Healthy Lunch Recipes

Take-out lunches should be forgotten because there are so many healthy lunch solutions that can easily be taken to the office, to school and anywhere else you may need to go.

Listed below are some tasty recipes which include delicious fresh produce such as fresh vegetables and lean protein which will fuel you for the rest of the day so that your body will not feel deprived.

o BBQ Chicken Sandwich

Leftover cooked chicken can be tossed in barbeque sauce and crunchy carrots for a quick and healthy lunch.

Makes 1 serving

Ingredients:

1/2 cup shredded cooked chicken
1/4 cup shredded carrots
2 tablespoons barbecue sauce
2 teaspoons light ranch dressing
1 small whole-wheat sandwich bun
1 leaf romaine lettuce

Method:

In a medium bowl combine the chicken, carrots and barbecue sauce. Spread ranch dressing on the bun and top with the chicken mixture and lettuce.

NUTRITION INFORMATION: Per serving:

323 calories
8g fat (1g sat, 2g mono)
62mg cholesterol
38g carbohydrate
26g protein
4g fiber
729mg sodium
456mg potassium
Nutrition bonus: Vitamin A (100% daily value), Selenium (56% daily value).

o Spicy Thai Shrimp Salad

Makes 4 servings

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons lime juice
4 teaspoons fish sauce
1 tablespoon canola oil
2 teaspoons light brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1 pound cooked and peeled small shrimp
1 cup thinly sliced red, yellow, and/or orange bell pepper
1 cup seeded and thinly sliced cucumber
1/4 cup mixed chopped herbs

Method:

Whisk together the fish sauce, lime juice, oil, brown sugar and crushed red pepper in a large bowl. Add the shrimp, cucumber, bell pepper and fresh herbs and toss to coat.

NUTRITION INFORMATION: Per serving:

170 calories
5g fat (1g sat, 2g mono)
221mg cholesterol
6g carbohydrate
25g protein
1g fiber
652mg sodium
315mg potassium
Nutrition bonus: Vitamin C (60% daily value), Vitamin A (25% daily value), Iron (21% daily value).

o Tomato & Fennel Salad

Heirloom tomatoes are best used in this recipe. They are at their peak during the summer months and worth purchasing in your local grocery store or farmers’ market. However, any type of tomato will work well in this recipe.

Makes 4 servings

Ingredients:

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon champagne vinegar or white wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground pepper
1 pound tomatoes cut into wedges
2 cups thinly sliced fennel bulb
1/4 cup fresh chopped parsley
1/3cup toasted pine nuts

Method:

In a large bowl, whisk together the oil, vinegar, salt and pepper. Add the tomatoes, fennel, parsley and pine nuts and toss to coat.

NUTRITION INFORMATION: Per serving:

141 calories
12g fat (1g sat, 5g mono)
0mg cholesterol
9g carbohydrate
3g protein
3g fiber
321mg sodium
513mg potassium
Nutrition bonus: Vitamin C (40% daily value), Vitamin A (25% daily value), Potassium (15% daily value).

o Lebanese Potato Salad

Makes 8 servings

Ingredients:

2 pounds of potatoes
1/4 lemon juice
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground pepper to taste
4 spring onions, thinly sliced
1/4 cup chopped fresh mint

Method:

Place the potatoes in a large saucepan and bring to the boil in slightly salted water until tender, 25 to 30 minutes. Drain and rinse with cold water. Allow them to cool for 20 minutes and cut the potatoes into 1/2 inch pieces.

In a large bowl, whisk the oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Add the potatoes and toss to coat.

Just before serving add the spring onions and mint and toss gently.

NUTRITION INFORMATION: Per serving:

143 calories
5g fat (1g sat, 4g mono)
0mg cholesterol
22g carbohydrates
3g protein
2g fiber
153mg sodium
516mg potassium
Nutrition bonus: Vitamin C (20% daily value), Potassium (15% daily value).

o Artichoke & Ripe Olive Tuna Salad

Makes 5 servings

Ingredients:

1 12-ounce can tuna, drained and flaked
1 cup chopped canned artichoke hearts
1/2 cup chopped olives
1/3 cup reduced-fat mayonnaise
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1 1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh oregano

Method:

Mix together the tuna, artichokes, olives, mayonnaise, lemon juice and oregano.

NUTRITION INFORMATION: Per serving:

210 calories
8g fat (1g sat, 1g mono)
25mg cholesterol
12g carbohydrate
20g protein
3g fiber
791mg sodium
166mg potassium
Nutrition bonus: Selenium (78% daily value), Vitamin C (19% daily value).

o Hot & Sour Slaw

This slaw is a perfect accompaniment to grilled pork tenderloin and a glass of Riesling.

Makes 4 servings

Ingredients:

3 tablespoons rice vinegar
1 tablespoon reduced-sodium soy sauce
1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
3 cups shredded greed cabbage
1 cup thinly sliced red bell pepper
1/3 cup sliced spring onions
1 8-ounce can bamboo shoots, drained and thinly sliced

Method:

In a large bowl, whisk together the rice vinegar, reduced-sodium soy sauce, oil, ginger, white pepper and crushed red pepper. Add the green cabbage, bell pepper, spring onions and bamboo shoots. Toss to coat all of the ingredients.

NUTRITION INFORMATION: Per serving:

62 calories
4g fat (1g sat, 1g mono)
0mg cholesterol
6g carbohydrate
2g protein
2g fiber
112mg sodium
189mg potassium
Nutrition bonus: Vitamin C (85% daily value), Vitamin A (18% daily value).

o Tijuana Torta

This is a Mexican-style torta, just like a burrito, except the “wrapper” is a hollowed-out roll rather than a tortilla. It is the most delicious lunch when it is served with grilled corn on the cob or Spanish rice.

Makes 4 servings

Ingredients:

1 15-ounce can black beans, well rinsed
3 tablespoons prepared salsa
1 tablespoon chopped pickled jalapeño
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1 ripe avocado, pitted
2 tablespoons minced onion
1 tablespoon lime juice
1 16-to-20 inch long baguette
1 1/3 cups shredded green cabbage

Method:

In a small bowl, mash together the beans, salsa, jalapeño and cumin. In a separate bowl mash the avocado, onion and lime juice.

Cut the baguette into 4 equal lengths. Split each one in half and pull out most of the soft bread from the center. Divide the mixture and the cabbage equally amongst the sandwiches.

NUTRITIONAL INFORMATION: Per serving:

354 calories
9g fat (1g sat, 5g mono)
0mg cholesterol
60g carbohydrate
17g protein
17g fiber
682mg sodium
639mg potassium
Nutrition bonus: Folate & Vitamin C (29% daily value), Potassium (18% daily value), Iron (15% daily value).

Healthy lunch recipes really are that simple. Why go to your local café or restaurant for a lunch that may not be so good for your waistline, not to mention your health, when these delicious lunches can be prepared in no time at all. Another added bonus to preparing these healthy lunch snacks is that you know exactly what ingredients have been used to prepare them. What can be better than that?

Nutrition is important, we should never ignore any stimulus that affects our eating habits. Television commercials as well as a multitude of other media sources try everyday to pull you into their proft margins by disregarding your health. Fight their tactics with proven techniques that not only allow you to lead a healthier life but repair all the years of damage that your body has suffered through at the hands of corporations.

Chicken Liver Soup

Chicken livers are good for you. They are rich in vitamins A, B, B12, C, D, E, and K, and also in minerals such as copper, zinc, selenium, and phosphorus. A soup recipe usually uses the thighs, breast, or carcass of the bird but why not make a different kind of broth just for a change? This nutritious dish can be prepared in different ways and is tasty as well as nutritious.

If you are preparing a whole bird for another recipe, save the offal and use it in a flavorful soup recipe. Not everyone likes this kind of meat but if you do, you will enjoy these recipes because the flavors are nice and well balanced and you know they are nutritious too.

Healthy Chicken Liver Soup with Pasta and Vegetables

You can add more water to make the broth thinner if you like. The amount of water you use is up to you. Some people prefer this dish to be very thin and others like it a bit thicker. You can adjust the seasonings at the end. This recipe is good served with warm French bread or any kind of bread you happen to like. The bread is optional because the dish contains pasta to make it satisfying.

What you will need:

  • 1 lb chicken livers
  • 1 onion
  • 1 green bell pepper
  • 1 teaspoon ground red pepper
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 3 1/2 oz fresh parsley
  • 7 oz tomato sauce
  • 5 1/2 oz pasta
  • Salt, as needed

How to make it:

Boil the meat in a pot of water for twenty minutes. Finely chop the green bell pepper, onion, and parsley. Chop the livers and put them in another pot of water. Add the onion, green bell pepper, and tomato sauce. Cook for ten minutes, and then add salt and red pepper to taste. Add the pasta and cook until it is soft. Serve the broth with the fresh parsley sprinkled on top.

Creamy Chicken Liver Soup with Eggs and Spinach Puree

This recipe makes six servings and it is rich and creamy. If you are looking for a satisfying and healthy recipe, this one is filling and tasty, even though it is a soup recipe. Serve this to your family with some crusty bread and they will love its creamy texture and interesting flavors.

What you will need:

  • 6 chicken livers
  • 3 hard boiled eggs
  • 1 pint chicken broth
  • 1 cup spinach puree
  • 3 tablespoons all purpose flour
  • 5 tablespoons butter
  • 1 onion
  • 1 cup light cream
  • 1 tablespoon tarragon
  • Salt, black pepper and celery salt, to taste
  • Chopped parsley, to garnish

How to make it:

Chop the eggs and onion. Fry the chicken livers in two tablespoons of the butter, then chop them and combine them with the eggs and onion. Melt the remaining butter and stir it with the flour. Add this to the spinach puree and chicken liver mixture in a soup pot. Add the cream and broth and season the soup with salt, pepper, tarragon and celery salt. Warm it through and serve with chopped fresh parsley on top.

Mexican Recipes

If you want to make lunch in a rush or you are looking for easy ideas for a buffet, what about grabbing a package or flour tortillas and making some Mexican inspired treats with them?

Tortillas can be filled and served hot or chilled, depending on the meal, how much time you have and what you want to make. If you are catering for a buffet, you might want to make some chilled tortilla pinwheels.

Chilled Filled Tortillas

Cream cheese is a great ingredient to use in tortilla recipes because it is sticky as well as tasty, meaning it can hold the tortilla together. If you are making tortilla pinwheels, you will not want them to fall apart.

Spread some cream cheese over a flour tortilla and add fresh spinach, chopped sun-dried tomatoes, pine nuts, basil, ham, chopped cooked chicken, or bacon. Roll the tortillas up and secure them with a toothpick. Chill them for a couple of hours, then cut them into one inch pieces and serve. The pinwheel effect means you can see the filling in a spiral. These are always popular at buffets and parties.

If you want to make simple tortilla pinwheels, stick with just two ingredients – try cream cheese and pineapple, cream cheese with sliced tomatoes, peanut butter and jelly, chicken and mayonnaise, fresh basil and cream cheese or any other variation you can think of.

It is best to use one sticky ingredient, else the pinwheels might unravel when you remove the toothpicks. Make sure you do remove the toothpicks before serving these, by the way, since most people do not check canapes for toothpicks before putting them in their mouths!

Hot Filled Tortillas

If you want to make a tasty lunch, what about a quesadilla? Fold a flour tortilla around some cheese (shredded, grated or crumbled) and fry it. You can make a half moon-shape tortilla or a wedge-shaped one. Add some ham, chicken, bacon, mushrooms, tomatoes or anything else you like.

The great thing about traditional Mexican foods like quesadillas is that you can make one in less than two minutes. It takes about half a minute to assemble and a minute to cook. Once the cheese has melted and the tortilla is hot and golden brown, it is ready to serve.

Tasty Tortilla Stacks

You can also make tortilla stacks. Heat some tortillas in the oven if you want them soft or deep fry them if you want them crispy. Between each tortilla, you can have bacon, refried beans, salad, ground beef with onion, guacamole, salsa, cheese, or anything else.

Put a different ingredient between each layer and serve this for dinner. If you use four or five tortillas you can feed a family. Make sure the different layers complement each other since you serve a dish like this in wedges and eat the different layers together.

Tips On Making Simple And Tasty Chicken Breast Recipes

Recipes based around chicken breasts are straightforward largely, but things can get tougher when one has to do the stuffing. You could choose to crush the chicken and subsequently proceed to stuff and precook it earlier and then refrigerate it. Then when you are all set to eat simply bake in an oven.

Now beating chicken needs some acumen. You might easily mess things if you have not pounded poultry before. It has to be pounded evenly without any portion getting more pounded than the other. It could take some time to crush thicker sections. One great method to crush chicken breast is by placing them in a damp synthetic bag before pounding them.

Then select a surface that is tough enough to hold out the beating. Don’t opt for delicate surfaces. You can bring into play a heavy pan or a flat tenderizer to beat the chicken. Begin beating evenly paying some attention to the tougher areas.

It’s now time to make the stuffing. Smear the stuffing evenly but make certain to leave a little gap, around 0.5in to permit some play for the stuffing when you start to roll it.You can offer this with salad, sliced pears, toasted walnuts, roquefort cheese crumbles, homemade dressing and some wild rice. You can also opt to put in red peppers, spinach and cheese. This tasty mixture of rich flavors and juicy chicken is certain to enchant your visitors. If you do it right then you are guaranteed to receive praises.

Ingredients

9 ounces of cream cheese
3 ounces of roasted red peppers
8 ounces of defrosted chopped spinach.
3 chicken breast halves
1.5 cups lesser salt chicken stock
2 tablespoons flour

Take a bit of cheese stored at room temperature and place it in a bowl. Make use of a strainer to drain the spinach and put it in a bowl. Drain the peppers with paper towels and after chopping them adequately add them to the spinach-cream cheese combination.Once you conclude putting the stuffing on the pounded chicken, roll them up and maintain it in place utilizing tooth picks. Place it within a oiled skillet and cook over average heat till the time the chicken starts to get white. Move the skillet to a 500-degree oven and bake for 15-25 min. Add chicken breast to skillet and cook after whisking in flour till sauce thickens. Place the chicken on plates and serve some sauce over it.

Learn About Genovese, Purple, Spicy Globe, And Lemon Basil, Including 4 Recipes

Basil has been a steadfast star in my herb garden for years. As soon as the first sprits of water connects with the vibrant leaves of my basil plants, their sweet, spicy, citrusy scent wafts through the air like I’m at an outdoor aromatherapy spa. The slightest touch releases a vibrant bouquet of splendidly fragrant oils.

Native to Africa, Asia, the Middle East, Caribbean, and South America, basil, with its intoxicating scent, has been used for 2000 years. With so many varieties – Purple, Lemon, Genovese, Spicy, Cinnamon, and Thai – its benefits cover a wide range from fly repellent, fragrant potpourris, and to cure headaches, fevers, colds, indigestion, nausea, stress, constipation, and as a hair rinse. In the kitchen, it’s amazing stirred into a roasted pepper mayonnaise for sandwiches, blended in tomato based dishes, kneaded into bread dough, infused into oils and vinegar, and unexpectedly refreshing in cocktails and wine.

Basil produces lovely little flowering tips that are edible and make snazzy cocktail garnishes and decorative oils and vinegars. The challenge is you have to make a choice because once the plants flower the leaves lose some of their potent flavor. But to keep the plant energized and expanding, you need to continually pinch the leaves. Not to worry though, I find the herbs are still delicious and you have the beauty of the flowers to decorate with as well.

This article covers four of my favorite basil varieties. Genovese Sweet, Purple, Spicy Globe, and Lemon. I’m also including some tasty recipes for you to try!

Genovese Sweet Basil

Considered a sign of love in Italy, Genovese is the most common variety of basil, with its familiar sweet flavor and slightly peppery taste. It’s often called Italian or Sweet Basil. Genovese produces a high yield of versatile and vibrant green leaves if you regularly pinch them back to prevent seeding. If you decide to delay their grooming, beautiful small white flowers will bloom much to the delight of yellow finches, bees, and butterflies.

Basil is scrumptious with beef, onions, and roasted red peppers. These hefty bites make amazing hearty appetizers or a light lunch. That is if you can stop at just two!

Steak And Pepper Rounds With Rose Horseradish Garlic Creme Sauce

Ingredients For Beef

1 tablespoon olive oil 

1 whole garlic bulb

boneless beef rib steak – 1 ¼ lb.

1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

½ tablespoon Jack Daniels Mustard (or other spicy deli or Dijon mustard)

½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

¼ cup Rose Syrah Wine

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 small or ½ of a large sweet onion (Vidalia if you can get it)

3 roasted red pepper sections (they make great varieties of different peppers in jars – any will work for this recipe)

Ingredients For Crème Sauce

½ cup mascarpone cheese

2 teaspoons horseradish

4 cloves of roasted garlic

½ teaspoon dried basil or 1 tablespoon fresh

½ teaspoon dried oregano or 1 teaspoon fresh (fresh oregano is strong so you may want to taste with ½ teaspoon before adding more)

2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice

2 pinches of salt

2 pinches of pepper

1/8 cup of Rose Syrah Wine

1 loaf of store bought French bread

Directions For Roasted Garlic, Beef, And Vegetables

Drizzle 1 tablespoon of olive oil over garlic bulb and wrap in aluminum foil. Roast on a cookie sheet in oven at 400 degrees for approximately 40 minutes. Remove and let cool to touch.

While garlic is roasting marinate steak with next 4 ingredients in a Ziploc bag. Toss to coat and let sit while you slice vegetables.

Heat olive oil in skillet on medium heat. Slice onion and peppers in 3-inch strips. Add onion to hot pan and sauté until onions get slightly browned and caramelized for about 20 minutes. Toss peppers in and cook for another 10 to 15 minutes. 

While onions and peppers are cooking, place steak on a roasting pan and broil in oven or grill for approximately 5 to 10 minutes per side. Be careful, as this steak will be tough if cooked too much. And it will continue to cook when removed from the heat so under cook it a little to account for this process. Remove from heat and let rest before cutting.

Directions For Crème Sauce And Assembly

In a food processor, combine mascarpone, horseradish, and squeeze out four of the roasted garlic cloves. Store the rest of the bulb in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to one week. Pulse a few times to blend. Add next six ingredients and mix well.

Slice French bread into ½ inch rounds and heat in oven or on grill (grilled bread takes on a very unique sweet smoky flavor) until lightly toasted.

Cut steak into 1/8 to ¼ inch strips. Smooth sauce over each warm piece of bread. Top with steak and the onion pepper mixture.

These are appetizer bites but you could transform this into a hungry man’s meal by using a large baguette or sub roll.

Purple Basil

The propagation of a tiny seed or patch of leaves into bright flourishing plants is truly a beautiful thing with every flower, vegetable, and herb. Purple basil with its deep violet foliage is a gorgeous addition to garden, glass, and table. There’s ruffled leaves, curly, and small ones that pucker and graduate to hunter green. I have not had success in growing the ruffled kind. Apparently it’s the most difficult to cultivate.

It has a more intense licorice flavor and a different kind of spicy taste than sweet basil. A little cinnamon emerges through the anise aroma. Pinch back the leaves in order to reap the largest harvest, although you may want to let a few branches flower because they generate small attractive pink and lavender petals that make dazzling little garnishes for cocktails and desserts.

I use purple basil in pesto, spaghetti, Bolognese, eggplant, scrambled eggs, biscuits with bacon and Parmesan, burgers, and both purple and sweet are amazing in watermelon cocktails!

Incorporating fresh herbs into your meals can be as simple as a side of purple basil rice:

Orange Macadamia Rum Chicken

Ingredients

4 large chicken thighs (bone in)

2 tablespoons olive oil

salt and pepper to taste

3 tablespoons honey

1 cup orange juice concentrate

¼ cup orange marmalade

2/3 cup macadamia nuts, chopped and toasted

2 teaspoons sesame seeds, toasted

¼ cup white rum

Directions

Combine first 3 ingredients in a small saucepan. Cook over medium heat until it forms a syrupy glaze, about 20 to 30 minutes. You may need to turn the heat down a bit if it starts boiling too much or sticking to the pan. Stir occasionally.

In a small skillet toast the nuts and sesame seeds over medium low heat until slightly browned. You can smell when the oils start to release and a wonderful toasted aroma emerges. Keep an eye on them because they can burn easily.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Heat a skillet on the stove over medium heat. Add oil. Season chicken with salt and pepper on both sides. Then place in pan, skin side down and cook 10 minutes. Then flip and cook 10 minutes on the other side.

While meat is cooking and when glaze is thickened, stir in rum, nuts, and sesame seeds.

Spoon half of glaze over chicken and bake uncovered, in oven for 15 minutes. Baste meat with the rest of the sauce and continue baking for approximately 10 minutes. Uncover and bake 5 more minutes.

I served with purple basil rice, which is just Jasmine rice cooked according to package directions then add fresh or dried basil, salt, and pepper to taste.

Chicken is healthy but it’s boring to just eat it baked all the time so play around with fresh herbs, spices, fruit, juices, and of course spirits!

Lemon Basil

Have a recipe that calls for lemon zest but you’re all out of fruit? Lemon basil can step up and stand in for the citrus character. It lends a crisp, bright tone to both savory and sweet fare!

The oval bright green leaves are narrower than its cousin, sweet basil and emit a pungent lemon scent. Snip it over fish, in marinades for pork, shrimp and pasta, vegetable stir fries, for a tangy twist in a lemon drop cocktail, or as I have here in this cheesecake!

Lemon Basil White Chocolate Cheesecake Topped With Lemon Vodka Crème

Ingredients For Crust

17 cookies (I used Girl Scout Café Cookies. I’ve been experimenting with different kinds and find that you can use just about any cookie you like. A store bought shortbread or sugar cookie would also work as long as they’re not too thin)

Ingredients For Filling

1 – 8 oz. package of full fat cream cheese, room temperature

1/3 cup granulated white sugar

1/8 teaspoon salt

1 large egg, room temperature

½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1 teaspoon lemon zest

¼ teaspoon dried lemon basil (I grow this fresh and dry it. If you can’t find this in a grocery store just use extra lemon zest and sweet basil)

¼ cup full fat sour cream, room temperature

¼ cup white chocolate, melted (use the real kind rather than coated white chocolate chips. There is a taste difference)

Ingredients For Topping

½ cup mascarpone cheese, room temperature

¼ cup lemon curd, room temperature

1 tablespoon lemon vodka

Directions For Crust

Because I’m experimenting and developing my own variations of cheesecakes, my recipes are smaller than they would typically be. So if you want the full size recipe, double what I have here. This makes approximately 17 mini cakes.

Line muffin pans with foil liners and place a cookie in the bottom of each one. I’ve compared the use of cookie versus grinding the cookie with butter for a typical crumb crust. I found the crumb version produced too thick of a base for my taste. I prefer the focus to be on the filling. Some feel the crust is the best part. Using cookies provides an even, moist support and no matter which kind I’ve used it softens right up when baked along with the cheesecake.

Directions For Filling

Preheat oven to 300 degrees.

With a hand mixer, beat cream cheese on low speed until creamy and smooth. It’s important to use low so you do not add too much air into the mixing process, which could cause cracking on the top of the cake. Add sugar and salt. Beat to combine. Keep sides of bowl scraped down. Add egg, beating until incorporated. Add remaining ingredients and beat just until blended. Over mixing can also cause cracking.

Distribute batter evenly among all muffin cups. Bake for approximately 20 minutes, until set. The top should look a little wet and the center a little wobbly. Resist the urge to leave them beyond this time. Over baking can create cracking too.

If you’ve never baked cheesecake before it can be difficult to tell when they’re done. This is made more complicated because you can’t taste test or poke them, as cheesecakes must rest in the refrigerator to develop their optimum texture.

Remove cheesecakes from the oven and allow them to cool completely on a wire rack. Refrigerate for at least several hours, ideally overnight. Delicious plain but even better with the following cream sauce…

Directions For Topping

Stir mascarpone and lemon curd together until blended. Add vodka. Spoon onto center of each cheesecake and enjoy. These can be kept in the frig for up to a week and in the freezer for 3 to 5 months. This particular recipe can be frozen with the topping. To freeze, place in a single layer inside of a tightly sealed Tupperware container.

NOTE – To avoid condensation forming on top of cakes make sure they are completely cooled before refrigerating.

To thaw, remove from Tupperware and place on racks. Do not leave them in the containers because condensation can form and drip onto the cheesecakes leaving you with a faded watered down version of your beautiful dessert.

It’s a very rich dessert but these minis are the perfect size to satisfy your cheesecake cravings!

Spicy Globe Basil

Spicy Globe Basil is a cute little plant whose small leaves form clusters and look like a bush instead of growing upright like many herbs.I usually pot this into a 10 or 12-inch oval planter. But it would do well in any container or be quite lovely as a border in your garden.

Because the leaves are only ¼ inch in length you can add them to some dishes without chopping. Just make sure to rub the leaves between your fingers to bruise them and lure  the flavor out first.

True to its name, the vivid lime shaded leaves are zesty and sweet. Try a few snips in a glass of Pinot Noir and enjoy it along with this salmon and pesto recipe. The fish is packed with flavor from the wine and fresh herbs. Then it’s placed on pasta that’s layered with nutty, cheese, and herb laced pesto!

Ingredients For Pesto

1 cup fresh spinach leaves

1 cup fresh basil leaves (I’ve used Sweet, Purple, or Spicy Globe, all taste different but great)

¼ cup pine nuts

1 cup Asiago or Parmesan cheese

2 garlic cloves

¼ to ½ cup walnut oil

About 1/3 of a box of pasta (I used the angel hair multi-grain because it has protein, fiber, omega 3, and I like the taste. You can use whatever kind you enjoy)

I tend to overestimate on the pasta and just end up with leftovers!

Directions

Cook pasta according to instructions on box. Place spinach and basil leaves into a food processor. Pulse until they are chopped. Add pine nuts, cheese, and garlic cloves. Pulse a few more times. Then hold the button down and chop while adding the oil in until you have a moist, smooth consistency, but not too liquefied.

Combine with pasta. Garnish with pine nuts.

Ingredients For Salmon

2 – 4 to 5 oz pieces of salmon (I prefer to have the skin removed at purchase because I don’t like the taste of it and that is where most of the harmful pollutants are stored.  Either way will work)

4 sprigs fresh rosemary, chopped fine

4 sprigs fresh thyme, leaves stripped from stalk

1 tablespoon lemon juice (fresh is better)

1 ounce peach wine (I used DR Loosen Bros 2008 Riesling)

salt and pepper to taste

2 to 3 tablespoons olive or grapeseed oil

2 tablespoons butter

¼ cup half and half cream

Directions

Place salmon and first 5 ingredients into a large Ziploc bag. Mix gently so you do not break up the salmon. Marinate for about 2 hours.

Heat a skillet on medium heat. When pan is hot, add oil. Make sure you let oil heat up before adding fish so it doesn’t stick, especially if not using a non-stick pan. Cook for about 5 to 8 minutes per side depending on how well done you like your salmon. When it flakes easily with a fork, remove it from the pan.

At close to completion, add butter and cream to make a light sauce to serve over fish. (you can leave these off. I just think it adds a little extra flavor and moistness but, of course, along with it comes a few extra calories)

Whether you eat pink or red canned, wild, farm raised, enjoy it in salad, as a salad, grilled, baked, or broiled, salmon is versatile, full of flavor, and packed with healthy Omega fats that you need to work into your daily diet.

I usually opt for the wild over farm raised because it has more of the health benefits. Farm raised tends to be fed a diet that contains more contaminants, called PCBs-polychlorinated biphenyls, which are absorbed by the fish and then passed onto us.  Whereas wild salmon feast on the oceans bounty, so they absorb far less chemicals.

Okay, that’s as scientific as I’m going to get. In my kitchen laboratory, I find that the trade off is wild tends to be drier than farm raised, it’s not as readily available, and costs more. You definitely need to marinate it and/or serve with some kind of sauce. I’ve baked the farm raised using incredibly basic methods, such as in the oven with fresh dill and a tiny drizzle of olive oil and it’s delicious. But it seems the goal should be less farm raised and more wild.

Basil, like most herbs is at its best straight from the garden. But since all varieties are tropical plants and hate weather that drops below 50 to 55 degrees, the end of summer also signifies the end of fresh basil but not the end of enjoying the flavor of this tasty herb. If you have bright sunny windowsills in your home you can bring the plants inside until spring. I like to make my own oils and vinegars and dry herbs to cook with all winter. You can also freeze them in ice cube trays.

I opt for fresh in most cases and many herbs such as sage, dill, tarragon, thyme, parsley, basil, and cilantro are sold in grocery store throughout cold weather. There are times when I want a very finely chopped leaf and I’ll choose dried over fresh. For example in my Chocolate Mint Pound Cake and in the Lemon Basil White Chocolate Cheesecake featured in this article.

In order to make sure the herb you want to dry will hold its flavor, cut some leaves, dry them for a week or so, then crumble them between your fingers and take a sniff. Stored in jars you can use dried herbs for up to one year before their strength declines.