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Crave-Worthy Recipes

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Healthy baked coconut shrimp

Something happens when you learn to cook at home. You realize that all those tasty items you order out at restaurants are overpriced, and you can usually make them healthier at home. Healthier means you get to eat them more often — an obvious win. Coconut shrimp was one of those appetizers for me. If it was on the menu, I was ordering it. But coconut is naturally high in fat, and who knows what other unspeakable ingredients get mixed in the batter — and fry oil is always frightening. Enter: my healthy version of coconut shrimp. It’s baked, so right away you’re eliminating the scary fats from frying. The crispy coconut will still give that craveable crunch. Plus, the sauce is often the star of the show anyway. Thai chili sauce with a hint of apricot and brown sugar can make pretty much anything better. So try this easy appetizer when…

Edamame, olive salad

This edamame, olive salad will make you feel like you’re lunching at a seaside restaurant on some far flung Greek island. I swear it! It’s such an unusual combination that your taste buds will think you’re on vacation. I had a variation of this salad last week at an unlikely waterfront spot in North Carolina. The restaurant served mostly seaside style bar food, except for this incredible side dish. I’m so glad I ordered it. It was easily my favorite thing I had that meal — aside from that delicious Southern sweet tea. That’s hard to beat. This edamame, olive combo makes for a simple salad but not one where you want to cut back on quality. A bag of shelled edamame should only run you a few dollars, so splurge on the fancy olives — you know, the ones from the olive bar. Or at least get a good brand of jarred kalamatas.…

Earthy orange, date power smoothie

The simplicity of smoothies is what makes them the most perfect anytime food ever; All you really need to do is throw a few fruits in the blender and you have something delicious. But sometimes it’s nice to mix up something that has a little more depth. This power smoothie has a great earthiness from the hemp seeds, dates, and cinnamon but the lemon and orange juices keep it light and bright. The carrots add a warm welcoming color, and the Greek yogurt will help keep you full for longer. Best yet, it’s not an overly sweet blend, so you’ll love making this one time and time again as a replacement for any meal of the day. Earthy Orange, Date power smoothie Ingredients 1 small banana 1 apple, roughly chopped 2 carrots, scrubbed 5.3-ounce Greek yogurt 1/4 cup fresh squeeze orange juice 1/2 of a lemon squeezed 1/4 cup filtered water 1…

Caprese Pizza recipe

This warm and crispy pizza combines two Italian favorites. You might find yourself wondering you ever want to eat anything else again. And try these other delicious, original takes on Caprese. Caprese Pizza Ingredients 1/2 cup cooked chicken, cubed 12 ounce store-bought pizza dough 1 1/2 cups grape tomatoes of varying colors, halved 2- tbsp extra virgin olive oil, divided 2 cloves garlic, finely minced 1 tbsp cornmeal 3-4 ounces of fresh grated mozzarella cheese salt and pepper 1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, sliced thin Directions Let pizza dough stand at room temperature for about 30 minutes. In the meantime, preheat broiler to high heat. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside. In a small bowl, combine tomatoes and 1 tbsp olive oil. Toss to coat. Spread tomatoes on baking sheet in a single layer. Broil about 10 minutes or until tomatoes begin to lightly brown. Place your pizza stone…

Patriotic thumbprint cookies

Where I’m from, thumbprint cookies seem to have a place every holiday get-together. For Christmas and Easter we roll them in nuts and make icing centers coordinate with the season. At Valentine’s Day, we make them chocolate. And now for Fourth of July we can dress them up with star sprinkles. These thumbprint cookies have a delicious sweet and tangy flavor. The vanilla and raspberry are perfect companions. And the red, white, blue sprinkles make them fun and ready for the Fourth! Patriotic thumbprint cookies Makes about 3 dozen cookies Ingredients 2 3/4 cups all purpose flour 2 tsp baking powder 1/4 tsp salt 1 cup butter, room temperature 1 cup white sugar 2 tsp vanilla extract 1 egg white icing 1/4 cup sprinkles 1/8 cup raspberry jam Directions Line cookie sheet with aluminum foil and set aside. Preheat oven to 350ºF. In a small bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt. Set…

Caprese Chicken Pasta Salad

It’s finally that time of the year when you can introduce some lighter fare to your home cooked menu. Whether it’s lunch or dinner (or leftovers!), this Caprese Chicken Pasta Salad has all of the elements of a perfect summer meal. Just toss some bite-sized pasta and mini mozzarella, with fresh basil and tomatoes from the garden and add some chicken for some protein. Then drizzle with olive oil and balsamic vinegar. It’s all the summer flavors you love, reconfigured as a quick and easy pasta salad. When you combine pasta and Caprese, could you ever go wrong? Caprese Chicken Pasta Salad Ingredients 2 cups pasta (any shape) 2 cups chicken, cooked and cut into bite-sized pieces 2 cups mini mozzarella pearls 1 cup cherry tomatos, halved handful of fresh basil, chopped + extra for garnish 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil 3 tbsp white balsamic vinegar, or balsamic glaze salt pepper Directions Cook pasta until…

Star spangled ice cream sandwiches

Ice cream sandwiches already scream summer, but with a little makeover, they can be the coolest Fourth of July treat at the table. Okay, this “recipe” is basically cheating. But if you want to add a little fun to your Fourth of July without any effort — literally, like zero effort — then you’ll love this simple trick. Buy a pack of ice cream sandwiches from the grocery store — or ice cream truck! I went for the mini sandwiches since there are always so many delicious treats at picnics. Smaller sizes mean you can sample more sweets. They also mean less mess, since they won’t have as much time to melt.  Pour some sprinkles in a bowl, and get rolling. Just like an ice cream cone with sprinkles, the extra taste and texture is delicious — and way more fun! Happy Fourth of July! Star spangled ice cream sandwiches Ingredients 1 dozen ice cream…

Citrus green salad with spicy shrimp

This super simple citrus salad with shrimp is so easy and flavorful, you’ll love adding it to your weeknight repertoire. It’s great in the summer when fresh greens are everywhere, but it’s also great in the winter, when citrus is at its peak. But during summer, canned segments can work just as well, and can be a real time saver if you’re in a hurry. This is also a great way to use up those random leftover greens. Toss in some arugula, kale, spinach, romaine — the more variety the better! I threw in some leftover cilantro, but you may choose to leave it out. I’ve been surprised by how many people hate cilantro. It’s delicious in this salad, but not necessary. The same goes for the cayenne pepper. If you hate heat, leave it out. But the combination of sweet citrus, spicy shrimp, and crunchy greens and almonds, is…

Arugula, mint and apricot salad

Apricots are too often overlooked in the summer. We repeatedly reach for fresh berries and cherries, even peaches and watermelon. But for many, apricots are a fruit only eaten dried. A ripe apricot, with its dainty golden blush-color, dripping with juices is a perfect fruit on its own or used in a summer salad. Apricots give you a boost of vitamin A which is said to help repair skin damage from the sun. They also maintain electrolyte balance in the body — great for sweaty, active summer days, since electrolytes reduce cramping and keep blood pumping through your body. Expand your fruit horizons this summer and try this refreshing arugula, mint, apricot salad while the apricots are at their peak. arugula, mint, apricot salad Serves 2 Ingredients 2 cups arugula 1/4 cup mint leaves 2 ripe apricots, sliced 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved 1/2 cup almond slices 1/2 orange (for dressing), cold 1 tbsp extra virgin…

It’s not summer without strawberry, rhubarb pie

I wait all year to make certain pies, and this weekend it was finally strawberry rhubarb season. I “borrowed” some from my family, with the promise of returning it in pie form. In the world of sweets, we’re definitely a “pie family.” Cake just never hits the spot like a flaky pie crust bursting with summer fruit. This recipe is filled to the brim with juicy strawberries and tart rhubarb. It’s so simple, it will quickly become one of those recipes you can make from memory. And that’s how a simple summer pie should be — who wants fuss when there’s pies, pools, and picnics to attend. Feel free to use your favorite homemade pie crust, or pick up one from the store. And make sure you make this pie soon. Before you know it, rhubarb season will be over, and you’ll have to wait another year! Strawberry Rhubarb pie Serves 8 Ingredients 2…