Roasted Italian Potatoes

Tender Roasted Italian Potatoes served over a bed of crispy greens, topped with pine nuts and fresh lemon juice is what I like to call my solution to wanting a hot meal with almost as little effort as possible.

As I’m typing this, my Zo-girl Fresh (that’d be my dog Zoey by the way), is snoring up a storm while flopped on the couch next to me. I swear that girl sleeps more than she’s awake, and snores louder than most humans. And now that I’ve given in to her sneaky ways of climbing on the living room couch and into our bed in the past several days, she’s becoming quite the spoiled princess. Not that she hasn’t always been one, but she acts so distraught when I don’t let her up.

She’s all, “What? You think I’m going to lay on this shaggy rug when I know perfectly well there’s a cushy couch or bed filled with blankets to keep me warm?”

And I’m like, “Zoey, I know you’re fricking adorable and I want to snuggle but you’re too big and it’s just not going to….” (as she nuzzles her head into me)…”Ok, come on. Get up here.”

She’s just a dog. I won’t be so easily persuaded with my children one day, I swear.

Okay so all of that dog talk was just a completely random side note to the main focus of this post. POTATOES! These potatoes are the star of the show today.  Just thinking about the generously seasoned potato chunks has me craving them all over again right this very minute. That’s saying a lot considering I just ate a tiny piece of homemade brownie and trying my best to resist going back for another piece. With the taste of chocolate still lingering in my mouth, it’s not often I would also have a desire for real food. But these potatoes, both crispy on the outside and tender on the inside, are oh so savory and simply perfection.

Roasted Italian Potatoes

Makes 2 servings

Ingredients:
10 small red potatoes, quartered
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon sage
1 teaspoon thyme
1 teaspoon rosemary
1 teaspoon salt
4 cups chopped romaine lettuce, for serving
2-3 teaspoons lemon juice
2-3 tablespoons pine nuts

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line a large baking sheet with foil and spray with nonstick spray. Set aside.
2. In a medium bowl, add potatoes and olive oil. Stir with a wooden spoon or spatula to coat potatoes evenly with the oil.
3. In a small bowl, combine oregano, sage, thyme, rosemary and salt. Stir well to combine and add to potato bowl. Mix well to evenly coat potatoes with the seasonings. Gently shake potatoes onto the foil-lined baking sheet in an even layer. Cover the entire pan with a sheet of foil and place in oven.
4. Let cook for 30-40 minutes or until fork tender, removing pan from oven about halfway through to gently shake/turn potatoes. Remove from oven and let cool about 5 minutes. Divid potatoes among plates of lettuce, then top with a squeeze of lemon juice and a heaping tablespoon of pine nuts.

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Coconut Fried Green Tomatoes

I remember staying home from school sick one day in sixth or seventh grade and my mom rented the movie Fried Green Tomatoes for me to watch. I didn’t have high expectations at first. It seemed like an “old” movie (came out in 1991, ha!). Wouldn’t you know, I watched every minute and loved it. 
If you’ve seen the movie, you know there’s a whole lot more to the story than fried green tomatoes. It’s a story of best friends, an abusive relationship, illness and even a murder. Lots of drama, but lots of love that warms your heart. The perfect sick-day movie if you ask me. 

At the time I first saw this movie, I was a picky adolescent girl living in the Midwest. I hadn’t heard of fried green tomatoes, let alone have any interest in tasting one. Fast forward a few years and I found myself not only in the South, but living in one of the most culinary rich cities in the country. My taste buds quickly expanded and fried green tomatoes became my friend…along with shrimp and grits, scallops and pralines.

There are many foods that define the South, and I’m fairly certain fried green tomatoes are one of them.

This weekend when I was picking up some produce from Boone Hall Farms, I spotted an entire bin full of the bright green fruit. I eagerly snagged a few for my basket and dreamed of some crispy tomato medallions the whole way home.  

These aren’t your typical fried green tomatoes though. The secret (not really a secret when it’s in the title), is shredded coconut. The sweet flakes add something special to this dish and only goat cheese could make it better. Of course the man in the house was disgusted with “the white stuff on top” so leave it off if you must, but I wouldn’t condone it. 


Coconut Fried Green Tomatoes
Makes about 4 servings
Ingredients:
1/3 cup olive oil
2 medium/large green tomatoes
1/3 cup flour
1/3 cup breadcrumbs
1/3 cup shredded coconut flakes
1 large egg
2 tablespoons buttermilk
1/2 cup crumbled goat cheese 
Directions:
1. In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium-low heat. 
2. Meanwhile, slice tomatoes in 1/4 inch thick slices. In one small bowl, add the flour. In another small bowl, mix breadcrumbs and coconut flakes. In a third bowl, gently whisk together the egg and buttermilk. Dip each tomato slice first in the flour, followed by the egg mixture, and finally in the breadcrumb mixture. Make sure the entire slice is coated in each mixture before dipping in the next. 
3. When oil is hot, add tomato slices to the pan. Let cook about 2-3 minutes on each side or until slices are golden brown. Remove from pan and gently pat with paper towels to soak up extra oil. Top each slice with about one tablespoon of goat cheese and serve immediately. 

Thanksgiving Weekend: The Food

I spent the past five days soaking in quality time with family and friends. It was fabulous. We had the best Thanksgiving, with Greg and I hosting for the first time as a married couple in our new home. I didn’t take many photos at all, but here are a few that I have of the food. Since after all, besides family and friends, it is alllllll about the food.

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Turkey turkey!
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Homemade Cranberry Sauce
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Aged Cheddar Mac and Cheese from Crave
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Modified version of this Brussels Sprouts Saute from Bev Cooks
I am so blessed for the gifts God has given my family and me. Thankful doesn’t even begin to describe the feeling. Praise the Lord for times like these, food this delicious, and big wins by OSU and Auburn this weekend 😉 Go Bucks and War Eagle!!

Spicy Peach Salsa

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I love salsa. I have already proclaimed my love here. But homemade salsa is even better than any store bought salsa. It is so quick and easy to make too. Literally you just throw everything in a bowl and stir to combine. You can make it hot and spicy, or sweet and fruity. Or, as I have done, you can do both.
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I wouldn’t call myself a peach person. I don’t not like them, but they are not ever my first fruit of choice. I don’t think I have ever even bought peaches for myself. 
Last week, the owner of my company brought in boxes and boxes of peaches that a friend of him had given for us. We were allowed to help ourselves so I fill a bag with the juicy orange fruit and sought out to make something new and delicious. 

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You know I wasn’t going to let these peaches get by without being put into a dessert. This salsa is not it. I made a sweet peach treat too, but those are for another day. 
Today I bring you Spicy Peach Salsa. 
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This was enjoyed with a bag of chips on the Fourth of July during a little cookout with our friends. A friend at work mentioned it would have been great on some fish tacos too. Now there’s a great idea!
Spicy Peach Salsa
Makes about 2 cups
Ingredients:
2 peaches, peeled and chopped
1 medium tomato, chopped
2 tablespoons chopped yellow onion
2 tablespoons chopped red onion
Juice of 1 lime
2 teaspoons Tabasco
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
Directions:
1. Combine all ingredients in medium sized bowl. Stir well and serve. 

Goat Cheese Vegetable Medley

I have a thing for cupcakes and all sweets in general. But I also have a thing for vegetables, especially vegetable medleys as I like to call them. Some people may have a hard time calling a plateful of vegetables “dinner,” but this particular recipes makes one filling meal with such a variety of flavors that I don’t miss a thing. It proved itself to my three times last week and it’s safe to say I’ll be eating it a couple more times this week too. Hey, that’s what local farmers markets will do to you! 

Top it off with a Morning Star Spicy Black Bean Burger drizzled with ketchup (salsa would be ideal, but I didn’t have any) for a little more substance if you need it. Tortilla chips and salsa would also pair well with this (very similar to my Veggie Nachos). 
Recently I have been struggling to be satisfied trying to keep a semi-vegetarian diet, but this dinner reassured me that I don’t need meat in my life to enjoy a flavorful meal. 

Goat Cheese Vegetable Medley
Makes 1 serving 
Ingredients:
1-2 tablespoon butter or margarine 
1/2 cup diced sweet potato
1/4 cup chopped red bell pepper
1/4 cup chopped onion
1/4 cup chopped zucchini
1 cup spring mix greens
2 tablespoons water
1/4 teaspoon chili powder
1/8 teaspoon cumin
Salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup goat cheese crumbles
Directions:
1. Heat 1 tablespoon of butter/margarine in large skillet over medium heat. Once butter is melted, add sweet potato chunks. Let sit for about a minute, then flip with spatula. Add 2 tablespoons of water and cover skillet with lid. Let cook for about 3-4 minutes. Remove lid and stir around sweet potato chunks. 
2. Add pepper, onion and zucchini to skillet. Stir all veggies together and add second tablespoon of butter. Toss all veggies to coat with butter as it melts. Let cook about 1-2 more minutes.
3. Add mixed greens and continue to gently toss all veggies. Add seasonings and about half of the goat cheese while stirring. 
4. Remove from heat and pour onto plate. Top with remaining goat cheese.

Sun-Dried Tomato Ricotta Potatoes

Hey Friends. My Monday flewwww by and I’m counting on the same for today, and the rest of this week for that matter!

I’m really proud of this recipe today. It’s so versatile, which is one of my favorite qualities in a dish. Plus, and more importantly, it’s healthy and delicious. Winner, winner…potato dinner!

I’m trying to eat as much of the food in my fridge and cabinets as possible before going grocery shopping again. It’s impossible for me to go to Publix to just grab an item or two. I always coming out spending more than I intended. To avoid this problem, I’m trying to ignore the lack of meat or fresh produce for just a couple of days longer. If only I can make use of what I already have on hand…

Like a bag of redskin potatoes! And a random container of ricotta cheese! (Well, not so random actually. I bought the container to make these pancakes last week, but now I’m desperate to cook with the rest of it.)
It was quite the successful experiment if you ask me. Go ahead and try for yourself. 
Sun-Dried Tomato Ricotta Potatoes
Makes 1-2 servings
Ingredients:
2 small-medium redskin potatoes, washed and sliced
1/2 tablespoon margarine or butter
1/4 of a whole green bell pepper, sliced
1/4 cup water
3 sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
1 1/2 tablespoons ricotta cheese
1/4 teaspoon rubbed sage
1/4 teaspoon dry basil leaves
Salt and pepper to taste
Directions:
1. Heat margarine in large skillet over medium heat. 
2. Add sliced potatoes and cover skillet. Allow to cook about four minutes. Remove lid and flip potatoes. Add water and shake skillet so potatoes are constantly moving and evenly cooking. Add green pepper sliced. Re-cover skillet and allow to cook about three to four more minutes. 
3. Remove lid and turn off heat. Add sun-dried tomatoes, ricotta cheese and spices to the skillet. Stir to evenly coat potatoes.  Serve immediately.

Cheesy Coconut Bean Dip

Hey there friends.

Are you still recovering from a post-Valentine’s Day sugar overdose like I am? This is what I was surprised with on Tuesday:

B-e-a-utiful flowers, but more importantly, half a dozen cupcakes from Cupcake! AH! I was so excited. And a little overwhelmed with where to begin. So many choices! 
“They’re alllll yours,” Greg says as I hold the box in my hands, shaking my head saying, “I really shouldn’t eat all of these myself. I really shouldn’t……but I will if I have to!” 
And I am going to have to. Greg won’t even eat one. Not even half of one. 
So that’s what I have been working on for the past couple of days…eating cupcakes. And I still have two and some crumbs left. It’s like a magical never-ending cupcake box. (I can’t eat these cupcakes quite as quickly I can eat others. They have so much delicious, but rich, frosting that I fill-up more quickly than usual.)
If you had a sugar-filled Valentine’s like I did, you might just need something, well, not so sugary. 
After making the coconut cake last week, followed by the coconut cupcakes, I was left with an open can of coconut milk in the fridge (that’s a lot of ‘coconut’ in one sentence, huh?). 
When I saw Jessica’s recipe for Coconut and Citrus White Bean Spread, I was thrilled to have a reason to use the rest of that milk. 

I loved the dip with whole wheat Ritz crackers, but I found another use for it as well. The past couple of days for lunch I have spread about 1-2 tablespoons of the dip on a hamburger bun with turkey and/or avocado. 
Well, here I am again, about to go spread this dip on a sandwich for lunch today! I am all out of avocado, so maybe I’ll throw on some extra turkey.
Tonight Greg and I are going on our Valentine’s Day date. We never did get a reservation on Tuesday, so we agreed we were just fine with waiting for a special dinner until today (the only reservation they had available for the rest of the week!). I still don’t know where we’re going, but I have a good guess. I’ll let you know if I was right tomorrow.
Meanwhile, have some coconut bean dip. Or, just keep on eating those Valentine’s chocolates 🙂
Cheesy Coconut Bean Dip
(Adapted from How Sweet It Is)
Makes about 1 cup of dip
Ingredients:
1-15 ounce can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
4 cloves garlic, roasted
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed orange juice
1/3 cup coconut milk
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
Directions:
1. In a food processor, combine beans and roasted garlic. Blend until smooth. Add orange juice and coconut milk. Pulse until well-combined. Add salt and pepper and pulse to combine. Pour into small bowl and set aside.
2. In a saucepan, melt shredded cheese over medium-low heat. Stir cheese continuously until completely melted, about 3-4 minutes. 
3. Pour melted cheese into bowl with bean mixture. Stir with spoon to combine. Serve immediately.