Get my free, exclusive e-magazine, Drinks & Smoothies, by subscribing here! It’s full of enticing cocktails, smoothies and spritzer recipes plus my product recipes and serving tips.
A trio of colorful veggies get roasted and caramelized then drizzled with Orange Thyme Dressing. The perfect holiday side dish!
I love salsa, but it seems tomatoes are always hogging all the salsa glory. Quite frankly, I’m tired of it. It’s high time we gave other salsas their moment in the spotlight.
That’s why I’m dedicating this post to the unsung heroes of the salsa world. Yes, I’m looking at you, fruit salsa. I’ve searched the far corners of the Internet to bring you 15 amazing fruit salsa recipes that are sure to blow your mind, or at the very least, explode your tastebuds.
The great thing about fruit salsa is its versatility. You can eat it alone, use it to compliment your favorite main dish, serve it with tortilla chips, or my personal favorite, eat it on cinnamon crisps (watch for the recipe coming this week). Without further ado, I give you the stars of today’s salsa show:
If you’re looking for a classic fruit salsa recipe, then look no further than this tasty concoction from Real Housemoms. With just five ingredients, this will go from your cutting board to your mouth in no time flat.
The fresh jalepeño and optional Sriracha sauce bring the heat to the party in this bright blueberry pineapple salsa from Eazy Peazy Mealz.
Apricots, pineapple, and papaya, OH MY! You’ll practically hear ukuleles serenading you every time you take a bite of this island favorite from Lady Behind the Curtain.
This is both an appetizer and a centerpiece. You can serve this fresh watermelon mint salsa from Lauren Kelly Nutrition right out of the watermelon it came from. That’s one less dish you have to wash after you and your guests have indulged on this treat.
If you’re looking for something tart, zesty, and tangy, then you can end your search with this green apple salsa from Lemon Tree Dwelling.
I love the idea of toasting a baguette and adding some goat cheese and this salsa from Damn Delicious. Come on, it’s just begging to be eaten at a picnic or backyard garden party.
Jerry James Stone has truly outdone himself with this kiwi salsa. Not only does he give the recipe, but you’ll also find a video on how to peel a kiwi. Delicious and helpful.
Strawberries—check. Avocado—check. Feta—check. It’s official, this salsa from Once Upon a Cutting Board has successfully combined three of the tastiest summer ingredients.
What’s more American than apple pie? Innovation, that’s what. Apple pie gets a makeover courtesy of I Am That Lady in this Apple Pie Fruit Salsa recipe, and that makeover tastes ahhhh-mazing!
You’ll get a kick, quite literally from this Moms Need to Know watermelon salsa. It’s great as a dip or fresh salad.
You could use mango instead of cantaloupe in this salsa from Local Kitchen Blog. It tastes so good, you won’t believe it only takes ten minutes to prepare.
The blackberry salsa wasn’t meant to be the star of this recipe from How Sweet It Is, but luscious berries like that can’t help but steal the show. Sorry, sweet potato quinoa cakes, you just got upstaged.
The only thing better than digging into a big bowl of fruit salsa is digging in and finding a layer of sweet no-bake cheesecake underneath! Make sure there are other people around when you make this Carlsbad Cravings recipe, or else you might just eat the whole thing yourself.
There’s no kick to the summer berry fruit salsa from The Slow Roasted Italian, but you won’t hear me complaining. Even your mouth needs some time to cool off, and this fruity treat is the perfect way to beat the heat.
My final pick is a “choose your own adventure,” salsa style. University of California Berkeley Wellness put together this amazing infographic that breaks down the science of tasty fruit salsa, so you can pick the right ingredients and make a concoction perfectly suited to your taste buds.
Surprise! This savory herb sauce isn’t your standard fare. Sun Dried Tomato Pesto combines classic basil pesto flavors with tangy tomatoes.
Pesto, packed with basil and Parmesan, is summer’s generous gift to my belly. Of course I eat it on pasta, sometimes with a splash of cream or ricotta–but I also spread it on my sandwiches, use it as a veggie dip and dollop it on my grilled meats. It’s so versatile.
It’s also easy to change up and mix up! I swap the Parmesan for other cheeses like Pecorino or Feta, replace the pine nuts with almonds or hazelnuts and even add olives, or in this case sun dried tomatoes!
You can use this pesto like you do the plain Jane kind, but the tangy tomatoes make it really tasty on grilled sausage or brushed onto fish.
Look at that gorgeous sauce. The best part is pesto lasts and lasts in the fridge, even the freezer. Cover tightly and freeze for up to a month, or keep in the fridge, covered, for a week. If you are storing it in the fridge, keep it from oxidizing by pressing plastic wrap right on the top surface. This will keep air from getting in and prevent it from taking on odors from the fridge.
I kept the sun dried tomato pesto pretty close to my Classic Pesto, and just added tomatoes. I added a lot because I wanted the flavor to stand out from the strong garlic, Parmesan and basil. 1 cup did the trick. I like the tomatoes packed in oil (I use the oil in vinaigrette later!) because they are soft and easy to blend and chop. Some brands come vacuum-sealed and are very soft. Those would be great as well.
Serve this over grilled sausage; it's also delicious on fish and pasta.
- 4 cups packed basil leaves
- 1 cup sun-dried tomatoes packed in oil, roughly chopped
- 3/4 cup (3 1/2 oz) pine nuts, lightly toasted
- 1/2 cup grated Parmesan
- 2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- Combine all ingredients except the oil, in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until the mixture is finely chopped. With the motor running, slowly pour the oil into the feed tube. Use immediately or freeze for up to a month.
Recipe by Tara Bench
Originally published in Ladies’ Home Journal Aug 2010
Photography Antonis Achilleos
Food Styling Cyd Raftus McDowell
Prop Styling Paige Hicks
Hey Basil, you don’t own pesto! This arugula hazelnut pesto variation is out of this world, and may be your go-to summer sensation.
I’m not starting an argument here, but really, Basil, take a break. You are fantastic in my Classic Pesto, you’re tasty with tomatoes, and you do pizza a great service – but I know I can mix things up with arugula hazelnut pesto and be just as happy!
You know I like playing around with different flavors and combinations. I wanted to make a pesto with a little kick. Arugula has that green, peppery taste I love and hazelnuts are sweet and strong. Strong enough to stand up to arugula and shine through.
I used skinned hazelnuts to avoid too much of the bitter skin. Blend them up with the arugula, cheese and olive oil just as you would in classic pesto. I swapped Parmesan for Pecorino and added some lemon juice to brighten all of the flavors.
The biggest change, addition, variation, whatever you want to call it, that I made was adding dried figs. Yes! Sweet black mission figs, roughly chopped, get blended into the pesto. I actually replaced the garlic with the sweet fruit to balance the strong flavors of the greens and nuts. Hazelnuts and figs are a match made in heaven to begin with, but mixed into an herby sauce, they are quite heavenly.
Use this fun sauce as you would regular pesto, on pasta, or serve it as a dip for veggies. It’s also great with pork. The sweet fig flavor comes through just enough and it works so well as a spread to melt on grilled pork chops or tenderloin.
Storing Tip: I love to make things ahead and have them at the ready. To store arugula hazelnut pesto, or any of your herb sauces up to 4 days in the fridge, press plastic wrap onto the surface, smoothing out the air bubbles. The wrap will keep it from oxidizing and turning brown.
Perfect with pork chops and roast beef or as a vegetable dip.
- 4 cups packed arugula leaves
- 6 to 7 dried black mission figs, roughly chopped
- 1/2 cup (2 1/2 oz) skinned hazelnuts, lightly toasted
- 1/2 cup grated Pecorino cheese
- 1 1/2 teaspoons lemon juice
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- Combine all ingredients, except the oil, in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until the mixture is finely chopped. With the motor running, slowly pour the oil into the feed tube. Use immediately or freeze for up to a month.
Recipe by Tara Bench
Originally published in Ladies’ Home Journal Aug 2010
Photography Antonis Achilleos
Food Styling Cyd Raftus McDowell
Prop Styling Paige Hicks
Oh, bacon! How do I love thee? Let me count the ways! No really, let’s count them. Just when you thought you couldn’t love bacon any more than you already do, here are 101 ways to enjoy this delicious meaty treat. HINT: It’s not just for breakfast anymore.
Bacon is meat candy. Admit it, you think so too!
It’s one of the most versatile foods–used for breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks and even desserts. I mean, that really covers it. These days no one blinks if you mention bacon on a cake, in a cocktail or a fancy chocolate bar. You can serve bacon wrapped in bacon on top of bacon and people wouldn’t question it.
This stat puts it all into perspective (not really, but I think it’s funny) “In general, 62 percent of people prefer bacon over sausage on breakfast sandwiches. But among those who feel more confident in dressy clothes than in comfortable clothes, 74 percent prefer bacon on breakfast sandwiches.” From correlated.com.
In honor of this ever-popular, delicious food, I’ve collected 101 ways to cook it, use it, eat it and celebrate it. This was done purely out of love–for you, and for bacon. To help you navigate the list, it’s broken into categories. However, categories or not, I urge you to start from the top and enjoy all the way to the bottom!
How to Cook Bacon
The first rule of bacon is knowing how to cook it. You’re no longer limited to the ol’ frying pan when it comes to cooking bacon. My personal favorite method is to bake it in the oven, but you can’t go wrong with any of these options.
Ok, ok, I couldn’t help but include some breakfast recipes. But these aren’t your typical bacon and eggs dishes. These take bacon for breakfast to the next level.
Bacon, it’s what’s for dinner. These dishes are sure crowd pleasers, and offer some new ways to highlight the flavors of bacon in your main course.
20. Bacon Explosion
Side Dishes and snacks
If it’s a snack or side dish you’re looking for, then bacon is the answer. After all, what pairs better with a bacon main course than more bacon?
32. Bacon Granola
52. Bacon on a Stick
56. Campfire Bacon
HINT: These would be amazing using these tasty mozzarella sticks from Farm Rich Snacks
Bacon has a sweet and savory quality to it that makes it a perfect choice to use in desserts. These unusual pairings will have everyone asking for more.
71. Bacon Cannoli
72. Bacon Doughnuts
77. Bacon Toffee
78. Bacon Pralines
90. Bacon Crack
This just goes to show that bacon really does go with everything.
Whether you’re looking for home decor, fashion, or a gift for the bacon lover in your life, here are a few fun bacon finds.
95. Don’t Go Bacon My Heart Mug . . . I Couldn’t if I Fried.
97. Bacon Tape
98. J&D’s Bacon Salt
For any vegetarians out there, please accept my condolences, and this recipe for something akin to bacon.
100. Tofu Bacon
Even dogs love bacon, and now you can feel good about feeding it to them.
Also produced by Melanie Donahoo. This post may include affiliate and sponsor links. For more information please see my disclosure agreement.
A healthy main dish and tasty side make Pork Chops with Lemon-Parsley and Grape Walnut Quinoa a complete meal in 35 minutes!
I sometimes forget about pork chops. I know! How? They are as lean as chicken, easy to cook and shake up the dinner routine perfectly. I feel like I’m at Pork Chops Group Therapy; I’ve let down this fine meat and want to change. They haven’t totally lost their place at my table, I just need to consider their amazingness more often. Adjust my expectations of dinner even. It’s all about compromise.
I like to get pork chops on the thicker side, at least one inch. You can certainly use thin cut chops that you might find in your grocery fridge, but adjust the cooking time; and they may not be quite as juicy.
Feel free to substitute chicken broth for the white wine when deglazing the pan. It’s just enough flavorful liquid to soak up all the tasty browned bits from cooking the chops.
Parsley and lemon zest combine with garlic and course kosher salt to make a quick and flavorful condiment for the chops. It’s a genius (if I do say so myself) burst of green and freshness for a winter dish.
The quinoa alone is delightful. I make it as a side for other dinners and even as a potluck dish. I love the combination of sweet, juicy grapes, crunchy toasted nuts and salty, tangy cheese. Delicious!
- ⅓ cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
- Grated zest from 1 lemon
- 1 small garlic clove, minced
- ¼ tsp kosher salt
- 4 (1-inch-thick) center-cut, bone-in pork chops (2¼ lbs total)
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- ½ cup dry white wine
- 1 cup quinoa, cooked according to package directions
- 1 cup (6 oz) green grapes, halved
- ⅔ cup (3 oz) crumbled feta
- ⅓ cup (1 oz) walnuts, toasted and broken up
- In a small bowl, combine parsley, zest, garlic and salt; set aside. Pat pork chop dry; season with salt.
- In a large skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add chops and brown, cooking about 4 minutes. Reduce heat to medium and cook, turning once midway, until an instant-read thermometer inserted in center (without touching bone) registers 150°F, about 10 minutes total. Remove from heat and transfer chops to a plate.
- For sauce, drain fat from skillet (discard) and add wine. Using a wooden spoon, stir to release browned bits from skillet. Simmer over medium heat until reduced by half, about 2 minutes.
- In a large bowl, toss together quinoa, grapes, feta and walnuts; salt to taste. pour sauce over chops and sprinkle with parsley-zest mixture; serve with quinoa on the side.
Easy dinners are a relief for weeknights. Even better when these recipes can be used to entertain friends on the weekend too! Try my Corn Chorizo Tacos as fast crowd-pleasers, or Chicken and Rice Lettuce Wraps for a fun family dinner.
It’s so easy to slice veggies for an Asian slaw and whisk up Sesame Ginger Dressing, that dinner will be ready before you know it.
Sesame ginger vinaigrette tossed with colorful Asian slaw veggies like cabbage, snow peas and peppers, has got to be one of my favorite salads. This vinaigrette is easy, and so good, you’ll want to drizzle it on everything in sight, if not drink it! But please don’t ACTUALLY drink it, because drinking salad dressing is weird and probably off-putting to your loved ones. Save some for the rest of us!
I like to add chicken to my salad to make it a meal, but I regularly make this slaw without the chicken as a side; it’s also one of the best salads to make for potlucks. No one will be complaining it’s on the table!
This video I made for my post on KSL.com shows how I made this salad in three minutes. Okay, okay it may have taken me a bit longer than three minutes in real life, but not much more. For more fun cooking videos subscribe to my YouTube channel Tara Teaspoon Official, here.
I used rice wine vinegar as the base for this dressing because it’s light and adds a tangy zing without overpowering the other flavors. As with all vinaigrettes, the trick is to get all of your flavorful ingredients together before adding the oil to them. The oil breaks into little teeny tiny parts when you whisk it. This separates the other ingredients and makes them float happily amidst the little oil parts. (Some people call that emulsification, but I prefer my more technical description.) The point being that your flavorful ingredients need to be nicely mixed and combined so they disperse evenly. Whisk together the honey, soy sauce, ginger and vinegar, and then taste the mixture. If you like it stronger, add a bit more soy sauce; sweeter, add more honey. When the flavor is just right, slowly whisk in the canola oil and let it break it into teeny tiny parts.
Savoy cabbage and Napa cabbage tend to have leaves that are a bit curly, even dark green. They can both be used in Asian slaw because of their tender bite and mild flavor. In a pinch, you can substitute standard cabbage, but it has a stronger taste and takes a bit more effort to chew.
It only takes a few simple chops and slices to work through your cabbage, peppers, snow peas and scallions. You can thinly slice your cucumber as well, but I love these little paddle slicers. They make quick work of veggies (use the guard for safety, and watch those fingers).
The mandarins add juicy sweetness, but if they aren’t handy at your store, slice some orange segments into the salad instead.
In the cold winter months, I grill my chicken indoors on a grill pan, or electric grill like this one.
Savor this seriously tasty salad with an authentic vinaigrette for a fresh, delicious dinner. Ingredients Instructions
Savor this seriously tasty salad with an authentic vinaigrette for a fresh, delicious dinner.
This post may include affiliate links. For more information please see my disclosure agreement.
Recipe and food styling Tara Bench
Photography Tara Bench
Video production Melanie Donahoo
You say “Golden Globes” and all I hear is “party.” I love any excuse to get people together, have fun, and of course, eat!
I’ve pulled together some of my favorite ideas to throw the Golden Globes get-together of your dreams—everything from food and decor to games and favors. And if you haven’t been dreaming for weeks about a Golden Globes party, not to worry, because these ideas are so simple you can pull them together with time to spare for the big bash.
For an easy treat, try dipping the tops of donuts in a simple icing, and then adding gold sugar or sparkles.
The entrance sets the tone for the entire party, so why not wow your guests and welcome them in style? I love the idea of doing a red carpet. If you don’t have an actual red carpet, you can use a roll of red paper, fabric, or a long red plastic tablecloth. You can even go a more simple route and just decorate your entrance with gold stars and helium balloons. I love the look of this entrance Red Tricycle did for a Netflix viewing party.
The paparazzi may not be hanging out around your house, but if you give your guests a selfie stick, you can pretend like they are. If you still have gold or silver Christmas wrapping paper and New Years photo booth props laying around the house, then you’re halfway to the finish line on this one. Put the wrapping paper on the wall and set out the props and selfie stick. It’s as simple as that. Trust me, your guests will have no problem taking it from there.
If you really want to take your photo booth to the next level, try this sequined backdrop from Oh Happy Day.
And the Golden Globe award goes to . . . anyone you choose. Have everyone cast their votes on these fun printable ballots, then see who gets the most answers correct.
Golden Globes Bingo
What’s a party without a little friendly competition? I’ve created this bingo board (you can download it here) to track the funny and noteworthy moments of the night. You’ll be hoping a winner takes a selfie, someone says it’s the “end of an era,” or a speech gets cut off by music. With four different cards, the competition will be stiff as you each race to mark off five in a row. You have to be on your toes though, or you might just miss your chance to mark off a celeb looking bored.
Not everyone nominated at the Golden Globes takes home a statue, but at my parties I like everyone to leave with a little something. These balloon “statues” are a fun take away for your guests. You can use mini statues like the ones below from Studio DIY, or you can make a simpler version. Personally, I like to wrap candy bars in paper (the fancier, the better) and label them with different “awards” like best dressed, most selfies, prettiest mani, etc. Tie a helium balloon to each candy bar, and you’ve got a fun gift in the spirit of the event.
If you missed it, here is the video of me running through all these tips on the Today Show.
Double chocolate muffin goodness is probably the best thing to wake up to on New Year’s Day! Whether it’s all you can muster to make because of a late night (they’re easy easy easy) or you’re entertaining a crowd for brunch this is going to become your go-to recipe.
Really I use chocolate muffins as a way to excuse myself for eating chocolate cake for breakfast. CHOCOLATE CAKE FOR BREAKFAST! Let the standard blueberry muffin take a backseat and enjoy these morsels of goodness.
I used Dutch-process cocoa because it is a bit richer in chocolate flavor and gives the muffins that bakery-style dark chocolate color. Oh and the melty bits of chocolate make me so happy. (Use chocolate chips if you want to skip the chopping part…although chopped chocolate mixes throughout a bit better) They store well for a few days, airtight, too.
A totally decadent way to start the day, these bakery-style muffins are tender and rich in chocolaty flavor.
- 2⅓ cups all-purpose flour
- ⅔ cup plus 2 tbsp Dutch process unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 tbsp baking powder
- ½ tsp baking soda
- ¼ tsp salt
- 1½ cups sugar
- ½ cup unsalted butter, melted
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 2 large eggs
- 6 oz semi sweet or bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
- 1. Heat oven to 375ºF. Prepare a 12-cup standard muffin tin with paper liners.
- 2. Mix together flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt. In a separate bowl, mix together the sugar, butter, buttermilk and eggs. Add wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix until just combined. Stir in half of the chocolate.
- 3. Divide batter between the 12 liners and sprinkle with the remaining chocolate. Bake for 18 to 20 min, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.