Tomato and Cucumber Salad

Learn how to make this refreshing tomato and cucumber salad with a homemade red wine vinaigrette.

tomato & cucumber salad

Today I’m sharing one of my favorite salads. I love having this salad in the summer because it’s so refreshing, but it’s great for all year. It combines tomato, cucumber, red onion with fresh basil and flat leaf parsley.

It’s easy to make your own red wine-balsamic vinaigrette for it which you can create in a salad dressing shaker or mix directly in the salad. Personally, I think it tastes best when you let it chill in the fridge for an hour after making. It gives a chance for the flavors to marinade together.

I love this tomato and cucumber salad because it fits all diets. Whether you’re doing Keto, Atkins, Whole30, Weight Watchers, or Paleo, it’s full of clean ingredients.

This salad is a great alternative to the same old, boring lettuce style salad. But I often have it as a lunch. If you need something heavier as a meal, try adding avocado, shrimp and/or feta cheese (if you aren’t doing paleo).

tomato and cucumber salad

Tomato & Cucumber Salad

Crisp cucumber and juicy tomato make this delicious summer salad. Similar to a Greek Salad, this recipes calls for all natural ingredients 
If you aren’t following a paleo diet and would like it to be more filling, you may add a half cup of feta cheese
Course: Salad, Side Dish
Keyword: atkins, basil, cucumber, gluten free, greek, keto, paleo, red onion, red wine vineger, tomato, whole30
Servings: 2

Ingredients

  • 1/4 Cup Red Wine Vinegar
  • 2 Tsp Balsamic Vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp Lemon Juice
  • 2 Tbsp Olive Oil Extra Virgin
  • 2 Lrg Cucumber Chopped
  • 1 Cup Tomatoes Chopped
  • 2 Tbsp Red Onion Finely Chopped
  • 2 Tbsp Fresh Italian Parsley Chopped
  • 2 Tbsp Fresh Basil Chopped
  • Salt To taste

Instructions

  • Chop all veggies and herbs and transfer to a mixing bowl
  • In a small bowl or salad dressing shaker, combine all your wet ingredients to make your dressing
  • Mix well and pour on your salad
  • Toss gently to blend
Tomato & Cucumber Salad

The post, Tomato & Cucumber Salad, first appeared on My Beautiful Mess.

Looking for more recipes? Try Roasted Root Medley

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Roasted Root Medley

Try this easy, sweet and savory roasted root medley, perfect for weeknight dinners

Roasted root medley

This is by far one of my favorite vegetable recipes. First, this roasted root medley is very easy to make. In fact it is so simple, you may wonder why I’m sharing it. That’s because it is one of my favorite side dishes ever!

It’s so easy you almost don’t need a recipe. It’s just chopped vegetables with olive oil. However, the pairing of sweet potato, carrots, and sweet onion make a sweet & salty combination.

In the past, I’ve also made this with sheet pan dinners. I know I’m not the only person who loves one pan dinners!

I discovered this recipe about five years ago during a cleanse diet. That’s the other great thing about this dish. It’s Keto, Paleo, Auto-Immune Paleo, Whole30, Atkins and Weight Watcher friendly. As a variation, you can add other root veggies like beets or parsnips.

Personally, I line the baking pan with parchment paper. It makes clean up a breeze. I also recommend turning the vegetables about half way through baking for perfect tenderness.

Carrots
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Roasted root medley

Roasted Root Medley

You’ll love this sweet and savory side dish. Easy to make for weeknight dinners. It’s Keto, Whole30, Paleo and Weight Watcher friendly. 
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Total Time50 mins
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Keyword: carrot, olive oil, onion, sweet potato
Servings: 4

Ingredients

  • 1/8 Cup Olive Oil Extra Virgin
  • 5 Large Carrots Peeled, Chopped
  • 2 Small Sweet Potatoes Peeled, Chopped
  • 1/2 Cup Sweet Onion Chopped
  • Salt & Pepper To taste

Instructions

  • Wash and peel potatoes and carrots. 
  • Chop vegetables and place in a mixing bowl
  • Add olive oil to the mixture and toss until vegetables are fully coated
  • Spoon vegetables onto a baking tray lined with parchment paper
  • Add salt and pepper to taste
  • Bake at 425° for 30 minutes or until tender. Turn vegetables over with a spatula about half way through cooking. 
Roasted root medley

Looking for other weeknight recipes? Try Perfect Spanish Rice

The post Roasted Root Medley first appeared on My Beautiful Mess.

Shrimp & Crawfish Étouffée

Shrimp and Crawfish Etouffee is a delightful seafood dish with peppers, onions and Cajun spices. Serve over fluffy white rice.

Shrimp crawfish Etouffee

Etouffee is a classic Cajun dish. If you’re a beginner to Cajun cooking, this dish is for you! Crawfish Etouffee is the most common combination, but this dish also incorporates shrimp. Crawfish Étouffée is perfect for weeknight dinners because it’s made in about 30 minutes.

Make Etouffee with a simple roux. To make a roux, brown flour with oil or butter. A dark roux makes a darker the sauce. Tender onions and bell peppers sautéed with garlic and paprika, round out the dish.

Hint: When using shrimp, remove excess water by draining in a colander before cooking

Serve Etoufee over white rice. You don’t need a rice cooker. Make perfect rice by adding one cup of rice, 2 cups of water and 1 tbsp of olive oil. Do not stir rice. Stirring makes rice clumpy. Bring to a boil. Cover and reduce heat to a simmer. Cook until all water is gone (about 15-20 mins).

Shrimp and Crawfish Etouffee

Shrimp and Crawfish Etouffee is a classic Cajun dish. The secret is in the roux. Crawfish and shrimp are slowly simmered in a light roux sauce with garlic, onion, bell pepper and Cajun spices. 
Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time25 mins
Total Time30 mins
Course: Main Course
Keyword: bellpepper, cajun, crawfish, etouffee, onion, shrimp
Servings: 4

Ingredients

  • 3 Tbsp Butter
  • 3 Tbsp All purpose flour
  • 1 Lbs Crawfish meat
  • 1/2 Lbs Shrimp Tail off, deveined, drained
  • 1 Sm Onion Chopped
  • 1/2 Cup Bell pepper Chopped
  • 1 Tsp Garlic Minced
  • 1 Cup Chicken broth
  • 1/3 Cup Green Onions Chopped
  • 1 Tbsp Paprika

Instructions

  • Rinse and drain crawfish and shrimp in colander 
  • In a deep skillet, on medium heat, add oil.
  • Slowly add flour. Continue cooking until brown, stirring constantly so it doesn’t burn. It should be a deep golden brown.
  • Add onion, garlic and bell pepper. Cook until tender.
  • Slowly add chicken broth, stirring between pours to make sure there are no clumps. 
  • Add Paprika, shrimp and crawfish and bring to a boil. Lower heat, cover and simmer until sauce thickens.
  • Serve over white rice

Looking for more recipes? Try White Chocolate Raspberry Muffins

Shrimp and Crawfish Etoufee first appeared on My Beautiful Mess

The Best Crockpot Hot Chocolate

I’m making you a promise. This is the best Crockpot Hot Chocolate you’ll ever make. It’s super rich, chocolatey, and creamy. Best of all, it stays hot in the crockpot so guests can serve themselves all night!

Crockpot Hot Chocolate

Christmas isn’t Christmas without hot chocolate. Today I’m sharing one of my most favorite recipes. I make this all the time during the holidays. Sometimes just for us, but mostly, I make it for parties and get-togethers. It never fails. Someone always asks for the recipe. It’s that good. I promise that this is the last hot chocolate recipe you’ll ever use. This Crockpot Hot Chocolate is very rich because it’s made with milk and heavy whipping cream. Semi-sweet chocolate chips are melted into the hot milk and it’s sweetened with condensed milk. The result is steaming cup of chocolatey goodness.

Later this week, I’ll be sharing how I set up a Crockpot hot chocolate bar to entertain your guests (Sshh….it also gets them to serve themselves – don’t tell anyone). I’ll show you how to set up toppings so that it is a fun, entertaining activity that gives your guests something to do. Here is a preview to my Hot Chocolate Bar Printable available for sale on Etsy and in my blog store.

 

 

Crockpot Hot Chocolate

The best hot chocolate you'll ever make, this easy recipe is made in the crockpot - perfect for entertaining or crowds. 
Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time2 hrs
Total Time2 hrs 5 mins
Course: Dessert, Drinks
Keyword: chocolate, crockpot, entertaining, hot chocolate, slowcooker
Servings: 12 servings

Ingredients

  • 1 Condensed Milk 14 oz can
  • 1 1/2 Cups Heavy Whipping Cream
  • 2 Cups Semi-sweet Chocolate Chips
  • 6 Cups Milk
  • 1 Tbsp Vanilla Extract

Instructions

  • Combine all ingredients in to a slow cooker. 
  • Heat slow cooker on low setting. Cover and let chocolate melt.
  • Stir frequently until chocolate chips and condensed milk are fully incorporated. Allow 2 hours to reach full temperature

Perfect Spanish Rice

Perfect spanish rice

When you’re Hispanic, like me, there is rarely a single meal that goes by without Spanish rice. It was a staple growing up. It’s flavorful, filling and savory. Lots of people are intimidated by making rice. Let me tell you, you don’t need a fancy rice cooker. There are two rules for making perfect Spanish rice. Your water to rice ratio needs to be correct and you don’t touch it! Don’t worry, I’ll explain that in just a minute. Today, I’m going to share my family’s recipe for perfect Spanish rice.

There are variations to Spanish rice. I’ve seen people add peas, even corn to it. I do neither. The recipe I make is my grandmothers and then my mothers. The smell of the rice frying immediately takes me back to childhood.

For extra flavorful rice, I suggest using chicken stock in lieu of water. Alternatively, you can also use water and bouillon. Comino (Cumin), is a very strong spice. Too much of it and it will make your dish bitter. Therefore, use it sparingly if you experiment with it in recipes.

Here is the secret for perfect rice. First, white rice should always be cooked in a 1:2 ratio. One cup of white rice, 2 cups of water. Brown rice is 1:3 ratio. One cup of brown rice, 3 cups of water. Brown and wild rice require much longer cooking times. Too much water leaves rice mushy and waterlogged.

The other secret to perfect rice is to leave it alone while cooking. Therefore, this means no stirring. Stirring breaks up the starch and and makes it clumpy and just a big pile of mush. Once you put your ingredients in, just give it one stir around then cover and leave it!

Spanish Rice

Spanish Rice is a flavorful blend of cumin, cilantro and tomato. Learn how to make authentic, perfect Spanish rice.
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: Mexican
Keyword: Cumin, Mexican, Rice
Servings: 6

Ingredients

  • 1 Cup Long Grain Rice
  • 2 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 2 Cups Chicken Stock
  • 1 Small Roma Tomato Chopped
  • 1/3 Cup Yellow Onion Chopped
  • 1/4 Cup Tomato Sauce
  • 2 Tbsp Cilantro Chopped
  • 1 Tsp Ground Cumin
  • 1 Tsp Garlic Powder
  • Salt
  • 1 Tsp Pepper

Instructions

  • Chop tomato, onion and cilantro.
  • Prepare rice in a medium deep skillet with a lid
  • Heat oil on medium heat. Add rice and stir gently.
  • Allow rice to brown, stirring only a few times. 
  • Once browned, slowly add your chicken stock at the side edge of the pan. Be careful, as it will produce hot steam. 
  • Add cumin, garlic powder, cilantro, tomato, tomato sauce, and onion. Give one stir around the pan.
  • Bring to a boil. Once boiling, lower the heat and cover with a lid until all the liquid is dissolved, about 15-20 mins. 
  • Once cooked, fluff with fork. Add salt if needed. Normally the chicken stock is salty enough. 

Looking for other delicious recipes? Try Zuppa Toscana a delicious rustic Italian soup.

Zuppa Toscana

zuppa toscana soup

I love the fall. It’s a great excuse to make delicious soups and stews. Zuppa Toscana (translation Tuscan Soup) is one of my favorite Italian soups! It’s very easy to make and only requires a few ingredients. Above all, it’s inexpensive and is a quick weeknight dinner. It’s done in just 30 minutes! Zuppa Toscana is delectable soup has a chicken broth base and combines Italian sausage, potatoes and kale. Add red pepper flakes for added spice.

Serves 6 | Prep: 5 mins | Total Cook time: 30 min

Ingredients:

  • 1 lbs ground Italian sausage
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 48 oz chicken stock
  • 2 White potatoes, diced
  • 3 cups Kale, shredded
  • ¼ cup whole milk

Instructions

  • On a medium heat, brown ground Italian sausage in a medium stockpot. If meat is dry, you may add a tablespoon of olive oil and continue frying.
  • Prepare potatoes by dicing into ¼” pieces.
  • Add potatoes to meat and lightly fry for a few minutes.
  • Add red pepper flakes and stir.
  • Deglaze the stockpot by adding chicken stock and scraping the bottom of the pan.
  • Bring soup to a boil.
  • Reduce heat to medium high and continue cooking for 15-20 mins.
  • Add shredded kale and continue cooking for an additional 5 mins.
  • Add milk to create a creamy broth, stir and serve.

Tips: White potatoes have a delicate skin that does not need to be peeled. I’ve found heavy cream separates from the broth and have found milk incorporates better. For an even lighter version, try using Turkey Italian Sausage. Some versions also add cooked bacon, but I have found it can be over powering. If chicken broth isn’t available, you may substitute with water and chicken bouillon. 

 

Looking for more recipes? Try White Chocolate Raspberry Muffins

Slowcooker Pumpkin Spice Latte

slow cooker pumpkin spice latte

Living in Texas, we don’t have much of a Fall here, but that doesn’t stop me from enjoying all things Autumn. Today I’m sharing one of my most favorite recipes of all time. Slowcooker Pumpkin Spice Latte. Its divine. I make it for all occasions, but it’s espcially good for entertaining. Guests can serve themselves and best of all, it’s stays hot. Did I mention the house smells delicious too?  I make it for playdates (mommies love pumpkin spice). I make it for dinner parties and Thanksgiving so coffee is always ready with dessert. Try it and you’ll love it, best of all, it’s totally fresh. No syrups!

Slowcooker Pumpkin Spice Latte

This recipe is great for everyday entertaining. It's a simple fall recipe you make ahead of time for a crowd. It combines hot coffee and milk with fresh pumpkin and fall spices. 
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time2 hrs
Total Time2 hrs 15 mins
Course: Drinks
Keyword: autumn, coffee for a crowd, crockpot, drinks, entertaining, fall, latte, pumpkin, slowcooker, spice
Servings: 10

Ingredients

  • 12 Cups Coffee Hot, Strongly Brewed
  • 6 Cups Whole Milk or Half and Half
  • 3 Cinnamon Sticks
  • 1 Tbsp Pumpkin Pie Spice
  • 2 Tbsp Vanilla Extract
  • 1 Cup Granulated Sugar
  • 1 Cup Pumpkin Puree Canned

Instructions

  • Add milk and vanilla to warm crockpot 
  • Add strongly brewed coffee ( I use a French press to control the strength)
  • Add sugar, stirring well
  • Add pumpkin puree and stir frequently until fully incorporated
  • Cover and cook on high. It reaches peak temperature within 2 hours. 
  • (Optional) Serve with whipped cream, pumpkin pie spice and cinnamon stick

Notes

Notes: For a sugar-free option, Splenda does well in lieu of sugar. For late night serving, you can use decaffeinated coffee. 

Looking for other great fall recipes? Try Zuppa Toscana Soup

 

Slowcooker Pumpkin Spice Latte first appeared on My Beautiful Mess

 

White Chocolate Raspberry Muffins

Ingredients:

  • 1 Egg, large
  • 2 Cups Flour
  • ¾ Cup White Chocolate Chips
  • 1 Tbsp Vanilla Extract
  • 1 Tbsp Baking Powder
  • ¾ Cups Granulated Sugar
  • 5 Tbsp Butter, softened
  • 1 Cup Milk
  • 1 Cup Fresh or Frozen Raspberries
  • Instructions:
    1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
      In a stand mixer, add egg and beat it slightly. Add vanilla extract, softened butter and sugar and cream on low until combined.
      Slowly add milk until fully combined.
      Slowly add flour and baking powder a little bit at a time. Mix only enough to combine ingredients.
      Take the bowl off the mixer. Add raspberries and white chocolate chips. Fold into the batter.
      Spoon mixture into either a greased muffin tin or paper liners in tin.
      Bake for 18-20 mins until fully risen and tops are golden brown.
      Insert a toothpick to check for doneness. It should be completely clean when removed from the muffin.
  • The secret to soft, fluffy, melt-in-your-mouth quick breads is not to over mix flour. Overmixing flour makes it tough and dry.