Archive | Soups, Salads, and Sandwiches RSS feed for this section

Asian Chicken Salad

27 May

I hesitate to label things “Asian” because I don’t know any Japanese or other Asian that actually eats this salad. Regardless, I like the Asian-inspired flavors and the crunchy and sweet components of this dish. The weather lately has demanded lots of cool, refreshing salads and this salad does just that.

IMG_0170

Ingredients List:

This salad makes two dinner and two lunches for the next day.

  • Salad greens (I prefer to use a leafy medley, since those greens are more nutrient dense than any romaine/iceberg combo)
  • Sugar snap peas, sliced
  • Bean sprouts
  • 2 cans mandarin oranges, drained and rinsed
  • Almonds
  • Wonton strips, cut into strips and fried
  • 4 chicken tenderloins

Salad dressing:

  • Rice vinegar
  • Sesame oil
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • Sesame seeds, toasted
  • Dash of sugar

Instructions:

1. Marinate the chicken in salt, pepper, sesame oil, and shoyu for about 15 minutes prior to cooking. Then, in a hot skillet, heat up some olive oil and cook chicken.

2. Combine all salad dressing ingredients. Before adding the sesame seeds, toast them in a pan. This will only take a few seconds, but truly adds great depth of flavor to the salad dressing.

3. Prepare the rest of your ingredients – mandarin oranges, bean sprouts, sliced baby snap peas, and salad greens. Combine in a bowl.

4. In a pan or wok with some vegetable oil, fry the wonton strips. I drizzled these with some sesame oil and shoyu also after frying to get an extra dash of flavor.

5. Add the chicken, almonds, fried wonton strips, and salad dressing to your salad and eat up!

The Boyfriend Rates It: 4.o

I have always loved “Asian” inspired salads. They are fresh, crunchy and citrus-y. The only thing that could make this salad any better would be fresh mandarins.

Miso Soup

20 May

Miso soup is a staple in my life. I eat it for breakfast, for lunch, for dinner — whenever. It is warm, it is delicious, and it is good for you! It also takes about 5 minutes or less to prepare. Serve it as a main dish (toss in some rice to add substance) or as accompaniment to your favorite Nihonjin meal.

Ingredients:
– Miso paste
– Firm tofu, cubed
– Dashi

Optional:
– Green onion
– Egg
– Spinach or other greens, rinsed thoroughly
– Wakame (seaweed – you can buy this dried)
– Cooked rice

Directions:

1. Get a small pot and add water. Heat on high so it will start to boil by the time you add your ingredients.

2. In a small dish, whisk together the miso paste (maybe about 2 tbsp to start and then adjust the flavor as you taste the soup) and some water. Once this is well incorporated, add it to your almost-boiling water.

3. Prepare whatever ingredients you want to add to your miso soup. My favorites are: chopped tofu, lots and lots of spinach, green onion, and an egg.

4. Add your tofu first to the miso soup on the stove. Add about one spoonful of dashi. Continue to add miso paste, dashi, and even shoyu, as necessary to get the flavor right. Once the water starts to boil, turn off the heat. Words from my Obaachan: “don’t let your water boil more than once or you will ruin the flavor. As she says that to me, she always hits my arm to really reinforce the fact!

5. Once you turn off the heat, add the whisked egg and stir in the broth so it cooks. Add the spinach until it welts.

6. Serve in a bowl (I wish I had Japanese miso soup bowls! but I don’t. I have these Martha Stewart cereal bowls that I use instead) and top with chopped green onion.

IMG_5342

Delicious!

I wish I wasn’t out of miso paste, otherwise I would make this right now!

The Boyfriend Rates It: 4

This is another one of those dishes I didn’t grow up eating, but when I did have it it was of the restaurant variety, so it was usually bland. This, on the other hand, has tons of flavor and is extremely savory. The spinach and green onions give it good texture and a little bite and the egg and tofu give it a good amount of protein.

Black bean and corn salad

19 May

This black bean and corn salad is a great accompaniment to a chicken dish or as a topping for taco salad. If I eat it in the taco salad, I don’t add the avocado because I add slices of avocado to my salad. In all other cases, the avocado adds a bit of creaminess to it. With the avocado, you could even consider it like a chunky salsa and eat it with some chips. It is crisp, refreshing, healthy and holds a little kick of heat with the jalapenos/serranos – add as much for the heat level that you desire.

IMG_5932

Ingredient List:
– Black beans (cook your own!)
– Corn
– Cilantro, chopped
– Cherry tomatoes, halved
– 1-3 jalapeno or serrano pepper, chopped
– Avocado (optional)
– 2 garlic cloves, minced
– Salt and pepper
– Juice of 1-2 limes
– Cumin (optional)

Directions:

1. To begin with, cook your own black beans. You need to add about 1 cup of black beans (washed, of course) to your crock pot. Boil water before you add it to the crock pot – this makes it cook much, much faster. Add in half an onion, 2-3 garlic cloves, a bay leaf, salt and pepper and let the beans cook. You need to fill your crock pot all the way up with boiling water and then the beans will cook in 2-3 hours. Once they are cooked, drain and rinse under cold water.

2. In a large bowl, combine your beans, corn, cherry tomatoes, chopped jalapeno, avocado, minced garlic, and cilantro. Season with salt and pepper and lime juice. Depending on what I am using this for, I also add cumin for some warmth. It depends. Do what feels right to you.

3. Serve in a taco salad, as a side salad, or as a chunky salsa and enjoy!

The Boyfriend Rates It: 3.5

It’s a salsa that adds freshness to a variety of dishes. I personally like it in a taco salad with a spicy dressing but has many other creative uses.

Spinach, Bacon, Egg, and Avocado Salad

24 Apr

I like to eat a lot of salads for dinner. Not because I think I am eating a diet-like meal or anything like that, I just like to eat a lot of veggies and most of my favorite foods are vegetables. However, sometimes both the boyfriend and I will eat a delicious salad for dinner…and then our stomachs are growling when we go to bed. Thus, a salad with bacon, eggs, and avocado. I needed a salad with lots of good fat (and not-so-good fat from the bacon) and protein to keep me sustained.

IMG_0118

This salad is delicious for so many reasons. It’s a big bowl of things I love – the spinach is a super good for you, cherry tomatoes offer a juicy bite, the avocado is creamy and smooth, the egg is a good source of protein, bacon is well, bacon, and then the  Gorgonzola cheese offers a nice tangy bite. And, for the purpose of this meal, it is filling.

Ingredients:

  • Spinach/mixed greens
  • Cherry tomatoes, halved
  • Avocado, 1/2 sliced per serving
  • Hard boiled eggs, one per serving
  • Bacon, 1-2 pieces per serving
  • Gorgonzola cheese

Dressing:

  • Olive oil
  • Champagne vinegar
  • Dijon mustard
  • Salt & pepper
  • 1/2 shallot, finely minced

Instructions:

1. Hardboil your eggs. I boil mine for about 7-8 minutes and it usually turns out perfect.

2. Cook your bacon. Rinse and prep your veggies.

3. Assemble. I like to get a large salad bowl and layer up — spinach, cherry tomatoes, avocado slices, egg slices, bacon bits, Gorgonzola crumbles, and then dressing.

Simple, healthy, and yet hearty for a good dinner or lunch.

The Boyfriend Rates It3.5:

This is a good salad. I’ve never been a huge fan of hard boiled eggs but they add heartiness and protein to the dish. And you really can’t go wrong when you pair bacon and Gorgonzola/blue cheese. Healthy and light but still satisfying and filling.

Spinach Strawberry Salad

19 Mar

A few months ago, boyfriend and I went to dinner with his parents and his mom ordered this salad and I have been craving it since. It looked delicious. I decided I needed to eat my own version. It is officially the first day of spring and this salad is a perfect way to start the new season!It is light, crisp, and good for you. Perfect.

IMG_0118

Ingredient List:
– Spinach
– Strawberries, sliced
– Walnuts, toasted & candied
– Red onion, sliced thinly
– Shredded chicken
– Gorgonzola cheese

Dressing:
– Olive oil
– Balsamic vinegar
– Honey
– Salt and pepper

Directions:

1. I actually used leftover shredded chicken I had from a different recipe for this. However, normally when I am just using chicken in a dish, I will boil it with salt, onion, and garlic. Once it is cooked, shred and you’re good to go. Easiest way to cook chicken ever.

2. Rinse your spinach well and distribute in your salad bowls.

3. Thinly slice strawberries and red onion. Top your spinach with strawberries, red onion, and gorgonzola cheese.

4. Toast your walnuts in a small pan on medium heat and toss in some sugar until the walnuts are caramelized. Add the walnuts to your salad.

5. Mix your dressing — olive oil, balsamic vinegar, honey, salt and pepper to taste. Dress your salad and eat up!

Easy as can be and the perfect combination of greens and sweetness with the strawberries and honey.

The Boyfriend Rates It:4
This is a really good salad. The the flavors of the red onion and the sweet strawberries go nicely together. Great summertime salad.

Also…still hoping for some pan recommendations, please?