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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Very Veggie Marinara Sauce

Very Veggie Marinara Sauce is easy, economical and full of fresh vegetables.

There’s something so satisfying about a plate of pasta with a hearty, flavorful marinara sauce. It’s a meal that can be put together in a hurry, when you’re low on groceries or have no idea what to make, and it’s inexpensive but still delicious. 

When my husband and I were dating, he pretty much lived on pasta. At the time, we were both waiting tables at the Old Spaghetti Factory, and they gave us a free plate of pasta every shift. I’m pretty sure he would have eaten spaghetti and pizza for breakfast, lunch and dinner every day. His Italian mama made him spaghetti at home, too, always with her homemade sauce.

Over the years, I’ve developed my own marinara sauce recipe, and I usually make it using the pressure cooker or Crock-Pot. My recipe uses carrots and celery in addition to tomatoes, onions and garlic, with a touch of extra virgin of olive oil. I love having this sauce on hand, to top pasta, grilled chicken or zucchini noodles, or to use as a dip for breadsticks. You can also use it for baked pasta dishes like Allie’s Baked Caprese Tortellini.

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Chickpea and Spinach Curry

This quick and delicious weeknight skillet dinner is packed with protein and veggies. It's also vegan and gluten free.

This Chickpea and Spinach Curry is one of my all-time favorite vegan recipes. It’s packed with veggies, protein, and fiber, and it can be cooked from start to finish in 20 minutes.

This quick and delicious weeknight skillet dinner is packed with protein and veggies. It's also vegan and gluten free.

Sometimes I make this curry as a quick weeknight dinner, but most often I actually make a batch and divide it into lunches for the week. It’s a perfect lunch because it holds up well in the fridge and it can be eaten by itself or with a grain or bread. One serving is one heaping cup (which feels like a lot) and it has 208 calories, 10g of protein, 9g of fiber, and a healthy serving of spinach.

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