Salads

Super Grain Tabbouleh

Super Grain Quinoa Tabbouleh

It’s February and we still haven’t abandoned our 2016 resolution to eat healthier. (This is good for us). The key seems to be including as much variety as possible so we don’t get too bored with our meal options. To that end. we’ve been eating a lot of Indian, Thai, Japanese, Greek and Middle Eastern food.

For some reason, my parsley plant outside has not just survived the winter but is actually thriving, so I’ve been wanting to make a recipe to use some of it (although I suppose I also could have used some from my wall mounted planters in the pantry). I’m not sure if there is a dish out there with a more pronounced parsley flavor than tabbouleh, so I decided to start there. While it’s typically made with bulgur, I thought I’d make mine with quinoa to increase the protein. But then I stumbled on this ‘Super Grains’ mix on a scouting trip to Aldi’s. It has regular quinoa, red quinoa, millet and buckwheat. It was perfect.

I served this with store-bought falafel and my favorite tzatziki sauce.

Note: if I was making this for myself, I would have added chopped tomatoes as well. But someone I live with doesn’t like tomatoes.

Super Grain Tabbouleh


Ingredients

1 cup of Super Grains (my bag was purchased at Aldi, see below)
2 cups of chicken stock (or sub veggie stock if you don’t do animal products)
1/2 of a red onion, small chop
1 medium English cucumber, medium chop
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
2 tbsp chopped fresh mint
1/4 cup of fresh lemon juice
Salt and pepper to taste

Directions


Rinse the super grains and add to the chicken stock in a medium sauce pan. Cook over medium heat until the grains absorb the liquid. Set aside.

Chop your veggies and herbs.

 

When super grains have cooled, add grains to vegetables/herbs in a bowl and toss. Pour fresh lemon juice over top and add salt and pepper to taste.

I’d recommend letting it sit for a few hours to allow all the flavors to further develop.

Enjoy!

 

Father’s Day Menu, Featuring a Ruth’s Chris-Inspired Chopped Salad

Neither my husband nor I are big birthday people. It’s not like we “did” something, right? Certainly our parents (and God) had a hand in it. We were just the result. So when our birthdays roll around each year, we usually thank/congratulate the folks that made that happen.

Father’s Day and Mother’s Day, however, we are all over. Celebrating parenthood – the joys, the challenges, the sweet little people we gave birth to – is something that is very important to both of us. And so, with Father’s Day around the corner, I need to plan a very special day for my dude.  
The challenge, as we’ve grown older, gotten jobs, and become financially viable is that it’s so much harder to buy each other gifts. We’re both of pretty modest tastes, so if we see something we like, we’ll generally just buy it and not wait for an upcoming occasion. Makes gift-giving almost impossible.
The one thing that my husband has not wavered on throughout the14 years that we’ve been together is his love of good food. So, clearly, one element of his special day will be a home-cooked meal. To make it extra special, I’m taking my cue from some of his restaurant favorites. Here’s the menu I have in mind.

Like most men, he LOVES a good steak. Ribeye is his cut of choice, and he prefers it prepared pretty simply (basically just salt) and barely cooked. I wouldn’t go so far as to call him a “meat and potatoes guy”, because he’s not really into potatoes….but he is into another carby side – popovers. Inspired by the ones served at BLT Steakhouse, I’ll be making these beauties for him on Father’s Day. And as for veggies, we like to keep them pretty simple. Broccoli tossed with olive oil, salt and pepper and roasted has been our go-to over the past year. It’s a totally simple, no-fail, and delicious side.

Dessert is a tough one, because the dude loves all kinds of desserts. There’s the coconut cream pie at Capital Grille…or the Great Wall of Chocolate Cake at PF Chang’s….or the classic creme brûlée at our local French restaurant. Chocolate feels right for the occasion, but I’m not ready to commit several hours to making a dessert like the Great Wall of Chocolate…so molten lava cake will do the trick! I’ve made this recipe from Carlsbad Cravings before with success and will be using it again.

Oh…and I skipped a pretty important part – the starter! I’m going with a salad … a classic steakhouse salad. We have the Ruth’s Chris Chopped Salad every time we go for dinner and, after much experimentation a couple years ago, managed to create something similar to enjoy at home. Don’t skip the hearts of palm – they make the salad!! Here’s the recipe.

Ruth’s Chris Inspired Chopped Salad



4 cups of chopped spinach
4 cups of chopped romaine or iceberg lettuce
2 hard boiled eggs, chopped
1 cup mushrooms, small chopped
8 slices of bacon, cooked crisp and crumbled
1/3 cup chopped hearts of palm
1/4 finely chopped red onion
20 grape tomatoes, split in half
1/2 cup crumbled Gorgonzola

French’s crispy onions

Dressing:
1 cup sour cream
1/3 cup mayo
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/4 cup chopped basil
1 1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper
1 tsp Salt (or more, to taste)

Chop all your veggies for the salad. I’ll usually do something like a thick julienne for the lettuce/spinach and a small chop for everything else.  (Note: this can be done earlier in the day). Next, make your dressing. Simply whisk all the ingredients together. I like to do this about an hour plus before serving time to allow the flavors to meld.

Hard-boil a couple of eggs and cook your bacon (I’ll usually cook mine in the microwave). Allow to cool.

In a large bowl, toss all salad ingredients (except for the crispy onions and dressing) in a bowl.

Immediately before serving, toss salad with dressing to coat. If you’re feeling fancy, you can do what they do at Ruth’s Chris and press the salad into a pretty circle mold.

Top with the French’s crispy onions. Garnish with tomatoes and basil. 

Very Berry Kale Salad

It’s been crazy hot in the Carolinas these past few days. With three days in a row of temperatures in the 90s, salad is pretty much the only thing that sounds good to me right now. Isn’t it funny how your body instinctively craves lighter / healthier food when the temperatures call for less clothing?
When I come up with a new salad, it’s usually inspired by whatever we have on hand (see my Waste Not, Want Not post…). With several boxes of berries in the produce drawer, I came up with this kale salad which is the perfect antidote to the blazing hot temps. Seriously, with so many of my favorite ingredients in it, I think I’ll be eating this salad all summer long!

Ingredients

Salad
6 cups of finely chopped kale
3 cups of chopped romaine
1 pint of raspberries
1 pint of blueberries
1 1/2 cups chopped strawberries
1 avocado
1/2 cup walnuts
3/4 cup feta cheese
Poppyseed Dressing (store-bought poppy seed dressing would be perfectly fine as well!)
3/4 cup mayonnaise
2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 tsp dijon mustard
2 tsp poppy seeds
1/3 cup sugar

Directions

Chop strawberries and avocado into bite-sized pieces. Chop lettuce/kale into thin strips.

 

Whisk together dressing ingredients. Toss lettuce and kale with 1/2-3/4 of dressing and put onto serving dishes. Arrange fruit and avocado (wait, is an avocado a fruit?), walnuts and feta on top, similar to how a cobb salad would be served. Drizzle remaining dressing on top.

 

Pour yourself a tall glass of lemonade, sit in the sun and enjoy this light and fresh salad!

 

 

 

Supper Time: Greek Shrimp Salad

Greek Shrimp Salad
It was a hectic Tuesday night (are there any other kind?) I wanted something tasty, easy and relatively healthy, to balance out the previous night’s overindulgences. This salad came together quickly and easily, and with pretty common ingredients. It hit the spot and even satisfied my husband’s appetite (most of the time he will only entertain shrimp in the form of an appetizer, not a as a meal).

Make this healthy salad, do your treadmill intervals, and go to bed feeling pretty good about yourself!

Greek Shrimp Salad

Serves 4
 Shrimp Greek Salad

2 hearts of romaine
1/2 cucumber
1/2 pint cherry tomatoes
1/4-1/2 of a red onion (depending on how onion-y you like your salads)
1 red, orange, or yellow pepper
1/2 cup feta cheese
1 lb of shelled, deveined shrimp
1-2 tsp. Cavender’s seasoning
Salt & Pepper to taste
Greek dressing, recipe follows

Greek Dressing

1 cup good olive oil
1 cup red wine vinegar
2 TBSP lemon juice
2 cloves of minced garlic (use 2 TSP garlic powder if you don’t like a textured dressing)
2 TBSP minced onion (use 2 TSP onion powder if you don’t like a textured dressing)
3 TSP dried oregano
2 TSP dried basil
2 TSP salt
1 TSP ground pepper
3 TBSP finely crumbled feta cheese (omit if you don’t like a textured dressing)

Put all ingredients in a mason jar and shake it up! The dressing is best after it’s sat for a day or two, but still great the day of.

For the Salad:

Chop all of the vegetables into bite-sized pieces.

Sprinkle Cavender’s seasoning, and salt and pepper on peeled and deveined shrimp.

Heat 2 tsp of olive oil in a skillet. Add shrimp and sauté until cooked through.

Assemble salad, drizzle dressing on top and enjoy!