Lunch, Salad, Sides

Roasted Acorn-Squash Salad

This was my first time cooking Acorn Squash so I am quite excited about this salad.  My lunches are going to be delightful this week ! The beauty of this recipe is that once the squash is roasted you could add it to a salad, like I did or make some soup out of it.  It will also be a great side dish to any sunday roast dinner.  I hope you enjoy it.

Ingredients:

1 lb acorn squash cut up into wedges

1.5 tbsp of olive oil

2 tbsp of balsamic vinegar

1/2 tbsp of dried rosemary

salt and pepper to taste

1, 7oz bag of arugul greens mix

Your choice of Nuts and dried fruit to dress up the salad.  I used pecans and cherries !

Method:

Toss the wedges of squash with the oil, vinegar, rosemary, salt and pepper and roast for about 35min at 350F.

There will be some dressing left after coating the squash which could be used to dress the salad.  If not, feel free to make extra dressing or use a dressing that you would use otherwise.

Add the squash to the leaves, add the nuts and berries and serve warm !

Note: Bacon, chickpeas, apples and pears would also make excellent additions to the salad.  Enjoy !

Quick Dinner

Cumin-Spiced Chicken and Egg Salad

Just because the warm days have left us does not mean that we can’t enjoy summer staples.  This is an egg salad with a protein boost and spice kick.  I thank my mother for this recipe.  She would make this with potatoes and hard boiled eggs and put it in pita bread to make warm sandwiches for lunch.  I left out the carbs and added more protein with the chicken.  Also, this really is figure friendly because it has no mayo that normally lathers typical egg salads.  The cumin adds a comforting warmth and stuffed into a toasted pita pocket, this will be your next go to weeknight dinner this fall !

Ingredients:

1lb chicken thighs, cut into bite sized pieces

4 hard boiled eggs chopped

1 medium onion, diced

1 tbsp of whole cumin seeds

1 tbsp of olive oil

1tsp of chilli powder

salt and pepper to taste

Method:

Hard boil 4 medium sized eggs and while that boils away, chop the onions and cut the chicken.

In a pot, heat the oil and then add all cumin seeds and stir for a few seconds till fragrant.

Add the onions and saute till pale yellow and then add the chicken.

While the chicken cooks through, chop the eggs.

Once the chicken cooked through, add the eggs and season with salt, chilli powder and black pepper.

Stir till everything is well combined, the egg yolks will melt and create a creamy coating, much like a mayo binder, but better !

Serve warm with pita pockets !

Dinner, Meat, Salad

Steak Salad Platter

I did not grow up eating beef.  As a result, I am really shaky about cooking steak and even buying the right cuts of meat.  But I still try.  I think I have nailed down the beef stews, mostly because I get a lot of help from the slow cooking process.  So this past week I took the challenge of cooking steak.  I cheated and bought 1lb of shaved steak (the cut you would use for steak sandwiches) and tried to work with it.  Much to my pleasure it came out really good ! Also, the roasted vegetables made their last appearance in this recipe.  Enjoy !

Marinading the steak:

1 lb of shaved steak

1/8 cup soy sauce

1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce

1Tbsp of thyme (dried or fresh)

a few dashes of garlic powder and black pepper

Use all of the above ingredients and marinade the steak for about 2hrs.  Marinade in a ziploc bag and rub in the marinade into the meat.

While the steak marinades, cut up 1 medium onion and 1lb of mushrooms and saute them till deep brown.

Season with salt and pepper at the very end, this way the water will not come out during the cooking and the mushrooms and onions will get a chance to brown up.

Next in a wide frying pan, fry the steak to desired doneness, I like it well done.  Once the steak is almost done, add the mushrooms and onions and fry together

I like to serve the salad on a big board with the ingredients separately so that you can build it according to your choice.  There is plenty on flavor and juices in the steak and the roasted vegetables so I did not use a dressing but feel free to use you favourite dressing.

Serve warm or at room temperature.  Garlic bread and glass of red wine would make it a complete dinner !

Salad

Summer Crab Salad

When it is really hot and humid outside nothing is better than a cold salad with fresh seasonal produce.  This is a simple salad, best eaten at room temperature (or cold) and tastes better if it sits in longer in the dressing.  If you are not a crab fan, it can easily be interchanged with shrimp, grilled chicken, lobster meat, scallops or even hard-boiled eggs.

Ingredients:

1 hass Avocado, diced

1/2 pint grape tomatoes, halved

16 oz of chunk or flaked crab meat

1 quarter of a red onion

5 springs of cilantro

1 lime

1/4 cup of olive oil

salt, pepper, garlic powder and cayenne pepper to taste ( I like it spicy so more pepper for me)

Method:

Wash and drain the crab meat and marinade it  with the zest of one lime, garlic powder and cayenne.

Chop the avocado and tomatoes and set aside.

In a food processor or blender, make the dressing by pulsing together the onion, cilantro, juice of 1 lime and the oil.

To assemble the salad, add the dressing to the tomatoes and avocado and finally toss in the crab.

Plate up and enjoy !!!

Salad

Tuna and White Bean Salad

I read this recipe in the New York Times back in 2009 and I have been making this salad on a regular basis.  It is perfect for lunch and can be eaten cold or at room temperature.  As usual, I made some changes to suit my personal taste.

Ingredients:

4, 8oz cans of tuna (packed in oil, packed in water will do too)

2, 15.5 oz cans of Cannellini beans, rinsed and drained

1/2 Tbsp of dried parsley

1 tsp of ground sage

1/2 Tbsp of red wine vinegar

salt and fresh cracked black pepper (to taste)

Method:

1. Rinse and drain the beans.

2. Drain a little bit of the oil and then add the tuna in a bowl and flake the fish with a fork.

3. Add the beans and toss in the herbs and vinegar

4. Season with salt and pepper.

5.  You can add this salad wo spinach or arugula–these salad greens have a personality of their own and can stand up to the tuna.

Note: the original  recipe called for chopped red onion, but since I am taking the salad to work, I thought I would do my lab mates a favor and avoid the onion AND tuna breath, hahahaha!  Also, if you are using tuna packed in water then add a few tablespoons of olive oil.

I hope you like this light, protein packed and super healthy salad.

 

 

Salad

Spinach Salad with a Strawberry, Basil, Red Wine reduction

I bought 2 lbs of strawberries and living by myself you only eat so many berries before they start taking a turn for the worse.  My solution to salvage fruit/veggies that could get spoiled, is to cook them.  They retain their flavor, its healthy and you won’t have to throw out food.  This is a warm reduction that you add to fresh baby spinach.  It’s a warm salad.  Feel free to add almonds, bacon bits, and even more fresh fruit like apples and pears.  Here goes.

Ingredients:

1/2 Tbsp olive oil

2 tsp of fennel seeds

I medium onion sliced

1/2 cup red wine (any red wine–I normally use up half opened bottles)

sliced strawberries ( I had about 1.5 cups, use as much as you like, but keep in mind the more you use, the sweeter the reduction)

5-7 leaves of  fresh basil, sliced

Fresh cracked black pepper ( no salt).

Baby Spinach, enough to build a salad of your serving choice.

Method:

1.Heat extra virgin olive oil in a pan and when warm, add the fennel.  Stir for a few secs till fragrant and then add onions

2. Saute onions till pale and then add red wine and allow to reduce, stirring in between to prevent sticking to the bottom

3.  Add sliced strawberries and basil and allow to reduce.  The strawberry will cook down and the sugars will allow the onions to carmelize.

4. Taste the reduction, if it is too sweet, you can counter-act the sweetness with a few dashes of balsamic vinegar.

5. Toss warm (not hot) reduction with baby spinach leaves and add freshly cracked black pepper.  I garnished with honeyed oats (granola would work too !!!)

 

Salad

South of the Border Salad

Remember those super fresh tomatoes that I got on sale and I made that fresh Tomato Basil Salad with??? Well, this is the second recipe with the grape tomatoes.  Extremely fresh but a very different flavor palette.  Hope you ya’ll like it.

Ingredients:

1 pint of grape tomatoes

1 can of corn (I really wish I found good fresh corn, but no luck)

1 tsp of cumin, oregano and garlic powder

1/4 tsp of cayenne pepper

1 Tbsp of extra virgin olive oil

1.5 Tbsp of Lime juice.

Method:

Wait for it , wait for it……..mix the spices, oil and lime juice in a bowl.  Then add the sliced tomatoes and drained corn.  Toss and refrigerate overnight to allow for the flavors to marry.  Enjoy for lunch the next day ! It is that simple !

Note: Last year during the summer I added drained black beans and chopped green peppers and mixed it with pasta to make a Mexican style Pasta salad.  Go crazy with this ! It is a really versatile salad.  You can even add grilled chicken, hard boiled eggs or even bacon !!!!

Salad

Asparagus Egg Salad

I first read this recipe a few years ago in the New York Times.  I thought it was a little different but the ingredients were quite expensive.  I am not exactly in the position to add shaved truffles to my salad !  So this is my everyday adapted version of a what was once a very fancy salad.

Ingredients:

1 bunch of Asparagus cut into ~1/2 inch pieces

1 hard-boiled egg

1/2 Tbsp of drained capers

2 tsp of chopped parsley

Lemon juice ( please use as much as you like, I like my salads tart and lemony so I added as much as 1 Tbsp)

2 tsp of extra virgin olive oil

salt and pepper to taste.

Method:

Bring water to a boil in a small pot and add one large egg and boil for 15min till hard-boiled.  You could go a little shy of that if you prefer a soft and runny yolk–I don’t.

Meanwhile, cut asparagus and gently heat through in a pan with lemon juice and olive oil.

Chop parsley and capers together, the salt and tartness from the capers blend in with the oils of the leaves and makes for a great ‘gremolata’.

Add, the gremolata to the pan and heat through.  The idea is to heat the ingredients through and mix them–not fry them.

While the asparagus cools, chop the hard boil egg and add to asparagus.

Season with salt and pepper.

Enjoy !

Salad

Tomato Basil Salad

When fruits and vegetables are fresh and in season, keep it simple.  Let the natural taste shine through.  I got two pints of grape tomatoes and this is ont thing I love to do with them, a fresh salad.  It is so good that I had a WHOLE pint for lunch and did not want anything else.  I do have another pint in the fridge, let’s see if I want to do something else with it–I might just make the salad again simply because it was THAT GOOD !

Ingredients:

1 pint of grape tomatoes, sliced

6-7 leaves of fresh basil

1/2 tsp of extra virgin olive oil

1/2 tsp of balsamic vinegar

salt and pepper to taste.

Method

I mix the oil and vinegar and the sliced basil and set it aside for a while.  This gives the flavors a chance to mix and marry into one another.

in the meantime I slice the tomatoes

Add the tomatoes into the oil mixture and toss to coat

Season with salt and pepper.  I like to freshly cracked black pepper and I go heavy on it, just because I love the kick–please adjust to personal taste.

Enjoy !