a balanced plate with room for dessert


Fresh Pineapple Salsa

I’ve been loving the spring weather this week. All the snow is gone and the temps have been warm enough for me to run in a tee. Mike and I are hoping to take advantage of this weather by going on a nice, long hike and with the pups this weekend and then grilling out after. Fingers crossed that the forecast is wrong and that it doesn’t rain!

This pineapple salsa is sweet with the perfect amount of heat. It’s super versatile, too. I ate it with chicken, with pretzel thins, and even just straight-up with a spoon.

Fresh Pineapple Salsa |

Fresh Pineapple Salsa

1/2 pineapple peeled, cored and cut into 1/4-inch dice (about 3 cups)
1/2 cup diced red onion
1 1/2 cup diced red bell pepper
1 jalapeno, seeded and minced
1 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
salt and pepper, to taste

  1. In a large nonreactive bowl, stir together pineapple, onion, bell pepper, jalapeno, lime juice and cilantro. Season with salt and pepper.
  2. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

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Lemon-Thyme Roasted Chicken and Veggies

This chicken is Mike-approved. He inhaled his entire piece before I got through a quarter of mine. I was surprised at how juicy the chicken turned out. When roasting, I usually try to use bone-in, skin-on chicken to keep the chicken from drying out. But the magical lemon-thyme sauce kept this boneless, skinless chicken breast tender and juicy and not at all dry.

Lemon Thyme Roasted Chicken |

And the vegetables? They were my favorite part of the meal!

Lemon Thyme Roasted Chicken & Veggies |

Lemon-Thyme Roasted Chicken and Veggies

for the chicken:
2 boneless, skinless chicken breast
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon thyme, minced
1 lemon, thinly sliced
1/2 lemon, juiced (save other half for veggies)

for the vegetables:
4 medium russet potatoes, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1/2 pound green beans
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 lemon, juiced
Olive oil spray

Preheat oven to 450F.

In a shallow dish, combine olive oil, garlic, salt, pepper, thyme, and lemon juice. Add chicken, turning to coat.

Lightly spray an oven-safe pan or cast iron skillet with olive oil and arrange lemon slices on the bottom of the pan. Place chicken on top of the lemon slices, pouring any remaining marinade on top.

Spray a separate oven-safe baking dish with olive oil. Add in potatoes, green beans, garlic and lemon juice. Toss to coat.

Bake for chicken and veggies for 30 minutes or until chicken is cooked through and vegetables are tender.

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Easy Roasted Brussels Sprouts

I slid my way through 6 snowy, icy miles on my run yesterday. There were a few things on my mind:
  1. Don’t fall, don’t fall, don’t fall
  2. Don’t get hit by a car
  3. Don’t fall
  4. I’m so hungry… Ooh! I have Brussels sprouts at home!
These Brussels sprouts are dangerously addictive. Even Mike, who doesn’t really care for Brussels sprouts, gobbled these up happily. He has actually been requesting roasted Brussels sprouts for the last couple weeks. I think we’re averaging 2 – 3 pounds of Brussels sprouts per week right now! 
Easy Roasted Brussels Sprouts |
This recipe is a good reminder that good food doesn’t have to be complicated. It’s four ingredients: Brussels sprouts, olive oil, salt, and pepper. I still can’t get over how simple and delicious these are.
Easy Roasted Brussels Sprouts |
Easy Roasted Brussels Sprouts
1 pound Brussels sprouts
extra virgin olive oil spray
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Spray a baking pan with olive oil and set aside.
  2. Cut off the end of the Brussels sprouts. Cut Brussels sprouts in half and remove any discolored outer leaves.
  3. Place Brussels sprouts in prepared baking pan and spray with olive oil. Sprinkle on salt and pepper and stir to coat. Bake in preheated oven for 20 – 25 minutes, stirring once or twice. Brussels sprouts are done when lightly browned. Season with more salt and pepper to taste before serving.


Quick & Easy Mexican Rice

I whipped up a batch of this rice to go with the chicken enchiladas I made for Mike. Because, you know, a carb-heavy entree needs a carb-heavy side dish to go with it. Ok, truth is, I made this rice because the enchiladas smelled so good and I couldn’t eat them. So I made a bunch of rice and ate that instead. Now, this rice is obviously not the same as a chicken enchilada, but it was enough to satisfy my craving. This is my favorite go-to recipe for a quick and easy dish to accompany any Mexican-inspired entree that might find its way onto our table.

Quick and Easy Mexican Rice |

Quick & Easy Mexican Rice

1 tablespoon canola oil
2 cups uncooked long grain rice
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 jalapenos, seeded and minced, optional
1 (15 ounce) can diced tomatoes
3 cups low sodium vegetable broth
cilantro and lime wedges to garnish, optional

  1. Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add rice and cook, stirring constantly, until rice is lightly toasted. Sprinkle with garlic powder and cumin and stir to combine.
  2. Add in onion, garlic, and jalapenos and cook, stirring occasionally, until onions are translucent. Stir in diced tomatoes and broth and bring mixture to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, cover, and let cook for 20 – 25 minutes or until rice is fully cooked. Fluff with a fork before serving. Garnish with chopped cilantro and a lime wedge if desired.

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Maple Balsamic Quinoa Salad

I’ve been hunting for quinoa dishes ever since my co-worker picked up the world’s largest bag of quinoa from Costco for me. I’ve come across some seriously drool-worthy dishes laden with cheese and other delicious dairy-ness. While I’ve been able to introduce dairy back into my diet with some success, I’m still wary – one bite too many is bad news.

Fortunately, this super easy maple balsamic quinoa salad is 100% dairy-free. As an added bonus, the ingredients in the recipe are fridge and pantry staples for me. I found the original dressing proportions of oil, vinegar and syrup to be way too sweet, so I decreased the amount of syrup and oil. If you prefer a sweeter dressing, use a 1:1 ratio of oil, vinegar and syrup.

maple balsamic quinoa salad |

Maple Balsamic Quinoa Salad

1 2/3 cup quinoa, rinsed
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
1 cup dried cranberries
1 cup raw unsalted almonds, roughly chopped
4 to 5 scallions, thinly sliced
1 tsp sea salt, plus additional to taste

  1. Cook quinoa according to package directions. Refrigerate until completely cooled, stirring occasionally.
  2. Meanwhile, prepared the dressing by whisking oil, vinegar and maple syrup together in a small bowl.
  3. Add dressing to the cooled quinoa. Stir in cranberries, pecans, scallions and salt until well combined. Refrigerate at least 1 hour, preferably overnight. Serve cold or at room temperature.

Slightly adapted from Clean Eating Magazine


Kale BLT Salad

Ok, so there isn’t any “L” in this BLT salad. It should probably be called BKT or BKaleT.  As it turns out, raw kale isn’t really my jam. It tastes like what I think grass might taste like. But, raw kale covered in dressing with bacon? Right up my alley.

My coworker gave me three huge bags of kale – two curly kale and one dino kale. The curly kale went into this salad and I’m still contemplating what to do with the dino kale. I might just make another BKT salad because I’m seriously lacking in the kale recipe department. My coworker kindly included a recipe for this salad along with the kale. A little internet searching led me to the original source – Vegan Yum Yum. Needless to say, I completely un-veganfied it. Not only did I use mayo and bacon, I went and ate my salad with some grilled chicken, too. No regrets 🙂

Kale BLT Salad |

Kale BLT Salad

2 heads curly kale
12 strips bacon, cooked and sliced into 1/4-inch pieces
2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
1/2 red onion, thinly sliced

for the dressing:
1/3 cup low fat mayonnaise
1 1/2 teaspoon dijon mustard
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon lemon juice
2 teaspoons honey
freshly ground black pepper, to taste

  1. Wash and dry kale. Remove the stem from each leaf with a pair of scissors, a knife, or your fingers. Stack leaves on top of each other and slice into thin strips. Place kale strips into a large bowl and toss with bacon, cherry tomatoes, and red onion.
  2. To make the dressing, whisk all ingredients together. Pour over salad and toss to coat. Serve immediately or refrigerate until serving.

slightly adapted from Vegan Yum Yum

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Panko-Coated Chicken Schnitzel with Parsley Potatoes

Summer means shorter work hours for me, but for some reason I’m finding myself less and less motivated to make elaborate meals. Maybe it’s the heat. Maybe the shorter work weeks make me lazy. Maybe it’s Summer Brain. 

All that said, I love this dish because it tastes complicated but is really quite simple to make. The worst of it was it requires a lot of pans, plates, and utensils, but that’s not really my problem since Mike does the dishes 😉

Panko-Coated Chicken Schnitzel with Parsley Potatoes |

Chicken Schnitzel with Parsley Potatoes

for the chicken:
1 cup flour
3 eggs, beaten
2 cups panko bread crumbs
4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves, butterflied and pounded to 1/4 inch thickness
salt and freshly ground pepper
1/4 cup canola oil
2 tablespoons butter
1/3 cup low sodium chicken broth
2 teaspoons capers
juice of 1 1/2 large lemons
2 tablespoons parsley, chopped

for the potatoes:
1 pound red potatoes, quartered or cut into eighths if large
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted
juice of 1/2 large lemon
2 tablespoons parsley, chopped
salt and pepper, to taste

  1. To make the chicken, place the flour, eggs, and panko in three separate shallow dishes. Mix in 1 teaspoon of salt and 1 teaspoon of pepper into the flour mixture.
  2. Season the chicken with salt and pepper. Dredge chicken in flour and shake off excess. Dip into egg and then coat with panko, using your hands to gently press the panko to the chicken.
  3. Heat canola oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken and cook until golden and crispy, about 3 – 4 minutes each side.
  4. Meanwhile, melt butter in a small saucepan over medium heat until lightly browned. Add in chicken broth, capers, and lemon juice. Spoon over chicken and sprinkle with parsley before serving.
  5. To make the potatoes, place potatoes in a medium saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to a simmer, and cook until potatoes are tender, about 15 minutes. Stir in butter, lemon juice, parsley, salt, and pepper. Toss gently until potatoes are coated evenly.

schnitzel recipe adapted from Food & Wine