I wanted to make a dessert recipe that screamed “Summer!” without a ton of sugar and processed ingredients. I love all things coconut and lime pairs very well, adding a juicy burst of flavor.
Instead of traditional flour, I used a combination of coconut and tapioca flours. Coconut flour is great for baking gluten free dishes with a nice coconut aroma and tapioca starch keeps the cupcake batter light while remaining allergy-friendly. I really enjoy desserts with a cream cheese based icing. It helps cut through the richness of a dessert and doesn’t add heaps of unnecessary sugar. Instead of buying store bought cupcakes, try this crowd pleasing cupcake recipe full of summertime goodness.
Coconut Lime Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting
- 1 cup coconut flour
- 1 cup tapioca starch
- 1 tbsp baking powder
- 2 eggs
- 1/3 c coconut oil, melted
- 1.5 cups unsweetened almond milk
- 1/2 cup cane sugar
- 1 cup unsweetened shredded Coconut
- 1/3 cup lime juice
- 2 tbsp lime zest
- FOR FROSTING
- 8 oz cream cheese
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 tbsp powdered sugar
- 1 tbsp milk
- Preheat oven to 350 and line a muffin tin with paper liners. Cream together sugar and eggs using a hand mixer. Add coconut oil and milk, beat once more.
- Slowly add coconut flour, tapioca starch and baking powder.
- Add lime juice, lime zest and coconut. Stir. Use a 1/4 cup measuring scoop to add cupcake batter to muffin tin. Bake 30 minutes.
- In the meantime, beat cream cheese, vanilla extract and powdered sugar. Add milk and beat once more. Pour frosting into a piping bag. Refrigerate.
- Allow cupcakes to cool 20 minutes. Frost and refrigerate until serving.
Although the meat is generally the star of the show when it comes to grilling, I believe the side dishes play a very important supporting role. If you aren’t a big meat eater, like me, you look forward to sides that are satisfying. Today I am going to share 4 simple side dishes to accompany your entrees this Fourth of July and all summer long. These dishes require minimal prep work and look gorgeous on any tablescape.
First up, a chilled watermelon, feta and mint salad. This one is so simple it doesn’t require an actual recipe. Simple cube your watermelon, top with half a cup of feta cheese and a few chopped mint leaves. Beautiful and refreshing.
Grilled vegetables and fruit take on a sweet and savory flavor when grilled. No need for a lot of extra seasoning and fluff. Use grilled pineapple to top burgers, fish or chicken for a fresh burst of fruity flavor that compliments meat so well. Or take your hot grilled pineapple and serve them à la mode with a scoop of ice cream.
Grilled Pineapple, Carrots and Baby Bell Peppers
- 1 bunch carrots, if using large carrots, slice thin and uniform for fast grilling
- 1 pineapple, sliced into 1/2 inch slices, center removed
- 4 cups baby bell peppers
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- sea salt and pepper to taste
- *PRO TIP: Remove the center of the pineapple rind by pressing a metal shot class around the rind.
- Skewer baby bell peppers onto a wood or metal skewer.
- Drizzle olive oil over bell peppers and rub onto carrots.
- Season with salt and pepper
- Place carrots on grill preheated to 400 degrees. Allow to cook ten minutes. Add bell pepper skewers and pineapple slices directly on grill. At this point you can rotate the carrots. Cook bell pepper and pineapple 5 minutes.
- Flip bell peppers and continue to cook 5 minutes.
- Serve hot.
Summer is in full swing and the Fourth of July is in just a few days. The Fourth of July is one of my favorite times of the year to celebrate with loved ones and create memories. In my house, the barbecue is a constant cooking tool all summer long, but particularly on the Fourth of July. I grill fresh fruit to kebobs and everything in between. There is just something so nostalgic to me about a table full of grilled seasonal staples. I am going to be sharing a number of delicious, simple and healthy dishes you can make to share with your friends and family this weekend and the rest of summer.
No good barbecue starts without a cocktail– so first up, the Grapefruit and St. Germain Paloma. This cocktail has all the flavor of a great margarita, but with a touch of elderberry from the St. Germain liqueur. It adds that certain something to any cocktail that makes it memorable. It also happens to be a gorgeous cocktail, perfect for summertime sipping.
Grapefruit and St. Germain Paloma
- 1.5 oz tequila
- 1 oz St. Germain Liqueur
- 3 oz grapefruit juice
- Splash of club soda
- Sea salt or sugar for rim
- Sprig of fresh mint
- Lime wedge
- Rim cocktail glass with a lime wedge and gently press into sea salt. You can pour salt on a small saucer or plate for easy rimming.
- Fill cocktail glass with ice. Combine tequila, St. Germain Liquor and grapefruit juice. Stir.
- Top with soda and a Sprig of mint. Garnish with lime.
Sometimes a rich piece of dark chocolate is all it takes to satisfy the craving for something sweet. In today’s recipe for superfood dark chocolate and fruit bark we are going to up the ante with a dose of chia seeds and fresh fruit to add a heap of health boosting antioxidants and omega 3’s to the chocolate.
I didn’t realize how truly easy it is to make homemade chocolate bark until now. All you do is choose your add ons and melt some chocolate. let it set in the refrigerator and you have a beautiful dessert in under an hour.
Superfood Dark Chocolate and Fruit Bark
- 24 oz dark chocolate chips
- 1/3 c cherries, pitted and chopped
- 1/3 c blackberries, halved
- 1/3 c raspberries, halved
- 1 tbsp chia seeds
- 1 tbsp unsalted sunflower kernels
- 1/4 tsp sea salt
- Line a 9x13 baking sheet with wax paper.
- In a microwave safe bowl, melt chocolate chips working in 30 second increments until melted stirring occasionally.
- Pour chocolate chips into pan and spread to edges.
- Top with cherries, raspberries, blackberries, chia seeds, sunflower kernels and sea salt. Gently press into chocolate. Refrigerate 30 minutes or until solid. Use a butter knife to break into pieces.
- Store in airtight container in refrigerator.
A cool and refreshing salad is just what every summertime barbecue needs. This crunchy roasted corn and jicama confetti salad has a medley of delicious and healthy vegetables with a creamy avocado dressing. I recommend serving this salad in place of coleslaw for a nice change. Fire roasted corn can be purchased at Trader Joes grocery store in the frozen vegetable section. I have also seen it at other grocery stores as well. The smokey aroma of the roasted corn adds to the flavor of the salad. It would be delicious alongside this citrus tequila chicken.
Roasted Corn and Jicama Confetti Salad
- 1/2 c Jicama, finely chopped
- 2 c fire roasted corn
- 1 bell pepper, finely chopped
- 1/2 c red onion, finely chopped
- 1 c zucchini, finely chopped
- 1/4 c chopped cilantro
- 1/3 c Feta cheese, crumbled
- 2 tbsp Sunflower kernels
- FOR DRESSING
- 1 handful cilantro
- 1 garlic clove
- 1/2 an avocado
- 1/4 c olive oil
- 1/3 c red wine vinegar
- Combine chopped vegetables and cilantro in a large bowl. Stir to combine.
- In a food processor combine ingredients for dressing. Blend in high until smooth and creamy.
- Pour dressing over salad before serving. Stir to coat. Top with feta crumbles and sunflower kernels.
Fresh pesto is one of those recipes that can be smothered on just about anything to create a fresh bright flavor. I often make pesto to put on pasta, zucchini noodles, pizza and chicken. I think it would even be delicious on grilled steak as a chimichurri alternative. Today I am spreading it on salmon just before grilling. You can make pesto out of any nuts you prefer, I used walnuts. The addition of fresh basil adds a hint of anise flavor to any dish and a beautiful bright green color. A squeeze of lemon juice adds a little tang, perfect for fish dishes. Try this lemon walnut pesto on your next recipe!
Lemon Walnut Pesto Grilled Salmon
- 2 lb. salmon filet
- For Pesto:
- 1/3 c olive oil
- 2 tbsp lemon juice
- 1/4 c walnut pieces
- 6 large basil leaves
- 1/3 c grated Parmesan cheese
- 2 garlic cloves
- Heat grill to 425. While grill heats, prepare ingredients for pesto in a food processor or blender.
- Blend until smooth.
- Pour into a small bowl. Refrigerate until ready to make the salmon.
- Lay salmon on a large piece of foil. Spoon pesto over salmon.
- Fold foil over salmon so that it is completely enclosed in foil.
- Place on grill. Cook 15 minutes. Slice salmon and serve.
Trader Joe’s grocery store has become a favorite destination for me to do my grocery shopping. Not only are the prices hard to beat, but I love their selection of prepared frozen items from their signature line. I rarely make eggplant, so when I came across these breaded eggplant cutlets at Trader Joe’s I had to buy them. They crisp up super quick in the oven and take all the work out of having to batter and coat your own eggplant cutlets. I knew they would be amazing in a caprese recipe. Traditionally, caprese type salads are made with mozzarella, tomato and basil–so the crispiness of the eggplant kicks it up a notch and makes it more of a hearty, satisfying dish. These eggplant caprese stacks with balsamic glaze would make a terrific side dish to just about any entree or a delicious vegetarian entree option.
Eggplant Caprese Stacks wit Balsamic Glaze
- For Glaze:
- 1/2 c balsamic vinegar
- 2 tbsp brown sugar
- For Eggplant Stacks:
- 8 eggplant cutlets (trader joes brand)
- 2 large tomatoes, sliced to 1/4 inch thick slices
- 1 large mozzarella ball, sliced into 1/4 inch thick slices
- 8 basil leaves
- Sea salt and black pepper
- To Make Glaze:
- Combine ingredients over med/low heat in a small saucepan. Stir until sugar dissolves.
- Bring to a low boil. Reduce heat and simmer 20 minutes or until thickened.
- Pour into a container and refrigerate at least 2 hours.
- For Stacks:
- Cook eggplant cutlets in oven until crispy and lightly browned. Allow to cool slightly.
- Layer slices of eggplant, tomato, mozzarella and basil. Repeat and then create another stack. Season with salt and pepper.
- Drizzle with balsamic glaze before serving.
Creating fresh takes on burger recipes is one of my favorite things to do during the warmer months. I often see a variety of burger options at the grocery store in the meat department. Those are great in a pinch, but when I have a little extra time, I like to create my own hand crafted burgers. This one came to me when I was trying to think of new ways to use corn meal. I found it to be the perfect binder in this recipe for cheesy jalapeño corn burgers.
The corn meal creates an almost crispy outside to the burger, which I loved. The meat in this recipe is sort of an afterthought. I wanted the other ingredients to be the stars of the show, so instead of using beef, I used ground chicken. These burgers are delicious on their own with a little spicy mayonnaise (I use mayo mixed with a little chipotle in adobo sauce) on top served alongside grilled hearts of romaine or your choice of veggie.
Cheesy Jalapeño Corn Burger
- 1 lb ground chicken
- 1/2 c corn kernels, thawed
- 1/2 c cornmeal
- 1 tbsp jalapeño, minced
- 1 tsp garlic, pressed into a paste
- 1/3 c red onion, finely chopped
- 1 c shredded cheddar cheese
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
- Preheat grill to 400 degrees. Combine ingredients in a large bowl. Mix well to combine.
- Form into patties.
- Place on grill. Cook 10 minutes, flip and cook ten minutes longer.
Warmer weather and chilled desserts go hand in hand. This weekend I am having my mom and stepdad over for a BBQ. I wanted to create a dessert for us to enjoy after dinner that would feel Spring-like. I have been making this oat crust for all sorts of dessert recipes from protein pie to piña colada bars. It is safe to say that it has become my go-to crust recipe for desserts. I like it because it is full of fiber and taste like cookies, providing a nice crumbly texture for just about any filling or topping. I thought it would make the perfect base to be topped with a lightly sweetened cream cheese filling and fresh strawberries and kiwi. I hope you enjoy this strawberry kiwi cream cheese tart as much as we will!
Strawberry-Kiwi Cream Cheese Tart
- FOR CRUST
- 1 c oat flour
- 1/4 c old fashioned oats
- 1/4 c cane sugar
- 1/2 c melted butter
- 2 16 oz packages cream cheese at room temperature
- 1 tbsp vanilla extract
- 1/3 c powdered sugar
- 2 tbsp unsweetened almond milk
- 2 c thinly sliced strawberries
- 1 c thinly sliced kiwi
- Preheat oven to 350. Grease a tart or pie pan.
- Combine oat flour, butter and sugar in a mixing bowl. Mix until combine and moistened.
- Press crust mixture into pan using hands.
- Bake 20-25 minutes or until light golden brown. Remove from oven. Cool at room temperature.
- Using a hand mixer, beat together cream cheese, powdered sugar, almond milk and vanilla until smooth.
- Spread cream cheese filling over crust.
- Top with sliced kiwi and strawberries. Refrigerate 2 hours. Slice and serve.
Fruit infused muffins are a delicious way to use fresh fruit of the season. Using the zest and the juice of the fruit, in this case tangerines, adds a ton of flavor and aroma to muffins. Chia seeds are a nice switch from traditional poppyseed. Chia seeds are a great source of plant based protein and fiber. I also typically use oat flour, which I grind out of old fashioned oats in my food processor, to create the base for my muffins. It is a super simple way to create you own fresh ground flour.
The shining star in this recipe is the use of olive oil rather than butter. Most people don’t typically reach for olive oil for baking, but trust me, it is a terrific fat substitute. I used a premium extra virgin olive oil by Oilio. Oilio is a family owned company and their oil is single sourced in Southern Kalamata Greece. The olive oil gives these muffins a super moist texture while amping up the good for you fatty acids, making for a muffin that is equally delicious as it is healthy.
Olive Oil and Tangerine Muffins with Chia Seeds
- 1 c oat flour
- 1 c old fashioned oats
- 1/2 c olive oil
- 2 eggs
- 1/2 c unsweetened almond milk
- 1/3 c tangerine juice or orange juice
- 2 tbsp tangerine zest or orange zest
- 1/3 c cane sugar
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 2 tbsp chia seeds
- Preheat oven to 350 and line a muffin pan with paper liners.
- Combine oat flour, oats, sugar and baking powder. Stir to combine.
- In a separate bowl, whisk eggs, add olive oil, almond milk, tangerine juice, tangerine zest. Stir to combine.
- Pour wet ingredients into dry. Stir. Add chia seeds and stir once more.
- Use a 1/4 cup measuring scoop to pour batter into muffin pan.
- Bake for 35 minutes.