Cold Szechuan Noodles with Chicken

Boston is under siege! A couple weeks ago an oppressive wave of heat and humidity descended upon the city sending our “feels like” temperatures into the triple digits. I know, I know, I should feel bad complaining about this having lived in New York, DC, and Kansas where the air is soupy enough to swim in come August, and most recently in Texas where the scorching heat will melt the skin off your face most months out of the year, but I’m a Northerner now, and us Yanks just can’t handle the heat. Continue reading

Advertisements

Cold Asian Noodle Salad

IMG_9116 On steamy days like these, I absolutely hate slaving over a hot stove — an outdoor grill is fine, but my kitchen stove? No thank you. Lately I’ve been cooking much of our dinners in the mornings when the temperature is still cool, then refrigerating everything and assembling the meal right before we eat. This “cook & cool” method (I just made up that term, do you like it?) works really well for pastas, rice, and other hearty grains because they store well, and taste great chilled. For this Cold Asian Noodle Salad, the pasta only takes a few minutes to simmer, so it’s easy to do right before you leave for work. Just drain the noodles, then cover and refrigerate (and if you’re feeling extra ambitious, chop the veggies and store separately in the fridge). Then when you get home, all you have to do is whip up the dressing, then toss everything together. Voilà! Done! And this easy summer salad can be served alongside grilled chicken, or dished up as a vegetarian entrée. Either way, you’ll thank me tonight when you’re enjoying a cool meal on the patio rather than sweating in the kitchen. Continue reading

Easy Summer Salads

Alright, friends, have we all agreed to stop buying frozen, grocery store hamburgers and unanimously decided instead to try making our own patties this summer? Have the last couple days of me preaching from my soapbox convinced you that there are better ways to barb-e-que? Yes? Good. Now we can move on to fantastic salads to accompany those delicious burgers! Below are two, super easy salads that pretty much go with any main dish. Continue reading

Spectacular Sides for the 4th of July!

IMG_8711Tomorrow’s the 4th of July and if you’re anything like me, you’ve waited until the very last minute to make plans. Again. But that doesn’t mean you should let a little procrastination stop you from enjoying a fantastic meal. Which is why I decided to throw together these super easy, incredibly tasty (and, I might add, spectacular looking!) side dishes to jazz up your celebration. As my husband says, If you wait until the last minute, it only takes a minute! So why not whip up these dishes tomorrow before the party gets started — I guarantee you’ll get as many ooh’s and ahh’s as the fireworks do. Continue reading

Southwest Steak Chopped Salad with Chipotle-Lime Ranch Dressing

IMG_8587Alright, here we go, another chopped salad recipe for you guys! If you already made the chopped salad base from yesterday’s post, then you should be good to go, if not, I included the recipe again for your convenience. Because I’m cool like that. Anyway, this version is a little more gluttonous than yesterday’s, but still very low in calories, so don’t feel bad about splurging a little. However, if you’re really serious about your daily calorie intake and don’t want the extra digits to add up, just omit the avocado and chips, and swap out the steak for chicken — you’ll still get the same great taste without the extra fluff. Continue reading

Asian Chicken Chopped Salad

IMG_8430

Coming home from vacation is always hard, but it’s even harder when that vacation is centered around delicious food, as Alaskan cruises almost always are. This past week I’ve been missing my daily breakfast buffet, the mid-day tea and cupcake social, and the calorie laden 3-course meals that I became accustomed to on the ship. My waistline, on the other hand, is not. After a couple depressing attempts to fit into my summer clothes, I decided that it was time to undo all those lovely inches that I brought back with me from my trip. But how do you go from stuffing your face morning, noon, and night to eating like a rabbit and being happy about it? The trick is it to load up on lean protein and fiber-packed foods that will help fill you up quicker, and keep you fuller longer. Which is why I’ve been living off of my homemade chopped salad for the last few days. Continue reading

Split Pea Soup with Ham and Salad with Honey Mustard Vinaigrette

IMG_6764

One of the many things I love about Easter, aside from the candy and the colorful eggs, is the juicy spiral-cut ham that we serve up for dinner – and keep serving day, after day, after day, until the never-ending leftovers have been used up. Sick of ham sandwiches yet? Me, too! Here’s a quick way to finish off your ham without stuffing it into yet another stale dinner roll!

Split Pea Soup with Ham

Serves 6-8

  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil, plus more for drizzling
  • 1 white or yellow onion, diced
  • 6 medium-sized carrots, peeled and diced
  • 6 celery stalks, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
  • 4 sprigs of fresh thyme, finely chopped
  • 6 cups chicken stock (see recipe in Homemade Stocks)
  • 1 lb. dried split peas
  • 8 Yukon gold potatoes, cut into ½-inch cubes
  • ½ tsp. smoked paprika, plus more for sprinkling
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 ham bone
  • 1-2 cups diced ham, reserve a few Tbsp. for garnish
  • Kosher salt and fresh cracked black pepper to taste

In a large soup pot, heat oil until shimmering. Add onions, carrots, and celery and cook until vegetables have softened and onion starts to become transparent, about 5-8 minutes. Add garlic and thyme and cook until just fragrant, about 1 minute.

Add stock, peas, potatoes, paprika, and bay leaf and stir to combine. Nestle ham bone in the middle of soup then bring to a boil. Immediately reduce heat to low and simmer, partially covered, until peas and vegetables are soft, about 40-45 minutes.

Remove bay leaf and ham bone from, discarding both. Ladle half of soup into a separate bowl, set aside. With a hand-held immersion blender, purée soup in pot until smooth, then return reserved soup to pot and stir until combined. Or alternatively, ladle half of soup into a blender and purée until smooth, the return puréed portion to pot and stir until combined. Season with salt and pepper as needed.

Add diced ham and heat until ham is warmed through. Ladle soup into preheated bowls and garnish with a drizzle with olive oil, some chopped ham, and a sprinkle of smoked paprika. Serve immediately or refrigerate covered for 3-5 days.

Mixed Green Salad with Honey Mustard Vinaigrette

20140423-091754.jpg

Serves 6

FOR THE SALAD:

  • 6-8 cups mixed salad greens
  • 3 hardboiled eggs, sliced
  • 1 cup cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
  • 1 cup sugar snap peas, cut into thirds
  • 2 green onions, white and light green parts only, thinly sliced
  • 1 carrot, shaved

FOR THE VINAIGRETTE:

  • 1 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
  • 1 Tbsp. whole grain mustard
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • ¼ cup white wine vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp. honey
  • Kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste

Toss all salad ingredients in a large bowl.

Whisk all vinaigrette ingredients in a liquid measuring cup until ingredients have emulsified.

Pour a little dressing over salad, toss, then repeat as needed.