Salads

Recipe—Fiesta Salad

When most people think of salads they think of a big pile of greens topped with a handful of other veggies and dressing. Well this is not your ordinary salad. It consists of avocados, tomato, cilantro, and a sweet onion all tossed in a lime olive oil dressing. No lettuce here! I always make this with my Rio Grande Spice Rub New York Steaks and Cornbread Muffins. Seriously amazing! I also love this recipe with a nice piece of grilled fish. This simple salad is made up of fresh summer ingredients and is so light, and refreshing. Perfect for those nights you want a quick and easy side dish but just don’t want to fire up the oven.

Note: Since avocados can become mushy and brown quickly, wait to add the avocadoes until right before serving.

INGREDIENTS
2 c cherry tomatoes, cut in half OR 2 large tomatoes, chopped
1/2 sweet onion, chopped
1/4 c cilantro, chopped
kosher salt to taste
1/4 c olive oil
1/4 c lime juice
2 avocados, chopped (see note above)

STEPS

  • In a medium bowl combine the tomatoes, onion, cilantro, salt, olive oil, and lime juice. Toss to combine.
  • Add the avocado last and gently stir it in.
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Dinners

Recipe—Low Cal Cincinnati Chili

 

It’s the dreaded time of year where I make an effort to eat healthier with the hopes I can fit into the same shorts I was wearing last year. Don’t get me wrong, I love spring and summer, it is just such a disappointment when you go to put on your super cute shorts and they just don’t quite fit like they did the last summer. Blah.

This year I am determined to get better at cooking healthier meals that I, as well as my family, want to eat. I find that I frequently get into salad ruts. I am trying to get it out of my head that you can eat more than salads and still eat healthy and satisfying meals. So one thing I have been doing is substituting lean ground turkey and chicken for beef in more recipes. I made this Cincinnati chili with ground turkey and it turned out amazing. My husband and son didn’t even know it wasn’t beef. Point for mom!

The meat is cooked in so many spices that no one would know it wasn’t beef unless you told them. I love that this recipe is super flavorful and also satisfying and that it makes the whole kitchen smell amazing! Plus the leftovers for the next two days made awesome lunches at less than 450 calories a pop. #winning

Note: I am not from Cincinnati, nor have I ever had authentic Cincinnati chili. I know there are individuals who are very particular about their Cincinnati chili and how it is prepared. I am not claiming this as “authentic” Cincinnati chili, I am just claiming this to be a damn good recipe.

INGREDIENTS

2 tsp olive oil
1 lb ground turkey
1 tbsp garlic, minced
1 onion, chopped (divided)
15 oz can diced tomatoes
15 oz can kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 1/2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tbsp red wine vinegar
1 tbsp chili powder
1/2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 c water
spaghetti noodles
cheddar cheese, shredded

STEPS

  • In a large pot heat olive oil over medium-high heat.
  • Place the ground turkey in the pot and cook for about 8–10 minutes making sure to break up the chunks with a spatula.
  • Add in most of the chopped onion and cook for 3–4 minutes. (Note: Save a couple tablespoons of the onion for garnish.)
  • Once the onion has had a chance to cook add in the tomatoes, beans, Worcestershire sauce, red wine vinegar, chili powder, unsweetened cocoa powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, cumin, black pepper, cayenne pepper, and water.
  • Bring the liquid to a boil and then reduce heat to a simmer.
  • Partially cover the pot and simmer for 45 minutes making sure to stir occasionally.
  • Add water as needed to keep the mixture “saucy.”
  • Serve the sauce over cooked noodles and garnish with shredded cheddar and some chopped onions.
Dinners

Recipe—Lamb Meatballs Over Couscous with Feta

Some of you may remember from my Lamburger post quite some time ago about my dad living next to a sheep farm. (If not, go check it out, seriously amazing recipe and a fun little story.)

Well as a house-warming gift my incredible dad and stepmom gave us an ice chest full of all sorts of wonderful cuts of lamb and even some pork! That is probably the best and most practical housewarming gift you could give a person right? Okay, maybe the best housewarming gift you could give a foodie. Daddy knows me all too well. Thankfully there was lots of ground lamb in the mix so I have been able to make this awesome dish a couple of times recently.

The lamb meatballs have a super unique flavor with the chopped up bits of apricot which keeps them super moist. I serve them over a bed of couscous with a little Athens salad made up of cucumber, tomatoes, and red onion. I love how light and refreshing the entire meal is! Seriously a fave recipe of mine and it just looks so darn pretty on the plate! Plus this recipe takes less than 25 minutes to make. #winning

INGREDIENTS
1 lb ground lamb
1/3 c dried apricots, chopped
1/2 tsp coriander
1 small red onion, half finely chopped and half thinly sliced
kosher salt and pepper
1 cup couscous
4 tbsp olive oil
4 tbsp lemon juice
2 tomatoes, sliced
1/2 cucumber, sliced
1/2 feta, crumbled

STEPS

  • Turn the oven on to broil.
  • In a bowl combine the ground lamb, apricots, coriander, the finely chopped red onion, salt, and pepper and mix until well combined,
  • Form the meat into 1 1/4″ balls and place them in a baking dish.
  • Place the dish in the oven on the middle rack and cook for 8–10 minutes.
  • While the lamb meatballs are cooking, prepare the couscous per package instructions.
  • In a small bowl whisk together the olive oil, lemon juice, and some salt and pepper.
  • Once the meatballs are couscous are done it’s time to plate.
  • Place a nice size scoop of the couscous in the center of the plate and top with 3–5 meatballs.
  • Place the sliced tomatoes, cucumber, and red onion on the plate next to the couscous.
  • Drizzle the lemon olive oil dressing over everything on the plate and then finish off with the crumbled feta cheese.
  • Dinner is ready to serve!

Recipe adapted from Real Simple.

Salads, Side Dishes

Recipe—Asparagus and Feta Salad

California is one of the leading producers of asparagus in the United Stated. Asparagus is so big in California that the city of Stockton even throws an entire festival in honor of asparagus. True story! I grew up eating asparagus on a regular basis. (By the way, I am 33 and still crack up that it gives you stinky pee. I don’t think I will ever grow up.) I could eat asparagus every day. There are just so many ways to prepare it but I think I have found my favorite way to eat the lovely green spears, grilled asparagus and feta salad. Man this was awesome! My husband and I devoured the whole bowl so if you are cooking for more than 2 people just go ahead and double or triple the recipe. Trust me you will eat it all! There was just so much flavor in the salad and it was so light and refreshing. Perfect for spring or summer. We just served it with a simple grilled chicken breast seasoned with nothing more than salt and pepper and it was the perfect complement. This my friends, is good eating.

Want to know more about asparagus? Then check out this old post and you will be an asparagus pro!

INGREDIENTS
1 bunch thick asparagus, ends trimmed
3 tbsp olive oil, divided
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp pepper
zest from one lemon
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/2 c crumbled feta cheese

STEPS

  • Preheat the grill to about 325º.
  • Place the asparagus in a baking dish and coat with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil and then season with salt and pepper.
  • Place the asparagus on the grille making sure that they are perpendicular to the grates so that they don’t slip through.
  • Close the grill and cook for 3 minutes.
  • roll the asparagus over and cook for another 3 minutes.
  • Remove the asparagus and transfer to a cutting board.
  • Allow the asparagus to cool for 5–10 minutes.
  • Cut the spears into 1–2” pieces.
  • Place the cut asparagus into a medium bowl and toss with the remaining tablespoon of olive oil, lemon zest, lemon juice, and half of the feta.
  • Top the salad with the remaining asparagus and serve warm or at room temperature.

Recipe adapted from Once Upon a Chef.

Dinners, Sandwiches

Recipe—Pork Tenderloin Sammy with Red Cabbage Coleslaw and Sriracha Sauce

Do you like tender flavor packed pork tenderloin? Do you like sandwiches? Do you like easy meals that require very little effort? How about the perfect balance of sweet and spicy with a nice little crunch? If you answered yes to all of these questions then I have the PERFECT sandwich for you! This has got to be the best sandwich I have had in a very long time. The meat has an incredible flavor and goes so well with the crunchy, slightly sweet, and super simple coleslaw and the Sriracha sauce is just the icing on the sammy. I could seriously eat these all day every day! I made my sandwiches meal size but I think this would be the perfect slider sandwich next time I am entertaining a group of guests. For lunch the next day I just took the leftover sliced meat, topped it with the coleslaw and added a drizzle of the sauce. It was a perfect low carb meal sans bun and the flavors just marinated into the meat making it even better than the night before. Seriously, make this sandwich. Your mind will be blown!

Note: When I get the sealed two pound pork tenderloin at our local store there is actually two small ones in the package. These worked perfectly! If you have one big one you may need to cook it for closer to 40 minutes.

INGREDIENTS
6 c red cabbage, shredded
1/2 c green onions, chopped
1/2 c mayonnaise
2 tbsp milk
kosher salt
pepper
2 lb pork tenderloin
3 tbsp brown sugar
2 tbsp dark chili powder
2 tsp cumin
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
1/4 c olive oil
4–6 rolls
Sriracha sauce

STEPS

  • Place the shredded red cabbage and green onions in a large bowl.
  • In a small bowl whisk together the mayonnaise, milk, and some salt and pepper.
  • Pour the dressing over the cabbage and green onions and mix well.
  • Place the coleslaw in the fridge and keep cold until ready to serve.
  • Preheat oven to 375º.
  • Season the pork tenderloins with kosher salt and pepper.
  • Place the brown sugar, chili powder, cumin, garlic powder, and onion powder in a large Zip Loc bag and shake to mix.
  • Place the pork loin in the bag and toss to coat.
  • Add the olive oil to the bag and toss to coat.
  • Place the seasoned pork loin in a roasting pan or glass pyrex.
  • Bake for 30 minutes or until a thermometer reads 145º.
  • Remove the pork from the oven and allow it to rest for 10 minutes.
  • While the pork is resting place the rolls in the oven to warm and lightly toast them.
  • After the pork has rested slice it thinly.
  • Place several slices of the pork on each bun bottom, top with a generous amount of coleslaw, drizzle with the Sriracha sauce, and add the bun tops.
  • Chow down!

Recipe adapted from She Knows.

Appetizers, Side Dishes, Snacks

Recipe—Roasted Carrot Fries

A couple of weeks back we got these GORGEOUS rainbow carrots in our box of organic produce and when my son saw them he honestly didn’t believe me that they were carrots.  They ranged from a deep purple to red and even white. They were just too pretty to get tossed into a salad or cooked any ordinary way. I wanted these to stand on their own. I know I have mentioned in many previous posts that I am always looking for fun and healthy after school snacks for my little man so we decided to make roasted carrot fries. They were awesome! I just sliced, baked, and served them with a little side of ranch (because every 3 year old loves to dip their food in sauce).  These were super quick and a wonderful way to enjoy these rainbow carrots.

INGREDIENTS
4–5 large carrots (I used rainbow carrots)
olive oil for drizzling
salt
ranch for dipping (optional)

STEPS

  • Preheat oven to 425º.
  • Carefully cut the carrots into “fry sized” pieces.
  • Place the carrots on a parchment paper lined baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil.
  • Toss the carrots to coat and season with salt.
  • Bake the carrots for 15–18 minutes or until crisp tender, flipping once halfway through cooking.
  • Remove from oven and transfer to a serving dish or plate.
  • Serve with a side of your favorite dressing or enjoy all on their own.
Dinners

Recipe—Caribbean Baked Chicken with Mango

While there is nothing quite like being on a tropical island getaway, there are ways you can bring the tropical flavors to your very own kitchen. This easy baked chicken recipe combines some great jerk flavors with the sweetness of mango, refreshing flavor of cilantro, and a little bite of jalapeno. Spicy and sweet are classic flavors in Caribbean dishes. This recipe is flavor packed and light, a dinner perfect for the warm summer months. Get lost in your own little island getaway with this fantastic recipe.

INGREDIENTS
2 jalapenos, deseeded and deveined
1 white onion
1 tbsp garlic minced
1 slice of ginger, 1/2″ thick
6 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp white wine vinegar
1 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp allspice
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
4 boneless skinless chicken breast
1 mango, peeled and chopped
1/4 c red onion, diced
2 tbsp cilantro, chopped

STEPS

  • Preheat oven to 450º.
  • In a blender or food processor combine the pepper, white onion, garlic, ginger, olive oil, vinegar, thyme, allspice, black pepper, salt, cinnamon, and cayenne pepper.
  • Process the ingredients until smooth, adding more olive oil if needed.
  • Spread the blended pepper mixture over both sides of the chicken.
  • Place the chicken in a large greased baking dish and top with any remaining pepper mixture.
  • Bake for 35 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through.
  • Transfer the chicken to plates and top each with some diced mango, red onion, and cilantro.