BLT Chopped Salad

BLT Chopped Salad
It’s hard to get my husband behind the idea of salad for dinner. I mean, he never complains if I serve it, but it’s just one of those things you pick up on after being married for 15 (oh wait, almost 16!) years. But if it’s hard to get my husband on board, then you can only imagine how hard it is to get my kids on board! But this right here does it. I’m giving the bacon full credit. I mean, who doesn’t love  a good BLT? But  being able to have that same delicious BLT flavor without the added carbs is guilt free eating if I’ve ever seen it. My two oldest couldn’t shovel it in fast enough and in between bites kept saying, “this is so good”, “no, this is really good”. In my book that goes down as a success.

BLT Chopped Salad

2 cups green leaf lettuce, chopped
2 cups fresh arugula, chopped
1 pint grape tomatos, quartered
4 slices thick-cut bacon, fried and crumbled
1 cup sweet corn
1 cup black beans
1 avocado, chopped
4 ounces feta, crumbled
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
1 lime, juiced
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
ranch dressing

Prepare ingredients. In a large bowl, combine lettuce, arugula, tomatoes, corn, black beans and avocado. Add in salt, pepper, olive oil and lime juice then toss well to coat. Fold in bacon and feta then drizzle with ranch dressing. Serve immediately.

Source | How Sweet It Is

{Flashback Friday} Craisen Spinach Salad with Candied Almonds and Citrus Vinaigrette

How’s that for a long food title? I just wanted to sound fancy. Really it should say “the most freaking delicious spinach salad you’ll ever have”. I know there are like 452,693 spinach salad recipes floating around pinterest, but this just might be the best one you’ll ever have. My sister passed this along to me years ago and it always gets rave reviews.  Grandma Judy especillay loved this stuff, she would grab a fork and eat it straight out of the bowl and would give the stink eye to anyone who came near. I miss that Grandma Judy, and New Zealand. But I love that it is summer here in the states so that we can enjoy this delicious salad once again. So if you have any barbecues planned for the weekend, make a big bowl of this and you will be loved!

1 pkg spinach
1 chopped apple
1 can mandarin oranges
½ C crasins
1 C sliced strawberries
½ C slicedAlmonds
¼ C sugar

Dressing:
zest of one lemon
2 Tbs freshly squeezed lemon juice
3 Tbs vegetable oil
2 1/2 Tbs sugar
1/2 tsp mustard seed

Put almonds and sugar in a small pan and heat over high heat. Stir constantly until sugar melts, coat evenly then transfer to a single layer on a plate and refrigerate. Mix dressing ingredients well then set aside to let the sugar dissolve. Mix remaining ingredients in a bowl then top with almonds. Right before serving, stir dressing then drizzle on salad and mix well.

Source | Janessa Cazier

Original post here

Mediterranean Orzo Salad

Have you ever woken up in the morning already excited about what you’re going to cook for dinner that night? This dish did that to me. I was craving it all day long and started making dinner early because I couldn’t wait to devour it. You can serve it as a side dish, but for a main dish I sauteed some diced chicken in olive oil to toss in with it to make it a little heartier. I could seriously eat this for dinner every single night and never get tired of it!

Vinaigrette:
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon honey
1/3 cup olive oil

Salad:
12 ounces orzo pasta
5 cups chicken broth
2 cups grape or cherry tomatoes, halved
4 tablespoons thinly sliced chives or green onions
3 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
1 cup baby spinach, coarsely chopped
Salt and pepper to taste
1 cup feta cheese, crumbled
½ cup pine nuts, toasted (heat them in a dry skillet over medium-low heat, tossing often until golden)
*Optional: add diced cooked chicken for a main dish

For the dressing, whisk together the vinegar, lemon juice, honey and oil. Season to taste with a bit of salt and pepper. Set aside. For the salad, cook the orzo in the chicken broth until tender according to package directions. Drain well but do not rinse. Let the pasta cool to room temperature, tossing often so it doesn’t stick together (stir in 1-2 tablespoons of the dressing if the pasta is overly sticky). Toss the cooled pasta with the tomatoes, chives or green onions, basil, and spinach. Pour the vinaigrette over the salad and stir until evenly coated. Season with salt and pepper, then sprinkle the feta and pine nuts over the top and toss lightly. Serve at room temperature.

*Source: Mel’s Kitchen Cafe

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Skillet BBQ Chicken Chopped Salad

This right here is my all time favorite main dish salad. This chicken is to die for, you can’t stop picking at it while you’re cutting it up and before long half of it is gone and it hasn’t even reached the table yet. But it’s definitely worth saving some for the salad, because the flavors all come together so perfectly. My kids aren’t huge salad eaters, but this is one salad I can get them to eat, and even ask for seconds. I mean, just look at that chicken searing….

Another close up of charred perfection…

And then swimming in barbecue sauce…

Don’t you love my chicken play by play on this one? I normally like to keep my posts simple so you’re not scrolling through a novel and a million pictures before finally getting to the recipe, but I can’t help myself on this one. Can you blame me?

For the chicken:

2-3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
3 Tbsp olive oil
2 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp onion powder
½ tsp. garlic powder
½ tsp. dried oregano
1 tsp kosher salt
dash of cayenne pepper
1 cup barbecue sauce

Mix olive oil and seasonings in a large ziploc bag. Add raw chicken and coat evenly. Heat skillet over medium-high heat and coat with cooking spray. Place chicken breasts in skillet and cook for 7 minutes. Turn chicken and cook an additional 7 minutes, or until cooked through. Pour half of BBQ sauce over chicken. Turn chicken over, and pour remaining sauce over the other side. Cook 2-3 minutes more while flipping the chicken and basting with additional sauce if necessary. Remove chicken to cutting board and shred into large chunks then set aside to cool.

For the salad:

1 head of lettuce
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
1 cup corn (white shoepeg or yellow)
1 cup black beans
1 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
Tortilla strips (optional)
Tomatoes, diced
Avocado, diced
Cooked chopped chicken
BBQ sauce
Ranch dressing

Finely chop the lettuce, mix in cilantro then add to individual serving dishes. Top each serving with corn, black beans, tomatoes, avacado, BBQ chicken, cheese and tortilla strips and a drizzle on ranch dressing and BBQ sauce.

*Source: Skillet Chicken- The Weary Chef

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Best of 2014

Happy New Year! We rung in the new year on a beautiful secluded beach in Golden Bay here on the South Island of New Zealand. It was perfect in every way. We’re headed off to explore a little of the North Island in a few days (thank goodness for scheduled posts :), but I just wanted to check in and tell you thank you for all of your support these past few months. I’ve really enjoyed starting up this blog again after such a long break. I am so excited to have all our family recipes in one place and I’ve loved the chance I’ve had to share our favorite dishes with you, because I believe all good things deserve to be shared. I know this is just a tiny little small time blog in a world that’s over saturated with big time recipe blogs, but I’ve enjoyed sharing this little space with you. I’ve appreciated all of your kind words, thoughtful comments and positive feedback, it means a lot. Here’s a little recap of the most popular recipes from the past year (well, technically like the past 4 months, but you get the idea), along with my own personal favorites (which is really hard to do because every recipe on here is my favorite, other wise I wouldn’t be posting it). I wish you all a wonderful and delicious new year!

Main Dish

Most Popular: Slow Cooker Sour Cream Chicken

Soup
My Favorite: Tomato Bisque Soup

Appetizer

My Favorite: Hot Pizza Dip

Salad
Most Popular: Potluck Pasta Salad

Side Dish
My Favorite: Cowboy Caviar
Breakfast
Dessert
Most Popular: Pizookie Bars

Potluck Pasta Salad

I’ve never had much luck when it comes to pasta salads. It’s like I show up with my bowl at a potluck and then do the walk of shame as I take it home almost untouched. Until now. When my friend first made this it was love at first taste. This pasta salad is in a league of its own. The dressing ingredients may seem a little odd, but trust me on this one, they all come together just beautifully. I’ve made this on multiple occasions and every time I come home with an empty bowl and a few requests for the recipe. So glad I can finally redeem myself in the potluck circuit, phew, check that off my bucket list.

1 package pasta (like tri-colored rotini)
1 bell pepper, chopped (green, yellow, orange or red)
2 medium tomatoes, chopped (or 1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved)
3/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
8 small fully cooked smoked sausages, sliced (or if you used uncooked sausages, just fry them up beforehand)

Dressing:
1/4 cup white vinegar
3 Tablespoons Sugar
3 Tablespoons vegetable oil
1 Tablespoon ketchup
1/2 teaspoon celery salt
1/2 teaspoon worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon dijon mustard

Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain then rinse with cold water. Prepare tomatoes, pepper and sausages then mix together in a large bowl with pasta noodles. Mix dressing ingredients in a blender, or whisk vigorously until sugar is dissolved. Pour over pasta salad and toss until evenly coated. Add feta cheese and gently toss. Cover and refrigerate about an hour before serving. .

*Source: Julie Tovey

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Craisen Spinach Salad with Candied Almonds and Citrus Vinaigrette

How’s that for a long food title? I just wanted to sound fancy. Really it should say “the most freaking delicious spinach salad you’ll ever have”. I know there are like 452,693 spinach salad recipes floating around pinterest, but this just might be the best one you’ll ever have. My sister passed this along to me years ago and it always gets rave reviews. I made it for a barbecue with neighbors tonight and I kid you not, Grandma Judy grabbed a big spoon and ate the rest of the salad straight out of the bowl for dessert. Even the tough tattooed guys called it “beautiful” and went back for seconds, and I wouldn’t have pegged them as the spinach salad eating type. I suppose this in a non discriminatory equal opportunity salad. So go make a big bowl for your next party or get together and watch how quickly it disappears.

*the strawberries are the only seasonal fruit, so I leave them out if they’re not available and it’s still delicious

1 pkg spinach
1 chopped apple
1 can mandarin oranges
½ C crasins
1 C sliced strawberries
½ C slicedAlmonds
¼ C sugar

Dressing:
zest of one lemon
2 Tbs freshly squeezed lemon juice
3 Tbs vegetable oil
2 1/2 Tbs sugar
1/2 tsp mustard seed

Put almonds and sugar in a small pan and heat over high heat. Stir constantly until sugar melts, coat evenly then transfer to a single layer on a plate and refrigerate. Mix dressing ingredients well then set aside to let the sugar dissolve. Mix remaining ingredients in a bowl then top with almonds. Right before serving, stir dressing then drizzle on salad and mix well.

*Source: Janessa Cazier