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!

 

World’s Best Pasta Salad

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I recently was able to visit my family in Minnesota over Memorial Day Weekend!  Wow, what a good time.  The trip started off dog-free, as Dan and I boarded our dogs at doggy day care for the first time (I was a total nervous dog-mom!).  After a short few flights, we landed in Minneapolis with beautiful weather and not a care in the world!

A few trip highlights: our walk around Lake Harriet with a delicious picnic afterward, the classic (and mandatory) trip to Mall of America, helping my parents replace their piano (!), and three home-cooked meals!  Including mahi-mahi, steaks, delicious burgers, and this ULTIMATE PASTA SALAD!  I grew up with my mom making this fantastic side dish almost every weekend during the summer.  There’s just something about it that screams warm weather and summer-all-around with the fresh veggies and Mediterranean flavors.

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I implore you to mix up this fantastic, Greek-inspired, vinegar-loving pasta for your next outdoor barbeque!  You and your guests will not be disappointed – is a true classic.

World's Best Pasta Salad
Author: 
Recipe type: Side Dish, Pasta
Cuisine: Mediterranean
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 8 servings
 
This classic, Mediterranean pasta salad is a fantastic side dish for barbecues and dinners at home over the summer! Keep in mind, these ingredients are measured "Sheila-style", which isn't exactly precise. Go with your gut!
Ingredients
  • 1 box whole wheat rotini pasta
  • ¼ cup olive oil, divided in half
  • ½ of a red, yellow, and green pepper diced
  • 1 heaping handful cherry tomatoes, cut in half
  • 1 heaping handful pitted kalamata olives, cut in half
  • ½ medium purple onion, diced
  • 1 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • 1 "dash" celery salt and garlic salt (about ½ tsp.)
  • 1 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tbsp. red wine vinegar, plus more to taste
  • Salt and Freshly ground black pepper to taste (about 1 tsp. each)
Instructions
  1. Boil the pasta according to the directions. Drain, toss with half the olive oil (2 tbsp.), and let chill in the fridge until close to meal time - you want it to be cold, so plan on having it in the fridge for about 1 hour.
  2. Prepare your vegetables - red, yellow, and green peppers, red onion, cherry tomatoes, and kalamata olives.
  3. Combine pasta with veggies, feta cheese spices, vinegars, and remaining olive oil (2 tbsp.).
  4. Taste and adjust as necessary - you want it to have a vinegary bite and plenty of pepper!

 

Mexican Street Corn

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It’s been a while!  Finals season got a little dicey with 5 final projects and 88 pages to write.  But that’s long gone and I have 6 (SIX!?!?) weeks before medical school starts back up again!

Mini life update:

  • I recently signed up for my “track”, which is the order you take the med school rotations.  I’m starting with Family Medicine in July, quickly followed by Ortho!  I’m leaning towards Ortho at this point, so I’m excited to see how the day-to-day life is.
  • My trip to Nicaragua is closely approaching – we’re heading down there for a week in July to set up clinics and help everyone who lives there.  I’ve heard great things about this trip and I’m beYOND excited.  I’m also successfully vaccinated for Hepatitis and Typhoid Fever.  Win!
  • Since my last post, Dan and I schlepped all our stuff to a rental house!  One month later, everything is pretty much put together and the dogs LOVE the backyard.  His parents got him a grill for his birthday….which means lots of summer grilling recipes coming your way!

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On that note, without further ado…I present you the most indulgent/easy/delicious/knock-your-socks-off side dish.  And of COURSE it’s from the fabulous Chrissy Teigan cookbook that Dan got me for my birthday (smart man).  I’ve made a few things out of there, and each one is better than the next!  This one might take the cake.

Fun fact about me: I had braces for 7…s-e-v-e-n….years.  So corn wasn’t exactly my best friend. However, sweet corn was on sale at the grocery store (Kroger for the win!) and it looked delicious so I wanted to try and whip something up for a Mother’s Day barbecue.  And nothing says “crowdpleaser” more than corn charred, swiped with mayo, rolled in a parmesan-cotija-spices combo, and squeezed with a lime.

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Do yourself and your grill-friends a favor and whip this up for all the sunny get togethers this summer!  It won’t disappoint.

Mexican Street Corn
Author: 
Recipe type: Side Dish, Veggie
Cuisine: Mexican
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 8 small pieces
 
This twist on classic grilled sweet corn was a serious crowd pleaser! One of many fantastic recipes from Chrissy Teigan's cookbook, Cravings.
Ingredients
  • 1 cup finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
  • 1 cup crumbled cotija cheese
  • 1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • 8 ears of corn, snapped in half
  • 2 tbsp. vegetable oil
  • 2 tsp. kosher salt
  • ⅓ cup mayonnaise
  • Cayenne pepper (or chili powder if you don't want spice)
  • ¼ cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  • Lime wedges for serving
Instructions
  1. Turn the grill on to medium heat. Allow to preheat for a bit.
  2. Combine the parmigiano, cotija, and black pepper on a large plate or baking sheet.
  3. Rub the corn and coat with vegetable oil. Season with salt.
  4. Cook on the grill, turning every few minutes, until each side is cooked and slightly charred (about 15 minutes total).
  5. Brush each warm piece with a thin layer of mayonnaise. Roll in the cheese mixture.
  6. Sprinkle with cayenne pepper/chili powder and cilantro.
  7. Serve warm with the lime wedges!