Salads

Lebanese Brussel Sprouts

One of my favorite things about living in NYC is that you can find any cuisine from any part of the world, no matter how obscure.  One of my top 5 favorite cuisines is Lebanese food.  Of course the hummus, Babaganoush, lamb dishes and Tabbouleh are second to none, but one of my favorite Lebanese restaurants in town, has the best brussel sprouts you will ever taste.  So good that I did everything in my power to figure out the recipe.  After a few trial runs I came pretty darn close to the recipe! These are perfect for your next dinner party or holiday celebration!  They are nutty and sweet and umami and they take you on a flavor journey. This dish consists of Brussel Sprouts, a mint yogurt sauce, fig jam, toasted walnuts and sliced red grapes.  With each bite and each breath you will be introduced to new flavors and textures. A great recipe isn't one dimensional, it makes you experience and array of different flavors as you are eating it. This gorgeous dish is sure to impress!

brussel fig.jpg

 

Ingredients- 

  1. 1/2 Cup Water
  2. 10 Dried Black Mission Figs (cut the stems off)
  3. 1/2 Cup plus 2 Tablespoons Sherry Vinegar
  4. 2 Tablespoons Sugar
  5. About 18 oz Brussel Sprouts (I use two round containers you buy in the grocery store)
  6. Olive Oil
  7. 3/4 Cup Plain Greek Yogurt (I like to use Fage brand)
  8. 1  Garlic Clove Minced 
  9. 2 Heaping Teaspoons Tahini Paste (Sesame Paste)
  10. 2 Tablespoons Fresh Lemon Juice
  11. 1  1/2  Tablespoons Fresh Mint Chopped
  12. 1/2 Cup Red Seedless Grapes Sliced Thin
  13. 1/3 Cup (or more depending on what you like) of Lightly Toasted Walnut Halves
  14. Salt and Pepper to taste

Steps-

  1. Preheat the oven to 400F
  2. Prepare the Fig Jam by placing the dried figs, the water, sugar and vinegar in a small pot.  Bring the mixture to a simmer and cook the figs until they rehydrate and almost all of the liquid is evaporated and whatever is left is syrup like.  Allow to cool for a few minutes and then place in a food processor or blender until smooth and jam like.  Set aside to cool.
  3. Prepare the Yogurt Sauce by blending the Greek yogurt, lemon juice, Fresh Mint, Garlic, Tahini, and a dash of Salt and Pepper. 
  4. Wash and dry the Brussel Sprouts and cut the tough core off the bottom.  Slice each sprout in half or in quarters if they are really big.  You just want them bite size.  Lay them on a sheet pan lined with aluminum foil and drizzle them with olive oil , the 2 Tablespoons of Sherry Vinegar and salt and pepper. Roast them in the oven until they are golden brown and crispy on the edges and tender inside. 
  5. Place the Brussel Sprouts in a bowl and toss them in a few spoonfuls of the yogurt sauce and a few spoonfuls of the fig jam, and the toasted walnuts.  You do not want them saturated in it, you just want them to pick up some of the flavor.  
  6. Plate them on on a nice serving dish and sprinkle some more of the nuts nicely on top along with a nice sprinkle of the sliced grapes.  Using a spoon drizzle some more of the yogurt sauce on top and then dot some more of the fig jam on top.  Garnish with more fresh mint if you'd like. 

Brussel Sprout Slaw

Spring is coming! We have moved from 15 degree temperatures to 50 degrees within one weeks time and it feels oh so good.  Spring to me means fresh veggies and salads, or anything light and fresh.  Over the course of a few years, Brussel Sprouts have become HUGE!  They are one of the most popular items on restaurant menus and one of the easiest vegetables to pick up at the grocery store. I turned an American favorite, Coleslaw, into a unique slaw equipped with crunchy, shredded brussel sprouts, crisp granny smith apple and bright, green onion and celery seed.  Serve this one beside sandwiches at a luncheon or BBQ or with any dinner entree. Enjoy!


Ingredients-

  1. 1/3 cup mayo (you can use lite mayo or even creme fraiche)
  2. 2 Teaspoons Dijon Mustard
  3. 2 Tablespoons White Vinegar
  4. 2-3 cups Shredded Brussel Sprouts (I bought them pre shredded but if you cannot find them just cut the tough core off the bottom of the sprouts and then chiffonade the leaves (cut into thin slices)
  5. 1/2 Granny Smith Apple Peeled and Shredded (I use the julienne setting on my mandolin slicer or you can do it by hand or on the large hole of a cheese grater.
  6. 1/2 Teaspoon Celery Seed (a spice you can find in any spice isle!)
  7. 1 Tablespoon of Sugar
  8. 1/2 Cup of Chopped Scallions (green part only)
  9. Salt and pepper to taste
  10. 4 Tablespoons Chopped Flat Leaf Italian Parsley


Steps-

  1. Whisk together the mayo dijon, vinegar, sugar, celery seed and salt and pepper.
  2. In a separate bowl toss together the Brussel Sprouts, Apple, Scallions and Parsley.
  3. Pour the dressing over the sprout mixture little by little until it is dressed to your liking.  
  4. You can eat it right away but it is best to wrap it up and put in in the fridge for a few hours or overnight so the flavors really come together.

 

Butternut Squash- Two Meals 1 Ingredient

I am a woman with a very demanding full time job and a big appetite.  I love a good home cooked meal as much as the rest of you, but we all know that time is of the essence during the work week. Stressful business meetings, long commutes, squeezing in time at the gym and keeping up with emails seems to be the weekly routine for most of us living in Metropolitan cities, but I can show you how you can prep one simple ingredient at the beginning of the week, maybe Sunday evening, and have several completely different tasting meals all week long. 

1. Roasted Butternut Squash-

  1. 1 Large Butternut Squash (peeled, seeds scooped out and cut into 1 inch cubes) I like to but the pre-cut squash in the produce fridge to save some time!
  2. Olive Oil
  3. Fresh Sage (About 3-4 Leaves)- Chiffonade (finely chopped)
  4. 3 Small Shallots Chopped
  5. Salt & Pepper

Steps-

  1. Preheat the oven to 400F
  2. In a roasting pan toss together the squash, sage, salt and pepper to taste and the shallots.  
  3. Drizzle on Olive Oil just to coat each piece of squash with a thin layer of oil.
  4. Roast in the oven for roughly 25-35 minutes tossing them mid way through the cooking process for more even cooking.  They are done when they are slightly golden brown on the outside and soft on the inside.  You want to be able to prick them with a fork easily.
  5. I like to eat the squash in a kale salad with a simple vinaigrette, dried cranberries or cherries, and chopped almonds or walnuts. You can also eat it as a side with any protein you like!

2. Butternut Squash Soup

Ingredients-

  1. Roasted Butternut Squash with Sage (see above)
  2. Chicken Stock
  3. Fat Free Plain Greek Yogurt (or Creme Fraisce or Sour Cream)
  4. Salt and Pepper to taste

Steps-

  1. Blend the Roasted Squash in a blender until creamy.  Add a heaping dollop or two of the Greek Yogurt and some Chicken Stock until you reach your desired texture.  If you like you soup thick put less stock, if you like it a little thinner keep adding stock a little at a time. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  2. Heat up in a pot or in the microwave and serve! Also good with toasted shelled pumpkin seeds as a garnish.  

 

 

 

 

Summer Lovin Salad- Fava Beans, Sugar Snap Peas, Watercress, Mint Vinaigrette & Manchego Cheese

 

We are in the final days of Spring and sailing right into summertime which to me means sunshine, the beach, relaxing in the park and...the BEST fruits and vegetables are in season!  This salad is the perfect addition to your summer BBQ or dinner party menu.  It is light, refreshing, crisp and very unique in flavor and appearance.  It is unique in that it doesn't have your typical ingredients like Romaine, Arugula or Iceberg.  It uses three things that are in season right now and they are Fava Beans, Watercress and Sugar Snap Peas.  Fava beans are not a common ingredient for most households but they should be! They are beautiful to look at and have a creamy, but crisp texture and almost a cheesy, earthy flavor that goes perfect with my mint vinaigrette and the Manchego cheese. 

Ingredients-

1  1/2 Cups Shucked Fava Beans

3/4 Lb Sugar Snap Peas Washed Throughly

1/2 Cup Watercress Leaves (remove the large tough stems)

1/3 Cup Pearl Onions (frozen and thawed)- You can use fresh as well but make sure you cook them through.

White Sugar (just a dash or two)

Manchego Cheese (Using a potato peeler or mandolin shave long thin strips of cheese and set aside)

Dressing-

1/4-1/3 Cup Fresh Mint Leaves

Juice of half a Lemon

Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Canola Oil

1/2 Teaspoon Honey (you can always add more if the dressing is too bitter)

1 Heaping Tablespoon of Dijon Mustard

1 Small Clove of Garlic

Salt and Pepper to taste

Steps-

First prepare the dressing by blending the Mint, Dijon, Lemon Juice, Garlic, Honey, a dash of salt and pepper and a drizzle of both olive oil and canola oil (using a blend of oils prevents the dressing from being too bitter) in a food processor or blender.   Add more oil a little at a time until it reaches the consistency of a vinaigrette or lite dressing  Add more salt and pepper if needed. Seal in a container and set aside in the fridge to let the flavors meld together.

The Salad-

Remove and discard the stem and natural "string" from each Sugar Snap Pea Pod. Set aside. 

Fill a large bowl of water with ice and water and set aside. Bring a large pot of heavily salted water to a boil and then drop the Sugar Snap Peas in the water.  Boil them in the water for 2 minutes only and then using a slotted spoon remove them from the water and place them in the bowl of ice water to shock them.  This helps them retain their color and crunch and cooks them ever so slightly.  Once they are cooled in the ice water remove them and dry them off on paper towels (set aside).

Do the same thing with the shucked Fava Beans but for about 3-4 minutes or until tender. Drain and shock in the ice water then remove the outer skin gently.  Try not to break up the beans you want them to hold their beautiful shape.

In a small frying pan, place the peeled pearl onions and sprinkle them with a little white sugar.  Cook on medium heat rolling them around and coating them with the sugar until the onions caramelize/brown and they are cooked and heated through.  Set aside.  

Toss the Fava Beans together in a large bowl with the Snap Peas, pearl onions and the cleaned Watercress.

Dress the Salad with a little vinaigrette at a time, making sure you coat each pea and bean evenly but do not over dress.  

Spoon the salad onto a serving dish and then take a few shavings of the Manchego Cheese and lay it on top as shown in my photo.  You can also just shave the cheese and toss it with the salad!  

Enjoy!



Lamb Burgers with Bacon Tomato Jam, Fennel Mint Slaw and Chevre Goat Cheese

Spring: In like a lion and out like a lamb burger?

April is here which means warmer weather, rain showers, budding trees, my favorite Cadbury chocolate eggs and of course Easter! Many families like to celebrate Easter with a big ol’ honey baked ham or a delicious leg of lamb.  To celebrate the start of Spring I created a lamb burger that has such dynamic flavors and textures that you might even make these babies the Easter dinner headliner.  Don’t like lamb?  No problem! Make this recipe using good old fashioned beef chuck burgers!  But...wow…the grassy flavor of the lamb combined with the tangy, creamy goat cheese, the crisp, lemony fennel and mint slaw, and the smoky and sweet bacon tomato jam are culinary chemistry:  flavors that interact with each other perfectly in your mouth.  This recipe is BAAAHHHDDD AS$...ok that was cheesy.  Tip: Make extra bacon jam and use it on gourmet grilled cheese sandwiches, make little crostini hors d’oeuvres with the jam and gouda or Havarti cheese, put it on turkey club sandwiches or even savory scones! The fennel salad is even great as just a side dish or as a substitute for boring old coleslaw that is full of fattening mayo!  

Bacon Tomato Jam

Ingredients-

  1. 1/3 of a Pound of raw Bacon diced into small pieces
  2. 2 ½ Cups Ripe Tomatoes-Diced Small ( About 5 Medium Tomatoes)
  3. ½ a Large Viladlia Onion- Diced Small
  4. ¾ Cup Dark Brown Sugar
  5. 2 Tablespoons Apple Cider Vinegar
  6. ½ Teaspoon Salt (or more..taste it)
  7. 1/8 Teaspoon Black Pepper

Steps-

  1. Cook the bacon in a deep skillet or medium saucepan until it is crispy and brown.  Using a slotted spoon remove the bacon, drain it on paper towels and set it aside.  Reserve about 1 ½ Tablespoons of the bacon fat in the pan.
  2. Put the pan with the bacon fat on low-medium heat on the stove.  Add the onion, tomatoes, brown sugar, vinegar, salt and pepper.  Bring to a boil stirring often.
  3. Add the bacon back to the pan with the tomato mixture.
  4. Simmer stirring with a wooden spoon pretty frequently (making sure it doesn’t burn) until it starts to thicken and the onions get soft and caramelized.  You will cook it for about 30- 40 minutes or until most of the water evaporates and you are left with a thick jammy texture.
  5. Put in mason jars or a bowl and refrigerate.


Fennel Mint Slaw-

Ingredients-

  1. 1 Large Fennel Bulb
  2. 2-3 Tablespoons Fresh Squeezed Lemon Juice
  3. 3 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  4. 1 Teaspoon Honey
  5. 1 Teaspoon Whole Grain Mustard
  6. ½ Teaspoon Salt
  7. 1 ½ to 2 Tablespoons Fresh Mint Chopped Fine
  8. 2 Teaspoons Shallot Minced (or Red or White Onion)

Steps-

  1. Using a knife or a mandolin, shave or thinly slice the fennel into 1/8 inch slices starting from the bottom of the bulb.  Do not use the green, “hair” or “fronds”at the top of the fennel bulb. Fennel has this great anise flavor and its texture is like celery meets an onion.
  2. In a small bowl whisk together the olive oil, lemon juice, honey, whole grain mustard, salt, pepper and shallot.
  3. Toss the fresh mint with the fennel in a big bowl.
  4. Toss the fennel with the dressing and then cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let it sit in the fridge for at least an hour or overnight so the fennel can really marinate in the flavors.

Lamb Burgers- Makes 4 Burgers

Ingredients-

  1. 1 ½ Pounds Ground Lamb ( sometimes I mix 1 lb lamb and ½  pound of ground chuck for extra flavor)
  2. ½ Teaspoon Minced Garlic
  3. 1/3 Teaspoon Dried Oregano
  4. Salt and Pepper
  5. 4 Burger Buns- Preferably Ciabatta Rolls (scooped out so there isn’t too much bread)
  6. Butter
  7. Bacon Tomato Jam (recipe above)
  8. Fennel Mint Slaw (recipe above)
  9. 4 oz Creamy Chevre Goat Cheese

Steps-

  1. Preheat your outdoor barbeque, indoor grill pan or George Forman Grill.
  2. Using your hands, mix together the ground meat with the garlic and oregano.  Make 4 equal sized burger patties that are about ¾ to 1 inch thick. Sprinkle both sides with salt and pepper.
  3. Grill the burgers for above 5-6 minutes on each side or until they are just slightly pink inside (or however you like them!) While the burgers are grilling, spread a little butter on the inside of the burger buns and place them on the grill as well.  Get the buns nice and toasty on all sides.
  4. Spread about 1 Tablespoon (or more ;) ) of the Bacon Tomato Jam on the inside of each bun half.
  5. When the burgers are cooked, place the burgers on the jam coated buns and top each one with about 1 ounce of goat cheese.  Top the goat cheese with a nice little mound of the Fennel Mint Slaw and place the top of the bun on top.

Serve and salivate!




Green Eggs: Egg Salad with Avocado Dressing

Green eggs is no longer just a phrase in a famous children’s book, it is now another delicious recipe in your repertoire. I just love a good egg salad, but it is full of mayonnaise which is fattening and high in calories.  I had a craving for nice, creamy egg salad, but had just returned from the gym, so I came up with a dressing that is just as creamy as the mayo but is much healthier!  A nice, ripe avocado does just the trick!  When pureed with the vinegar, olive oil, lemon juice and other flavor components, the avocado turns into this mixture that is as smooth as silk and a beautiful sage green color. Enjoy it on a bed of lettuce, with sliced tomato or on your favorite bread!

 (Feeds about 2 people)

Avocado Dressing-

Ingredients-

  1. 1 Ripe Avocado
  2. 3 Tablespoons Lemon Juice (Fresh)
  3. Dash of Salt and Pepper
  4. 2 Teaspoons Dijon Mustard
  5. 1 ½ Teaspoons Honey
  6. 1 Tablespoon White Vinegar
  7. 4 Teaspoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  8. Water

Steps-

  1. Remove the pit and skin from the avocado and scoop the flesh out into a food processor or blender.
  2. Add the lemon juice, salt and pepper, Dijon, honey, vinegar, and olive oil. 
  3. Blend until the mixture is silky and smooth. 
  4. Add water a few tablespoons at a time until it has reached your desired texture.  You want it to loosen up slightly so the eggs can be mixed in easily but do not make the mixture watery.

 Egg Salad-

Ingredients-

  1. 4 hard-boiled eggs (with or without yolks.  I use two with yolks and two without to cut calories)
  2. 1/3 cup of the Avocado Dressing
  3. 2 Tablespoons Red Onion Finely Diced
  4. Chopped Chives or Fresh Dill (Garnish)

Steps-

  1. Chop up the hard-boiled eggs.
  2. Toss the eggs with the red onion.
  3. Toss the egg mixture with the Avocado Dressing.
  4. Sprinkle with a little salt and pepper and fresh chopped chives or dill.
  5. Eat on top of sliced tomato, mixed greens or on your favorite bread!

 

Pomegranate & Beet Salad with Spiced Walnuts, Arugula Pesto & Goat Cheese

There is something about beets that I have just grown to LOVE.  Fresh, roasted beets have this great earthy flavor, and a wonderful burst of sweetness.  The color of beets is so vibrant and beautiful that it brings life to any dish.  The pomegranate juice reduction, the spicy and savory walnuts and the “basil-less” pesto are three very unique flavor components.  The arugula pesto has a grassy, garlicky taste that mirrors the earthy taste of the beets without overpowering them, as a basil pesto may do.  When you assemble this dish just right, preferably on a neutral, solid colored plate, you will see an artistic, culinary masterpiece form before your eyes.  Your guests will be very impressed by your restaurant quality starter course, trust me!

Recipe feeds about 4 people (as a side or as a starter course)

Beets-

Ingredients

  1. About 3 cups of sliced beets (Fresh beets that are thoroughly washed,  peeled and sliced into ½ inch thick rounds)
  2. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  3. ½ Cup of fresh pomegranate juice (about 1.5 pomegranates if you are squeezing your own) (Tip: If you are using fresh, remove the seeds from the pomegranate, pulse them in a food processor and then strain it so you remove the seeds and are left with the juice!)
  4. The seeds from half a fresh pomegranate (to garnish the salad..its a must!)
  5. Orange Peel (use a vegetable peeler to peel off a 1 inch x 1 inch piece of orange zest)   
  6. 1 ½ Tablespoons Unsalted Butter
  7. 2 ½ Tablespoons Dark Brown Sugar
  8. 1 Sprig of Fresh Thyme
  9. 2-3 oz Goat Cheese

Arugula Pesto (See recipe below)

Savory Spiced Walnuts (See recipe below)

 

First make the spiced nuts-

Savory Spiced Walnuts-

  1. ¾ Cups Walnuts
  2. 1 Tablespoon Butter
  3. 1 Tablespoon Worcestershire Sauce
  4. Dash of Cayenne Pepper
  5. Dash of Ground Ginger
  6. Dash of Salt
  7. Pinch of Black Pepper

Steps-

  1. In a medium skillet melt the butter on the stove. Add all the remaining ingredients and toss the nuts until they are evenly coated. 
  2. Cook the walnuts on medium-low heat until they are toasted and fragrant.
  3. Spread the nuts out evenly on some aluminum foil and let them cool and dry out completely.

 

Next start the beets!

Steps-

  1. Preheat your oven to 400F
  2. Toss the peeled/sliced beets in a drizzle of olive oil, salt and pepper and lay them flat on a sheet pan.
  3. Roast them in the oven about 45 minutes or until tender.  Be sure to check them half way through the cooking time and flip them over with a spatula so they cook evenly.
  4. Remove them from the oven but do not shut the oven off.
  5. In a small saucepan heat the butter, pomegranate juice, brown sugar, thyme leaves, orange peel and a pinch of salt and a dash of pepper.
  6. Heat on medium heat whisking occasionally until the mixture reduces by about 2/3.  You want it to turn into a syrup like consistency.
  7. After the mixture reduces, toss in the beets and coat them completely in the sauce.
  8. Using a slotted spoon remove the beets from the syrup and allow the excess sauce to drip off.  The syrup is fairly sweet so you don’t want it to be too overwhelming.  Place the coated beets back onto the sheet pan and roast in the oven again from 7-10 minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside.

While the beets are cooling slightly, make the pesto.

Arugula Pesto-

  1. 1 ½ Cups Fresh Arugula
  2. 4-5 Tablespoons of Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  3. ½ Clove Garlic
  4. A dash of salt and pepper
  5. 2 Tablespoons Walnuts

Steps-

Place all ingredients in a food processor and blend until it is a smooth, creamy texture. Set aside.

Next, assemble the salad!

Steps-

  1. Spread a nice layer of the arugula pesto onto your serving dish (or on individual salad plates).
  2. Nicely lay the pomegranate glazed beets on top of the pesto.
  3. Sprinkle some of the savory spiced walnuts on top, and then finish the dish with crumbles of the creamy, tangy goat cheese and a few tablespoons of the fresh pomegranate seeds.
  4. If you would like, you can garnish with some fresh thyme leaves and a little sea salt.

 

Tabbouleh

This recipe is in honor of my best friend Chris and my sister’s wonderful boyfriend Mel.  Both gentlemen are of Lebanese descent and have introduced me to some traditional Lebanese dishes that were unforgettable.  Of course there is lamb, hummus, falafel etc. but one of my favorite Lebanese specialties is Tabbouleh. Tabbouleh is a Middle Eastern dish that may have started as far back as 4,000 years ago when the Arabs started utilizing grains like Bulgar Wheat.  There are many ways to make Tabbouleh and many ways to spell it!  Some recipes utilize much more parsley than Bulgar wheat and others predominantly consist of wheat and use the parsley as more of a flavoring agent.  I love parsley, but I find it can be slightly tough in texture, so I prefer the wheat to be the star of the dish. My version is crunchy, creamy, nutritious and extremely refreshing.  Pair it with a grilled piece of fish, lamb or chicken and you have the perfect healthy/hearty meal.  There are many health benefits to eating this dish…so much that it is known as one of the healthiest salads or sides you can eat!

 

Ingredients-


  1. 8.8 ounces of Bulgar wheat (I use the bag of Trader Joes 10 Minute Bulgar Wheat that is partially cooked)- Cook it according to the directions and cool in the fridge.  I boil mine in part water and part chicken stock to give it more flavor.
  2. 1 Cup English Cucumber Diced
  3. 1 ½ Cups Fresh Tomato Diced
  4. ¼ Cup Green Scallions Finely Chopped
  5. ½ Cup Red Onion Finely Chopped
  6. ¾ Cup Fresh Italian Parsley Chopped
  7. 4 Medium Ears of Fresh Corn
  8. ½ Cup Fresh Lemon Juice
  9. ¼ Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  10. 1 Teaspoon of Salt
  11. ½ Teaspoon Pepper
  12. ¾ Teaspoon Mustard Powder
  13. 2 Teaspoons Honey 

Steps-

  1. Preheat the oven to 400F
  2. Using a sharp knife, carefully slice the corn kernels off the cob.  Put all the uncooked kernels in a bowl and toss them with about 1-2 Tablespoons of Olive Oil and a dash of salt and pepper. 
  3. Spread the corn out evenly on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper or aluminum foil sprayed with nonstick cooking spray.  Roast the corn in the preheated oven for 10 minutes or so, or until it is tender and starts to brown slightly. 
  4. Set the corn aside when it is done.
  5. In a large bowl stir together the cooked and cooled bulgar wheat, diced cucumbers, tomatoes, scallions, onion, parsley and corn. Set aside.
  6. In a small bowl whisk together the olive oil, lemon juice, salt, pepper, mustard powder and honey.
  7. Pour the oil mixture over the wheat mixture a little at the time, while tossing it with a fork. 
  8. Once the ingredients are all evenly blended together, set it in the fridge to cool.  You can eat it at room temperature, but I prefer to eat it chilled.  You should make it several hour in advance or even a day in advance so all the flavors can macerate.
  9. Serve with your favorite protein.  I enjoy mine with a nice piece of grilled fish, chicken or beef.

Tangy Cucumber Salad

I love to pair some of my richer and meatier entrees with very light, fresh sides .  I want my side dishes to compliment the key component of the dish rather than overshadow it, and that is exactly what this salad does.   My crispy, vinegary Cucumber Salad tingles the taste buds like a fresh pickle from your favorite deli. The pleasantly acidic flavors seem to cleanse your palate as you enjoy your meal.  As an added plus, there are barely any calories in this dish!

 

Ingredients-

  1. 3 Cups of Thinly Sliced Cucumbers (Paper thin! Use a mandolin if you have one)
  2. 1/3 Cup Thinly Sliced Red Onion
  3. 3 Tablespoons White Wine Vinegar
  4. 1 Teaspoon Dijon Mustard
  5. 2 Teaspoons Honey
  6. 1 Tablespoon Fresh Dill Finely Chopped

Steps-

  1. In a medium bowl stir together the Cucumbers, Red Onion and Dill.
  2. In a separate small bowl, whisk together the Vinegar, Dijon, and Honey.
  3. Pour the dressing over the cucumber mixture and toss to coat each cucumber.
  4. Cover and place in the refrigerator for at least an hour (or overnight) to allow the cucumbers to marinate and pick up the wonderful flavors of the dressing.
  5. Serve and enjoy!

Fig Salad with a Citrus Vinaigrette and Shaved Parmigiano Reggiano

August may mean that summer is almost over, but it also means that fig season has begun! Figs have a very special place in my heart because I grew up with a fig tree in my backyard, I make hundreds of Sicilian fig cookies with my Grandmother and sisters every Christmas, and my winning dish on Andersen Cooper’s Chopped contained fresh figs. What many people don’t realize is that they are incredibly versatile.

Figs are great by themselves, with yogurt and a drizzle of honey, in cakes and cookies, with gourmet cheeses, in chicken dishes, or in salads like you see here.

The fruity, sweet figs compliment the peppery arugula and sharp Parmigiano Reggiano perfectly.


Ingredients-

Citrus Vinaigrette-

  1. ¼ Cup Fresh Squeezed Orange Juice
  2. Pinch of Orange Zest
  3. 1 ½ Teaspoons Olive Oil
  4. 1 Tablespoons Red Onion (Finely Chopped)
  5. 1 Tablespoon plus 1 Teaspoon Balsamic Vinegar
  6. 1 Teaspoon Honey
  7. Dash of Salt and Black Pepper (to taste)

Fig Salad-

(Feeds 2-3 People)

  1. 3 Cups Baby Arugula
  2. 5 Fresh Black Mission Figs quartered
  3. Parmigiano Reggiano  

Steps-

  1. In a small bowl whisk together the orange juice, orange zest, olive oil, red onion, balsamic, honey, salt and pepper. Set aside
  2. In a medium bowl, toss together the arugula and figs.
  3. Pour as much dressing as you’d like over the top of the salad and toss until fully coated.
  4. Using a vegetable peeler, shave pieces of fresh Parmigiano Reggiano over the top of each salad.

Healthy Napa Chicken Salad

One of my favorite dishes of all time is good Ol'fashioned chicken salad.  I am not quite sure what it is that tickles my fancy so much, but I could eat it every single day!  Since eating pounds of mayonnaise every week is not a heart healthy option, I decided to put my own spin on the classic Napa Almond Chicken Salad.  I lighten up the recipe by substituting a portion of the mayo with Greek yogurt just like I do in my “Po-Yo” Potato Salad (Recipe also on the site).  To cut on carbs I serve it in Butter Lettuce leaves, so you can just roll it up and eat it as a lettuce wrap.  The crunch of the toasted slivered almonds, the tanginess of the dressing, the lemony bite of the Tarragon and the burst of sweetness from the crisp red grapes…sigh… you cant get any better than that! 

Ingredients-

  1. ¼ Cup of my Sherry Tarragon Mayo (Recipe on the Grilled Salmon Sandwich post)
  2. 1/3 Cup Plain Greek Yogurt (0% or 2% fat)
  3. 1 ½  Teaspoons Fresh Lemon Juice
  4. 2 Teaspoons Honey
  5. Salt and Pepper to Taste
  6. ¼ Teaspoon Fresh Tarragon Leaves Finely Chopped
  7. 2 Tablespoons Red Onion Finely Chopped
  8. 2 Cooked Chicken Breasts (About 1.5 lbs) Diced Small (Roast in the oven on 400F for 25-30 minutes or until fully cooked)
  9. 1/3 Cup Slivered Almonds (lightly toasted)
  10. 1/3 Cup Celery Peeled and sliced into small pieces
  11. 1/2 Cup Red Grapes (cut in half) 

Steps-

  1. In a small bowl, stir together the Sherry Tarragon Mayo, the Greek yogurt, lemon juice, honey, salt, pepper, tarragon and red onion.
  2. In a medium bowl combine the chicken, almonds, grapes and celery.
  3. Pour the dressing over the top and toss until the chicken is evenly coated 
  4. Serve on top of Butter Lettuce leaves, on your favorite bread, or just by itself! 

 

Tropical Shrimp & Mango Stuffed Avocados

I won’t lie, I love rich, butter-filled dishes, but sometimes you just need something light, fresh and full of nutrients!  One of my favorite ingredients to cook with is avocados, because when they are ripe, they have such a wonderful creaminess that can add so much flavor and richness to a dish.  Shrimp is a healthy protein choice when cooking because it is filling but very low in calories. Shrimp is like a blank canvas, in that will absorb the flavors and colors of the marinade you put on it.  The fun part about this recipe is that the avocado also acts as the serving dish.  It is such a beautiful & colorful presentation that will take your guests on a trip to the tropics any time of year! Got Room For More?  Follow Got Room For More on Pinterest, Twitter and Instagram! I would love to hear your comments and recipe requests!

Recipe Feeds 3 people

Ingredients-

  1. 25-30 Raw Deveined Shrimp (Small/medium shrimp…not rock shrimp because those are too small) (You want about 8-10 shrimp per person)
  2. 2 Ripe Avocados
  3. ½ Cup Fresh Squeezed Orange Juice
  4. 2 Teaspoons Honey
  5. ½ Teaspoon Salt
  6. ¼ Teaspoon Black Pepper
  7. A pinch of Red Pepper Flakes
  8. A dash of Coriander
  9. 2 Tablespoons White Wine Vinegar
  10. 1/4 Teaspoon Ginger Paste (Comes in a small jar or use fresh grated)
  11. ½ Teaspoon Minced Garlic
  12. 2 Teaspoons Chopped Cilantro (If you do not like Cilantro then use Parsley)
  13. 3 Tablespoons Finely Chopped Red Onion
  14. ¼ Cup Fresh Diced Tomato (I used some red and some yellow)
  15. ½ a Very Ripe Mango Diced in Small Pieces
  16. Sour Cream or Plain Greek Yogurt (I use Greek Yogurt b/c it is low in fat and a similar texture)

Steps-

  1. Stir together the Orange Juice, Mango, Honey, Salt, Pepper, Coriander, Red Pepper, Vinegar, Ginger, Garlic, Cilantro and Red Onion.
  2. Pour 3/4 of the mixture on top of the shrimp in a separate bowl and set the rest of the marinade aside. Put the shrimp in the fridge and let it marinate for about 15-20 minutes
  3. Remove the shrimp from the fridge and grill them on a grill pan or outdoor grill for a few minutes on each side or until they turn slightly orange and are fully cooked.
  4. Set the shrimp aside
  5. Cut the avocados in half vertically and remove the pit.  Leave the skin on!
  6. Scoop out about half of the flesh of each avocado, so that you create nice little hollow avocado bowls. Chop up whatever you remove and add with to the shrimp. Each person should receive one half of an avocado. Since this recipe is for 3 people, scoop out the 4th half completely, and dice it up.  Throw the scooped out/diced flesh into the bowl with the grilled shrimp.
  7. Toss the diced tomatoes in with the shrimp and pour the remaining marinade over the mixture.
  8. Toss it all up so that everything is fully coated in the sauce.
  9. Sprinkle some salt and pepper on the semi-scooped out avocado halves and then put a nice helping of the shrimp salad in each one as if it were a serving bowl.
  10. Put a small dollop of sour cream or Greek Yogurt on each stuffed avocado and then garnish with cilantro or parsley.
  11. Serve with Corn, red cabbage slaw, a salad or just by itself! You can even use tortilla chips to scoop it out!

Watermelon, Arugula Salad with Goat Feta & Heirloom Tomatoes

Who doesn't love juicy, bright summer fruits on a warm, sunny day?  This salad is super simple to make, but the flavors and presentation are incredibly impressive and eye-catching. The earthy, peppery taste of the arugula and olive oil mixed with the natural sweetness of the watermelon and the briny bite from the Goat feta cheese is simply perfection. Forget about that bland, mixed green salad or that boring Caesar, and give this a try!  Like what you see? Like what you taste?  #GotRoomForMore on Twitter and send me a pic of the Got Room For More recipes you try!

 

Ingredients

  1. 2.5 ounces of Baby Arugula
  2. 1.5 lbs Seedless Watermelon cut into 1.5 inch cubes
  3. Extra virgin olive oil
  4. ½ cup Balsamic Vinegar
  5. .25 lbs Goat Feta cut into small cubes (about ¼ inch thick)
  6. 1 Cup of Heirloom Cherry Tomatoes (orange, yellow, green and red to bring out color)
  7. Salt and Pepper

 

Steps

  1. Cut tomatoes in half if they're very small and quarter them if they are on the larger side, and put them into a large bowl
  2. Put the balsamic in a small nonstick pan on the stove on medium heat. Cook for a few minutes until it bubbles and turns into the consistency of chocolate syrup.
  3. Set aside to cool slightly while to do the next steps
  4. Toss together the arugula, watermelon, and feta in the bowl with the tomatoes
  5. Sprinkle a little salt and pepper over the top to taste
  6. Drizzle 3 or so tablespoons of Extra Virgin Olive Oil over the top and toss with salad tongs (you may want more or less..eyeball it. The juice from the melon also acts as part of the dressing so you do not want to over dress it).
  7. Drizzle the balsamic over the top and toss lightly
  8. Serve on its own or as a side or starter course

"Po-Yo" (Potato Salad made with Greek Yogurt)

There is one ingredient that is used in many popular recipes that people either love or DESPISE…mayonnaise.  Personally, I love the stuff, on sandwiches, in tuna salad or on a juicy hamburger, but it just isn't the healthiest of condiments.  When making a side dish to bring on a trip to rural Pennsylvania, I started to think of fresh, new ways to concoct popular summer sides such as potato salad and macaroni salad.  As I was strolling through the dairy isle I came across one of my favorite things, Greek Yogurt.  I used the yogurt in this recipe as if it were mayo, and to my surprise, it was simply delicious!  If you are a health nut or just not a fan of mayonnaise, I promise you, you will love this creamy, tangy, spicy potato salad recipe.

(Feeds 6-8 people)

Ingredients

  1. 3 lb bag of baby red potatoes washed and quartered (keep skin on
  2. 1 cup of 2% Greek Plain Yogurt (I prefer Fage or Chobani)
  3. 2 ½ Tablespoons Whole Grain Dijon Mustard
  4.  1 ½ Tablespoons Honey
  5. The Juice of half a medium size lemon
  6. Dash of salt and pepper
  7.  1 Tablespoon White Distilled Vinegar
  8.  3 Tablespoons Chopped Fresh Dill
  9.  1/2 a medium red onion diced very small
  10.  1/3 Cup chopped celery
  11. 3 Hard boiled eggs chopped (If you are super healthy conscious remove the yolks)

Steps

  1. Place the quartered red potatoes into a medium size pot and fill it with cold water until the water is about 2 inches above the potatoes.
  2. Bring the potatoes to a boil and cook them until they are tender and can be easily pricked with a fork (but still maintain their shape).  Do not overcook the potatoes or the texture of the potato salad will be sticky and starchy.
  3. Drain the potatoes, put them in a bowl with a paper towel on top and place them in the refrigerator.  The potatoes must be fully cooled before you dress them.
  4. In a medium bowl mix together all of the remaining ingredients except for the eggs.
  5. Remove the potatoes from the fridge and gently stir in the chopped eggs
  6. Pour the yogurt mixture over the potatoes a little bit at a time until each potato is fully coated.  You may use all of the dressing but some people may prefer it on the dryer side.  
  7. Serve next to burgers, roasted pork, sausage, hot dogs, chicken…the possibilities are endless!