If you like rice cakes, stop reading now. This post is not for you.

Comfort foodies rejoice!

I’m 54 pounds closer to seeing my long absentee abs, and not once has it involved newfangled “health dishes” masquerading as food suitable for human consumption.

To pass muster with my palate, recipes should be as savory as they are filling. Bonus points for cheese in any form.

With that in mind, and for all those who have reached out asking for good eats, here’s the “skinny”.

Jalapeño Cheddar Pimiento Cheese

Whoever first declared that necessity is the mother of invention must have moved far away from her once favorite lunch spot.

No wait – that’s just me. Oh how I miss the southern kitchen brilliance of Kay Bruno and Cafe Iz!

Multiple batches later, here ’tis. And if not exactly up to Rocky Ridge Social Club standards, I’d wager it’s awfully close.

“Almost Iz” Jalapeño Cheddar Pimiento Cheese
1 block extra sharp cheddar (white cheddar if you can find it)
1 block sharp cheddar
1 small jar pimientos, undrained
1 whole fresh jalapeño, minced (never, ever the ballpark nacho grade stuff).
1/2 cup mayo
Freshly ground salt and black pepper to taste.
Grating your own cheese makes all the difference. Pre-shredded impacts taste, and not for the better. Mix all ingredients, spread on fresh celery sticks and enjoy!
MFP entry: “Pimento Cheese Spread”, Homemade, 0.5 cup, 207 cals.

And yes, that’s pimento with only one “i.” Curious about whether it’s pimiento or pimento, I found (and agree with) Southern Living’s take on the matter.

Crustless Spinach Quiche with Blackened Onions.

Lord y’all. Add a side of in season berries and this is like Bed & Breakfast deliciousness.

The blackened onions make the dish. For a primer on how to prep the edible bulb, this 2009 Diner’s Journal blog post still holds up.

Crustless Spinach Quiche
1 box frozen spinach, thawed and drained
6 eggs, lightly beaten
Fontina cheese, freshly shredded
Blackened onions
Coat pie pan with cooking spray, mix all ingredients thoroughly, and bake for 30 mins at 350. MFP entry: Crustless Spinach Quiche, Allrecipes, 1/8 slice, 232 cals.

Baked Salmon with Parmesan Herb Crust

OMG. This is the fish for people who think they don’t like fish. Choose wild caught from your nearest grocer, use this ridiculously simple Kitchn hack to peel the garlic (thanks Dad!), and snip a fistful of parsley from the backyard. Bonus? Foil makes clean up a snap.

Baked Salmon with Parmesan Herb Crust (courtesy Add a Pinch)
Salmon (3 ounces per person being served)
3 cloves garlic, finely minced
¼ cup chopped parsley
½ cup shredded Parmesan cheese
Preheat oven to 425º F. Line rimmed baking sheet with foil. Place salmon, skin side down, onto lined baking sheet. Cover salmon with another piece of foil. Bake salmon for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and remove top piece of foil. Top with garlic, Parmesan and parsley mixture. Return to oven uncovered and allow to bake until registers 135º F when checked with an internal thermometer. The Parmesan cheese should have melted and lightly browned. MFP entry: Salmon Fillets, Homemade Herb Crusted, 3 oz, 195 cals.

No picture. I ate it too fast. Yes, it is that good.

Alton Brown’s Gazpacho

The search is over.

Forget other takes on this classic chilled soup. Top with fresh basil and grab a spoon.

We can grieve the end of tomato season together.

Alton Brown’s Gazpacho
1 1/2 pounds vine-ripened tomatoes, peeled, seeded and chopped
Tomato juice
1 cup cucumber, peeled, seeded and chopped
1/2 cup chopped red bell pepper
1/2 cup chopped red onion
1 small jalapeno, seeded and minced
1 medium garlic clove, minced
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 lime, juiced
2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon toasted, ground cumin
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons fresh basil leaves, chiffonade
Fill a 6-quart pot halfway full of water, set over high heat and bring to a boil. Make an X with a paring knife on the bottom of the tomatoes. Drop the tomatoes into the boiling water for 15 seconds, remove and transfer to an ice bath and allow to cool until able to handle, approximately 1 minute. Remove and pat dry. Peel, core and seed the tomatoes. When seeding the tomatoes, place the seeds and pulp into a fine mesh strainer set over a bowl in order to catch the juice. Press as much of the juice through as possible and then add enough bottled tomato juice to bring the total to 1 cup. Place the tomatoes and juice into a large mixing bowl. Add the cucumber, bell pepper, red onion, jalapeno, garlic clove, olive oil, lime juice, balsamic vinegar, Worcestershire, cumin, salt and pepper and stir to combine. Transfer 1 1/2 cups of the mixture to a blender and puree for 15 to 20 seconds on high speed. Return the pureed mixture to the bowl and stir to combine. Cover and chill for 2 hours and up to overnight. Serve with chiffonade of basil. MFP entry: Gazpacho, Alton Brown’s recipe, 1 Bowl, 184 cals.

Ree Drummond’s Mediterranean Orzo Salad

Summer in a bowl, y’all. Light enough for lunch and with a little rosemary thyme chicken tossed in, hearty enough for supper.

Plus, it’s the Pioneer Woman. Haven’t found a recipe of hers yet that didn’t make my tastebuds sing.

The Pioneer Woman’s Mediterranean Orzo Salad
1/4 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 whole Lemon, Juiced
1 clove Garlic, Minced
Salt And Pepper, to taste
12 ounces, weight Orzo Pasta, Cooked, Drained, And Cooled
1 cup Red Grape Or Cherry Tomatoes
1 cup Yellow Grape Or Cherry Tomatoes
1 cup Kalamata Olives, Halved
1 cup Crumbled Feta Cheese
1 cup Chickpeas, Drained
1/2 whole Red Onion, Diced
3 Tablespoons Minced Fresh Parsley
In a jar or bowl, mix together the olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, salt, and pepper until totally combined. Place the orzo and all the other ingredients in a large mixing bowl and pour the dressing over the top. Stir to combine, taste and adjust seasonings, and refrigerate at least an hour before serving. Top with more feta and parsley and serve as a main dish salad or with grilled chicken, fish, or burgers! MFP entry: Salad, Greek Orzo Prepared, 1 cup, 330 cals.

Rosemary Thyme Chicken

Holy health. Why did I under utilize the spice rack all these years? Two of my favorites, rosemary and thyme, take center stage in this staple I prepare every Sunday for the week ahead. It’s awesome post workout, whipped into a simple chicken salad lunch, and makes dinner casserole prep a cinch. I once dreaded cooking raw chicken. If that’s you, you’ll love this method.

MFP entry: Boneless, Skinless, Sauteed Chicken Breast, 3 oz, 138 cals.

Egg Salad

My formerly weak protein game is no more!  On the days when I’m not noshing on quiche for breakfast, egg salad is for lunch. It travels well too.

Rebecca’s Egg Salad
3 hard boiled eggs, cooled and crumbled (again, The Kitchn. Oh how I heart this site!)
1/2 onion, chopped finely
2 celery stalks, split and chopped
1/4 cup Dijon mustard
1/4 cup mayo
Paprika, salt and pepper to taste.
Mix well and serve immediately.
MFP entry: Rebecca’s Egg Salad, 1 cup, 257 cals.

To the tasty journey!