Gearing up for Memorial Day weekend, the official kick-off to summer bbq season! I can’t wait to pop open the grill to cook up some burgers and hot dogs; the classics are always on my menu. One thing I do like to mix up is my side salads, and I have a round up of 10 of my favorite BBQ side salads from over the years — including a few new ones that I just added this week. Scroll down for all your holiday weekend cook-out menu inspiration! read more

Inspiration for my recipes comes from so places. I love flipping through magazines and cookbooks, perusing restaurant menus, and rethinking flavors from my childhood. The inspiration for this Grapefruit Ginger Fizz cocktail recipe though, came from a totally unique place – a perfume! I was at a book signing at a fun pop-up last week and had a few minutes to shop around the store as we wrapped up the event. I’m normally not much of a perfume person, but my eye caught a Grapefruit Ginger scent by a local company called Farm+Sea and I had to give it a try. It smelled delicious, and as I was rolling it on I commented that I loved it as a perfume but I bet I’d love it even more as a cocktail. I bought the perfume, and mixed up a batch of these Grapefruit Ginger Fizz cocktails when I got home! They taste as good as I now smell, get the recipe below. (PS: I found these amazing coupes at H&M for a steal, I love how delicate they look!) read more

Let me tell you all of the reasons I love a good antipasto salad, there’s quite a few! To start, it’s a great dish to make ahead. It’s one of those side dishes that almost always tastes better after the flavors hang out together in the fridge overnight. Another reason I love it is that it’s pretty easy to tweak and adapt to your guests preferences — leave out the salami for vegetarians, skip the cheese if someone is dairy free, and it works as a gluten-free dish too. We have a few carb-etarians in our family, so I’ll often add in some cooked cheese tortellini to make sure they’re getting enough pasta in their diet, wink wink. It also makes great leftovers after a party too; you can toss all of the ingredients over some mixed greens for lunch the next day or use the combination to make a flavorful pizza for a quick weeknight dinner. It’s a fool-proof side dish and one that I love to serve up for summer entertaining. Get the details on how I make mine below:  read more

Pasta salad is pretty much my holy grail of summer barbecue menus; it’s always the side dish I most look forward to! I’ve probably tried dozens of recipes and variations, and love to tweak what I toss in every time I make it for a party. I got creative with a new twist on my classic pasta salad to gear up for Memorial Day weekend with this new recipe — Zucchini Basil Pasta Salad. It features my favorite pasta salad noodle shape — rotini — and lots of chopped up zucchini and squash, fresh basil, and crunchy pine nuts that add tons of flavor. I ate a giant bowl of it for lunch this week, so I can attest to the tastiness! Get the full recipe below:  read more

Let me tell you my favorite thing about summer barbeques: the sides!! I go nuts for an herby potato salad, and have no self-control around a classic macaroni salad, I even love a good crunchy coleslaw. With Memorial Day coming up in about a week (where did May go?!) I wanted to add some new summer side salads to my repertoire. I’ve been on a BIG roasted chickpea kick lately, and love that it’s a healthy-ish snack that Jane enjoys too, so I wanted to find a way to work them into this recipe. I start off by roasting them in the oven with a touch of olive oil and an all-purpose seasoning – I love What’s Gaby Cooking Go To Blend, and Trader Joe’s 21-Seasoning Salute is another great option! Then I combined the roasted chickpeas with a flavorful, nutty whole wheat pearl couscous and some delicious herbs. The salad tasted really fresh and wholesome, and it serves really well at room temperature, which is perfect for outdoor entertaining! Get the full recipe below: read more

Somewhere in all of this spring rain, there was one beautiful day of sunshine over Mother’s Day weekend and it felt glorious. We flew kites at the beach, ate oysters at little seafood shack by the water, and I mixed myself the most refreshing mom-reward cocktail. I’m calling it the limoncello mint sparkler, and it was so tasty. A little bit of honey and mint muddled in a glass, combined with refreshing limoncello liquor and topped it off with bubbly prosecco and more fresh mint. I used store-bought limoncello for this batch, but you can easily make some on your own (here’s my limoncello recipe infused with thyme). Get the recipe details below: read more

The not-so-fun parts of food blogging are the recipe-fails that happen along the way to get to recipe-successes that actually make it onto the site. I had an idea for this berries and cream baked breakfast treat all the way back over the holidays last year. I originally tried this idea as more of a french-toast casserole and I just couldn’t get the proportions right, it was too dry or too sticky or not quite what my flavor vision had been when I thought it up. With Mother’s Day coming up this weekend, and Memorial Day just around the corner, I decided to give my idea another try after taking it back to the drawing board for a new approach. I ditched the french toast technique and instead used some good ol’ fashioned Pillsbury biscuit dough baked like a monkey-bread in a bundt pan. I layered some of the berries and cream cheese in the middle of the little cinnamon-sugar biscuit bites and then finished it off with a fluffy cream cheese frosting topping and more fresh berries. It took me 6-months to get it right, but the testing was worth it! Scroll down to get the full recipe: read more

If I open a restaurant menu and see Mexican street corn listed as an option there is a 100% chance I’ll be ordering it for meal — it’s one of my favorites. I included a recipe for it in my cookbook, and a few years ago I made a dip-version of this dish for a dip potluck party I hosted (one of the most fun get-togethers I’ve ever thrown!). I thought I would resurrect the dish and give it a new twist, this time using fire-roasted corn which I always snag in the frozen food aisle at Trader Joe’s or Whole Foods. This version gets tons of flavor from the fire-roasted corn, spices and citrus, and the crumbly cotija cheese. You can make the corn dish and serve it as a dip, but I wanted to up the presentation game and spooned heaps of it into scoop-shaped chips for individual servings. These little corn bites practically disappeared when I made them, so make sure you pop a few in your mouth before you share them with guests  — get the full recipe below:
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The fiesta-inspired recipes are rolling in this week and this is one of my favorites: Crispy Avocado “Fries” with a chipotle dipping sauce. I was testing this recipe recently while my brother was visiting and after the avocado fries came out of the oven we unintentionally shared the whole tray, hovering over the kitchen counter and going back for bite after bite. They’re addictive! A simple seasoned breading and a few minutes in the oven are all it takes to make these little bites;  while they’re cooking I mixed up a dipping sauce with spicy chipotle adobo flavors, tart lime juice and sour cream to balance the heat. Make sure to serve these fiesta “fries” with a margarita, it’s the perfect pairing. Get the full recipe below: read more

I have a couple of posts this upcoming week that cover one of my favorite party themes — fiesta! — just in time to celebrate Cinco de Mayo. One thing is for sure, it’s not a fiesta until the margaritas are served. I’ve never met a margarita I haven’t liked, it’s one of my favorite drinks and I decided to mix up a batch with summery twist for this new recipe. This sparkling strawberry basil margarita starts with a homemade strawberry simple syrup for sweet berry flavors, and then gets combined with tart lime juice, tequila and muddled basil. To give it that sparkling touch (and in my opinion, a really refreshing feeling) I topped each glass off with a splash of Topo Chico with lime. If you can’t find Topo Chico another lime-flavored sparkling water will do; and feel free to scale this recipe up to make it in a pitcher for bigger batches — just wait to add the sparkling water until you’re ready to serve! Get the full recipe below: read more