Real Recipe: Watermelon with Mint and Feta Salad

Watermelon Salad

Umm, it’s already July 22nd. July 22nd! Can you believe it? Summer goes by way too fast.

However, now that my spring/summer traveling soccer team is finally done I’ve got the next few weeks to really enjoy summer before the fall soccer season (and my first year as a head coach!) begins. So yes, I’ve been trying to live it up. Last weekend a couple of college friends and I had a girls weekend. So fun! Complete with dress shopping for a wedding, lunch grabbing, riding the PedalPub, and a night full of dancing. Oh and lots of wine drinking. Doesn’t get much better than that!

What is a PedalPub might you ask? It’s a ridiculous “bike with a barrel”. A non-moterized trolley like thing (that you pedal of course) in which you can bring alcohol on and ride around town in. Sound like fun? Oh it is. I believe this was the 4th time I’ve been on one, each time a different theme (this time was Christmas in July – complete with blasting Christmas music and singing our hearts out while riding around downtown Minneapolis). Love it! Here’s my beautiful friends and I (I’m the short blonde one in front, with the awesome black sweater vest on):

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Anyway, where was I? Oh yes, summer. I’ve still got a couple of things on my list of things to do before this beautiful weather fades. Don’t think I’ll make it to all of them, but hey, a girl’s gotta dream… :)

They are as follows:

1) Try paddle-boarding for the first time

2) Check out another farm that makes/serves food (like A to Z Pizza!)

3) Play tennis (used to play ALL the time in college, but not so much anymore)

4) Mini-golf at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis (Artist-designed mini-golf = cool!) http://www.walkerart.org/channel/2013/artist-designed-mini-golf

5) GO TO THE BEACH (There are 10,000 lakes here in MN, and I haven’t laid out at one of them yet this summer!)

And now that summer is in full swing some of my favorite foods are as well (corn-on-the-cob and watermelon specifically). It’s a little early for watermelon here still but I just couldn’t help myself. I bought a big ‘ol melon the other day. And it was in perfect timing too. I had to bring a dish for an all staff meeting at the yoga studio I teach at. Well, yoga teachers are (generally speaking of course!) pretty conscious of what they put into their body. I figured there wouldn’t be a lot of meat or cheese, and boy was I right. In fact, besides the feta cheese in this dish and some mozzeralla cubes in another, the whole spread was vegan! And no, I’m not complaining about that :) Lots of fresh veggies, hummus, pesto, and quinoa dishes. Mmm mmm.

Besides, I’ve been seeing a lot of watermelon salads on menus recently, and figured I might as well attempt to make my own.

Seems like an odd combination of ingredients, but everything comes together just perfectly. So light and refreshing! Perfect for a picnic, barbecue, or summertime get together.

Watermelon Salad

Ingredients:

1/2 large watermelon, rind and seeds removed, cut into bite-sized chunks

1/2 sweet onion (such as Vidalia), sliced thinly

1/8 cup red wine vinegar

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

1/4 cup chopped fresh mint

6 ounces feta cheese, crumbled

salt and pepper to taste

Directions: 

Combine vinegar, salt and pepper in small bowl

Whisk oil in slowly

Add chopped mint to dressing, stir

Mix watermelon, onions, and feta in large bowl

Pour over dressing, toss to combine

Enjoy! :)
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Watermelon Salad
Recipe type: Appetizer
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4-6
 
Fresh watermelon salad made with mint and feta cheese. A perfect summer dish!
Ingredients
  • ½ watermelon, rind and seeds removed, cut into chunks
  • ½ sweet onion (such as Vidalia), sliced thinly
  • ⅛ cup red wine vinegar
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh mint
  • 6 ounces feta cheese, crumbled
  • salt and pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. Combine vinegar, salt and pepper in small bowl
  2. Whisk oil in slowly
  3. Add chopped mint to dressing, stir
  4. Mix watermelon, onions, and feta in large bowl
  5. Pour over dressing, toss to combine

Smart Swap: Baked Wonton Poppers

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I never ever used to like cream cheese wontons. In fact, I never really liked egg rolls either. Something about bland fried food (or bland in my book at least!).

However, all of that changed when a couple of winters ago the bf took me to this yummy little place called Señor Wong in St. Paul. It’s Asian/Mexican fusion, and they have the most amazing cream cheese wonton poppers. Jalapeño cream cheese filling complete with a spicy apricot dipping sauce. Seriously. So. Good. Changed my view on cream cheese wontons forever (which my body probably could have lived without, but oh well!).

The bf was craving Asian food last weekend, so we went to another yummy little place called Yangtze in St. Louis Park (a southwest suburb of Minneapolis, for those not familiar with the great state of MN!). It was here where I had the experience of foil chicken for the very first time. Never heard of it? Yep, I hadn’t either. Little nuggets of chicken and vegetables, baked in tinfoil triangles. Crazy hot trying to open those tiny little tinfoil packets up, but certainly worth it! We also shared some of the best sizzling rice soup I’ve ever had. If you’re looking for a decent Asian restaurant (with great prices!) in the twin cities area, I highly recommend.

And although I was craving cream cheese wontons, we decided to pass as I figured I could make them at home. At make them at home is exactly what we did!

Super easy to do, and much healthier than the fried version. To make them even healthier, I used Neufchatel cheese (still cannot pronounce that word for the life of me!). A third less fat than cream cheese, and quite honestly, I cannot tell the difference.

The jalapeño adds just the right amount of spice. And the real kicker? Raspberry jelly. You can put a tiny bit over the top, or mix some right in with the cheese filling. Compliments the  spice of the jalapeño perfectly!

Here’s how to make your own less-guilt, amazingly delicious, baked wonton poppers!

Step 1: Lay out your wonton wrappers.

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Step 2: Dab a bit of cream cheese (no more than one tablespoon!) and jelly onto corner of wrapper. Trial and error is the key here. It took me a couple tries to find the right amount of filling…

20130310_125030  Step 3: Fold side over, wet ends with water (I used my finger, but you could use a pastry brush if you prefer). Too much filling will spill out the sides (if you’re like me, you’ll figure that out real fast!).

Step 4: Egg wash. Beat one egg and a splash of water in small bowl with a fork. Using a pastry brush, coat top of wonton wrapper with egg wash. This will help them to get nice and brown and crispy! Crispy is key here people.

Step 5: Bake at 375 degrees for about 13-15 minutes (depending on oven). Make sure to keep an eye on them so they don’t burn!

Step 6: Plate and enjoy!

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Perfect for your next party, or you know, a lazy Sunday :)

Now if I could only make those foil chicken thingies…

Baked Wonton Poppers

Serves Approx. 48 won tons
Prep time 10 minutes
Cook time 15 minutes
Total time 25 minutes
Allergy Egg, Milk, Wheat
Dietary Vegetarian
Meal type Appetizer, Side Dish, Snack, Starter
Misc Child Friendly, Pre-preparable
Occasion Casual Party
Delicious baked cream cheese won tons with a jalapeño and raspberry filling!

Ingredients

  • 1 package wonton wrappers (all-natural brand)
  • 2 packages Neufchatel or cream cheese (8 oz. each) (preferably organic)
  • 2 jalapeños (minced)
  • 6oz raspberry jelly (preferably organic)
  • 1 egg (preferably organic)
  • water

Directions

Step 1
Lay out wonton wrappers on large cutting board.
Step 2
Mix cheese and jalapeño together. Stir in raspberry jelly.
Step 3
Add one tablespoon filling into corner of wrapper. Fold over and seal sides with water.
Step 4
Brush with egg wash.
Step 5
Bake at 375 degrees for about 13-15 minutes.
Step 6
Enjoy!

Real Recipe: Baked Chicken Taquitos with Cilantro Lime Crema

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It’s that time of year again. Parties, potlucks, and gatherings – oh my! Always involving lots of food. Some of it healthy, some of it not. What’s the best way to know you’re eating something clean? Bring something clean! For my friend’s ugly sweater party last week (which by the way, had some AMAZING goodies!), the boyfriend and I decided to bring chicken taquitos. Have we ever made taquitos before? Noooo. But that’s the best thing about this time of year, getting to try out some new dishes!

So here’s how you do it:

1) Take some garlic, onion, jalapeños, and chipotle peppers and sauté in some canola oil. Add in the spices.

Step 2) Pour in some chicken broth.

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Step 3) Take some pre-cooked shredded chicken (I deboned a rotisserie chicken) and add to the mixture. Simmer on low stirring as necessary. The chicken should soak up the deliciousness!

Step 4) Meanwhile, make your cabbage slaw. Take red cabbage, add in some lime juice and zest, cilantro and white wine vinegar (to taste).

Step 5) Prep your tortillas. Put a corn tortilla between damp paper towels and microwave for about 15-20 seconds or until soft (this will MAJORLY help with the rolling process and prevent the taquitos from falling apart!).

Step 6) Put together your taquito! Add a tablespoon of chicken, slaw, and grated cheddar cheese.

Step 7) Roll up and place seam side down on greased or non-stick baking sheet. Brush with oil (or use an oil mister to spray).

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Step 8) Bake at 400 degrees for about 20 minutes, or until taquito is nice and crispy (we cut ours in half to go further!). And don’t forget the dipping sauce! Greek yogurt, lime juice and zest, and cilantro. Yummmm. Enjoy!

Chicken Taquitos with Greek Yogurt Dipping Sauce

Serves 12
Prep time 25 minutes
Cook time 20 minutes
Total time 45 minutes
Allergy Milk
Dietary Gluten Free
Meal type Appetizer, Lunch, Main Dish, Snack, Starter
Misc Child Friendly, Pre-preparable
Occasion Casual Party
Region Mexican
Healthy baked chicken taquitos loaded with flavor! A great crowd pleaser!

Ingredients

  • 1lb chicken (cooked and shredded)
  • 1 Small onion (diced)
  • 3 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 2 chipotles in adobo sauce
  • 3/4 cups chicken stock (organic preferably )
  • 1 lime (juice and zest)
  • 1 small bag red cabbage (pre-shredded)
  • 2 white wine vinegar
  • 2 cups cheddar cheese (shredded)
  • 1 package corn tortillas (organic preferably )
  • 1/4 cup cilantro (roughly chopped )
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • salt (to taste)
  • pepper (to taste )
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1 jalapeño (seeded and minced)
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 cup greek yogurt (preferably organic)

Directions

Chicken
Step 1
Saute garlic, onion, and jalapeño until soft.
Step 2
Add in chipotle peppers, spices, and chicken stock.
Step 3
Bring to a simmer. Stir in shredded pre-cooked chicken.
Cabbage Slaw
Step 4
Place cabbage in small bowl. Cut lime into halves and squeeze in half of lime juice. Zest half of lime into mixture.
Step 5
Add in chopped cilantro and vinegar. Stir to combine.
Taquito prep
Step 6
Microwave tortilla shell in between moist paper towels for 15-20 seconds if not already soft enough to roll without cracking.
Step 7
Place one Tbsp. chicken, slaw, and cheese onto one side of tortilla.
Step 8
Wrap up tortilla and place seam down on baking sheet.
Baking
Step 9
Bake at 400 degrees for approx. 20 minutes or until shells are nice and crispy.
Dipping Sauce
Step 10
Mix together greek yogurt, half of the lime juice and zest, and half of the cilantro.

Real Recipe: Baked Parmesan Zucchini Sticks with Sour Cream Dipping Sauce

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Oh how I love the Farmer’s Market. I mean what’s not to love? Local farmers and the community coming together, an opportunity to buy the freshest vegetables, fruits, meats, cheeses, eggs, honey, jam, hummus, breads (the list goes on!). However, with the amazing amount of produce you get for such a great deal (no, I’m not complaining!), I often have more vegetables than I know what to do with. Zucchini is often one of them.

Although I used some of my zucchini in the lasagna last week (click here for recipe!), I still had a couple pieces left. So, after browsing some recipes online this week, I decided zucchini sticks it would be. I’ve made baked zucchini chips before (egg wash, coat with bread crumbs, bake in oven), but this time decided to fancy up the sticks a little more (expensive parmesan cheese, panko Italian style bread crumbs, sour cream dipping sauce!). Read on for some deliciously clean Parmesan Zucchini Sticks with Sour Cream Dipping Sauce:

First, preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Cut two-three zucchini into sticks by slicing off ends, cutting zucchini in half, and cutting lengthwise. Next, mix 1 cup panko Italian style bread crumbs (I used Ian’s brand) with 1/2 cup parmesean cheese. Note: If you can’t find Italian style, mix in 1 tablespoon mixed Italian seasoning into regular bread crumbs!

Beat two eggs. Dip zucchini sticks in eggs (a couple at a time), and then roll in bread crumb mixture. Place on greased baking sheet (or use parchment paper), and bake for about 10 minutes per side or until both sides are starting to brown!

Now for the dipping sauce. Mix 1/2 cup sour cream, 1/4 cup mayo, 1/8 cup favorite mustard together. Add 1/4 cup green onions and hot sauce to taste (optional). Stir together.

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Mmm mmm mmm. This was my dinner tonight (yes I know, not very well balanced but so delicious I ate at least 10 sticks!). Enjoy!

Baked Zucchini Sticks with Sour Cream Dipping Sauce

Serves approx. 24 sticks
Allergy Egg, Wheat
Dietary Vegetarian
Meal type Appetizer, Side Dish
Baked parmesan zucchini sticks with a delicious dipping sauce!

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup sour cream (all-natural or organic)
  • 1/4 cup mayo (all-natural or organic)
  • 1/8 cup mustard (all-natural or organic)
  • 1/4 cup green onions (sliced finely)
  • dash hot sauce (optional)
  • 3 zucchini (cut into approx. 3 inch sticks)
  • 2 eggs (preferably organic)
  • 1 cup panko bread crumbs (all-natural or organic)
  • 1/2 cup parmesan cheese (finely grated)
  • 1 tablespoon mixed Italian seasonings (if not using Italian style bread crumbs)

Note

Servings will depend on size of zucchini!

Directions

Zucchini Sticks
Step 1
Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
Step 2
Cut off ends of zucchini, slice in half, and cut into sticks.
Step 3
Mix together bread crumbs and parmesan cheese. Beat together two eggs.
Step 4
Dip zucchini sticks, a couple at a time, into egg wash and roll in bread crumb mixture.
Step 5
Line on greased baking sheet (or use parchment paper).
Step 6
Bake for about 10 minutes per side or until sticks are starting to brown!
Dipping Sauce
Step 7
Mix together sour cream, mayo, mustard, and hot sauce.
Step 8
Add in green onions and stir to combine.
Step 9
Enjoy!

Real Recipe: Mango Avocado Salsa

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Last weekend myself, the boyfriend, and a few of our friends headed up north to stay in a cabin for a few nights. All in all there were six of us, with six hungry mouths to feed. Although we were going grocery shopping on the way up, I wanted to bring some snacks that were light and healthy (and delicious of course!).

You know how cabins/camping trips work (or if you live in Minnesota you certainly should!). Beer, brats, potato chips, and other deliciousness that is not necessarily the healthiest for you. With that in mind, I prepared to make Mango Avocado Salsa, Tomato Mozzarella Salad, and some yummy Chocolate Chip Cookies (coming in a later post, although we all know cookies are not considered light or healthy!).

This dish is great for a picnic, grill out, or any other summer occasion in which you need to bring a dish to share. Or you can make it and eat it all to yourself (which you just might after you get your hands on it!), your call :)

Mango Avocado Salsa

Ingredients:

1 mango, skin removed and diced

1 avocado, peel removed, pitted and diced

1 small yellow onion (can use red onion if you prefer), diced

1 red bell pepper, de-stemmed and seeds removed, diced

1 jalapeño, seeds removed, minced (or without if you want to skip the heat!)

2 limes, cut in half

1/4 cup cilantro leaves, roughly chopped

Salt and pepper, to taste

 

Directions:

  1. Combine mango, avocado, onion, bell pepper, jalapeño, and cilantro in bowl; stir to combine
  2. Squeeze limes over mixture
  3. Season with salt and pepper
  4. Serve with favorite clean tortilla chips (view my post on chip recommendations here)
  5. Enjoy your delicious, guilt-free snack!

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Real Recipe: Buffalo Chicken Ranch Dip

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 Photo by Campbell’s Kitchen

As a teacher at a small school, we occasionally have potluck lunches for staff and students on days when we have special events going on (especially during testing season when we only see certain groups of students on certain days!). For the first potluck of the year I made this Buffalo Chicken Ranch Dip, and it was a huge hit! When it was time for our next potluck, the students special requested that I make it. Now with our end-of-the year luncheon here, I wouldn’t dare bring anything else!

I have made this dip a couple different ways, increasing the “clean” factor with each batch. Even if you don’t shop at a co-op or natural health food store, you should still be able to make this clean version!

Now I must add that this isn’t the healthiest recipe out there (lots of cheese and dressing = lots of fat and calories!), however, it is a clean recipe without artificial additives. And if you’re only making it for special occasions (parties, potlucks, etc.), you should be OK :)

NOTE: You can use either Cream cheese or Neufchatel cheese in this recipe. I prefer Neufchatel as it has 1/3 less fat and quite honestly, I can’t tell the difference in this dish!

Buffalo Chicken Ranch Dip

Ingredients:

  • 2 chicken breasts, cooked and shredded (organic) or 1 whole cooked chicken (organic, or local if you shop at the co-op/farmer’s market), de-boned and shredded (you can use just the white meat or both white and dark, depending on preference)
  • 2 packages (8 oz.) Cream Cheese or Neufchatel cheese – (Organic Valley brand if possible, otherwise check the label to make sure it’s additive free!)
  • 1/2 cup Frank’s RedHot sauce (more or less depending on how spicy you like it!)
  • 1 bottle (12 ounces) all-natural or organic Ranch dressing
  • 1 bottle (12 ounces) all-natural or organic Blue Cheese dressing or Blue Cheese crumbles (without additives!) if you can’t find an all-natural or organic bottled dressing (or if you REALLY like blue cheese, you can use both the dressing and crumbles!)

Directions:

  1. Turn crockpot on highest setting
  2. Add in Cream or Neufchatel cheese, stirring as melts
  3. Pour in Ranch and Blue Cheese dressing (and crumbles if using), add in hot sauce
  4. Add in shredded chicken, stir to combine
  5. Turn crockpot down to low, stirring occasionally until warm
  6. Serve with tortilla chips, celery sticks, or crackers
  7. Enjoy! :)

Additive-free Ranch dressing options:

  • Hidden Valley Organic Ranch

  • Drew’s Buttermilk Ranch or organic Peppercorn Ranch
  • Marie’s Creamy Ranch (found in the refrigerator section)

  • Annie’s Cowgirl Ranch


 

  • Newman’s Own Ranch
  • Litehouse Ranch, Homestyle Ranch, or Lite Ranch (found in the refrigerator section)
  • Brianna’s Classic Buttermilk Ranch

  • Marzetti Classic Ranch (found in the refrigerator section)

 

Additive-free Blue Cheese dressing options:

  • Litehouse Original, Chunky Blue, or Lite Blue Cheese (found in the refrigerator section)


  • Brianna’s True Blue Cheese


  • Marie’s Chunky, Lite Chunky, and Premium Super Blue Cheese (found in the refrigerator section)


  • Marzetti Chunky Blue Cheese (found in the refrigerator section)

 

Real Recipe: Buffalo Chicken Ranch Dip
 
A delicious, easy-to-make Buffalo Chicken Ranch Dip!
Ingredients
  • 2 chicken breasts, cooked and shredded (organic) or 1 whole cooked chicken (organic, or local if you shop at the co-op/farmer's market), de-boned and shredded (you can use just the white meat or both white and dark, depending on preference)
  • 2 packages (8 oz.) Cream Cheese or Neufchatel cheese - (Organic Valley brand if possible, otherwise check the label to make sure it's additive free!)
  • ½ cup Frank's RedHot sauce (more or less depending on how spicy you like it!)
  • 1 bottle (12 ounces) all-natural or organic Ranch dressing
  • 1 bottle (12 ounces) all-natural or organic Blue Cheese dressing or
  • Blue Cheese crumbles (without additives!) if you can't find an all-natural or organic bottled dressing (or if you REALLY like blue cheese, you can use both the dressing and crumbles!)
Instructions
  1. Turn crockpot on highest setting
  2. Add in Cream or Neufchatel cheese, stirring as melts
  3. Pour in Ranch and Blue Cheese dressing (and crumbles if using), add in hot sauce
  4. Add in shredded chicken, stir to combine
  5. Turn crockpot down to low, stirring occasionally until warm
  6. Serve with tortilla chips, celery sticks, or crackers
  7. Enjoy! :)