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!

 

Steakhouse Salad with Greek Yogurt Buttermilk Ranch Dressing

Hey all! It has been a while since I popped in here with a new recipe!  Life update = third year of medical school has been crazy busy (hence why I went MIA for many months), I’m officially going into OBGYN (hooray!), and the dogs, Dan, and I have been doing well!   I’ve got roughly a year left of school, but exams end this summer!

So, in the spirit of spring, I’ve got an easy salad that packs a huge flavor punch!  It reminds me of those *awesome* wedge salads you get at steakhouses, but with a healthy twist – greek yogurt buttermilk ranch dressing! The first time I tried this, I accidentally used vanilla greek yogurt…uhhhh the WORST accident I have ever made!  Hopefully you have better luck! SO, without further ado…


Steakhouse Salad with Greek Yogurt Buttermilk Ranch Dressing
Author: 
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4 salads
 
A healthy twist on a steakhouse classic!
Ingredients
For the steak:
  • 1 skirt steak, about 1 pound
  • Salt and pepper to season
For the salad:
  • 1 container cherry tomatoes, cut in half
  • Crumbled blue cheese
  • 1 large head romaine lettuce, chopped
For the dressing:
  • ½ cup plain greek yogurt
  • ¼ cup buttermik
  • 2 tbsp. dijon mustard
  • ½ tsp. dried oregano
  • ½ tsp. garlic powder
  • ¼ tsp. onion powder
  • ¼ tsp. paprika
  • ¾ tsp. kosher salt
  • ½ tsp. fresh ground black pepper
Instructions
For the steak:
  1. Season both sides of the steak with salt and pepper. Add olive oil to a saute pan, and sear on each side (only about 3-4 minutes per side...it cooks quickly because it is so thin!). Let rest and cut in strips against the grain.
For the dressing:
  1. Combine all ingredients in a small bowl. You'll have extra, so save for the week!
For the salad:
  1. Dress the lettuce with the greek yogurt dressing.
  2. Top with tomatoes, blue cheese, and steak strips.
  3. Enjoy!

 

Chicken and Veggie Summer Rolls

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Want to *wow* your dinner guests with dish that looks way harder to make than it is?  Or!  Even better…have your guests make their own!  Summer rolls are the way to go – crunch, fresh veggies, fab dipping sauces, easy on the eyes, and a boost of protein with delicious chicken!

I highly advise gathering and preparing your ingredients ahead of time so the assembly line goes rather quickly!  Once your rice paper wrappings are wet, you’ll want to work fast to put together the ingredients and roll it all up.  Feel free to experiment with the veggies – radishes or purple cabbage would add a pretty splash of color!

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Deviled Egg Salad

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Spring has sprung and Easter is on its way!  When I was growing up, my mom always hard boiled eggs and rested them in these adorable, ceramic Easter bunny holders.  She took a seemingly boring snack and made it fun – my favorite way to serve food.  I am a sucker for these eggs – rolled in salt and pepper, mixed with avocado on toast, and made into creamy, tangy deviled eggs with a kick.

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Why not have the best of both worlds?  This snack/breakfast/light lunch is great to make ahead of time and when paired with crispy toast (sourdough is my favorite, but Ezekiel bread makes a great healthy option!)  I couldn’t nix mayonnaise entirely, but I mixed it with plain greek yogurt for a protein boost.

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FUN TRICK!  I’ve tried everything in the book when it comes to making “perfect”, easy-to-peel hard boiled eggs.  And, I think I finally found the answer – steaming them!   I fill a big pot up with about an inch of water, turn on high, and place the eggs in a steaming basket (or a colander) in one layer, cover, and steam for 15 minutes.  If you have to stack on top of each other, add a few extra minutes.  After a quick ice bath, they’re ready to eat.  They turn out perfectly every single time and the shell slips right off of them!

If you make extra Easter eggs this year, use this salad to use them up!

Deviled Egg Salad on Toast
Author: 
Recipe type: Breakfast, Snack
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 2 open faced sandwiches
 
Try this twist of a egg salad and deviled eggs!
Ingredients
  • 2 hard boiled eggs, chopped
  • 2 slices of bacon, fried and crumbled
  • 1 tbsp. light mayonnaise
  • 1 tbsp. plain green yogurt
  • 1 tsp. dijon mustard
  • 1 green onion, chopped
  • ½ tsp. paprika
  • ¼ tsp. cayenne pepper
  • Salt and fresh cracked pepper
  • Two slices of bread, toasted - I like sourdough for a "splurge" and Ezekiel bread as a healthy choice
Instructions
  1. Combine all your ingredients in a bowl and mix until combined.
  2. Toast bread until crispy.
  3. Top each piece with half the egg salad mixture, top with additional pepper, and enjoy!

 

Greek Shrimp Zoodles and Leftover Breakfast!

Dinner Style!

Nothing makes me happier than using up a bunch of ingredients in the fridge before they’re dunzo.  I feel like I’m helping the environment and that I am a successful produce buyer.  Which doesn’t happen often.  One BIG thing I’m working on is to choose the healthy snack – fruits, veggies, hummus, etc. – over the easy snack.  Like cheese sticks, and yogurt, and taco bell.  Oops.

This meal is a double whammy of veggies – twice!  For dinner and brunch!  SO MANY VEGGIES!  And shrimp which are phenom for you and feta which is a relatively healthy cheese.  It’s why the Mediterranean diet is so good for you!  Oh and yolky, eggy goodness for brunch.

Breakfast Style!

Breakfast Style!

I got back from a fabulous wedding in San Diego last weekend and was amazed by all the delicious food down there!  I had about 6 servings of fish tacos, oysters, lobster tacos (what!?), and cevicé – and every. single. time it was SO good.  All the food was so light and fresh, it made me crave warmer months when we can cook outside and eat all the fruits and veggies in the world.  That aren’t a potato.

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I came back needing some serious vacay rejuvination.  One of those vacations that you need a vacation after.  Not because of stress, but because TOO much fun was had!  We stayed up late dancing, singing karaoke, eating snacky foods, and I firmly believe that flying across the country seriously dehydrates you.  So I hopped to the gym twice (!) this week already, have drank a TON of water, and ate these delicious dishes to get myself back on track.

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I’ve been perusing the Inspiralized blog recipe index to come up with new ideas for veggies to try in the spiralizer!  I’m thinking something *crazy* like celeriac or kohlrabi.  I don’t know what either of those look like, so wish me luck.  Anyhooligans.  If I haven’t convinced you to get a spiralizer yet, hopefully this is the tipping point.  Your belly and brain will thank you for all the extra nutrients!

Greek Shrimp Zoodles and Leftover Breakfast!
Author: 
Recipe type: Main Dish and Breakfast
Cuisine: Greek
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4 servings
 
Try these zoodles with fantastic flavors and delicious shrimp - and then use your leftover veggies and cheese for a nutritious breakfast or lunch the next day!
Ingredients
For the Dinner:
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 container cherry tomatoes
  • ½ tsp. garlic powder
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 30 shrimp, shelled deveined
  • 2 tbsp. corn starch
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • ½ tsp. pepper
  • ½ tsp. red pepper flakes
  • ½ tsp. oregano
  • ⅓ cup white wine
  • 5 zucchini, spiralized
  • ½ lemon, juiced
  • 4 tbsp. feta cheese
For the Breakfast:
  • Any leftover cherry tomatoes and zucchini
  • 4 egg
  • 4 tbsp. feta cheese
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste
Instructions
For the Dinner:
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Toss cherry tomatoes in 1 tbsp. olive oil, garlic powder, and salt and pepper to taste.
  2. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Bake tomatoes until they are blistered - about 20 minutes.
  3. Toss shrimp in cornstarch, salt, pepper, red pepper flakes, and oregano. They should be lightly covered.
  4. Heat a medium sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add the butter and melt. Add minced garlic and sauté until fragrant.
  5. Add shrimp to sauté pan and cook about 3 minutes on each side.
  6. Add white wine and half the lemon juice to the pan and scrape up any bits browned to the pan. Let simmer until reduced by about half.
  7. Add zucchini noodles and sprinkle with remaining olive oil, salt, and pepper. Sauté until soft - "al dente". They'll have a little crunch to them. Add remaining lemon juice.
  8. Mix in half the feta cheese so it can melt.
  9. Add tomatoes and combine.
  10. After plating, sprinkle with remaining feta cheese
For the breakfast:
  1. Add olive oil to a large sauté pan. Cook any leftover zucchini and cherry tomatoes until warmed and tender.
  2. Crack and egg over the noodles like they're in a "basket".
  3. Cover the pan so they can cook through.
  4. Add feta cheese, salt, and pepper at the end.
  5. Enjoy meal #2!
Notes
Don't add anything to the zucchini noodles for leftovers or they might get mushy in the fridge.

If you don't have a spiralizer, this would be delicious with some whole wheat noodles as well! Add the tomatoes and feta into an egg white omelette the next morning for a double meal.

 

Green Apple, Walnut, Blue Cheese, and Red Onion Salad with Maple Dijon Vinaigrette

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These next couple weeks are CA-RAAAYYY-ZEEEE.  I have 7 bajillion exams, activities, soirées, travels to and from home, and gym sessions (*fingers crossed*) to attend to.  Meanwhile, I’m going to a Christmas centerpiece flowering arranging party with Bring-Your-Own-Wine by myself tonight.  Because I feel like it.  You’re all invited.

But, I’ve decided that’s what I love about the holidays.  No time for idle hands!  There is always the next task to do, the next present to wrap, the next Christmas movie to watch (The Santa Clause is my absolute favorite).  I love to write my To-Do list in seasonally appropriate colors, add some candy cane stickers, and get to work! Mixing in some HUGE batch cooking every couple days is a must and adding a salad here and there never hurt anybody.

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This has been my super secret Winter salad for years.  And I’m now just sharing it with you because it’s PERFECT for a side at your holiday dinner table!  Truth: I served it at Thanksgiving and a family party in the past month and the bowl was EMPTY before people could even go back for seconds.  I feel like I’ve been keeping the world’s best kept secret.  Ugh, such a sigh of relief to finally get this goodness out there.

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Butternut Squash Soup with Ancho Chipotle Pepper Cream and Bacon Crumbles

THIS.  This bowl of SOUP.  Is amazing.

One Bowl Wonder

One Bowl Wonder

Update on the life:

  • Sorry for no TGIF post this week.  We’re picking up our new puppy, GINO!, tonight.  He’s an 8 week old golden retriever, weighing a hefty 13 pounds, and I’m busy puppy-proofing the apartment today.  Stay tuned for Gino Pupdates!
  • I was under the weather yesterday and my local Urgent Care patched me right up.  I had matzo ball soup from the delicatessen for lunch (yum) and LUCKILY had this butternut squash soup in my pantry that I was going to try and be inventive with for dinner.
  • While I made this gourmet squash soup, Dan preferred Taco Bell.  Full disclosure – I had him get me a deluxe soft taco.
  • Do yourself a favority favor and make this IMMEDIATELY.
  • Side note – anything I add ancho chili peppers to is immediately better.  It’s got a spicy punch behind it, so go lightly if you’re scardy of the spice!
  • If I was overzealous, I would have made some cornbread croutons to put on top of this for a little more crunch!  If you’ve got spare cornbread laying around (Who has spare cornbread laying around…?), then go for it!

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Recipe Review: Chipotle Chicken Salad with Warm Cilantro Lime Quinoa

Check out all the fixin's!

Check out all the fixin’s!

I know the title of this recipe is totally a mouthful (haha, punny!).  But I wanted to include all the elements – because each one is as important as the next!  I’ll be the first to tell you, quinoa is weird.  It’s not quite rice, and it’s not couscous.  Why bother, right?  Because! PROTEIN! What quinoa lacks in normal english pronunciations, it makes up for with a big serving of protein in your salad!

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SWAG Salad – Strawberry, Walnut, Avocado, Goat Cheese!

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Look at all the Swag in this Salad.

The first seven days of September have been crazy busy.  So busy that I am working on homework from two weeks ago.  Or I should be – instead I’m writing this post for you all.  Why? Because this recipe is crazy easy.  I accidentally threw it together one day and it’s one of my go-to lunches during the week. I always have the ingredients on hand, and you can mix and match depending on what you have in your fridge!

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Chicken Gyro Pita Pockets

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Enjoying tzatziki at an outdoor picnic with my nanny family and 3-week-old manicure.

Taco Tuesday has been officially renamed.  To Tzatziki Tuesday.  I think the “T” in tzatziki might be silent.  We’re just going to go with it.  Because these chicken gyro (“yeer-ohs” according to this handy food pronunciation guide ) are BOMB DIGGITY.  And easy.  They’re the perfect I’m-doing-laundry-for-seven-hours-on-Sunday-so-I-should-just-marinate-something dish.  Okay, I really watched Scandal for 7 hours, but let’s pretend I was productive.

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