Tag Archives: salad

Southwest Succotash

Ah, good ol’ succotash!  An American classic that has been served on supper tables for decades and, for some reason, is one of my favorite words to say.  Today though, we’re giving the southern staple quite a southwestern twist!  The added ingredients of avocado, black beans and jalapeno are balanced out with a tangy and sweet vinaigrette.  Now, by all means, please add in the original versions most popular ingredient, lima beans (I really do like them).  Though, I suppose they can be optional and given there are still beans in the mix, no one will be the wiser…

 

The Starting Lineup

  • 2 cups cooked/grilled corn, fresh or frozen *grilled fresh is ideal
  • 2 avocados, cut into 1/2″ cubs
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1/2 cup finely diced red onion
  • 1 cup black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and finely chopped 
  • 1/2 cup frozen, thawed lima beans (optional)

Vinaigrette

  • 3 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • Juice of 1 fresh lime, plus zest
  • 2 Tablespoons honey
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt and pepper, each or to taste

 

In a large bowl, combine the prepared vegetables and beans.  In a small separate bowl, whisk together the vinaigrette ingredients.  Make sure to taste for seasoning (i.e. more salt? pepper?  Maybe an added tablespoon of honey?)

Pour the dressing over the corn salad, toss to coat and chill in the refrigerator for 1-2 hours.  Serving suggestion:  Plate under grilled chicken, steak or fish or serve with tortilla chips.

SouthwestSuccotash

Thai Basil Beef Salad

Branching out our taste-bud’s this week with a meal that actually just took under 20 minutes to prepare and left my family full AND healthy!  All sorts of “wins” there!

This meal really is low in calories (less than 300) and high in protein!  Plus, more importantly to me, is it is soooo full of flavor that I didn’t mind giving up my normal TexMex comfort food!  You can mix and match a few ingredients to meet your family’s palates as well.  This is definitely worth a try my friends….

The Starting Lineup

  • 1 lb flat iron steak (can also use sirloin, hanger or even ground beef!)
  • 1 cucumber, sliced
  • 1 tomato, quartered
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil, chopped
  • 1/4 cup green onion, sliced
  • 2 Tbsp rice wine vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp canola oil
  • 1 Tbsp Sriracha sauce
  • 1 tsp low-sodium soy sauce or Tamari sauce
  • 1 tsp garlic, minced
  • Hefty pinch of black pepper

*Serve with cooked, long-grain jasmine rice and lime wedges!  I actually like to add fresh lime juice and chopped cilantro to my fluffed rice as well.

**Optional ingredients to add to dish are julienned carrots, Thai hot chili’s, cilantro, red bell pepper slices.

_____________________________________________________________________________________________

Dressing: whisk together the rice wine vinegar, oil, Sriracha, soy sauce, and garlic and in a bowl.  Toss the basil, cucumbers and tomato with dressing. Cover and set aside.

Season beef with a hefty amount of pepper and a bit of the canola oil, then sear in a large, non-stick pan over medium-high heat 5 minutes per side; add green onions, cook briefly then remove from heat to rest for 5 minutes. *yields medium-rare.

Spoon rice into bowls and top with the dressed vegetables.  Slice beef against the grain, and place overtop.  Serve with extra soy sauce, Sriracha, hot chili’s and cilantro if desired.

ThaiBasilBeefSalad

 

Greek Tzatziki Chicken Pasta

Going “global” with this one guys!  Now as y’all know, I basically have two types of cuisines that I prefer to eat…constantly.  Mexican and southern comfort food!!  I do however branch out from time to time and THIS time it’s with my likely 3rd choice, Greek!

Now I used to live by this AMAZING restaurant called “Pita Jungle”, that without fail catered to my cravings of this ethnic fare..saltiness of feta cheese, brininess of kalamata olives, fresh vegetables and the Greek’s unique spices has me every(damn)time.  The only bad part of always getting my ‘fix’, was moving away and having nothing silimilar nearby.  It was time to create my 2nd masterful Greek dish and THIS one is silly easy!

This Greek inspired chicken pasta is full of flavor, yes, BUT it’s also healthy for you too!  Heck, get yourself another helping! 😉  Using non-fat greek yogurt and fresh produce brightens this dish and leaves you not feeling heavy in the least.  *I also used fantastic gluten-free noodles that really help with that after dinner bloated feeling.  Lastly..this dish is also so versatile that it is equally delicious served warm OR cold!  So it’s a fabulous choice for a leftover dinner or lunch at work too!

The Starting Lineup

  • 1 lb chicken breasts/tenders
  • 1 cup kalamata olives
  • 1 cup feta cheese, crumbled
  • 1 cucumber, seeded/cored and sliced
  • 1/4-1/2 cup red onion, chopped
  • 1 package penne noodles

Tzatziki Sauce

  • 2 cups non-fat Greek yogurt
  • 3/4 large cucumber, seeded and finely diced
  • 2 tsp dill, fresh is best if you have it
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 tsp extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Greek Chicken Marinade

  • 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 Tbsp oregano
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp thyme
  • 1/2 tsp rosemary
  • 1/2 tsp basil
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 salt and pepper, each.  

Alright friends!  In a large gallon size ziplock bag, add in all of the marinade ingredients followed by the chicken.  Seal and place in a dish (to avoid spillage) and into the fridge.  Allow to marinate for about 3 hours.  Do not go too much longer as the citrus in the marinade will change the texture of the chicken.  *You can make the marinade without the lemon juice if you’d like it overnight and add it in later.

Assuming the chicken has been marinating away and it’s time to finish the meal, you’ll next prepare the Tzaziki sauce and again, it’s just as easy as the marinade!  After you dice up the cucumber, simply whisk together all of the above mentioned ingredients, cover and set aside.  *If preparing this in advance, please keep refridgerated until ready to use.  

Onto the vegetables!  Rinse, cut, chop, dice, seed etc. etc. etc. your yummy veggies while also bringing a large stockpot of salted water to a boil.  *I sprinkled a bit of salt and pepper over the vegetables for added flavor.

In a skillet over medium/medium-high heat with 1Tbsp of oil and 1Tbsp of butter, add the marinaded chicken.  Cook through and set aside.  Add the noodles to the boiling water and cook to package directions.  

Once the chicken has cooled slightly, roughly chop into bite size pieces.

Drain the al dente noodles and pour into a 2-qt casserole dish or large serving bowl.

The finish line has arrived…Now it’s just time to cross it!

Simply add the vegetables and olives to the penne pasta, pour on your finished tzatziki sauce and gently toss together with the crumbled feta cheese.  

Serve with extra lemon slices and perhaps a bit more feta cheese and a pinch of fresh dill, enjoy!!  

Autumn Chopped Salad w/ Roasted Pork Tenderloin & Maple Pumpkin Vinaigrette

Yesterday we had quite the breeze..which resulted in a few (ok, many) of leaves falling onto our back porch and yard, much to my husbands dismay..ugh yard work .  Meanwhile, I happily watched it from my kitchen window while wondering what to cook up for dinner.  If nothing else, the view makes doing the dishes that much better. 

Now since the weather wasn’t really chilly but in the mid-80’s, and it was indeed Fall, what could I come up with??  Well below you will find a crisp flavorFALL (<< see what I did there) salad and a ridiculously juicy and warm pork tenderloin.  Oh and lets not forget that Vinaigrette!!  This will now be a staple in our home come Fall..May we also suggest serving with a nice cider?!  Apple cider for the lil’s of course.

*If you have a cast-iron pan, you can transfer the seared pork directly to the oven in this vesssel.  I did not only because my cast iron wasn’t large enough for both my tenderloins.

**Make sure to taste your vinaigrette as you go.  Remember, this is YOURS and if you like it sweeter then add more maple.  Thicker?  Then more pumpkin.  How about tangier?  Well, then you simply add more cider vinegar or dijon!  It’s up to YOU! 🙂 

The Starting Lineup
Maple Pumpkin Vinaigrette

  • 4 Tbsp maple syrup (real maple..no fake stuff here!)
  • 1/3 cup pumpkin puree (non sweetened)
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tsp dijon mustard
  • 1 clove garlic, finely minced
  • Pinch each of salt and pepper
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp thyme, fresh
  • 1 Tbsp water

Autumn Chopped Salad

  • Romaine lettuce, chopped
  • Iceberg lettuce, chopped
  • 2 apples, sliced thin
  • 1/4 cup pecans, chopped (candied optional)
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/4 cup bleu cheese crumbles

Roasted Pork Tenderloin

  • 1 pckg pork tenderloin, usually comes with two
  • 2 Tbsp dark brown sugar
  • 1 Tbsp chili powder
  • 2 tsp rosemary (sounds weird with chili powder..just go with it)
  • Kosher salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 Tbsp vegetable/ or canola oil
  • 1 Tbsp butter

Maple Pumpkin Vinaigrette…yes, I totally forgot to grab the dijon for the picture, oops! Make sure to use it though, it’s a great emulsifier.


Roasted Pork Tenderloin and Autumn Chopped Salad


Start by preheating your oven to 400 degrees and lining a sheet tray with foil.  Place the lined sheet tray into the oven while it preheats.  You’ll also want to start heating up a skillet(medium/medium-high heat) *I prefer my cast iron here, which is why I start to heat it up now, takes a few minutes..and then remove the pork tenderloins from the refridgerator to come to temp.

Next, in a small bowl, whisk together the maple syrup, pumpkin puree, apple cider vinegar, dijon mustard, garlic and the salt and pepper.  Then slowly whisk in the extra virgin olive oil into the mix *slowly as not to “seperate” the dressing.  Finally stir in the fresh thyme (and 1 Tbsp water if you’d like it a bit thinner).  Cover and store in the refridgerator.

Open the package of pork, pat dry with paper towels, and rub on the seasoning blend.  In the now hot pan, add in the oil and the butter.  Then place in the pork (I had to do 1 at a time) and sear all sides till a deep golden brown.  That brown sugar will caramelize and create a ‘crust’, so dont worry as it’s not burnt.  This should take you about 10 minutes for both. 

Once the pork has been seared, place onto the lined sheet pan in the oven for about 20 minutes, flipping halfway through (till internal temperature reaches 140 degrees).  Remove from the oven, tent with foil, and allow to rest for 10 minutes.

While the tenderloins are roasting, start chopping up the rinsed lettuce and pat dry.  On a large (and of course pretty) serving platter lay out the chopped lettuce.  Then follow with the apple slices, pecans, dried cranberries and bleu cheese crumbles.  

Once the pork is rested (so the juices do not run out) slice it up!  Lay the slices (pretty again) across the prepared salad and drizzle a good amount of your homemade Maple Pumpkin Vinaigrette…oh lordy, enjoy!! 

Bbq Chicken Cobb Salad

A Cobb Salad is one of the most ordered salads in our great country…I LOVE them!  However, in true Carly fashion, I wanted to give it a Texas twist with an extra punch of flavor! 

This is a great summertime dinner dish that doesn’t heat the home up and can be made in under 30 minutes!  The BBQ sauce doesn’t overwhelm when mixed with the ranch dressing, only compliments, and you get a extra great crunch from the tortilla chip topping!

*You can shred a rotisserie chicken in a pinch!

The Starting Lineup

  • 2 cups cooked chicken, chopped
  • 3 hard boiled eggs, sliced
  • 4-6 strips crispy bacon, crumbled
  • 1 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 1 bag mixed greens
  • 3 Roma tomatoes, diced
  • 1 bell pepper, chopped
  • 2 avocados, sliced
  • 1/4 red onion, diced
  • 1/4 green onion, diced
  • 1 jalapeńo, thin sliced
  • 1 can black olives
  • 1 cup ranch dressing 
  • 1 cup bbq sauce, divided 
  • 1 cup tortilla chips/or strips 
  • Kosher salt and pepper, to taste
     

Here we go!  First, in a bowl or mason jar combine the 1 cup of ranch dressing with 1/2 cup of bbq sauce.  Add in a pinch of salt & pepper and give a good whisk/shake and then refridgerate until the salad is complete. 

 

Next, simply rinse the produce and start the chopping and dicing of the vegetables and chicken! 

In a large bowl, add the cooked, chopped chicken along with the remaining 1/2 cup bbq sauce and toss together. 

  Finally, combine all of the ingredients into the bowl, drizzle with the Bbq Ranch dressing your made earlier and top with the crunchy tortilla strips/chips! 

  

Redneck Ranch

Ok..I love ranch dressing.   Whether it’s on the obvious salad, a french fry dip, tacos, on pizza…a spoon.  You name the food and ranch dressing is likely a great add-on!

However, one day we apparently ate our fridge worth of bottled ranch and I had to come up with something quick to satisfy our need of fried chicken tender dip, and that I did.  

The below ingredients can be altered (of course) to your specifications, but they do make a great ranch substitute (Hidden Valley) with a bit of a fun tang.  That same tang is excellent with fried chicken, on burgers & fries…and yes, even vegetables..

*I took pictures of both the whisking/bowl “technique” or the mason jar “technique”.  I do hope that the word, technique, is more comical than anything.  You either stir or shake people.

The Starting Lineup

  • 1/2 cup mayonaisse
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1/4 cup creole mustard (spicy brown would work too)
  • 3 Tbsp of pimiento peppers
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • Pinch of cayenne pepper
  • Hefty pinch of ground pepper and salt

Optional

  • Mason Jar (to shake..looks great and keeps the dressing fresh)  

Like I mentioned above, this is silly easy.  You combine all of the ingredients into either a bowl or into a mason jar (with lid) and whisk or shake till combine. 

  

  I prefer to then place the dressing into the refridgerator for at least 30-60 minutes to blend the flavors, but if your’e in a hurry, go ahead and dig in!  Enjoy!  

  

Grilled Bloody Mary Kabobs & Salad

We’ve all been there on those headache filled Sunday mornings, where you put some big sunglasses on and head to your nearest cantina for the “hair of the dog”.  Often times, you’re also a bit hungry, so what better way to kill two birds with one stone than with these skewers!

The Starting Lineup

  • Sirloin, large cubed
  • Large shrimp, peeled & deveined, tail on
  • Cherry tomatoes
  • Celery
  • Green olives
  • Cheese, cubed (horseradish flavor)

Marinade & Dressing

  • 1 can spicy V8 juice
  • 1 cup vodka (optional)
  • 1 Tbsp horseradish, prepared
  • 1 Tbsp Worcestershire 
  • 1 tsp hot sauce, (Tabasco) 
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp celery salt
  • 5 Tbsp oil  

We’ll start this typical Sunday morning cocktail turned dinner with the marinade & dressing!   In a 1-gallon size ziploc bag, combine all of the above marinade ingredients, zip bag tight and give a good shake to mix. 

 Next, BEFORE you add the raw meat, take out about 1/4-1/2 cup of this marinade and place in a different sealed container or smaller ziplock bag.  Set this aside in the refrigerator.

We now need to try to remove most fatty pieces from your sirloin cut and then cube.  I like to cut at least fat 2×2 cubes, but if you prefer smaller than go right ahead!  These raw chunks of sirloin will now go into your 1-gallon bag o’ marinade.  Zip securely and place into dish (to avoid leakage) and put in your refrigerator.  Ideally you’d like this to marinate for a good 8 hours, (so before you head to work perhaps?), but I like to do mine overnight…it gets about 24 hours of that boozy marinade! 

   

Hours later or even the next day we’re going to assemble these kabobs! *If using wooden skewers make sure to soak them in water for at least 30 minutes.  If you have metal skewers than rub lightly with vegetable oil first so the food won’t stick. 

 Have your shrimp defrosted and peel away!  I personally like to keep the tails on for added affect, but you’re more than welcome to shuck those too.  Once all of the shrimp has been peeled, add these straight into the same marinate bag as your cubed steak.  Let sit for 20 minutes. 

     I skewer all my shrimp together and all my steak together.  You can absolutely alternate them, but they cook at different speeds so I find this is better do nothing is undercooked..or worse, overcooked!  *After I skewer them all, I like to sprinkle a bit more pepper over top along with a pinch of cayenne, totally optional. 

 

Set these skewers aside for a minute and wash your hands well!!

On a cutting board, thinly slice your celery and halve your cherry tomatoes.  Place into bowl along with the cubed spicy cheese and green olives.  Season lightly with a bit of salt & pepper.  Now take that smaller (uncontaminated) dressing that you made earlier and pour over the veggies & cheese.  Toss to coat and place in fridge while you grill the steak & shrimp. 

 

Once grill is ready to go (gas or charcoal), cook the shrimp through and the sirloin to your desired doneness.  Place on serving platter and allow to rest.

Scoop a serving of salad onto plate and top with a skewer each of the shrimp & steak.  Serve with a big slice of crusty garlic bread! 

 

*If you cannot find horseradish cheese in your deli’s specialty section, cheddar or even Bleu cheese would be fine.

*You can leave the vodka out completely or at the very least in the salad dressing if served to children.  I myself like it all..

*You can really use any veggies here that you like served alongside your Bloody Mary cocktail (I.e. okra, pickles, cheeses, bacon, etc).

*Garlic bread: halve a French loaf from your bakery, slather each cut side with a generous amount of butter, garlic and a sprinkle of parsley or italian seasoning.  Place on baking sheet under your broiler till melted and slice.


%d bloggers like this: