I love baked potatoes.
They’re comfort food to me.
We ate them all the time growing up, usually topped simply with butter, salt, and pepper (and sometimes sour cream).
These days, I’m all about upgrading the humble baked potato.
There’s so much more than a simply baked russet! Red waxy potatoes are deliciously creamy when baked, as are potatoes of all colors of the rainbow.
This newest spin highlights the earthy flavor of the potato with fresh rosemary and creamy manchego cheese.
I love how red potatoes are a little smaller than russets. They’re the perfect portion 🙂
Their creamy texture & delicate skin makes them super easy to eat, & they pair perfectly with minimalist toppings.
So, manchego cheese is pretty awesome.
It’s a semi firm Spanish cheese which got its name because it was traditionally made from the milk of sheep who grazed on the plains of La Mancha.
Ooo the plains of La Mancha!
Anyways, I love it because it has a yummy creamy mild taste & melts perfectly.
For these baked potatoes, I simply topped them with a pat of butter, wisps of manchego cheese, minced fresh rosemary, and a sprinkle of fresh cracked black pepper and flaky maldon sea salt.
The result: a simple side dish that tastes oh so gourmet.
- As many small red potatoes as you’d like
- A drizzle of olive or grapeseed oil if you’re cooking them in the oven
- Pats of salted butter, preferably grass fed
- Shredded Manchego cheese, for sprinkling
- Minced fresh rosemary, for sprinkling
- Fresh cracked black pepper
- Flaky Maldon sea salt
Cook the potatoes to your liking. The fast way is to prick them with a fork & cook them in the microwave using the “potato” setting. The longer way is to rub them with olive oil & bake in the oven at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for roughly 45 minutes, or until a knife can be inserted smoothly into the center with no resistance. The time will vary depending on the size of your potato.
The microwave will produce soft potatoes, while the oven will give the potatoes a crispy flaky skin. I like both ways, it just depends what you’re in the mood for, and how much time you have!
Once the potatoes are cooked, use a knife to cut an “X” shape into them & open them up. Use a fork to mash them flat on your plate. The potatoes should have a star-like shape.
Once the potato is flattened, spread a pat of butter over the top of each & let it melt into all the crevices. Sprinkle with plenty of shredded Manchego cheese & fresh minced rosemary. Season well with fresh cracked black pepper & flaky Maldon sea salt. Enjoy immediately!
Take some lettuce, place it in a bowl.
Top with your favorite protein, veggies, nuts, fruits, & cheese.
Drizzle with homemade dressing.
Congratulations. You just made dinner.
Seriously! Dinner doesn’t have to be a long drawn out affair every night.
Sometimes the simplest dinners are the most enjoyable ones.
Like this Rosemary Blue Cheese Chicken Salad.
It comes together in twenty minutes. Less time than it would take to grab dinner or order takeout!
Plus, who doesn’t want bites of creamy blue cheese dressing, crispy chicken pieces, sweet & salty nuts & cranberries, and tender fresh lettuce?
It’s a party in a bowl, people.
If you feel intimidated by dinner, this salad is a great place to start.
Easy recipe, big flavor.
- 1 ¼ pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch cubes
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon dried rosemary
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- Drizzle of olive oil or other cooking oil
- ¾ lb mixture of red & green leaf lettuces, washed, dried, & torn into bite-sized pieces
- 1 cup walnut pieces
- ½ cup dried cranberries, optional
For the dressing:
- 1 ½ tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 2 tablespoons sour cream
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
- 5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 teaspoon honey
- ½ cup crumbled gorgonzola cheese
Place the cubed chicken in a medium bowl & add the salt, ground black pepper, rosemary, and garlic powder. Toss with your hands until evenly coated.
Wash your hands well with warm soapy water & get out a skillet for cooking the chicken. Drizzle olive oil (or other cooking oiinto the pan, & warm over medium-high heat. Add the chicken & cook, stirring occasionally, until the chicken pieces are crispy & golden all over, roughly ten minutes. Remove to a plate & set aside.
Add the lettuce to a large serving bowl, & prepare the dressing. In a small bowl, whisk together the red wine vinegar, sour cream, salt, pepper, olive oil, and honey. When combined well, stir in the gorgonzola.
Pour half of the dressing over the lettuce & toss to combine.
Divide the lettuce onto 4 serving plates, top with chicken, walnut pieces, cranberries (if using) and drizzle with extra dressing. Enjoy!
Every week, I visit a local farmers market.
Whether it’s Culver City, Palms, Santa Monica, Mar Vista, or even Hollywood, I love love love the bounty of fresh produce & locally produced goods.
Walking through the stalls, browsing the best that nature has to offer, gives me chills… and mega inspiration.
This week was all about PEACHES.
Warm, sun-ripened peaches with enticingly sweet flesh & delicate fuzzy skin.
Fresh picked peaches taste nothing like the ones sold at chain grocery stores.
Fresh peaches are actually allowed to ripen on the vine, so they develop maximal sugar and sweetness. They are soft, juicy, and bursting with flavor.
In contrast, many grocery store peaches are picked while still rock-hard and unripe.
That green-tinge you see on so many supermarket peaches? Yeah, that’s not supposed to be there.
Green means the peach was picked while under-ripe to help it hold up better during transport. Unripe fruit has firmer flesh, so it can be stacked & stored without squishing & bruising.
Yes, that unripe peach will eventually ripen on store shelves, but it will never reach the same level of deliciousness as a fresh picked peach.
Since this salad features peaches, try to seek out locally grown organic peaches before making it. It will seriously make a world of difference.
The sweet, tender slices of fresh peaches are easy to pierce with a fork, and melt in your mouth with the creamy, tangy goat cheese & fresh basil.
Extra-firm peaches will change the texture & experience of this salad, so splurge for the best peaches you can find!
- 2 small heads frisee, torn
- several handfuls of baby greens
- extra virgin olive oil, for drizzling
- balsamic vinegar, for drizzling
- 2 small yellow peaches, halved, pitted, & thinly sliced
- 1/3 cup torn basil
- 1/3 cup chopped macadamia nuts or walnuts
- ½ cup crumbled goat cheese
- fresh cracked salt & pepper
Thoroughly wash and dry your baby greens, using a salad spinner or paper towels.
Place in a large serving bowl, drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar & toss to mix well. Remember to drizzle lightly at first. You can always add more oil or vinegar, but you can never take away! Aim for a ratio of roughly 2 parts oil to 1 part vinegar.
Sprinkle the sliced peaches, torn basil, nuts, and goat cheese over the salad.
Season with fresh cracked salt & pepper & serve family style!