Panzanella Salad

Monday, October 3, 2022

Is anyone else's garden bursting with goodness right now?   Or at least maybe you're tempted by the cheaper prices on all the in-season produce  at the grocery store. This  recipe for panzanella salad was one I discovered a few years ago to use up some tomatoes and cucumbers in my garden and it's one I've been tweaking ever since then.   This year I think I finally got it just the way we like it and I'm excited to share it with you now.     Never heard of panzanella salad?   It's an Italian salad that combines stale or toasted bread with fresh veggies.  My family is obsessed!    

Just a note:  If you don't think you'll be eating all the salad at once, then combine all the ingredients EXCEPT the bread.   Add bread to individual servings as needed.  That way the bread won't get soggy.  

Click here for printable recipe.


1/4 cup olive oil
16 ounces (or so) french bread (or gluten free bread), cut into 1-inch cubes
1-1/2 - 2-lbs. fresh tomatoes, seeded and coarsely chopped 
1 large cucumber, coarsely chopped
2 bell peppers (any color), chopped into 1-inch pieces
1/3 cup red onion, thinly sliced
1/2 cup coarsely chopped fresh basil
1/4 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
1 envelope Good Seasons Italian seasoning mix, prepared as directed (1/4 cup apple cider vinegar + 3 Tbs. water + 1/2 cup olive oil + 1 tsp. salt, 1/4 tsp. pepper)

Cube the bread into 1-inch pieces.   Add 1/4 cup olive oil to large frying pan over medium-high heat and toast the bread cubes, stirring frequently until golden brown and toasty.  Set aside until just before serving.  

Chop veggies into 1-inch dices.  Combine into large bowl.   
Prepare Good Seasons dressing mix as directed on package, plus add additional salt and pepper.   (1/4 cup apple cider vinegar + 3 Tbs. water + 1/2 cup olive oil + 1 tsp. salt, 1/4 tsp. pepper).  Set dressing aside until just before serving. 

Shortly before serving, add the toasted bread cubes, parmesan cheese, basil, and dressing.

Stir together until well-combined.  
Serve immediately.  
If you don't think you'll be eating all of the salad at once, I recommend mixing everything together EXCEPT the bread cubes, then add the bread to individual servings.   The toasted bread will get soggy quickly otherwise.  



New Favorite Recipes

Thursday, September 1, 2022

 New Favorite Recipes We've Discovered: 

I may not have found much time to post new recipes here on the blog recently, but that doesn't mean I haven't been cooking and trying new recipes.  I took exactly one picture, so this isn't as visual as usual, but I don't want to lose track of these, so you here you go!    Here are a few new favorites we've discovered recently...check back and I'll update it with new links as we try them:  


Best Broccoli Cheese Soup:  WE loved this healthier version of broccoli cheese soup!

Buddha Bowls (We loved this for dinner, but loved it even more as leftovers the next day for lunch.   I want to make a double batch of it at the beginning of the week and use it for healthy, easy to grab lunches later.   We used a mix of roasted brussels sprouts and sweet potatoes for the veggies, and used cauliflower rice instead of rice.  And I doubled the sauce, because I knew my family would eat more veggies if there was more sauce.  haha, my kids may be teens now, but I still use some of the same tricks to get them to eat their veggies ! )

Cashew Chicken : we loved this easy one to make!

Chicken Curry in a Hurry served over cauliflower rice (next time I'll make 1-1/2 batch)

Chili Lime Instapot Chicken--good basic overall mexican chicken recipe--love that it comes out perfectly in the Instapot!

Grilled Chicken and Avocado Pesto--served over cauliflower rice, cooked the chicken on cookie sheet at 400-degrees for 20 minutes, very low carb and very delicious!

Korean Steak Bowls:  We went through a phase of eating this once  week or so and like it with chicken even better than steak.

Sesame Chicken Salad--Great flavors in a delicious healthy dinner.

Skillet Lasagna (used GF penne pasta)--SO good and so easy!

Thai Crunch Salad--  used shredded cabbage instead of salad kit and added sweet potatoes, comes together quickly  and oh so yummy!

Thai Mango Chicken:   The leftovers are even better!


Baked Oatmeal  a hearty and healthy way to start the day

Banana Oatmeal Pancakes
super easy and super good:

Favorite Chia Seed Pudding:
  hearty and chocolatey, great with fresh fruit and a drizzle of nut butter over the top

Gluten Free / Low Carb Pancakes

Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Cookies: Just make sure you use GF oats, but this is a good solid GF cookie recipe that's saved me many times!    I like to omit the flax, add a real egg, and increase the oat flour just a bit.  Perhaps one of these times, I'll write down what I do and add it here to the blog.

Gluten Free Cinnamon Rolls: It's a terribly written recipe (I guess I'm a recipe snob) and calls for super expensive flour, but these made for the best GF breakfast for Christmas morning.  Even my gluten eating family gobbled them up! 

The BEST GF Lemon Bars: Nice and zesty--the way lemon bars should be!

Gluten Free Rolls--calls for some weird/expensive ingredients, but are the BEST gluten free rolls I've ever had

Keto Tortillas: easy and good GF tortillas (we made them a little thicker to be more like naan bread)

Mashed Cauliflower--good basic recipe.  Added extra cream cheese and extra garlic.

No Sugar Cranberry Sauce--Just the right amount of tartness.  Also excellent added to whipped cream cheese or served over goat cheese.

Overnight Oats--We may be a little late to the game, but we have just discovered the joy of overnight oats for crazy mornings.  We usually use some PB powder in place of actual PB and love to change up the toppings with different fruits and nuts.

So what should I try next?    Feel free to spam me with all your best links.  


Mediterranean Dip

Thursday, August 18, 2022

 This recipe, from my friend Heather, is one I've been enjoying and making for many years and I decided it was time for me to officially share it here on the blog!   Heather is a talented cook and I always looked forward to her signing up to bring the treats for book group.  She makes the most amazing baked goods ever, but this savory dip is what I'd get really excited about.   It's a lot of chopping, but otherwise super easy to throw together and it tastes absolutely amazing.  It's meant to be an appetizer served with pita chips or fresh veggies, but we will serve it with some grilled chicken and fresh fruit or some lentil soup and a Greek salad and make it a big part of a delicious Mediterranean dinner! 

Click here for printable recipe.

Yield: (1) 12-14 inch round plate of dip

Don't love cilantro?   Make it with basil instead.  😋
1½ cups fresh cilantro (it was about 2 bunches)
2 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
1/3 cup olive oil, divided
1/4 cup pine nuts (or whatever nuts you happen to have)
¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese


2 containers (10-ounces each) hummus
1 batch cilantro pesto (see above)
1/2 English cucumber, diced
1/3 cup red onion, diced
1/2 cup banana peppers, chopped
1/2 cup sliced black or kalamata olives (I prefer black)
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
1/2 cup  sun-dried tomatoes in olive oil, chopped

12-14 - inch round platter or small cookie sheet 


FOR THE CILANTRO PESTO:  In a blender or food processor, combine the cilantro, garlic, about half of the olive oil,  and  nuts.

Oops...I accidentally added the Parmesan cheese too, then tried to scoop it out. 

 Pulse repeatedly until a coarse paste forms, scraping down the sides of the bowl as you go. With the blender/processor running, add the remaining olive oil in a steady stream and process until smooth.
Transfer the pesto to a bowl and stir in the Parmesan.
(If storing for later use, drizzle with a thin film of olive oil, cover with plastic wrap directly on the surface of the pesto, and store in an airtight container.)

Spread a layer of hummus on a serving platter.

Spread the cilantro pesto over the top of the hummus.

Layer evenly with cucumber, red onion, banana peppers, olives, feta, and oven-dried tomatoes as desired.
Garnish with an additional few tablespoons of minced fresh cilantro. Serve with pita chips or fresh veggies (we like cucumber slices and carrot sticks).



About This Blog

My name is Lara and while I'm definitely not a gourmet cook, I do love preparing tasty, healthy meals for my family. Finding new recipes to try and sharing the ones we've already fallen in love with is a passion I've had since college and the reason why I've started this blog! With five kids, I'm usually in a hurry, so you'll find most of these recipes kid friendly and simple to make.

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