lola rugula cold cucumber salad recipe

asparagus frittata

I have to confess I’ve been on a bit of a frittata kick lately. I mean really, what’s not to love about something that’s so easy to make and that you can pack full of all the veggies you love?

Asparagus is growing rampant in our garden right now; it’s seriously one of the best gardening investments that I’ve ever made. It comes back in full force year after year, it’s really nutritious and, of course, it goes great with eggs. So, needless to say, asparagus frittata has been on our menu more than a few times in the last few weeks. So far, my husband isn’t complaining.

lola rugula asparagus frittata recipe

asparagus frittata recipe

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil (or butter)
  • 2 cups diced asparagus
  • 3 scallions, sliced
  • 8 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup cottage cheese
  • 1/2 cup half and half
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheese – I used an Italian blend for this mix which consisted of mozzarella, provolone, parmesan and asiago
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper

Preheat oven to 375

Over medium-high heat, heat olive oil in10-inch ceramic or other non-stick skillet.

Add asparagus and scallions and cook for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.  The asparagus should still have a bit of a “bite” to it when adding the egg mixture.

While the asparagus is cooking put the remaining ingredients in a large bowl and whisk together until well-blended and frothy.

Add the egg mixture to the asparagus mixture and place in a preheated. Cook for about 18-20 minutes. When done, the center will have puffed up a bit and the edges will be just starting to turn golden. Remove from the oven, let sit 5 minutes, slice and serve.

lola rugula asparagus and scallion frittata recipe

I love a good frittata – it’s a wonderful meatless Monday dish, especially if you serve it with a mixed green salad on the side.

If you’re not a fan of asparagus, feel free to substitute your favorite veggie (or veggies) because trust me, this is great with broccoli, broccolini, sweet peppers, zucchini…use your imagination and play with your food a bit.

Enjoy!

lola rugula cold cucumber salad recipe

easy asparagus with ricotta and capicola frittata

Asparagus season is upon us even though my own crop is still quite a few weeks away from delivering. Take advantage of the great deals on asparagus now and whip together this easy frittata recipe for dinner, brunch or breakfast. Of course, you can also make it vegetarian by removing the capicola. No capicola on hand? Use prosciutto or even bacon…trust me, no one’s going to complain.

asparagus-frttata-ricotta-tart-recipe

easy asparagus with ricotta and capicola frittata recipe

  • 15-16 oz. ricotta cheese
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup freshly-shredded Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup half and half
  • fresh chives, minced
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • a few slices of capicola, diced
  • 1 lb fresh, thin asparagus spears

Preheat oven to 375°

In a bowl, whisk together everything but the asparagus. Pour into a 10-inch (or close) non-stick pan. Gently press the asparagus spears into the top of the mixture.

Bake in oven about 20 minutes, just until edges start to turn golden brown. Remove from oven and let sit for 5 minutes before slicing and serving.

Don’t sweat this if you don’t have pencil-thin asparagus! Just dice up your thicker spears and add them to the mix. Maybe not as pretty but, trust me, still delicious. I’ve done it both ways and it works like a charm. If your spears are super-huge, try blanching them first.

Of course, you can make this with any veggie you like; use your imagination and don’t be afraid to play with your food.

lola rugula cold cucumber salad recipe

power balls

If you’re on Facebook or Pinterest (and really, who isn’t on at least one of them at this point), then I’m pretty sure you’ve seen a recipe for no-bake energy balls or energy bites. I’ve played around with a few of them and come up with my own version, which I like to call Power Balls. Catchy, right? I know, I’m a genius.

I already make a killer chewy breakfast bar, but these little babies are quicker, so there’s a bonus right there. And, like most recipes, this one is easy to customize to whatever your tastes are. Of course, if eggs for breakfast are more your style, I also make one heck of a veggie and egg casserole. Just sayin’.

power balls recipe (aka: energy bites)

  • 2 cups old fashioned oats
  • 1/2 cup hemp seed
  • 2 tablespoons chia seeds
  • 1/2 cup shredded, unsweetened coconut
  • 1/2 cup sunflower seeds (raw or toasted – I’ve used both…it’s your call)
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla or almond extract
  • 1/2 cup good-quality dark chocolate, chopped into bits
  • 1 generous cup nut butter, preferably organic

Combine all ingredients well in a large bowl. Chill in the refrigerator for at least one hour. Roll into ball size of your choice and refrigerate. (feel free to roll it into one big ball, if you like. I’ve not tried this yet but it could be fun)

When mixing, I use the back of a large silicon spoon to smash everything together; toss and then repeat…it’s easier than stirring because the mix is quite thick. Once they’re well chilled, I like to roll mine into small, one-bite chunks, so this recipe makes a good 40 or so balls.

Benefits? Oats are well known for their benefits, including dietary fiber and helping to lower cholesterol levels. Hemp seeds are a good source of omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids, which are good for your heart. They are also a good source of protein and fiber. Chia seeds are also high in protein, omega 3 and 6 fatty acids, plus they’re a good source of calcium. See why I call these Power Balls?

lola-rugula-energy-bites=power-balls-recipe

I always encourage you to play with your food and this recipe is no exception. Switch out the sunflower seeds with the nut of your choice (chopped almonds, cashews or hazelnuts are great, too). Or, lose the nuts and use dried berries, instead.

As far as nut butters, so far I’ve made these with almond butter, sunflower seed butter and peanut butter and they’re all tasty in their own way. You really just have to go with what you (or your family) prefer.

Enjoy!

lola rugula cold cucumber salad recipe

egg and veggie casserole

Have I mentioned how much I love eggs? Probably. And, rest assured, my cholesterol levels are spectacular. Mix them with some gorgeous vegetables, especially from your garden, a bit of cream and a touch of cheese and hello easy meal.

Not only is this a great way to enjoy a good breakfast each day, it also makes an easy weeknight dinner and a tasty meatless Monday dish. This is a simple way to add veggies to your diet and amp up your antioxidant quotient for the day.

There are only a few constants in this recipe; the rest of it hinges on what veggies and cheese I have on hand. Play around with it and find out what you like most. It’s pretty tough to screw this up.

lola-rugula-egg-and-veggie-casserole-recipe

baked egg and veggie casserole

Preheat oven to 375

  • 8 large eggs
  • 4 egg whites
  • 3-4 cups veggies, sliced, diced and, if needed, steamed
  • 1/2 cup half and half or heavy cream
  • 1 cup shredded cheese of your choice
  • salt and pepper

Prepare a 9 x 11 (or so) baking dish by rubbing with olive oil or butter.

If you’re using any veggies that may require a little pre-steaming, do so now. I pre-steam thick asparagus or chunky broccoli, which is about the only thing, but if you’re adding any long-cooking veggies, such as carrots, I’d pre-steam them also, for just a few minutes. Most veggies, as long as they’re diced and sliced thinly enough, will cook in the baking time allowed. Be sure and let the veggies cool (or run under cold water and strain) before adding them to your egg mixture.

In a large bowl, whip eggs and egg whites until frothy. Add half and half or cream, cheese, and salt and pepper.

Add prepared veggies to bowl and stir.

Pour mixture into prepared baking dish.

Bake for 25-35 minutes – the center of the casserole will rise up slightly as it begins to fully cook. Remove from oven when casserole begins to brown very lightly at the edges.

Let cool in pan at least 20 minutes before slicing.

lola-rugula-egg-and-veggie-casserole-recipeI love my egg casseroles! Here are some of the veggies I typically add:

  • diced onions
  • diced bell peppers
  • sliced scallions, onions or leeks
  • sliced mushrooms
  • steamed diced asparagus
  • steamed chopped broccoli
  • chopped kale or spinach
  • diced tomatoes
  • fresh or frozen green peas
  • fresh or frozen corn kernels
  • thinly-sliced Brussels sprouts

I also love to add fresh parsley, basil or tarragon when they’re in season and growing rampant in my garden.

As far as the cheese goes, go with what you love – almost any melt-able cheese works well in this. I always add a touch of Parmesan for the salty deliciousness, but take your pick. You can even stir in a little ricotta or fresh mozzarella for added creaminess.

If you like a little meat in your eggs, you can of course add some diced ham, prosciutto, salami, bacon or other meat of your choice – another great way to use leftovers.

lola-rugula-egg-and-veggie-casserole-recipe

I love my eggs over easy but I also loved them baked easy.

Don’t be afraid to play with your food! Enjoy.

lola rugula cold cucumber salad recipe

homemade chewy granola bars

Just an update on my chewy granola breakfast bars. I have found that popping the pan in the oven for just 7 to 10 minutes definitely helps with holding these together, yet still keeps them chewy. I make these all the time now, mixing up the add-ins to suit my mood. I still love them no matter what I put in them!

homemade-chewy-granola-bar-recipe

lola rugula cold cucumber salad recipe

homemade chewy granola bars

I am on a serious mission to create the perfect homemade chewy granola bar. This mission was brought on mostly by the fact that my local grocery store stopped carrying my favorite organic Cascadian Farms Harvest Berry ones.  They were seriously one of the very few packaged foods I buy, and now I can’t find them without driving to another store, 30 minutes away.

See, I don’t want a lot of junk in my breakfast bars, I just want simple and delicious ingredients. I just want some whole food, real food breakfast bars that are chewy and dreamy. I just one some chewy breakfast bars that are full of stuff that’s pretty good for me.

So, after many recipes (my own and others) and many trial-and-errors, I’m finally getting this chewy breakfast bar thing down.  I admit I have a passion for wanting to overdo it on the nut and berry “add-in’s”, but every time I do this, I end up with crumblier bars, which makes delicious granola but not such great granola bars. When I actually follow this recipe exactly, they come out pretty darned good, so this is one of the few recipes I’ve created and make that I actually MEASURE, every single time. Consider yourself warned. Maybe once I’ve made this a hundred times, I’ll have a better feel for it, but for now, I measure.

homemade-chewy-granola-bar-recipe-lola-rugula

homemade chewy granola bar recipe with almonds, coconut and dried berries

  • 2 1/2 cups rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup raw almonds, roughly chopped
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter (I always, always use real butter)
  • 2 tablespoons organic coconut oil
  • 2 tablespoons packed light brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup + 1 tablespoon good-quality local honey (I’m generous on this measurement, since some of it inevitably sticks to the measuring vessel)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract (try and stay away from the stuff with added corn syrup)
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup dried berries (I use a mix sometimes, or sometimes it’s just dried blueberries or cherries or cranberries) You can also add raisins or dates, if you prefer
  • 1/8 cup sunflower seeds
  • 1/8 shredded sweetened coconut
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground flax seed

Preheat oven to 350°

Loosely line a cookie sheet with a generous piece of aluminum foil and spread the rolled oats and chopped almonds on top. (I lift the foil edges up somewhat, creating more of a “bowl” than a flat layer) Place in preheated oven and toast for 5 minutes. Stir and toast for another 4 minutes, stirring 1/2 way through. Remove from oven. (I like to toast these before I melt the butter mixture, so I can put it all together while the butter mixture is nice and runny). Can you make these without the toasting process? Sure! But the toasting adds a great flavor, trust me.

In a large microwaveable glass dish, add butter, coconut oil, honey, brown sugar, vanilla extract and salt. Microwave on high for 45-60 seconds, until oil has mostly melted. Stir well, until sugar and salt has dissolved.

Add toasted oats and almonds to butter mixture and stir well, coating all of the oats. Add sunflower seeds, coconut and berries and mix well again.

Using the foil that you baked the oats and nuts on, use it to line an 8 x 8 baking dish or pan. Grease the foil lightly with a touch of coconut oil.

Drop the oat mixture into the prepared baking dish and press the mixture in very, very firmly. When you think you’ve pressed it firmly enough, all the way around, including at the edges, press it again, all the way around, for another minute or two.  This is part of the key of making this things hold together. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours. Don’t skimp on this time unless you really want granola.

Lift foil out of baking dish and slide granola mixture onto a large cutting board. Cut the mixture into bars. Store in covered container.

These keep at least a week for me which, so far, is as long as they’ve lasted. 🙂

homemade-chewy-granola-bar-recipeA lot of recipes for breakfast bars call for a lot of butter and sugar, so I’ve created this recipe with not nearly so much.  I have tried to make this without the butter, using just coconut oil  and, sadly, they were just too crumbly. The butter firms up better than the coconut oil, once it’s chilled and set. If these soften too much at room temperature for you, then try storing them in the fridge.

Feel free to change up the type of nuts and add-in’s – think cashew nuts, chia seeds, pepitas -you can definitely personalize these to your own taste. (please play with your food!) Dark chocolate chips would be a good antioxidant add-in and would act as an additional “glue”, to hold these together. I’ve not done this yet, but I will.

I enjoy one of these each morning, alongside a banana and boiled egg. Sometimes, when I’m really hungry, I also have some Greek Yogurt with flax seed and whole berries. I hope you try these and love them – my husband and I sure do, because these rarely last a week for us.