The Perfect Asparagus Everytime!

When Asparagus starts showing up in grocery stores you know spring has sprung! The tender stalks of green (or white!) lend themselves beautifully to any dish or they can stand on their own as a delicious side dish!

Asparagus can be sauteed, steamed, roasted or grilled and is perfect alongside chicken breasts! No matter how you serve them, cooking asparagus is quick, easy and delicious!

Cooked asparagus piled on a plate with a fork and pat of butter on top.

How to Prepare Asparagus

This wonderfully elegant and tasty spring veggie is so easy to prepare! In any asparagus recipe be sure to start with fresh, crisp, firm stalks.

Types of Asparagus:

  • Green Asparagus: There are two types of green asparagus, a wider and a thinner stalk.There
    • Wider Asparagus: meatier texture and a bolder flavor.
    • Thinner Asparagus: more tender and has a sweeter flavor and cooks very quickly.
  • White Asparagus: This type actually grows underground and has a more delicate flavor. Be sure to peel it since the outer layer can be bitter.

Asparagus prepared and ready to store in the fridge in a glass jar

To Store Asparagus

Once you have picked your asparagus, remove the rubber band that keeps the stalks together and give them a rinse.

Fill a glass jar with about 1″ of water and place the asparagus in the bottom (almost like you would keep fresh cut flowers). This is how I store fresh herbs for up to 2 weeks too! Store uncovered in the fridge.

To Prepare Asparagus: The bottoms of each spear can be a bit woody in texture so you’ll want to remove that part. Grab each stalk in the middle and at the woody bottom. Bend to snap off the bottom end of the stalk, it naturally want to snap where it becomes tender.

To Peel or Not To Peel?

There really is no need to peel asparagus most of the time, especially thinner asparagus. If the stem is really thick, feel free to use a vegetable peeler and trim the stalks slightly, making them easier to cook and eat. I very rarely peel them.

Close up of asparagus in a steaming basket.

The Best Ways to Cook Asparagus

This versatile veggie is a ‘snap’ to cook! Here are some favorite ways to prepare this springtime favorite! Asparagus cooks quickly, so take care not to overcook it! Cook just until softened and still a little bit crisp. This will give it the perfect crunch when you bite into it!

How to Cook Asparagus on the Stove

One of the easiest ways to cook asparagus is on the stove!

  • It can be steamed in hot water or the broth of your choice for a no-fat, low-fat side.
  • It can be sautéed in olive oil or butter and seasoned with salt and pepper until it just starts to turn brown and becomes tender.

How to Cook Asparagus in the Oven

Roasting asparagus gives it a deep, dark, charred look and an intense flavor, like in this easy oven roasted asparagus recipe.

  • Toss with olive oil and seasonings.
  • Heat the oven to 425°F and roast until tender, 8-12 minutes depending on thickness.

How to Cook Asparagus on the Grill

  • Toss with olive oil and season as desired.
  • Preheat grill to medium high and cook 5-8 minutes depending on thickness.

A plate of steamed asparagus with butter for serving

Amazing Asparagus:

How to Cook Asparagus

Follow these handy tips for a fool proof asparagus side dish!

  • 1 pound asparagus
  • olive oil (optional depending on method)
  • salt & pepper to taste
  1. Wash asparagus under cool water and shake a little bit to dry.
  2. Snap off the bottom stem of each spear.

To Steam Asparagus

  1. Place water in the bottom of a saucepan and line with a steamer basket ensuring the water doesn't touch the basket. Bring to a boil.

  2. Place asparagus in the basket, cover and allow to steam 5-10 minutes depending on thickness and desired doneness.
  3. Place asparagus on a plate, toss with butter and season with salt & pepper. Serve warm.

To Roast Asparagus

  1. Preheat oven to 425°F.

  2. Toss asparagus with 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil per pound and salt & pepper.

  3. Roast 8-12 minutes or until tender crisp.

To Grill Asparagus

  1. Preheat grill to medium high heat.

  2. Toss asparagus with 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil per pound and salt & pepper.

  3. Grill asparagus spears directly on the grill 5-8 minutes turning occasionally. Cook just until tender crisp and lightly charred.

Nutrition information is for asparagus only.

Everything you need to know from preparing asparagus to cooking asparagus and everything in between! Make perfect asparagus everytime with this helpful how to cook asparagus guide! #spendwithpennies #howtocookasparagus #kitchentips #howtoguide #sidedish #lowcarb
Everything you need to know from preparing asparagus to cooking asparagus and everything in between! Make perfect asparagus everytime with this helpful how to cook asparagus guide! #spendwithpennies #howtocookasparagus #kitchentips #howtoguide #sidedish #lowcarb

Marinated Chopped Salad packed with veggies!

Marinated Chopped Salad is loaded with all of our favorite vegetables and tossed in a tangy vinaigrette dressing. It is perfect for a summer picnic or packed for lunch at the office! It’s fresh, colorful and crunchy!

Paired with an easy marinade, this chopped salad is a great alternative to a simple tossed salad or classic chef salad and perfect at any potluck!

Marinated chopped salad in a wooden bowl, garnished with dill and parsley.

What is a Chopped Salad?

A chopped salad recipe is exactly what it sounds like; a salad made with crisp veggies at the peak of freshness chopped and tossed with dressing.

This salad is a colorful healthy blend of your favorite veggies mixed with a bright, tangy vinaigrette dressing that is sure to please even the pickiest of veggie eaters!

In this recipe I skip the lettuce but many chopped salads include lettuce as well!

Bowl full of marinated chopped salad ingredients.

What Goes in a Chopped Salad?

You can mix and match a lot of the ingredients, but the basics are in this recipe! Don’t forget to toss with a chopped salad dressing that blends and complements ALL the flavors of the veggies!

Veggies:

  • Juicy – tomatoes, cucumbers, zucchini
  • Crunchy – carrots, cauliflower, bell peppers, cabbage (Red or green, note that red can discolor the other ingredients if left overnight).
  • Colorful – I choose all of the colors of the rainbow in this delicious salad.

You can absolutely substitute any of the vegetables in this recipe with your favorites, or whatever you happen to have on hand. Sliced zucchini, onions, mushrooms… the possibilities are endless! Try adding romaine lettuce or even adding in your favorite cheese, like feta or goat cheese!

Bowl of chopped salad ingredients with dressing being poured on top.

How to Make a Chopped Salad

It’s all about the chop! This salad may be made up of a few simple ingredients, but it does require a bit of prep. To make this easier, I like to use my favorite chopper. It chops all the veggies perfectly and saves tons of time! After this salad, you’ll wonder how you ever survived without using a chopper!

  1. Dressing: Whisk together the dressing ingredients. Set aside in the fridge.
  2. Chop: Chop the veggies and herbs and place in a large bowl.
  3. Mix: Add the chilled dressing and toss everything well.

Refrigerate for at least 2 hours or make this the night before!  This will allow the veggies plenty of time to marinate and soak up some of the tangy dressing. Since both the salad and dressing can stay in the fridge for days,  it’s perfect for meal prepping your lunches.

More Easy Salads

Marinated Chopped Salad

This chopped salad is packed with fresh veggies and marinated in a red wine vinegar dressing.

  • 1 1/2 cups grape tomatoes (chopped)
  • 1 cup carrots (diced)
  • 1 cup yellow bell pepper (chopped)
  • 1 1/2 cups cucumber (chopped)
  • 1 cup green cabbage (or red cabbage*, chopped)
  • 1 cup cauliflower pieces
  • 1 cup zucchini
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons fresh dill (chopped)
  • 2 tablespoons fresh parsley

Dressing

  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • salt and pepper
  1. Combine all dressing ingredients in small bowl or jar. Whisk (or shake) to combine.
  2. Chop all ingredients and place in a large bowl. Toss with dressing and refrigerate at least 2 hours before serving stirring occasionally.

If marinating overnight, the color of the purple cabbage can bleed so I recommend green cabbage. 

REPIN this Fresh Recipe

Chopped salad in a large wooden bowl

This is the best chopped salad! With 7 different veggies, it is packed with healthy crunchy flavors. Even tossed in the tasty dressing it still lasts for days in the fridge. Perfect for meal prepping lunches! #spendwithpennies #marinatedchoppedsalad #vegetablesalad #sidedish #lunch
This is the best chopped salad! With 7 different veggies, it is packed with healthy crunchy flavors. Even tossed in the tasty dressing it still lasts for days in the fridge. Perfect for meal prepping lunches! #spendwithpennies #marinatedchoppedsalad #vegetablesalad #sidedish #lunch

Pan Seared Scallops with Lemon Caper Sauce

Pan Seared Scallops with Lemon Caper Sauce is an elegant yet easy dish that is perfect for special occasions or any day of the week. The caramelized scallops and the delicious sauce is made all in one pan!

The tastiest pan-seared scallops that have a beautiful caramelized crust. It’s drizzled with a lemon caper sauce that makes each bite even more irresistible. Garlic Butter Herb Scallops or Honey Garlic Butter Scallops are other amazing scallop recipes to try!

Pan Seared Scallops with Lemon Caper Sauce

Pan Seared Scallops with Lemon Caper Sauce

Hi there! I’m Jessica Gavin, a Certified Culinary Scientist and cookbook author. I love to teach the science behind better cooking with my readers on JessicaGavin.com.

I’m so thrilled to now be a part of the contributor team here on The Recipe Critic, thanks Alyssa! This delicious recipe is a hit with my family when we’re craving an upscale meal made right at home.

Scallops may seem like an intimidating and fancy dish that’s reserved only for restaurants. I’m here to share my easy method for creating a beautiful crust every time right at home. There are three key steps to a achieve a golden exterior and tender texture.

After a few tasty test runs, you will nail the pan-searing technique, impressing your hungry eaters with your gourmet skills.

These pan seared scallops can be served as an appetizer or light meal. Now that you know the secrets to perfectly caramelized scallops, you might also enjoy my pan-roasted halibut too. I hope you enjoy this recipe and experiment with your own flavor twists!

How Do You Make Scallops with Lemon Caper Sauce?

  • The first step is allowing the scallops to sit in a saltwater solution for about 10 minutes before cooking. The benefits of a brine are it delicately seasons the seafood, helps it retain moisture, and prevents the scallops from getting too tough as it’s cooking. If you’ve got a few extra minutes, it’s worthwhile to do.
  • The second step is to dry the surface of the scallops as thoroughly as possible. This process allows immediate searing and color development while preventing steaming in the pan. I just dry them in between paper towel until there is no residual moisture and they become slightly sticky when touched.
  • The third step is to choose the right pan and use very high heat when cooking. My go-to is a large cast iron skillet, I use it for spicy garlic shrimp and even skillet cornbread. Stainless steel will also work to get a caramel-colored surface too. The pan needs to be super hot so browning begins immediately as scallops can turn rubbery fairly quickly if overcooked. Once those scallops hit the pan, do not move them until you are ready to flip! I also use a little bit of butter to baste the scallops at the end of cooking to promote even more browning and flavor.
  • To complement the buttery scallops, a luscious and bright lemon caper sauce is made right in the pan that the scallops were seared. There is a lot of wonderful flavors retained in the pan, and you want to incorporate it in the sauce. Aromatic garlic, white wine, chicken broth, lemon juice and capers are reduced until a thickened sauce is achieved. A little bit of Dijon mustard is whisked in for a hint of pungency, creating a delicate savory citrus sauce to compliment to the crusted scallops.

Scallops with golden crust searing in a cast iron skillet

What is a Scallop?

Scallop is a common name that is primarily applied to any one of numerous species of saltwater clams or marine bivalve mollusks in the taxonomic family Pectinidae, the scallops.

What do Scallops Taste Like?

They are often described as similar to crab or lobster, but more firm. Their flavor tends to be sweet and delicate, but it’s the texture that really makes them interesting and enticing. When cooked correctly, they are soft and chewy but not rubbery or tough.

Are Sea Scallops Good for You?

Scallops are 80 percent protein.  They are also a good source of magnesium and potassium.

How Do I Make Seared Scallops?

Add olive oil to a skillet and turn to medium-high heat.  Salt and pepper the scallops and add to the heated pan.  Sear the scallops 3-3 1/2 minutes or until the sides are golden brown.

Can You Cook Frozen Scallops?

You will want to thaw scallops, if frozen. You can thaw them several hours or overnight in the refrigerator. Do not thaw scallops at room temperature. Rinse scallops and pat them dry with paper towels before cooking.

What Do You Eat with Scallops?

Many green vegetables, such as asparagus, green beans, and broccoli, accompany scallops nicely. You can also serve scallops on a bed of fresh spinach, kale, or with cooked collard greens. I recommend adding angel hair pasta or sautéed zucchini noodles to toss in the lemon caper sauce for a more filling entree.

What White Wine cooks well with Scallops?

For cooking, you will want a wine with a high acidity known in wine parlance as “crisp.” Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Grigio, Pinot Gris, Pinot Blanc, Sémillon, and dry sparkling wines are especially good.

Can I Leave out the White Wine?

Yes! This is just an option for those who lit the flavor and tasting of a white wine.

Whisk mixing a lemon caper sauce in a cast iron pan

Looking for More Seafood Recipes? Try these!

Golden brown scallops sitting in a lemon caper sauce

Pan Seared Scallops with Lemon Caper Sauce

Pan Seared Scallops with Lemon Caper Sauce is a simple yet elegant dish that is perfect for special occasions or any day of the week. The caramelized scallops and sauce is made all in one pan.

  • ⅓ cup kosher salt (plus more for seasoning)
  • 1 cup hot water
  • 4 cups ice water
  • 1 pound large scallops (1 ½ inches wide, about 14 to 16)
  • 3 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • ½ cup white wine (optional)
  • 1 cup unsalted chicken broth
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 2 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoon capers (rinsed)
  • 1 tablespoon dijon mustard
  • Black pepper (for seasoning)
  • 1 tablespoon chopped dill
  • 1 teaspoon chopped chives
  • 6 lemon wedges
  1. In a [url:2]medium-sized bowl[/url] combine salt and hot water, stirring to dissolve the salt. Add ice water to cool the brine. Add scallops to the brine and let stand for 10 minutes. Line a [url:3]sheet pan[/url] with paper towels, set aside.
  2. Drain the scallops, rinse under cold water, and then arrange in a single layer on the paper towel-lined sheet pan. Place another paper towel on top of the scallops and gently pat scallops. Remove as much surface moisture as possible for the best browning results when cooked.
  3. Allow scallops to sit for 10 minutes at room temperature before cooking.
  4. In a 12-inch saute pan or cast iron skillet, heat olive oil over medium-high heat until oil ripples and just begins to smoke.
  5. Sprinkle scallops lightly with salt on both sides.
  6. Place scallops into the hot pan without crowding. Gently press scallops with a spatula to make direct contact with the pan.
  7. Sear scallops without moving them, continuing to cook until bottoms are a rich golden brown, 3 to 3 ½ minutes.
  8. Add butter to the pan. Turn the scallops over and cook the second side. Use a spoon to baste the scallops with the butter, tilting the pan to collect the butter as needed.
  9. When the scallops are opaque in color and firm to the touch, about 1 to 2 minutes, turn off heat and transfer to a plate, do not discard pan.
  10. In the same pan used for cooking the scallops turn heat to medium. Add garlic and cook for 1 minute, until fragrant but not browned.
  11. Increase heat to medium-high and add wine. Simmer wine, stirring as needed until the wine is reduced by half, about 3 minutes.
  12. Turn heat to high and add the chicken stock, lemon zest, lemon juice and capers to the pan. Cook until sauce is reduced by half, about ½ cup, 8 to 10 minutes.
  13. Turn off heat and whisk in Dijon mustard.
  14. Turn heat to medium and add scallops back to pan, cook until warm, 2 minutes.
  15. Taste sauce and season with salt and pepper as needed.
  16. Garnish scallops with chopped dill, chives and serve immediately with lemon wedges.

[b]Alyssa Also Recommends: [/b]

Want to make this even easier? Here are a few products that I LOVE:

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Crispy Jicama Fries (Oven Roasted and Low Carb)

Jicama Fries are a low carb recipe that will impress your family and friends! They are the are made with an edible root, olive oil, herbs and make the perfect snack that’s keto friendly too!

Pair up with Ranch Dressing or a garlicky aioli and snack away! Baked jicama fries are an excellent alternative to classic starchy Potato French Fries and are just as easy to make!

Crispy seasoned jicama fries with ranch dip on the side.

What is Jicama?

Jicama is an edible root, often referred to as a ‘Mexican turnip.’ With a tough skin and a crispy, crunchy white firm flesh, jicama is often substituted for water chestnuts because it stays crunchy in soups. I always describe the taste and texture as a potato mixed with an apple. It has great crunch and is perfect eaten raw as part of a veggie dip!

Because of its mildly sweet flavor, jicama can be used in dozens of ways. Try topping a tossed salad with shredded jicama for a sweet burst of flavor!

How to Cut Jicama

Cutting jicama is easy once you remove the outer peel with a vegetable peeler. Since jicama is round like a turnip, it can be cut all sorts of ways. Most commonly, jicama is cut into slices for dipping. For these roasted jicama fries, however, cut it into slices and then the slices into strips so they resemble french fries.

Sliced uncooked jicama in a pot with water.

How to Make Jicama Fries

These jicama fries are delicious but the do not have the same texture as a french fry, they will stay somewhat tender crisp. They do have a slightly sweet flavor, they are yummy and a great low carb option!

  1. Boil: Peel jicama and cut into ‘fries’ and boil them.
  2. Mix: Drain and place in a bowl with the remaining ingredients and toss well.
  3. Bake: Bake until golden brown flipping them half way through to evenly cook.

Dip  into anything you like! You can spice things up by dipping your fries into this Spicy Dill Dip or stick with a classic like ketchup or Honey Mustard.

Sliced Jicama fries seasoned on a baking sheet ready to go in the oven.

Serve Alongside These Favorite Meals

Jicama Fries

This low carb root vegetable is a great keto side dish tossed in a little olive oil and herbs!

  • 2 large jicama
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon seasoned salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  1. Preheat oven to 425°F.
  2. Peel jicama and cut into ‘fries’. Boil 10-12 minutes.

  3. Drain and dab dry. Toss with remaining ingredients.

  4. Place on a parchment lined pan and bake 20 minutes.

  5. Flip and bake an additional 20 minutes or until golden

  6. Serve warm with ranch or aioli.

REPIN this Easy Recipe

Jicama Fries garished with parsley

Roasted jicama fries are a great substitute for classic french fries. They are tossed in olive oil, herbs and oven baked making them a great low carb side dish option. #spendwithpennies #jicamafries #lowcarbfrenchfries #ketofriendly #sidedish
Roasted jicama fries are a great substitute for classic french fries. They are tossed in olive oil, herbs and oven baked making them a great low carb side dish option. #spendwithpennies #jicamafries #lowcarbfrenchfries #ketofriendly #sidedish

Easy Baked Bruschetta Chicken (serve over pasta)

Baked Bruschetta Chicken is an easy weeknight meal and perfect served over your favorite pasta! Tender balsamic marinated chicken breasts are baked with garlic, basil and juicy cherry tomatoes to create a delicious meal that everyone loves!

Serve this with some crusty bread and garlic butter and a fresh Italian Salad for a complete meal!

Baked bruschetta chicken breasts topped with tomatoes and basil and served over a bowl of spaghetti

An Easy Weeknight Meal

Don’t be afraid of the fancy Italian-sounding name “Bruschetta.” I make a ton of tomato bruschetta all summer long and we often end up eating it for meals or served over chicken!

Kind of like Easy Chicken Parmesan, this bruschetta chicken recipe is a make-ahead and pop-in-the oven kind of entrée. Tender chicken breasts covered in a garlicky, seasoned marinara, cherry tomatoes, and bubbling mozzarella cheese! Perfect for Sunday dinner with the extended fam. Who can say no to that?

Cooked Chicken breasts in a 9x13 pan topped with cheese and cherry tomato bruschetta

Bruschetta Chicken

Bruschetta is an appetizer many of us are familiar with however, did you know that the word bruschetta actually refers to the bread and not the topping? I took the flavors from my favorite bruschetta topping (tomato/basil/garlic) to create this amazing meal!

What is Bruschetta Chicken? Bruschetta chicken bake is full-flavored and hearty; the topping is baked right onto the chicken breasts. Turn this into a complete meal by serving it over spaghetti for the perfect Bruschetta Chicken Pasta. Mama Mia!

Raw chicken breasts topped with Italian seasoning, balsamic vinegar and olive oil for making bruschetta chicken

How to Make Bruschetta Chicken

This meal is pretty easy to make and uses basic ingredients. Fresh basil isn’t expensive but it makes a huge difference in the flavor of this dish! If you can’t find cherry tomatoes, grape tomatoes (or even chopped roma tomatoes) will work just fine.

  • Marinate: Combine olive oil, balsamic vinegar and minced garlic in a small bowl and marinate chicken breasts for a few minutes.
  • Brown: Brown the chicken for two minutes on each side. The chicken will cook in the oven, you just want to brown it.
  • Bake: Place in a 9×13 casserole dish and top with cherry tomatoes. Bake until bubbly.
  • Top: Top with cheese and broil up to 3 minutes or until melted.

To Serve this Chicken Dish

For the topping, combine tomatoes with olive oil, vinegar, and basil garlic. Spoon over the finished dish and serve over pasta!

A 9x13 pan of cooked bruschetta chicken topped with cheese and fresh basil.

What to Serve with Bruschetta Chicken

A great glass of Chianti, of course! A light, bright tossed salad, and some garlic bread rounds out this unforgettable entrée! For a true Italian dining experience, a little Tiramisu or Panna Cotta makes for a sweet ending!

More Italian Favorites

Bruschetta Chicken

Tender balsamic marinated chicken breasts are baked with garlic, basil and juicy cherry tomatoes to create a delicious meal that everyone loves!

  • 4 chicken breasts
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil (divided)
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 3/4 cup marinara sauce
  • 2 cups cherry tomatoes
  • 4 oz mozzarella cheese

Bruschetta Topping

  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes (diced)
  • 1 clove garlic (minced)
  • 2 tablespoons fresh basil (finely chopped)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 tablespoon red wine vinegar (or balsamic)
  • salt & pepper (to taste)
  1. Preheat oven to 400°F.
  2. Combine 3 tablespoons olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and garlic in a small bowl.

  3. Mix 1/4 cup of the balsamic mixture with chicken breasts, salt & pepper and Italian seasoning and marinate 15 minutes.

  4. Heat remaining tablespoon olive oil in a medium skillet. Add chicken and brown 2 minutes on each side.

  5. Place marinara sauce in the bottom of a 9×13 pan. Top with browned chicken breasts and cherry tomatoes. Drizzle with remaining balsamic mixture.

  6. Bake 20-25 minutes or until juices run clear and chicken reaches 165°F. 

  7. Top with mozzarella and broil 2-3 minutes.

  8. Combine all topping ingredients in a bowl and spoon over chicken. Serve over pasta.

 

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Oven Baked Califlower

Easy Baked Cauliflower is the perfect side dish for any meal! This is one of those sides that everyone needs in their recipe book, nothing fancy, no crazy ingredients but lots of flavor and simple to prep.

Serve it alongside a juicy Bacon Wrapped Pork Tenderloin or perfectly tender Oven Baked Chicken Breasts or thighs.

Baked cauliflower garnished with parsley on a baking sheet

A Simple Side Dish

Want to take your veggie game to the next level? There are so many new and tasty ways to enjoy the vegetables we grew up with (zoodles anyone?). This easy baked cauliflower recipe will please vegetarians and carnivores alike!

Cauliflower is a nutritional powerhouse with just 50 calories per 2 cups and packed with fiber. This baked cauliflower recipe is a simple fix on a busy night and can easily be placed in the oven along with your favorite meatloaf recipe or even placed in the pan with a roasted chicken!

How to Prepare Cauliflower Florets

Cauliflower is a compact and heavy vegetable, so it is easy to work with.  For this baked cauliflower recipe:

  • Remove any green leaves at the bottom and cut off the stem.
  • Cut the entire head in half vertically from the stem up.
  • Then, with your fingers, break apart each half into smaller pieces. These are the florets. Break them up as big or small as you like. Think about if you will be using a fork or your fingers to eat them with!

A photograph of cauliflower florets on a baking pan

How to Make Baked Cauliflower

I keep it very simple but if i have fresh herbs on hand, I add those in too! Feel free to season with anything you like even toss with dressing after it comes out of the oven!  After rinsing, drain them extra well. Any leftover water will cause them to steam and they won’t brown as nicely.

  1. Preheat oven.
  2. Toss cauliflower florets with olive oil and your fave seasonings.
  3. Spread on a greased sheet pan and bake:
    • Bake at 350°F about 30-35 minutes
    • Bake at 375°F about 25-30 minutes
    • Bake at 400°F about 20-25 minutes

These times are a guide if you like your cauliflower softer, cook it longer if you prefer more tender crisp, cook it less. A higher temperature will give more browning (and flavor). I personally don’t stir them, I like one side to get nice and browned. Don’t overcook them, you still want them to be a little crunchy!

More Cauliflower Yum

Baked Cauliflower

Tender baked cauliflower is an easy and effortless side dish!

  • 1 head cauliflower
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil (divided)
  • 2 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 1/2 teaspoon thyme
  • salt and pepper
  1. Preheat oven to 375°F.

  2. Wash and prepare 1 head of cauliflower. Slice so it has one flat side,

  3. Mix together olive oil and remaining ingredients.

  4. Toss dried cauliflower with olive oil mixture.

  5. Bake for 25 – 30 minutes or until tender and lightly browned.

Garnish with parsley and/or parmesan cheese if desired.

Garlic Bacon Kale (and how to prep kale)

Below is our favorite Garlic Bacon Kale Recipe plus the best tips on How to Cook Kale! Everything from sautéing to oven baking can be found below! 

This delicious powerhouse veggie adds great flavor to soups and casseroles it’s perfect served up as a Easy Kale Salad with Fresh Lemon Dressing and great on its own as a side dish!

A bowl of garlic butter kale with bacon on top

A Real Superfood

So what is Kale? Kale is a leafy green often used as a garnish or in ornamental uses however it’s also a deliciously flavorful green if prepared right! It has a rich earthy flavor and is a very popular superfood these days! You can buy kale chips, kale hummus, and even shredded kale! Kale is good for adding to dishes like salads, soups (like Zuppa Toscana), and green smoothies! It’s also great as a side dish or a Kale Salad!

Is kale good for you? You bet it is! Kale is a powerhouse of nutrition! It’s high in fiber and potassium.

To Prepare Kale for Cooking

  • Clean
    • Before cooking kale make sure the leaves are free from dirt and are dry and not mushy.
    • Rinse leaves under cold water and shake dry
  • Cut
    • Remove any tough stalks by simply pulling the curly leaves off of the stalk. Discard the stalks.
    • Cut (or tear) the kale into approximately one inch pieces.

Kale being prepared for cooking

How to Cook Fresh Kale

Fresh kale is an easy veggie to cook and enjoy. Kale can be sauteed in a pan (like in this recipe) or baked in the oven (to make kale chips). If you want to add it to soups/stews you can simply prepare the kale as directed above and add it to the soup allowing it to simmer for at least 12 minutes.

To Cook Kale in Oven simply prepare as above and make sure you dry it very well. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Spritz with olive oil and a touch of salt & pepper. Bake until crisp but not burnt (about 10-15 minutes). These are delicious to snack on but they’re also great as a garnish sprinkled over dishes like risotto or creamy casseroles.

kale in a frying pan ready to be sauteed

How Long to Cook Kale

The leaves are much sturdier than a spinach but don’t take quite as long to cook as Collard Greens.

I saute kale about 5 to 7 minutes so it’s wilted and soft but not mushy. Just when you think it’s done, remove it from the heat, and it will ‘carryover’ cook to perfection!

Sautéed kale is a flavorful alternative to creamed spinach or collard greens and when you make garlic kale with bacon it really adds an irresistible flavor boost to these nutrient packed greens! Season with salt and pepper or a splash of balsamic vinaigrette and enjoy! If you are wanting to keep it vegetarian just sautéed kale with garlic and olive oil is a delicious alternative to bacon kale!

A bowl of sauteed kale topped with crispy bacon

More Healthy Side Dishes

 

Garlic Bacon Kale

This nutrient packed superfood is sure to impress! With bacon and garlic it smells just as good as it tastes! 

  • 3 slices bacon (chopped)
  • 1/2 cup onion (finely chopped)
  • 1 bunch kale (washed)
  • 2 cloves garlic (minced)
  • salt & pepper to taste
  1. Cook bacon until crisp over medium heat. Remove bacon and set aside reserving drippings.

  2. Reduce heat to medium low and cook onion in the drippings until tender, about 10 minutes.
  3. Add kale and garlic stirring until cooked, about 5 minutes.
  4. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

REPIN this Easy Recipe

A bowl of garlic butter kale with bacon on top

Kale can be a tricky superfood to cook! This guide tells you all about how long to cook kale, how to oven bake kale and just how to cook kale in general! We have fallen for this superfood now that we know how to cook it properly! #spendwithpennies #howtocookkale #superfood #healthyeating #sidedish #garlickale

Delicious Summery Cucumber Salad

Cucumber Onion Salad makes for a welcome change of pace from the classic iceberg lettuce tossed salad. At your next barbecue, your guests will love this crunchy salad with some delicious grilled chicken breasts and a side of Homemade Garlic Bread!

Crisp fresh cucumbers are tossed with sweet onion and fresh dill for an easy summer favorite that is light and refreshing.

Cucumber onion salad in a serving bowl.

Easy Cucumber Onion Salad Salad

For as long as I can remember, we’ve served creamy cucumber salad at gatherings and get togethers. As much as I love the creamy version, we do love the sweet tart vinaigrette style dressing on this recipe! You can make it in no time flat from just a few simple ingredients, including sliced English cucumber, sweet onion, vinegar, fresh dill and seasonings.

Ingredients for Cucumber Onion Salad

Any cukes will do the trick, but for best results, use English cucumbers ( also known as seedless, or European cucumbers).  These are longer and thinner than salad or pickling cucumbers, and often come tightly wrapped in plastic. English cucumbers also have thinner skins and a sweeter taste then salad cucumbers, and the seeds are smaller.

If you are using regular salad cucumbers, you will want to remove all or most of the peel and seeds, as these tend to be bitter and a bit tough. Many people also dislike the wax coating that is used on grocery store cucumbers to keep the product fresh longer. You’ll want to peel to remove this coating, or you can try soaking the cucumber in vinegar for several minutes and wiping the surface clean.

Vinegar

  • Rice vinegar is a good choice, it’s a little sweeter and less tangy than white or cider vinegar, and won’t discolor the cucumber or onion.
  • Cider vinegar is a great option and adds a bit extra flavor and tang.
  • White Balsamic is also a way to boost the complexity of the flavors. It pairs well with tomatoes so feel free to toss a few in before serving and make it into a cucumber tomato salad.

Cucumber Onion Salad pairs nicely with spicy meats, such as marinated chicken or lamb skewers or even Chicken Curry.

A bowl of cucumber onion salad with fresh dill

To Make Cucumber Onion Salad

Cucumber salad comes together so easily. All you need is your salad bowl and a cutting board.

  1. Prep: Slice or chunk the cucumber and thinly slice the sweet onion.
  2. Dress: Combine all ingredients in a large mixing bowl and stir until the sugar dissolves.
  3. Marinate: Add the sliced or chunked cucumber and sliced sweet onion and toss to coat. Marinate for a few hours before serving.

Once prepped cover and refrigerate for an hour or more. This salad is best served well chilled!

Cucumber salad can be made in advance and will keep well for a couple of days. They’re great as a topper for burgers or sandwiches in place of pickles! The next time you need a simple, palate-cleansing side dish, cucumber dill salad is an easy option.

More Cucumber Favorites

Cucumber Onion Salad

This delicious salad will be a hit at your next dinner party! Mix these fresh and crunchy flavors for a twist to a classic summer salad.

  • 2 long english cucumbers
  • 1/2 sweet white onion
  • 1/3 cup white vinegar (or cider vinegar)
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons fresh dill
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. Wash cucumbers and peel if desired. Thinly slice cucumbers and onions.
  2. Mix vinegar, vegetable oil and sugar. Combine mixture with cucumbers and refrigerate at least 1 hour or up to 4 hours. (Stir or toss a few times while marinating).

  3. Place in a bowl and toss with dill, salt and pepper to taste.

The top photo shows Cucumber Salad in a white serving bowl. The bottom photo shows the salad in a clear mixing bowl

How to Make Peanut Butter at Home (So Easy)!

Homemade Peanut Butter needs just minutes to make and a few ingredients. Once you make this easy recipe at home, you’ll wonder why you haven’t been making it yourself all along!

This creamy peanut butter is perfect for your fave PB&J sandwiches (on toast of course) or used to make a delish Peanut Butter Pie!

Homemade peanut butter on toast with peanuts beside.

The Perfect Spread

Nothing says ‘all-American’ like a batch of homemade peanut butter! This natural peanut butter recipe is so easy to make, you’ll wonder why you ever bought it in a store to begin with! This is a great ‘first recipe’ to try with the kiddos, one of those recipes that gets them thinking about where their food comes from!

Peanut butter is one of the ultimate comfort foods! The good thing about this peanut butter recipe is that you can adjust how much salt you want, add a little extra honey if you’d like it sweeter. It’s even a great base for peanut butter cookies and peanut butter cheesecake!

Who Invented Peanut Butter?

Seriously, who was this genius person? The man behind the legend was a Canadian named Marcellus Gilmore Edson who created ‘peanut paste’ in 1884. This was the process of milling roasted peanuts between two heated surfaces. In 1895, John Harvey Kellogg (yes, the cereal Kellogg!) patented the process in the United States, and the nutritious staple that is in 94% of American households today was born!

What would childhood be like without the famous peanut butter and jelly sandwich packed into our lunches every day?

The stages of peanuts in a food processor showing how to make peanut butter

How to Make Peanut Butter

Here’s the fun part! All you really need are peanuts, some honey for sweetness, and salt! I add a touch of oil to help with consistency. Homemade Peanut Butter is super inexpensive to make if your local supermarket has a bulk section! You will need a food processor to make this recipe.

  • Buy shelled and roasted peanuts.
  • Process the peanuts, honey, and salt in a food processor. Be sure to stop every couple of minutes and scrape down the sides of the food processor to get a smooth consistency.
  • Adjust the honey and salt to your own preference.Slowly drizzle in the oil as you continue to pulse the food processor. Keep adding oil until you get the right consistency.

To Make a Chunky Peanut Butter: Process the peanuts in a food processor as directed in the recipe. Add 3 tablespoons (or to taste) chopped peanuts to the peanut butter!

Then, just transfer to an airtight container and keep refrigerated until you are ready to use!

fresh homemade Peanut butter in a jar after learning how to make peanut butter

How to Store Peanut Butter

The best way to store homemade peanut butter is in an airtight container and in the refrigerator just like you would a natural store bought peanut butter. Remember this delish PB has no additives or preservatives so it can spoil. You can always soften it up a bit by putting it in the microwave for about 30 seconds so that it spreads easier.

What To Use Homemade PB For

This homemade peanut butter recipe can be used for more than just sandwiches and cookies!  Add a little Sriracha and make an amazingly tasty dipping sauce for kebabs! Or add some balsamic vinegar and oil and whip up into an Asian peanut dressing for salad! A few more PB favorites

How to Make Homemade Peanut Butter

Homemade Peanut Butter is easy to make with just a handful of ingredients!

  • 15 ounces shelled roasted peanuts
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons honey
  • 2-4 teaspoons oil (peanut or vegetable)
  1. Process peanuts, salt and honey in the food processor for 60 seconds.
  2. Take a spoon and scrape and scoop down the sides of the bowl. Replace lid
  3. Continue to process for about 1 ½ to 2 ½ minutes while slowly drizzling in the oil. Begin with 2 teaspoons oil and add more until you reach your desired consistency.

  4. Store your homemade peanut butter in an airtight container in the refrigerator. It will keep for up to 2 months.

A delicious twist on deviled eggs!

Avocado Deviled Eggs combine our favorite classic deviled eggs recipe with the creamy goodness of avocado! These eggs have a delicious avocado flavor only made better with…. you guessed it… bacon!

This easy favorite is the perfect addition to any picnic or potluck! Should you be lucky enough to have leftovers, mash ’em up to make Avocado Egg Salad for lunches!

avocado deviled eggs with bacon on a plate ready to serve

Naturally Low Carb

Looking for a low carb avocado deviled eggs recipe? I’ve got you covered, this recipe takes deviled eggs to a whole new and healthy level!

Elegant and colorful, these avocado deviled eggs with bacon are a ‘good’ fat and makes a deliciously creamy filling combined with egg yolks, mayo and a splash of lemon/lime juice!  If you’ve never tried an avocado egg recipe, this one is sure to be a favorite all year round!

What is Deviled Food? “Deviled” in food terminology simply means food prepared with spicy condiments/seasonings (like mustard). The term was coined back in the 18th century in Rome and has endured ever since and we’ve been enjoying both ‘deviled’ are ham and eggs for as long as I can remember!

Mashing the ingredients to make avocado deviled eggs on a plate.

How to Cook Deviled Eggs with Avocado

You’ll want to start with perfect hard boiled eggs (you can also make eggs in the Instant Pot if you’d prefer). Cool the eggs completely for this recipe.

  1. Cut hard boiled eggs in half and remove the yolks.
  2. Mash up the yolks with a ripe avocado and some seasonings (I add lemon or lime juice to keep the filling from browning).
  3. Scoop or pipe into egg white halves. We use a sandwich baggie with the corner cut off. Finally garnish with some cooked and crumbled bacon and a sprinkle of paprika for color.

Want to really ‘devil up’ your avocado deviled eggs with bacon? Try adding a teaspoon of Sriracha to the mixture for an extra spicy flavor! Or even try a bit of salad dressing to make creamy avocado bacon ranch deviled eggs! Go ahead and get devilishly creative!

Avocado Deviled Eggs topped with bacon ready to serve.

 

Avocado deviled eggs taste best when they are freshly made and cold! They can be fully prepared a couple of hours in advance. If you want to make them ahead of time prep everything as directed except the avocado. Shortly before serving, mash the avocado and stir it into the mashed yolks. Fill the eggs and serve.

How Long are Deviled Eggs Good For?

Regular deviled eggs are fine for up to 5 days. Unfortunately the avocado in these eggs doesn’t last quite as long. They’ll still be food-safe to eat but the avocado can oxidize so I try to eat them within a couple of days. If you’ve got leftovers to use up, try an egg salad for lunch or chop them up and add them to your fave pasta salad recipe!

More Great Egg Recipes

Avocado Deviled Eggs

Avocado Deviled Eggs combine our favorite side dish with the creamy goodness of avocados!

  • 8 hard boiled eggs
  • 1 small ripe avocado
  • 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice (or lime)
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • salt to taste

Garnish

  • 3 slices of bacon (cooked crisp and crumbled)
  • paprika
  1. Cut eggs in half and remove the yolks.
  2. Mash together the yolks, avocado, mayonnaise, juice and seasonings until smooth and creamy.

  3. Pipe into egg whites and top with crumbled bacon and paprika.