Asian Mango Salad

Oh heyyy!

How’s it goin? Did you have fun celebrating the mother’s in your life? I hope so! My husband was calling it my “0th Mother’s Day” because he thought we should celebrate a little, but that the real celebration should be next year when the little man is here! I had a great day enjoying the sun and soaking up a little mom-to-be love.

Speaking of love, I am in LOVE with this salad. Once spring really starts hanging around salads are one of the things that sound best to me. I could pretty much eat one for dinner every night – as long as it was as flavorful as this one that is! Michael on the other hand, does not believe in salad as a main course for dinner in most cases, but with a little clever maneuvering (aka the addition of flank steak!), he was totally happy and satisfied with this one.

Cilantro is one of my favorite flavors, which could be a reason I loved this salad so much. The cilantro is basically like an additional green, not just a garnish, so there is a ton of fresh cilantro flavor. I have to give my husband credit for another great addition to this salad – as I was mixing things up he said, “You know what would be great in there? Some peanuts.” And wow was he right! The texture and flavor added by the simple addition of a handful or two of peanuts is awesome. You could use any nut you have on hand, but I like peanuts because they go with the Asian flavors already in the salad.

There is al kinds of flavor packed into the dressing as well. It’s not too spicy, not too peanut butter-y, not to gingery, but just right. It would also work great as a marinade for chicken, shrimp, or even fish! Make a big batch and let it work double duty for ya! 

No matter if it’s already summer where you are, or you’re just thinking spring, add this salad to your menu asap. It will quickly become one of your favorites! 

Enjoy! 

Recipe:

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon grated peeled fresh ginger
  • 1 teaspoon lower-sodium soy sauce
  • 3 tablespoons lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1 tablespoon peanut butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 3 cups shredded romaine lettuce
  • 2 cups shredded green cabbage
  • 1 bunch cilantro leaves, chopped
  • 1/4 cup thinly sliced green onions
  • 1 mango, peeled and diced
  • 1/2 cup (or more) low sodium peanuts

Instructions

  1. Combine lime juice, water, peanut butter, ginger, soy sauce, and pepper in a large bowl; stir with a whisk. Add lettuce, cilantro, cabbage, and green onions; toss to coat. Add mango and peanuts.
  2. Serve alone or with grilled flank steak (or meat of your choice!)

Grilled Lentil Salad

Hi friends!

 Sometimes the most delicious recipes come out of thin air. Case in point: grilled lentil salad. Last week my hubby and I were at a loss for what to have for dinner. I didn’t want to go to the grocery store because I had a full fridge. The problem was, I went to the grocery store without any kind of plan as to what my meals for the week would be. I don’t usually do this, but when I do, it almost always ends up with me stringing together the hodge podge of produce, protein, and grain I did pick up in any way that remotely makes sense. Luckily, this time not only did it make sense, it was utterly delicious!
We have a charcoal grill, which is great because of the flavor we get when we grill anything, but not so great for the time it takes to get ready. So, when we grill, I want to grill everything. I figure, if we’re going to the trouble to turn it on, why not use it! After putting our heads together, we decided to make this grilled lentil salad. I cannot lie, the original idea was really Michael’s, but then I thought of this grilled panzanella salad I made last year and thought, why couldn’t I do something similar with lentils? Turns out, you can! And it’s delicious!
You could really use whatever veggies you have on hand, but red peppers, onions, and zucchini offered a nice mix of flavors and textures. You can also choose how charred you want them, I like my veggies really charred, especially with a charcoal flavor, but if you don’t, just take a couple minutes off of grilling time.
Lentils are great. Yummy and versatile. Plus they are nutritional powerhouses. We try to incorporate lots of lentils into out diets, but you have to be creative. No one likes a big bowl of plain ol lentils. Green lentils work best for this recipe because they stand up well in a salad. You could also use black lentils, but red lentils won’t hold together enough to be tossed in this salad.
The dressing for this salad is tangy, a little spicy, and works great with the lentils and veggies. Once you taste it you’ll probably also want to put it on green salad, dip grilled chicken into it, or use it for one of a million other things for which it would also be really delicious!
Make sure to pour it on the salad while everything is still hot so that it can soak in and coat everything. Speaking of hot, a great thing about this salad is that it can be served hot, room temperature, or cold. It would also be great to take to a picnic or potluck since it doesn’t need to be refrigerated and will hold up well even after a few hours.
In every bite of this salad you get the grill flavor of the veggies, the meaty texture of the lentils, and the tangy dressing. It’s perfect for a side dish or as a very balanced lunch on it’s own, complete with protein (thanks lentils!). Better yet, make it as a side dish one night and you’ve got lunch ready for tomorrow! Score!!
Enjoy!

Recipe: Grilled Lentil Salad

Ingredients

  • 1 cup dried green lentils
  • 2 red bell peppers, whole
  • 1 large yellow onion
  • 2 large zucchinis
  • 1/4 cup chopped chives
  • 2 tablespoons dijon mustard
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • juice of 1 lemon (about 2 teaspoons)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper

Instructions

  1. Cook the lentils according to package instructions until al dente. Set aside
  2. Slice onion into three equal rounds (about 1/2″ thick). Slice zucchini in half lengthwise. Drizzle onion, red pepper, and zucchini with 2 tablespoons vegetable oil. Toss to coat. Grill over medium high heat on a charcoal or gas grill (you can also use a grill pan on the stove). Grill red peppers until they are charred and black all around (you will remove skins later). Grill onions 4-5 minutes per side, until dark grill marks appear and onions soften. Grill zucchini 3-4 minutes per side, until dark grill marks appear and flesh softens. Remove from the grill and let cool slightly before slicing. For a tutorial about how to remove skins from a red bell pepper, look here.
  3. Chop veggies and add them to a large bowl with the lentils.
  4. Mix together mustard, oil, salt, pepper, and lemon juice for the dressing. Beat with a whisk for a minute or two until completely emulsified. Drizzle over the still warm salad. Toss to coat.
  5. Top with chopped chives. Serve warm, room temperature, or chilled.

Thai Turkey Salad

Happy Friday!!

 Hope you are looking forward to a wonderful, relaxing weekend. I’ll be doing some work around the house, hanging out with some friends, and watching the Master’s. I love seeing all that bright green grass – makes me want to go kick some butt on the putt putt course! :)
This salad is #1 delicious #2 so quick and easy and #3 super healthy. Does it get much better than that for a recipe? I think not. In fact, after dinner, my husband said to me, “You are putting this on the blog, right? People definitely need to know about this.” So, per Michael’s recommendation, here it is!
The Thai flavors in this salad not only come from the garnish (mint, lime, peanuts) but they are infused into the meat so every bite is more flavorful than the last! So head to your pantry and fridge and grab your Thai flavor essentials.
Fish sauce. Don’t be grossed out. Fish sauce is to Thai food what soy sauce is to sushi…or something like that. I mean, I don’t know that anyone actually dips anything into fish sauce (that would be a bit much) but the point is, most Thai dishes have fish sauce in there somewhere. So even if you don’t like fish, don’t worry! Fish sauce won’t leave your turkey tasting like you just grabbed it out of the ocean, I promise. Mirin isn’t traditionally Thai, but I like the added sweetness and tang. I also can’t get enough Sambal Oelek. We pretty much put it on everything. Feel free to add more than suggested if you like things hot, or less if you have a tender tongue!
It’s a toss up as to what the most difficult part of this recipe is…Turning on the stove? Mixing up the sauce? Chopping the cucumbers? ;) It’s all so easy! And comes together in just minutes, perfect for a healthy, flavorful meal, even if you get home from work a little late. First, brown the ground turkey and then add the sauce. Cook for about 5 minutes. While that is cooking, get the rest of your salad ready. A big bed of green cabbage, chopped cucumber, and lots and lots of fresh mint. The fresh mint is one of my favorite parts of Thai food, so I pile it on, you can use your on discretion.
If you are like me, once you get the salad assembled, you might think, there is not going to be enough dressing on this thing! Because basically, you have the squeeze of lime and the juices with the turkey (which aren’t a lot), but trust me, it is just perfect. It is a bit of a “dry” salad, but it works. I really works. If you just can’t possibly imagine a salad without some extra liquid, squeeze another half lime over everything to lossen it up a bit, but really these is so much flavor happening here you won’t miss gobs of dressing. Top everything off with some shelled peanuts and you’re off to the races.
Make this for someone special and see what kind of compliments you get…I was pretty happy with mine!
Enjoy!!

Recipe: Thai Turkey Salad

(serves 4)

Ingredients

  • 6 cups shredded green cabbage
  • 1 pound ground turkey
  • 1/2 cucumber, chopped
  • 1/2 – 1 cup fresh mint
  • 1/2 cup shelled peanuts
  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons honey
  • 2 teaspoons Sambal Oelek
  • 1 teaspoon mirin (optional, adds a little extra sweetness)
  • 1 teaspoon coconut oil (or vegetable oil)
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 limes, halved
  • lime wedges for garnish

Instructions

  1. Heat coconut oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add ground turkey and cook until browned (about 7-10 minutes).
  2. Mix together fish sauce, honey, mirin, sambal, and water. When turkey has browned, reduce heat to medium and pour sauce over meat. Cook an additional 5 minutes, until most of the liquid is gone.
  3. Assemble salads: place cabbage in the bottom of a large salad bowl, top with cucumber and mint. Squeeze 1/2 lime over each salad. Top with turkey mixture. Sprinkle peanuts over the top and garnish with additional lime wedges and mint, if desired.

Chicago Dog Salad

She said what???? Yep, Chicago Dog Salad. I thought the same thing when my husband came home and told me he had seen this salad at a meeting. It’s pretty rare that something in the culinary world shocks me, but I had never even thought of something like this. Which is interesting because I feel like I’ve turned just about everything else into a salad at some point or another. But never a Chicago Dog…until now! As soon as Michael told me about it, I knew I would have to give it a go.

My sister lives in Chicago so I am well versed in Chicago Dog culture. And it is a culture there. Do not even try to put ketchup on a hot dog in Chicago – you will regret it. Woah. That’s one mistake I’ll never make again! But don’t worry. No ketchup here. Just all the ingredients of a perfect Chicago Dog!
I know what you are thinking…Sweet Apple Sausage??? Ok, you’re right. They don’t use sweet apple sausage in Chicago. My husband was really skeptical too, but you so many salty and spicy elements in this salad that I thought the apple sausage would be a nice balance. Turns out, I was right! When you get a bite with a salty pickle, spicy peperoncini, and hot onion with the sweet, charred sausage to create salad harmony, you’ll understand.
This salad is very easy to put together. Just chop up all the veggies and brown the sausage in a skillet. Make sure you use a great big bowl so you can do a good job mixing to incorporate everything.
One of the aspects of this salad I am most impressed with (if I do say so myself) is the dressing. I was just thinking, “what aspects have I missed in this salad that are present in a Chicago Dog,” and there it was: mustard and poppy seeds. Mustard because, as we have discussed, it is the only thing acceptable to put on your dog and poppy seeds because of the poppy seed hot dog bun. I toyed with tossing bits of bun in the salad, but I think poppy seeds in the dressing gets the point across just as well – maybe even better!
Since I’m headed to Chicago in two weeks to visit my sisters and the cutest niece in the world, I think I’ll have to have this salad a few more times just to get me in the mood!
Enjoy!

Recipe: Chicago Dog Salad

Ingredients

  • 2 heads romaine lettuce, chopped
  • 1 large hot house tomato, diced
  • 5 pickles, chopped
  • 1/2 white onion, diced
  • 10 pepperoncinis, chopped
  • 4 chicken apple sausages
  • 1/4 cup yellow mustard
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon poppy seeds
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt (plus more to taste, but the pickles add a lot of salty flavor)

Instructions

  1. In a large bowl, combine lettuce, tomato, onion, pickles, and pepperoncinis. Toss well.
  2. Heat a large skillet over medium high heat. Slice sausages in half lengthwise. Cook sausages until blackened on both sides and cooked through, about 5 minutes per side.
  3. Chop sausages and add to salad.
  4. In a small bowl, whisk together mustard, evoo, salt, pepper, and poppy seeds. You’ll probably make more dressing than you can use on one salad, but it keeps well in the fridge for at least a week.
  5. Drizzle over the salad and toss well to combine. Top with another sprinkle of poppy seeds.

Sautéed Brussels Sprouts with Bacon

Happy Friday!

 Hope you are enjoying a bright, sunny day like I am! If not, whip one of these, close your eyes, and I’m pretty sure you’ll be on a tropical beach somewhere!
I love brussels sprouts. I make roasted brussels sprouts all the time. But I haven’t branched out into other cooking methods much. I guess it’s always kind of been an, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it kinda thing. That is, until I was at the grocery store with my hubby and he saw a prepackaged “brussels sprouts sauté” and said, “Hey, this looks good! Wanna try it?” Now, don’t get my wrong, I take help from the grocery store whenever I can. But I usually draw the limit at prepackaged things that I could totally make myself AND are about 3 times more expensive just because someone wrapped plastic wrap around them. “No!” I said. “I’ll make my own version!” So after a quick peek at the ingredients and a few more items in our basket, I was off.
I was a little weary of “shaved” brussels sprouts recipes because when I heard that my mind went immediately to my clumsy fingers holding a tiny sprout on the mandolin. Nothing good could possibly have come from that. Then I realized that all I had to do was slice the brussels sprouts thinly (way less risk of losing a finger) to achieve the shaved texture that is so popular on menus everywhere.
Brussels sprouts and bacon. A match made in heaven. It’s like chocolate chip cookies and milk, or hot dogs, beer, and baseball, or a LBD and red high heels. Some things just belong together.
One of the secret ingredients in this dish is a splash of red wine vinegar added to the brussels sprouts as they sauté. It takes away some of the natural bitterness they can have, and adds a slightly sweet tang that will make you want to go back for seconds! This dish takes shape in minutes so it’s perfect for a weeknight meal side dish (or any old time for that matter!).
Enjoy!

Recipe: Quick Sautéed Brussels Sprouts with Bacon

Ingredients

  • 1.5 pounds brussels sprouts, sliced thin
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 slices thick cut bacon
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon salt & 1/2 teaspoon pepper (plus more to taste – I like my brussels sprouts salty!)

Instructions

  1. Heat a medium skillet over med-high heat. Chop bacon and add to the hot pan. Cook until done and brown on both sides. Remove from pan onto a paper towel to drain. Remove all but one tablespoon of bacon grease from the pan.
  2. Reduce heat to medium. Add sliced brussels sprouts to the bacon grease. Cook one minute. Add garlic, salt, and pepper, and stir. Cook 3 minutes. Add red wine vinegar and bacon. Cook, stirring frequently, until brussels sprouts begin to be translucent, about 5 minutes.
  3. Season to taste with salt and pepper and serve immediately.

Grapefruit and Avocado Quinoa Salad

Hey there.

I’m really wishing for spring. Who’s with me? I’ve been spending countless afternoons staring longingly our at my garden wishing it was warm and sunny enough to be out there in my swimsuit planting, or even better, harvesting, something delicious. Instead I’m inside in my sweats drinking tea and reading. Which, I know isn’t so bad, but I’d prefer reading in a lawn chair :)

On a side note, I know I’m a little tardy to the party, but I’m reading Gone Girl for book club and I am loving it! Don’t tell me how it ends! I have a hypothesis and can’t wait to see if I’m right!
Ok back to the food….
This salad reminds me of spring. The colors, the bright flavors…it’s all very good. This salad really was born out of my love of Costco. When you have 20 pounds of grapefruit and 12 avocados lying around, you just have to figure out something to do with them. The answer is: put them together! It’s perfect! Even if it sounds  a little strange, don’t be afraid. It works. Really well.
The creamy avocado and the tart grapefruit are a match made in heaven. Throw in some green onion for a little bite and spice things up with some cilantro. Then toss in the quinoa and dress it all with a simple, bright lime vinaigrette and you’ll have a spring-y salad prefect for eating year round.
This recipe makes a big batch of salad, which is great because it keeps really well in the fridge. In fact, I’ve been eating it for lunch all week! If, like me, you tend to pick out the grapefruit pieces, you may need to add a few more around day 3 :) A trick to keep the salad looking pretty after a few days is in the dressing. When you are dressing the salad, whisk the evoo and cider vinegar together. Squeeze the lime juice directly onto the avocado and then drizzle with remaining dressing. Putting the lime on the avocado directly will keep it from turning brown and keep your salad looking pretty longer!
Enjoy!

Recipe: Grapefruit and Avocado Quinoa Salad

Ingredients

  • 1 cup uncooked quinoa
  • 2 grapefruits, peeled and chopped
  • 2 ripe (but not overripe) avocados
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
  • 1/2 cup chopped green onions (white and green parts)
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • juice of one lime
  • 2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
  • salt & pepper

Instructions

  1. Cook quinoa according to package instructions. Set aside to cool.
  2. In a large bowl, combine quinoa, grapefruit, avocado, cilantro, and green onion.
  3. Squeeze lime onto avocado. Whisk extra virgin olive oil and apple cider vinegar and drizzle over salad. Toss to coat.
  4. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

 

Greek Bulgur Salad

Why hello.

Do you ever have one of those weeks where you’re never quite sure what day it is? For example, every day this week I have thought it was actually the next day. I was positive it was Wednesday on Tuesday. I did my Thursday gym routine on Wednesday (yes, I have different activities for each day of the week, don’t judge!), and worst of all…I got to work today thinking it was Friday. There aren’t many things worse than thinking, believing, feeling, that it’s Friday and then coming to the harsh realization that it is in fact, not.

But, I suppose I’ll make it through. Mostly with the help of this salad for lunch!

I really like Greek Salad. What I don’t like is how salad leaves get soggy. You see, as much as I’d love to have time to make something for lunch each morning, I jut don’t. Between the gym and the blowdryer, I’m barely running out the door in time. So it really helps to make a big batch of something delicious and nutritious that I can easily grab on my way out the door.

This salad has all the goodness of Greek Salad in every bite, plus the soggy-free and protein and fiber packed benefit of bulgur. Doesn’t get much better than that!

Another plus, this is one of those things that actually gets better after a day in the fridge. Not too shabby for a grab and go lunch! It’s packed with veggies, so you won’t have the dreaded after lunch can’t keep your eyes open feeling.
If you’re one of those people (like my husband!) who just can’t bring themselves to pack a lunch, this is a delicious side dish to some lemon chicken or a seared steak. It would also be great with some shredded chicken added for a wholesome one-bowl meal.
Enjoy!

Recipe: Greek Bulgur Salad

Ingredients

  • 1/2 english cucumber, chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 cup cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
  • 1/2 cup fat free feta cheese
  • 1 cup bulgur, uncooked
  • For the Dressing:
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon rind
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme
  • 1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced

Instructions

  1. Cook bulgur according to package instructions. Set aside to cool.
  2. Combine chopped vegetables in a large bowl. Stir in bulgur.
  3. Whisk together dressing ingredients in a small bowl. Drizzle over salad.
  4. Top with feta and toss well.

Quinoa Salad with Sweet Potatoes, Apples, and Kale

Hi guys!

I really love finding a recipe that is just as good on day 2 or 3 as it is on day one. Since I’ve been eating this salad every day this week, I’d say it fits the bill!! This salad is pack with so much fantastic-for-you foods, I don’t feel the least bit bad (ok maybe a little lazy!) that it has made up the vast majority of my meals for the past 5 days! :)
I don’t know about you, but I find it a little more difficult to eat salads as the weather gets colder. Sure, I’ll have a salad for lunch or with dinner, but for some reason as the temperature drops, so does my ability to had a “main course” salad. In the summer I can eat a salad for dinner practically every night, especially those still super hot evenings when you wouldn’t dream of turning on your stove or oven. This “winter” salad is great for eating all year long (and I will be!), but it’s especially perfect for cool evenings when some lightly dressed greens just won’t do.
This salad is definitely a meal in itself, as I have proved nearly every lunch and dinner this week, but also would be a welcome side dish to any fall meal. And, as I said before, you can feel great about giving yourself a big, heaping portion because of all the wonderful, healthy ingredients.
First, you’ve got sweet potatoes, which you roast up until they are tender. These really add some “meat” to this salad, plus they are a nutritional powerhouse packed with more vitamins than I can count.
Then, you’ve got chopped apples and red onion. You know an apple a day keeps the doctor away, so make it easy on yourself and get your apple outtta the way in your salad!
This salad is extremely easy to throw together, but one very important thing is it slice the onions very very thin. No one wants a giant, spicy chunk of red onion in their perfect salad bite!
Oh and don’t forget the kale and quinoa. Oh and the fact that the tangy dressing is made from a simple combination of extra virgin olive oil and apple cider vinegar. Seriously, I think I might re-name this the “Superfood Salad.” I’m fairly certain (as a result of recent research) that one could survive on this salad, red wine, and nothing else. Just sayin…
The trick in making this salad last you through the week – don’t even think about halving this recipe, you will be so sorry when it’s gone! – is to mix everything BUT the baby kale up and dress only the salad you are going to eat that day. If you have some dressed salad leftover though, keep it! It is still good because everything in the salad is so hearty it can stand up to a night in the fridge. Just toss with some fresh baby kale before you eat it next and it will be just as good as the day you made it.
It’s a wonderful salad to take to work too, because it won’t be all soggy and limp by noon. AND it’ll keep you full all afternoon long. Until you can get home to the red wine, of course. ;)
Enjoy!

Note: this salad would also be very delicious topped with a handful of these!

 

Recipe: Quinoa salad with Sweet Potatoes, Apples, and Kale

Ingredients

  • 2 cups uncooked quinoa
  • 2 medium sweet potatoes, diced into chunks
  • 2 granny smith apples, diced
  • 1/2 red onion, sliced very thin
  • 10 cups loosely packed kale
  • 1 cup loosely packed cilantro leaves
  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • salt & pepper

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place diced sweet potatoes on a lined baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil. Bake 40-50 minutes ,tossing frequently, until fork tender. Remove from oven and let cool.
  2. Cook quinoa according to package instructions. Remove from heat and let cool.
  3. *Quinoa and sweet potatoes can be made a day ahead!
  4. Toss chopped apples in lemon juice and set aside.
  5. Whisk together the cider vinegar and olive oil. Season with 1/2 teaspoon each salt and pepper.
  6. In a very large salad bowl layer kale on the bottom. Top with sweet potatoes, apples (with lemon juice), onion, and quinoa. Drizzle on dressing and toss very well. Season again with salt and pepper to taste.
  7. Top with roughly chopped cilantro, toss again, and serve.

 

Grilled Nectarine Salad with Arugula and Goat Cheese

Hey!

You know you’ve found something great when you’re still thinking about a meal you had several days later. That is what this salad’s been doing to me for the past few days! I am going to just have to make it again so I stop dreaming about it!

One of my favorite things about my weekly trip to the farmer’s market is that you get to see the seasons change through food. Living in California, I am pretty lucky that I get really great variety all year long, but even here, the winds of change are bringing fall around and everything that comes with is! This week was the first week we had apples at the farmer’s market! Since I am from Washington-apple loving is in my blood. I bought a couple ponds of honey crisp apples and ate one as I was walking around the market. It was so crisp, sweet, and tart and I went back to the stand and bought a few more pounds. I just knew the amount I first bought wouldn’t last me through the week!

But enough about apples. Let’s talk nectarines.

My favorite stone fruit stand had several signs up this week letting us all know that the days for peaches, nectarines, pluots, and all the other goodies are numbered. So, I am taking full advantage while I still can. Seriously, I could pretty much start my own farm stand with all the fruit currently on my kitchen counter!

I’ve wanted to create this salad ever since I had grilled nectarines with goat cheese at my friend Elise’s house a few weeks ago. She simply grilled the nectarine halves and then slathered them with goat cheese. It was one of the best appetizers I’ve ever had! And so simple! The grilling brings so much flavor out of the nectarines, it’s like you’ve roasted them for an hour in the oven.

Then, add in the creamy goat cheese and get ready for your mind to be blown. Usually, I like textural differences as much as the next gal, but there is something about the warm, gooey nectarine flesh paired with the super creamy goat cheese. They melt together to form this rich, decadent, sweet, tangy, bite of perfection. throw in some arugula for spice and lemon juice for tartness and tang and you’ve got a salad you’ll be dreaming about too.

Enjoy!

4.0 from 1 reviews

Grilled Nectarine Salad with Arugula and Goat Cheese
Author: 
 
Serves 4
Ingredients
  • 1 7oz bag of arugula
  • 4 nectarines (preferably a tad bit underripe to stand up to grilling)
  • 8 oz goat cheese
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil + more for coating nectarines
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • salt & pepper
Instructions
  1. Slice nectarines in about 1″ wide slices. Place slices in a large bowl and drizzle with olive oil. Toss to coat.
  2. Grill nectarines over medium high heat about 3-4 minutes per side, until grill marks appear. Grill on all sides. Remove and set aside.
  3. Toss arugula with 2 tablespoons evoo and lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper. Divide between plates. Top with goat cheese. Arrange still-warm grilled nectarine slices on top.
  4. Enjoy!

 

Heirloom Tomato Stack with Basil Oil and Fresh Mozzarella

Hi!

Well guys, I’ve changed my mind. Just a few days ago, I was all ready for fall to start. Now, with grey clouds overhead and a sweater on, I want my summer back! Don’t get me wrong, I still love fall. But I also really love summer, and more specifically, summer food, and more more specifically, summer produce.

Like tomatoes.

Correction. Like beautiful, multi-colored, heirloom tomatoes.

Sometimes you just have to let good food be. These perfect summer sweets don’t need much to dress them up. We’re talking simple diamond studs, not a big bauble necklace, glitzy bracelet, blinged out watch, and hot pink heels. They just don’t need it! Ok, maybe I’ll give you the hot pink heels… :)

Good quality ingredients paired with good quality produce. That’s all you need!

I sliced these tomatoes thick and whipped up a batch of Basil Garlic Oil to drizzle over the top. Then, I tossed some super fresh mozzarella (get the kind that is stored in liquid if you can) in extra virgin olive oil, more basil, and red pepper flakes.

Stack ‘em up. Drizzle with basil oil. Top with mozzarella.

Devour.

In addition to being super fresh and flavorful, this is a pretty fun dish to eat! It’s kind of like cutting into the leaning tower of Piza! You are never too old to play with your food!

Enjoy!

Heirloom Tomato Stack with Basil Oil and Fresh Mozzarella
Author: 
 
Serves 4
Ingredients
  • 3 large heirloom tomatoes, any color
  • ½ cup fresh mozzarella
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • For basil garlic oil:
  • 2 cups loosely packed basil leaves
  • 1 garlic clove
  • ⅓ cup good extra virgin olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon each salt & pepper
Instructions
  1. Slice the tomatoes into about 1-1½ inch thick slices.
  2. Prepare the basil garlic oil. Combine all ingredients in a blender or food processor and puree until smooth.
  3. Stir the fresh mozzarella with the dried basil, red pepper flake, and evoo.
  4. Stack tomatoes. Drizzle with basil garlic oil. Top with marinated mozzarella.

 

Mango Chutney Chicken Salad

Hey guys!

This mango chutney chicken salad holds a special place in my heart. It was one of my first culinary creations…well, sort of. You see, the restaurant my family used to go to all the time had a mango chicken sandwich on the menu. I loved the sandwich, but one day when I was about 12 I decided I wanted a salad. None of the salads on the menu looked good to me, but I looooved that sandwich so my culinary wheels started turning. I asked the waitress if I could have the mango chicken sandwich as a salad. She said, “no problem!” and brought me the salad. Little did I know that was just the beginning…the salad was amazing, even better than the sandwich! So, I started ordering the sandwich as a salad all the time, and wouldn’t you know it, other people started asking about it. Pretty soon, they put the salad on the menu. Disappointedly, they didn’t call it “Tara’s Salad,” but I was still pretty impressed with myself. I had an idea and people liked it! I’ve been trying to achieve the same thing ever since! :)

Another victory for this salad? My husband said it was one of the best salads he has ever had.

It’s light, but filling enough for dinner. It’s has great texture, and a sweet/spicy/fresh combo thing going on that’s to die for.

I should know…I basically invented it. ;)

Enjoy!!!

Mango Chutney Chicken Salad
Author: 
 
Serves 2-4 (2 main dish portions)
Ingredients
  • 2 large chicken breasts
  • 1 mango, diced
  • ¼ red onion, diced
  • 4 celery stalks, finely chopped
  • 1 cup greek yogurt
  • 4 tablespoons mango chutney
  • salt and pepper
  • mixed greens
  • lemon
Instructions
  1. Fill a medium sized pot with water, add chicken. Bring to a boil. Cover and reduce heat to a simmer. Simmer 45 minutes. Remove chicken and let cool. When cool enough to handle, shred chicken by hand or with two forks.
  2. In a large bowl, combine chicken, mango, celery, red onion, yogurt, and chutney. Stir well to combine. Season with salt and pepper.
  3. Arrange mixed greens on a plate. Squeeze about 1 teaspoon lemon juice over greens. Top with prepared chicken salad.

 

 

Beet and Quinoa Salad with Mint and Feta

Hey there!

You guys, I have a secret…fall is coming! The mornings are getting cooler, days are shorter, and most importantly, football is here!!!! I love fall. Who doesn’t!? It’s almost time for snuggling in blankets on the couch with a steaming cup of apple cider (whiskey optional!), snacking on a pumpkin flavored baked goodie, reading a good book while rain falls outside. What? That’s not how you spend all your fall days??? :)

Maybe you’re in a place where fall has already hit, or maybe you’re in a place where fall won’t find you for a couple months…either way, this can-be-served-hot-or-cold beet and quinoa salad will be a perfect addition to your weekend meal.

It’s no secret that I love beets. The other day I was at the farmer’s market and found these amazing beets on sale. They were seriously the size of my head! (ok not seriously, but close!). I wanted to try something different with them, and rummaged around in my fridge and garden to find some crunchy celery, fresh mint, and lots and lots, of salty feta.

The beets are roasted and chopped up and tossed with the celery and mint. Then the salad is topped off with a couple cups of fluffy quinoa.

Next, the salad is doused in a simple homemade dressing of balsamic vinegar, lemon juice, extra virgin olive oil, and honey.

Toss everything together and top with lots tons of feta cheese!

This salad can be served hot, cold, or even at room temperature. It makes a perfect side dish or you could add some roasted chicken to it and make it a main course.

After you’ve finished taking your sweaters out of storage in preparation for fall, and between college football games today, make this delicious beet and quinoa salad. Oh, and don’t forget to have some apple cider ready for that first rainy day :)

Enjoy!

Beet and Quinoa Salad with Mint and Feta
Author: 
 
Serves 4-6
Ingredients
  • 4 extra large beets (about 6 cups chopped beets)
  • 1 cup uncooked quinoa
  • 4 stalks celery, chopped
  • ½ cup loosely packed mint leaves
  • ½ cup feta cheese
  • ¼ cup balsamic vinegar
  • ⅓ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1½ tablespoons honey
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice (one lemon squeezed)
  • ½ teaspoon each salt & pepper
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Trim the beets on both ends. Drizzle the beets with oil and wrap beets in foil. Roast for 60 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool. Peel beet skins and chop beets up.
  2. In a large bowl, combine chopped beets, chopped, celery, and chopped mint. Toss together.
  3. In a medium pot, combine 1 cup quinoa and 1½ cups water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer until water is absorbed, 15-20 minutes. Add quinoa to beet mixture.
  4. In a small bowl, combine balsamic vinegar, olive oil, lemon juice, honey, and salt and pepper. Whisk together. Pour over salad. Toss well to combine.
  5. Top salad with feta cheese and more torn mint leaves for garnish.
  6. Salad can be served hot or cold and keeps for about a week in the fridge.

 

 

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