Sunday, November 15, 2015

Southwest BBQ Chicken Salad with Cilantro Pepita Dressing

I have another salad that I LOVE and could eat everyday. HF and the kids like to eat it too! I use the same base as my tri-tip steak salad, but the toppings and dressing are different, although they would compliment each other well.

For 1-2 salads (Depending on how big you like them):
1-2 Cups chopped romaine (can also use Spring mix, butter lettuce, etc.)
1-2 Cups baby Arugula
2-4 Tablespoons finely chopped red onion
Handful of grape tomatoes, sliced
1/4 cup black beans
1/4 cup white or shoepeg corn
1/4 cup diced avocado
1/2 cup chopped BBQ chicken
1/8 cup Feta chesse (can also use shredded cheddar or Mexican mix)
Crushed tortilla chips or strips
Lime wedge for serving (optional)
2-4 Tablespoons Cilantro Pepita dressing, or to taste

Cilantro Pepita Dressing:
2 Anaheim Chilies, roasted, peeled, and seeded
1/3 cup pepitas (roasted pumpkin seeds)
2 cloves garlic, peeled
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon kosher or sea salt
12 ounces canola oil
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
5 Tablespoons grated cotija cheese (parmesan works too)
2 bunches cilantro
1 1/2 cups veganaise or plain Greek yogurt
1/4 cup water

Combine all ingredients in blender such as a Blendtec, and blend until everything is thoroughly combined. This makes a quart of dressing. It will keep in the fridge for 3-5 days in an air tight container. Unless you are planning on eating it all in 3-5 days, I would halve the recipe. I haven't tried freezing it yet, but that could be an option too.

For the BBQ chicken, I use this recipe: The Best Crockpot BBQ Chicken
For roasting tips, I would read: Pioneer Woman's How to Roast Green Chilies

You can also take the salad to go. Just stick everything in a quart sized mason jar with the dressing on the bottom, and layer tomatoes, feta, beans, chips, lettuces, avocado and onion. When you want to eat it, dump it out on a plate and enjoy!

Friday, October 2, 2015

Protein Shakes

I finally found a protein shake that I can handle. I don't know about you, but to me protein shakes and bars taste like dirt. I also don't like the ingredients in them. Then I found this and gave it a shot and I love it! It is plant based, no soy, no dairy, no GMO, no gluten, just plant based protein (brown rice, hemp, chia, and pea). They also have a vanilla one that I haven't tried yet, but I would like to. The small container on the left is from your average health food store. It was about $40. The larger one on the right is from Costco and it is on sale right now for $23! It's over 2 pounds. Such a good deal. I am going to stock up. I'm not being asked to promote this product, just sharing part of my morning meal arsenal.

This is the way I make mine. It is similar to the directions on the container.

In a blender combine:
1 cup of almond or coconut milk
1 banana
1 scoop of ice
2 scoops of protein powder

My next plan is to use a scoop of protein powder in other recipes like pancakes, muffins, oatmeal, etc. Have any of you done this?

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

avocado on toast: part deux

After I've gotten the kids to school, this is what my morning looks like. Literally sunshine and roses. Roses from our yard! What's not pictured here is Mrs. Fuzz's smile and evil laugh while I sit and eat in peaceful splendor. I love my kids, but this new found mornings alone thing? I could get used to that. Even better is finding myself alone with HF still at home. What?! Awesome! Then that makes for Mr. AND Mrs. Fuzz smiling and laughing until it's time for one of us to go to work. We love this new stage. Don't get me wrong. We love the baby stage, but there is something we are loving about the kids being a little older and more independent. 

Back to food. Some time ago, I posted about one of my favorite breakfasts. Avocado on toast with salt and pepper. Recently I discovered another twist on this favorite of mine that is "eyes rolling back" good. 

Here's what you need for 1 person:
2 slices of your favorite bread, toasted (We like Dave's Killer Bread)
1/2 of an avocado, sliced thin or smashed with a fork
2 teaspoons honey

While bread is toasting, slice avocado down the center, lengthwise. The centers will pull apart by gently twisting the two halves opposite one another. Remove pit and skin from one of the halves. Refrigerate the unused portion immediately, up to 2 days. Some browning is normal.

Slice avocado thinly, or mash in a small bowl. Spread avocado on both slices of warm toast. Drizzle 1 teaspoon of honey on each toast. Enjoy. So simple. And a great way to start your day. Let me know what you think if you try it! 

Monday, September 14, 2015

Bánh mì

Whenever I go to a restaurant and fall in love with one of the dishes, I always try and recreate it at home. My latest discovery is the Vietnamese sandwich, called the Bánh mì. This particular sandwich is called a Bánh mì Thit Nuong, or a grilled pork sandwich. It uses a very flavorful and delicious lemongrass marinade. These can be easily wrapped in foil or parchment for your officers to take for lunch. And it's veggie loaded. 

For the marinade:
2 pounds pork butt, sliced 1/4-inch thin
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup plus 1 Tbsp. fish sauce
1 lemongrass stalk, finely chopped
1 1/2 Tbsp. minced garlic
2 Tbsp. minced shallot
1/4 tsp. black pepper

Combine all ingredients and marinade at least 2 hours or overnight. When ready to cook, grill the pork until golden brown and slightly charred on each side. 

Carrot and Daikon Pickles
1 cucumber chopped into matchsticks
fresh cilantro (1/2 bunch, chopped)
Vegannaise (or mayonnaise)

Making the sandwiches:
1-2 soft French baguettes, cut into 6 sandwich rolls
1.  Cut each roll hot dog bun style and remove some of the bread inside so that you have a thinner sandwich, if desired. Lightly grill open face with a small amount of garlic butter. 
2.  Spread Vegannaise, or mayonnaise on each side of the bread and place in your thin sliced meat, the carrot and daikon pickles, cucumber, and cilantro sprigs. Roll up tightly and serve.

Makes 6 sandwiches.

Monday, September 7, 2015

World's Best Salad

There's a certain restaurant we like to frequent. Every single time we go, I get this tri-tip steak salad. It. is. the. bomb. Do people still say that? Anyway, I decided to recreate it at home and I think it is pretty spot on. It is a little time consuming, and to have all the ingredients on hand can be a little pricey, but here's how I make it easier. I buy in bulk at Costco and I cook everything up on a day where I have some extra time for food prep. Then I have enough for a dozen or so salads. Pretty awesome. Here is the recipe to make 2 large salads (although you will have ingredients for dayz to make more salads or if you are feeding a larger group.  Give 'er a try!

2 servings Tri-Tip (6-8 ounces), sliced thin and in small pieces
1 head Romaine lettuce, chopped 
2-3 ounces Arugula (3-5 loosely packed cups, depending on your taste)
4-6 sprigs of Cilantro
2-4 Tablespoons Chopped Scallions
1/2 Roasted red pepper, cut into thin strips
4 Tablespoons toasted sliced almonds
Dried cherries (a handful)
Feta Cheese
Cherry or grape tomatoes, sliced in half (a handful or so)
Lemon-Cilantro Vinaigrette (recipe follows)

1. We used this recipe for marinating the tri-tip. We used olive oil instead of soybean oil, and I used real onions instead of dried, and lastly, I used Lawry’s seasoning salt instead of garlic salt.
2. We followed these instructions for grilling the tri-tip. . It turned out PERFECT.
3. We used this recipe by Ina Garten to roast the red pepper.

Assembling the salad:
Combine your lettuce, arugula, and scallions. Divide between two large bowls. Divide the cilantro sprigs between the two bowls as well. Then sprinkle the rest of the ingredients on both salads, adjusting amounts to your taste. Right before serving, drizzle on the Lemon-Cilantro Vinaigrette.

Lemon-Cilantro Vinaigrette
¼ cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
1-2 Tablespoons white vinegar
1 bunch cilantro (rinsed well, patted dry, and just the ends trimmed)
1 heaping Tablespoon brown sugar (or honey)
1 clove garlic
¼ tsp. sea salt
¾ tsp. spicy brown mustard
¼ cup olive oil
Dash of Chipotle chili powder

I threw all the ingredients for the dressing in my Blendtec and voila! It was blended up perfectly. The dressing is supposed to be on the thicker side. Drizzle to taste (usually about ¼ cup for a salad that big!) The dressing will last in the fridge for 3-5 days.