Monday, July 16, 2012
I have a hard time deciding which season is my favorite - summer or fall. The abundant sunshine, time at the pool, beach vacations, and fresh fruit everywhere make me love summer. But I love fall because I can wear jeans and boots, football season, the lack of humidity and 100 degree temperatures and anything with apples and cinnamon so it's a tie in my mind. But while summer is here, I love to take advantage of all the fresh fruit that is in season. The grocery store is full of cheap, fresh, local fruits that are delicious. Why not use it to make a super simple, healthy side dish? This fruit salad is the result of a Kroger sale on fresh berries last week and some gorgeous cherries that I had to buy. It would also be good with the addition of fresh pineapple, kiwi, grapes, apples, etc. Really anything goes, just add what you like.
This is perfect for a summer potluck or picnic too since it doesn't require refrigeration. It's great for adults and kids, although remember that it is recommended that kids under one year of age shouldn't have honey. My toddler absolutely loved this, but I did make sure I chopped the fruit a bit smaller than I normally would have if it was just being served to adults.
This also makes for a great dessert spooned over vanilla ice cream or with a dollop of whipped cream if you are going for a healthier option.
Berries and Cherries Fruit Salad
2 cups sliced strawberries
1 cup blackberries
1 cup raspberries
1 cup pitted, sliced cherries
1 tsp lime zest
2 T lime juice
2 T honey
In the bottom of a medium size bowl, whisk together lime juice, zest, and honey. Add sliced fruit and gently stir to coat with sauce. Refrigerate for at least one hour to allow the flavors to combine. The juices from the fruit will add to the sauce as well. Stir gently just before serving.
Monday, June 21, 2010
This is a great light side dish to accompany summer BBQs and dinners. Take advantage of the wonderful fresh strawberries on sale everywhere these days. I prefer the baby spinach in this salad but a mix of baby greens or a mix other lettuces work equally as well. Don't skip the candied pecans - they add a sweet crunch that really makes this salad special. I used chopped pecans because I had them on hand but pecan halves make for a prettier presentation in my opinion.
I like to use a honey mustard vinaigrette for this salad, I think it goes really well with the fruit. Some other good choices would be poppy seed dressing, raspberry vinaigrette or balsamic vinaigrette.
Strawberry Summer Salad
1 cup strawberries, thinly sliced
4 cups baby spinach or other mixed greens
1/4 - 1/2 cup pecans
1 T brown sugar
1 tsp olive oil
1/4 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
2 scallions, chopped
Heat a small skillet over medium heat. Add oil and sugar and stir to combine. Add nuts and toss to coat. Cook about five minutes and transfer to parchment paper, separate nuts with a fork and cool. Wash and dry greens and add to a large bowl and toss gently with remaining ingredients and add dressing.
Honey Mustard Vinaigrette
Recipe adapted from Leslie Sarna
1 clove garlic, grated
2 T whole grain Dijon mustard
2 tsp apple cider vinegar
3 tsp honey
Scant 1/4 cup olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
Combine garlic, mustard, vinegar and honey and whisk to incorporate. While mixing, slowly stream in olive oil. Whisk vigorously until dressing is emulsified. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Thursday, April 22, 2010
Whenever the weather warms up, instead of craving pasta and chili, I want grilled chicken and salads and fruit. At least its a good change in my eating habits. As I've said before, frozen shrimp is a great choice for weeknight dinners. It can be thawed very quickly, doesn't require a lot of time to marinate, and cooks in just a few minutes.
Fruit and salads don't belong together in everyone's mind but if you haven't tried it, give it a chance. The sweet and spicy goes great together. This particular salad was one of my favorite seafood dishes, grilled mahi mahi topped with mango salsa. The Caribbean jerk marinade for the shrimp works great in this salad because it has a bit of heat but the marinade is also a little sweet. The marinade looks like a lot of ingredients, but its mostly pantry staples and comes together very quickly.
Spicy Shrimp Mango Salad
3 cups romaine lettuce, chopped
3 cups baby spinach
1 mango, diced
18-20 medium shrimp, marinaded (see below)
1/2 cup black beans
1/2 cup corn kernels
1/4 cup cilantro, finely chopped
Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add shrimp to pan and cook about 3 minutes, turn over and cook on remaining side 1-2 minutes just until opaque. Remove shrimp to a plate and add reserved marinade, black beans and corn to pan. Cook about 3 minutes until hot and sauce is slightly thickened. Add to shrimp and mango and top with cilantro. Add lettuce and spinach to a large bowl or divide among plates. Top with shrimp mixture and serve. (Add dressing if desired, with the reduced marinade, I didn't need one but I'm not a big dressing person to begin with. A simple honey lime vinaigrette would be perfect.)
(Note: I would also have added some diced jicama to this but my husband is not a fan and I don't use enough of it to buy it just for me but it goes perfectly with this if you like it.)
1 jalapeno, finely diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 T brown sugar
1 tsp allspice
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1 T fresh thyme
1 tsp salt
Juice of 1 lime
2 T olive oil
1 T dark rum
1 T orange juice
Mix all ingredients together in a plastic bag or shallow bowl, remove 2 T of marinade and set aside. Add thawed shrimp. For a milder marinade, remove ribs and seeds from jalapeno; to make it spicier, leave the seeds and ribs in. Toss to coat and refrigerate for about 20-30 minutes.
Wednesday, April 7, 2010
For some reason, pasta salad always seems like the perfect side dish when I want to grill out. It just says summer to me. Because its served cold, its easy to prepare ahead of time so you can relax and enjoy the barbecue. This one is a nice change from typical mayo-based pasta salads. The pesto packs in tons of flavor.
Pesto Pasta Salad
Pesto recipe adapted from Food Network
1 cup packed basil leaves
2 cloves garlic
1/4 cup pine nuts
1/3 cup olive oil
1 tsp salt
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
1 pound rotini
1/3 cup roasted red pepper strips, chopped
1/3 cup sliced black olives
1/3 cup red onion, chopped
2 oz fresh mozzarella cheese, cubed
1/4 - 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
Boil a large pot of water over high heat. When the water reaches a boil, add salt and add pasta. Cook according to package directions to al dente. Drain and rinse with cold water. Transfer to a large bowl. Combine basil, garlic and pine nuts in a food processor and pulse until coarsely chopped, slowly stream in olive oil with processor running until uniform. Stir in cheese and pour over pasta. Toss to distribute and add red peppers, olives, onions, and mozzarella cheese. Mix in crushed red pepper flakes. Cover and refrigerate at least 30 minutes prior to serving.
Monday, April 5, 2010
But since spring is here in full force, I thought I would take advantage of the great red strawberries that were on sale everywhere this weekend. I wanted a light and easy side dish for my Easter dinner so I put together this fruit salad. This comes together with minimal effort and is so light and refreshing for a spring meal.
Fruit Salad with Poppyseed Dressing
1 package of strawberries, sliced
1 large bunch of grapes (about one cup), sliced in half if desired
1 package of blueberries
1 large can of pineapple chunks (in juice not heavy syrup, reserve the juice)
3 kiwis, peeled and sliced
1 tsp poppyseeds
1/2 cup pineapple juice
2 T sugar
1/4 tsp salt
2 T canola oil
Add pineapple juice, sugar and salt to a blender and blend until combined. Slowly stream in oil with blender running until emulsified. Add poppyseeds and pour over fruit. Keep refrigerated until ready to serve.
Thursday, January 7, 2010
This is a salad that I make quite frequently as a main dish. You can add or subtract based on what you have on hand, if you marinate the chicken and add corn and beans, you'll get the main idea. Avocados and eggs add healthy fat and a nice creaminess, so I generally use one or the other. The tortilla chips give you a little extra crunch. If you have a red or green bell pepper on hand, chop some up and throw it in. Like tomatoes, add a diced tomato to the salad. You get the idea.
Fiesta Chicken Salad
1 large boneless, skinless chicken breast
2 T lime juice
1 T olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp salt
4 cups romaine lettuce, roughly chopped
1/4 cup black beans, rinsed and drained
1/4 cup corn (I used shoepeg corn because I had some open, but frozen or yellow corn is what I normally use)
1/4 cup red onion, roughly chopped
1/2 avocado, roughly chopped
1/4 cup shredded cheese (I used sharp cheddar, but often use colby jack or Mexican blend)
Cilantro-Lime Dressing (see below)
Cut chicken into thin strips and add marinade ingredients to a plastic food-storage bag. Add chicken slices and mix around until chicken is well-coated. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight.
Heat a skillet to medium-high heat, add chicken and cook through. Turn heat to low and add corn and black beans and stir gently, cook for about 1 minute to heat corn and beans. Distribute lettuce on plates, add cheese, avocado and onion. Add chicken mixture to salads and top with crushed tortilla chips and dressing.
Adapted from All-recipes
1/3 cup lime juice
2 T honey
1 clove garlic
2 tsp apple-cider vinegar
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and chopped
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup packed cilantro
1/2 cup olive oil
Add first 6 ingredients to a food processor and pulse until garlic and jalapeno are finely chopped. Add cilantro and pulse a few times. Once blended, slowly stream in olive oil with food processor running and process until incorporated. Pour over salad.
Tuesday, December 1, 2009
8 cups fresh baby spinach
1 large apple (I used Gala), thinly sliced
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup feta cheese
1/2 cup chopped pecans
2 T sugar
1 cup cranberry juice (I used OceanSpray Cranberry-Pomegranite Lite)
1 cup orange juice
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 T dijon mustard
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
Wash spinach and spin dry. In a small sauce pan, combine cranberry and orange juice and heat to boiling. Stir occasionally, cooking until reduced to about half the volume and cool slightly. Heat a small skillet over medium heat, add pecans to dry skillet with 2 T sugar. Cook until sugar melts and nuts are fragrant, stirring frequently (about 5-7 minutes). Add juice mixture to a small bowl, blender, or food processor. Add mustard, vinegar, and salt and pepper. Blend or whisk until well mixed. Slowly stream in olive oil and continue blending or whisk until combined. Add cranberries, nuts, cheese, and apple slices to salad and toss with as much dressing as desired.
Sage and Onion Stuffing with Mushrooms
6 cups cubed dried bread or stuffing mix (use plain or adjust seasoning as needed)
1-2 cups chicken stock
1 cup celery, finely chopped
1 cup white onion, finely chopped
4 T butter, divided
1 cup mushrooms, roughly chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
10-12 fresh sage leaves, finely chopped
2 sprigs of thyme
1 sprig of rosemary, finely chopped
Cook celery, onions, and garlic in 2 T butter over medium heat until softened and onions are translucent. (Can be done in advance if desired). Add bread cubes to a buttered baking dish. Mix in celery and onion mixture, mushrooms, herbs, and egg. Add chicken stock until moistened. Dot with remaining 2 T butter. Bake uncovered at 375 degrees until golden brown on top, about 40 minutes, add more stock as necessary.
Sweet Stuffing with Cranberries, Apples, and Pecans
6 cups cubed dried bread or stuffing mix (I used a mix of honey wheat and white bread)
2 apples, peeled and chopped
1 cup dried cranberries
1 cup chopped pecans
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1-2 cups apple cider
4 T butter, divided
Melt 2 T butter and mix with 1 cup apple cider. Mix together bread, apples, cranberries, pecans, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Mix in butter/cider mixture until well moistened. Dot top with remaining 2 T butter. Bake uncovered at 375 degrees for about 40 minutes until golden brown. Add more cider as necessary.
Monday, November 2, 2009
I've had a butternut squash in my fridge for a week now, debating what to use it for. I've never cooked it before and wasn't sure if we would like it, so every time I thought of a use for it, I would end up making a tried and true recipe and forget the experimentation. Well yesterday we had plenty of pork carnitas in the fridge as a back up plan just in case the squash didnt work out but I shouldn't have worried. It was delicious. Butternut squash just tastes like fall food should, so warm and sweet and good.
Sorry for the dark picture, this is what happens when daylight ends at 5 pm now.Butternut Squash Salad
Inspired by Bridget at The Way the Cookie Crumbles
1 medium butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and diced into bite-size chunks
3 T brown sugar
4 T olive oil, divided
1 T coarsely ground salt
1/2 tsp chili powder
1/4 tsp ground mustard
6 cups baby spinach
1/4 cup dried cranberries (Craisins)
1/4 cup pecans, chopped
1/4 cup feta cheese, crumbled
1/4 cup apple cider
2 tsp dijon mustard
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a large baking sheet with aluminum foil. Toss squash with brown sugar, 2 T olive oil, salt, ground mustard, and chili powder until evenly distributed and spread in a single layer on the cookie sheet. Bake for about 20 minutes, add cranberries and pecans to pan. Continue baking about 5 more minutes.
Mix together apple cider and dijon mustard, slowly stream in remaining 2 T olive oil, whisking continuously. Add salt and pepper to taste. Spoon squash, cranberries and pecans over spinach and top with feta cheese and add dressing as desired.
Saturday, October 3, 2009
Monday, August 24, 2009
In an effort to lose the pounds that I have gained since the wedding and save a few bucks, I'm going to start bringing my lunch to work again. I was doing pretty well at this before the wedding but got really bored (and lazy too).
So Day 1... I made my standard spinach salad (recipe below), brought a Dannon Light n'Fit Yogurt and an apple. I'm also going back to drinking water all day long. I gave up Diet Coke about 5-6 months ago, a serious cut back since I had drank 2+ cans of soda every day since about freshman year of high school. I was getting headaches if I didnt have caffeine and figured it couldnt be healthy so I quit. I only cheated about 4 or 5 times in the 3 months before the wedding but like everything else diet related, that went out the window when we left for the honeymoon. I figured I was on vacation, so I could have Diet Coke if I wanted to. Although its still a "once in a while" kind of thing, I have definitely been drinking more and more of it lately and I dont think its doing me any favors. Even though it doesnt have any calories, it also doesn't have any nutritional value.
Strawberry Spinach Salad:
(Makes 1 serving)
2 cups of baby spinach
6-8 strawberries (hulled and quartered)
1 T. crumbled Feta cheese
1 T. chopped walnuts or slivered almonds
1 T. Craisins
1 T. fat-free poppyseed dressing
Mix together and add dressing just before eating. Adding grilled chicken to this makes it an excellent dinner salad.
I regularly rotate in other dressings including honey mustard vinagrette (I really like the Wishbone salad spritzer version) and Raspberry Vinagrette (Ken's Raspberry-Pomegranite Lite is good).