Watermelon Caprese Salad with Prosciutto

The most refreshing salad EVER!

A big bowl of refreshing Watermelon Caprese Salad with Prosciutto. The perfect summer salad!

Seriously, if you’re in need of some hydration in your life (and I know at least all us Californians do after this heat wave we’ve been having) then this Watermelon Caprese Salad with Prosciutto is going to be your saving grace right now.


Let me tell you, we are soooo lucky that our landlord was kind enough to install A/C for us about a year ago because, judging by all my CA friends’ social media posts, every store that sells fans is completely sold out and people are sweltering in the near 100-degree heat. This does not sound like one ounce of fun to me (especially being pregnant,) so this is my open invitation to all of my overheating friends to come over and enjoy some Watermelon Caprese Salad with Prosciutto in our comfortably 75-degree little duplex!

But seriously, even if you’re not close enough to come over, you’ve GOT to get some of this salad in your life stat. Don’t get me wrong, I love a delicious classic caprese salad with that creamy mozzarella and alllll the fresh tomatoes and basil, but sometimes I just want to mix it up and swapping in the watermelon for the tomatoes is just the perfect little change (but not too much of a change) to really wow people the first time you serve it up.

A close-up shot of delicious Watermelon Caprese Salad with Prosciutto. The perfect no-cook salad for summer!

And the prosciutto…Oh, the prosciutto! Okay, it’s no secret that I love the stuff, and it has that perfect saltiness (and extra protein) to really give this dish the ultimate flavor trifecta AND pass as a complete meal. I gave the prosciutto a quick spin in a saute pan to heat it up and therefore make it “pregnancy-safe,” but if you’re not expecting you can just throw it in as-is, straight from the package. Or, if you’re a vegetarian, simply omit the prosciutto and you’ll still be more than pleased with the taste. Pinky promise.

So how long will it be until you can get this Watermelon Caprese Salad with Prosciutto whipped up and ready to serve on your kitchen table? Approximately 10 minutes. No joke. There’s no cooking involved, so the most time-consuming thing about this recipe might just be chopping up the watermelon into bite-size chunks.

A single serving of Watermelon Caprese Salad with Crispy Prosciutto from CaliGirlCooking.com.

And, if you haven’t refrigerated your uncut watermelon ahead of time, you may want to give the salad a little bit of time to chill out before serving. It’s totally worth it for how much more refreshing it will make it!

I don’t know about you, but all this talking about my new favorite “salad” is making me want to whip up another batch this weekend. We’re hanging out in town again, and planning on fully enjoying the summer weather with some beach time and maybe a barbecue or two.

What are your plans for the first “official” weekend of summer?!? Making some Watermelon Caprese Salad with Prosciutto, I hope?

A bowl of this refreshing Watermelon Caprese Salad with Prosciutto is the perfect light meal for summer!

A big bowl of refreshing Watermelon Caprese Salad with Prosciutto. The perfect summer salad!
Print
Watermelon Caprese Salad with Prosciutto
Prep Time
10 mins
Total Time
10 mins
 

This fun take on the classic caprese salad is full of refreshing watermelon and bites of salty prosciutto. The perfect dish for warm weather entertaining!

Course: Appetizer, Main Course, Salad, Snack
Servings: 6 servings
Author: CaliGirl Cooking
Ingredients
  • 1 mini seedless watermelon, cubed
  • 12 ounces ciliegine (mini mozzarella balls)
  • 3/4 cup chopped fresh basil
  • 5 ounces prosciutto, chopped
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Drizzle of balsamic glaze
Instructions
  1. Add all ingredients except the balsamic glaze to a large bowl and toss to combine. 

  2. If watermelon was not pre-chilled before cutting, place salad in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes. 

  3. Before serving, drizzle on balsamic glaze and garnish with whole basil leaves, if desired.

Watermelon Caprese Salad with Prosciutto | CaliGirlCooking.com

Bacon-Wrapped Portobello Mushrooms with Goat Cheese

The ultimate Dad food.

A large serving platter of Bacon-Wrapped Portobello Mushrooms with Goat Cheese over a bed of mixed greens.

But really, if you’re trying to sneak in any sort of salad/light-ish side dish for your Father’s Day cookout this weekend, these Bacon-Wrapped Portobello Mushrooms with Goat Cheese are the answer. I mean, whose Dad doesn’t like bacon?


And bacon isn’t all you get here. Prepare yourself for an explosion of garlic-laced balsamic flavor, meaty mushrooms and a sprinkling of tangy goat cheese. Serve it all over a bed of greens (I’m partial to something involving arugula) and the dish passes as a salad that the dudes will even be helping themselves to seconds of.

An overhead shot of a single serving of delicious Bacon-Wrapped Portobello Mushrooms with Goat Cheese, served over a bed of greens.

To start, I used the same marinade that I use for my Balsamic-Marinated Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms. I love marinating veggies because they only need 30 minutes MAX before they’re ready to go. No waiting hours (or worse, overnight!) for them to be ready for the grill.

While the mushrooms are marinating, you’ll partially cook the bacon in the oven. Because mushrooms don’t take too long to grill up, we need to give the bacon a little head start. The partially cooked bacon gets wrapped around our sufficiently marinated Portobello’s, then we fire up the grill!

Once we have the mushrooms on the grill, this dish will be ready in a flash. The ‘shrooms will only need about 5-6 minutes on each side to cook (hence, why we precooked the bacon,) then we let them cool slightly, lay them over the bed of greens and sprinkle with that crumbly goat cheese. That’s it! And because there’s so much flavor packed into the Portobello’s, you really don’t even need a separate dressing.

A tray of delicious Portobello mushrooms.

I don’t know about you, but the thought of having some of these Bacon-Wrapped Portobello Mushrooms with Goat Cheese with all of the other delicious food we’ll be eating this weekend has me REAL excited for our trip up to our parents’.

In fact, I’m taking a tip from my gal Lee over at Fit Foodie Finds and hustling to get all my work done by end-of-day Thursday so I can take Friday off and spend it getting ready for our little road trip north later that afternoon. Anyone else here whose self-employed agree that every summer work week should only be four days?? Let’s start a movement! I’m hoping it helps me be more productive during the week if I have more strict guidelines of when I need to get things done by. The extra hours of sunlight don’t hurt either so I can get more photography done during the day!

Okay, but seriously, even if you’re not doing anything special this weekend, or if you want a quick, healthy meal to get you through the rest of this week, I highly recommend you get about making these Bacon-Wrapped Portobello Mushrooms with Goat Cheese.

A large plate of Bacon-Wrapped Portobello Mushrooms with Goat Cheese, ready to be enjoyed on Father's Day!

Here’s to getting through the rest of the work week with delicious food on the horizon!!

A large serving platter of Bacon-Wrapped Portobello Mushrooms with Goat Cheese over a bed of mixed greens.
Print
Bacon-Wrapped Portobello Mushrooms with Goat Cheese
Prep Time
40 mins
Cook Time
15 mins
Total Time
55 mins
 

Marinated Portobello mushrooms wrapped in bacon and topped with crumbly goat cheese. A hearty, delicious salad that even the guys in your life will love!

Course: Salad, Side Dish
Servings: 6 people
Author: CaliGirl Cooking
Ingredients
  • 6 Portobello mushrooms, cleaned and stems removed, cut into spears
  • 6 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
  • 3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 12 pieces bacon
  • Goat cheese
  • Mixed greens, to serve (optional)
Instructions
  1. Place the mushrooms in a resealable plastic bag with garlic, olive oil, vinegar, salt and pepper. Make sure the mushrooms are evenly coated with the marinade and place in the refrigerator for 30 minutes. 

  2. While the mushrooms are marinating, partially cook the bacon. Lay the bacon out on a large jelly roll pan line with aluminum foil. Place the pan in the oven and turn the oven on to 450 degrees Fahrenheit (so you will not be preheating the oven, it will preheat while the bacon is already inside.) Set the timer for 15 minutes.

  3. Remove the bacon from the oven and let cool slightly, then cut each piece in half lengthwise. Remove the mushrooms from the refrigerator and wrap each one with a piece of the partially cooked bacon. 

  4. Heat your gas grill to medium, then put on the bacon-wrapped mushrooms spears. Cook for about 5-6 minutes per side, or until the bacon is sufficiently cooked. Be careful when working the grill as the grease from the bacon may cause flare-ups. 

  5. Place cooked mushrooms spears over a bed of mixed greens and sprinkle with goat cheese, to serve. 

Bacon-Wrapped Portobello Mushrooms with Goat Cheese | CaliGirlCooking.com

Cherry Salsa

My cherry obsession is still going strong…

A bowl of delicious Cherry Salsa just waiting to be eaten with your favorite tortilla chips!

I honestly can’t get enough! Do you ever obsess about a certain produce item coming into season so much that your list of what to do with it is about a mile long? Hi, yea, looking at me right here. This Cherry Salsa is just another in the long list of recipe ideas I’ve been dreaming about since cherries went out of season last year, and I’m so excited about the way it turned out!


I know I’ve been inundating you with the cherry recipes lately, so I can only hope that you’re enjoying these Cherry Bourbon Breezes and this Herbed Cherry and Ricotta Crostini as much as I am. If so, I’m confident that you’ll be totally digging on this Cherry Salsa as well.

It’s an easy recipe, with no cooking involved, that can easily be served up on its own as an appetizer or snack, or as a topping for your favorite barbecued meat (I have some juicy grilled pork chops in mind.) Might I also mention it would be the perfect addition to your Father’s Day menu this weekend?

This Cherry Salsa is the perfect appetizer or snack for any barbecue or family get-together you're having this weekend!

Speaking of, what are your plans for celebrating Dad on Sunday? We’re so lucky that both of our dads live relatively close to each other, so we’re heading up to the Bay Area to spend some quality time with them, and of course to make them some delicious food!

I think some Cherry Salsa might definitely need to make an appearance alongside the tri tip, chicken and sausages we’re already planning on serving. Still need to think of some more sides and dessert though. Any fun suggestions?

As I mentioned above, this Cherry Salsa is a breeze to make, and you can have it ready to serve in under 20 minutes. It involves basically all of the same ingredients as a regular pico de gallo salsa, but subs in fresh, pitted cherries instead of  tomatoes. That’s it! So easy, right?

Fresh cherries, rinsed and ready to be made into delicious Cherry Salsa!

And if you’re looking for another, more traditional salsa to serve alongside (or instead) of this one, be sure to check out my Spicy Homemade Salsa. You could even go with a fancy selection and add this Mango Salsa to the mix! Clearly I’m a salsa-lover and I’m not ashamed to show it.

Even if you have no plans for Father’s Day, this Cherry Salsa needs to make an appearance in your household in the next week. Cherries are at the top of their game right now and you wouldn’t want to miss out on another great opportunity to use them.

An overhead shot of a big bowl of delicious Cherry Salsa.

Happy Monday and I hope your week is made even better with this delicious recipe!

A bowl of delicious Cherry Salsa just waiting to be eaten with your favorite tortilla chips!
Print
Cherry Salsa

A fun take on everyone's favorite Mexican condiment, this salsa uses the season's best fresh cherries in lieu of tomatoes - a delicious twist!

Course: Appetizer, Side Dish, Snack
Servings: 6 people
Author: CaliGirl Cooking
Ingredients
  • 16 ounces fresh red cherries, pitted and diced
  • 1 jalapeno, seeded and diced
  • 1/2 white onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • Juice of 1/2 a lime
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
Instructions
  1. Add all ingredients to a medium bowl and stir to combine. Refrigerate for a half hour or so for best results. Serve with tortilla chips!

Cherry Salsa | CaliGirlCooking.com

Spring Fava Bean and Burrata Grain Salad

The delicious Memorial Day-friendly eats continue! And today I’m even talking about some outdoor entertaining tips to boot 😉

Overhead view of a beautiful summer tablescape featuring a Spring Fava Bean and Burrata Grain Salad.
This post is sponsored by Q Squared.

This Spring Fava Bean and Burrata Grain Salad is most definitely one for the books. It’s full of healthy veggies and quinoa, and topped with my favorite luscious, creamy cheese. Even better, it’s both omnivore- and vegetarian-friendly. Plenty of substance for your meat-loving friends yet perfectly suitable for those plant-eaters among you! (A must for large-group entertaining, as you’ll see below.)

One of the things I love most about Instagram is stumbling across different brands and companies that I may have never encountered otherwise. It’s so fun to see what other influencers are loving, which posts are going viral, and what other Insta-friends are liking and commenting on.


Q Squared is one of those brands whose products I absolutely fell in love with as soon as I saw them cross my feed. They make some of the most beautiful tableware that you’d never guess is made out of melamine and completely shatter-proof. So naturally, when they offered to send me a set of my choosing, I jumped at the opportunity. After all, Memorial Day weekend is upon us which means outdoor-friendly, shatter-proof dinnerware is where it’s at!

A single serving of Spring Fava Bean and Burrata Grain Salad in beautiful QSquared melamine dinner ware.

You can see from the photos just how beautiful these products are (and this is just one of the designs to choose from!) but what you can’t see is just how amazingly durable they are. They truly feel like legitimate dinnerware and you do not have to worry one bit about it looking cheesy or cheap. High class all the way!

As soon as I decided on the Lima design as my set of choice, I started brainstorming what eventually turned into this Spring Fava Bean and Burrata Grain Salad. I knew I wanted to take advantage of all of the bright blues and greens in the dinnerware and all of the in-season spring produce, so I took a little trip to the Farmer’s Market for inspiration. What I came across were the cutest little spring onions and piles upon piles of fresh fava beans. Not to mention fresh basil! I decided that these spring superstars, with the addition of quinoa, toasted walnuts, fresh lemon juice and creamy burrata, would make the perfect grain salad to serve over Memorial Day weekend.

The salad comes together quickly, especially if you cook the quinoa and prep the fava beans in advance. Even better, it’s great served warm, cold or at room temperature. Just add the burrata right before serving to ensure its freshness (and ooziness.)

A close-up view of the creamy burrata oozing over the top of this Spring Fava Bean and Burrata Grain Salad.

Which brings me to the other topic of this post: My Top Four Outdoor Entertaining Tips!

Let me break it down for you real quick here:

1. Opt for sturdy tableware.

You should have two goals for whatever dinner/serving ware you use for your outdoor soiree: it should stand up well to wind (you don’t want to be chasing down paper plates and napkins as soon as a little breeze picks up!) and it should be shatter-proof (especially important if you’re entertaining anywhere near a pool.) Good thing Q Squared has everything you need! (And with a special discount for my readers at that, see below!)

2. Plan your menu around what’s in season in your area.

For me, outdoor entertaining is THE time to showcase the season’s best produce. We’re dining in nature, after all, so why not enjoy what nature has to offer?

3. Serve food that is okay being left out for a bit.

Outdoor cookouts are typically meant to be casual get-togethers, not multi-course plated dinners hot out of the oven. You’ll want dishes that can sit out for a bit for people to help themselves at their convenience.

Be sure to offer something that people of all dietary preferences can enjoy.

This is one of the reasons I love grain salads. Although it’s not vegan due to the cheese, this Spring Fava Bean and Burrata Grain Salad can easily be made so by just omitting that part. Be sure to offer something vegetarian, vegan and omnivore-friendly so no one leaves hungry.

This Spring Fava Bean and Burrata Grain Salad is the perfect dish to serve alongside your favorite cookout food.

Not too difficult, right? Like I mentioned, one of the greatest things about outdoor entertaining is that it’s meant to be CASUAL. Low-key, easy-going vibes are where it’s at. And with the right food and serving ware, can you really go wrong?

Now comes the best part. I’ve teamed up with Q Squared to offer you, my dear readers, a 20% discount on all of their products. So time to stock up! Just be sure to use the discount code CALIGIRL20 at checkout to get this sweet deal. Recipe is below and link to buy all the pretty things is here. What are you waiting for??

A close-up view of the creamy burrata oozing over the top of this Spring Fava Bean and Burrata Grain Salad.
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Spring Fava Bean and Burrata Grain Salad

This grain salad is the perfect outdoor entertaining dish. It's loaded with filling quinoa and fresh vegetables and topped with creamy burrata cheese!

Course: Side Dish
Servings: 6 servings
Author: CaliGirl Cooking
Ingredients
  • 1 pound fava beans (about 1/2 cup shelled beans)
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper, plus more to taste
  • 3 1/2 cups cooked quinoa
  • 1 green onion, diced (both the bulb and the green stems)
  • 1/2 cup walnut pieces, toasted
  • 1/3 cup chiffonaded basil, plus more for garnish
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2-3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (to taste)
  • 8 ounces burrata
Instructions
  1. First, prepare the fava beans. You’ll need to pull the beans out of their shells, and then cook the beans in a small pot of boiling water for 30 seconds, transferring them to an ice bath afterwards to cool. At this point, you should be able to peel off the beans’ waxy coating.

  2. In a small saute pan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the shelled fava beans and season with ½ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper. Saute for 5-7 minutes, then remove from heat.

  3. In a large bowl, combine the quinoa, fava beans, spring onion, walnuts and 1/3 cup basil. Dress with olive oil and lemon juice and toss to combine. Season with more salt and pepper as needed. If not serving right away, refrigerate for the time being.

  4. Right before serving, top with burrata. Cut into it (breaking it into smaller pieces) so each person gets a piece as you’re serving.

Spring Fava Bean and Burrata Grain Salad | CaliGirlCooking.com

Cheesy BBQ Garlic Bread

One week from Memorial Day means this cheesy goodness ↓

A close-up shot of easy, five-ingredient Cheesy BBQ Garlic Bread.

And this cheesy goodness goes by no other name than (somewhat obvious): Cheesy BBQ Garlic Bread! I’ve been wanting to make this perfect cookout accompaniment for quite some time now, and I figured what better time to do so than for the holiday weekend that basically kicks off summer!


And I’m not stopping there. That’s right, this week I’ll be bringing you all kinds of fun BBQ-friendly dishes to get you loaded up with recipes before the hubs and I skip town and head up to Tahoe for a much needed getaway with a few of our close friends. My hubby’s birthday happens to be on Memorial Day this year so we thought, what better way to celebrate than at one of our favorite places with some of our favorite people? We’re keeping it fairly low-key, though, with a spa day penciled in and surely lots of time just relaxing around the house and catching up! I hear there may still even be snow there, which would be pretty cool.

Sorry, just a little digression, because what I’m really here to talk about is this Cheesy BBQ Garlic Bread. I’m very happy to report that it turned out just every bit as good as I had imagined. And it’s so easy! We’re talking about FIVE ingredients and FIVE minutes on a high heat grill (or under the broiler.) That’s it!

Looking down on a delicious loaf of ooey-gooey Cheesy BBQ Garlic Bread.

Of course, if you wanted to be really adventurous, you could whip up your own BBQ from scratch, but if your household is anything like ours, you probably have at least a bottle or two of your favorite premade stuff hanging around your pantry or refrigerator.

I was lucky to have some of the Sweet ‘n Spicy BBQ Sauce from Montana Mex on hand (thanks, Eduardo!) and decided to give it a spin for this recipe. If you haven’t heard of Montana Mex or Chef Eduardo Garcia, it’s about time you did. (Sorry, just another little digression and, no, this is not sponsored! I truly was just incredibly impressed by Eduardo’s story so I wanted to share it here.)

Every year, Chris and I are lucky enough to attend some of the Santa Barbara International Film Festival’s events through his company’s sponsorship connections. When we heard we’d be getting tickets to the opening film this year and what the film was about, I have to admit I was a LOT more excited than I had been for the films being screened in previous years.

Charged is a film about Chef Eduardo Garcia’s survival and inspiring recovery from being charged with 2400 volts of electricity while out hiking in the woods one afternoon. Although not for the faint of heart, the film is full of Eduardo’s unwavering positivity in the face of adversity and perseverance through some very challenging obstacles.

We were lucky enough to get to chat with him after the film, and I was honored when he offered to send me a box of his company’s products. Chef Eduardo founded Montana Mex after he became frustrated with so many of the Mexican food products available here in the United States that were laden with chemicals and preservatives. So he and his business partner set out to make a line of Mexican-inspired condiments without all of the gunky stuff. Which you know is right up my alley!

A close-up shot of gooey and delicious Cheesy BBQ Garlic Bread.

Charged won’t be released to the general public until September (at which time you most definitely need to go see it), but if you come across any film festivals that might be airing it before then, GO! If you like inspiring stories, survival and food, you will not be disappointed.

Eek, ok! Let’s get to this Cheesy BBQ Garlic Bread. Good thing it’s so easy to make because I have been rambling for far too long already and I’m sure we all have more important things to be doing on a Monday morning.

So here’s what we do: We start with a huge loaf of fresh, crusty bread. A pain rustique or ciabatta (something with lots of little air pockets in the dough) would be ideal here. We want lots of nooks and crannies for all of the butter, garlic and BBQ sauce to ooze into.

The beginning stages of making Cheesy BBQ Garlic Bread - slather on butter, BBQ sauce and fresh garlic!

We slice the bread long-ways for maximum surface area, then start slathering on the good stuff – first butter, the BBQ sauce and garlic, then cheese. Because this BBQ garlic bread is CHEESY.

The second step to make Cheesy BBQ Garlic Bread - slather it with cheese!

Throw the loaf halves onto the grill (if you have space to spare) or pop them under the broiler and you’ll have delicious Cheesy BBQ Garlic Bread in as little as five minutes. If that’s not the perfect cookout side dish, I don’t know what is!

Another close-up of this ooey-gooey delicious Cheesy BBQ Garlic Bread!

A close-up shot of easy, five-ingredient Cheesy BBQ Garlic Bread.
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Cheesy BBQ Garlic Bread
Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
5 mins
Total Time
15 mins
 

Not your average garlic bread! This version is loaded with zesty BBQ sauce and smothered in melted cheese, the perfect BBQ side dish!

Course: Side Dish
Author: CaliGirl Cooking
Ingredients
  • 1 loaf fairly flat, crusty bread (such as ciabatta or pain rustique,) sliced in half lengthwise
  • 4-6 tablespoons melted butter (depending on how large your loaf of bread is, mine was pretty big)
  • 1/2 cup of your favorite BBQ sauce
  • 8 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
  • 2 cups shredded Asiago cheese (or Parmesan, or your favorite cheesy bread cheese!)
Instructions
  1. Place halves of bread cut side up on a large baking sheet lined with aluminum foil. If using the grill, turn it on high and let it begin warming up. If using the broiler, turn it on high to preheat.

  2. Spread melted butter evenly onto loaf halves, then do the same with the BBQ sauce.

  3. Sprinkle on the minced garlic and then cover the loaf halves evenly with the shredded cheese. 

  4. If using the grill, place the bread (topping side up) directly onto the grates. If using the broiler, keep the bread on the baking sheet and place in the oven. Cook for approximately 5 minutes, or until cheese is melted and bubbling and edges of bread are browned. Let cool slightly before slicing and serving.

Cheesy BBQ Garlic Bread | CaliGirlCooking.com