As we all try to keep up with our homebound hunger games feeding our gangs all day long, we know many of you are looking for a bit of a vacation from using your ovens. As much as we love cooking, we could use a break too! So we’ve rounded up some of our favourite No Cooking Required Family Recipes & food plates we hope you’ll enjoy & get some much needed reprieve from the stove. We’ll keep adding to it as the time in isolation is indefinite and the warmer temps creep in where we’d rather be outdoors then in the cucina.
Before we began our adventures in parenthood, Andrew and I did a whirl around Italy & learned to make this rustic Tuscan salad during a stop at a vineyard in Tuscany. There are many variations of this simple dish, but it starts with using up stale bread and building it with fresh tomatoes, olive oil, red wine vinegar & herbs like fresh basil. Fresh buffalo mozzarella is a bonus, but not essential.
Tuscan Panzanella Salad
- large salad bowl
- 1/2 loaf stale italian bread cut into chunks/cubes
- 2 medium tomatoes any you have on hand, diced or about 8-10 cherry tomatoes
- 1/4 red onion thinly sliced
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil enough to generously coat the ingredients
- 4 tbsp red wine vinegar half as much as the oil you've used
- 1 ball buffalo mozzarella tear into small chunks (*substitute with whatever fresh cheese you have on hand, like bocconcini)
- 4 leaves fresh basil chopped, to taste (or used dried basil)
- coarse salt and ground black pepper to taste
- freshly grated parmigiano reggiano cheese to taste
- Add stale bread chunks to a bowl filled with a bit of water. Swish around about 10 seconds then remove & add to your salad bowl.
- Grab your tomatoes, squeeze out juices into your salad bowl then add in.
- Add your red onion, buffalo mozzarella & basil.
- Drizzle olive oil and pinches of salt & pepper to taste. Toss well, cover & refrigerate about an hour to let flavours mix together a bit more. *Refrigeration is optional - we've also enjoyed this one immediately after prep* Sprinkle with freshly grated parmigiano reggiano cheese just before serving. Buon appetito! TAG: @House_of_Kerrs #LaCucinadiKerrs on IG if you try!
2. Burrata Plate
At least one night a week we’ve been making a bunch of simple appys for dinner instead of a big meal. The burrata plate is one of our favourites for date nights in, but now on repeat during isolation. Modify as you wish with your family’s own favourite toppings & serve with fresh bread…YUM!
Burrata Shared Plate Appetizer
- Food board or long plate/platter
- 1 ball fresh burrata
- spring mix greens *enough to cover area around the burrata ball*
- extra virgin olive oil
- balsamic glaze
- roasted red peppers *jarred*
- mix of olives
- pickled beets
- Place the burrata in the centre of your board/plate. Add enough spring mix lettuce to surround it and fill the plate.
- Add & arrange roasted red peppers, olives & beets.
- Drizzle olive oil & balsamic glaze & top with coarse salt + ground black pepper, to taste.
- Serve with your favourite sliced artisan bread or pre-made crisps. Buon appetito!
3. The Crudité
A crudité a day keeps the constant snack asks at bay! Fill a large platter with all your gang’s favourite things – veggies, deli meats, cheeses, bread sticks, pita & dips – and take a night off of cooking with a family picnic.
4. Mediterranean Chickpea Village Salad
Using our homemade Greek dressing, you can make this no fuss village salad including chickpeas to keep bellies full with a protein punch. For kids who don’t like the dressing, just set aside all the fixins for a veg & protein plate. Serve this one with pita as a meal, or make extra & pair it with BBQ meats when you feel like cooking things up again.
Mediterranean Chickpea Village Salad
- large salad bowl
- 1 cucumber diced in large chunks
- 2 medium tomatoes diced in large chunks
- 1 red pepper chopped in chunks
- 1/2 red onion chopped in chunks
- 1 can Chick peas rinsed & drained
- fresh parsley or arugula chopped, to taste
- 3/4 cup feta cheese in brine or other
Greek Dressing - double up ingredients to have extra on-hand
- 4 tbsp olive oil
- 2 tbsp red wine vinegar
- 1 clove fresh garlic minced
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 1 tsp Dijon Mustard
- 1 pinch each coarse salt & ground black pepper
- Dressing: add all ingredients to a small bowl & whisk or use a dressing emulsifier.
- Salad: throw all of your chopped veggies, feta in a large salad bowl. Add dressing, toss & finish with parsley/arugula. Refrigerate or serve immediately. Pairs nicely with fresh pita bread and/or BBQ meats! Enjoy!
5. Mediterranean Tuna Lettuce Wraps
Using the Mediterranean Chickpea Village Salad recipe above, but chopping the veggies a bit more, add a can of tuna & our Greek dressing and voila! You’ve got another simple recipe! Scoop the ingredients onto leaves of romaine lettuce, sprinkle with chopped fresh parsley or arugula & serve. A squeeze of lemon over top tastes nice a fresh if you fancy. Easy-peasy and we love this one for lunches or even a light dinner.
6. Lemon Arugula + Fennel Salad
It’s so light & refreshing – the perfect salad to serve on a hot Summer’s day with seafood or fresh bread.
Lemon Arugula + Fennel Salad
- 4 handfuls of fresh Arugula (or Spring Mix)
- 1 small fresh fennel bulb sliced thinly
- 1/2 cup Pecorino or Parmigiano Reggiano Cheese freshly grated
- 1 lemon
Lemon Vinaigrette Dressing
- 4 tbsp olive oil
- 2 tbsp red wine vinegar
- juice of 1/2 a lemon
- coarse salt & ground black pepper to taste
- Add arugula to a large bowl or family-style platter. Toss sliced fennel over top & mix with dressing and salt + pepper.
- Sprinkle pecorino or parmigiano cheese over top & lemon wedges for garnish. That's it!Buon appetito! Tag @House_of_Kerrs on Instagram!
7. Burrata + Fig Salad
If you’re looking for a Summer salad leveled-up, this is it! I could go on about how insanely good this one is…but really, you just need to try it!
Burrata + Fig Salad
- Family-style serving platter
- 4 handfuls Arugula + Spinach mix *if your party size is larger, use 1 extra handful per person*
- 1 large fresh Burrata ball rip into small parts
- 5 fresh figs cut in half
- ½ cup candied pecans chopped
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil to taste - enough to drizzle over salad and have a light coating
- Balsamic reduction glaze to taste, drizzle over salad
- coarse salt + ground black pepper to taste - a few pinches will do
- Place arugula + spinach mix on to the platter. Add ripped Burrata pieces and sliced figs.
- Drizzle with olive oil, then balsamic glaze (to taste, and enough to lightly coat your salad portion). Add chopped pecans then sprinkle a few pinches of salt + pepper. Toss before serving. Buon Appetito! Tag us @House_of_Kerrs on Instagram if you try!
8. Prosciutto + Melon Antipasto Salad
The pairing of prosciutto & melon is a classic sweet n’ savoury Italian culinary combo – mixing it all together into a salad a beautiful way to enjoy it. This is not an original La Cucina di Kerrs recipe, rather a modified version from What’sGabbyCooking.com.
Prosciutto Melon Bocconcini Antipasto Salad
- Melon baller scoop
- Large Serving Platter
- 6 handfuls fresh arugula *1 handful per person, so add more if needed*
- ½ cantaloupe ripened, scooped into balls or chopped into cubes
- ½ honeydew melon ripened, scooped into balls or chop into cubes
- 6 thin slices of prosciutto tear apart
- 4 leaves fresh basil chopped
- 8-10 small (*fresh mozzarella*) bocconcini balls or 6-8 bocconcini medallions *we use TreStelle*
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil *2-3 tbsp - drizzle*
- Coarse Salt + ground black pepper *to taste*
- Add arugula to platter & top with melon balls/chunks, torn prosciutto & bocconcini - space out evenly.
- Drizzle olive oil over the salad & sprinkle with salt + pepper. Garnish with the fresh, chopped basil. Drizzle balsamic glaze over top right before serving. Buon appetito!
9. Peach & Bocconcini Medallion Bites
Peach, Prosciutto & Bocconcini Medallion Bites
- Bamboo cocktail skewers (4 inch) x 12
- 3 semi-ripe peaches cut in quarters
- 12 leaves fresh basil 1 leaf per peach slice
- 12 slices Bocconcini Medallions *we use Tre Stelle - if you can't find similar, use 1 ball of Buffalo Mozzarella & cut into slices, then in halves*
- 12 slices prosciutto thinly sliced
- *Optional: Balsamic Glaze*
- Cut pitted peaches into quarters (semi-ripe are easier to cut than super ripe). Lay basil leaf on one fresh cut side of the peach, then a bocconcini medallion on top. Fold 1 slice of prosciutto length-wise, then wrap around the peach-leaf-cheese combo from one end to the other. Hold in place with appetizer skewer. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
- *Optional - drizzle with balsamic glaze right before serving. Recipe renders 12 skewers, and about 4 servings (based on 3 appys per person). Increase ingredients according to number of people in your gathering. Buon appetito! Tag us @House_of_Kerrs if you try!
10. Peach Caprese Salad – Family Style
A fruity twist on the classic Caprese Salad (*yep…we eat A LOT of it!*), add the ripest peaches of your bunch sliced up & serve family-style – our favourite way to dine a la casual all Summer. *Serve with fresh bread, crostini, charcuterie and/or bread sticks & dipping oil*
Peach Caprese Salad - Family Style
- Large Serving Platter
- 4-6 handfuls Spring Mix Salad *1 handful per person*
- 1 ball Buffalo Mozzarella Cheese tear into small pieces
- 2 medium ripe peaches sliced
- 2 medium tomatoes any, sliced *we used "Cocktail" tomatoes*
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil to taste, enough to drizzle over salad
- Balsamic Glaze to taste, enough to drizzle over salad
- Coarse salt & ground black pepper to taste
- 4-6 leaves fresh basil some chopped, some intact
- Layer platter with spring mix. Add tomatoes + peaches, then add ripped mozzarella. Sprinkle chopped basil evenly over salad. Drizzle olive oil - enough to generously coat ingredients- then add a few pinches of salt + pepper evenly over top.
- Just before serving, drizzle balsamic glaze in a swiping zig zag motion over salad. Garnish with fresh basil leaves & serve family style. Buon appetito! Tag us at @House_of_Kerrs on Instagram if you try!
11. Spring Love JARCUTERIE Board
I’m not big on food trends, but when our friends at Stylecaster shared the JARCUTERIE idea earlier this year I was a smitten kitchenista! Inspired by creating appetizers and charcuterie boards that are anti-germ spreading-friendly, the concept is simple & super sweet – add all the things you’d typically lay out on a charcuterie or cheese board but in a mason jar mini version! Of all the trends I’ve seen come out as we all turn to our kitchens for more creative outlets, THIS one is genius &, in my humble opinion, has staying power even beyond social-distancing times! We think families with fussy eaters, food allergies & intolerances will particularly love it because you can customize each jar to each family members liking (brilliant!). We adore these for family grazing tables, holiday entertaining, Birthdays, backyard BBQs, and special occasions – weddings, Baby Showers, vow renewals, Baptisms, etc.
Spring is my favourite season of all, so our jars incorporate all the spring-y charcuterie things in this SPRING LOVE JARCUTERIE BOARD:
Spring Love Jarcuterie Board
- 8 oz. canning jars
- food skewers & bamboo sticks (*any - various lengths*)
- *Optional: adhesive Jute tape*
- Pistachios *no shell, lightly salted - we used Wonderful*
- Pretzel bites *for a nut-free base - we used Goldfish pretzels*
Charcuterie Food Skewers
- cantaloupe cut into slices
- honey dew melon cut into slices
- Red Grapes seedless
- Cocktail Bocconcini cheese 2 per skewer/jar
- Fresh basil leaves
- Mini pickled cucumbers "Cornichons" *we use Maille or Stonewall Kitchen*
- Prosciutto thinly sliced
- Genoa Salami thinly sliced
- Baby Figs Cut in half
- Green Olives *pitted - we used Bertolli's "Tuscan" version
- English Cucumber *sliced in circles
- Radish *cut into half-moon shape*
- Yellow Cheese *we use Babybel (light minis) or cut Friulano Cheese*
- Cauliflower *to make purplish-pink, add cut cauliflower to a jar filled with pickled beet juice the night before you make these*
Stand Alone Vegetables
- Mini Cucumbers Cut in quarters, length-wise
- Yellow Bell Peppers Cut into thin strips, length-wise
- Sugar Snap Peas sliced & opened down the center to look like flower leaves; we like the stringless ones by MANN'S
Crackers & Garnish
- Rosemary & Sea Salt Flatbreads *from Longos*
- Bread Sticks *broken in half - we love Bertozzi's Whole Wheat sticks*
- Fresh Rosemary Sprigs *1 per jar; fresh dill & chives would work as a substitute*
- Cut your vegetables, fruit & cheeses and lay out on one large board or platter with all other ingredients before you begin building your Spring Jarcuterie board.
SPRING Word Fruit Kebabs, Flower-shaped Cheese & Berry Skewers
- Use your mini fruit/veg cutters to spell S-P-R-I-N-G, alternating between the cantaloupe & honey dew. You could also spell things like EASTER or your child's name for their BIRTHDAY!Take your skewer, and add bocconcini, basil, your fruit word, basil, then another bocconcini!
- Take your sliced or unwrapped cheese + English cucumber slices & cut out flowers with a food cutter. Skewer the cauliflower, cheese + cucumber flowers & radish on a stick (*NOTE: you may need to cut the skewers shorter to fit nicely in your jars*).
- Add your favourite berries to another skewer in whatever pattern you fancy. We made ours starting with a raspberry, then 3 blueberries & finished with a red grape (which is hard to see in the image because it's at the bottom of the jar).
Cured Meats & Condiments Skewers
- Fan the salami & prosciutto, then skewer with your mini figs & top with a large green olive or Cornichons.
How to Build Your Spring Love Jarcuterie Board
- *Optional: add adhesive jute to the outside of each jar by premeasuring the length to fit around the circumference & then doing a rolling stick-on.
- Add your no shell pistachios or nut-free pretzels to the base of each jar. Then, add your pre-made meat, cheese, veg & fruit skewers/kebabs (*I added the SPRING word kebab last to keep it at the front*). Finally, add loose foods - cucumber, peppers, bread sticks, flatbreads, green garnish - staggering & playing around with them until you like where they land. Pop in your favourite Spring flower for added elegance! That's it! Fun, right?! Enjoy these Spring Love Jarcuterie Board appetizers!
12. Blueberry Delight Salad
A delicious way to enjoy fresh blueberries on a bed of mixed greens with diced avocado, goat cheese, dried apricots & slivered almonds. Drizzle with a blueberry vinaigrette.
Other No Cooking Required Recipes We Love:
Make THIS Traditional version, our leaf-shaped Autumn version for holiday entertaining or forget fancy & give our Messy Caprese a try (chop tomatoes, rip apart fresh buffalo mozzarella & throw it on top of mixed greens or arugula. Drizzle with balsamic reduction + extra virgin olive oil and pinch of coarse salt + ground black pepper! DEE-LISH!
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Beautiful & delish, try one of our TWO Strawberry Bruschetta recipes HERE.
Try our homemade Greek dressing & simple salad. This one’s on repeat all Spring/Summer around here whether served with just Pita + tzatziki or the perfect addition to your grilled meats. RECIPE HERE
Probably my favourite thing to make with leftover asparagus, just roll it in prosciutto on an angle, drizzle with balsamic glaze & enjoy!
This 5 Bean Medley Salad is a modified version of Nana’s tasty batch she always whips up for our family BBQs. We’re missing those lots, so I made this one with our little ones for last weekend’s BBQ at home. Press “PLAY” on the video below to watch how to make it!
Snacks aren’t just for kids – this is one of mine & DadChef’s faves for date nights in. Slice your favourite Italian loaf on an angle & layer with ricotta cheese, arugula, thinly sliced prosciutto + fresh fig, then drizzle with balsamic glaze…dee-lish!
Festive Antipasto Misto Wreath
The kids had so much fun making this one with me over the holidays. Find a round plate, lay down some greens (fresh rosemary, arugula, etc.) in a circular shape, add your favourite anitpasto misto items (we used bocconcini, cherry tomatoes, artichoke, roasted red peppers, salami (genoa & spicy), prosciutto, melon + cantaloupe) bamboo skewers & arrange in a wreath-like creation. Easy peasy & a beatiful edible centrepiece for your festive table.
I made a “Brie-liever” out of DadChef with these Spicy Red Pepper Brie Bites using my latest food love – spreadable brie topped with spicy red peppers drenched in oil (our favourite is from Nonna’s Pantry). Slice your favourite baguette, spread the cheese & add the red peppers- that’s it! A fabulous date night in option or festive no-cook appy!
We’ll keep adding to this post for more no-cook food inspo, and also have video how-tos over on IGTV & Youtube we’ll be adding to in our No-Cook Recipe series. If you have a family recipe we need to try, reply in comments or send to email@example.com!
Keep well, eat well!