Tomato and Watermelon Salad

Tomato and Watermelon Salad - Missalaneyus

This simple, 5-ingredient dish works best with peak season produce, so you should probably make it soon. Here, tomatoes and watermelon are plated together with a faint sprinkle of salt and pepper. Then, they’re topped with feta and a drizzle of arugula oil, which sounds fancy, but comes together in minutes.

Tomato and Watermelon Salad - Missalaneyus

Personally, I think this colorful salad would be perfect for a late summer dinner with your best girl friends. You could start with prosciutto and melon as an appetizer and then, for the main event, serve this salad with grilled chicken. I’d finish this light meal with chocolate bark and strawberries. Sounds perfect, right?

Or, you can always just eat this with your preschooler like I did and wait for them to declare they don’t want to eat the “green parts.” Either way, it’s still really good.

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Tomato Basil Pasta

Tomato Basil Pasta - Missalaneyus

When I was a kid, we would go out for Italian as a family whenever we were out of town. Often, my parents would get the tomato basil pasta. (Like every time)

So, in honor of tomato season, I decided to try my hand at my own version.

With peak season ingredients, the sauce doesn’t need much more than tomatoes, garlic  and shallot.

Ready in around 20 minutes, make this one tonight.

Tomato Basil Pasta - Missalaneyus

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Beets with Honey and Goat Cheese

Beets with Goat Cheese and Honey - Missalaneyus

So, I have beets for you today, which I’m sure is disappointing for many of you, but please, hear me out.

These beets are peeled and sliced thinly. Then, roasted in a hot oven. They’re served with a drizzle of honey and sprinkling of goat cheese. The combination is addictive. Really. I swear.

Beets with Goat Cheese and Honey - Missalaneyus

Here’s some proof:

These made Ellie give up her hatred of beets (well, at least the golden variety – red ones are still not tolerated).

Not enough? Well, if it helps, I was first served this dish about two years ago, and every time I pass beets I want to make this.

Give it a try and thank me later.

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Fresh Salsa

chips-salsaThis recipe is crazy easy, but with fresh, in-season tomatoes, the results are addictive. In it, I used just a little jalapeno, because I am a wimp. Feel free to scale the heat level up by adding more or leave it out if that’s not your thing.

Stir this together soon for some of your favorite people. Or, make it for yourself like I did.

Fresh Salsa - Missalaneyus

Fresh Salsa
Ingredients:
1 c. finely chopped tomato
1 tsp. minced and seeded jalapeno
1 tbsp. finely chopped yellow onion
Juice from 1 lime
1 tsp. finely chopped cilantro
Salt
Pepper

Directions:
In a bowl, combine the tomato, jalapeno, onion and cilantro. Stir. Squeeze the juice of one lime over the mixture. Season with salt and pepper. Adjust to your liking.

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Outside-In Cheeseburgers

Outside-In Cheeseburgers - Missalaneyus

Let’s just start by getting the obvious out of the way.

This is not health food.

This is cheesy, beefy goodness.

Please send my apologies to your swimsuit. But, I don’t think either of you will be disappointed.

Outside-In Cheeseburgers - Missalaneyus

Outside-In Cheeseburgers
Serves 4

Ingredients:
1 lb. lean ground beef
Block of sharp white cheddar
Worcestershire sauce
Salt
Pepper
2 tbsps. extra virgin olive oil
Buns

Directions:
Cut small rectangles of cheese from your block. These should be about 1 inch long by 1/2 inch wide. You’ll need one for each burger. Set aside.

In a large bowl, add the beef. Then, sprinkle on a few dashes of Worcestershire sauce. Add salt and freshly cracked black pepper too. Lightly mix with your hands to combine. Then, use your hands to evenly section the meat into 4 equal parts. Place a cube of cheese in each section. Now, in one section, gently shape the meat around the cheese, being sure to cover it up. Don’t pack them too tightly, but make sure the cheese is secure. Repeat with the remaining three sections. Drizzle each with extra virgin olive oil to lightly coat.

Now, heat a cast iron skillet over high heat. When the pan is hot, add the burgers. After about 3 minutes or when browned, flip. Let cook another minute or two until browned and flip again. Turn the heat down to low and cover loosely with foil. After about 6 minutes, remove the tent to see if ready. Once cooked through, remove them to a plate, tent with foil and let rest for about 5 minutes.

Serve on buns with your favorite toppings.

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Mediterranean Night

Mediterranean Night - Missalaneyus

While Keegan was away for work a few weeks ago, I decided to make a Mediterranean inspired dinner for Ellie and I. I liked the idea of something casual where we could build our own plates. This sort of set-up is typically a hit with toddlers, because they can opt out of things they don’t like and have a sense of control. For example, Ellie would not touch the olives or feta (as expected), and it was no big deal at all, because I’d included things she loved. Also, we ate on the floor.

mediterranean-platter

When dreaming up the menu, I knew we’d have grilled chicken spiced with oregano, garlic and lemon. To round it out, I added in some tzatziki, olives, feta and pita bread to keep the whole thing a little Greek. When considering vegetables, I did what I always do when it’s just the little one and I – I used red peppers and mushrooms – because we are fiends for both. That being said, I know not everyone loves these vegetables, so feel free to swap with others you enjoy. Zucchini, tomatoes or cucumbers would all be really great here, and the latter two would require zero cooking.

mediterranean-night

I think it goes without saying this is the sort of thing that would be fun to have when hosting girlfriends for dinner. If you decided to do just that, I’d scale up the amount of food for your small crowd and then, invite me to come too.

Here’s how to recreate our Mediterranean evening.

  • Make the marinade for the chicken and vegetables.
  • Preheat the oven to 200 F.
  • Add crumbled feta and olives to small dishes on a platter.
  • Whisk together the tzatziki sauce.
  • Wrap the pitas in foil and place in the oven at the 30 minute mark.
  • Start grilling the chicken and vegetables.
  • Slice the vegetables and chicken.
  • Cut each round of pita bread into eight pieces.
  • Place all the components onto a platter.
  • Serve and enjoy.

Pitas
Preheat the oven to 200 F. Wrap the rounds in foil. Once the oven is ready, warm them for 30 minutes. Then, remove from the oven and cut each one into eight pieces.

Oregano, Lemon and Garlic Grilled Chicken and Vegetables
Serves about 2

Ingredients:
3 tbsp. lemon juice
1/3 c. extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp. fresh oregano, chopped
1 garlic clove chopped
2 boneless skinless chicken thighs
2 portobello mushrooms
1 red pepper, halved and seeded
Salt
Pepper

Directions:
In a bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, olive oil, oregano, garlic, salt and pepper. Divide the mixture evenly between gallon baggies. Add the chicken to one and the halved red pepper and portobello mushrooms to the other. Close both and let them marinate for 30 minutes.

Heat the grill to high heat. Place the chicken and vegetables on the grill using separate tongs. Be sure to shake off any excess marinade.

Grilling Vegetables:
After about 5 minutes, flip the vegetables. Once softened, remove the mushrooms. This should take about 3 more minutes. When the red peppers are fork tender, remove them as well. These will be done after about seven more minutes. Slice each into strips. Add them to your platter.

Grilling Chicken:
When the chicken has been cooking for 10 minutes, flip it. Let cook for about 10 more minutes or until cooked through. Next, allow it to rest for a little while. Then, slice it up.

Tzatziki
Serves 4

Ingredients:
2 tbsp. grated cucumber
1/2 c. Greek yogurt
Juice from half a lemon
Salt
Pepper

Directions:
In a small bowl, whisk together the ingredients. Add salt and pepper to taste.

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Build Your Own S’mores Bar

Build Your Own S'mores Bar - Missalaneyus

Have you seen these build your own s’mores bars that have been popping up lately?

strawberry-smores

The idea is really simple. You start with your basic s’mores ingredients and then, add in a few extras, like almond butter and peanut butter cups. When you’re ready to serve, you place all the components on a tray or platter and allow guests to build their own s’mores.

My smallest guest likes her marshmallows untoasted and all the components separate.

ellie

It’s a fun way to spend an evening and requires zero cooking – unless you count toasting the marshmallows.

smores-bar
In ours, I used:

  • Sliced strawberries
  • Sliced bananas
  • Sprinkles
  • Almond butter
  • Peanut butter
  • Cookies and cream chocolate bars
  • Milk chocolate bars
  • Peanut butter cups
  • Caramels*

But, really, you could customize this any way you like. I think jams, raspberries and dark chocolate would also be wonderful additions.

What’s your favorite way to eat a s’more?

*FYI, the caramels didn’t work as well as I liked. Next time, I’d try caramel sauce.

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Tropical Overnight Oats

Tropical Overnight Oats - Missalaneyus

Overnight oats are kind of having a moment right now. If you’re not familiar, the recipe to make them is dead simple. Just combine almond milk (or regular milk) with oats in a bowl and refrigerate overnight. The next morning you awake to a healthy and filling breakfast.

In this version, I fancy things up with a tropical twist. I use the simple base, but add in honey and vanilla extract.  Then, once ready, the entire dish is topped with toasted coconut chips and almonds, as well as some cubed pineapple.

Tropical Overnight Oats - Missalaneyus

The result is lightly sweet and tart, and the combination of coconut and fresh fruit will have you imagining yourself on some sort of luxurious vacation. Pinky swear.

Tropical Overnight Oats
Serves 2

Ingredients:
1/4 c. coconut chips
2 tbsp. slivered almonds
1/2 tsbp. raw honey
1 1/4 c. unsweetened almond milk
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/4 c. diced, fresh pineapple

Directions:
Toast the coconut chips and slivered almonds over low for 5 to 8 minutes in pan. Once lightly golden, remove and set aside to cool. When these have cooled, package them in a small container for the next day.

Then, whisk together the honey, unsweetened almond milk and vanilla extract in a medium sized bowl. Stir in 1 c. rolled or old-fashioned oats. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate.

Now, cut up about a 1/4 c. of pineapple. Store it in the fridge overnight.

In the morning, divide the oats between two bowls. Top each with some pineapple and then, layer on the almonds and coconut chips. Enjoy.

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