4 Cooking Inspirations for Labor Day!

pesto-small-1024x682Labor Day is just around the corner! Here are 4 delicious and simple recipes to inspire your cooking energy, perfect for a late summer, daytime feast. Enjoy!

1. Basil and Sorrel Pesto

I love pesto. The best part about it is that it can be made out of anything you want – or happens to be in your kitchen. The basic rule is that pesto must have oil, a vegetable or herb, and a nut. Personally, I think garlic is almost always a must, but those who don’t like garlic can skip it.

That said, my favorite new combination for pesto is basil, sorrel, garlic and pine nuts. The combination is so fresh tasting, it’s like summer on a fork. I have been using this pesto recipe on everything: pasta, in sandwiches, drizzled on roasted vegetables, as a dipping sauce, or just straight up with a spoon. Yes, it is that good….

Make a batch and keep it in your fridge. It will stay fresh for about 4 days.

Ingredients:

  • olive oil – 1/2 cup
  • basil – fresh, 1/2 cup
  • sorrel – fresh, 1/2 cup
  • pine nuts – 1/4 cup
  • lemon – juice of one
  • agave – 1 teaspoon
  • garlic – 1 medium clove
  • salt and pepper – to taste

Combine ingredients in a blender or food processor, and enjoy with pasta, sandwiches, or veggies (like the cauliflowers, up next!).

2. Roasted Cauliflower with Paprika

I am having a love affair with paprika, specifically sweet Hungarian paprika. I am finding myself making up recipes whose sole purpose is a paprika delivery system. Obsessed? Perhaps, but as obsessions go, this is a good one.

This beautiful fiery red spice is high in Vitamin C, as well other essential vitamins, and is a storehouse for many phytonutrients. Paprika boosts circulation, works as an antibacterial and boosts the immune system with a good dose of carotenoids.

Let’s not forget the paprika’s delivery system; cauliflower. This great cruciferous vegetable has a similar nutrition profile to that of broccoli and cabbage. It’s packed with anti-oxidants and b vitamins as well as a host of essential minerals. Cauliflower is high in fiber but low in calories, so go ahead, have a second helping.

Ingredients:

  • cauliflower – 1 head or @3 cups
  • sesame oil – 1 tablespoon
  • paprika – 1/2 teaspoon
  • himalaya salt – 1/2 teaspoon
  • garlic powder – 1/2 teaspoon

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 375

Chop the cauliflower into florets

Place in an oven proof pan

Toss with sesame oil, salt, garlic powder and paprika

Cover with tinfoil

Cook for @20 minutes or until the cauliflower is softish

Remove foil

Turn oven to high broil

Roast for @5 minutes or until the cauliflower gets a toasted look to it. A word of caution. Do not walk away from the oven when something is on high broil. Things burn pretty quickly at that temp. Your beautiful cauliflower can turn into burnt nub in the blink of an eye.

3. Fish Sticks with Chia and Hemp Seeds

What I love most about this recipe is that it takes the typically unhealthy part of the fish stick and turns it into something super healthy. The chia seeds don’t add much flavor, but they pack a huge nutritional punch.

Fish is an excellent source of low fat protein. White fish is rich in B vitamins which help eliminate toxins from the body and keep the skin, nervous system and red blood cells healthy.

The chia seeds are the real powerhouse here. They are rich in Omega 3′s,  calcium, potassium, magnesium, fiber, protein, selenium, antioxidants, folate and lingans among others. Basically, they are good for everything. Any place you can add chia to your diet is a good thing.

The hemp seeds also offer a number of phytonutrients, amino acids, fatty acids, and protein along with a balance of Omega 3′s and 6′s. Mostly I like them because they add a slightly nutty flavor which I really like.

These healthy fish sticks can be made anytime and reheated in a toaster oven. They keep for a couple of days in the refrigerator. They also make a good lunchbox item.

Ingredients:

  • white fish – 1/2 lb. Sole, tilapia or flounder will work. It’s best to use wild-caught fish.
  • breadcrumbs – 1/3 cup – I use organic gluten-free ones.
  • parmesan cheese – 1/3 cup
  • chia powder – 1/3 cup
  • salt – 1/4 tsp
  • egg – 1
  • milk – splash
  • hemp seeds – 1 tbsp (optional)
  • oil – 2 tbsp of canola oil or other good high-heat oil

Instructions:

Combine the breadcrumbs, chia powder, parmesan cheese, hemp seeds and salt in a shallow bowl.

Beat the egg and milk with a fork in separate  bowl.

Cut the fish into nugget size pieces.

4. Fresh Cherry Snow Cones
This idea came from George, my 6-year-old and up-and-coming chef. We had been on a play-date where they had been given those brightly colored frozen ice sticks. When the boys asked if we could buy ice pops like that I said no, they are nothing but sugar and dye, but maybe we could come up with another idea. George piped up and said “I have an idea! Why don’t we use fruit juice instead of the sugar and dye? We can just blend it with ice.” Well, one thing led to another as we experimented with shaved ice and fruit and, presto, the way-cool Fresh Cherry Snow Cone was born!

I used cherries because I happened to have some nice looking organic ones and I thought the color would be bold. Keep in mind that this same idea can be translated into any fruit or fruit combination. I am currently looking forward to making a lemon and ginger one, or a kiwi and pear, or a watermelon basil…. They all sound so good I can’t decide.

Makes 4

Ingredients:

  • cherries – 1/2 cup pitted
  • honey – 1 tablespoon
  • ice – 4 cups
  • himalaya salt – a pinch
  • water – 2 tablespoons

Instructions:

Put the ice in the blender. I use the ice crush mode. Blend until all the ice is broken into fine pieces.

Scoop the ice into 4 bowls and set aside.

Put the cherries, honey, salt and water into the blender and blend until smooth.

Pour equal portions of the cherry syrup over the ice and serve immediately.

 

What will you be cooking this Labor Day?

 

Originally published on my website, Tapp’s Tips.

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About Tapp Francke Ingolia

Tapp is a registered nutrition counselor in the Greater NY area, and food & wellness blogger at www.TappsTips.com. Tapp’s mission is to help busy families, including her own, make healthy choices in a complicated world. A proud mom of two energetic boys, and self-proclaimed "food geek," Tapp loves creating, finding and sharing convenient ways to put a healthy spin on kitchen staples. For more recipes, healthy tips and nutrition guides, visit www.TappsTips.com