Tomato Cucumber Salad

With just five simple ingredients, this Tomato Cucumber Salad will become a regular side dish to serve up with any spring or summer recipe.

Tomato Cucumber Salad in a wooden bowl

Why I love this Tomato Cucumber Salad recipe

Who says salads have to start with a bed of lettuce? We’ve chatted before about how salads don’t have to be boring! What I love the most about this recipe is simple its ingredients, taking less than 10 minutes to put together, and can turn into so many new variations. (see below)

Using mini cucumbers is key

While any kind of cucumber can work in this recipe, I urge you to seek our mini cucumbers, because I think it really makes the recipe. No need to peel the skin. The skin of mini cucumbers is tender and delicate. Just simply slice into coins and they are ready to go.

When I develop a recipe, I always think about the perfect bite. When slicing mini cucumbers into a coin, it takes the same shape and size of the cherry tomatoes so you are able to get everything all in one bite. Plus, it’s more time consuming to peel, seed, and quarter a regular cucumber.

Recipe Tip

If you are using a conventional cucumber, I recommend removing the seeds. Why? Because they are bitter and don’t want any bitterness added to the dish. For a conventional cucumber, peel, scoop out the seeds, slice and cut in quarters for this recipe.
For other cooking tips, go here.

Tomato Cucumber Salad in a wooden bowl

How to make this Tomato Cucumber Salad

  1. Chop vegetables.
  2. Whisk together dressing.
  3. Toss together.
  4. Season with salt and pepper.
    It doesn’t get much easier than that!

Storage Tip

Keep this Tomato Cucumber Salad in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days.

Tomato Cucumber Salad in a wooden bowl

Variations

Additions

Chickpeas: Drain and rinse a can or two of chickpeas and add to the mixture. This will add different textures, plus a good source of plant-based proteins

Feta cheese: I love feta cheese. Hold off on seasoning with salt and pepper at the end after tasting with the feta cheese. Feta cheese will add salt to the dish, so maybe a little sprinkle of pepper will be fine. Also, if making this dish in advance, add feta just before serving.

Red onions: The key is to thinly slice red onions, so they don’t overpower the whole dish. If you are looking for something a little sweeter or more tang, try adding my Quick Pickled Onions.

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baby cucumbers with cherry tomatoes in a wooden bowl

Tomato Cucumber Salad

  • Author: Chef Julie Harrington, RD
  • Prep Time: 10
  • Total Time: 10 minutes
  • Yield: 6 1x
  • Category: salad
  • Method: no cook
  • Cuisine: American

Description

Light and refreshing salad to compliment any spring or summer dish. 


Ingredients

Scale

3 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
8 mini cucumbers, sliced into coins
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, chopped
salt and ground black pepper, to taste


Instructions

  1. Add cherry tomatoes and cucumbers to a large bowl.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil and red wine vinegar. Drizzle over cucumber and tomatoes. Add basil.
  3. Toss everything to coat. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.

Notes

Variations:
– Add chickpeas
– Add feta cheese

Keywords: cucumber, tomato, salad, no cook, vegetables, low carb, recipe

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Chocolate Chip Zucchini Bread

Do you have an overabundance of zucchini from your garden or the farmer’s market? Turn it into this delicious Chocolate Chip Zucchini Bread. With only a hint of sweetness, this can be enjoyed with any meal or snack.

Chocolate Chip Zucchini Bread on a marble slab

I tend to enjoy cooking more as you can adjust the taste as you go and have more control throughout the process of a dish during the cooking process. For me, baking (especially when developing a new recipe), is much more intimidating. Why? Because you measure, mix, pour into a pan… and then hope for the best! Once that timer goes off you find out if it’s a win or a flop.

This quickbread is a little denser than regular quick bread, as I used half whole wheat flour. When I bake I try to squeeze in whole grains where I can. My favorite whole grain flours to bake with are whole wheat flour and oat flour. I’ve also been experimenting with almond flour and coconut flour too, which totally throw you for a curveball because they have very different baking properties.

Why We Love Zucchini 

Just like most green vegetables, zucchini is a great source of vitamins and minerals including Vitamin C. 

It can be cooked in so many ways, including baking. You can eat it raw or cooked. 

If you have little ones, because of its mild taste you can sneak these veggies into baking recipes and they won’t even know it’s there but still get added nutrition!

Chocolate Chip Zucchini Bread sliced on a marble slab

When is Zucchini in Season and the Freshest?

Zucchini is primarily considered a summer veggie with its peak season being June through late August. However, most local markets and stores have zucchini available year-round, which is great because zucchini bread is popular around the fall, winter, and other holidays. 

What You Need For Chocolate Chip Zucchini Bread

eggs

unsweetened applesauce

brown sugar

vanilla extract

whole wheat flour

all-purpose flour

salt

baking soda

baking powder

cinnamon

shredded zucchini

chocolate chips

How to Make Zucchini Bread with Chocolate Chips 

Prep your loaf pan by spraying some non-stick spray. You can also use parchment paper if you choose. 

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. 

Start by shredding the zucchini. Once you are finished try to get rid of as much moisture as possible by pressing firmly with paper towels. 

Whisk together the eggs, sugar, applesauce, and vanilla in a large bowl until the mixture is smooth. 

Grab another mixing bowl and sift together your flours, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon. 

Gently fold in the zucchini, being careful not to overmix. By folding the zucchini in you don’t have to worry about clumps, instead you will get a little bit in every bite.

Pour the dry ingredients into the bowl with the egg mixture slowly while constantly stirring. Add just a little at a time. 

Toss in the chocolate chips and fold just until they are distributed evenly. 

Pour the zucchini bread batter in the 9×5 loaf pan. 

Bake for about 50 minutes. Check it with a toothpick to be sure that it is done. If it is, the toothpick will come out clean. 

Take the bread from the oven and let it rest for at least 15 minutes before transferring it out of the loaf pan. 

Cool completely before slicing so it doesn’t fall apart.

Chocolate Chip Zucchini Bread on a marble slab with chocolate chips sprinkled on top and around the loaf

Variations of Zucchini Bread 

  • Want to make banana zucchini bread? Simply swap the applesauce for mashed bananas!
  • Feel free to use any variety of chocolate (white, semi-sweet, dark, or milk). 
  • Add in some nuts for a nice crunch! Walnuts are my favorite to add to quick bread recipes.

Tips for Baking with Zucchini 

  • Do you have to peel zucchini before using it? Nope! Generally speaking, zucchini is not a veggie that needs peeling before eating. 
  • Zucchini contains a lot of moisture, so always follow the recipe when it comes to knowing whether or not to leave it or to remove as much as possible. 
  • To shred zucchini, you can use one of the sides of your cheese grater so no fancy equipment needed! 

How to Store Zucchini Bread with Chocolate Chips 

Wrap the zucchini loaf in plastic wrap and you can store it at room temperature for at least 4 days. You can also refrigerate it if you would rather do that. 

To freeze, secure the cooled loaf in plastic wrap and place it in a freezer bag. Some also prefer to wrap it in another layer using aluminum foil. Freezing for later is a great idea when making multiple batches or if you want to make it ahead of time for special occasions.

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Chocolate Chip Zucchini Bread on a marble slab with a knife and napkin

Chocolate Chip Zucchini Bread

  • Author: Chef Julie Harrington, RD
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 55 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
  • Yield: 12 1x
  • Category: baked goods
  • Method: oven
  • Cuisine: American

Ingredients

Scale

3 eggs
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 tablespoon cinnamon
3 cups shredded zucchini (about 2 zucchinis)
1 cup chocolate chips


Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9×5 inch loaf pan with cooking spray.
  2. Shred zucchini. Using paper towels press as much moisture you can from the zucchini.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, applesauce, brown sugar, and vanilla until smooth.
  4. In a separate bowl, sift together whole wheat flour, all-purpose flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder, and cinnamon. Fold zucchini into flour. This will help zucchini being dispersed throughout the bread vs. clumping together.
  5. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, a little at a time, mixing until well combined.
  6. Fold in the chocolate chips until they are evenly distributed throughout the batter.
  7. Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan. Bake for 50-55 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the middle and comes out clean.
  8. Remove the bread from the oven, and let it cool for 10-15 minutes before taking it out of the loaf pan. Cool completely before slicing.

Keywords: zucchini bread, zucchini, chocolate chips, baking, whole grain,

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This recipe was originally posted in 2013. The recipes, images, and content have been updated.

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Sesame, Carrot, & Cucumber Salad

Ribbon sliced vegetables in an Asian dressing is light and refreshing. This Sesame, Carrot, & Cucumber Salad is perfect for warmer weather and also a delicious change from a traditional salad.

Sesame, Carrot, & Cucumber Salad via Chef Julie Harrington, RD @ChefJulieRD - refreshing and light Asian inspired salad. #saladsthatdontsuck #carrot #cucumber #salad #Asiandressing #lowcarb #healthy #recipe

Utilize your vegetable peeler a little more than just removing the skin. No need for a fancy spiralizer. Simply continue to peel using your vegetable peeler to create delicate vegetable ribbons.

What are English Cucumbers?

I specifically used English cucumbers in this recipe. Why? Because English cucumbers (also known as burp-less, seedless, or hothouse cucumbers) taste is less bitter than conventional cucumbers, are milder and almost have a hint of sweetness. You can find them in the produce aisle wrapped in plastic. Conventional cucumbers are waxed protecting their skin, whereas English cucumbers are not and have a thinner more delicate skin that is protected by the wrapping.

Switch it up from your traditional lettuce-based salads and try something new! This quick and easy Sesame, Carrot, & Cucumber Salad is perfect to switch up your salad game in the warmer months.

Want to turn it more into a meal? Try adding shrimp on top.

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Sesame, Carrot, & Cucumber Salad in a white bowl with a vegetable peeler

Sesame, Carrot, & Cucumber Salad

  • Author: Chef Julie Harrington, RD
  • Prep Time: 15
  • Total Time: 15 minutes
  • Yield: 46 1x
  • Category: side dish
  • Method: no cook
  • Cuisine: Asian

Ingredients

Scale
  • 2 English cucumbers
  • 2 large carrots, peeled 
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 2 teaspoons low-sodium soy sauce
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds

Instructions

  1. Using a vegetable peeler, peel carrots and cucumbers into ribbons. Combine the cucumbers and carrots in a bowl. Set aside.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together the sesame oil, rice vinegar, sugar, and soy sauce. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
  3. Toss the cucumbers and carrots with the dressing. Sprinkle with sesame seeds. Chill for 20 minutes before serving.

Keywords: sesame, cucumber, carrot, salad, no cook, side dish, healthy, low carb

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Roasted Sweet Potato Kale Salad

Salads don’t have to be boring! By adding cooked and raw elements like in this Roasted Sweet Potato Kale Salad can elevate any salad experience.

Roasted Sweet Potato Kale Salad in wooden bowl with wooden serving spoons

There is nothing worse when trying to enjoy a kale salad and your jaw becomes numb with all the chewing. It’s most likely that the kale wasn’t treated properly. Kale is very fibrous, but the simple technique of massaging kale can change your whole kale salad experience. I’ve talked all about this already here.

Salads don’t have to be boring! Mix and match with various food groups, flavors, and textures. I like to add both raw and cooked elements to add different depths of flavor.

Roasted Sweet Potato Kale Salad in a white bowl

Perfectly roasted sweet potatoes provide additional sweetness from their caramelization.

Tips to perfectly roast vegetables:

  • Cut vegetables approximately the same size. This will prevent smaller pieces from overcooking and larger pieces not being cooked through.
  • Don’t overdo it on the oil. One tablespoon of olive oil is enough for a full tray of vegetables. Instead of drizzling the oil when the vegetables are already on the sheet pan, toss in a large bowl then place vegetables on the sheet pan. This will ensure all vegetables are evenly coated.
  • Don’t crowd the pan. Vegetables should be an even layer on the sheet pan. Overcrowding can result in the vegetables steaming rather than roasting.
  • Stop stirring. Simply flip vegetables halfway through the cooking process. Constant stirring won’t allow the vegetables to caramelize evenly on each side.
  • Looking for easy cleanup. Line your baking sheet with parchment paper.
Roasted Sweet Potato Kale Salad in a wooden bowl with wooden serving utensils

With a little meal prep, this salad can come together in minutes. Roast sweet potatoes in advance, wash and chop kale, batch cook quinoa, and make the dressing. By getting the prep process started earlier on can help put meals together in minutes. With kale being very fibrous, it lasts longer in the refrigerator. I wash and chop kale for the week and store it in a breathable produce bag. Then, I can easily prepare a salad; add it to a smoothie, or sauté for a quick side dish.

Fun Fact:

Have you ever notices kale that has been sitting in the refrigerator for a longer period of time, the edges start to turn an orange/yellow color. Yes, the kale is aging, but it’s not going bad. As kale ages, the deep green chlorophyll color begins to fade and the vitamin A & C colors shine through. Kale is an excellent source of Vitamins A & C.

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Roasted Sweet Potato Kale Salad in a wooden bowl with wooden utensils

Roasted Sweet Potato Kale Salad

  • Author: Chef Julie Harrington, RD
  • Prep Time: 20
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 50 minutes
  • Yield: 8
  • Category: Salad
  • Cuisine: American

Description

Salads don’t have to be boring! By adding cooked and raw elements like in this Roasted Sweet Potato Kale Salad can elevate any salad experience.


Ingredients

For the salad:
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 sweet potatoes, chopped, cut into cubes
8 cups kales, stems removed and chopped
1 cup quinoa, cooked
½ cup chopped walnuts
½ cup dried cranberries

For the dressing:
1/3 cup golden balsamic vinegar
¼ cup olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon maple syrup
salt, to taste


Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 425°F and line a baking sheet with cooking spray or parchment paper.
  2. In a large bowl, toss sweet potatoes with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Add to the baking sheet in an even layer. Roast for 30-40 minutes, flipping halfway through until sweet potatoes have caramelized and are fork tender. Remove from oven and let cool completely. 
  3. In a large bowl, add the kale and massage to become tender. Add the sweet potatoes, quinoa, walnuts, and dried cranberries. Toss to combine.
  4. In a mason jar, combine the balsamic vinegar, olive oil, garlic, and maple syrup. Secure lid and shake to combine. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Drizzle dressing over salad and toss to combine. 

Notes

The addition of feta cheese to this salad is great if desired. 

Keywords: salad, quinoa, sweet potato, kale, walnuts, cranberries, healthy

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Play around with this salad combination. For a more filling meal add protein, like beans, grilled chicken, shrimp, etc. Switch up the dressing. Add fresh fruit, like pears, apples, or pomegranate seeds too.

Instant Pot Steel Cut Oats (+ Freezer-Friendly Tip)

Make mornings easier by meal prepping a batch of Instant Pot Steel Cut Oats for the week and follow a simple freezer-friendly tip to enjoy steel cut oats in just minutes.

steel cut oats in a small white bowl with blueberries and sliced almonds

Who has time to make a fresh batch of steel-cut oats in the morning? If you do, more power to you, but like many, I prefer extra sleep vs. waking up earlier to make breakfast from scratch.

What Are Steel Cut Oats?

Steel cut oats are the least processed variety of oats, take the longest to cook, and maintain their texture better than others when it comes to a good bowl of oatmeal. It’s literally the whole oat, including the bran (the outermost layer). I previously talked about the differences between steel-cut, rolled, and quick oats.

Are Steel Cut Oats Healthy?

Yes! They are naturally gluten free for anyone with sensitivities and packed full of fiber. Most don’t know this, but one serving (without added toppings) has 7 grams of protein! Steel cut oats also have a lower glycemic index than others. Even if you don’t take the GI into consideration, know that this is a good concept for everyone, which means your body will digest it slower than other varieties and you will have less of a sugar spike.

steel cut oats in a metal measuring cup

Does Using the Instant Pot Save Time? 

By the time the Instant Pot comes to pressure, the cooking time, and the pressure release time it’s about the same. BUT the greatest thing is that it’s hands-free cooking. So no stirring constantly, wondering if they are ready, and you can do other stuff while you wait on your breakfast!

Instead of spending time each morning making a serving of steel-cut oats meal prep a large batch for the week. Steel-cut oats can easily be made over the stovetop, but I love using the Instant Pot to make steel-cut oats because just add your ingredients, press a few buttons, and done!

steel cut oats in a white bowl with toppings on a marble slab next to the Instant Pot

Ingredients for Instant Pot Steel Cut Oats 

steel cut oats
water
cinnamon sticks – if you don’t have these you can use ground cinnamon instead

How to Cook Steel Cut Oats in a Pressure Cooker

Pour the steel cut oats and water into the Instant Pot and stir. Add in the cinnamon sticks or ground cinnamon and stir once more. 

Place the lid on the Instant Pot and turn the valve to the sealing position. 

Cook for 6 minutes using manual pressure. 

When the timer goes off, allow the pressure cooker to release naturally for 20 minutes, then turn the valve to the venting position. 

Toss out the cinnamon sticks and give it a good stir. 

Serve with your favorite toppings!

Steel Cut Oatmeal Topping Ideas

I prefer to make the batch of steel-cut oats pretty plain because then there is the flexibility to add different toppings to create different flavor combinations. I do enjoy adding a cinnamon stick to the pot and the cinnamon flavor infuses into the oats. (This can easily be done with a few shakes of ground cinnamon too.) Here are some more ideas.

Bananas & Blueberries – a favorite combination! Add these on top just before serving

Syrup & Honey – Need just a touch of sweetness? Drizzle some maple syrup or honey over the oats once they come out of the Instant Pot 

Pumpkin – you could add a couple of spoonfuls of pureed pumpkin before cooking, great for the fall! 

Apples – because that just makes sense with cinnamon! Dice them into small pieces (as even as possible) and stir before you cook or after as a topping. 

  • Other fresh fruit and berries
  • Nuts (almond, walnuts, pecans) 
  • Splash of milk to thin it out if needed.
  • Nut or seed butter
  • Chia seeds or ground flax meal

frozen steel cut oatmeal in a jumbo muffin tin

How Long Do Steel Cut Oats Last After Being Cooked? 

Once you have pressure cooked them, they stay fresh when kept in the refrigerator for up to a week. 

If you want to batch, I recommend freezing them. 

After making a batch of these Instant Pot Steel Cut Oats, spray a jumbo muffin tin with cooking spray and scoop about a cup of oats into each muffin tin well. Then add your favorite topping combinations.

Once hardened, dip the bottom of the muffin tin in warm water to help remove the single-serving steel cut oat portions and freeze in a container or bag for later use.

Then, simply add a single-serving portion of oats to a microwave-safe bowl with a few drops of water, and reheat in the microwave.

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Instant Pot Steel Cut Oats in a white bowl topped with blueberries and almonds

Instant Pot Steel Cut Oats

  • Author: Chef Julie Harrington, RD
  • Prep Time: 5
  • Cook Time: 6
  • Total Time: 11 minutes
  • Yield: 6 1x
  • Category: Breakfast
  • Method: Instant Pot

Ingredients

Scale

2 1/2 cups steel cut oats
7 cups water
2 cinnamon sticks (or 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon)


Instructions

  1. Add steel cut oats, water, and cinnamon sticks to the Instant Pot and stir to combine.
  2. Secure Instant Pot lid and close the vent. Set Instant Pot on the manual setting for 6 minutes.
  3. When Instant Pot beeps, allow the pressure to naturally release for 20 minutes.
  4. Remove lid, discard cinnamon sticks, and stir oats to incorporate any water that has risen to the top.
  5. Serve with your favorite toppings. (Combination recommendation: blueberries, sliced almonds, and honey)

Notes

Leftover oats can be stored in the fridge for up to a week or utilize the freezer-friendly method.

Freezer-Friendly Method:
Spray a jumbo muffin tin with cooking spray and scoop about a cup of oats into each muffin tin well. Then add your favorite topping combinations. Once hardened, dip the bottom of the muffin tin in warm water to help remove the single-serving steel cut oat portions and freeze in a container or bag for later use.

Keywords: oatmeal, Instant Pot, steel cut oats, breakfast, cooking tip, oats

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Sheet Pan Steak and Veggies

Make dinnertime stress-free with this simple Sheet Pan Steak and Veggies recipe.

steak with veggies on a sheet pan

This post is sponsored by the NY Beef Council. Thank you for supporting brands that make this blog possible!

March is an exciting month for dietitians, as it is National Nutrition Month. National Nutrition Month® is an annual nutrition education and information campaign created by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. The campaign, celebrated each year during the month of March, focuses attention on the importance of making informed food choices and developing sound eating and physical activity habits. In years past there was a theme to go along with National Nutrition Month’s initiative.

sheet pan with steak, broccoli, and squash

This year, I’ve teamed up with the NY Beef Council for National Nutrition Month to help make dinnertime less stressful with simple strategies and a delicious recipe.

We all seem busier than ever and dinnertime looks different for everyone. Getting home from long days at work, to juggling kids after school activities, or feeling exhausted and grabbing take out; every night the chore of dinner getting on the table can be stressful.

How can you make nourishing meals more manageable? Sheet pan dinners! Simply make a full dinner all on one pan. Sheet pan meals are great fresh out of the oven, but also really great as leftovers. Cook once, eat twice! Repurpose as is, eat over a whole grain, or enjoy over greens for a robust salad. The possibilities are endless!

sheet pan dinner with steak and veggies

When creating a sheet pan dinner, think about ingredients that will provide energy, protein, vitamins, and minerals. To this end, aim to eat a variety of delicious foods that balance the taste you love with good nutrition.

Beef is part of a satisfying heart-healthy lifestyle. All beef is a natural source of 10 essential nutrients such as protein, iron, zinc, and B vitamins. Research shows that lean beef enjoyed as part of a heart-healthy diet and exercises, can help lower cholesterol, lose weight, and lower blood pressure.

What is “lean” beef?

To be considered lean, a 3.5-oz serving of cooked beef must have less than 10 grams of total fat, 4.5 grams or less of saturated fat, and less than 95 mg of cholesterol. Look for the word “loin”, “round”, and 95% ground beef in the name when finding a lean cut of beef. A few samples of lean beef cuts are top sirloin steak, strip steak (top loin steak), tenderloin steak, or 95% lean ground beef.

Less stress dinnertime strategies:

Maximize your prep time

What are you more likely to cook with midweek? A head of unwashed broccoli still wrapped from the grocery store or the broccoli that is washed, trimmed, and stored in a produce bag ready to be cooked? I think we all know the answer here.

Create a plan

Look at your week ahead before you go grocery shopping and plan meals for the week. This will alleviate the “what’s for dinner?” question, prevent food waste, which will then in turn save you money.

Acknowledge the chaos

There are days that will just not go according to plan and that’s okay! To really make meals manageable, it’s important to be realistic with what to expect. Unrealistic expectations may set you up for a failed experience before the meal even begins. Plan for sheet pan dinners mid-week when you know you will be short on time.

Enjoy the moment

Whether you are dining solo or with a crowd take that time to enjoy the meal and be in the moment. Enjoy the company or the solidarity without outside distraction. We all need time to disconnect from technology.

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steak & veggies on a sheet pan

Sheet Pan Steak and Veggies

  • Author: Chef Julie Harrington, RD
  • Prep Time: 15
  • Cook Time: 16
  • Total Time: 31 minutes
  • Yield: 4 1x
  • Category: dinner
  • Method: sheet pan

Description

Make dinnertime stress-free with this simple Sheet Pan Steak and Veggies recipe.


Ingredients

Scale

2 cups butternut squash, peeled and diced
3 cups broccoli florets
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 teaspoons dried thyme
salt and pepper, to taste
1 pound strip steak


Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to broil (500°F). Coat a large baking sheet with cooking spray. Set aside.
  2. In a large pot of water, parboil squash for 5 minutes, to slightly soften. Drain and set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, combine butternut squash and broccoli. Add 1-tablespoon olive oil, half the garlic, 1-teaspoon of thyme to the vegetables, and salt and pepper, to taste; toss to combine. Add to the baking sheet in an even layer.
  4. Pat steak dry. Add to the baking sheet in between the vegetables. Brush steak with the remaining ½ tablespoon of olive oil and rub with the remaining ½ teaspoon thyme, garlic, salt, and pepper on both sides.
  5. Place in the oven and broil until steak is browned and charred at the edges; about 6-8 minutes.
  6. Remove from oven and flip the steak and toss the veggies. Cook for an additional 6-8 minutes for medium-rare, until an inserted thermometer, reads 145°F.

Notes

Cook time may vary due to the thickness of the steak. Use a digital thermometer to determine doneness.

Keywords: sheet pan, steak, beef, one pan meal, dinner

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References:
Sayer RD, et al. Equivalent reductions in body weight during the Beef WISE Study: Beef’s Role in Weight Improvement, Satisfaction, and Energy. Obes Sci Pract 2017. Available at: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/osp4.118/full

Instant Pot Lemon Ginger Salmon

You’ll be soon adding this easy Instant Pot Lemon Ginger Salmon to your weekly dinner menu rotation.

salmon layered with ginger and lemon in an instant pot

A lot of Instant Pot recipes are used for tough cuts of meat. The function of the Instant Pot creates steam under extreme pressure and forces it’s way to the tough fibers of the meat breaking them down to become tender.

But what if you have an already delicate protein like salmon?

hands holding a bowl of quinoa, salmon, and green beans

You can still utilize the Instant Pot for more delicate proteins like salmon, but the Instant Pot is utilized a little differently.

Instead of searing and submerging in liquid, utilize the steaming rack of the Instant Pot. Add a little liquid on the bottom which will steam the salmon and infuse flavors into the final product. For this recipe, I used vegetable broth and a few sprigs of parsley. Utilize different herbs to infuse flavors.

salmon placed in an instant pot

By simply laying the lemon and ginger on top of the salmon fillet, the flavors penetrate into the salmon fillet creating fresh and vibrant flavors.

While the cooking time is only 3 minutes in the Instant Pot, allow an extra 5-10 minutes for the Instant Pot to come to full pressure, then it begins the three minute cook time.

quinoa, salmon, and green beans in a white bowl with white napkin

Research shows eating seafood two to three times per week reduces the risk of death from any health-related cause. Seafood provides unique health benefits as a lean protein and is the best source for omega-3 fatty acids, which are healthy fats essential to human health and development.

Use this simple and flavorful Instant Pot Lemon Ginger Salmon to help you meet the mark for enjoying seafood 2-3 times each week!

#TeamGoodFat

Embrace the unsaturated fats found in foods such as walnuts, seeds, plant oils, avocados, and fatty fish such as salmon, tuna, trout, sardines, mackerel, and herring.

Fats play an essential role in human health from head (brain) to toe (joints). Replacing just 5 percent of your caloric intake from so-called bad fats (like trans and saturated fat found in red meat) with unsaturated fat from seafood and plant-based foods can reduce your risk of death by 27 percent.
(source)

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quinoa, salmon, and green beans in a white bowl

Instant Pot Lemon Ginger Salmon

  • Author: Chef Julie Harrington, RD
  • Prep Time: 5
  • Cook Time: 3
  • Total Time: 8 minutes
  • Yield: 34 1x
  • Category: dinner
  • Method: Instant Pot

Description

You’ll be soon adding this easy Instant Pot Lemon Ginger Salmon to your weekly dinner menu rotation.


Ingredients

Scale

1/2 cup vegetable broth
1 small bunch of fresh parsley
1 pound salmon fillet (about 1-inch thick)
salt and pepper, to taste
1 small knob (about 2 tablespoons) fresh ginger, sliced
1 lemon, sliced


Instructions

Pour broth and parsley in the Instant Pot and then put in the steamer rack (coated with cooking spray) at the bottom, making sure the handles are extended up.

Place salmon, skin side down, on the steamer rack. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Layer on pieces of ginger and lemon.

Close the Instant Pot and make sure vent is turned to “Sealing”. Plug it in, press “Steam” and press the + or – buttons to set it to 3 minutes. When the Instant Pot beeps that it’s done, quick release the pressure, being careful to stay out of the way of the steam that will shoot up. Press the “Warm/Cancel” button. Remove lid, and using hot pads, carefully remove rack with salmon and set on a plate.

Serve alongside a whole grain and vegetable for a complete meal. 


Notes

Cooking time may vary. Depending on the thickness of your salmon, 3 minutes is perfect for a fillet that’s about 1 inch at its thickest part.

Keywords: salmon, Instant Pot, dinner, healthy fats, heart healthy

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Lemon Vinaigrette

Brighten any salad, grain, or vegetable dish with this simple lemon vinaigrette. Made with ingredients you probably already have on hand, simply whip this up in a mason jar.

Lemon Vinaigrette in a small glass jar

I don’t think people realize how EASY it is to make a homemade dressing. The most basic vinaigrette recipe is mixing an acid and a base. Then just add seasonings you enjoy. Simply pour ingredients into a mason jar and shake away. Your dressing is made! How easy was that? Plus, making it in a mason jar is ready to store any leftovers.

Lemon Vinaigrette in a small glass jar

If you want to go beyond the basics, use this guide to build your own vinaigrette.

Create a homemade vinaigrette

Choose your acid:

This can be in the form of vinegar or citrus juice. Pick something that matches with your salad mix-ins. Opt for a sweet acid like white wine vinegar, white balsamic vinegar, or an orange juiced, for salads that have fruit. 

Try acids like apple cider vinegar, balsamic vinegar, red wine vinegar, rice vinegar, lemon juice, lime juice, or other citrus juices. 

Tip: Think about the components of your salad. If you have a salad with bright colors, avoid darker vinegar. Once the salad is dressed, those bright vibrant colors will look muddy. Remember – we eat with our eyes first! 

Choose your base:

The base is oil. Use good quality oil. This can be a simple olive oil or fancy garlic and rosemary-infused walnut oil. Again think about the components of your salad. If there are avocados in your salad, why not try avocado oil? 

Try oils like olive oil, avocado oil, walnut oil, pumpkin seed oil, hazelnut oil, or other flavor-infused oils. 

Add seasonings:

If you are new to making dressings, simple olive oil and balsamic vinegar dressing with a pinch of salt and pepper will work just fine. Once you are comfortable making dressings, try amping it up with other seasonings. 

Add a teaspoon of Dijon mustard to add a little tanginess and also to help create a creamier vinaigrette. Add a teaspoon of miso for an umami flavor. Try using fresh herbs for a pop of flavor. For a sweet vinaigrette, add a little maple syrup or honey. 

Lemon Vinaigrette in a small glass jar

Once you start playing around with different combinations, you’ll start to know what flavor combinations you like best!

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lemon vinaigrette in a small jar with lemons

Lemon Vinaigrette

  • Author: Chef Julie Harrington, RD
  • Prep Time: 5
  • Total Time: 5 minutes
  • Yield: 3/4 cup 1x
  • Category: dressing
  • Method: no-cook

Description

This lemon vinaigrette is incredibly easy to make. Drizzle it on all your salad and veggie recipes!


Ingredients

Scale
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 2 lemons, juiced (approx 1/3 cup juice)
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon maple syrup
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • salt and pepper, to taste

Instructions

Simply measure ingredients and add to a mason jar. Secure lid and shake. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.


Keywords: dressing, vinaigrette, homemade, mason jar, salad dressing, healthy fats, lemon, citrus, cooking tips

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Pumpkin Pie Bites

Do you ever have something on your to-do list that just keeps getting rolled over every time to a new to-do list? Welp. That’s posting this Pumpkin Pie Bites recipe. Sorry for holding out on you.

bite taken out of an energy bite

I know I am often the minority when it comes to the love of my paper planner. (Passion Planner to be exact) For the month of January, the pages are completely filled with meetings, cooking classes, presentations, parties, etc. I’m one of those people who likes being busy, but sometimes things fall through the cracks, like posting this recipe which has been sitting in draft for the past two weeks. #sorryivebeenbusy

bite taken out of a pumpkin pie bite

A version of this recipe was developed with one of my awesome JWU interns. I have a sweet spot for JWU interns and I am a JWU alum myself. I love spending days in the kitchen as a full “test kitchen” days. It’s been fun working with JWU interns because we speak the same “culinary language”. This recipe was tested a few times until the texture and taste came out just right.

energy bites in a white bowl on a stone slab

Batch cook these little energy bites for the week. They are the perfect on-the-go snack. Who says pumpkin season is over? Let’s keep the pumpkin around all year round!

bowl of pumpkin pie bites
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pumpkin pie energy bites in a white bowl on a slate

Pumpkin Pie Bites

  • Author: Chef Julie Harrington, RD
  • Prep Time: 10
  • Total Time: 10 minutes
  • Yield: 8 servings (2 bites per serving) 1x
  • Category: snack, dessert
  • Method: no-cook

Description

Batch cook these bites for an energy-boosting snack during the day!


Ingredients

Scale
  • 1/4 cup Medjool dates, pitted
  • boiling water, as needed
  • 1/4 cup almond butter
  • 1/4 cup pumpkin puree
  • 2 teaspoons maple syrup
  • 1  1/2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice (or a mix of 1/2 tsp ginger, 1/2 tsp nutmeg, 1 tsp cinnamon)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoon coconut flour*
  • 1  1/2 cup oats
  • 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips

Instructions

  1. Soak the dates in boiling water for 10 minutes. Drain.
  2. Combine all ingredients, except for the chocolate chips, in a food processor. Process until fairly smooth, stopping occasionally to scrape down the sides.
  3. Transfer to a separate bowl and fold in chocolate chips. Chill in the fridge for at least 20 minutes.
  4. Once chilled, scoop 1-tablespoon sized portions and roll into balls. The mixture makes about 16 bites. Store in the refrigerator in an airtight container.

Notes

If the dough is too sticky, pulse in additional coconut flour, 1/2 teaspoon at a time. 

Keywords: pumpkin, pumpkin pie, energy bites, snack,

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Turkey Pumpkin Chili

Pumpkin isn’t only for sweet recipes. Try switching things up and use pumpkin in a savory cooking application. Start with this Turkey Pumpkin Chili! 

Turkey Pumpkin Chili with a piece of cornbread in a white bowl

How is October already coming to an end? Fall is a busy time for me with conferences and a lot of work travel. Also during this time of year, I’m sure your Pinterest boards are being saturated with pumpkin everything! I am would say I am a self-proclaimed pumpkin lover, but my RD friend Maggie I would nominate as the president of the pumpkin lover’s club. She just came out with a pumpkin cookbook featuring 50 creative pumpkin flavored, shaped, & spiced recipes.

Turkey Pumpkin Chili with piece of cornbread in a white bowl

Did You Know?

A few years back I was at a conference and an RD from Nestle was there speaking about Libby’s canned pumpkin. That brand is a staple across supermarkets nationally. I’m sure many of you, like myself, stock up on Libby’s canned pumpkin this time of year. I was fascinated to learn they exclusively use Dickinson pumpkins, which are a special strain of pumpkins.

Why Dickinson Pumpkins?

Libby’s acquired the rights to the “Libby’s Select Dickinson” pumpkin in 1929 from the Dickinson family who brought it in the early 1800s from Kentucky. If you ever Google “Dickinson pumpkin” images that appear look like a pale, slightly misshapen butternut squash, not the jack-o-lantern pumpkin you may be thinking of. When Dickinson pumpkins are grown and cultivated just right, they yield a sweet, bright orange flesh that’s amazing in dishes from pies to pasta, and a healthier ingredient to swap into some of your favorite recipes.

Confession: One year I was a little too pumpkin obsessed. I ate it in my oats for breakfast, stirred it in my yogurt, made smoothies, breads, soups every. single. day. I had a tad too much beta-carotene and my palms started turning orange. Lesson learned.

While pumpkin is used in sweet applications the majority of the time, pumpkin works well with savory applications. This chili is perfect for someone who isn’t too crazy about super spicy chili. It’s a mellow flavor with a hint of sweet. I feel like chili isn’t complete without a slice of cornbread. I always crumble up the cornbread right into the chili.

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white bowl with turkey pumpkin chili with a piece of cornbread

Turkey Pumpkin Chili

  • Author: Chef Julie Harrington, RD
  • Prep Time: 10
  • Cook Time: 20
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 6 1x
  • Category: chili

Ingredients

Scale
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 lb. ground turkey breast
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 (28 oz) can no salt added diced tomatoes
  • 1 (15 oz) can pumpkin puree (not pie filling)
  • 2 cups low sodium chicken stock
  • 1 (15 oz) can black beans, drained & rinsed
  • 1 (15 oz) can red kidney beans, drained & rinsed
  • pinch of salt and pepper

Instructions

  1. Heat oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic. Cook until tender, about 5 minutes. Add the turkey, and cook until browned, stirring occasionally.
  2. Stir in the chili powder, cumin, oregano, cinnamon, and cayenne pepper, and cook for 1-2 minutes.
  3. Add in the diced tomatoes, pumpkin, chicken stock and beans, and stir to combine.
  4. Bring the chili to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer, uncovered, for 20 minutes.
  5. Serve with cornbread.

Notes

This chili freezes well. Make a large batch and freeze half for another time.

Keywords: chili, pumpkin, turkey,

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