Best House Salad

Happy Tuesday that feels like a Thursday!  Honestly, I walked out of work today and was like, it CANNOT only be Tuesday *insert crying emoji*.  On the bright side, that gives me two “extra” days to study for an upcoming exam.  Or two extra days to watch the new season of Bloodline, whichever seems better in the moment.  I’m happy to be back into a groove with the blog – I have a ton of ideas for summer recipes and finally created a good spot to take some pictures in my small kitchen!  So expect more goodness coming from here in the next few months – especially my new Summer Salad Series.  First off…starring the best house salad you can ask for.

This delicious and nutritious collection of veggies can do you no wrong.  It has just enough flavor to stand alone, yet can balance anything else you put on your plate.  Note – you do not have to cut your avocado into a rose, I just find this entirely too tempting and satisfying.

I do make one request for all my fantastic followers – make your own vinaigrette!  Making your own salad dressing is head.and.shoulders better than anything from the store.  This bright apple cider vinaigrette can be stored in a mason jar in your fridge and used throughout the week to freshen up greens for a quick side salad.

When it comes to “house salads”, you really can get creative with what you have on hand.  Instead of red peppers, feel free to throw in yellow, green, or orange.  Instead of pumpkin seeds (but, they’re delicious!), throw in walnuts or sunflower seeds.  Yes, I did buy these cherry tomatoes because they were so colorful and cute.  But you can use whatever tomatoes you have on hand. Mild banana peppers from the jar add crunch and saltiness and are amazing – you could get a similar flavor with artichoke hearts or olives too.

For those who *hate* red onions, I hear you.  They’re flavor-loud and can take over any dish pretty quickly.  I like to cut mine up and soak them in cold water for about 15 minutes before I drain them and throw them on the salad.  I think it tends to tame their bite a bit! (I do the same thing with guacamole!)

Looking for another crowd-pleasing salad? Check out this green apple. walnut, blue cheese salad with maple dijon vinaigrette!

Best House Salad
Author: 
Recipe type: Salad
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4 servings
 
This salad can be added onto any meal - with fresh, bright ingredients like this, you can't go wrong!
Ingredients
For the dressing:
  • ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
  • ¼ cup olive oil - NOTE: I like a more "vinegary" dressing, but if you want something a little tamer, add up to ⅓ cup total olive oil!
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp. dijon or stone ground mustard
  • ¼ tsp kosher salt
  • ¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • Note 2: If you want a little sweeter dressing, add up to 1 tbsp of maple syrup. It goes really well with the garlic and apple cider vinegar!
For the salad:
  • ½ head of romaine lettuce, chopped
  • 2-3 cups of spring greens
  • 1 cup of cherry tomatoes, cut in half
  • ⅓ cup banana peppers, chopped
  • ¼ cup red onion, chopped
  • ½ cup red pepper, chopped into bite size pieces
  • ½ a medium avocado, diced
  • ¼ cup pumpkin seeds
Instructions
  1. Combine dressing ingredients in a mason jar. Cover and shake to combine.
  2. Chop your salad ingredients - peppers, tomatoes, banana peppers, red onion, avocado. (Soak red onion if you want to tame the flavor...see note above!)
  3. Wash and chop your romaine lettuce. Combine with equal parts spring greens.
  4. Toss the salad in about half the dressing - you can always add more but you can't take it out! You will likely have dressing left over.
  5. Top with your chopped ingredients and pumpkin seeds. Enjoy!

 

Chimichurri Shrimp

Hi friends – reporting from my couch on a Saturday night.  I successfully have made no plans this weekend and have watched The Bachelorette, 2 Denzel Washington movies (The Hurricane and Man on Fire…both amazing), and we’re about to start the new season of Bloodline, so things are looking good over here. On top of that, I have brainstormed SO many food projects featuring my herb garden, with special appearances from my friends Cilantro, Chive, Mint, Thai Basil, Dill, and Parsley.  Real Basil is struggling in the growing department, so cross your fingers it kicks in by the time caprese salads are on a daily rotation in this household.

Amazing, herby, delicious shrimpies.

The last few weeks I’ve been leaning on the quick, 20-minutes-to-throw together meals to get me through the week.  Ingredients I always have on hand? Fresh herbs, lemon or lime, little bit of heat, olive oil, and seafood.  Any combination of those will yield you amazing results. Every. Single. Time. BUT, I’m about to introduce you to a sauce that you can use again and again, on chicken, shrimp, steak, sandwiches…? Haven’t tried that last one, but WHY NOT.

Tomatoes added. For effect and color contrasting.

Traditional chimichurri can be found in the best of Argentinian cuisine, but this is my “take” on it.  Usually, it features parsley, garlic, vinegar, and oil.  Instead, we’re adding everything we can find within arms reach to take it up a notch.  You know those giant bunches of herbs you have lying around when you need one tablespoon but buy 7 cups at the grocery store?  THIS is what you should make with them.  Honestly, throw anything you’ve got in there.  Don’t like cilantro because you think it tastes like soap? First, read this article because it’s interesting.  Then, I give you permission to add any other herbs you want!  My favorite extras are mint, chives, and dill.  It’s that easy!

Salad on the side. Because #veggies.

So friends, take a stab at this delicious, easy, quick, but PACKED WITH FLAVOR recipe.  I would have grilled them, but alas, we were out of propane.  So I envy anyone that gets to throw these bad boys on the grill with a little char.  Let me know what you think!

Chimichurri Shrimp
Author: 
Recipe type: Seafood
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4 servings
 
This chimichurri sauce can be added to anything (try chicken and steak!), but with these grilled or sauteed shrimp, it makes a quick meal with amazing flavor.
Ingredients
For the chimichurri sauce:
  • 2 cups of herbs, minced (I recommend heavier in the parsley/cilantro area, but add in mint, dill, basil, and chives!)
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1 tsp. freshly ground pepper
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced or pressed
  • Note: feel free to add one serrano or jalapeno pepper (take out the seeds and membrane!) for some extra heat, but keep in mind the shrimp have some red pepper flakes!
For the Shrimp:
  • 1 pound of shrimp, deveined, tails on
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 tsp. freshly ground pepper
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1 tsp. red pepper flakes
Instructions
For the shrimp:
  1. Marinade the shrimp in the olive oil, salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes for 20-30 minutes. Meanwhile...make your sauce!
For the sauce:
  1. Combine the minced herbs, lime juice, salt, pepper, olive oil, and garlic in a large bowl.
Back to shrimp:
  1. Saute or grill (on skewers!) the shrimp for 2 minutes per side on medium/high heat. Add the shrimp to the large bowl with the chimichurri sauce and toss until they're all coated. Cover for 5 minutes to let the heat combine all the flavors.
  2. Enjoy!