Posts Tagged ‘Salad’

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Carolina Chicken Salad

February 18, 2015

I’m still alive! My new job (well, I’ve been at it for 6 months now, so I guess I can’t really call it “new” anymore) is awesome. However… there are always a lot of different projects going at once, and I have to juggle many different problem solving possibilities in my head at a time, so it’s much more work mentally than my old job ever was. Which means my brain starts to feel pretty “used up” by the end of the day and I really don’t feel like blogging or doing much of anything else that takes mental energy. I love the work though! I’m really glad I took the leap – my unique IT/pharmacy skill set is perfect for this position.

Another thing that been keeping the blog way down on the priority list is… pregnancy! Yes, my husband and I finally decided in the fall that it would be a good time to start trying to have our first child, and we were one of those lucky couples for whom it didn’t take much time at all! I’m currently 21 weeks along, and our daughter is expected to arrive end of June/beginning of July. So far everything has been going really well – I barely got any morning sickness (just a slight touch if I got hungry, but having a snack took care of that right away), and no weird cravings or food/smell aversions. The one symptom I did experience during the first 3 months was a lot of tiredness. Not really the “I can barely keep my eyes open and I’m going to take a 3 hour nap” type, but more the “I sat down and I don’t have the motivation/energy to ever get up” type. Very similar feeling to when I had mono in the fall of 2013, just without the fever and strep throat on top of it. :) I guess having mono was actually good preparation for first trimester of pregnancy!

Because of the pregnancy, I decided it wouldn’t be prudent to give up anything food-related for Lent this year. Instead, I’m giving up Facebook and reading fanfiction. Those are currently my two biggest time-sucking activities online, so I’m trying to put what energy I do have into things that are more productive, like finally updating this blog, for example!

So this recipe is a yummy one from my childhood. I would guess that my dad probably got it out of Gourmet magazine or Bon Appetit however many years ago. It’s a great weeknight all-in-one dinner salad, since it’s got plenty of veggies and protein, and doesn’t take too long to put together. The dressing is both tangy and sweet, and the olives add a nice briny touch. My parents would usually use leftover cooked chicken, but I’ve picked up a rotisserie chicken on the way home specifically to use for this recipe… fast and easy. It’s supposed to be garnished with tomato wedges too, but I didn’t have any on hand the day I took this photo and my husband doesn’t really like big chunks of tomato anyway. Enjoy!

Carolina chicken salad

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German Potato Salad

July 13, 2014

Have I really posted nothing here at all in 3 months? Time flies when you’re having fun… or not having fun, in this case. Since the middle of April and up until 2 weeks ago, I’d been agonizing over a career decision and due to the stress/anxiety/depression involved, I’ve not been interested in much else besides passive activities like reading novels, watching movies, and taking walks. Still been cooking but I haven’t felt like I had anything interesting to say about what I was making.

What made my job decision so difficult (and I realize I sound exceptionally privileged to say this, given how many people are struggling to find a job at all) was trying to pick between two amazing things that I love, when I can’t do both. My current job is awesome: I love the people I work with and psychiatric pharmacy is a special interest area of mine. But when my employer posted two brand-new positions in pharmacy informatics, I knew I had to look into it because of my IT background. So I interviewed at the beginning of May just to get some more information to see if it was something I might want to seriously pursue. And then I was stuck, because initially I thought I’d never leave my current position, but then this new one sounded so perfect for me. Due to a lot of HR logistics, they didn’t actually come back to me with an offer until 8 weeks after my interview, and in those 8 weeks, I think I probably changed my mind about 50 times. So it’s been a really rough 3 months, on both me and my husband!

Ultimately, I decided to accept the new position, and I start next month. :) It was really difficult announcing to all my coworkers that I’ll be transferring, but I feel better now that everyone knows and I don’t have to keep it a secret anymore. And I’m getting excited about all the new things I’ll be learning and doing! The types of projects with the informatics job are exactly the types of problem solving that I like doing, so I think I made the right decision. And I’ll be right up the road from the clinic I work at now, so I can always stop in to help them with their computer issues, and I’m sure I’ll be assigned to help them with some of their upcoming projects too.

So enough about jobs, back to the food… last weekend my husband, parents, and I met my in-laws at their condo in Chautauqua to celebrate July 4th. My father-in-law is currently undergoing chemotherapy, so he can’t eat anything with uncooked veggies or fruits unless they have an outer peel that can be removed. When my mother-in-law asked me to make a macaroni or potato salad, I wasn’t sure what kind would work well since all my recipes have fresh celery, etc. in them, or a lot of herbs. I finally settled on German potato salad, since the only veggies in most recipes are onions, and it wouldn’t affect the flavor too much to leave out an herb like parsley.

My grandfather always made amazing German potato salad, but I couldn’t find his recipe, so I turned to the internet to find a really good traditional version. I found one that sounded very similar to his at A Feast for the Eyes, so I adapted it a bit to my own tastes (and for my father-in-law’s restrictions). Turned out AMAZING. I increased the amount of bacon to 12 ounces (although it was probably closer to 11 by the time I finished snacking, haha) and used at least 1/3 cup bacon grease rather than 2 tbsp + lots of vegetable oil. I also used a little more than 1 cup diced red onion since my onion was big. I think my grandpa used red potatoes, which hold their shape better than Yukons, but I actually like the soft-with-chunks texture of the Yukons. I’ll have to try it with reds sometime and see how it turns out.

And with that, I hope to be back to a more frequent posting schedule now! Thanks for your continued reading. :)

German potato salad

See recipe

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Lentil Salad with Tomato and Dill

August 21, 2013

The dill in our garden is beginning to go to seed, so I’ve been on the lookout for recipes that incorporate fresh dill. Don’t want to let it go to waste! This lentil salad recipe from Gourmet Today was perfect: it also enabled me to use up some more tomatoes and scallions that I had purchased at the market. So it was a win-win all around!

I love the texture of French green lentils; they’re smaller and less likely to get mushy than brown lentils when cooked. I’ve used them many times in the fall when making pasta with lentils and kale (which quickly became one of my staple recipes), and I was happy to find another recipe that incorporated them.

If I end up with a bunch of dill to use up again, I’d definitely revisit this recipe! The olive oil and vinegar dressing was a nice complement to the earthy lentils, and the fresh herbs, scallions, and tomatoes kept the whole salad from becoming too heavy. Bonus: it only takes about 25 minutes from start-to-finish since it’s recommended to serve warm!

Lentil salad with tomato and dill

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Flank Steak Salad with Chimichurri Dressing

July 10, 2013

When I was at Palmer’s buying chicken for July 4th, I picked up a flank steak on a whim. It’s been a while since we’ve grilled flank steak, and it’s one of my favorite cuts because it’s so flavorful. But I wasn’t thinking about the fact that we also have a ton of lettuce from our CSA to use! I was already planning on making salad niçoise sometime this week, but then I thought I could incorporate the flank steak into a main-dish salad too somehow. I didn’t see anything appealing in any of my cookbooks… they either called for a lot of extra ingredients I didn’t have, or the flavor profile wasn’t what I was looking for, etc. So Bon Appetit’s web site came in very handy: they have most of their magazine recipes available for free online (this recipe was from the June 2009 issue).

This salad turned out great! My grocery store surprisingly didn’t have marinated mozzarella balls, so I marinated the plain ones myself (which I will post the recipe for later). Because flank steak is a thin cut, it cooks quickly, so this recipe is perfect for a weeknight. Overall: delicious and healthy!

Flank steak salad with chimichurri dressing

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Thai Cucumber Salad with Roasted Peanuts

May 4, 2013

I often have a difficult time deciding what to do with cucumbers because unlike many other vegetables, they’re only served raw. Plain green salads topped with cherry tomatoes/cucumbers/onions/croutons are pretty boring to me at this point, and it seems like many of the ways I’ve come across to use them are simply variations on that theme. I do have a good recipe for a creamy dilled cucumber salad, but I don’t always have sour cream or fresh dill on hand. So I was pretty excited when I came across this recipe in Bon Appetit’s Fast Easy Fresh cookbook!

The Thai/Vietnamese flavor combination of lime, fish sauce, mint, and peanuts is a perfect accompaniment to crisp cucumbers, and besides the cucumbers themselves, most of the ingredients are staples in my pantry or fridge. This delicious salad is also super easy and fast to make, so it’s perfect if you need a healthy last-minute dish to pass at a potluck and want to bring something a bit more unusual than a basic tossed salad.

Thai cucumber salad

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Taco Salad with Salsa Vinaigrette

August 20, 2012

Another dish to use the plentiful tomatoes of midsummer! The original recipe (from the Gourmet Cookbook) calls for frying your own tortilla chips, but I decided to use chips from the store to turn this salad into a quick and complete weeknight supper.

Don’t be intimidated by the long list of ingredients – the preparation is nearly as easy as using a taco seasoning packet (since the meat needs to be cooked and all the fresh ingredients need to be chopped and prepped regardless). The results of seasoning your own meat and adding onion and garlic are so much more delicious that it’s worth the few extra seconds it takes to measure the spices.

If you have a stick blender, I highly recommend using that to make the dressing because it’s perfect for the small amount of liquid, and it’s much easier to clean than a full-size blender. Enjoy!

Taco salad

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Tabbouleh

May 30, 2012

To go with the grilled pizzas for our Memorial Day lunch, my parents asked me to provide a light salad. There wasn’t much decent lettuce or other salad greens at the market on Saturday since it’s still a little early in the season, but one of the vendors had a lot of cheap parsley bunches. I had already purchased tomatoes for the pizza and we have a lot of mint growing wild in our yard, so tabbouleh salad was the perfect fit!

Although tabbouleh is often seen served in Greek or Lebanese restaurants where I live, it is traditionally an Arabian dish. I’ve made this recipe from the ATK Family Cookbook several times before, and while a salad made from mostly parsley isn’t to everyone’s taste, my parents and I love it. :) Rather than soaking the bulgur in water and adding lemon juice later, this version soaks the bulgur directly in a half cup of lemon juice, giving it a brighter flavor. Like many Mediterranean foods, it’s made from a lot of really healthy ingredients too – olive oil, which is high in good fats, and bulgur and greens, which are high in fiber.

Tabbouleh can be served on its own as a side salad; it also makes a great light appetizer served alongside pita chips for scooping. It’s super easy to make: while the bulgur is soaking, chop up the rest of the ingredients, then mix everything together and throw it in the fridge. Just make sure you start preparing it a couple hours ahead of when you plan to serve it, because it needs to refrigerate for at least an hour to let the flavors blend. It can also be made a day ahead of time.

Tabbouleh

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