Italian Salad with Pears, Shaved Parmesan, and Honey-Balsamic Vinaigrette

This beautiful Italian salad combines pears, shaved Parmesan and honey-balsamic vinaigrette.

I’m always looking for new salad combinations, especially since I’ve somehow become the go-to salad person for our family get-togethers. Two things I’ve learned about making a good salad are 1) you need a balance of flavors and textures, and 2) you can always look to Italian cuisine for inspiration. This Italian salad with pears, shaved Parmesan and honey-balsamic vinaigrette is a perfect blend of sweet, salty, sour and bitter flavors, with a variety of textures from tender salad greens to juicy pears to crunchy toasted pine nuts.

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Winter Minestrone with Sausage, Kale, and Basil Pistou

Winter minestrone with sausage, kale, and basil pistou is guaranteed to become one of your family's favorite soups!

We’re having a January cold spell, and right now the temperature outside is a whopping 6 degrees. Which means my family wants nothing but soup for dinner. One of our all-time favorites is this winter minestrone with sausage, kale, and basil pistou. It’s packed with bold flavor and healthy veggies.

This red, green and white soup is a Christmas Eve tradition in our family, so sometimes I call it “Christmas minestrone.” We usually don’t have a heavy dinner Christmas Eve, because we’ve already stuffed ourselves at an annual family party during the day. After celebrating with a million and one relatives, we go home, make some minestrone, and play board games until it’s time to hang our stockings.

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Christmas Deviled Eggs

Christmas deviled eggs will be the hit of any holiday party.

Deviled eggs are classic appetizers, welcome at any party table. This week I was asked to bring an appetizer to a big family Christmas party, and I thought if I dressed them up in Christmas colors, deviled eggs would be perfect. I had to smile when I named this recipe “Christmas Deviled Eggs,” because normally Christmas and the devil don’t go together. When I looked into the history of deviled eggs, I learned that sometimes people in the Midwest and South call deviled eggs “angel eggs” when bringing them to church functions.  So you can definitely call these Christmas Deviled Eggs “Angel Eggs” if you prefer.

Plain deviled eggs get dressed up for the holidays with festive red and green garnishes.

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Winter Fruit Salad with Honey-Lemon Dressing

Seasonal citrus, pomegranates and pineapple team up with apples and kiwi in this gorgeous fruit salad.

I’m always looking for ways to get more fruits and vegetables into my life – and into my family’s mouths – but sometimes biting into a plain piece of fruit is not that a-peeling. (Haha – I just made a fruit joke!) A gorgeous fruit salad is a great way to eat healthy and enjoy it! This winter fruit salad combines seasonal citrus, pomegranates, pineapple, kiwi and apples. A simple dressing of lemon and honey adds sweetness and keeps the fruit fresher longer.

This gorgeous salad combines seasonal winter fruits with a simple honey-lemon dressing.

This winter fruit salad is perfect for a holiday party buffet, or you can make a big batch of it and keep it in the fridge. It doesn’t contain delicate fruits like berries or bananas, so it will stay fresh for up to three days.

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Homemade Roasted Chili Oil

Sichuan-style toasted chili oil brings a toasty heat to all your favorite foods.

Lately I’m in love with Sichuan-style roasted chili oil – a little obsessed, in fact. Roasted chili oil (or toasted chili oil) has a complex, toasted chili flavor that’s mellow and not acidic. Sometimes I buy roasted chili oil from my local gourmet supermarket, but it’s expensive and hard to find. I decided to try making my own, so I would never run out. I eat it with scrambled eggs, roasted vegetables and potatoes. It’s also fantastic with our 10-Minute Wonton Soup, Crock-Pot Honey Balsamic Chicken, Korean Beef and Noodle Stir-Fry and Easy Homemade Kung Pao Chicken.

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30-Minute Chicken Chili

Make this warm, spicy and satisfying chicken chili in only 30 minutes.

I’m always looking for recipes that are simple, tasty and healthy, and this 30-Minute Chicken Chili is all of those things. It’s spicy and satisfying, and it cooks up quickly with just a few staple ingredients. My family loves my Smoky Chipotle Turkey Chili recipe, but this chicken chili is lighter and less expensive to make. It’s more of a broth-based soup than a meaty chili.

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Greek Yogurt Lemon Pudding

Greek yogurt lemon pudding is a simple everyday dessert with calcium and protein.

Lately I’ve been looking for new healthy dessert recipes. I love something sweet, but I want to take care of my body at the same time. This Greek yogurt lemon pudding is a perfect everyday dessert that’s light and refreshing, with calcium, protein and nothing artificial. It takes literally 5 minutes to make, with only 3 ingredients.

I got this recipe from a cooking class I attended on a recent trip to Greece with my husband and 18-year-old daughter. The cooking class was one of the highlights of our trip! If you are ever in Athens, I recommend that you check it out. The teacher, Fofi, was a gracious hostess with a wealth of knowledge about Greek food. We made zucchini balls with tzatziki, dolmathes (stuffed grape leaves), Greek salad, spanikopita (spinach pie), roasted lamb with potatoes, and this Greek yogurt lemon pudding. All this in 2 1/2 hours! At the end of the class, we got to eat the food at outdoor tables while listening to traditional Greek music.

This Greek yogurt lemon pudding is ultra-easy and was perfect at the end of our big meal. I made it again soon after I got home, because I’ve become such a fan of Greek yogurt. The ingredients for this recipe are simple: one large container of plain Greek yogurt, one can of sweetened condensed milk, and one lemon.

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Easy Homemade Kung Pao Chicken

This easy kung pao chicken is even better than takeout!

Chicken, Rice | October 11, 2016 | By

Do you ever go through “food phases,” where all you want to eat is a certain type of food? Lately, all I’ve been craving is spicy Asian food, so I decided to make this easy homemade kung pao chicken.

This is an update of a recipe I’ve been making for many years, from a cookbook I’ve had so long its cover is ripped off and pages are falling out. It’s one of the first stir fry dishes I learned how to make, and it’s still a family favorite. It’s an Americanized version of the Szechwan classic, but that doesn’t make it any less tasty.

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Creamy Tomato Basil Soup With Orzo

Creamy tomato basil soup with orzo is one of the best soups you will ever make!

One thing I love about fall is the return of soup season! One of the first soups I make every year when the weather turns cooler is this creamy tomato basil soup with orzo, which is based on a ready-made soup from Costco. It’s probably my favorite “Costco hack” recipe. I’ve made this soup dozens of times – for my family, for company or for potlucks – and people always ask me for the recipe.

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Crispy Bean and Chorizo Tostadas

Crisp, fresh and spicy bean and chorizo tostadas combine all your favorite Mexican flavors!

Everybody loves tacos, but sometimes tostadas are even better: crispy, crunchy and spicy, with lots of room for fresh toppings. The only thing I don’t like about tostadas is that they’re messy and difficult to eat. I wanted to make my favorite bean and chorizo tostadas for a football watch party last Sunday, but tostadas are not exactly finger food. I decided to cut the tortillas in half before frying them, to make them easier to pick up. Everybody argued about whether these were mini tostadas or giant nachos, but they devoured them anyway!

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