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!

 

Homemade Taco Seasoning

Hey there everyone!  I think spring has officially sprung!  We had some serious rainfall last week (48 straight hours!), but the sun has been shining this weekend, the temperature is rising, and flowers are blooming everywhere.  In the spirit of summer, we had a belated Cinco de Mayo celebration today.  Instead of rushing to the store for some supplies, I opted for homemade taco seasoning from the spices in my cabinet.

In a perfect world, all of those pre-made seasoning packs would be salt-free, but unfortunately that is not the case!  With this homemade seasoning, you’re cutting out massive amounts of sodium that you’d find in your favorite packs from the grocery store.  On top of that, you can adjust the heat as needed (just reduce the red pepper flakes and cayenne pepper!).

I’m excited for the week and even more excited for the meals to come…we’ve got curry chicken and Chinese lettuce wraps on the calendar!  Hopefully I can share them with you all soon.  I’m off to go eat some of these crunchy, delicious tacos with a side of Fool-Proof Guacamole and enjoy the sunshine!  Have a great Sunday 😀

Homemade Taco Seasoning
Author: 
Cuisine: Mexican
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 8 tacos
 
Skip the grocery store and make this homemade taco seasoning - packs a flavor punch! Homemade tacos are at your fingertips.
Ingredients
For the seasoning:
  • 5 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1.25 tsp. oregano
  • 1 tsp. red pepper flakes
  • 2.5 tsp. smoked paprika
  • 2.5 tsp. garlic powder
  • 2.5 tsp. cumin
  • 3.75 tsp. onion powder
  • 8.5 tsp. chili powder
  • 1.25 tsp. cayenne pepper
The rest...
  • 1 pound of ground turkey, beef, or chicken
  • 8 oz. can of tomato sauce
Instructions
  1. Combine all of your spices in a tupperware or mason jar for storage.
  2. Sauté 1 pound of ground turkey, beef, or chicken (your choice) in a saute pan until browned.
  3. Add 1 to 1.5 tbsp. of the seasoning mix with 1 cup of water and 8 oz. can of tomato sauce.
  4. Bring to a boil, then lower to a simmer and cook for 10 minutes or so. You want most of the liquid to be absorbed.
  5. Enjoy on tacos! Try different toppings like avocado, red onion, cilantro, lettuce, tomatoes, and shredded cheese.

 

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!

 

Strawberry Banana Protein Smoothie Bowl

Feel the Tropical Breeze!

Feel the Tropical Breeze!

This week I was feeling tired of my classic winter breakfast of peanut butter toast or oatmeal topped with cold milk – the way my dad used to make it when I was a kid, the ONLY way.  I had to introduce some fruit into my life and decided to go summer-style with a smoothie bowl.  Topped with peanut butter and chocolate OBVIIIOUSLY.

I know half the country is stuck in their house – a perfect reason to bring out the frozen fruit in the back of your freezer you’ve been *meaning* to bake into a pie all year.  I used strawberries and bananas, but any fruit combinations will do.  Add in a handful of spinach if you’re feeling healthy-ambitious.  I’m thinking a blueberry mango bowl is in my very very near future….

The protein powder and Greek yogurt will keep you feeling full and the frozen fruit factor makes this heavier than a quick drink.  If you haven’t any protein powder, add extra Greek yogurt for your protein boost.  And cacao nibs are optional – but maybe sprinkle some chocolate chips on there 😉  I gotta say, the melty peanut butter makes all the difference though!

Hope you’re enjoying your weekend – rain, snow, or sun!

Strawberry Banana Protein Smoothie Bowl
Author: 
Recipe type: Breakfast, Smoothie
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 1 serving
 
Whip up this smoothie bowl for a light lunch or a filling breakfast. It'll make you dream of summer weather!
Ingredients
  • 1 banana, frozen
  • 1 handful strawberry slices, frozen
  • 1 scoop vanilla protein powder
  • 1 cup cashew milk (Or your milk of choice)
  • ¼ cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 tbsp. natural peanut butter
  • 1 tbsp. cacao nibs
Instructions
  1. Combine banana, strawberries, protein powder, milk, and Greek yogurt in a blender. Blend until smooth and well-mixed.
  2. Put peanut butter in microwave for 15 seconds, or until melty. Be sure not to overcook or it'll turn into a weird texture
  3. Pour into a bowl. Top with peanut butter and cacao nibs.

 

Cajun Seared Salmon with Asian Spiralized Salad

How FRESH and HEALTHY!

How FRESH and HEALTHY!

Lately I’ve been strugglin’ with getting into a serious routine.  Which is a *Grade A Problem* because soon I’ll be back in medical school, doing rotations, and my life schedule is largely determined by -NOT- me.  AKA…I show up no matter what day and what time if the doctors need me to help out.  Don’t get me wrong!  I’m super excited – I miss medicine.  Which is good or else I totally picked the wrong profession.

BUT I feel like I need to train myself back into being super efficient.  Which means waking up early to go to the gym before the day starts, Sunday food prep days, assembly line laundry sessions, you catch my drift?  Any tricks of the trade would be greatly appreciated!  Since I can’t live off of Easy Mac, I’ve got to gather an arsenal of quick, easy, healthy meals I can make after a 12 hour shift.  And what’s quicker and easier and healthier than salmon and a bomb-diggity-not-boring salad?  NOTHING!

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Healthy Zucchini Noodle Ramen

Delicious nutritious soup - a remake of an old classic!

Delicious nutritious soup – a remake of an old classic!

I’ve had this a draft of this recipe written since September – but for various reasons I haven’t posted it yet.  The only pictures I had were in a purple bowl and I’ve decided purple is an unappetizing color.  I thought people would find the egg + soup combination strange.  Using the college, orange-wrapped noodles seemed like cheating.  But, *ALAS*!  I have found just the tweak this recipe needed!

I finally bought a spiralizer and have completely fell in love.  I started with the classic spiralized veggie – ZUCCHINI!  The “zoodles” ended up great – they didn’t get mushy in the soup and added a *crunch* component to the soothing broth that turned out really well.  I couldn’t be happier!  And now I can’t stop spiralizing.  I couldn’t fall asleep last night because I was trying to come up with something to spiralize for breakfast — Update: I still haven’t thought of anything.

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Chicken Noodle Soup

Steaming soup with crunchy crackers

Steaming soup with crunchy crackers

Thanksgiving is over and the winter holidays are in full swing! As we all know so well, with the holidays come cookies, cakes, and Christmassy cocktails.  In between the dinner parties and bring-your-own-wine get togethers, it’s important to try and stay on track with eating healthy, nutritious food.  Otherwise, things can go haywire – fast!

One of my go-to magazines for day to day cooking is Cooking Light.  They have a TON of easy recipes for weeknights, sweet treats, and even comfort food like macaroni and cheese in every issue.  In fact, I actually subscribed to it and get so excited when it comes in the mail – total old school style.  In their November issue, they had this delicious, easy chicken noodle soup and I had to try it.

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Healthy, Slow Cooker Beef Stew

Hearty Stew!

Hearty Stew!

Despite a week of crazy November weather – 70’s!? – we’re back to classic fall.  Rainy, cold, and cloudy.  Call me crazy, but at this point, I can’t wait for it to snow.  Plus, I can’t wait for Gino to see his first snowflakes!  Knowing him, he’s going to go nuts.  No better time to try making beef stew than now – especially when your slow cooker does all the heavy lifting.

If you’re like me, the holidays are a time for cheat meals galore.  I don’t skip a single dish at Thanksgiving, and no pie dish goes unturned.  I like to stay healthy on days surrounding the holidays, and beef stew is the perfect way to do it.  Hearty, filling, but low on calories and high on protein, this dish will keep you full all afternoon.

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Easy, Healthy “Bi Bim Bop”

Finished, Delicious Bi Bim Bop!

Finished, Delicious Bi Bim Bop!

I’m sure when everyone looks back on their college years, they have a few “Woulda, Coulda, Shoulda” moments.  For example, I wish I woulda snuck onto the Big House field like a few of my senior year companions.  I shoulda went to a Michigan hockey game.  I wish I coulda attend a few more biology classes – that would have helped during medical school.

But one of my biggest regrets is never going to the small Korean restaurant below my apartment sophomore year.  Every day, multiple times, I’d walk by Kang’s Korean Restaurant with its giant red sign.  My roommate, Hannah, LOVED Kang’s.  She’d frequent the restaurant, bringing back leftovers that smelled delicious.  But I never once took her word for it.  And I seriously regret it.

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