Showing posts with label salad. Show all posts
Showing posts with label salad. Show all posts

20 May 2015

Fried Pork Chops & White Bean Salad

Sometimes, I have reasonably good idea about what main dish I'll serve for supper, but don't really plan on a side dish, because I'll just microwave some frozen vegetables or something and call it done. But then it comes time to cook and I realize I'm not really in the mood for microwaved frozen anything ...

Pan-fried thin-cut pork chops and white bean salad. Yum.
Beans to the rescue! Jazz them up with diced vegetables and a quick vinaigrette and there's a bean salad to be (reasonably) proud of.

White Bean Salad

Yield: 4


  • 15 oz can white beans, drained and rinsed
  • ½ cup finely diced seeded cucumber
  • ¼ cup finely chopped red onion
  • ¼ cup finely chopped red bell pepper
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 3 Tbsp garlic vinegar
  • Penzeys Tuscan Sunset
  • Parsley
  • Black pepper


  • Combine all ingredients, seasoning to taste.
  • Cover and chill in the refrigerator at least an hour before serving.

13 May 2015

Greek Chicken Salad

While it's only the second week of May, it feels like summer at my house and I'm thisclose to turning on the air conditioner. Unseasonably sweaty workdays call for cool, relaxing suppers and salad's just the thing.

I marinated the chicken using the gyro marinade recipe on the Penzeys Greek seasoning packet -- Mix 1 Tbsp seasoning in 1 Tbsp water. Let stand 5 minutes, add 1 Tbsp olive oil and 1 Tbsp lemon juice. Combine with 1 lb chicken tenderloins. Refrigerate at least 2 hours.

When we were reading to eat, I broiled the chicken for 5 minutes each side on a foil-lined baking tray. When the chicken was done, I set it aside to cool for about ten minutes -- just long enough to make two supper-sized salads.

For the salad, I tossed 1½ hearts of romaine (sliced into thin ribbons) with chopped cucumber, red onion, grape tomatoes, feta, kalamata olives, and garbanzo beans. Then I sliced the cooled chicken (there was leftover chicken for future salads) and arranged it atop the salads.

It wasn't really "Greek," I know, but was good! Next time, I'll add roasted red peppers and artichoke hearts.

18 September 2014

Improv Challenge: Milk & Honey

Every time I sat down with my notepad to think up interesting combinations of milk and honey for September's Improv Challenge, I ended up with lists of cakes and puddings. Which would be fine ... if I hadn't recklessly decided to stop eating (as many) cakes and puddings. Every autumn and winter, I gain weight. Every spring and summer, I struggle to lose that gain. It's annoying. It's boring. I'm tired of it.

Long story short, I made a salad for September's Improv Challenge. And it is tangy-sweet delicious. And pretty healthy.

Salmon Salad with Creamy Honey Mustard Dressing
Serves 2

For the salmon:
2 6 oz portions skinned boneless salmon fillet
olive oil
sea salt
freshly cracked black pepper

For the dressing:
¼ cup buttermilk
¼ cup sour cream
2 Tbsp Dijon mustard [Maille]
2 Tbsp honey
¼ tsp ground black pepper
1 tsp dried parsley flakes

For the salad:
spring mix with herbs [Nature's Promise Organic]
chopped, peeled, seeded cucumber
small slivers of red onion

Preheat the oven to 425˚F. Place the salmon fillets in a baking dish. Brush the tops lightly with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Bake 12-15 minutes, depending on how well done you like your salmon.

While the salmon bakes, dump all the dressing ingredients into a bowl and whiz with an immersion blender until smooth and uniformly blended. A regular blender or bowl-and-whisk combo will work, too, obviously. Makes about 6 ounces of dressing.

Toss lettuce blend with cucumber and onion. Divide between two plates.

Gently remove the salmon fillets the tray and place atop the salads. Drizzle with the honey mustard dressing. Serve.

You could also omit the olive oil and brush the salmon with some of the dressing before baking it. Of course, this would mean assembling the dressing first! Also, the recipe makes more dressing than you'll need for two salads, but it will keep in the fridge for a few days (can't exactly say how long since I tend to eat it all within 3 days).

The dressing is a bit runny, but I don't know how to fix that without changing how it tastes and it will thicken up a bit if you refrigerate it (well, the first batch thickened up ... but the second didn't).

I used linden honey in this recipe, but any mild-tasting honey would work just fine.

23 July 2014

More Beanz!

My bush green beans are quite ... prolific ... this year and I'm having a little trouble keeping up! Usually, by the middle of July, the plants have fallen prey to some hungry critter or been crispified by drought and bean production is over. This summer ... well, I'm pretty sure my cats have zeroed out my neighborhood's rabbit population and, thanks to cooler than normal temps and some decent rain, my bean and chard bed is a dense jungle! I'm not bothered that the chard is getting monstrous (it will be good whenever I harvest it) but leave beans too long and they go all woody and "untasty."

Over the weekend, I made a bean and tuna salad using one of Plated's recipes but subbed with my own green beans instead of their haricot vert as those were brownish and unappetizing looking. Anyway, the salad was dead easy to throw together -- just blanched beans, kalamata olives, cherry tomatoes, parsley, dill, shallot, garlic, olive oil, lemon juice, dijon, sea salt, and black pepper -- and I'll definitely make it again with more garden beans and cherry tomatoes (if, by happy coincidence the beans are still bearing when the tomatoes ripen).

The bean salad was meant to be served with oil-poached tuna, but I chose to poach my tuna in low-sodium fat-free chicken broth because the Plated recipe called for poaching the tuna in 1½ cup extra virgin olive oil and my parsimonious brain was like "Dude! That's $7 worth of oil! Duuuude! And you only keep two tablespoons! The rest gets thrown away?! WTF?" Anyway, the salad was fine served with broth-poached tuna as I ended up flaking the tuna and tossing everything together to make two meals for work.

I also made an easy minestrone with green beans, garden basil, canned tomatoes, and a farmers' market zucchini I had kind-of forgotten about in the back of the crisper. It came out pretty well for something that was just "Well, I'll saute some onion and garlic and carrots and celery and then add some chopped green beans and broth and herbs and zucchini and tomatoes and salt and pepper and just keep fiddling until it tastes right."

09 July 2014

Picnic Season! Hooray!

We had our Independence Day picnic on Saturday which turned out to be The Best Idea Ever as it rained (and thundered and lightning-ed) most of Friday. I hung out around the house, making food for Saturday, and catching up on my Giant Pile of Library Books. (If I'm not "supposed to" put twenty books on hold, then the system shouldn't let me put twenty items on hold ... it's not as if I am capable of practicing restraint in the presence of free books, after all).

When I was planning the menu for our picnic, I knew I wanted old-fashioned, traditional picnic foods. No yogurt for mayonnaise. No quinoa for pasta. So I made three salads that, if they weren't quite my aunts' or grandmothers' picnic salads, were pretty darn close. And it only took 1½ jars of Hellmann's Light Mayonnaise to accomplish this. And I thought "Oh, my cake, we have no green vegetables! I should marinate some cucumbers or something!" and then I thought about all the things I could be doing if I stopped cooking ... and I went off and did them and there were no green vegetables.

Wait! We had sliced cucumbers and peppers with onion dip! Those are vegetables! And cucumbers are green! Huzzah!

The potato and pasta salad recipes I used were both from Mr. Food because I still have a soft spot for the man, having spent many childhood summers watching his short cooking segments during the noon news, and his picnic salad recipes are pretty darn traditional.

"Basic Macaroni Salad" -- elbow macaroni, hard-cooked eggs, celery, red onion, mayonnaise, garlic powder, salt, black pepper. The pasta salad was fine. Just your basic no-frills deli pasta salad. Utterly innocous. I would probably make it again, as it kept well in the fridge, but would add some flaked canned tuna and thawed frozen peas and serve it over shredded lettuce as a light lunch or supper.

"Presto Potato Salad" -- potatoes, mayonnaise, hard-boiled eggs, red onion, celery, prepared yellow mustard, salt, black pepper, white vinegar, sweet relish, paprika. I bought a bottle of French's Classic Yellow Mustard specifically for this recipe as we don't usually consume yellow mustard. I did not expect the mustard to pack much of a kick and thus was completely taken aback by The Husband's reaction to his first forkful. As he said, the mustard's heat it was "a bit of a surprise!" But it was also delicious and he ate quite a lot of potato salad over the following days, so I take that as a sign to make this potato salad again.

The cole slaw I made -- my very first mayonnaise-based slaw, by the way -- was a hodgepodge of recipes I cobbled together based on memories of my mother's coleslaw and my own taste preferences:
1 cup light mayonnaise
2 Tbsp lemon juice
1 Tbsp sugar
½ tsp ground celery seed [Penzeys Ground Indian Celery Seed]
1 tsp ground mustard [Penzeys Regular Canadian Mustard Powder]
½ tsp paprika [Penzeys Hungarian Half-Sharp Paprika]
1 teaspoon salt
½ tsp pepper
14 oz bag shredded coleslaw mix
It was a bit spicy! Perhaps, too spicy? My mother, who generally enjoys spicy dishes, actually had to stop eating it for a bit and switch over to the potato salad! And that in itself was amusing, because the potato salad had a bit of a kick! Not really sure about the coleslaw -- beside being too spicy for my mother, it was a little too mayonnaise-y for me. Reducing the mayonnaise and cutting it with some buttermilk might fix that.

22 June 2014

Cool, Crisp, Refreshing ... Radishes

I've had Kalyn's recipe for "Cucumber and Radish Salad with Feta, Red Wine Vinegar, and Buttermilk Dressing" pinned since last spring when I had a tremendous radish harvest and not a lot of good ideas for what to do with them. While I never got around to making the salad last spring, it was the first thing I thought of when I harvested this spring's massive radish crop. Seriously, we're a two person household and only one of us really likes radishes so why do I keep planting so many? Because they're pretty! And easy! And I never think that so many will many to survive the weather, cats, chipmunks, and bunnies.

"Easter Egg" Radishes

Kalyn's recipe calls for one teaspoon fresh thyme, but I used a handful of fresh dill as my dill plants are growing like weeds and will soon get out of hand if I don't start using them more. Fresh oregano would probably also work well with the cucumber-feta combination.

This salad is a cool and refreshing summer side dish that would be perfect with Greek marinated grilled chicken breasts or shrimp skewers. Or just by itself with in a lettuce cup with a drizzle of olive oil and some fresh cracked pepper on top. If you're not that keen on radishes, there's no reason why you couldn't make this without, adding a little red onion or shallot in for kick. (And when I make this again, I will probably halve the amount of radishes, because The Husband picked most of his radishes out).

We ate ours with grilled chicken kabobs (from Whole Foods, because I couldn't be arsed) and it was the perfect lunch for the Second Day of Summer.

01 June 2014

Picnic Time: Pasta Salad

While trying to push beyond our comfort zone and learn to socialize like "real adults do," we recently attended a picnic thrown by one of my coworkers. Because I didn't feel comfortable showing up empty-handed, I asked if I could bring a pasta salad (it turned out everyone felt the same way, anyway, and also brought something). Since I wasn't sure how hot it would be that day or what the food storage situation would be like (didn't want to poison anyone), I made "Pasta Salad with Summer Vegetables" from The Best Light Recipe by the detail-driven folk at Cook's Illustrated.

This is a flavorful mayonnaise-free pasta salad I've made several times now. Every time I make it, I mean to experiment and try one of the variations provided, but I always end up sticking with the tried-and-true. The basic version is delicious, so why mess with a sure thing?

Ingredients: penne, green beans, cherry tomatoes, carrot, red onion, garlic, red wine vinegar, olive oil, basil, parsley, Dijon, red pepper flakes, Parmesan, salt, black pepper.

I used Ronzoni SmartTaste penne to keep the salad looking "normal" while somewhat improving its nutritional values. Not that it's an unhealthy salad to begin with, what with all those beans and tomatoes!

30 May 2014

Plated: Seared Salmon Salad w/ Tomato Sherry Vinaigrette

I came home to my first Plated box last Friday after a long, crazy work week. I was low on energy and pretty much regretting my impulsive subscription ... until I opened the box and saw the recipe card for "Seared Salmon Salad with Tomato Sherry Vinaigrette" peaking out at me. Surely, I thought, I can sear some salmon and toss a salad. I am a capable human being, after all.

How it looks just out of the box.
Salad ingredients, unpacked.
The salad went together easily ... there was just a surprisingly large amount of it considering it was meant to serve two people! And I actually forgot to include the small head of butter lettuce! It was easily salad for three with just the arugula, frisee, and radicchio. Adding the butter lettuce would have made salad for five or six! Not that would have been terrible -- "free" meals -- but there really wasn't enough salmon to go with all that salad. Even I, who love big ass salads, ended up leaving a small pile behind because I was out of salmon and simply couldn't tolerate more bitter radicchio. The Husband, who likes his salads heavy on protein and light on greens, left a lot behind.

The tomato sherry vinaigrette was surprisingly zippy and might have benefited from cutting back on the acids or upping the amount of honey (I thought about whisking in some of my own honey, but decided I should try the recipe as provided). Also, a bigger tomato wouldn't have gone amiss as my shallot and tomato were about the same size and the shallot overwhelmed the tomato when they were mixed into the dressing. (I did think about using one of the tomatoes meant for the "Cheesy Quinoa Stuffed Tomatoes," but figured I'd regret trying to stuff a tiny tomato later).

The Husband and I both agreed that the seared salmon was totes delicious and I was very pleased to learn a new method for cooking salmon. Previously, I'd always avoided cooking salmon in a skillet (unless I was poaching it) because I couldn't figure out how to do so without overcooking the fish. Obviously, you cook the salmon flesh-side down.

Would I make this seared salmon salad again? Definitely ... but would definitely dial the bitter greens back a bit! And not forget the butter lettuce!

18 May 2014

All the Little (and Big) Fishes

It all started with a salad. I made a delightful salad of chopped romaine, radishes, cucumber, capers, dill, lemon, sieved hard-cooked egg, and mashed sardines that was so delightful I ended up going on something of an oily fishy bender. And why not? Oily fishes like mackerel and sardines are both delicious and wholesome -- a good source of vitamins A and D and omega-3 fatty acids.

Because tinned fishes aren't just for lunch, I mashed a tin of Neptun Mackerel Fillets in Tomato Sauce with spicy horseradish, lemon juice, and black pepper and spread it on slices of buttery, crunchy toast for breakfast. Since that only accounted for about half of the mixture, I ate the rest on top of a toasted mini bagel spread with a little light cream cheese as a nice afternoon snack.

And since that still just wasn't enough fish for me, I also made a cottage cheese and mackerel salad that turned out pretty darn fine. I drained a tin of Season Skinless & Boneless Fillets of Mackerel in Olive Oil, mashed it fine, and mixed it with light cottage cheese, diced seeded cucumber, minced red onion, fresh dill, lemon juice, and black pepper. Everything sat overnight in the fridge so the dill and lemon flavors could spread themselves around and then I ate it for lunch spooned onto pretzel crisps. The salty crunch of the crisps paired with the cool creaminess of the salad was mighty fine.

12 April 2014

Chop-All-The-Things Salad

Get to the end of the week and the fridge is just chock-a-block with foodstuffs that won't keep much longer, but aren't each anywhere enough to be a meal. What to do? Chop everything up and call it a salad.

What's in it? Chopped buffalo chicken strips, corn salsa, black beans, cherry tomatoes, cucumber, red onion, and romaine.

I tossed this salad with a little salsa and guacamole just before eating and it was delicious. So delicious that I was both surprised and saddened by how quickly I arrived at the bottom of the bowl!

11 March 2014

Southwestern(ish) Shrimp Salad

Shrimp Salad

I made this Southwestern(ish) shrimp salad last week when, in fit of madness, I decided to ignore how cold I always am at work and decided not to pack a hot lunch. It was a delicious salad, but even though I immediately followed it with two cups of scaldingly hot tea, I spent the rest of the night shivering away at my desk.

Ingredients: romaine, cucumber, red onion, grape tomatoes, black beans, lime juice, shrimp tossed with Penzeys Arizona Dreaming seasoning blend, and guacamole.

When I make this salad again (in, say, May), I'll add some cilantro and Trader Joe's Corn & Chile Salsa.

08 March 2014

Hello, Leftovers: Shredded Beef Taco Salad

I'd intended to make quesadillas with the leftover slow cooker shredded beef, but then realized taco salad was an even better idea. I do love me some taco salad, after all, and the temperature was supposed to rise up to 49°F today suggesting Salad Season was on its way, so ...

Taco Salad

Shredded Beef Taco Salad

2 small flour tortillas
Olive oil, as needed
1 cup leftover shredded beef
red onion, chopped
cilantro, chopped
romaine, chopped
cheddar, shredded
[Cabot Seriously Sharp, of course]

Preheat oven to 425°F. (If you have a pizza stone, preheat it with the oven. Otherwise, get out a sheet pan).

Lightly brush tortillas with a little olive oil and place on preheated pizza stone (or place on sheet pan and put in oven). Bake for 4-5 minutes, depending on desired brownness.

Baked Tortillas

Remove tortillas from oven and plate. Microwave beef until heated through. Divide meat between tortillas. Garnish with cheddar, romaine, red onion, salsa, guacamole, and cilantro. Eat.


(My shredded beef already had corn and black beans mixed in so I didn't add any to my salad, but would certainly recommend it if yours doesn't).

26 January 2014

Beet Salad, You Disappoint Me

I love beets and I'm always excited to find new ways to prepare them so, when I came across a recipe for "Kraut and Beet Slaw" in my Grandma G's 1956 edition of Cooking with Sour Cream and Buttermilk, I knew I had to give it a whirl.

I skewed the recipe toward beets rather than sauerkraut, making it much more a "chunky salad" than a "slaw." Because I am just too lazy to roast and peel beets, I used a mixture of 8 oz packages of Melissa's and Love Beets' vacuum-packed cooked beets. I wouldn't say there's a lot of difference between the two brands.

Prepared Packaged Beets

I also adjusted the seasonings, because more flavor is better.
Creamy Beets & Sauerkraut
Serves 4 generously as a side

2 8-oz packages vacuum-packed cooked beets
1 8-oz can sauerkraut
¼ cup finely chopped red onion
1 cup sour cream or plain Greek yoghurt
1-2 Tbsp prepared horseradish, depending on zippiness of brand [Gold's]
½-1 tsp sugar, depending on taste
1 tsp ground caraway
½ tsp salt
½ tsp white pepper
1 hard-cooked egg, chopped

Drain and rinse the sauerkraut. Wrap in a tea towel and squeeze until no more liquid comes out. Dump it in a mixing bowl.

Dice beets and add to sauerkraut with the red onion. Set aside.

Making Creamy Beets & Sauerkraut Salad

In a large mixing bowl, combine sour cream, horseradish, sugar, caraway, salt, and pepper. And beet mixture and stir until well combined.

Chill overnight to allow flavors to marry. Mix well and allow to come to room temp before bringing to table. If desired, garnish with chopped egg.

Creamy Beet & Sauerkraut Salad

I have found this dish is best if allowed to come to room temperature before serving as, when it's fresh from the fridge, the flavors are muted and it just tastes ... cold. But, on the other hand, you don't want to serve it immediately after making it, because it tastes like ... nothing much ... when it's new. Let it sit in the fridge for a day and it's markedly better -- slightly sour yet also sweet and earthy and deliciously creamy.

Indeed, this is not a bad retro recipe. But it's also not very good. Certainly, not as good as something made with two of my favorite ingredients should be. There's a lack of depth in flavor, which may have to do with using canned sauerkraut rather than fresh and so little caraway. If I were to make this again, I'd use fresh sauerkraut, rinsed and drained far less zealously, and more caraway. And more pepper. And salt. And celery seed, maybe?

23 January 2014

Italian Pasta Salad

I'm not really sure that mozzarella and salami necessarily an Italian salad make, but I didn't know what else to call this dish. Everything-That-Needed-Eating-Up Salad? That would certainly be true, but also very prosaic.

"Antipasto" salad

Italian Pasta Salad
Serves 3 as lunch with fruit

5 oz mini farfalle pasta
4 oz baby spinach
4 oz fresh mozzarella, cubed
1 small red onion, chopped small
5 sun-dried tomatoes, chopped small
6 Tbsp sun-dried tomato vinaigrette
3 oz thin-sliced uncured salami, sliced into strips
5 leaves fresh basil, rolled and sliced thin
Fresh ground black pepper, as desired

Cook pasta as directed by package. Drain. Toss warm pasta with spinach so the leaves wilt a bit. Add in remaining ingredients and toss well. Serve while still warm.
Ingredients like chopped canned artichokes, chickpeas, and olives would make tasty additions to this salad.

"Antipasto" salad

15 November 2013

Eating the Alphabet: V is for Vanilla Beans

Vanilla beans. November's Eating the Alphabet Challenge letters are U, V, and/or W, and I knew I just had to use vanilla beans. I'd bought a tube of them at Penzeys last Christmas (eek) with the intent of making some kind of bourbon-soaked vanilla bean-enriched cake for my dad, but that never happened and I've been "stuck" with them ever since.

I really wanted to do something simple but savory with the vanilla beans. I found a recipe for "Slow-Cooked Chicken with Sauteed Mushrooms and Vanilla" in an old Country Living and a recipe for vanilla-infused "Savory Pork Tenderloin" on the Nielsen-Massey site so I knew meat and vanilla could go together. I didn't want to make those particular recipes, however, because they served too many. I knew The Husband would turn his nose up at savory vanilla anything and I didn't want to eat pork tenderloin all week for lunch ... especially if it didn't turn out very well!

So I decided to "cheat" and go the easy way. I'd poach two boneless skinless chicken breasts in a vanilla-infused bath and see what that did. If it was good, yay. If not very good, then it could be drowned in curry sauce. And, if it was very bad, the cats would still like it!

Poaching w/ Coconut Milk & Vanilla
Coconut milk, vanilla bean, sea salt, white pepper
As the chicken poached, the vanilla-milk-broth bath became more and more aromatic -- so much so that I began to worry the chicken would come out tasting like a vanilla-scented candle. Well, I needn't have worried as the poached chicken smelled and tasted only vaguely of vanilla. Decidedly chicken, with a faint, sweet note of vanilla. Actually, kind of disappointing. Perhaps I should have used two beans? Or omitted the chicken broth? Or just be thankful it wasn't more strongly vanilla?

The dressing, while definitely stronger tasting than the chicken, was still only mildly vanilla. Very aromatic, mind you, as the whole dining room seemed to smell of it after I dressed the salad. Very tasty, too. Interestingly, the flavor of the dressing was much more pronounced on the greens than on the chicken. I think it might be nice tossed with cantaloupe and blueberries.

Vanilla-Scented Poached Chicken Salad
Needs. Moar. Flavor.
Honestly, this salad is the most disappointing dish I've made for the Eating the Alphabet Challenge. It was certainly edible and the cats did not get any, but as I ate it I kept wishing I knew how to make it better.
Vanilla-Scented Chicken Over Greens

2 boneless skinless chicken breasts, well trimmed
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise, seeds scraped [Penzeys Madagascar]
1 tsp sea salt
½ tsp white pepper
8 oz fat-free low-sodium chicken broth [Pacific Organic]
13.5 oz can coconut milk [Goya -- not recommended]

To a medium-sized pot add chicken broth, coconut milk, vanilla seeds and pod, white pepper, and salt. Give it a stir. Add chicken.

Bring pot, uncovered, to boil. Reduce heat. Cover and simmer for 12-14 minutes or until chicken is tender and no longer pink. Drain chicken. Thinly slice. Serve atop salad greens with a drizzle of vanilla balsamic and grind of fresh black pepper.
Vanilla Balsamic Vinaigrette

1 Tbsp flax seed oil
1 Tbsp white balsamic
1 tsp vanilla [Penzeys Mexican Vanilla]
pinch each white pepper and sea salt

In a small bowl, whisk together balsamic, vanilla, salt and pepper. While still whisking, slowly drizzle in oil until oil and vinegar are well combined.
I used whole fat coconut milk in the poaching liquid, because I prefer the flavor and the chicken wasn't going to absorb much, if any, of the milk, but feel free to use light coconut milk or cow's milk. I do not recommend the Goya coconut milk, however, as it seemed excessively watery. Trader Joe's and Whole Foods' house brands are much better.

Also, olive oil would be fine in the vinaigrette -- I just prefer the lightness and nuttiness of flax seed oil.

29 August 2013

Pesto Rotisserie Chicken Salad

I picked up a $5 rotisserie chicken at Price Chopper last weekend to go on my workday tossed salads, but there was still plenty of chicken left after assembling those and I was feeling a wee bit sammich-y ... so I made chicken salad with leftover pesto and plain Greek yoghurt.

Pesto Chicken Salad

Ordinarily, I'd use light mayonnaise in chicken salad but I wanted something really savory this time. I thought the pesto would dominate the Greek yoghurt, creating something creamy, but undeniably pesto-y. It mostly worked, but the addition of lemon zest might have given it a little more depth.
Pesto Rotisserie Chicken Salad
Makes enough filling for 4 sandwiches

4 Tbsp fat free Greek yoghurt
2 Tbsp prepared pesto
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1½ cups diced rotisserie chicken
3 inches cucumber, seeded and diced fine
½ shallot, diced fine
salt and pepper to taste

Whisk together the pesto, yoghurt, and lemon juice in a large bowl. Add chicken, cucumber, and shallot and stir until combined. Allow to sit for an hour or so in the fridge (overnight is fine).

Season with salt and pepper, if necessary. Serve on toasted sandwich thins with lettuce and tomato.
I'm really quite pleased with the Price Chopper rotisserie chicken. It was a succulent little thing and, for $5, provided the principle ingredient for eight meals. I froze the picked-over carcass and it, combined with others, will make a fine broth this fall. Thrifty and delicious, no?

27 August 2013

Eating the Alphabet: M is for Mango (& Mint!)

For this August's Eating the Alphabet Challenge we're selecting M, N, and/or O ingredients. I chose mango and mint (with a little bit of spring onion) and made a yummy quinoa salad appropriate for breakfast or a light lunch. It was only after I'd made and eaten the salad that I realized it might be better to save it for September's tricky "Q" and make a different mango and mint dish for August. Trouble is, it's nearly the end of the month and I haven't come up with anything I liked better!

Mango & Mint

Mango is one of my favorite flavors, but it's not a fruit I cook with much. For the Eating the Alphabet Challenge, I wanted to push the envelope a little by trying something more savory, rather than going for a sweet like mango lassi or pudding. I paired the mango with mint simply because I thought it sounded like a great idea and not because I actually knew how the two would work together. I also decided to add spring onions (scallions) to my ingredients list as I reckoned the inclusion of onion would land whatever I made squarely in the land of savory. Also, it's an "O" ingredient and I am nothing if not an overachiever.

Mango, Mint, and Quinoa Salad

I based my salad on BBC Foods' Quinoa Salad With Mint and Mango" recipe, but I changed it up a bit -- adding crushed almonds, increasing the mint, decreasing the spring onions, and cooking the quinoa in orange juice.
Mango and Mint Quinoa Salad

4 oz quinoa, well rinsed
8 oz fresh orange juice
1 mango, peeled, finely chopped
2 Tbsp chopped fresh mint
2 Tbsp chopped fresh cilantro leaves (omit stems to avoid soapy flavor)
2 spring onions, including the green parts, chopped
2 tbsp olive oil
zest and juice of ½ a lime
4 Tbsp crushed unsalted roasted almonds

Toss mango with mint, cilantro, onions, lime juice and zest, and olive oil. Set aside and allow the flavors to marry.

Meanwhile, cook quinoa in orange juice using your favorite method. Set aside and allow to cool to room temperature.

Toss quinoa with mango mixture. Divide between two plates. Garnish with extra mango and mint and crushed almonds.
This is a fabulously refreshing summery salad well-suited to a humid August morning. The flavors are really clean and bright and the whole thing positively shouts "good health!"

That said, this salad is best eaten within a few hours of making it. You don't want to refrigerate it unless you're going to let it come back up to room temperature before consuming. Trust me, it just doesn't taste very good chilled.

If you want to add meat to this dish and serve it for lunch or supper, I would serve it over a bed of baby greens with a skewer of citrus-grilled shrimp.

25 August 2013

Egg Salad With Your Pastry Blender

After many years of use, my egg slicer gizmo broke a few months ago and I was reticent to replace it, because it's one of those kitchen devices that spend more time cluttering up my kitchen drawers than it sees use. Without the gizmo, I slice and dice eggs with a knife when I need them for potato salad and I had taken to mashing them with a fork for egg salad. I found I actually preferred the textured of fork-mashed egg to gizmo-chopped egg in egg salad and decided to never replace the egg slicer.

But then, after too many episodes of The Great British Bake-Off, I bought a pastry blender. And, while I have yet to use it to make lovely cream scones, I have found the pastry blender does a really nice job chopping eggs for egg salad.

Egg Salad Sandwich

Easy Egg Salad
Makes filling for 4 sandwiches

8 peeled, hard-cooked eggs
¼ scant cup 0% Greek yoghurt
1 heaping Tbsp Dijonnaise
1 tsp dried tarragon
1 tsp dried dill
1 tsp dried chives
1 tsp dried parsley
Salt and pepper, to taste.

Crush the herbs between your fingers to release their oils. Add to a large mixing bowl. Whisk in yogurt and Dijonnaise. Add eggs to bowl.

Making Egg Salad

Using your pastry blender (or a fork or whathaveyou), mash eggs until desired consistency is reached.

Making Egg Salad

Making Egg Salad

Season with salt and pepper to taste. Refrigerate one hour or until ready to sandwichize.
(You'll note only seven eggs were pictured. One had a terrible accident with the salt and pepper mills and, somehow, ended up in my tummy).

23 August 2013

Eat More Fruits & Vegetables, They Say

Make half your plate fruits and vegetables, they say, and I'm trying!

Tuna Steak w/ White Beans & Salad

I rubbed tuna steaks with a little olive oil and broiled them for four minutes per side -- leaving a bright pink center, so broil less if you want red -- and served them with white bean and tossed salads. That's vegetables on half the plate, protein on a quarter (beans are a vegetable, because I am a meat eater), and a whopping big hole where grains and dairy should be. Oh, well. Learning!

To make the bean salad, I combined one can of white beans with chopped cherry tomatoes and red onion, parsley, salt-free Italian seasoning blend, pepper, white wine vinegar, and a splodge of pesto. I let it sit on the counter for about an hour while I faffed about on the Internet and, while the flavors were good, I'm guessing they'd will be even better after a night in the fridge.

16 August 2013

Chard Slaw, Because I Can

We had my parents up for a picnic and I wanted to serve a slaw with the turkey burgers and pasta salad, but I had far more chard on hand than cabbage and it seemed a good idea to use the chard I grew rather than go buy someone else's cabbage, but I didn't want to do a hot dish ... so I made a chard slaw.

Chard Slaw

I used Better Homes and Gardens' "Vinaigrette Coleslaw" recipe as my base (what would I do without my red-and-white gingham standby?) but tarted it up a bit with sriracha and whatnot.
Chard Slaw
Makes at least six side dish servings

3 Tbsp white wine vinegar
[Katz Sauvignon Blanc Agrodolce Vinegar]
1 Tbsp honey
2 tsp sriracha
2 Tbsp olive oil
½ tsp ground caraway
½ tsp mustard powder
4 cups chard sliced into thin ribbons (save stems for a later use ... like pickles)
1 cup coarsely shredded red cabbage
1 cup shredded carrots
½ shallot, minced
salt and pepper, to taste

Whisk together vinegar, honey, oil, sriracha, ground caraway, mustard, salt, and pepper.

In a large bowl combine chard, cabbage, carrots, and red onion. Pour vinaigrette over cabbage mixture. Toss lightly to coat. Season with salt and pepper as desired. Cover and chill until ready to serve.
Chard Slaw

I'd recommend eating this within a day of making it, because the chard started to get a bit soggy by the second day.

I think the slaw came out pretty well for a first try -- my mother certainly liked it -- and I will make it again but I might add chopped toasted almonds (or hazelnuts) and dried cranberries (or cherries). Also, maybe a little crumbled blue cheese? But would it even be a slaw then?