mins
Cook Time
30 mins
Servings Prep Time
4 10 mins
Cook Time
30 mins
Balsamic Watermelon Chicken Salad
Print Recipe
Servings Prep Time
4 10 mins
Cook Time
30 mins
Servings Prep Time
4 10 mins
Cook Time
30 mins
Ingredients
Servings:
Share this Recipe
Powered byWP Ultimate Recipe
Mini Strawberries & Cream Trifle

Mini Strawberries & Cream Trifle

Looking for something special for your Father’s Day dessert?  Try these Mini Strawberries & Cream Trifles.

In case you are wondering exactly what a Trifle is well it’s a British dessert that’s made with layers of sponge cake, custard, fruit, and cream.  In other words it’s very similar to a parfait meaning that it’s layers of cake, fruit, and cream.

Trifles can be single serve like your parfaits or they can be done in a large trifle bowl.  Either way they look elegant and of course are delicious.  They really impress your friends and family!

I prefer individual trifles specially you’ve your serving it to company.  Packaged in clear individual cups, by the way you can use clear plastic cups for large dinner parties, they look very impressive.

Although it looks impressive they are pretty simple to make.  Seriously you can use store bought cake, berries, and whipped cream!  But I prefer to use my homemade Madelienes, homemade Mascarpone Cream (recipe below), Riesling Marinated Strawberries, topped with whipped cream (homemade or store bought).  All my ingredients, except homemade whipped cream, can be made in advance so all you have to do just before serving is to put everything together.

My Mini Strawberries & Cream Trifles are a family favorite.  It’s also a go to when we have dinner guests over, everyone loves them!  But before you can put them together gather your ingredients and put it all together just before serving, you don’t want the cake part too soggy.

Ingredients:

Lady Fingers, Madelienes (Click here for my recipe), Sponge Cake, or Pound Cake – you can use any of these cakes; store bought or home made.

Mascarpone Cream (recipe below)

Riesling Marinated Strawberries (Click here for my recipe)

Whipped Cream (homemade or store bought)

Fresh Mint Leaf for garnish if you want

Directions:

Cut Lady Fingers or Madelienes in halves width wise or if using cakes cut them into cubes.

Place 2-3 pieces of the cake you are using into a wine glass or clear plastic tumbler.

Place a Tablespoon of Mascarpone Cream on top of the cake.

Spoon about a Tablespoon of Marinated Strawberries over the cream, make sure you spoon enough of the liquid so that it gets to the cake at the bottom.

Repeat with another each layer of cake, Mascarpone Cream, and Marinated Strawberries.

Top with whipped cream, place one or two slices of Marinated strawberries or a slice of Lady Finger or Madeliene on top of whipped cream.

Drizzle with some of the liquid from the strawberry marinade.  Add a mint leaf if desired for garnish.

Mascarpone Cream

Ingredients:

1/2 Cup Mascarpone Chease

1/4 Cup Heavy Whipping Cream

1/4 Cup Sugar

Directions:

Place all ingredients in a mixing bowl.

Whip until soft peaks form.

Refrigerate  until ready to use.

Mini Strawberries & Cream Trifle
Print Recipe
Mini Strawberries & Cream Trifle
Print Recipe
Ingredients
Servings:
Share this Recipe
Powered byWP Ultimate Recipe