Chili-Lime Flank Steak

Serves 6.

Note: From the Food Network magazine.

• 1 large lime, plus wedges for serving

• 1 tbsp. favorite chili powder

• 1 tbsp. packed light brown sugar

• 2 tsp. chopped fresh thyme

• 1 tsp. ground cumin

• 1 tsp. chipotle chile powder

• Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

• 1 1/2 to 1 3/4 lb. flatiron or flank steak

• Vegetable oil, for the grill


Grate the zest of 1 lime; cut the lime in half. Combine zest with the chili powder, brown sugar, thyme, cumin, chipotle powder, 1/2 teaspoon salt and a few grinds of pepper in a small bowl. Squeeze the zested lime over the steak and use the lime halves to rub the juice into the meat. Rub the spice mixture on both sides of the steak. Let stand at room temperature, 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, preheat a grill to medium-high. Brush the grates with vegetable oil. Grill the steak until it's well browned with nice grill marks, about 8 minutes. Flip and grill until a thermometer inserted sideways into the center registers 125 degrees, about 5 to 7 more minutes for medium-rare (the thinner edges of the steak will be cooked to medium).

Transfer to a cutting board and let rest 10 minutes. Season with salt and thinly slice against the grain. Serve with lime wedges.

Spinach-Avocado Penne Pasta Salad

Serves 8.

Note: Adapted from

• 1 lb. box mini penne pasta or other small pasta

• 1 bunch of fresh cilantro, bottom stems removed

• 1 bag (5 oz.) fresh baby spinach

• 2 to 3 garlic cloves, peeled, pressed or very finely minced

• 1 bunch green onion, thinly sliced on the diagonal

• 2 c. (1 pint) grape or cherry tomatoes, cut in quarters

• 2 avocados, peeled, seeded and diced

• 1 (15-oz.) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed

• Zest and juice of 1 large lemon

• 3 tbsp. olive oil

• 2 tsp. sugar

• 1 1/2 tbsp. Dijon mustard

• 1/2 tsp. cumin or to taste

• Kosher salt and pepper, to taste


Cook pasta according to package directions in well seasoned boiling water until al dente. Drain pasta and set aside.

In a food processor, place the cilantro and spinach and process until chopped into tiny pieces. Add cilantro mixture to a medium bowl. Stir in garlic, onion, tomatoes, avocado and chickpeas. Add the cooked pasta and stir to combine.

In a jar with a tightfitting lid, shake the lemon zest and juice, oil, sugar, mustard, cumin and salt and pepper to combine thoroughly. Adjust seasonings as needed.

Pour dressing over the top of the salad and stir gently until everything is well coated. Refrigerate for 30 minutes before serving.

Spicy Pineapple Slaw

Serves 8 to 10.

Note: This slaw gets its spiciness from jalapeño peppers. For less spiciness, remove the ribs and seeds from the peppers. You can substitute about 6 cups of coleslaw mix for the cabbage and carrots. Adapted from Martha Stewart Living magazine.

• 5 c. shredded green cabbage (from 1 small head)

• 3 carrots, peeled, shredded

• 1 c. thinly sliced red onion

3 c. small diced pineapple from about three-fourths of a pineapple

2 jalapeño chiles, finely chopped, ribs and seeds removed for less heat

• 1/2 to 3/4 c. chopped fresh cilantro leaves

• 1/4 c. chopped fresh mint leaves

• 1/3 c. olive oil

• 1/3 c. fresh lime juice from about 4 limes

• Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste


In a large bowl, combine cabbage, carrots, onion, pineapple, chiles, cilantro and mint. Drizzle with oil and lime juice.

Season with salt and pepper; toss to combine. Let stand 30 minutes. Toss again before serving.

Strawberry Pretzel Terrine

Serves 8.

Note: Here's a different take on the strawberry pretzel salad recipe. If the terrine doesn't seem set, you can freeze it until firm enough so you can cut it into slices. From Food Network magazine.

• 2 lb. strawberries, hulled

• 1 1/4 tsp. unflavored gelatin powder

• 1/3 c. plus 2 1/2 tbsp. granulated sugar, divided

• 2 tsp. grated lemon zest, plus the juice of 1 large lemon, divided

• 1 (8-oz.) container mascarpone cheese, softened

• 1 (8-oz.) pkg. regular or reduced-fat cream cheese, softened

• 3/4 c. powdered sugar

• 1 tsp. vanilla extract

• 2 c. small pretzel twists

• Pinch of kosher salt

• 6 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted


Line a 5- by 9-inch loaf pan with plastic wrap; set aside.

Chop 1 1/2 pounds of strawberries into small pieces, but keep 1/2 pound whole.

In a small bowl, combine the gelatin and 1/4 cup hot water and stir until fully dissolved; let cool.

Combine the chopped strawberries, 1/3 cup granulated sugar and 1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice in a large bowl. Let stand, stirring occasionally, until the strawberries are juicy, about 15 minutes. Stir the dissolved gelatin into the strawberry mixture.

Meanwhile, beat the mascarpone, cream cheese and powdered sugar in a large bowl with a mixer on medium speed until fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add the vanilla and lemon zest, and beat 1 more minute; set aside.

Pulse the pretzels with the salt and 2 tablespoons granulated sugar in a food processor until finely crushed. Drizzle in the melted butter and pulse until well combined. Pour the mascarpone mixture into the prepared loaf pan; smooth the top. Top evenly with the pretzel mixture, then top with the strawberry-gelatin mixture in an even layer. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until set, about 6 hours.

To make the strawberry sauce: Purée the whole strawberries with the remaining 1/2 tablespoon granulated sugar and the remaining lemon juice in a blender until smooth.

When ready to serve, invert the terrine onto a platter. Top with the strawberry sauce.

Watermelon-Cucumber Cooler

Serves 4.

Note: Adapted from

• 5 c. cubed seedless watermelon (about 1 1/2 lb.)

• 1 large English cucumber, peeled and cut into chunks

• 1/4 c. fresh lime juice (from 2 to 3 limes)

• 2 tbsp. honey

• 2/3 c. vodka

• Ice

• Mint sprigs or cucumber slices, for garnish


Set a large fine-mesh sieve over a large bowl or pitcher. In a food processor or blender, purée watermelon. Pour watermelon purée through sieve, pressing on solids with a rubber spatula (you should have about 2 cups juice). Purée English cucumber and pour through sieve into watermelon juice.

In a small bowl or measuring cup, stir together lime juice and honey. Add to watermelon and cucumber juices, along with vodka. Adjust sweetness with more honey if desired. To serve, fill 4 glasses with ice and top each with cocktail. Garnish with mint sprigs or cucumber slices.