Mediterranean Power Salad

It may be September but here in Austin it’s still in the high 90s and the humidity did not get the message to go away because it’s supposed to be turning into autumn. So what does one do for a healthy weeknight dinner that does not involve touching the stove? You make yourself a power salad filled with all that is good and filling. I do not believe that salads have to be boring or limp. You can add grains, you can add protein that isn’t bland and it can have a ton flavor. Since my mind has been preoccupied with dreaming of a trip to the Mediterranean, my taste buds needed to be inspired too. Mediterranean power salad it is.

There’s not a lot of real measurements so you can make it however big or small you want, so here’s the cast of characters:

A bed of power greens

Diced red onion

Chopped cucumber

Kalamata olives

Cherry tomatoes

1/4 cup couscous per person

Rosemary citrus shrimp (marinade to follow)

 

Simple list and the shrimpies cook up quick with just 2-3 minutes (or until opaque) on each side on medium high heat. Throw the veggies and greens together, dress with your favorite vinaigrette (try using pomegranate red wine vinegar if you make your own) and top with warm couscous and shrimp. I paired mine with a grapefruit vodka and soda cocktail and was happy as a clam.

Mediterranean

Yes yes you get an iphone shot instead of a real picture but it’s actually because I was too excited to eat the salad than actually try and take a pretty picture of it. And the fact that I was only an episode away from finishing Sherlock had nothing to do with me not wanting to get up and find a camera. Nothing.

I posted my favorite vinaigrette recipe here. And here’s my rosemary citrus shrimp marinade for around 1/2 pound of shrimp:

1/2 cup olive oil

1/4 cup fresh citrus juice (I tried lime and grapefruit and both balanced out the rosemary very nicely)

1-2 Tbsp. diced fresh rosemary (really depends on how big your shrimp are)

Sea salt and cracked pepper to your preference

I recommend seasoning your shrimp with salt and pepper before adding to the marinade.

Now all you have to do is let your taste buds take you to a Greek Isle and enjoy.

Good Morning Smoothie

Good mornin’ Good mornin’ to you!

Remember that super catchy song from Singing in the Rain? Remember how you don’t pop out of bed singing that song all bright eyed and chipper? Well I’m not saying this smoothie will fix that but at least you’ll start yourself on the right foot that can help lead to healthy choices for the rest of the day. Isn’t it nice to begin the day not slowed down by a sugary first meal? I think so.

It’s got all the good stuff: power greens, protein, antioxidants in the blueberries, fiber and Omega-3 in the flax, and it’s not watered down by using a frozen banana instead of ice.

Serving: 1

A small handful of greens (kale, spinach, mustard greens etc)

Half scoop of protein powder

1/2 cup blueberries

1/2 frozen banana

2 Tbs flax seed

1 cup liquid of your choice (I’ve used water, almond milk and soy milk and it doesn’t really make a difference)

Blend together, stick a straw in it and be on your way to a great day!

 

 

Note: I’ve been using my immersion blender and it works great-no splatter if you push it all the way down. Also no picture because despite the blueberries it doesn’t come out the prettiest color thanks to the greens.

Weeknight Dinner: Power Salad

Uh-oh watch out, I’m at it again with those crazy power salads. Just kidding. They’re not that exciting and I’m not that nuts. Basically it’s getting hotter outside which means I’m less inclined to use my stove/oven and quite frankly, I’m tired after working and then going on a run with the pup. Power salad it is.

Power salad

Power salad

You know the drill- mix together and eat.

  • Large handful of spinach
  • 1/4 C cooked quinoa
  • 1 hardboiled egg
  • 1 orange sliced
  • Handful of chopped almonds
  • 1/2 C chopped mushrooms
  • 2 Tbsp Vinaigrette (recipe to follow)
  • Cracked pepper to taste

Vinaigrette (my new favorite salad dressing!)

The proper method is to whisk together all of the ingredients except the olive oil and then slowly pour and whisk in the olive oil to combine. BUT since we’re not at a culinary school in the heart of France-I put all the ingredients in a jar and shook and it turned out magnificently. Like I said, my new favorite salad dressing.

  • Zest of one lemon
  • Juice of one lemon
  • 3 Tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp chopped shallot
  • 1 Tsp dijon mustard
  • 6 Tbsp olive oil

 

Weeknight Dinner: Power Salad

Here’s an easy peasy one for a Monday night. No peas though.

Power salad = Spinach + Quinoa + Mushrooms + Cranberries + Blueberries + Walnuts

Cook the quinoa

Chop mushrooms

Heat olive oil and throw in berries until they start to burst break down

Throw together, top with some freshly ground black pepper and enjoy!

I didn’t put a salad dressing on because the berry juice and the olive oil and black pepper was good enough for me but I’m sure a vinaigrette would be lovely.

feel the power

feel the power

Not Yo Mama’s Brussel Sprouts

I can make you like brussel sprouts. I can make you want them all the time, even for your birthday. It can be done. They’re not bitter and they’re not stinky (FRIENDS reference? always).  The secret? Caramelized to a wonderful color and at the last second hit with a splash of balsamic vinegar. You have to have patience though but good things come to those who wait.

1. Cut brussel sprouts in half longways

2. Heat olive oil to medium heat

3. Place brussel sprouts cut side down and cook until they get a nice nutty brown color

Cooking cut side down first

Cooking cut side down first

4. The interesting part- flip them to quickly cook the other side (If you find a fool proof efficient method for this step- please let me know! I’ve tried everything down to chop sticks) OH and beware- they pop and can flip themselves back over at this step

I need tiny tongs or something for the tiny cabbages

I need tiny tongs or something for the tiny cabbages

5. Toss on some balsamic vinegar (to taste) and quickly stir around to coat and deglaze the pan and then enjoy!

This is the key: balsamic cuts out the bitterness so you are not repelled

This is the key: balsamic cuts out the bitterness so you are not repelled by something so good

Some additions to the sprouts to dress them up can be to saute some garlic in with them (careful not to burn) or off course crumbled bacon or pancetta, toasted pecans or walnuts and cheesed (preferably a salty one to counter the balsamic)

Give them a chance!

Has anyone else found a way to enjoy a veg with a bad rap?

Taste Tested: Pinterest Recipes

The black hole of time. Where productivity goes to die. The self esteem boost from all the stuff that you CAN do. The lowering of the self esteem when you see all the stuff that you HAVEN’T done. Oh yes, it’s Pinterest. But do not fret over the overwhelming and endless parade of pictures, I have searched through and picked some recipes and then, dare I say it, I tried the recipes! And now I want to share some of the good ones I’ve found with you!

I don’t think I altered any of these too much either and they were approved– with proof from the empty plates of my family. Let’s begin.

Spicy Sweet Potato and Black Bean and Avocado Tacos :  I served them on a whole wheat tortilla and didn’t add cheese but did add the lime. I really liked this one because it’s great for Meatless Mondays and combines superfood and is super filling. Served with mexican spiced brown rice and more avocado. (I have to phonetically sound out how to spell avocado every time. Anyone else have this problem?)

Strawberry and Cucumber Salad with Balsamic Dressing : And God said let there be the most perfect summer salad and this salad came into existence. Try it. Now. Stop reading and make it. It’s that good.

Lemon Chicken Romano : a nice twist on chicken parmesan. In my humble opinion I think it had more flavor and was a nice summer dish. I served it with a nice slice of provolone on the top for the family and had mine without and it was delicious. I served this with the salad mentioned above.

Jalapeno Chip Crusted Chicken : Easy chicken dish with a kick of flavor! What’s not to love. I served it with caramelized balsamic brussel sprouts to add some greens and another flavor. The brussel sprouts are just pan fried in olive oil until a nice caramel brown color and then drizzle some balsamic vinegar on them for the last 2 minutes.

Creamy Tomato and Crab Fettuccine: I made this one a while ago for Jon and I cheated on it too… I didn’t puree fresh tomatoes but instead got some smoky and spiced tomato sauce from the grocery store and it turned out wonderful too. I also added almost twice as much crab and it was a delicious decision. I also ate the leftover 4 days straight after this. Not ashamed either.

Finding new recipes is daunting and it always helps to know if it will turn out well even if a professional chef turned blogger didn’t make it. Hope this helps make meal planning a little easier and feel free to share your success/failure and other recipes you’ve found on PInterest too!

 

 

Quinoa and Aromatic Mushrooms

It’s recipe time! I made this one up when I was hungry while grocery shopping. Not usually a good idea but something good came out of it this time. Let’s take a look and see what’s cookin!

It’s embarrassing how easy this recipe is but it just comes out so well and makes your kitchen smell so heavenly that you just can’t care. The whole key to separating this dish from any other blah quinoa recipe is rosemary! And garlic. Garlic is a staple.

Ingredients: mushrooms, wiped down and de-stemmed and give it a coarse chop; one clove of garlic minced; roughly one tablespoon of rosemary minced; and since I made this for myself I used a quarter cup of quinoa. Not pictured is white wine because I threw that in there spontaneously…

First of all, yes that is one clove of garlic. It was a mongo clove but who doesn’t like garlic? If you said “I don’t” then rethink your life’s path and what you’re missing out on.

Next step: start cooking your quinoa. The ratio is 1 part quinoa to 2 parts water. Done

Third step: heat up some olive oil and butter in a pan. I used about 1 Tbsp each, then added half a Tbsp of each later. Once it heats up throw in the garlic and rosemary and let them do work. Your kitchen will become a sanctuary for noses.

Next step: Throw in the mushrooms and let them start softening up

just stand over the pan and inhale

Next step: after the mushrooms have softened, 4-5 minutes, pour in some white wine. I didn’t measure the wine but it’s enough to come up the sides of the mushrooms in the pan, but not cover them or float them.

Now sit back and let them simmer until the white wine is reduced to about half the amount. This was around 8-10 minutes for me.

simmer simmer simmer

When your quinoa is done, fluff it with a fork then cover it back up and let it sit for around 4-5 minutes more. While it’s sitting, take the mushrooms off the heat. When the quinoa is ready throw it in a bowl and pour the contents of the pan into the bowl and stir to combine. Then throw in some parmesan cheese because it’s tasty. I have a feeling most of my recipes will end with throwing in some parmesan. Don’t care. Enjoy!