Archive for the ‘Salads’ Category

…can be a real challenge, at least in this house!  Schatzi and I both love to cook, but it is hard to come home from a long day at work and put a fresh meal on the table.  Enter the wonder that is the fish supper!  Meals cooked with fish can literally be thrown together in a matter of minutes, like this dinner from Food Network Magazine.  It is delicious, nutritious, and comes together in “the flashest of flashes.”

For fish and mushrooms you need:

  • 4 6-oz. arctic char fillets (we subbed in whitefish)
  • salt and pepper
  • 3 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
  • 8 oz. button mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 shallots, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp. red wine vinegar, plus more for drizzling
  • 2 tsp. grainy mustard
  • 1 tbsp. chives
  • 1 tbsp. parsley
  • 2 bunches arugula, trimmed

Heat the oven to 350.  Season the fillets with salt and pepper and heat a tbsp. of oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.  If you use the salmon, add it to the skillet and sear until golden on the bottom, about 3 minutes.  If you use a thinner fish, cook it for just a minute.  Flip the fish onto a lightly greased baking sheet and continue cooking them in the oven for another 4 minutes, 2-3 if you use a thinner fish.

Wipe out the skillet, place it back on the stove and add the rest of the oil.  Add the mushrooms and cook without moving them for a minute, just until browned.  Stir them a bit and continue cooking until browned all over. Stir in the shallots and cook for a couple of minutes, until they are soft.  Whisk in the mustard and vinegar, bringing the mixture to a boil.  Take the veggies off the heat and add the parsley and chives.

Meanwhile, drizzle the arugula with some oil and vinegar and season with salt and pepper.  Serve a plate of salad with a fillet topped with the mushrooms.

This dinner really is super-easy to throw together, and it has under 400 calories!  I’m sure it is probably even better with salmon, but really, the sauce goes great with any plain old fish.  The next time you are in a time crunch, give this fish dinner a try.


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…is abundant this time of year, and our house is no exception.  We made Paula Deen’s cranberry salad earlier this week with a few tweaks and it was incredibly tasty!

For Paula’s salad you need:

  • 4-ounce can crushed pineapple
  • 3-ounce package black cherry gelatin
  • 6 ounces dried cranberries, rinsed (we used fresh cranberries)
  • 1 cup broken pecans
  • 1/2 cup sugar

Start by draining the pineapple and pouring the juice in a small saucepan.  Add 1/2 cup of hot water and bring the mixture to a boil.  Meanwhile, dissolve the gelatin in 1/4 cup cold water.  Add it to the boiling liquids and let the mixture cool and begin to set.

Chop the cranberries in a food processor, then add them to the cooled gelatin mixture.  Stir in the pecans and sugar.  Pour the mixture into a small baking dish or mold and refrigerate until the salad is completely set.

When the salad has chilled, cut into squares and serve it up!

This is a delicious cranberry salad!  Using real cranberries adds a nice tart punch, so it isn’t too sweet, as cranberry salad can often be.  Give it a try for Thanksgiving this week!


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…is not something we prepare often, unfortunately.  I do have Julia Child’s first cookbook, and we never use it enough!!  French cuisine is excellent and we always enjoy it when we make a French-inspired dinner.  Recently, we tried RR’s chicken paillard and it is delicious!  This dish brings several of our favorite ingredients together to make one tasty chicken and gravy dinner.

For chicken paillard you need:

  • 8 chicken breast cutlets (we used 4 chicken breasts)
  • 2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 sprigs of thyme, leaves trimmed and chopped
  • 2 tbsp. parsley, finely chopped
  • zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 tbsp. butter
  • 2 tbsp. flour
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • mixed salad greens

Heat a large skillet over medium-high.  Place the chicken in a shallow dish and drizzle with enough oil to coat the meat.  Then, combine the herbs, lemon zest, and flour.  Season with salt and pepper and spread the mixture over the chicken to coat.  Add the chicken to the skillet and cook for 3-4 minutes a side.  Don’t move the chicken while it is cooking, as it won’t caramelize as nicely.  Remove the meat to a plate and cover in foil to keep warm while you make the gravy.

Add the butter to the skillet.  When it has melted, whisk in the flour.  Whisk the roux for a couple of minutes, then whisk in the broth.  Continue whisking the gravy until it has thickened enough to coat the back of a spoon.

Toss your salad greens with the lemon juice and some salt and pepper.

To plate the chicken, spoon some gravy onto a plate and top with a piece of chicken (or two cutlets).  You can also add the salad, or simply serve it alongside.

When you want chicken and gravy, this should be your go-to recipe!  It is absolutely delicious and could not be more simple to throw together.


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Tuna salad…

…has become a staple in our lunch menus!  As I always say, it is just too easy and there are a million ways to make it, so why not?  We made up our own Italian version and enjoyed it quite a bit.

For our Italian tuna salad you need:

  • 2 big cans of tuna, drained
  • a few tbsp. of Italian dressing
  • juice/zest of 1 lemon
  • salt and pepper
  • 3 sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 1/2 tbsp. dried basil
  • 3/4 cup mozzarella, shredded
  • 1/2 red onion, finely chopped

The first step is to soak the diced onion in cold water for about 5 minutes.  This dilutes the taste just enough so you can actually taste the other ingredients!

All you need to do now is stir the items together!  You can serve the salad several ways–on bread or in a wrap and stuffed with sliced cucumbers or on a bed of greens.

Any way you fix it, this salad is pretty darn tasty and is a great option for a healthy lunch!


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…is so incredibly delicious.  Last week, we made RR’s “two-sauce weeknight lasagna” and it combines besciamella (white sauce) with a delightful meat sauce to make one delicious dinner.

For the lasagna you need:

  • 1 lb. campanelle or fiore pasta
  • 2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/8 lb. pancetta, chopped
  • 3/4 lb. ground beef/elk
  • 1 carrot, grated
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, 2 grated
  • 1/2 tsp. allspice
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 3 tbsp. tomato paste
  • 1/2 cup red wine
  • 2 cups beef stock
  • 3 tbsp. butter
  • 3 tbsp. flour
  • 2 cups milk
  • freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-reggiano

Boil some water and salt it for the pasta.  Cook the campanelle to al dente.

Heat the olive oil over medium-high and add the pancetta.  Cook the meat for a couple of minutes, then add in the rest of the meat.  Cook until the meat begins to caramelize, 4-5 minutes, then add the carrot, onion, 2 cloves of garlic, allspice, some salt and pepper, and the bay leaf.  Now, we didn’t have allspice and did not particularly feel like purchasing it, as our spice cabinet is already bursting at the seams!  So, we tossed in a combo of oregano, crushed red pepper, and Italian seasoning.  I believe it worked out quite well!  Cook this mixture for about 3 minutes to soften the veggies, then stir in the tomato paste.  Let the tomato paste cook out for a couple of minutes, then add in the stock and knock the heat back to low.

Meanwhile, take the clove of garlic that isn’t grated and cut it in half.  Rub the sides of a saucepan with the clove.  Add the butter and melt it over medium heat.  Whisk in the flour and cook for a minute, then whisk in the milk and bring the mixture to a boil.  Knock the heat back to low and season the besciamella with salt, pepper, and nutmeg.  Cook the sauce for about 10 minutes, until it is nice and thick.

Toss the cooked pasta with the white sauce and 1/2 cup cheese.

RR also has a delicious salad to serve alongside the pasta:

  • 1 tsp. zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 tsp. Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, grated
  • 1 large head of escarole, chopped
  • 15 oz. can butter beans, rinsed and drained
  • salt and pepper
  • pinch of freshly grated nutmeg

Whisk the oil, lemon zest/juice, garlic, mustard, salt, pepper, and nutmeg together.  Toss the dressing with the escarole and beans.  We used romaine instead of escarole.  This is a salad we could eat every day!

serve up a bowl of pasta topped with the meat sauce and sprinkled with cheese and a plate of salad alongside.

YUM!  This lasagna dinner is absolutely fantastic, from the crisp, refreshing salad to the creamy pasta and comes highly recommended!


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…is an excellent addition to chicken salad, I must admit.  In fact, I would go so far as to say that I prefer it to typical mayonnaise!  It’s hard to believe, but subbing reduced-fat cream cheese for mayo can actually be a healthier choice.  I wouldn’t recommend using it on a regular basis, but it is a fairly good substitute on occasion.  We made southwestern chicken salad wraps (found in Reader’s Digest) for lunch this week, and they are delicious.

For four servings of the chicken salad you need:

  • 4 oz. cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup cooked chicken, chopped
  • 1/2 cup Monterey jack cheese, grated
  • 2 tbsp. green pepper, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp. red pepper, finely chopped
  • 1/2 tsp. parsley
  • 1 tsp. chili powder
  • juice/zest of 1 lime
  • 1/8 tsp. salt
  • 2 flour tortillas

We made a few changes to the recipe so there would be enough salad for the week.  We used 2 cooked chicken breasts and about half a pound of cooked ground turkey along with whole peppers and 8 oz. cream cheese.   We subbed in cilantro for parsley and added the juice and zest of one lime.  I think black beans would also be a great addition for the next time (and there will be a next time!) we make this.

Anyway, simply combine everything but the tortillas in a bowl.

Scoop 3/4 cup salad onto a tortilla and roll it up tightly.  Now, you can either eat the wrap as is, or you can cut the stuffed tortilla into pinwheels.

This chicken salad is quite yummy!  I have certainly been looking forward to lunchtime all this week!


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…is absolutely luxurious!  Combine it with salmon and fruit salad and you have a fantastic summer meal to eat!

Make the fruit salad first.  You need:

  • 1 cup halved green grapes
  • 1 cup diced strawberries
  • 1/2 cup blueberries
  • 2 tbsp. sugar
  • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice/zest
  • 1 tsp. poppy seeds
  • 1/4 cup toasted pistachios (we used almonds and pecans)

Mix the grapes, strawberries, and blueberries with the sugar, then stir in the lime juice and poppy seeds.  Let the salad sit for about half an hour to let the flavors combine and add the nuts.

For the salmon with herb butter you need:

  • 1/2 lb. unsalted butter at room temp.
  • 1/4 tsp. garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp. scallions, minced
  • 1 tbsp. fresh dill, minced
  • 1 tbsp. flat-leaf parsley, minced
  • 1 tsp. lemon juice/zest
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1 tsp. pepper
  • 1 loaf bread, thinly sliced
  • 4 salmon fillets

Simply combine the butter and all of the spices and beat until creamy.  This butter is absolutely luxurious!

To prepare the salmon, heat a drizzle of olive oil in a nonstick skillet and cook it for about 3 minutes a side.  Then, slice the fillets as best you can.

To serve, spread some of the butter on a slice of bread and top it with the sliced salmon.  So easy, so delicious!!!

This meal is fabulous.  The flavors are so fresh and bright!  I can’t help but imagine Julia Child would love this French cuisine-inspired dinner, and that makes it taste all the better.


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…is adorable.  I know, I know, it’s just a pasta, but really.  So tiny, but it has the most satisfying bite and texture!  For lunch this week, we made a Greek pasta salad with feta and chicken that is quite delicious.

For this tasty lunch pasta you need:

  • 12 oz. ditalini or other small pasta
  • 1/2 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 tbsp. red wine vinegar
  • 2 cloves garlic, grated or minced
  • 1 tsp. Dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1 tsp. dried thyme
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 lb. cubed, cooked chicken breast
  • 1 green bell pepper, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup fresh mint, chopped
  • crumbled feta cheese, for sprinkling

Cook your pasta in boiling salted water for 10 minutes.

In a bowl, whisk together the broth, oil, mustard, thyme, oregano, salt, pepper, garlic, and vinegar.

Add the chicken and bell pepper to the dressing and toss to coat, then mix in the pasta and mint.

Serve a bowl of pasta topped with some crumbled feta.

Yum!  this salad really makes me look forward to my lunch hour–it’s pretty tough to beat the combination of pasta, garlic, mint, and feta!  Stir up a batch and enjoy a little piece of Greek heaven in your workday.


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…can pack a real punch in the calorie department.  However, Ellie Krieger has the solution in this deliciously fresh version of the classic.

For Ellie’s taco salad you need:


  • 3/4 pound lean ground beef (or elk)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 (15.5-ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/3 cup water


  • 4 medium tomatoes, diced
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice and zest
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper


  • 2 hearts romaine lettuce, chopped
  • 1/2 cup grated cheddar
  • 2 ounces baked corn tortilla chips (about 32 chips)

Start by browning the meat, then adding the beans and garlic.  Cook the mixture for another couple of minutes, then add in the spices and water.  When most of the liquid has been absorbed take the meat off the heat and let it rest for a few minutes while you make the salsa.

For the salsa, combine the tomatoes, oil, lime juice/zest, salt, and pepper.

To assemble the salad, make a bed of romaine and top it with the meat, salsa, some cheddar cheese, and about 8 crushed chips.

This is a fantastic salad–it’s so fresh!  Plus, it only has about 430 calories and it comes together in a snap.  Try it for your next Tex-Mex night and feel good about what you’re feeding your family!


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…is one of the greatest foods on this planet, no questions asked!!!  I came across this pesto pasta in the latest issue of Every Day and absolutely could not wait to make it.  Consider this: pesto. pasta. bacon…

For this comfort food pasta you need:

  • 8ish cups arugula
  • 1 cup basil leaves
  • 1/2 cup pine nuts
  • 1/2 cup parmesan
  • 1 cloves garlic
  • salt
  • 2/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 pound trimmed asparagus
  • 1 pound campanelle pasta
  • ricotta cheese
  • bacon

Boil some water for the pasta, salt it, then cook the campanelle to al dente.  Move on to make the perfect pesto.  Toss the arugula, basil, nuts, cheese, garlic, and a pinch of salt  into the food processor and blend it until smooth, slowly streaming in the oil as you go.  No kidding–you could spread this pesto on some bread and call it a day.  It is absolutely fantastic!!!

Meanwhile, slice your asparagus into long strips and crisp up a few pieces of bacon to crumble over the pasta.

When the pasta is done, drain and toss it with the asparagus and pesto.

On the side, we made a delicious tomato-nectarine salad that I found in Food Network Magazine.  You need:

  • 1 lb. yellow tomatoes; wedged
  • 1 lb. nectarines, wedged
  • ricotta cheese
  • pine nuts (we used almonds)
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 tsp. white balsamic vinegar

This is a super-simple salad to throw together.  Simply toast the nuts of choice in some olive oil.  Take them off the heat and stir in the vinegar.  Then, toss everything together.

Serve up a plate of pasta topped with a dollop of ricotta and some crumbled bacon with the nectarine salad alongside.

Words can’t describe how delicious this pasta is!!!  If you like pesto, you absolutely must give this a try.  And, the nectarine salad is incredibly sweet and refreshing.  Don’t let summer pass without making this meal!!


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