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Love caprese? Then you’ll love this delicious twist on the famous Italian salad. Using fresh summer fruit in place of tomatoes give this well known dish an unexpected twist. Sweet and crunchy watermelon pairs so well with traditional caprese ingredients you’ll ask yourself why you didn’t think of this sooner!

Watermelon Caprese Salad

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Prep Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes
Course: Salad
Cuisine: American
Servings: 4
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Ingredients:
 
  • 4 cups watermelon
  • 4 oz fresh mozzarella
  • ¼ cup basil leaves
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp black pepper
  • 2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
Instructions:
  • Remove the rind of the watermelon, and chop the flesh into bite sized pieces. Place into a large bowl.
  • Cut the fresh mozzarella into a bite sized pieces, and slice the basil leaves into thin strips. Place both into the bowl with the watermelon.
  • Season the watermelon and cheese with the salt, pepper, and balsamic vinegar. toss to coat, and enjoy!

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Made in rice cooker or on the stove top the perfect flavors of summer collide in this coconut lime rice. It’s a great side dish for kebabs, grilled meats, and curries. Coconut milk absorbs quicker than water so you’ll want to keep a close eye on this rice if making it on the stove top!

Toasted Coconut Lime Rice

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Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: Caribbean
Servings: 4
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Ingredients:
 
  • ½ cup sweetened coconut flakes
  • 2 cups long grain white rice
  • 13.5 oz can coconut milk
  • 2 limes (juiced)
  • 1 Tbsp sugar
  • water
Instructions:
  • Preheat an oven to 400°F
  • Toast for five minutes or until the coconut is golden brown.
  • While the coconut is toasting wash the rice until the water runs clear. When the coconut is toasted remove from the oven and set side.
  • In a pot over medium-heat or in a rice cooker combine the washed rice, coconut milk, ¼ cup of the toasted coconut, sugar, and water. Stir well. To measure the water press your index finger lightly to the top of the rice and fill until the water reaches the first line or joint on your finger.
  • If using a rice cooker close the lid and allow it to do all the work! It should take roughly 25 to 30 minutes.
  • If using the stove top method allow the water to come to a boil and the reduce the heat to low. Cover and cook for 10-15 minutes or until the water and coconut milk are absorbed and the rice is cooked and fluffy.
  • Plate your rice and top with the remaining toasted coconut, and squeeze the limes over top. Enjoy!

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A fun twist on standard roasted eggplant this Greek roasted eggplant makes for an easy and delicious side dish. This pairs well with a grilled protein and a nice glass of chilled white wine or as the star of the show in a gluten free grain bowl!

Greek Roasted Eggplant

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Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Servings: 4
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Ingredients:
 
  • 1 ½ pounds eggplant ((about 2 large eggplants))
  • cup olive oil
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 Tbsp dried oregano
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp dried parsley
  • 1 lemon (juice and zest)
Instructions:
  • Preheat your oven to 400°F
  • Slice the green tops off the eggplants and chop into bite sized pieces.
  • On a large baking sheet combine all ingredients and coat the eggplant well tossing with your hands.
  • When the oven is ready roast the eggplant for 45 minutes or until the skin is lightly browned and the flesh is soft. Enjoy!

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One of my favorite childhood desserts makes a comeback as Jell-O pudding mix is gluten-free #blessed! This dessert is as simple as it gets and comes together in just 10 minutes. Cold creamy pudding, crunchy gluten free sandwich cookies, and sweet chewy gummy worms all come together to make a dessert kids (and adults) look forward to!

Dirt N' Worms

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Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Servings: 4
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Ingredients:
 
  • 1 5.1 oz box jell-o instant pudding mix
  • 3 cups cold whole milk
  • 1 bag your favorite gummy worms
  • 12 GF chocolate sandwich cookies
Instructions:
  • In a bowl combine the pudding mix and whole milk. Whisk vigorously for 5 minutes or until the pudding has firmed up slightly.
  • Divide the pudding into 4 servings and top each serving with 3 crumbled sandwich cookies.
  • Top the cookies with the gummy worms. Bury them slightly in the cookies and pudding for a fun dessert presentation.
  • Serve immediately or refrigerate for 5 to 10 minutes or until the pudding is as chilled as you like and enjoy!

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Jeweled rice is a beautifully vibrant middle eastern dish that’s served at special occasions such as weddings, anniversaries, and milestone birthdays. Usually served as a side dish I wanted to make this into a complete meal by adding ground beef.

You can easily make this dish vegan or vegetarian by using your favorite plant based protein and plant based butter like Beyond Beef or Miyoko’s, subbing in a hearty root vegetable like roasted potatoes, or omitting the use of the beef all together. No matter how you make it it’ll be a delicious meal the whole family will love!

Jeweled Rice

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Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Middle Eastern
Servings: 4
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Ingredients:
 
  • 1 lb ground beef (or meat substitute of your choice)
  • 4 large shallots (sliced)
  • ½ cup silvered or sliced almonds
  • ½ cup pistachios
  • 1 large carrot (peeled into ribbons)
  • 6 oz dried apricots (roughly chopped)
  • 11 oz mandarin oranges (drained)
  • 4 oz pomegranate seeds
  • 1 ½ cups long grain rice (such as Basmati)
  • 5 Tbsp butter (dairy or plant based)
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • ½ tsp saffron *optional (can sub 1 tsp paprika)
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp ground cardamom
  • 3 cups warm water
Instructions:
  • In a small bowl combine 3 cups of warm water and saffron or paprika and stir. Set aside.
  • Wash your rice until the water runs clear.
  • In a large skillet with lid add one tablespoon of olive oil and set the skillet over medium-high heat. Add the sliced shallot and ground beef, season with one teaspoon each of salt and black pepper.
  • Cook the beef and shallots until browned and when done remove from the skillet and place in a large bowl. Set aside.
  • In the skillet reduce the heat to medium and add the almonds and pistachios. Gently toast, about 5 minutes. If you wish to garnish your rice reserve a small portion of each nut and set aside to top the rice with. Pour the toasted nuts into the bowl with the beef and shallots.
  • Add a tablespoon of butter to the skillet and add the washed rice, toast your rice until lightly golden brown. When golden add the cumin, chili powder, cinnamon, and cardamom to the pan. Stir into the rice and toast for two minutes, stirring constantly.
  • Roughly tear the carrot ribbons into bite sized pieces.
  • To the rice and spices add the torn carrot ribbons, the bowl of beef and nuts, and dried apricots. Stir well and pour in the 3 cups of saffron or paprika water.
  • Allow the water to come to a boil and turn the heat to low, cover and cook for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes stir the rice, recover, and cook for 10 minutes longer.
  • When the rice is done stir in the remaining butter and coat the rice well. Serve mounded on a large platter or deep bowl. Top with the mandarin oranges, pomegranate seeds, and reserved nuts if using. Serve family style as is or with a vegetable of your choice. Enjoy!

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This picture, although a little blurry, captures the bright vibrant nature of the humble beet. Often over looked or thought of as a fall or winter vegetable beets can be delicious year round! This roasted beet pasta is fresh and beautiful way to get dinner to the table. I’ve chosen to top my bowl with a poached egg, Parmesan cheese, basil, and leftover roasted beets.

For a vegan version try toasting some walnuts, sprinkling some nutritional yeast, adding an extra drizzle of olive oil and topping with the leftover beets. Delicious!

Roasted Beet Pasta

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Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Servings: 4
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Ingredients:
 
  • 3 Cups Chopped fresh beets
  • 4 Portions of your favorite GF pasta
  • 1 Tbsp Olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp sun dried tomatoes (finely minced)
  • 2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp honey (or agave nectar)
  • 1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 4 poached eggs (for topping *optional)
  • ½ cup Parmesan cheese (for topping *optional)
Instructions:
  • Preheat your oven to 425°F
  • On a baking tray place the chopped beets, olive oil, sun dried tomato, balsamic, honey, red pepper, salt, and black pepper. Toss to coat the beets evenly and roast for 40 minutes.
  • As the beets are roasting begin boiling your water for your pasta and cook in salted water according to your packages directions. When cooked, strain and set aside.
  • When the beets are roasted and soft reserve one cup for topping and scoop the rest into a blender.
  • Blend the beets until smooth, adding a little water as necessary and toss into the drained and cooked pasta. Stir to coat the pasta well. Top with the reserved roasted beets and toppings of your choice. Enjoy!

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Who doesn’t love French onion soup? The sweet onions, savory beef stock, rich and delicious gruyere…it’s an incredible soup! Made gluten free by using Schar’s gluten free baguette and skipping the flour base it’s a treat you can enjoy without fear. Unfortunately there’s no short cut to caramelizing all those onions, but as a plus the house smells like heaven while you wait!

French Onion Soup

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Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 2 hours
Total Time: 2 hours 10 minutes
Course: Soup
Cuisine: French
Servings: 4
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Ingredients:
 
  • 3 large yellow onions (finely chopped)
  • 3 large red onions (finely chopped)
  • 4 Tbsp butter
  • 6 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 2 Tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • cup brandy or congac
  • 6 cups beef stock
  • 2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • ½ tsp thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • ¼ tsp nutmeg
  • ¼ tsp cinnamon
  • 2 tsp white pepper (black pepper can be subbed)
  • ¼ tsp ground ginger
  • ¼ tsp ground clove
  • 2 tsp kosher salt
  • 2 Tbsp heavy cream (*optional)
  • 1 GF baguette
  • 8 oz Gruyere cheese (shredded)
Instructions:
  • Over medium-low heat add 4 Tbsp butter to a large heavy bottomed pot. Allow butter to melt and add the chopped onion.
  • Coat the onions in the melted butter and let them go to work caramelizing! There's nothing special you have to do but check on them every 15 minutes or so to give a gentle stir. You're looking for a deep caramel color and for the onions to be very soft, almost mushy. This took me roughly an hour, but allow up to an hour and a half. If your onions begin to burn before they caramelize reduce the heat, add a little water to the pan, stir, and keep going.
  • When onions have caramelized, turn the heat to medium-high and allow your pot to heat up for just a minute. Once the pot is ready pour in the white wine and brandy and deglaze your pan scraping up all those brown bits at the bottom. Reduce your heat to medium.
  • Add the minced garlic and tomato paste and stir to combine. Cook until the garlic is fragrant, or about 2 minutes.
  • To the pot add the Worcestershire, nutmeg, thyme, clove, cinnamon, ginger, bay leaf, pepper and salt. Stir well, and add the beef stock. Preheat your oven to 350°F.
  • Bring the soup to a boil, and then reduce the heat and allow to simmer for 15 minutes.
  • While the soup is simmering slice your baguette and bake on a baking tray for 10 minutes or until crispy and toasted. Set the bread aside when done, and set your oven to broil.
  • Remove the bay leaf from the pot and stir in the heavy cream if using. Taste for seasoning. If you want a rich, creamy soup you can use an immersion blender and blend the soup to be as smooth or as chunky as you would prefer.
  • Into broiler safe dishes divide the soup into servings and lay the toasted baguette over top. Sprinkle the grated cheese over top of the baguette and broil until the cheese is bubbly and melted. About 5 minutes. If you don't have individual broiler safe dishes such as ramekins you can pour the soup into a deep broiler safe baking dish such as a 9x13 and top with the baguette and cheese to broil and serve family style. Enjoy!

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What’s summer time without a creamy scoop of ice cream? Not a summer I want to think about! 

This vegan ice cream checks all the boxes for vegans and omnivores alike. Creamy, dreamy, coconutty goodness ready in about an hour! I like to top this ice cream with extra toasted coconut flakes, toasted almonds and walnuts, and sometimes even some pureed mango. 

It’s everything summer dreams are made of!

*swoon*

Vegan Toasted Coconut Ice Cream

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Prep Time: 10 minutes
Churn Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 55 minutes
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Servings: 4 cups
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Ingredients:
 
  • 2 Cans coconut cream (13.5 oz each)
  • Cup white or coconut sugar
  • 1 Tbsp vanilla extract
  • 1 Cup sweetened coconut flakes (toasted)
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 1 tsp coconut extract (*optional)
Instructions:
  • Preheat your oven to 350°F
  • Spread sweetened coconut flakes on a baking sheet, and when the oven is ready toast 'em. Times will vary so keep an eye on those flakes! They won't take longer than 10 minutes. When toasted set aside to cool.
  • In a blender combine all ingredients except toasted coconut flakes and blend until well combined. This is your ice cream base so taste it to see if it's rocking your world, and adjust it as you like!
  • If you have an ice cream maker: Mix the toasted coconut flakes into the ice cream base and pour into your machine. Mix according to your machine's instructions. I used my Kitchen Aid mixer ice cream attachment and it took roughly 40 minutes. You'll know it's done when it's reached soft serve texture. When it's done you can eat as a soft serve or freeze it for a more authentic ice cream experience.
  • If you do not have an ice cream maker: Pour the ice cream base into a freezable container and freeze just until soft. You should be able to leave an indent in the ice cream with your finger, but not have any liquid flowing free underneath the indent. This will take a few hours and times will definitely vary. When your ice cream is soft but not frozen transfer back to the blender and give it a good whirl. You're trying to incorporate air into the ice cream so get it nice and frothy! Pour the base back into the freezer safe container. Mix the coconut flakes into the ice cream base and refreeze. This time allowing the ice cream to harden to your liking.
  • This ice cream keeps in the freezer for about a week. Top with all your favorite things and enjoy!

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Being a military spouse I’ve lived from coast to coast and one of the things I know I can get everywhere is decent guacamole. Who can mess that up right? Except….one of my BIGGEST pet peeves with guacamole is when you take a big ol’ scoop and bite down then -BAM- raw onion is now all you can taste. This is great if onion is all you *want* to taste, but since I’m not the Grinch your girl did not just throw down eight dollars on some table side guac to taste a fifty cent onion. So I’ve brought to you my method of softening the ingredients in lime juice before mixing into the avocado. Essentially making a quick pico de gallo. This method mellows out the onion while also allowing the flavors to intermingle for a bit which makes for a more delicious guacamole overall. I think you’ll be pleased!

Tex-Mex Guacamole

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Prep Time: 5 minutes
rest time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: Tex-Mex
Servings: 4 cups
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Ingredients:
 
  • 4 ripe avocados
  • 1 cup red onion (chopped)
  • 1 cup tomato (seeds removed, chopped)
  • 2 Tbsp cilantro (chopped)
  • 1 large jalapeno (seeds removed, minced)
  • 4 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 3 limes (juiced)
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • ¼ tsp cumin
  • ¼ tsp cayenne
Instructions:
  • Combine all prepped ingredients except avocado into a bowl and mix. Allow to sit for 10 to 20 minutes. This is a pico de gallo. Feel free to taste it to see if the onion has mellowed enough for your liking.
  • When the onion has chilled TF out scoop the avocado out of it's peel and mash directly into the pico until the avocado is as smooth or as chunky as you prefer. Give it a good stir and enjoy on everything!

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I know it’s a little out of the norm, but summer time in our house screams schnitzel! When I was school-aged my mom and grandma (we call her nanny) would, and still do, go out to lunch and spend the day together every Monday. When school was out and summer was in session my sister and I would get to go with! Often we would go to a little German restaurant in Kirby, TX simply named “The Bavarian Restaurant”. It was run by the SWEETEST German couple and jagerschnitzel was my go to order. Every time. Without Fail. So when I got married and moved away from home summer schnitzel became a bit of a tradition. Since schnitzel is traditionally fried in lard (#noregrets) I wanted to make a summer bod friendly version that’s still rakes in the nostalgia. I hope y’all enjoy this little taste of my childhood as much as we do!

Jagerschnitzel

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Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: German
Servings: 4
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Ingredients:
 
  • 2 thick cut pork chops ((at least 1 inch thick))
  • 2 tsp course German mustard ((or brown mustard))
  • 2 cups GF panko breadcrumbs
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper
  • 16 oz sliced white mushrooms
  • ½ large yellow onion (thinly sliced or diced)
  • 3 cups beef stock
  • 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce (ensure your brand is GF)
  • 3 Tbsp butter
  • 2 Tbsp GF flour blend (I use Krusteaz)
  • 2 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 1/8 tsp dried thyme
  • salt and pepper to taste (for gravy)
  • parsley and lemon for garnish
Instructions:
  • Trim your pork chops of extra fat.
  • Set your pork chops on their side and slice in half to create 4 thinner ½ inch pork chops.
  • In a large zip-lock bag working one at a time pound your pork chops into ¼ inch thick cutlets. Set your pounded cutlets aside.
  • When all your cutlets are thin- break two eggs into a shallow dish and add 2 tsp mustard, 1 tsp pepper and 1 tsp salt. Scramble together. In a separate shallow dish pour in the breadcrumbs. Preheat your air fryer to 400°F for 5 minutes.
  • Coat both sides of the pork cutlets in the egg mixture and then immediately into the breadcrumbs working one at a time.
  • When all the cutlets are ready divide the remaining tsp of salt and sprinkle over the cutlets.
  • Taking care not to overcrowd your air fryer place the prepared cutlets into the fryer for 10 minutes. You do not want them to overlap, so you may have to work in batches depending upon the size of your basket.
  • While the cutlets are cooking, place a skillet over medium-high heat and add 1 tbsp butter. When butter is melted add the sliced mushrooms and onion. Do not add any salt yet. We want the mushrooms and onions to brown, not sweat. Cook until the onion is translucent and the mushrooms have a golden hue. About 5 to 7 minutes.
  • Add the garlic, Worcestershire, and thyme to the skillet and stir until garlic is fragrant, or about a minute. Add the remaining butter and allow to melt, stir to coat everything in the skillet. Add the GF flour, again stirring to coat and cook one minute.
  • Pour in the beef stock one cup at a time whisking together with the ingredients in the pan to form a thick gravy. Use as much beef broth as you need to get your desired gravy consistency. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  • When all the cutlets are cooked and ready, top with the hot mushroom gravy, garnish with parsley and lemon wedges. We usually serve this with red cabbage and hot buttered noodles. Enjoy!

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