easy

Erin Gleeson

Let’s Party: Watermelon Bites

Inspired by this BHG Watermelon Salad, I decided to make an appetizer version perfect for an outdoor summer gathering. Just stack cubes of feta and watermelon on a toothpick with a leaf of fresh mint! Simple, refreshing and delicious. Summer in a bite!

Try to cut the feta and watermelon cubes the same size:

You can mix up the order of the 3 items however you like! However, for thin toothpicks I prefer to put the feta on the bottom as I think it keeps the items from falling off the tooth pick. This could also be served as a salad skewer by putting about 3 watermelon cubes, 3 feta cubes and mint leaves on a longer kebab stick.

I served them at a party recently and they were a hit:

The recipe for these watermelon bites was based on the ingredients in this Watermelon Salad. Happy summer entertaining!

By Erin Gleeson for The Forest Feast, a food blog and cookbook inspired by living in a cabin in the woods in California.

 

 


Erin Gleeson

Let’s Party: Blueberry Arugula Salad

Nothing reminds me of summer more than berry picking. Most summers, we head to Vermont for a week to stay at my relative’s house and we always go blueberry picking nearby. Usually it’s so hot that I can’t manage to bake a pie when I get home, so instead I love throwing the berries in a fresh salad. The sweet and savory together are divine! Plus, it’s great alongside a BBQ meal.

For this fresh summer salad, I created a vegetarian version of this BHG salad, subbing spicy arugula for lettuce, and adding feta and pecans. However, feel free to include the turkey, or perhaps some chicken if you’ve fired up the grill.

I just used a light vinaigrette I bought at the store, but even olive oil and lemon would be lovely! For the recipe that I adapted, please click here.

Cheers to outdoor summer meals!

Recipe adaptation, illustrations and photos by Erin Gleeson of The Forest Feast, a food blog and vegetarian cookbook inspired by living in a cabin in the woods.

 


BHG Guest Blogger

Guest Blogger: Salmon Burgers

Hi Friends, I’m Nik Sharma and I blog at A Brown Table where I develop recipes that showcase the wonderful flavors of Indian cuisine. My favorite recipes are the ones where I get to showcase ingredients that are commonly used in Indian cooking and infuse them into everyday meals that are tasty yet wholesome and healthy.

Warm summers always remind me of grilling and spending vacations at the beach, so when Better Homes and Gardens asked me to cook and write about their recipes, I figured what could better than a delicious burger (any excuse is a great excuse to fire up the grill!). I picked their easy salmon burger recipe, which seriously guys, no jokes, this is one super EASY and tasty way to prepare salmon.  All you need to do is add the ingredients to a food processor, click the “Pulse” button a couple of times, shape and then toss them on to your grill and watch them sizzle!

We eat a lot of seafood at home and salmon is definitely a common item on our menu. So we were eager to try this recipe out from Better Homes and Gardens.

My favorite way to eat these babies, is to grab a salmon patty, throw on some lettuce, add a dollop of mustard, and sandwich it inside a freshly toasted bun.

I kept the entire method of preparation and ingredients the same as listed in the original recipe but I did make a few of my own changes to it.

  • Instead of using crackers, I used 1/2 cup oat bran. Not only does oat bran act as a binding agent it also gives a nice texture to the burger. If you have a gluten sensitivity issue, I recommend using oat bran that’s prepared in a gluten-free facility (just in case there’s cross contamination).
  • I also added 2 tablespoons chopped red onion, 2 tablespoons of fresh cilantro leaves (but parsley could also be substituted in the same amount), 1 clove (approximately 1 teaspoon) of garlic , 1 small (1 teaspoon) thai chili pepper, 1 teaspoon garam masala, and 1 teaspoon salt to the salmon before processing it in the food processor.

If you’re looking for a no-fuss recipe to prepare a flavorful salmon burger, then this recipe will not disappoint!


Kelly Senyei

Mixed Berry Tartlets

Skip the slice and forget the forks in favor of bite-sized Mixed Berry Tartlets starring the season’s freshest berries topped with homemade whipped cream!

If you’re a fan of pie but want to avoid DIY pie dough, then allow me to introduce you to your new go-to dessert: Mixed Berry Tartlets.

This quick and easy recipe allows for mixing and matching of your favorite fruits, which leads to endless flavor combinations. And while the original recipe called for frozen berries, I couldn’t resist the perfectly ripe strawberries and blueberries on display at my local market. Ready to dig in? Preheat your oven for Mixed Berry Tartlets and read on for additional substitutions, plus my go-to recipe for homemade whipped cream.

The sweetness starts with store-bought pie dough, which transforms from a single crust into a dozen mini crusts with a few twists of a circular cookie cutter. If you don’t have a circular cookie cutter you can use a drinking glass or the top of a spice bottle with a diameter of 3 to 4 inches.

Once the individual crusts are tucked securely into a muffin tin, it’s then time to move on to the fruit filling. I swapped out the frozen mixed berries in favor of fresh, opting for juicy strawberries and plump blueberries. You could also use blackberries, raspberries, cranberries or any other small or diced fruit.

Twenty minutes in the oven is all it takes to go from raw ingredients to perfectly baked tartlets. But they’re not done just yet! While the tartlets cool, whip up a sweet tangy topping by skipping the lemon curd filling from the original recipe in favor of a vanilla-spiked homemade whipped cream.

Simply whisk together the following ingredients in your stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment:

  • 1 1/2 cups chilled heavy cream
  • 1/3 cup sour cream
  • 3 Tablespoons sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Once the whipped cream holds soft peaks, spoon it atop the completely cooled pies then garnish with a sprig of mint and a sprinkle of freshly grated lemon zest.

And that’s all it takes to achieve fruit pie flavor sans the stress of DIY pie dough! Grab your favorite berries then head on over to this fast and fresh recipe for Mixed Berry Tartlets.

- Kelly Senyei, Just a Taste


Erin Gleeson

Let’s Party: Curly Kale and Curly Pasta Salad

I love making pasta salads when entertaining because it’s easy to make a lot, not too pricey, filling, and they are great at room temperature. This pasta salad recipe is nicely balanced with beans and greens, and a store-bought pesto makes it so easy! I adapted BHG’s Italian Pesto Pasta Salad recipe by adding kale and pecans.

I pull the kale off the stalks and shred them into pieces by hand. After boiling the pasta, I throw the kale in that same pot, with a bit of olive oil, and saute´ briefly until wilted and bright green. I then toss the hot pasta with the greens, canned beans and pesto.

Chopped green scallions and toasted pecans can be sprinkled over the top before serving, or mixed in, for an extra crunchy kick.

This dish is great served warm or at room temperature, and is easily made ahead.

For the full recipe, click here. I simply substituted kale and pecans for the suggested arugula and pine nuts. The dish could also be made vegan by leaving out the cheese and using a dairy-free pesto. It could easily be made with gluten-free pasta as well. Enjoy!

Recipe adaptation and photos by Erin Gleeson for The Forest Feast, a cookbook and food blog inspired by living in a cabin in the woods. 


Kelly Senyei

Shortbread Brownies

Can’t decide between buttery shortbread cookies and fudgy chocolate brownies? Enjoy the best of both worlds with Shortbread Brownies!

Sweet meets salty in this two-in-one layered dessert starring buttery chocolate chip shortbread and fudgy brownies. But of course I couldn’t let the indulgence end right then and there. This twofer dessert was in desperate need of a topping; something that screamed, “I’m not who I appear to be!” And thus, I’ve kicked this recipe up a couple of notches. Read on for my updates to this quick and easy recipe for Shortbread Brownies.

It all starts with the shortbread, which scores a few extra sweet tooth points thanks to the addition of mini-chocolate chips. And remember, when cutting butter into flour, it’s best to just use your fingers, as the warmth will slightly soften the butter, making it easier to incorporate with the dry ingredients. And by “incorporate with the dry ingredients,” I mean “taste test the dough.”

With the shortbread in motion, we can then move on to the brownie portion. Whenever I make brownies, or even chocolate cakes or cupcakes, I always like to add just a taste of espresso powder to the batter, as the coffee amps up the flavor of the chocolate. I added 2 teaspoons of espresso powder mixed with 2 teaspoons water to this brownie batter.

Then it’s time to put it all together, starting by pressing the shortbread cookie dough into the bottom of your foil-lined pan. The cookie layer goes for a quick bake before being topped with the prepared brownie batter. And then it’s back into the oven until both the shortbread and brownies are baked and sealed together into one stacked sweet.

I have a big problem letting brownies go naked. And this is where the milk chocolate and large-flake sea salt steal the show. Simply melt 1 cup of chocolate chips, transfer the melted chocolate to a pastry bag or sealable plastic bag, snip off the tip and pipe away. But before the chocolate hardens, finish off your masterpiece with a pinch of sea salt to balance out the sweetness.

Slice, serve, and win the adoration of coworkers, teachers, kids, parents, siblings, or just yourself. No one said Shortbread Brownies need to be shared.

- Kelly Senyei, Just a Taste