Winter Kale Salad with a Maple Vinaigrette

A hearty kale salad with a 4-ingredient maple vinaigrette. This salad is simple, yet has many flavors and textures that will keep you satisfied until you’re ready to devour that Valentine’s Day candy. And why not eat that whole box? You just ate a salad!

20150130-204131-74491501.jpgI first discovered a version of this salad on Cookie and Kate, who adapted it from the Smitten Kitchen Cookbook. I was looking for an easy, non-oven-using vegetable recipe to serve at my Mom’s Thanksgiving. She makes so many delicious dishes that I knew I couldn’t take up any oven space. I also needed to make most of it hours before so I wouldn’t get in the way and I would be free to help her. Kale seemed like a good choice, since it is such a hearty green, doesn’t wilt like lettuce or baby spinach and can be prepared hours before eating. The only potential issue with kale is that I knew I was taking a huge risk serving kale at my family’s Thanksgiving. I have a reputation of bringing food that isn’t traditional enough on Thanksgiving. A few years ago I brought my Easy Thai Coconut Butternut Squash Soup and most of my family revolted against it. Some refused to even try it. They reacted to it as if I was I was asking: “would like to try this gum I scraped off the bottom of my shoe?” So you can imagine, I didn’t have high hopes for most of my family to even try the kale salad. But to my surprise, everyone LOVED it.  They said the maple vinaigrette was their favorite part! I was hoping for leftovers, but there were none left! What a compliment.

Winter Kale Salad with a maple vinaigrette

That’s right. You heard it. On Thanksgiving, where we have 3 types of stuffings, 20lbs of turkey, roasted crispy potatoes and about 10 other dishes, this very kale salad was eaten up. If that doesn’t convince you to make this, I don’t know what will.

dressing and apples2I’ve adapted this recipe slightly since Thanksgiving. Since it has been SO COLD in Boston (and we’re buried under 40 inches of snow, no biggie), I’ve taken to wilting the kale first. It warms it, and I feel like it’s much more fitting for winter now. You can make this raw or wilted. Whatever tickles your fancy.

before after kale

Left: Before wilting. Right: After wilting

Just in case you are not sold yet, let me briefly elaborate on why this salad is so great. The maple syrup in the vinaigrette brings a little sweetness that tempers the bitterness of the crunchy radishes and the toughness of the kale. The granny smith apple is tart and juicy while the goat cheese adds some creamy decadence. Finally the salad is finished off with toasted walnuts for a nutty crunch and some protein. Bam. All the flavors you would ever want in a salad.

Winter Kale Salad radish.jpg

Kale chips are overrated. Make a kale salad.

 

Winter Kale SaladRecipe: Winter Kale Salad with a Maple Vinaigrette

 Serves: 4-6

Ingredients:

Kale Salad

  • 1 Bunch of Kale
  • 4-6 radishes, sliced thin
  • 1 Granny smith apple, cored and chopped
  • ½ cup of walnuts
  • Lots of goat cheese (2-3oz)

Maple Vinaigrette

  • 4 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons of pure maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons of red wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons of Dijon mustard
  • Salt, to taste

Instructions

1. Toast the walnuts: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Place the walnuts on a cookie sheet in a single layer. Bake at 350F for 8-10 minutes. Allow the walnuts to cool before adding to the salad. Walnuts can be toasted up to a week before. Store toasted, cooled walnuts in an airtight container.

2. Wilt the Kale: Rip off the leaves from the ribs. Tear the leaves into bite size pieces (or however large you like them) and rinse well with water. With the kale leaves still wet from the water, add them to a large pot with a lid. Wilt the kale leaves with a pinch of salt on medium heat. Stir the kale about every 1-2 minutes to wilt all the leaves evenly and leaving the top on the pot when not stirring. I usually wilt the kale for about 3-4 minutes or until kale has become a bright green color and has become fragrant (See picture in the post). Time and amount of water will depend on how much kale you are wilting and how big the pot is.  The small amount of kale I have in the picture only took 1 minute to wilt (2 handfuls of kale leaves) and no extra water except what was on the kale to rinse. You may need to add a little more water if it dries up before your kale is wilted.  Be careful not to add too much water or cook it too long, or your kale will be super chewy.  After kale is wilted, drain any extra water and squeeze the kale to remove excess water before adding kale to a large bowl and set aside.*

3. Make the dressing: In a small bowl add olive oil, maple syrup, red wine vinegar and Dijon mustard. Whisk with a fork until well combined.

4. Put it all together: Dress the salad and let the leaves soak up the dressing about 10-15 minutes before serving. Top with radishes, apples goat cheese and walnuts.  Sprinkle with a pinch of salt, if desired.

*Another way I have also cooked the kale for this salad is to saute with a little bit oil (olive or vegetable) in a non-stick skillet for a few minutes until it has softened a bit (3-4 minutes).  The original recipe serves the kale salad raw. I have made this raw and it is delicious! Head over to Cookie and Kate to get good tips on how to prep raw kale.

Recipe sources: Maple Vinaigrette deliciousinadash.wordpress.com

Kale salad adapted from Cookie and Kate

Looking for some more great vegetarian recipes?

Breakfast Grilled Cheese

Egg Apple and cheese sandwichMy taller half and I eat this sandwich at least once a week.

Spanish Tortilla with Baby Spinach and Red Bell Pepper

Spanish TortillaA delicious egg and potato dish.  A spin on the traditional Spanish Tortilla.

Spinach and Broccoli Artichoke dip

Spinach and Broccoli Artichoke dipMy favorite dip.  Perfect for watching movies and trashy tv shoes when you’re snowed in.  It’s made with vegetables and Greek yogurt – so it’s totally good for you.

Advertisements

Strawberry-Glazed Salmon

Sweet, juicy and baked with berry goodness! A healthy and delicious dinner that is on the table in 30 minutes.  Delicious dinner in a Dash!

20140812-085621-32181434.jpg

Are you ready for a strawberry treat that you can eat for dinner?  If you have eaten salmon before, you may have had maple-glazed salmon, orange-glazed salmon or honey-glazed salmon.  Allow me to introduce you to their sweet, juicy, slightly spicy, delicious and much better looking cousin, Strawberry-glazed salmon. 

20140812-085622-32182184.jpg

This salmon is made with a quick homemade strawberry glaze that is studded with garlic, crushed red pepper flakes and a touch of salt. Bake at 400 for about 20 minutes (the cooking time may vary depending on how thick the salmon is) and enjoy!

This summer has been packed with fun.  I’ve been to two beautiful, fun weddings, vacationed with my family + adorable nieces and nephew on Cape Cod (Happy was there!) and moved in with my Taller-half!  One thing I didn’t get to do this summer was go strawberry picking. But I made up for it by buying strawberries by the 3lbs and made this strawberry-glazed salmon 3 TIMES in two weeks.  Yeah, it’s that good.

I also made a strawberry cucumber salad with a balsamic lime vinaigrette to go along with it. (recipe coming soon!)

20140812-085619-32179837.jpg

Did you miss all the strawberries this season?  No worries, you can use frozen berries for this too! Never cooked fish before?  This is the time to start! This recipe is perfect for beginners and can be enjoyed by all.

20140812-085623-32183744.jpg

This simple recipe starts by preparing the glaze. This glaze is easy and quick and makes all the difference! In a small saucepan, add sliced strawberries, water, sugar, garlic, salt and crushed red pepper flakes. Cook this on low heat for about 10 minutes, until all the sugar is dissolved.  I used raw sugar, but you can use white sugar or even brown sugar.

20140812-085623-32183029.jpg

Place salmon in a baking dish and carefully pour the hot strawberry glaze over the salmon. Note: The baking dish I used below (9×13 inch) here is too big and the glaze will burn a bit – this can be avoided by adding a little water to the pan halfway through baking. Two pieces of salmon (~5-7oz each) fit nicely in a square 8×8 inch pan.

Strawberrry glazed salmon.jpgBake salmon for 20 minutes, or until salmon is flaky.  If you are not sure you can use a meat thermometer to measure the internal temperature of the thickest portion.  It should read 140F/60C

20140812-085620-32180537.jpg

Serve with a salad and enjoy!  Strawberry goodness.  Healthy and light.  It’s the perfect end of summer meal.

Recipe: Strawberry-glazed salmon

Serves: 2 (This recipe can easily be doubled, tripled…)

Time: 30 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 6 strawberries, sliced
  • 2 tablespoons of raw sugar (white granulated sugar or brown sugar can  be substituted)
  • 1 tablespoon of water
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • 1/8 teaspoon of crushed red pepper flakes
  • sprinkle of salt
  • 2 skinless salmon fillets (5-8 oz each)

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F

Spray an 8×8 inch baking dish with non-stick cooking spray and set aside

Make the Strawberry Glaze:
In a small saucepan, add the strawberries, sugar, water, garlic, salt and crushed red pepper flakes.  Cook on low heat, stirring frequently until all the sugar is dissolved and the strawberries are soft, about 10 minutes.  This mixture can burn easily, so be sure to keep an eye on it.

Place salmon in prepared baking dish.  Carefully add hot strawberry glaze over the salmon. Using a spoon, gently spread and press the glaze on the salmon.

Bake at 450 degrees F for 20 minutes** (time will depend on the size and thickness of the fillets) or until salmon is opaque throughout and flaky.  You can also use a meat thermometer to measure the internal temperature of the thickest part of the fish.  The temperature should be 140F or 60C.

Serve the salmon warm.  Salt and pepper the salmon, to taste.

**About halfway through cooking, check on the fish.  If the pan is too large, the glaze will burn.  If this is happening, just add a little water to the dish, enough to make a very thin layer on the bottom.  This will prevent burning and de-glaze the dish.  

*** The salmon can be served with more glaze on top.  Just double the glaze recipe and upon serving,  top with more warm glaze.

Easy S’mores Cookie Bars

Happy Valentine’s Day! Time to mix it up with a sweet treat!

20140213-073459.jpgI LOVE s’mores. They’re gooey and chocolatey.  The flavor combination of marshmallow, chocolate and graham is one my favorites.  I’ll eat anything s’mores – s’mores ice cream, s’mores cake, s’mores candy, s’mores cereal (remember Smorz?!)… you get the idea.  There is just something about toasty marshmallows, melty chocolate and graham cracker that just make the perfect dessert for me. MMMmmm! My mouth is watering just thinking about these cookie bars!

20140210-194227.jpgThese bars are made with Biscoff spread, aka cookie butter.  If you have never tried Biscoff, it is a creamy spread made from Belgian Biscoff cookies – which are shortbread cookies that have a hint of graham taste mixed with a little cinnamon.  I know this sounds weird, a creamy spread made from cookies, but it’s not.  It’s the most delicious thing that comes in a jar, which is why I had to make some treats with it.  1. To make a DELICIOUS dessert 2. To use it up so I wouldn’t keep eating it straight out the jar with a spoon.  ACK!  I usually have pretty good self control, but this is my kryptonite.  Seriously.

20140213-073411.jpg

And if you’re wondering, yes, I ate this whole spoonful after I took the photo.

These bars are so great not only because they’re SO moist, chewy, toasty marshmallow-y and chocolatey, but because they’re super simple to put together! No mixer is needed!  AND, unlike standard S’mores, no individual serving assembly required – No fighting over the fire to roast your marshmallows and no sticky fingers.  You’re welcome.

Definitely Delicious in a DASH!

20140210-194300.jpg1. Combine all the wet ingredients and then stir in the Biscoff spread (Cookie Butter) 2. Add in the dry ingredients and 3. Fold in until well combined 4. Add in the chocolate chips and marshmallows 5. Toss it all in a baking dish lined with parchment paper 6. Smoosh it down and throw a few more marshmallows on top.  Then pop it in the oven – and you are 25 minutes away from Heaven.

Make this for your sweety for Valentines Day. Or better yet, Treat Yo Self!

20140213-071432.jpgMy taller half loves cheesecake – so I made him some special cheesecake bars for Valentine’s Day (stay tuned for the recipe!), but I’ll be making THESE for myself. Who says you can’t have a whole 8×8 pan of cookie bars for yourself?

20140213-070511.jpg

Stretchy, toasty marshmallow, and melty chocolate with a chewy, moist graham center.  Yep. make these for yourself.

20140210-194405.jpg

Happy Valentine’s Day, YOU. Wonderful, Beautiful YOU.

Recipe: Easy S’mores Cookie Bars20140213-073459.jpg

Yield: 16 bars

Ingredients

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 5 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 cup dark brown sugar, packed
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup Biscoff spread (or Trader Joe’s Cookie Butter)
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 cup of mini marshmallows + an extra handful for the top

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350F degrees. Line a 8×8 baking pan with parchment paper or spray with nonstick spray
  2. In a medium bowl, stir together the dry ingredients –  flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt and set aside
  3. In a large bowl, combine the melted butter and brown sugar together until combined and then add the eggs and the vanilla. Stir in the Biscoff spread. Stir until mixture is well combined
  4. Fold the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. Do not over mix – I usually fold with a rubber spatula to ensure that I don’t overmix.  The batter will be very thick.
  5. Fold in the chocolate chips and marshmallows and “dump” the batter into a prepared baking dish.  Then press down the batter so that it is even throughout the baking dish and top with reserved marshmallows.  Gently press down the marshmallows.
  6. Bake for about 25-35 minutes. The bars will appear very soft and look under done but they will firm up as they cool. Allow the bars to cool completely- about 3 hours – before cutting into squares. *I know this is TORTUROUS but if you don’t wait, they will be too mushy and fall apart and you’ll need a spoon.  Totally feel free to eat them with a spoon 🙂

Cookie bars stay fresh for a week when stored in a sealed container at room temperature.

Enjoy!

Easy Thai Coconut Butternut Squash Soup

Happy New Year! Time to celebrate with some fancy soup!

20131223-092348.jpg

Although this may look super fancy, this is hands down the most flavorful and easiest soup I have ever made. And by the end of this post, I am going to convince you of that.  It is creamy, spicy and slightly sweet and you even get to top it with a little toasted coconut.  Fancy.  If you love Thai flavors, you will LOVE this soup.  Coconut milk makes the soup creamy, butternut squash makes it healthy to eat all that coconut milk AND red Thai curry paste makes it spicy! Add a little apple for some sweetness and you have THE BEST SOUP.  I even made it as a Christmas present for my Aunts upon request!

20131223-092437.jpgI know there are tons of butternut squash soup recipes out there. So, you’re probably wondering: “what makes this soup so damn special?”   Well, my recipe calls for ingredients that most people usually have.  It only requires 1 fancy-ish ingredient – Red Thai Curry paste – and this can be kept in your fridge for a long time. So you buy it once and can use it throughout the year.  The only additional fresh ingredients (besides the squash) you need you probably already have in your kitchen: onion, garlic and apple.  Everything else keeps, so you can make this soup whenever you buy a butternut squash!

What is the secret to the super flavor in this easy soup?  Freshly roasted butternut squash!

Before I started making this soup last year, I was TERRIFIED of roasting my own squash.  Those big, hunky vegetables look so intimidating in the grocery store, don’t they?  FEAR NOT my friend.  I am here to tell you – YOU CAN DO IT!

And I’m showing you exactly how.

20131223-092401.jpg

Steps for roasting your butternut squash. 1. Slice open. 2. scoop out seeds 3.Brush oil and place cut side down on baking sheet lined with aluminum foil (for easy cleanup). The 4th photo is what the squash looks like when it is done roasting!

Slice the butternut squash in half, lengthwise on a cutting board (carefully!).  I usually start to cut at the fat end, since it is easier to cut through the part where the seeds are. Once halved, scoop out the seeds and save them for later!  (You can roast the seeds and salt them -they are delicious!) After your squash is cleaned out, brush a tablespoon of oil (canola, olive, or vegetable – whatever) on the flesh of each half and place flesh side down on an aluminum foil lined baking sheet (for easy cleanup!). Bake at 400 degrees F for about 45 minutes.  There.  Done.  That’s roasting your own squash.  Easy, right? You can do this days in advance and then making the soup will only take 20 minutes!

If you are roasting the squash and making the soup the same day, then while the squash is roasting, get started on the rest of the soup.  Add some oil, garlic, onion and peeled and chopped apple to the pot. Saute for a few minutes then add the ginger and the red curry paste. Saute for a few minutes  Then add the liquids and the roasted squash – simmer for at least 10 minutes, puree with an immersion blender or blend in batches and done!

20131223-092408.jpgYUM! Sweet, Savory, Coconut-y goodness!

20131223-092420.jpgWarms you and fills you up!

20131223-092430.jpgGo make some right now!!!

20131223-092514.jpgRecipe: Easy Thai Coconut Butternut Squash Soup

Makes about 10 cups (Ten 8oz servings)

Squash roasting time: 45 minutes

Prep time: 10 minutes

Soup cook time: 15 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1 large butternut squash
  • 2 tablespoons of oil, divided (olive, vegetable, or canola)
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 small apple, peeled and chopped (I used Macintosh but any soft, sweet apple will do.  Don’t use granny smith – too tart)
  • 2 teaspoons of ground ginger (or 1 tablespoon of freshly grated ginger)
  • 2 heaping teaspoons of Thai red curry paste (more or less depending on your spice preference)
  • 32oz chicken broth (or vegetable broth – to make it vegan/vegetarian)
  • 1 can (14-ounce) coconut milk (I usually use light coconut milk)
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Toasted sweetened shredded coconut, for serving – optional (but highly recommended!)

Instructions:

  • Roast the Butternut Squash (This can be done days in advance)                            Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Halve squash lengthwise and scrape out all the seeds and stringy stuff (Save seeds for roasting later).  Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil, brush the cut flesh with about 1 tablespoon of oil, and place flesh side down on foil. Roast squash until it is very soft – depending on the size about 45 minutes to an hour.  Allow Squash to cool for about 10 minutes and then scoop flesh out of the peel into a bowl.  Use immediately in soup, or place into a sealed container and refrigerate for about a week or freeze up to 2 months.
  • Make the Soup. (While the squash is roasting-if doing this in one day)                    In a large pot, add the remaining tablespoon of oil, onion, garlic and peeled apple and sauté on medium heat for about 3 minutes, or until onions are soft.  Add Thai red curry paste and ginger and stir briskly for about 30 seconds.  Next add the broth, coconut milk and the roasted squash and simmer for at least 10 minutes.  If I have the time I like to simmer for 30 minutes and even more if I get busy and forget about it. 

Purée soup with an immersion blender (or in batches in a blender or food processor) – and serve!

For serving: Optional (but highly recommended) — Top soup with toasted sweetened shredded coconut (toast shredded coconut on a baking sheet in oven at 400F for 2 minutes (be sure to watch so it doesn’t burn!) Or toast the shredded coconut it in your microwave!

This soup makes great leftovers!  It tastes even better the next day.  Keep leftover soup in a sealed container in the fridge for a week(ish).

Seriously, go make some right now!!

20131223-092456.jpg

Curried Apple Tuna Salad

How about an apple and some tuna for lunch?

20131028-205956.jpg

How about we put them together.  On a sandwich. With some spice. Yum!

I’m constantly on the look out for new lunch recipes.  I ALWAYS bring my lunch to work because I hate buying lunch. It’s expensive, usually less healthy and I’m super indecisive, so it takes me forever to decide where to buy lunch.  But mostly, I am cheap and buying lunch is not.   In the past year, I have bought lunch at work 3 times.  THREE times.   Yeah, I’m wicked frugal.  So this is a great salad/sandwich to add to your lunch rotation!

20131028-205844.jpg

What else is so great about this Curried apple tuna salad?  It is delicious and healthy and perfect for using up some of those apples you still have.  Also, it is so full of flavor, you won’t realize it is healthy.  Really. And this is no wussy salad – it is FULL of protein. Tuna and Greek yogurt pack a pretty good protein punch that will make sure your tummy stays full at least until your 3pm chocolate break.  Wait, you don’t have a 3pm chocolate break?  What?!  Well, you should. Bonus: it is SUPER easy to whip up!  1 step.  There is only 1 step to make this salad.

20131028-205949.jpg

What is in this salad?

1. Tuna (I use chunk light, packed in water)

2. Plain Greek yogurt

3. Apple

4. Dijon mustard

5. Curry powder

6. Crunchy veggie of your choice

This is another recipe for you MAYO HATERS>>> There is NO mayo in this tuna salad!

20131028-205908.jpgThe warm curry flavor pairs perfectly with the crunchy, sweet apple.

20131028-205916.jpgAnd it all goes so well to make a creamy, crunchy, warmly spicy and slightly sweet tuna salad

20131028-205857.jpg

Mmmm.  Delicious in a Dash.  Seriously fast and scrumptious!

Recipe: Curried Apple Tuna Salad 20131028-205936.jpg

Servings: 2

Ingredients:

  • 5oz canned tuna, drained (I like chunk-light tuna packed in water)
  • 1/2 of a medium sized apple, chopped (I like crunchy, slightly tart apples)
  • 3 tablespoons of plain Greek yogurt (I used 2%)
  • 3/4 teaspoon of Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon of curry powder (depending on your taste)
  • 1/2 cup of your veggie of choice, chopped (I really like celery because it adds a nice crunch.  I used cucumber because that is what I had in the house – but I recommend celery)
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Instructions:

  1. In a small bowl, add all ingredients and stir until combined.

Serve on your favorite bread, lined with spinach leaves or lettuce or just eat it right from the bowl!

Enjoy!

Spicy Avocado, Pepper and Egg Salad

20130813-002136.jpg

Oh boy. I am super excited to share this recipe with you guys! I should probably change the name of my blog to “Eggs and Sweets” because of the high percentage of egg recipes on here. But I promise you, if you like egg salad and guacamole, this will be the best egg salad you ever had.

20130812-195508.jpgWhat is the secret to this spicy, creamy and crunchy egg salad? Avocado and pickled jalapeños! Oh yeah, and the “crunchy” part comes from the red bell pepper

The inspiration for this recipe came from the way I make guacamole- I always make mine with pickled jalapeños! One day, I didn’t have fresh jalapeños or lime juice in the house, and I had a hankering for guac.  Well, all I had was pickled jalapeños in the fridge, so I added some chopped pickled jalapeños + some of the juice and BAM. it was delicious! The juice that the jalapeños are packed in adds some acidity to the mix so it’s a semi-substitute for the lime juice.

20130812-195522.jpgThis salad is a unique twist on an old favorite. It only needs 6 ingredients and it is very versatile

  1. avocado
  2. pickled jalapenos
  3. onion
  4. red bell pepper
  5. hard boiled eggs
  6. plain Greek yogurt

What is this versatility I speak of? You can switch out the red bell pepper for your veggie of choice: cucumbers, tomatoes, celery – or any raw veggie you like that will add crunch.

 Another great thing about this egg salad is it has NO MAYO!  I know there are some MAYO haters out there, so THIS IS YOUR SALAD!

20130812-195456.jpg

You can easily make this salad before going to work and even dress it up for a semi-fancy brunch by serving it in a bell pepper half (Oh so fancy!)

How do you make this spicy avocado, pepper and egg salad in a DASH?

The first thing I like to do is to make the avocado “dressing”.  In a medium sized bowl, I smash the flesh of the avocado with a fork.  I don’t really make it too smooth, I like mine a little chunky.   **Do you need to know how to pit and peel an avocado? Check out the simple step by step process at Simply Recipes

Next I add a little Greek yogurt and the pickled jalapeños and juice and stir that in.  Then stir in the onion and red bell pepper. Then I smash up the hard boiled eggs in the center of the bowl and then smash it all together.

20130812-195555.jpg20130812-195618.jpg

Tada! 

Your delicious breakfast, brunch, lunch or anytime salad is done!

20130812-195638.jpgEat it with crackers, with tortilla chips, with veggies or even the old fashioned way – between 2 slices of bread!  Just eat it!

20130812-195704.jpgThe salad is creamy from the avocado and crunchy from the bell pepper and “oh a little bit spicy” from the jalapeños.  Yum!

Recipe: Spicy Avocado,Pepper and Egg Salad

20130812-195630.jpgMakes 3-4 servings

Ingredients:

  • 1 large avocado, pitted and peeled
  • 1/4 cup of pickled jalapeno, chopped + 1 tsp of the pickled juice
  • 1/2 of a red bell pepper, chopped small (about 1/3-1/4 cup)
  • 1/2 tablespoon of onion, diced (I used yellow, but you can use red or omit if you don’t like raw onions)
  • 1/2 tablespoon of plain Greek yogurt – any % fat (optional – adds creaminess)*
  • 4 hard boiled eggs
  • Salt and pepper to taste

*If your avocados are not at the optimal creamy state, you may want to add a little plain Greek yogurt.   If your avocados are nice and creamy and ripe, you could probably leave this out.

Instructions:

  1. In a medium sized bowl, combine all ingredients and smash with a fork. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  2. Serve and enjoy immediately with crackers, between two slices of bread, on a salad, or use the bell pepper as a delicious vegetable bowl (oh so fancy!)

This egg salad is best eaten the day it is made. After being stored, the salad will look a little less pretty because the avocado will brown from being exposed to air.   Despite it’s color change, it will still taste good after being stored in a sealed container in the fridge for 2-3 days. (but I would only serve this salad to others the day it is made)

Recipe source: deliciousinadash.wordpress.com

20130813-002127.jpg

Breakfast Grilled Cheese

20130430-111912.jpgHappy National Grilled Cheese Month!! Well, happy last day of national grilled cheese month! I’m getting this one in just under the wire. But, I promise you, this sandwich is well worth the whole month I made you wait.

20130430-192033.jpgThis is a tasty, healthy and super FAST breakfast. It’s so fast and easy that you can hit the snooze button 5 times, take a long shower and STILL have time to make this sandwich before you leave for work. Yes, it is slightly more time consuming than pouring a bowl of cereal, but WAAAAY more satisfying. While your coffee is brewing, whip up this sandwich.

20130430-111855.jpgYou probably can tell from my Frittata post that I LOVE EGGS! The more ways to eat eggs, the better. This sandwich has lots of things I love in it. Eggs, apples, cheese, but more importantly, it has a flavor profile that I love: sweet and salty. Sweet, tart, crunchy apple with salty sharp melty cheese and a salty fried egg. MMMMmmm

The other GREAT thing about this sandwich is you only need 4 ingredients. That’s right, only FOUR.

1. Egg 2. Bread 3. Cheese 4. Apple

+ Salt/pepper/butter or cooking spray – these are freebies

I really outdid myself with the simplicity this time : )

So let’s get cracking on making this sandwich.

First prep your sandwich with cheese and 4 relatively thin slices of apple

20130430-111933.jpgYum. This is already a good sandwich. But it’s about to get better!

Next, fry up your egg. I chose to make a fried egg “over hard” for this sandwich, and then fold it to make it “sandwich friendly”. Over hard eggs hold together nicely, and you can keep the yolk a little soft, but not runny, if you like, by cooking it a little less (this is how I like it). If you make your egg “over easy” the egg will run when you put it in the sandwich and grill the cheese.

To fry up the egg, first spray a frying pan with nonstick cooking spray (or you can use butter) and heat up the pan on low-medium heat. **I usually crack my egg into a cup, and then gently pour it from the cup into a frying pan, this prevents the yolk from breaking and accidentally mixing up the white (scrambling). The egg should sizzle a little when you pour it in. If it isn’t, just turn up the heat on your burner. Cook the egg on medium heat until the white on top is solid. Then flip the egg over and cook it on the other side for about a minute or 2 until the yolk is soft but solid.  Then I fold the egg in half – fold one white side over to the other to cover the yolk (see below). This makes the egg a nice sandwich size

20130430-111959.jpg I squished my egg a little when I flipped it over in the pan and the yolk was not solid – and some yolk ran a little. But, hey, my food isn’t pretty like a picture, but it’s pretty damn delicious. When the yolk is cooked to how you like it, remove the egg from the pan and place the folded egg on top of the apples on your bread and top the egg with more cheese.

20130430-112007.jpgNow comes the familiar grilled cheese part. Place the sandwich back in the frying pan on medium heat. Gently press your sandwich down into the pan to help melt the cheese. You don’t need to squish the sandwich, just give it a nice, loving press. Cook on that side till the bread is a toasty color. Then carefully flip the sandwich and repeat loving press on the other side.

20130430-111922.jpg

The crunchy, sweetness of the apple gives a nice texture and flavor contrast to the melty, salty cheese and the tender fried egg.

Cut sandwich in half and dig in! This is your new, quick power breakfast! YUM!

20130430-192016.jpg

Recipe:

Breakfast Grilled Cheese 20130430-111922.jpg

Serving size: 1 Sandwich

Ingredients:

  • 1 large Egg
  • 2 slices of bread (I used wheat bread)
  • ¼ of Granny smith Apple (4 thin slices)
  • ½ cup of sharp cheddar cheese
  • generous pinch salt and pepper

Instructions:

  1. Spread cheddar cheese on one side of the bread and add 4 thin slices of Granny Smith apple
  2. Prepare a frying pan by spraying it with non-stick cooking spray and heat on low-medium heat
  3. Crack egg in a cup and pour egg into heated pan and fry egg on one side until whites are solid
  4. Add a generous pinch of salt and pepper to the egg
  5. Flip egg over, cook for about 1-2 minutes, until yolk is solid, but soft. (Test by pressing with your finger)
  6. Folded in half and remove egg from pan and place on top of apples and cheese.
  7. Add more cheese to the top of egg and top with other slice of bread
  8. Place sandwich in frying pan used to fry egg, and grill sandwich on medium heat.  Press sandwich down with metal spatula to melt cheese – cook for about 1 minute – or until browned.  *if pan is dry, add more cooking spray or butter before grilling the sandwich
  9. Repeat on other side
  10. Slice up and enjoy, cheesy, eggy, apply goodness!

*To make this sandwich more decadent, pan fry the egg in a tablespoon of butter (instead of cooking spray) and add more butter to the pan before grilling the sandwich.

Recipe Source: deliciousinadash.wordpress.com

Bacon, Spinach and Sweet Piquante Pepper Frittata

Image

About a year ago, I become addicted to frittatas. Like, really obsessed. I’d have friends over for brunch once a week and they would bring different things like pancakes, scones or muffins and I would ALWAYS make a frittata. Sure, I love eggs scrambled, fried and poached. But nothing is as versatile and as easy as the amazing frittata. One of my favorite reasons for loving the frittata is that you can put almost ANYTHING in it and it will taste great! Leftover vegetables from last night’s dinner you don’t want? Throw it in the frittata. Have some extra onion you need to use up? Throw it in the frittata. Do you have a little salsa left that is not enough for all those chips? Go ahead, it will taste GREAT in a frittata with some cheese! Ok, I hope I’ve sold you on the versatility and simpleness of a frittata. So keep reading. If I haven’t sold you yet, keep reading anyway. I bet you will be convinced by the end.

One of my best friends from grad school came to visit this past weekend. She was around for my frittata phase – that has clearly persisted – and so I made us a frittata for breakfast, you know, for old times sake. *I promise I won’t post frittata recipes too often, but here is the first one.

One of the best things about this frittata recipe is that 2 of the ingredients I have in the freezer pretty much at all times – bacon and spinach. The sweet piquante peppers (shown below) are jarred and DELICIOUS! They are slightly sweet, a little crunchy (even though they are jarred) and have a spicy kick to them. They are great in eggs, sandwiches and salads or just right out of the jar. I buy Peppadew peppers and keep them stocked in my fridge. Most people have pickles stocked in their fridge. I have peppers.

Image

*If you don’t have these peppers, you can always substitute jarred jalapenos. They are not as sweet, but have a similar spicy kick.

Oh yeah, and then there are the eggs. Of course I have eggs (well, most of the time). So a BONUS about this recipe is that I always have the ingredients on hand! And you can too!

The bacon I keep in the freezer and cut across the strips.

ImageThis way my eggs get a ton of flavor from the bacon, but not too much fat. You only need a little bacon to flavor your eggs. (I got this frozen tip from one of Melissa d’Arabian’s cooking shows) This tip changed my life with buying bacon.

Usually, I would buy bacon, and only use a few pieces and then it would go bad in my fridge. Now, I buy bacon, and whatever I have leftover that I haven’t cooked, I put in the freezer and save for eggs, chilli or whatever else needs a little bit of bacon. Well, I guess you’re probably saying right now, what couldn’t use a little bit of bacon, or a lot. : )

Ok, I digress, back to the almighty frittata!

First cut up the bacon, I used probably about 1/8 cup. But you can use more or less depending on your love of bacon. Fry up the bacon in a oven safe pan. I used a cast iron pan. While the bacon is frying on medium heat, thaw the spinach in the microwave. Spinach cooks down A LOT. I used about ½ to ¾ cup of thawed and drained spinach. When the bacon is just about crisp (or however you like your bacon). Add the spinach and stir. Next add the jarred piquante peppers – halved. Stir these.

Image

Your pan size, will dictate the amount of eggs you use in your frittata. My pan was about 6 and ½ inches and I used 4 eggs. If your pan is bigger, you probably need to use more eggs. If you increase your pan size and don’t use more eggs, your frittata will come out thinner (which is fine) but you will need to reduce the cooking time – about 6-10 min in the oven.

Add eggs and cook over medium heat until sides touching pan start to firm.

Image

At his point, place the pan in the oven at 400F and cook for about 10-15 min. until egg is fully cooked. Your kitchen will smell like bacon and delicious peppers. MmmmMMmm

If you like cheese, this is the point you can sprinkle some cheese on top and put it back in the oven for about 1-2 min. to melt Watch this! You don’t want your cheese to burn! I grated fresh pecorino romano cheese on top, but you can also you cheddar, parmesan or mozzarella – or really any hard cheese that you like!

Image

Let it cool for a few minutes and cut in 4 slices and enjoy!!

Image

Besides being super flavorful with bacon and sweet peppers with a spicy kick, did I mention this is actually good for you? Look at all those veggies you’re getting! And it’s only brunch. Now that you’ve had this, you can totally have that doughnut, muffin or scone!

Image

RecipeImage

Bacon, Spinach and Sweet Piquante Pepper Frittata

Serving size: 2

  • 4 large eggs
  • 1/8 cup of bacon, sliced (or more, depending on how much you like bacon!)
  • ½- ¾ cup of frozen spinach, thawed and drained
  • 6 Sweet piquante peppers, halved (Peppadew Brand peppers) –you can substitute jarred jalapenos
  • ¼ – ½ cup of shredded pecorino romano cheese (you can use really any cheese – cheddar, mozzarella or parmesan. Or even better – all three!)
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Instructions:

1. Pre-heat oven to 400F

2. Cook bacon in a small (around 6-7 inch) oven-safe pan or skillet on med to med-high heat until almost crispy (about 5 min) – if bacon is frozen start at the lower heat setting and slowly warm up to prevent burning bacon.

3. Sauté spinach and peppers with cooked bacon for 1-2 min – just to warm up the components

4. Scramble 4 eggs well and add to pan. Stir so all the ingredients are spread evenly through the eggs

5. Cook on the stove top till eggs cook along the outer edges.

6. Transfer pan to the oven and bake at 400F for 10-15min, until firm in the middle. (gently shake pan and egg should not wiggle)

7. Remove pan, add shredded cheese and place back in the oven, just for 1 or 2 min till cheese in melted.

8. Let frittata cool for about 5 min. Run a knife around the outer edge to loosen egg away from side of the pan. Slice in quarters and serve

If you have any leftovers, store in a sealed container in the fridge. Leftover frittata makes a great lunch!

* If you are only using turkey bacon and/or are using a pan that sticks a lot, you may need to add a tbsp or 2 of oil (olive, canola, or vegetable) to prevent the egg from sticking.

Recipe Source: Deliciousinadash.wordpress.com