basil, corn & tomato salad

Basil, Corn & Tomato Salad

Corn is one of those vegetables that you can enjoy any time of the year, but there’s something about corn in the summer, when it’s a little bit sweeter and a little easier to find on the cob, that I absolutely love.

One of my go-to recipes that is a perfect summer dish is my basil, corn and tomato salad. It sounds super simple, almost too simple, but the fresh ingredients dressed in the tangy vinaigrette come together to make something really delicious!

Basil, Corn & Tomato Salad Ingredients

Now, usually in the market there will be a barrel right by the ears of corn for you to shuck them in the store so you don’t have to make a mess at home; but, if you’re like me, that ain’t usually happening. So, this leaves us one of two options:

  1. Shuck that corn, fight the stubborn corn silk, keep fighting, eventually win the battle…
  2. Or, there’s always Ken and his “How to Shuck Corn Like a Boss” instructional video that shows you how a microwave and a few minutes can make all your corn silk nightmares go away : )

Basil, Corn & Tomato Salad Prep

Once you’ve got your cleaned ears of corn, it’s smooth sailing for the rest of this recipe. It’s basically: combine everything in a bowl and mix until evenly dressed in the vinaigrette.

Air-five for easy, yummy recipes!

I make this salad every summer because I love the flavors and textures it creates. The grape tomatoes and corn kernels give great pops of sweetness that are balanced out by the briny feta cheese. Chopped basil leaves add a layer of fresh flavor that really brightens up the salad and the whole grain mustard vinaigrette rounds it all out with its subtle acidity.

Whenever I make it, I usually enjoy it on its own for a light lunch, BUT it would be beyond perfect as a side dish to almost any summer dish (read: burgers, hot dogs, sandwiches, etc). Heck, go crazy and use it as a corn salsa on grilled chicken or fish! Seriously, it’s a really versatile and delicious dish that is too easy to make you’d be silly not to try it!

Here’s the recipe again, so you can do just that. Enjoy!

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harissa lamb leg with creamed spinach & herbed potatoes

Harissa Lamb Leg

A few weeks ago when the World Cup was just getting into the swings of competition, I decided to make some of Mirza’s favorite food to watch the Croatia vs. Cameroon match. Since he lived in Croatia for a while when he was younger, it was an exciting game to follow and the perfect opportunity to make lamb — one of his favorite proteins. I didn’t eat lamb too frequently before we started dating, but I’ve grown to really love the earthy flavor that is has to offer that is a nice change from a more typical cut of beef/steak.

I’m most comfortable making rack of lamb, but when I was at the butcher counter with lamb on the brain, I saw a beautiful boneless leg of lamb that I had to buy! I knew immediately I wanted a spice factor to compliment the lamb and found a great harissa seasoning in the spice aisle — and so was born my recipe for harissa lamb leg with creamed spinach and herbed potatoes.

Harissa Lamb Leg Ingredients

Harissa is a spicy pepper paste that is a great compliment to any protein if you enjoy some heat — which Mirza loves. So, when I saw the harissa seasoning (which has a mix of paprika, cayenne, chili pepper, cumin, garlic, caraway and coriander) I thought it would make the perfect rub for the lamb. I mixed the harissa seasoning with some rosemary and garlic to brighten the rub up a little.

Harissa Lamb Leg Prep

The sides for this meal are great to balance the bolder flavors of the lamb protein that has some more earthy tones than you may be used to tasting.

I have roasted potatoes a million times, but I decided to make these a bit more Mediterranean in flavor by adding a fair amount of oregano with some rosemary and thyme to make a delicious herbed potato.

As for the spinach — I think Mirza would have creamed spinach every day if I made it, but that’s not exactly “healthy” and so I usually sauté it sans creamy goodness. But, when I do splurge and make creamed spinach, it is all the more special. The parmesan cheese helps thicken the cream, that paired with the garlic infused oil make a beautiful balance of flavor for this side.

Herbed Potatoes

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Overall, I absolutely loved this meal and will definitely be making it again!

The perfectly cooked, medium-rare lamb was really tender and the harissa rub it was roasted in delivered a great level of spice that wasn’t too powerful. Partnered with the sides of herbed potatoes, roasted to a crispy exterior and velvety interior, and creamed spinach, garlicky and creamy and amazing, really rounded it out perfectly. There was only one thing missing…


So, I poured a glass, turned on the game, and indulged in this delicious dinner!

P.S. Croatia ended up winning, which was great, but unfortunately didn’t make it much further. Nor did the US… The real winner of our little family was Kia, our German shepherd, who got to see her “bloodline” win it all!

Harissa Lamb Leg with Creamed Spinach & Herbed Potatoes Harissa Lamb Leg with Creamed Spinach & Herbed Potatoes

chocolate, basil, brie panini

Chocolate, basil, brie panini

I know what you’re thinking…

  1. Where have you been?!
  2. This panini sounds scary and semi-gross.

Well, it pains me how little I’ve been able to keep up with Live. Laugh. Cook. these days. I’ve been a busy bee in my new job, been getting ready for a move, my dad is in town visiting from Mexico, and have had/have a couple vacations lined up…so…it’s been hard to find the pockets of time I need to do a post well. I’m hoping to get back into a more regular groove again, but thanks for bearing with me in the meantime : )

Now — about this panini. About six years ago I was watching the Food Network with one of my college roommates, Celeste,  when we saw Giada De Laurentiis make a panini with chocolate and brie (and basil). We were oddly intrigued and off put at the same time. I mean chocolate and basil and cheese??? Huh?

Welp, we were intrigued enough to run to the store to get the ingredients and try it out and ended up pleasantly surprised with how tasty it was! I can’t say that I’ve made it again since college, until recently when I had a random craving for it.

Panini Ingredients

This is a quick and easy recipe that doesn’t require too many ingredients or too much effort, so I recommend trying this panini out if it has peaked your interest in the slightest, I promise it’s delicious!

Chocolate, basil, brie panini prep

  1. Place two slices of sourdough bread down on a clean surface
  2. Spread goat’s milk brie cheese on one slice of the bread
  3. Evenly top the cheese with chopped basil and mini chocolate chips
  4. Place panini on a buttered panini press and top with a whole basil leaf
  5. Press the panini for about 10 minutes until cheese and chocolate has melted and bread is golden brown
  6. Slice and serve

The panini was just as tasty as I had remembered it! The sweet chocolate chips paired with the salty brie cheese do really well together, that along with the fresh basil and buttery, grilled bread create a seriously delicious combination.

This chocolate, basil, brie panini makes a great little appetizer, a light lunch sandwich, or a perfect dessert course. I know you’re still not fully on board here, but I am not quite sure you will believe me until you have finally tried this recipe.

Until next time (which hopefully isn’t forever away — ahhhh!! sorry!!)


chicken parm balls

Chicken Parm Balls

Hey strangers!

Did you think I forgot about this place? This has probably been my longest gap between posting since my trip to Europe last September! Well, not to make any excuses, but I started a brand new job at work last week and was devoting a lot of my free time to that and absorbing a ton of information…

That aside, I did get a chance one night last week to make these AMAZING chicken parm balls for dinner!


Chicken parmesan is one of my all-time favorites to order when I’m out having Italian food. A couple months ago I had the idea to make yummy little bites of chicken parm and tested out two different ways to make them:

  1. I dipped the finished balls in egg mixture before rolling in panko
  2. I added tomato sauce directly into the chicken mixture, which made it wet enough to roll in panko without the need for dipping in any egg

After making and tasting both, I decided that adding the sauce directly into the chicken was the way to go. It keeps the chicken moist during the cooking process, which makes the texture much better when you eat it and I also thought it was more true to the “chicken parm” concept (otherwise, it was more like a chicken meatball that I was serving with sauce).


To get that crispy exterior (one of the reasons I love chicken parm to begin with) I pan fried the chicken parm balls in some olive oil until they were golden brown and crispy on all sides, then finished them in the oven to get the chicken cooked through and the cheese all melty and delicious!

They made an excellent dinner, but their cute size make them a perfect idea for an appetizer or hors d’oeuvre at a dinner party! I served them over some spaghetti sprinkled with chopped parsley for a little freshness.

I’ll have the recipe posted shortly. Here’s the recipe for you to try!

Also, be sure to keep an eye out, coming up later this week and next are some cute banana carob chip muffins and a giveaway to celebrate Live. Laugh. Cook.’s 1-year anniversary!!

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rice pudding with baileys cinnamon whipped cream

Rice Pudding with Baileys Cinnamon Whipped Cream

I’m sleepy.

I have not had too much sleep this week — I dunno about you, but I was either staying up too late for my own good or getting up earlier than usual to make work meetings. Thank goodness it’s Friday and I embrace caffeine!

Whining aside — it’s been a real cold week here in Philly. CAN WE GET A BREAK?! I know it’s still Winter, but sheesh, a glimpse of Spring to prove Mother Nature will make good on Winter ending would be nice…hmm I suppose this is still whining isn’t it? Okay, okay I’m done.

It’s Friday, time to focus on the positive. The weekend is upon us, oh and I have this delicious rice pudding recipe for you WITH a bonus of an ah-mazing baileys cinnamon whipped cream (I know, and you’re welcome).

Rice Pudding Ingredients

This rice pudding happened completely on a whim. I was strolling through the grocery store kind of hungry — always a big mistake — so a lot of things that weren’t on my list were catching my eye. Walking past some sweet dessert items, I eye balled the rice pudding and realized I haven’t had rice pudding in about 3 years. But I love rice pudding, so why would I ever go that long without it? Who knows.

In any case, I picked it up and was reading the ingredients list (as I always do) and realized that there’s not too much going on in rice pudding and it’d probably be pretty easy to make at home — LIGHTBULB — blog post — that’s how this happens sometimes…

Oh — and sorry to all the raisins in rice pudding lovers out there — I didn’t grow up with raisins in my rice pudding, so I don’t add it to mine. That said, I could see how they could add little nice notes of fruity flavor and texture, so by-all-means go for it if you like it, I don’t judge.

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Okay, now I love rice pudding and all. But we need to talk about this whipped cream I whipped up (pun totally intended).

I made the whipped cream mainly because it’d make the rice pudding look pretty and I had some extra baileys that I’ve had for like a gazillion years and I just wanted to use it in something already. So I did, and it was the best decision I’ve made in 2014 so far. I don’t really know how to describe in words how amazing it is, but I’ve been dolloping it on my coffee all week now and every time I’m in awe of how yummy it is.

So yea, basically, if you’re not into rice pudding — make this whipped cream anyway. You won’t regret it.

Baileys Cinnamon Whipped Cream

I feel like I’ve been rather talkative today, so I’m going to keep this part short and sweet.

This rice pudding = delicious

This whipped cream = best positive, yummy adjective you can think of

This rice pudding + this whipped cream = deliciously best positive, yummy adjective you can think of (e.g. deliciously amazing, deliciously fantastic, etc)

Here’s the recipe again, have a fantabulous weekend!!!

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