Summer Fest Easy Appetizer or Salad: Tomatoes with Basil Drizzle

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I love serving fresh tomatoes this time of year instead of a salad. Since Summer Fest 2010 features tomatoes for its last week, I thought this was a perfect healthy and easy side dish or salad while tomatoes are at their peak. Add some thinly sliced mozzarella if you wish, or leave as is. This basil drizzle is also wonderful served over grilled chicken, steak, shrimp or pork. See Margaret and Away to Garden for more information on Summer Fest.

Taste of Summer: Savory Tomato-Basil Pie

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When I worked at Southern Living Magazine, we tested a lot of Tomato Pie recipes. I have been searching for one without mayonnaise that was lighter, healthier and still tasted great. My assistant, Alatia, told me about one that she made recently. This Tomato-Basil Pie is super easy, and it makes great use of summery fresh tomatoes and basil. My kids said it tasted similar to a pizza, and they loved it. This is a great recipe idea for a party appetizer, light main-dish dinner or lunch. Serve with a drizzle of balsamic if you like. It’s a true taste of summer.

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Girls Night Out: Tomato and Avocado with Boursin Appetizer

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My friend, Kiel, just recently moved to Jacksonville, Florida, and she sent me some recipes from her “Girls Night Out” dinner. She and 10 of her friends get together every Tuesday night and alternate at their different houses trying new, fun and creative recipes. One night, they made Panini sandwiches and homemade tomato soup. Recently, they had an abundance of healthy, fresh salads. She sent me some of the recipes from her latest dinner. This Tomato-Avocado Appetizer with Boursin is such a breeze and tastes delish! It is so perfect for a crowd, especially during the summertime (such as this weekend for July 4th) celebrations. Thanks Kiel and your wonderful friends for sharing your recipes with me.

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Healthy Protein-Packed Salad: Edamame-Corn Salad

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Edamame have become increasingly popular, and my kids honestly love them. Edamame is an excellent source of low-calorie protein, fiber and even iron. This recipe for Edamame-Corn Salad is so light and wonderful using fresh ingredients such as corn, tomatoes, fresh basil and chives. It’s so easy to prepare, but you might want to double it. It goes really fast!

By the way, the incredible pottery in this photo is my absolute favorite from Earthborn Pottery. If you live in Alabama, it can be purchased at The Cook Store in Mountain Brook.

Low-Fat Simple Side Dish: Easy Tomato-Feta Salad

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If you get into a rut of serving the same old tossed salad every night, try this. My kids love this Tomato-Feta Salad. It’s so light, fresh and easy to prepare. Serve it with chicken, pork, shrimp or a burger, and you’ve got a great low-fat side dish.

Italian Night Favorite: Chicken Cutlets with Fresh Herbs and Tomatoes

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Italian night is always a favorite at my house, and I love to use chicken cutlets for their simplicity and ease. This recipe can be made in under 30 minutes, and it’s so easy to do. It’s fresh, flavorful and is perfect for busy weeknights. I serve with whole wheat pasta for the kids, and everyone is happy.

Steak-Fresh Herb and Tomato Crostini Appetizer

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Since summer is here, I like to cook appetizer recipes that are easy to prepare, delicious and perfect to serve while I’m grilling outside. This recipe works great using leftover steak, or if you want to serve a hearty appetizer, you can create this one on the grill while you are grilling the rest of your meal. I love the combination of sun-dried tomatoes and fresh plum tomatoes. If you don’t like blue cheese, use fresh Parmesan or feta cheese. I developed this recipe for Laura’s Lean Beef, and it would be perfect for the Fourth of July.

 

Layered Low-Fat and Fresh Mediterranean Salad

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My friend, Kelli, recommended a version of this salad recipe to me that she said she served with fresh grilled fish. I decided to make it a main-dish salad so I added cooked grilled chicken and made a few alterations to make it my own (This recipe is adapted from Clean Eating magazine). You can also use a rotisserie chicken or shrimp if you’re short on time, or feel free to add olives, pepperocinis and even lettuce.

See me today, June 11th on NBC 13 Daytime Alabama at 11:30 a.m central time.

Light, Simple and Budget Friendly: Chicken with Olives and Tomatoes

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I love cooking in a skillet, especially a grill pan such as this. It’s so easy and quick, and dinner comes together in under 25 minutes. Using chicken cutlets works great in this recipe because they cook so quickly. If you can’t find chicken cutlets at your local store, just slice a boneless chicken breast so it is half the size in thickness. I love this fresh combination of the chicken with grape tomatoes, olives and fresh basil and parsley. It’s perfect this time of year, and my kids love it too. See me preparing this recipe on “Talk of Town” on News Channel 5 in Nashville, this Thursday at 11:30 a.m.

Alison Lewis at Virginia Willis Wine Dinner and Halibut Provencal

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Last week I had the fortunate experience to attend a wine dinner featuring recipes from an amazing Atlanta cookbook author, Virginia Willis, at the beautiful Hot and Hot Fish Club in Birmingham, Alabama. Virginia is the author of Bon Appétit, Y’all! Three Generations of Southern Cooking (Ten Speed Press, 2008)., an incredible cookbook. Virginia produced Turner South’s Home Plate and the DVD Shirley Corriher’s Kitchen Secrets Revealed, and she was the Kitchen Director at Martha Stewart Living. Virginia has so many other incredible accolades which are too many to mention here, but you can see them on her website http://www.virginiawillis.com for more information. I thought I would share with you one of Virginia’s recipes for Halibut Provencal that is very light and springy. It’s as fabulous as it sounds.