Green smoothies have been a “thing” for quite a while now, but I didn’t get it for the longest time because every recipe I tried tasted just too, well, green. But, I finally found one that tastes like a proper smoothie – cold, creamy and delicious. Your first thought will be “tropical” not “green”.
There’s a lot going on in this smoothie to make it just right. The banana, avocado and yogurt keep it creamy, the ice cubes keep it cold and refreshing, the orange juice gives it a tropical flavour, and the honey sweetens it up. I don’t normally put this much honey in a smoothie but I feel like it’s necessary to take away the “green” flavour that tends to make these types of smoothies taste like a blended salad. *shudder* I like to eat my salad with a fork, thank you very much.
This smoothie gets it’s green from two veggies, avocado and spinach. But, I don’t think that either are distinctly noticeable. In fact, Max doesn’t like avocados one bit “except for in smoothies” he now proudly proclaims, because he loves this smoothie so much. Mommy win!
Creamy Tropical Green Smoothies
- 1 avocado, peel and pit removed
- 1 large banana, peeled (or 1.5 small)
- 1 large handful baby spinach
- 1/2 cup Greek yogurt
- 1 1/2 cups pure unsweetened orange juice
- 1/4 cup honey
- 12 ice cubes
Place all ingredients in a blender, process until smooth. Serve.
Makes: 4 large servings
Adapted from Everyday Food.
I went out on a limb last week with this recipe. We had some brie in the fridge and some beautiful red pears on the counter and I just couldn’t resist putting them together in a sandwich. I figured my hubby, whose not a fan of fruit in savoury applications, would not be too thrilled with lunch that day. But to my shock, when he tried it he said, “this would be even better with ham”. My mouth hit the floor. But, I went along with it and we slipped some ham into our sandwiches. He was right, that ham took the sandwiches from good to great.
Even if you’re normally not a person who likes fruit with meat or other savoury items, I encourage you to give this a try. Brie and pear are a fantastic paring, but add to that the smokiness of ham and the zip of mustard and you’ve got one perfectly rounded, killer sandwich. Proof that you should never give up trying new things, you just have to find the right combination.
Ham, Brie & Pear Panini
- 2 slices whole wheat bread
- sliced ham (or Canadian bacon)
Preheat a skillet over medium heat. Spread one side of each slice of bread with olive oil spread. Flip them over so they’re butter side down. Spread one slice with a thin layer of mustard. Top with slices of brie, pear, ham and a small handful of spinach; top with one more slice of brie (to help it stick together). Top with remaining piece of bread, butter side up. Place on preheated skillet and let cook until bread is browned and cheese starts to melt. Flip sandwich over carefully; once flipped press down firmly with the spatula to help everything stick together. Cook until both sides are browned and crisp, and cheese is melted. Serve immediately.
Alternately you can cook this in a Panini press or in a waffle iron.
Pesto has to be one of summer’s best condiments. It’s easy to make, tastes fresh and lively, and adds pizzaz to practically any dish imaginable. This is actually my first time making pesto at home. This recipe stuck out to me and got me in the kitchen for two reasons 1) I practically always have all of these ingredients on hand at all times (i.e. no pine nuts!), so I can whip up a batch whenever I want and 2) I only ever have one basil plant which was pretty much completely bare after picking 1 cup from it. So, I love the fact that spinach makes up for half of the basil in this recipe, meaning I can actually make a decent amount of pesto without having hoards of basil around. As a result, this pesto isn’t as strong and intense as many pestos are, but it is uniquely flavourful in its own right and tastes just as pesto should – delicious! I’ll be making this often and using it in all my favourite recipes calling for pesto, because who can resist such delicious simplicity?
Need idea’s to use up that little bit of extra pesto? Spread it onto sandwiches, stir it into pasta, mix it into scrambled eggs, plop spoonfuls of it onto pizza before baking, or freeze it in ice-cube trays to use for later.
Spinach Walnut Pesto
- salt and pepper, to taste
Puree all ingredients in a food processor until smooth. Season with salt and pepper.
Adapted from Everyday Food, July/August 2012.
In the summer I crave side dishes that are easy and light. When the weather is gorgeous I want to spend as much time on the patio enjoying the grill and mosquitos, not standing in my house slaving over a hot stove. And, with all those meats, hamburgers and hot dogs cooking on the grill, we need something light and fresh to round it out.
Pasta salad is definitely a summer staple, but I find many of them to be a bit heavy, and every once in a while I like to switch up the flavours. This Greek Pasta Salad goes great with pretty much any grilled meat and the flavours and textures are light, fresh and crisp. In my opinion, a standby recipe for summer grilling.
I should probably mention that the photo above shows quite a bit more olives than are in the actual recipe. My family is crazy for olives so I went a little overboard the first time, haha.
Greek Orzo Pasta Salad
The orzo may be substituted with couscous.
- 1/4 cup pitted kalamata olives, roughly chopped
- 1/4 of a red onion, diced small
Cook pasta according to package directions. Strain. Place in a salad bowl and toss with 2 tablespoons dressing. Allow to cool.
Add feta, olives, onion, celery and spinach. Season with salt and pepper. Toss with remaining 1 tablespoon dressing. Add more, if desired, to taste.
I made this salad for my company over the weekend. I had plans to make a couple different salads but we all liked this one so much that we couldn’t seem to stay away from it. Sorry Mr. Caesar, you have been trumped.
This is my favourite homemade vinaigrette so far. Most are too oily for my taste, but this one melds together so perfectly it’s hard to tell the ingredients apart. I was quite surprised at how fruity the vinaigrette tasted. In fact, I was asked what type of fruit was in the dressing. I suspect that could be in part, because of it’s lovely pink hue.
It pairs wonderfully with a simple salad of greens, fruit and nuts. It also makes a wonderful dip for fresh fruit. I seriously can’t get enough of it. If a dressing is so good that I can’t stop eating my fruits and veggies, then I know its a keeper.
Red Onion Vinaigrette
adapted from Grand Slam
- 1/4 cup red onion, chopped
- Place all ingredients in a blender and process until smooth.
- Store covered in the refrigerator for up to one week.
Makes: 2/3 cup
* Stir before each use.
Simple Salad with Oranges and Almonds
- 1/2 cup canned mandarin oranges, drained
- 3 Tbsp. red onion vinaigrette
- Clean spinach and tear or cut into bite sized pieces.
- Place a non-stick pan over medium heat. Add almonds and toast just until fragrant.
- In a large bowl, toss together spinach, almonds and oranges.
- Add dressing and toss to coat. Taste. Add more dressing if necessary. Serve immediately.
Makes: 4 (1 cup) portions
* Use any combination of greens, fruit and nuts that you like.