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recipe quickie… crack kale salad


i know, kale.  i have to say kale won me over long ago, so i am not a bandwagon fan.  the reason it won me over is that it can sit around in the fridge for a few days and still taste great.  after all, who likes a soggy salad green?  all you really need for this salad is kale & the dressing, the rest is up to you.  my go to is shredded carrots, sliced or chopped red onion & smoked almonds.  so, here is the life changing salad dressing.  note that kale is perfect for kale, it’s thick and can quickly weigh down other greens.

1/3 cup tahini
1/3 cup water
2 cloves garlic, grated
2 -3 tablespoons olive oil
braggs liquid amino acid to taste

* you can partially or completely replace olive oil for lemon juice, i simply like it without.

oven roasted tomato spread

 whether tomatoes are in season and i have overloaded on too many delicious varieties or i simply just don’t use all of them up after a recipe, this is my favorite recipe.  i put it on all of the things.  on crusty bread rubbed with garlic and topped with balsamic glaze for a perfect snack, as a spread on italian sub or tossed in a pasta salad.

makes 1 /2 cups

1 cup tomatoes, if tomatoes are larger cut into 1 inch chunks
1/4 cup white onion, roughly chopped
2 garlic cloves (or more if you really like garlic), roughly chopped
1/3 cup mayo
olive oil
salt & pepper

. preheat oven to 400 degrees
. cover small baking sheet with foil
. toss first 3 ingredients with enough olive oil to coat
. season with salt & pepper
. roast in oven until tomatoes have popped & blistered about 15-20 minutes
. remove from oven & cool completely
. in a food processor (I use the little attachment for my emulsion blender) blend tomato mixture & mayo
. season with salt & pepper if needed

*if the tomatoes are super juicy, either drain some of the liquid after roasting before you blend or add a little more mayo. as with most sauces, after setting up in the fridge it does firm up a bit.

apple, dried cranberry & thyme chicken salad


i like my salads… tuna salad, shrimp salad, chicken salad, egg salad etc.  i love the fact that i can make a batch of some kind of salad at the beginning of the week & have it for lunch or post workout snacks.  there so many ways of shaking things up so that you don’t get bored.  i made this one up when i really didn’t have much in the fridge & it really has been one of the best i have ever made.  it actually ended up being one of the best & most healthy chicken salads i’ve ever made.  i didn’t have a lot of chicken, so there is almost more veggies & fruit in this salad than chicken.  it can even be made vegetarian/ vegan, the recipe adjustments will be at the bottom of the page.  be prepared to be addicted.

1/2 lb boneless skinless chicken, cooked & cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1 apple, cored & cut into 1/2 inch pieces (i used honey crisp)
1/2 cup red onion, finely chopped
2/3 cup celery, finely chopped
1/2 cup dried cranberries, chopped
1-2 garlic cloves, grated
1/2 cup mayo
2 teaspoons fresh thyme, finely chopped
1 teaspoon lemon zest
olive oil
salt & pepper

. combine everything except olive oil & salt/pepper
. add olive oil to loosen chicken salad to your liking (use less mayo & more olive if you would like)
. salt & pepper to taste

** the vegetarian/ vegan version**

vegetarian
. simply use 1 1/2 apples & replace chicken with about a cup of pecans or walnuts ( i toast & cool them if i use them in this recipe)

vegan
. do as above & replace regular mayo for vegan mayo

leftover turkey day sandwich 


turkey day is coming & we all know there are going to be tons of leftovers.  turkey sandwiches are a favorite.  i had always gone with the turkey, avocado & bacon panini until now.  this sandwich is my take on a recipe i found & it got rage reviews.  so here i am, a few days before thanksgiving with a recipe that will get you looking forward to the day after.  it’s the perfect combination of creamy, smoky, tangy & pure happiness.

makes 4 big sandwiches

4 rolls of your choice, make sure they can stand up to the pile of ingredients
1 pound of leftover turkey, shredded
1/2 large white or sweet onion, chopped
5 cloves garlic, finely chopped – plus 1 clove just peeled & sliced in half
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/4 cup chicken stock (if you have this left over from thanksgiving, just use water)
1 stick of butter
1 sprig rosemary (if you don’t have this, don’t worry about it, but it does step up the turkey game)
1 cup leftover mashed potatoes
1/2 cup mayo
1/2 cranberry sauce (jelly if you want it to be a little sweet, whole cranberry sauce if you want tangy, which is my choice)
1 teaspoon orange zest
8-12 slices of bacon (depending on your love for bacon), cooked
4-6 slices sharp cheddar (not too aged because it won’t melt.  also if you have an alpine style cheese left over from your cheese plate, just use that)
salt & pepper

for cranberry mayo

. in food processor combine mayo, zest & sauce (don’t over process, it’s nice to get the bits of cranberry in it)
. salt/pepper to taste

for turkey mix

. on a pan over medium heat, melt 3/4 stick of butter
. add onions & chopped garlic
. cook until translucent then add turkey, wine, chicken stock & rosemary sprig
. cook until the liquid has almost gone away (we don’t want it too dry or too runny), discard rosemary & salt/pepper to taste

to assemble
this is the tricky part because you want your rolls toasty & potatoes/ turkey hot.  so, make the mayo first & set aside.  then start to work on other things, get your turkey started, it takes a little while.  prep your rolls & heat your mashed potatoes.  when your turkey is done, pop your rolls under the broiler.
. heat your oven to broiler
.  slice rolls in half & place them on baking sheet
. top each roll with remaining butter (add a bit more if you’d like)
. pop the rolls in the oven until toasted, remove & rub all rolls with garlic clove
. remove bottom of rolls from cooking sheet, place cheese on the top portions of rolls with cheese & put back in oven until cheese is melted
. spread cranberry mayo on top halves of rolls

REAL assembly
. cheesy bottom half of roll topped then potatoes, then turkey then bacon & top with  other half of roll  (and give it a little bit of a press to keep it together)

vietnemese shaken beef


this dish makes me want to dance.  the recipe is very universal, i haven’t found one that isn’t almost exactly the same as the last.  just a few little tweeks in each & so i added my own tweeks for my perfect version.  loved by all that has had it & one of my best friends even wants me to make it for her dad (one of the best cooks i know).

makes 4-5 servings

1 1/2 pounds sirloin (use whatever you’d like, if filet is on sale, why not?), cut into bite size cubes, about an inch
8 garlic cloves, finely chopped
3 tablespoons sugar
4 tablespoons oyster sauce
3 tablespoons fish sauce
2 1/2 tablespoons sesame oil
3 tablespoons tamari (or regualr soy sauce if you aren’t gluten free)
1 red onion, thinly sliced
1 bunch of watercress, stems trimmed
2 heads romaine lettuce, cleaned and chopped
2 -3 tomatoes on the vine, sliced
rice (as much as you’d like to eat)

for vinaigrette

2/3 cup rice vinegar (i used the roasted garlic flavor because i just love garlic)
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 tablespoon salt

. combine & set aside

for dressing

juice of 1-2 limes (depending on size)
salt & pepper to taste (lots of pepper)

. combine & set aside

for beef

. combine first 7 ingredients in plastic bag & marinate for 2-3 DAYS

for pickled onions

. combine onions & 1/4 cup vinaigrette, toss & set in fridge for 10-30 minutes

to assemble
you have all of the hard work done at this point, lots of prep with a short cook time, just make sure your rice is done.

. take beef out of fridge & place beef on a paper towel lined plate to soak up any marinade.
. in a wok or large pan, heat veggie oil over medium high heat
. drop beef in small batches (normally 3 for this recipe) & cook quickly just until the beef is browned
. make a salad on each plate by mixed the romaine with a bit of vinaigrette, then top with a bit of watercress, tomatoes & pickled onions
. place a portion of beef & rice on each plate
. top everything off a just a bit of dressing

food bites… national sandwich day!

 it’s national sandwich day!  i’ve been craving a cuban and happen to have some smoked pulled pork in the freezer.  add sliced ham off the bone, homemade sweet n sour pickles, swiss cheese & mustard sauce.  all pressed between crisp buttery bread.  add a side salad & fried yuca… the happiest of national sandwich day!

loaded veggie & quinoa salad topped with grilled shrimp 

veggie quinoa salad topped with grilled shrimp in a roasted garlic & lemon dressing

this meal is incredibly refreshing whether it is in the middle of the summer or during the cold months when we tend to crave hearty comfort food.  i love this dressing & you can normally find it in my fridge to use all of the time.  However, if you want to use a store made dressing to quicken up the recipe, i would recommend something very light.

serves 4

for shrimp

1 1/4 pounds shrimp, deveined & peeled
zest of 1 small lemon
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
salt & pepper
olive oil

. in a bowl toss shrimp in enough olive oil to coat
. add lemon zest, garlic powder, salt & pepper
. grill em up & set aside (this can easily be done ahead of time)

for salad

2 cups cooked quinoa
4 cups fresh spinach
1 1/2 cups cucumber, deseeded & sliced
1 cup cherry tomatoes, cut in half
2 cobs of corn, cut off cob ( if using frozen: half bag WHITE corn, defrosted and patted dry)
2/3 cup red onion, thinly sliced
1/2-2/3 cup feta, crumbles
1 avocado, cut into chunks

for dressing

1 head of garlic, roasted
zest of 1 small lemon
juice of 1 small lemon
1 1/2 tablespoons dijon mustard
olive oil
salt & pepper

. combine everything except olive oil, salt & pepper in food processor
. add olive oil slowly until dressing is emulsified, then salt & pepper to taste

to put together

. combine all salad ingredients with dressing, adding just a bit at a time to your liking
. plate salad & top with shrimp

simple marinated mozzarella spinach & tomato salad

 i love fresh mozzarella in any shape or form.  i may have a ton of cheese knowledge, but there is something about it’s simplicity.  it’s a bit of a blank canvas.  one of my favorite things to do when tomatoes are everywhere & perfect for eating is make this salad, have it on the side or add a protein and a meal is made.  the marinated cheese & dressing can be done days in advance, so this is great for parties or midweek meals.  no other salad i make tastes a fresh yet comforting as this bowl of tastiness.

makes 4 large side salads

1 box fresh baby spinach
3 cups cherry, grape or small tomato cut into bite sized pieces if needed

for marinated mozzarella

1 container of bocconcini
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon cracked pepper
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
olive oil

. drain liquid from container & add all of the spices/herbs
. add just enough olive oil to coat the bocconcini making sure the mozzarella is well coated with spices & herbs
. put in the fridge for at least a couple of hour and up to a few days in advance

for dressing

2 shallots, roughly chopped
1 large garlic clove, crushed
1 tablespoon dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
2-3 teaspoons rice wine vinagar
olive oil
salt & pepper

. combine everything except olive oil, salt & pepper in food processor
. add olive oil slowly until dressing is emulsified, then salt & pepper to taste

to put together

. toss tomatoes with dressing
. toss spinach with dressing
. slice bocconcini in half
. place spinach in center of each bowl or larger salad plate, then tomatoes on one side & mozzarella on the other (i don’t mix this salad or pile the tomatoes or mozzarella on top of the spinach because it gets all mushy, gross)

recipe quickie… shrimp boil

this recipe is oh so simple and oh so delicious.  i posted a photo of this on my instagram & facebook and a lot of people wanted to know how to make it!  this is a one pot meal.  while corn is easy to get in the summer, you can still find corn on the cob at a little bit more in cost or in the freezer section in the fall & winter months.  i served this with a salad buttery toasted bread (omit if you are gluten free or just use gluten free bread).  get ready for you new go to quickie meal.

serves 4-6

1 box shrimp boil
1 light beer
2 lemons, sliced
6 cloves garlic, crushed
1 large white or yellow onion, chopped into large chunks
6 red potatoes, quartered (i found mini red potatoes & just kept them whole)
1 1/2 pounds medium shrimp, deveined (i used large because they were on sale)
1 package smoked sausage (my favorite is applewood smoked chicken sausage)
4-6 ears of corn, cleaned & cut in half
3 tablespoons butter, melted
old bay seasoning

. in a large pot fill with water to just over half (you can always add more water)
. add beer, lemon slices, garlic & shrimp boil bag
. bring to a boil & add potatoes
. boil for about 10 minutes & then add sausage & corn ( note that the water will most likely not come back to a boil but don’t worry about it)
. keep that cooking for about 5 minutes (at this point if you think the water isn’t high enough to add shrimp, add hot water)
. add shrimp & cook just until the shrimp are cooked through
. drain, place in big bowl & top with melted butter and old bay

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