Currently Browsing: First Course & Sides

Radicchio Salad with Mustard Croutons and Grainy Mustard Vinaigrette

Radicchio Salad with Mustard Croutons and Grainy Mustard Vinaigrette

This Radicchio Salad has a nice sweet & bitter elements. Add Frisée lettuce, Watermelon Radish, Shaved Heirloom Carrots, Crispy Croutons with Grainy Mustard and Garlic and Karen’s Grainy Mustard Vinaigrette with Shallots and Garlic. A flavor sensation!

Karen’s Grainy Mustard Vinaigrette with Shallots and Garlic

Karen’s Grainy Mustard Vinaigrette with Shallots and Garlic

The perfect Zesty Vinaigrette for Salads and Beyond! This vinaigrette is my daily salad dressing staple! Easily whisk ingredients together and store in the refrigerator. Terrific paired with my: Radicchio Salad with Mustard Croutons and Grainy Mustard Vinaigrette

Crispy Croutons with Grainy Mustard and Garlic

Crispy Croutons with Grainy Mustard and Garlic

Just the most flavorful croutons! Tons of delicious zesty flavors.

The Best Homemade Grainy Dijon Mustard! And how to use it.

The Best Homemade Grainy Dijon Mustard! And how to use it.

The best homemade mustard! Mine has a rustic, grainy texture that adds a pleasant pop of flavor to many recipes.   It’s fun and quite simple to make your own full flavored and zesty Grainy Mustard! I make my own because it’s quite easy, and I use mustard quite a lot in my cooking. Yet a […]

Multi-Citrus Salsa

Multi-Citrus Salsa

A Zesty and Tart Salsa that uses in- season Winter Citrus. Colorful, light and tasty with a hint of sweetness and heat. A delicious salsa using Blood Oranges, Pink Grapefruit & Honeybell Tangelo Segments with Chopped Mint

Crispy Crouton Skewers

Crispy Crouton Skewers

These skewers offer a nifty way to serve croutons!

Spinach and Parsnip Soup with a Crispy Crouton Skewer

Spinach and Parsnip Soup with a Crispy Crouton Skewer

A velvety soup without dairy products… Parsnips and Yukon Gold Potatoes give the soup it’s creaminess when blended. Parsnips and Yukon Gold Potatoes give the Vegan soup it’s creaminess when blended. Make these nifty Crispy Crouton Skewers to garnish the soup.

Harissa Sauce – The Perfect Zesty and Flavorful Condiment

Harissa Sauce – The Perfect Zesty and Flavorful Condiment

Harissa can change how you cook! A flavor-bomb with a Kicky and Zesty Flavor. An easy and quick condiment ~ mild & hot chiles and roasted red pepper are blended into a thick paste with garlic, olive oil, cumin, oregano, tomato paste, red wine vinegar and a pinch of sea salt. A little sauce with […]

Karen’s Creamy Hummus with Harissa

Karen’s Creamy Hummus with Harissa

Harrisa is a flavor-bomb sauce/condiment and pairs wonderfully with mellow hummus.

Bolognese Sauce with Tempeh and Mushrooms: It’s Vegan!

Bolognese Sauce with Tempeh and Mushrooms: It’s Vegan!

This Plant-Based Sauce is a lightened up, hearty and delicious! A recipe to master. Tempeh is a staple protein source and perfect for a vegetarian and vegan diet – a great substitute for meat… really grabs flavors! Cooked with classic techniques: Sweating, Sautéing and Braising.

Healthy Side: Butternut Squash Purée with Ginger and Browned Butter

Healthy Side: Butternut Squash Purée with Ginger and Browned Butter

Delicious and creamy – chock full of nutrients  Simple to prepare, just 3 main ingredients! – plus salt & pepper and parsley. Browned Butter – also called beurre noisette, named because it smells like hazelnuts and has a similar nutty color, plus a nutty, toasted flavor. It enhances the flavor of almost everything!

Skewered Shrimp Scampi Appetizer

Skewered Shrimp Scampi Appetizer

Sautéed Shrimp in a Hearty Garlic Herbal Butter Sauce Skewered with a Cube of Sourdough Bread to Soak up the Flavors A Simple Scampi Sauce – I’ve added a boost of flavor with fresh herbs, scallions and jalapeño. The perfect Holiday or Party Appetizer! 

Karen’s Garlic Confit ~ A Silky, Spreadable Condiment

Karen’s Garlic Confit ~ A Silky, Spreadable Condiment

Garlic Confit is a “must have” recipe for every cook. Luscious softened garlic surrounded by a blend of healthy oils. Use the cloves and garlic- infused oil for a subtle yet rich flavor After making your confit, you’ll also end up with creamy garlic cloves immersed in a delicious garlic-infused oil.

Roasted Garlic Tahini Dressing and Dip

Roasted Garlic Tahini Dressing and Dip

A fabulous dressing and dip that is a game-changer for every cook! Creamy, garlicky (yet mild from the roasted garlic), slightly sweetened with maple syrup and enough zesty flavor from fresh squeezed lemon.  

The Ultimate Kale, Romaine and Chickpea Salad with Roasted Garlic Tahini Dressing

The Ultimate Kale, Romaine and Chickpea Salad with Roasted Garlic Tahini Dressing

Chock full of antioxidants and complementary flavors! The Roasted Garlic Tahini Dressing is a game-changer for every cook, full of zesty-robust tang. I enjoy serving with spiced grilled chicken for a main course salad.

How to Roast Whole Garlic Heads in Olive Oil and How to Use It

How to Roast Whole Garlic Heads in Olive Oil and How to Use It

Mellow yet with deep concentration – oven roasted garlic cloves enhances the flavor of everything!

Fried Summer Zucchini with Garlic – Lightened-Up

Fried Summer Zucchini with Garlic – Lightened-Up

A lightened-up Fried Zucchini Recipe inspired from the famous Il Mulino Restaurant in New York City. A healthier yet delectable version! My master recipe is Gluten-Free.

Haricot Vert with Sliced Radishes and Pan-Fried Shallots with a Miso-Lemon-Maple Glaze

Haricot Vert with Sliced Radishes and Pan-Fried Shallots with a Miso-Lemon-Maple Glaze

The perfect side dish for Thanksgiving and the Holidays! Full of color & flavor – can be made early in the day. Sauté Haricot Verts in a hot skillet to blacken the edges. Add Sliced Radishes and a quick stir in of Miso, Lemon Juice and Pure Maple Syrup. All tastes delicious with Pan-Fried Shallot […]

Haricot Vert with Garlic, Almonds, Pomegranate Seeds and Shiitake “Bacon” with Za’atar Seasoning

The perfect side dish for Thanksgiving and the Holidays! Full of color & flavor – can be made early in the day. Vegan. Sauté Haricot Verts in a hot skillet to blacken the edges. Add Garlic Chips, Shiitake “Bacon”, Toasted Almonds, Pomegranate Seeds and Za’atar Seasoning.

Karen's Lightened-Up Alfredo Sauce

Karen’s Lightened-Up Alfredo Sauce

A versatile sauce you’ll make again and again. Light on calories ~ big on flavor! The recipe uses Homemade Chicken Broth, yet use Vegetable Broth for Vegetarian.

Pumpkin Stuffed Shells with Lightened-Up Alfredo Sauce

Pumpkin Stuffed Shells with Lightened-Up Alfredo Sauce

Taking Comfort Food to a Whole New Level! Italian Pasta Shells Stuffed with Fresh Ricotta Cheese, Smoked Mozzarella, Roasted Pumpkin, Fresh Spinach, Shiitake Mushrooms in a Creamy Lightened-Up Alfredo Sauce. Delizioso!

Amazing Veggie Chili Without Beans

Amazing Veggie Chili Without Beans

A Healthy and Hearty Chili Chock Full of Veggies with Chick Peas, Lentils, Butternut Squash and Cremini Mushrooms in a Tomato Based sauce with Homemade Chili Seasoning – dig in and be creative with your toppings!

Acorn Squash and Celeriac Soup for Fall

Acorn Squash and Celeriac Soup for Fall

A Creamy & Chunky Soup with a Coconut Cream Swirl and Hatch Chiles… very comforting and healthy! Perfect for weekdays, special enough for company and holidays. Many types of winter squashes make glorious soups. I recently picked up some Acorn Squash and thought – maybe an underdog squash for soup… is butternut squash really superior? […]

Baba Ganoush with Roasted Peppers

Baba Ganoush with Roasted Peppers

Fabulous & Smokey Eggplant Mediterranean Dip & Spread you’ll keep making and enjoying! Healthy and Delicious. A recipe all good cooks should master – the perfect healthy nosh or appetizer.

Ground Turkey “Meat Sauce” with Fresh Tomato Sauce

Ground Turkey “Meat Sauce” with Fresh Tomato Sauce

Doesn’t get more delicious than this! Laced with Onions, Shallots, Garlic and my Fresh Tomato Sauce – it’s my go to sauce for a comforting weeknight meal.

How to Make Fresh Tomato Sauce

How to Make Fresh Tomato Sauce

End of Summer / Early Fall Tomatoes are put to great use in a wonderful simmered sauce you can savor well into Fall and Winter. Make my wonderful Ground Turkey “Meat Sauce” with Fresh Tomato Sauce too!

Fall Salad with Chèvre and Apples

Fall Salad with Chèvre and Apples

A salad to “fall” in love with! Starring Fall ingredients like Radicchio, Pink Pearl Apples, Pink Radishes, Delicate Squash and teamed with Chèvre Cheese and Pistachios. There are endless ways to compile a Fall Salad ~ first think what’s in season, the flavors you like, multiple textures and colors.

How To Dehydrate Cherry Tomatoes (oven recipe too!)

How To Dehydrate Cherry Tomatoes (oven recipe too!)

Savor Summer and learn how to dehydrate all those fabulous tomatoes!  I save some for adding to many recipes ~ layer others in jars and cover with olive oil and thyme branches. See below all my brilliant ideas for using them.

Blackened Halibut with Cajun Seasonings and Caper Remoulade

Blackened Halibut with Cajun Seasonings and Caper Remoulade

Homemade Cajun Seasonings encrust Fresh Halibut finished with a Quick Caper Remoulade Sauce. Try with my Dirty Rice recipe too.

Dirty Rice Cajun Style

Dirty Rice Cajun Style

A healthier version of Southern Dirty Rice ~ lightened-up! Brown rice teams with Caramelized Onions, Garlic, Pattypan Squash, Bacon (I’ve used turkey) and Karen’s Best Cajun Seasonings.

Karen’s Best Cajun Seasoning Blend

Karen’s Best Cajun Seasoning Blend

The most flavorful Cajun Seasoning Blend with a nice spicy kick! See the important ingredients that make it special. Salt-free ~ add salt when needed.

Pesto Compound Butter over Grilled Swordfish with Slow-Roasted Heirloom Tomatoes & Peppers

Pesto Compound Butter over Grilled Swordfish with Slow-Roasted Heirloom Tomatoes & Peppers

Have too much Summer pesto on hand? Make delicious compound butter in minutes! Slice and add to just-off-the-grilled local swordfish ~ melts into a dreamy sauce.

How to Quick Pickle Vegetables

How to Quick Pickle Vegetables

Crunch on these! Eat them right out of the jar, or chop them up – they lend bright flavors to all kinds of dishes. Fun, easy and super-quick to prepare! These Pickled Vegetables have a little spice going on too — mustard seeds, chile peppers, multi-colored peppercorns, sliced garlic along with vinegars. I’ve chosen Fiesta Striped […]

Grilled Peach Salad with Sweet & Sour Vinaigrette

Grilled Peach Salad with Sweet & Sour Vinaigrette

A Must Try Summer Salad ~  So simple, fresh & delicious! Summer peaches are sweet and juicy and their flavor intensifies on the grill. Simple Ingredients ~ Yellow and White Grilled Peaches, Toasted Hazelnuts & Almonds, Red Oak Lettuce, Little Gem Lettuce, Colorful Cherry Tomatoes and an Awesome Sweet and Sour Vinaigrette with Honey, Mustard […]

Watermelon Gazpacho with Shaved Feta

Watermelon Gazpacho with Shaved Feta

An easy Summer soup topped with grated feta cheese and fresh mint ~ it’s light, vibrant and has a spicy kick

Beet Tzatziki Sauce with Spiced Chicken Skewers

Beet Tzatziki Sauce with Spiced Chicken Skewers

Healthy and Oh-So Colorful! A Zesty But Light Sauce enriches many recipes and perfect with my Grilled Chicken Skewers. This is a versatile sauce that is the perfect accompaniment to many Mediterranean dishes. You can also slather it on your sandwiches; or simply use it as a dip with warm pita and your favorite vegetables.

Southern Pimento Cheese Recipe ~ THE Spread for Everything!

Southern Pimento Cheese Recipe ~ THE Spread for Everything!

This spread has so many culinary uses. Great served with good crackers and crudités ~ use also as a sandwich spread, a burger topper or a stuffing for vegetables. The possibilities are really endless. Pimento Cheese: Adds a cheesy, slightly spicy flavor and creamy, dreamy texture to multitude of tasty things

Cold Tomato Bread Soup with Basil (Karen’s take on “Salmorejo”)

Cold Tomato Bread Soup with Basil (Karen’s take on “Salmorejo”)

THE Summer Soup to devour! Healthy and delicious ~ a lightened up version with personality, creaminess and flavor. Vegan. My Cold Tomato Bead Soup with Basil is a take on the Andalucia region’s famous soup: Salmorejo from Spain. The ingredients are few – ripe, dark red vine ripened tomatoes are a must.

Summer Strawberry Salad with Walnuts, Feta and Maple-Walnut Vinaigrette

Summer Strawberry Salad with Walnuts, Feta and Maple-Walnut Vinaigrette

Seasonal Lettuces and Vegetables team with the Juiciest Strawberries with the perfect Zesty Vinaigrette

Mediterranean EVOO Herb & Corn Sauce for Chicken

Mediterranean EVOO Herb & Corn Sauce for Chicken and Fish

A light and hearty Mediterranean “Sauce” for Chicken, Fish and beyond. An Extra Virgin Olive Oil Based Pan Sauce combines Garlic, Shallots, Five Herbs and Fresh Corn. A super-quick and healthy sauce you whip up in a skillet in minutes. What does this sauce work with? … well everything!

Skillet Jalapeño Cornbread

Skillet Jalapeño Cornbread

Mildly spicy and full of flavor! Additions include Jalapeños, Poblano Chiles, Chives and Fresh Corn. Gluten Free.

Stuffed Shiitake Mushrooms with Tomatillo Salsa Topping

Stuffed Shiitake Mushrooms with Tomatillo Salsa Topping

Delectable with Mexican Spices – these caps are stuffed with flavor! Lots of colorful vegetables and ground turkey.

Karen’s Best Matzo Balls with Dill

Karen’s Best Matzo Balls with Dill

My foolproof recipe for tender and tasty Matzo Balls for Passover or anytime!

Spring Asparagus Soup – Vegan – with Cashew Crema Swirl

Spring Asparagus Soup – Vegan – with Cashew Crema Swirl

A bright green velvety-creamy (yet no cream) delicious Spring Asparagus Soup. Light yet hearty with fresh flavors.

Grilled Pineapple Salsa a la Plancha

Grilled Pineapple Salsa a la Plancha

This vibrant salsa with a bright and fresh taste adds pizzaz to many meals. (Yes you can just devour with a spoon! ) Easy to prepare – pineapple cooks on a seasoned cast iron skillet until beautifully caramelized and golden.

Strawberry-Honey Balsamic Vinaigrette

Strawberry-Honey Balsamic Vinaigrette

I’m loving this vinaigrette! Puréed Strawberries are blended in – lending a beautiful color and natural sweetness.

Strawberry and Beet Salad with Strawberry-Honey Balsamic Vinaigrette

Strawberry and Beet Salad with Strawberry-Honey Balsamic Vinaigrette

This vibrant salad is crave-worthy and perfect for entertaining! Correctly roasting brings a wonderful flavor and texture to beets. I have prepared them every way: shaved raw, grated, boiled, steamed and roasted. My oven roasting method I think is my favorite ~ beets get a golden color and depth of flavor, and cook quicker than […]

Banana Oat & Walnut Waffles

The Ultimate Banana, Oat & Walnut Waffles – Naturally Gluten Free

Seriously – a genius recipe! Place ingredients in a blender, whirl until smooth – heat up the waffle iron… and the ultimate, healthy waffles are minutes away! Gluten Free – the recipe contains no flour, use alternate milks for a Vegan version.

Karen's Homemade Weekday Granola

Karen’s Homemade Weekday Granola

Not too sweet, low in fat – perfect for everyday eating and snacking!

Grilled Chicken Buffalo Nachos (Vegetarian version too)

Grilled Chicken Buffalo Nachos (Vegetarian version too)

Loaded Nachos don’t need to be a fattening, processed mess! Serve these on Super Bowl Sunday… rave reviews to come! This recipe make enough for a hungry crowd – 12 – 16 appetizer portions. Easily Gluten Free (see my cheese sauce.)

Quick and Healthy Chicken Soup with Ginger and Vegetables

Quick and Healthy Chicken Soup with Ginger and Vegetables

A bevy of vegetables enrich this soup; ginger adds a boost of flavor with powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. Pure soul-comfort food. Gluten Free with rice noodles. This quick and healthy soup has definite Asian-notes with Rice Noodles (gluten free), Napa Cabbage, Snow Peas and a good dose of Ginger.

Lemony Extra Virgin Olive Oil Dressing

Lemony Extra Virgin Olive Oil Dressing with Many Uses

A zesty and healthy dressing you whisk and refrigerate. Drizzle on lettuces, composed salads and serve on the side of roasted vegetables or fish.

Lemony Extra Virgin Olive Oil Dressing

Antioxidant Kale Salad with Lemony Extra Virgin Olive Oil Dressing

Healthful, good-for-you ingredients with amazing flavors. Say “YES” to more plant-based foods in your regime. This nutritious and delicious salad includes: organic red curly kale, heirloom cherry tomatoes, chick peas, breakfast radishes, cooked quinoa, roasted butternut squash, natural sliced toasted almonds, sun gold (yellow)kiwi and microgreens

Crab Tostadas Bites with Avocado-Cucumber Mash

Crab Tostadas Bites with Avocado-Cucumber Mash

For the recipe: Make Crisp Corn Tortilla Triangles / Lump Crab Salad / Avocado-Cucumber Mash

Incredible Instant Pot Split Pea Soup

Incredible Instant Pot Split Pea Soup – With Too Many Vegetables

The comfort soup of the season! Your Instant Pot will cook this soup beautifully… healthy & hearty. Want to make on the stovetop? ~ See instructions below. 

Greek Lemon Turkey Soup (an after Thanksgiving special recipe)

Greek Lemon Turkey Soup (an after Thanksgiving special recipe)

A Hearty, Healthy & Zesty Soup using 2 cups of diced freshly roasted turkey from your Thanksgiving feast. Make again using leftover chicken!  Instead of classic orzo rice, I have use a medium grain white rice… Calrose rice. It has great natural thickening properties, which is what I love. This soup has tons of vegetables […]

Creamy Layered Purple & Ivory Mashed Potatoes (Perfect for Thanksgiving)

Creamy Layered Purple & Ivory Mashed Potatoes (Perfect for Thanksgiving)

How amazing are these potatoes? They can be made days ahead and reheated. What I love about this recipe – besides it’s gorgeous presentation is they are not heavy, but light and creamy. But no cream in the recipe. Just the right amount of milk & butter… but not too much. Garlic adds depth and […]

Karen’s Mac n Cheese with Butternut Squash and Apples

Karen’s Mac n Cheese with Butternut Squash and Apples

What’s better than homemade macaroni and cheese? Here’s a recipe that is creamy, rich and has a crunchy topping that is irresistible! (Awesome Gluten-Free option too.) Adding cubes of Butternut Squash and Apples makes for an interesting, updated Fall Macaroni and Cheese. Adds interest and depth of flavor. Italian Chiocciole shaped pasta or Italian Gluten-Free Penne […]

Unbelievable Mild Apple Cider Hot Sauce

Unbelievable Mild Apple Cider Hot Sauce

A mild kick – this homemade hot sauce you can slather on! Easy and fun to prepare in just a few minutes. Homemade Hot Sauce adds zip to healthy, often ordinary table fare. You’ll have control of the ingredients and level of heat. I love a flavorful “mild version” although you can add a higher level […]

Shaved Carrot Slaw

Shaved Carrot Slaw

A great little side dish, sweet & sour with a little kick. Heirloom Carrots make it special. Great served with: Glazed Hoisin Salmon with Pine Nuts (see recipe)

Close Cookmode
A Zest For Life
Sign up for our free weekly newsletter - delicious recipes and tips with a healthy twist.
Karen's obsession with food and style