Mediterranean Salad

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Chicken Shawarma is one of our favorite dinners.  And if I’m making that you can bet I’m also making this.  It’s cooling and refreshing and is just what you want with the warm spices in shawarma.  I usually make it before I cook the shawarma so the acid in the lemon juice can mellow out the onion a bit before we eat.  You can use equal parts cucumber, tomato, and onion or cut back on the onion if you like.  This is something you don’t really measure.  Just chop, drizzle, and mix.
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MEDITERRANEAN SALAD

Cucumber, peeled, seeded, diced
tomato, diced
white onion, diced
flat leaf parsley, minced
Lemon juice
Olive Oil
Salt and pepper, to taste

Mix the cucumbers, tomatoes, onions together in a bowl.  Drizzle with freshly squeezed lemon juice and olive oil.  Season with salt and pepper.

Mediterranean Salad

Ingredients

  • Cucumber, peeled, seeded, diced
  • tomato, diced
  • white onion, diced
  • flat leaf parsley, minced
  • Lemon juice
  • Olive Oil
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Instructions

  • Mix the cucumbers, tomatoes, onions together in a bowl. Drizzle with freshly squeezed lemon juice and olive oil. Season with salt and pepper.
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    Greek Quinoa Salad

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    It’s been one crazy summer here.  I’ve been determined to finish up all of my lists of projects and ideas before September, and since I lead a 4-H group, we HAVE to participate with the county fair!  Enter: easy meals that store well.  This is one of those.  I can make it ahead of time and grab a bowl for a quick lunch, or add some chicken for a dinner.  If you have adventurous eaters this would be great for a lunchbox salad as well.  If you haven’t tried my Asian Quinoa Salad yet add that one to the list too!
    You can change up the add ins of course too to your liking.  Sometimes I leave the garbanzo beans out, especially if I’ll be serving hummus as well.

    GREEK QUINOA SALAD
    1/2 cup quinoa
    1 cup water
    1/2 large cucumber, peeled, seeded, and diced
    1 cup grape tomatoes, cut in half, or diced tomatoes
    1/4 cup red onion, diced
    1/4 cup olives, diced
    1 1/2 cups cooked garbanzo beans (or 1 can, drained)
    3 T fresh dill or parsley, finely chopped
    3 T fresh basil, finely chopped
    1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese

    For dressing:
    1 T lemon juice
    1 T red wine vinegar
    2 cup olive oil
    1/2 tsp dried oregano
    salt and pepper to taste

    Bring the cup of water to a boil in a medium pot.  Add quinoa and return to a boil.  Cover pot, reduce heat to low, and let simmer for 15 minutes.
    Fluff quinoa and let sit 5 minutes, covered, and off the heat.   This will make 2 cups cooked quinoa.  You will know it’s cooked because the outer hulls are popped off.
    Place all the dressing ingredients in a jar and shake well.  Pour over quinoa and chill.  Add remaining salad ingredients.  Serve chilled or at room temperature.
    Serve with additional dressing if desired.

    Greek Quinoa Salad

    Ingredients

    • 1/2 cup quinoa
    • 1 cup water
    • 1/2 large cucumber, peeled, seeded, and diced
    • 1 cup grape tomatoes, cut in half, or diced tomatoes
    • 1/4 cup red onion, diced
    • 1/4 cup olives, diced
    • 1 1/2 cups cooked garbanzo beans (or 1 can, drained)
    • 3 T fresh dill or parsley, finely chopped
    • 3 T fresh basil, finely chopped
    • 1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
      For dressing:
    • 1 T lemon juice
    • 1 T red wine vinegar
    • 2 cup olive oil
    • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
    • salt and pepper to taste

    Instructions

  • Bring the cup of water to a boil in a medium pot. Add quinoa and return to a boil. Cover pot, reduce heat to low, and let simmer for 15 minutes.
  • Fluff quinoa and let sit 5 minutes, covered, and off the heat. This will make 2 cups cooked quinoa. You will know it’s cooked because the outer hulls are popped off.
  • Place all the dressing ingredients in a jar and shake well. Pour over quinoa and chill. Add remaining salad ingredients. Serve chilled or at room temperature.
  • Serve with additional dressing if desired.
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    Sweet Pork Taco Salad

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    Proof that last minute dinners don’t have to suck… or be handed through a window.  I keep sweet pork in my freezer for just such a night. All though I’ve made it with cooked shredded chicken many times too and loved it just as much.  In fact if I’m having a crazy errand day ending with a trip to Costco, I grab a rotisserie chicken to shred just for this.  Then I freeze the bones to make stock for another meal later.  Either way it’s delicious.  The sweet pork freezes really well so I love having some on hand.  

    SWEET PORK TACO SALAD

    Sweet Pulled Pork

    Black beans (I make them like this)
    Shredded lettuce
    Tomatoes, chopped
    White Onions, chopped
    Tortilla Strips (I just cut tortillas in strips and bake or fry)

    For Cilantro Lime Salad Dressing:
    1 cup packed cilantro leaves
    3 cloves garlic
    1/2 cup sour cream (I use light)
    1/4 cup lime juice
    1/2 cup olive oil
    salt and pepper, to taste

    Blend salad dressing ingredients together in a blender until well blended.
    Toss with salad ingredients.

    Sweet Pork Taco Salad

    Ingredients

    • Sweet Pulled Pork
    • Black beans (I make them like this)
    • Shredded lettuce
    • Tomatoes, chopped
    • White Onions, chopped
    • Tortilla Strips (I just cut tortillas in strips and bake or fry)
      For Cilantro Lime Salad Dressing:
    • 1 cup packed cilantro leaves
    • 3 cloves garlic
    • 1/2 cup sour cream (I use light)
    • 1/4 cup lime juice
    • 1/2 cup olive oil
    • salt and pepper, to taste

    Instructions

  • Blend salad dressing ingredients together in a blender until well blended.
  • Toss with salad ingredients.
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    Cilantro Lime Salad Dressing

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    I’ve been trying to get all my recipes in order lately.  Most of them are little scribbles on scraps of paper scattered around.  They don’t usually even have a title so I sometimes forget what it is and have to attempt to decipher by the list of ingredients!  The other day I was going to make this and couldn’t find the scrap of paper! Panic!  I thought I had posted it here but hadn’t.  A frantic 15 minutes later I found it, phew!  This is a favorite here and I use it primarily for Sweet Pork Tostadas  or taco salad.  It’s perfect for tacos as well.  We have found we don’t need sour cream or cheese, this adds so much flavor and creaminess.

    CILANTRO LIME SALAD DRESSING

    1 packed cup cilantro (1 bunch)
    3 cloves garlic
    1/2 cup sour cream
    1/4 cup lime juice
    1/2 cup olive oil
    salt and pepper, to taste

    Blend all ingredients together in a blender until smooth.
    TIP: I rinse off the cilantro and just break off the bottom half or third of stems and use the leaves with some stems still on them.  Since you are blending it up, and the stems actually have a good amount of flavor, use them!

    Cilantro Lime Salad Dressing

    Ingredients

    • 1 packed cup cilantro (1 bunch)
    • 3 cloves garlic
    • 1/2 cup sour cream
    • 1/4 cup lime juice
    • 1/2 cup olive oil
    • salt and pepper, to taste

    Instructions

  • Blend all ingredients together in a blender until smooth.
  • TIP:
  • I rinse off the cilantro and just break off the bottom half or third of stems and use the leaves with some stems still on them. Since you are blending it up, and the stems actually have a good amount of flavor, use them!
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    Roasted Beet Salad with Beet Greens and Feta

    Beets and feta.   I’m kind of addicted to the combination.  I think it’s the sweetness of beets with the salty briny flavor of feta that makes it so good.  If you haven’t tried it before you have to.
    Roasted Beet Salad with Beet Greens and Feta


    The greens will wilt up to much less than you thought, so if you want more greens in the salad I would add in some kale or other sturdy green and saute with the beet greens.
    And if you don’t like/have feta, it’s still delicious without it. 🙂   You could totally do a citrus vinaigrette on this as well, but beet and beet greens are really flavorful and I think a simple olive oil and balsamic dressing is perfect for them.
    Roasted Beet Salad with Beet Greens and Feta
    ROASTED BEET SALAD WITH BEET GREENS AND FETA

    2 bunches beets with greens attached
    Olive oil
    2 garlic cloves, minced
    Salt and Pepper
    Feta cheese, crumbled
    Balsamic vinegar (blackberry balsamic is my favorite!)
    Sunflower seeds

    Trim and peel beets.  Cut into quarters, then each quarter in half, so you have 8 skinny wedges per beet.
    Toss with a drizzle of olive oil and season with salt and pepper.  Spread out in a single layer on a baking sheet and roast at 425 degrees for about 25 minutes or until golden and cooked through.
    About 5 minutes before they are done start on the greens.  Trim out the stem from the greens and cut into 1/2 inch strips.
    Heat a drizzle of olive oil over medium high heat in a skillet.  Add garlic and cook until just starting to become fragrant.  Add greens and toss in skillet, cooking for just a couple minutes until wilted.
    Put the greens in the serving dish and top with roasted beets, feta, and sunflower seeds.  Serve with balsamic vinegar.

    Roasted Beet Salad with Beet Greens and Feta

    Ingredients

    • 2 bunches beets with greens attached
    • Olive oil
    • 2 garlic cloves, minced
    • Salt and Pepper
    • Feta cheese, crumbled
    • Balsamic vinegar (blackberry balsamic is my favorite!)
    • Sunflower seeds

    Instructions

  • Trim and peel beets. Cut into quarters, then each quarter in half, so you have 8 skinny wedges per beet.
  • Toss with a drizzle of olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Spread out in a single layer on a baking sheet and roast at 425 degrees for about 25 minutes or until golden and cooked through.
  • About 5 minutes before they are done start on the greens. Trim out the stem from the greens and cut into 1/2 inch strips.
  • Heat a drizzle of olive oil over medium high heat in a skillet. Add garlic and cook until just starting to become fragrant. Add greens and toss in skillet, cooking for just a couple minutes until wilted.
  • Put the greens in the serving dish and top with roasted beets, feta, and sunflower seeds. Serve with balsamic vinegar.
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    Zucchini Noodle Caprese Salad


    Zucchini Noodle Caprese Salad

    I love raw zucchini.  I’ve put shredded zucchini on salads for years, practically using more zucchini than lettuce.  I even won my hubby over.  It adds great crunch.  Since the spiral cutters have become so popular I could see the potential but always found myself disappointed with them.  We bought a popular one and I used it once, it was so awkward to use and the design was flimsy.   Then I came across this one on Amazon, the Mueller Sprial-Ultra 4 blade spiralizer.   It is so much easier to use and works so much better!  I’m finding all kinds of uses for it and this is one of my favorites.  Super easy, quick, and I’m sure will be on the table often this summer, especially when our tomatoes are ready in the garden.

    ZUCCHINI NOODLE CAPRESE SALAD

    Tomatoes, sliced
    Green zucchini, cut into noodles with spiral cutter
    Marinated mozzarella, I used my homemade recipe found here
    Fresh basil, cut in chiffonade
    Balsamic vinegar
    Olive oil (I use the flavored oil from the mozzarella marinade
    salt and pepper to taste

    Lay the tomato slices out in a single layer then top with the zucchini noodles.
    Sprinkle some mozzarella on top, followed by basil, balsamic, olive oil, then salt and pepper.

    Zucchini Noodle Caprese Salad

    Ingredients

    • Tomatoes, sliced
    • Green zucchini, cut into noodles with spiral cutter
    • Marinated mozzarella, I used my homemade recipe found here
    • Fresh basil, cut in chiffonade
    • Balsamic vinegar
    • Olive oil (I use the flavored oil from the mozzarella marinade
    • salt and pepper to taste

    Instructions

  • Lay the tomato slices out in a single layer then top with the zucchini noodles.
  • Sprinkle some mozzarella on top, followed by basil, balsamic, olive oil, then salt and pepper.
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    Greek Kale Salad

    Greek Kale Salad
    Kale may be an old food fad, but it remains one of my favorite foods.  The trick with kale is it needs some time to soften up.  The best way to do this is to chop it finely and dress it with an acidic vinaigrette and rub it into the leaves.  Then let it sit for a bit while you prepare the remaining ingredients so it can continue to soften up.
    This is especially good served with homemade Naan bread and some lemon grilled chicken… and maybe some hummus too. 🙂

    Greek Kale Salad
    GREEK KALE SALAD

    1 bunch kale, stem removed and finely chopped
    1 cup cucumber, peeled, seeded, and diced
    1 1/2 cups cooked chickpeas (if using canned, drain and rinse well)
    1 1/2 cups diced tomatoes (or halved grape or cherry tomatoes)
    1/4 cup finely diced red onion
    1/2 cup sliced olives
    1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese

    Vinaigrette:
    1/2 cup olive oil
    1/4 cup red wine vinegar
    1/4 cup lemon juice
    1 tsp dried oregano
    1 tsp garlic powder
    1/2 tsp salt
    1/4 tsp pepper

    Place vinaigrette ingredients in a jar and shake well to combine (You can also blend in a blender or whisk together in a bowl).
    Toss the kale with the vinaigrette and massage into the leaves.
    Prepare the remaining salad ingredients while the kale softens.  Toss all together.

    Greek Kale Salad

    Ingredients

    • 1 bunch kale, stem removed and finely chopped
    • 1 cup cucumber, peeled, seeded, and diced
    • 1 1/2 cups cooked chickpeas (if using canned, drain and rinse well)
    • 1 1/2 cups diced tomatoes (or halved grape or cherry tomatoes)
    • 1/4 cup finely diced red onion
    • 1/2 cup sliced olives
    • 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
      Vinaigrette:
    • 1/2 cup olive oil
    • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
    • 1/4 cup lemon juice
    • 1 tsp dried oregano
    • 1 tsp garlic powder
    • 1/2 tsp salt
    • 1/4 tsp pepper

    Instructions

  • Place vinaigrette ingredients in a jar and shake well to combine (You can also blend in a blender or whisk together in a bowl).
  • Toss the kale with the vinaigrette and massage into the leaves.
  • Prepare the remaining salad ingredients while the kale softens. Toss all together.
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    Smoky BBQ Seasoning Blend (And Smoky Chicken Cobb Salad)


    Smoky BBQ Seasoning Blend (And Smoky Chicken Cobb Salad)

    I found myself reaching for the same mix of spices everytime I made BBQ.  I finally made a blend that’s just how we like.  I buy all of my spices from Penzeys Spices, and once you try them you won’t want to buy them anywhere else either.  Their toasted onion powder alone has changed my cooking.  I love that stuff!
    This is a smoky blend and while I use it on things I grill outside because it has a smoky flavor all ready I love it for things cooked on the grill pan inside.  Sprinkle on burgers, or my favorite, on chicken breast, shrimp, or vegetables.

    DIY Smoky BBQ Seasoning Blend

    1/4 cup smoked paprika
    2 T brown sugar (leave out if you want a sugar free version)
    2 T garlic powder
    2 T toasted onion powder
    2 T kosher salt
    2 tsp black pepper
    1 tsp chili powder (increase for a spicier blend)

    Mix all together well and store in a spice jar.

    And now for a recipe using it!  This is my favorite way to make cobb salad, but of course you can omit what you want or throw in whatever else you have.
    I love the flavor of the chicken so much I don’t even use dressing, or if I do I’ll use a simple oil and vinegar dressing.  The chicken can even be made a day or two ahead of time and kept in the fridge.
    SMOKY BBQ CHICKEN COBB SALAD

    Chicken breast
    Smoky BBQ Seasoning, to taste
    Green leaf or romaine lettuce, chopped
    Hard boiled eggs, quartered
    swiss chesse, cubed
    Bacon, cooked and crumbled
    Olives
    Avocados, chopped
    grape tomatoes, halved

    Coat chicken breast liberally with seasoning and cook in a grill pan, flipping once, until cooked through.
    Let rest for a few minutes, then slice into strips.  Serve with remaining ingredients.

    Smoky BBQ Seasoning Blend (And Smoky Chicken Cobb Salad)

    Ingredients

      DIY Smoky BBQ Seasoning Blend
    • 1/4 cup smoked paprika
    • 2 T brown sugar (leave out if you want a sugar free version)
    • 2 T garlic powder
    • 2 T toasted onion powder
    • 2 T kosher salt
    • 2 tsp black pepper
    • 1 tsp chili powder (increase for a spicier blend)
      SMOKY BBQ CHICKEN COBB SALAD
    • Chicken breast
    • Smoky BBQ Seasoning, to taste
    • Green leaf or romaine lettuce, chopped
    • Hard boiled eggs, quartered
    • swiss chesse, cubed
    • Bacon, cooked and crumbled
    • Olives
    • Avocados, chopped
    • grape tomatoes, halved

    Instructions

  • Make the spice blend: Mix all together well and store in a spice jar.
  • Coat chicken breast liberally with seasoning and cook in a grill pan, flipping once, until cooked through.
  • Let rest for a few minutes, then slice into strips. Serve with remaining ingredients.
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    Creamy and Tart Poppyseed Dressing

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    Why does salad get such a bad rap?  It is one of my favorite things and there is no end to the versatility of salad.  Wether it’s main dish salads, like this poppyseed salad with lemon chicken, grain salads like asian quinoa salad, or asian green salads like this amazing chinese chicken salad, or how about adding to finish off the amazingness that is grilled pizza with roasted garlic chicken and orange vinaigrette?  Have I won you over yet?   After being married over a decade even my hubby adores salads.  One of our favorite terriyaki restaurants serves a little salad that we love and of course I had to make a homemade version.  This is what I call a “junk food salad” because I use iceberg lettuce instead of dark greens.  But through it on whatever, it’s still good.  I serve it with shredded carrots like they do in the restaurant, and cherry tomatoes are a nice addition too I think.
    You can change the sweetness or tartness of the dressing by adding more vinegar or sugar.

    CREAMY AND TART POPPYSEED DRESSING

    1/2 cup mayonnaise
    1/4 cup sugar
    1/4 cup white vinegar
    1/4 cup milk
    1 1/2 tsp poppyseeds
    pinch kosher salt

    Combine everything in a jar and shake until smooth (or whisk together in a bowl).
    Store in the refrigerator until using.

    Creamy and Tart Poppyseed Dressing

    Ingredients

    • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
    • 1/4 cup sugar
    • 1/4 cup white vinegar
    • 1/4 cup milk
    • 1 1/2 tsp poppyseeds
    • pinch kosher salt

    Instructions

  • Combine everything in a jar and shake until smooth (or whisk together in a bowl).
  • Store in the refrigerator until using.
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    Easy Pesto Pasta Salad

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    This is a great make ahead salad, since it tastes even better a few hours later, or even overnight.  You can add lots of other things to this if you want, like olives, roasted red peppers, arugula, or even some pine nuts for texture.  While I like making it plain like this, you can also add some olive oil and vinegar to the pesto to make a vinaigrette, or if you want it creamy add a few spoons each mayonnaise and sour cream to the pesto.

    EASY PESTO PASTA SALAD

    1 lb pasta, cooked al dente and cool
    1 cup Fresh basil pesto (or premade)
    Marinated fresh mozzarella (or chopped mozzarella)
    2 or 3 tomatoes, seeded and chopped (or grape tomatoes, halved)

    Toss all together, add a little olive oil and vinegar to the pesto to make more of a vinaigrette if you want it thinner.  Chill until serving.  Like I said.. Easy! 🙂

    Easy Pesto Pasta Salad

    Ingredients

    • 1 lb pasta, cooked al dente and cool
    • 1 cup Fresh basil pesto (or premade)
    • Marinated fresh mozzarella (or chopped mozzarella)
    • 2 or 3 tomatoes, seeded and chopped (or grape tomatoes, halved)
    • .

    Instructions

  • Toss all together, add a little olive oil and vinegar to the pesto to make more of a vinaigrette if you want it thinner. Chill until serving.
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