I don't know about you, but during the summer I tend to not eat as much. Then when I do eat, all I want is something refreshing and bright. Salads have always been one of my favorite foods. Even as a 4 year old, I would just munch on lettuce. I must be part rabbit, I am pretty bouncy after all...
My husband is a simple guy, and especially so when it comes to salads. I am always looking for different options to mix it up! This one is a happy winner in our house. Especially when strawberries are on super sale! It is such a refreshing salad that is full of flavor.
This salad is by no means "structured".
So just play around with it! Everyone's taste buds are different. Below is my recipe that works for us!
Salad Recipe: (feeds approximately 2 people)
- fresh spinach, about 2 cups
- crisp romaine lettuce, about 1/2 a head
- strawberries, 5-7
- diced white onion, 1/2 cup
- dried cranberries, 1/3 cup
- roasted salted almonds (you can use pre-sliced, or toss them in your food processor and lightly crumble)
- avocado, 1/2 of one large
- handful of fresh mint leaves
- salt and fresh black pepper
*optional - crumbled feta cheese (I am dairy free, so I forgo it)
*optional - baked Italian chicken
Start by lightly chopping your fresh romaine. *I always use a salad spinner to make sure it is clean and drained. This keeps it crispy and ensures it is completely free of little buggies and anything it may have been sprayed with.* Combine spinach and romaine in a large bowl, lightly salt and pepper. Wash and slice your strawberries, cutting off the green. Add strawberries to your salad. Evenly spread diced onion, cranberries and almonds over the top. Lightly salt and pepper. Slice & dice avocado, use your hands to place avocado evenly around the salt. Top with fresh mint leaves.
* If using chicken: I like to use chicken tenderloins for salads. They cook quickly and usually come in a big pack. Make sure any fat or veins are trimmed off. You can do a quick marinade with olive oil, salt, pepper, minced garlic, and mint. Even as little as 30 minutes of marinating can add immense flavor and helps keep your meet juicy while cooking.
Line an oven safe dish with foil, (easy cleanup) and lightly spray with a nonstick cooking spray. Place chicken on foil and add fresh mint leaves. Bake at 425 for 25-30 mins. Let chicken cool before adding to salad!
*Personal tip: I pack hubby's lunch for him everyday. Chicken tenderloin packs are perfect because they cook super quick. I'll usually utilize some for dinner one night. Then I'll separate the remaining chicken in sandwich size ziplock bags withdifferent marinades, (such as BBQ, or Asian style). This way, I have good protein options readily available and hubs doesn't end up in a boring lunch rut. They really cool on the stovetop super quick! Baking in the oven takes a little longer, but helps keep all the moisture! Our house truly will smell like chicken at 8am occasionally. Be forewarned!*
2 tsp minced garlic (or garlic powder if you are out of fresh)
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
1/4 hot water (Microwave water for 1 min, or boil water and let cool a bit)
1 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp EVOO or Avocado oil (I prefer to use avocado, so light!)
Salt & Pepper
In a small bowl or food processor combine garlic and mustard until well blended. Stir or whisk in balsamic vinegar, hot water and sugar. Slowly add in oil until completely emulsified. Salt and pepper to taste.
This salad makes the perfect side dish for any summer meal. Add chicken to make it a wholesome lunch or a light dinner. If using feta cheese, simply crumble over the top! Keep the dressing separate, that way any leftovers can be saved. It will keep for approximately 3-4 days in the refrigerator. Enjoy!
Does anyone have a dessert that they just cannot resist? I know I do. Put either sorbet or strawberry shortcake in front of me... I just can't say no.
My husssssband on the other hand, is the biggest cookie fan I have ever seen. I truly believe he is related to the Cookie Monster. I hope our children don't turn out hairy and blue! Funny story, when my husband and I started dating, he would buy logs of pre-made cookie dough at the store. It was a necessity on his grocery list. Along with frozen pizzas, frozen corn dogs, fixings for nachos... Blech. Such a frat boy.
I grew up in a homemade only type of house. Every meal, every baked good, always homemade. I'm very fortunate that my love of cooking came from a combination of both of my parents. As it was, I exclusively cooked. I did not bake at all. But I was falling hard for this cookie loving guy. If this was going to be the long haul, there was no way it was going to be filled with break-and-bake cookies full of preservatives and EVERYTHING that is bad for you. No way, Jose. I guess I had to learn to bake.
After a lot of trial and error, I finally got the hang of it. (Once you learn what the active ingredient essentially do, I swear it gets so much easier.) Eventually we ended up with my delicious homemade oatmeal chocolate chip cookies. I guess I do have a little Betty Crocker in me! Perfected to our personal preferences. Yum!
Give them a try. They're sooo good. You really can't eat just one!
Who doesn't love Mexican food? It is a weekly go-to in our house. Whether its tacos, fajitas, burritos or whatever, we always are craving it. We had one of hubby's friends over for dinner last night, so I chose a meal I wouldn't typically make for just the two of us. Its just so much food otherwise! Here is an easy breakdown to make some delicious chicken enchiladas! Always such a crowd pleaser!
This ain't your momma's chicken. You're sure to wow with this dish! & I promise, its not nearly as hard as it sounds!
I don't know about you, but sometimes after teaching all day the last thing I want to do is cook dinner. I swear Costco has some of my favorite "go-to" items to whip together a quick dinner when I'm being lazy after a long day. I will swing by on my way home and pick up a few staples to create a tasty, yet still healthy meal in 30 minutes or less.
Making healthier choices doesn't have to be complicated. After eating a rather filling lunch, I wanted something light but filling for dinner. Took me less than 10 minutes to toss this colorful plate together. I really enjoy deconstructed plates like this. You get variety with each bite! Tonight, I had baby carrots, assorted bell pepper slices, smoked gouda cheese, cucumber slices (which ended up getting drizzled in that balsamic glaze you can see to the right, more on that momentarily), jalapeno artichoke dip, roasted red pepper hummus and some club cracks, crackers, I mean. But really, those club crackers are my favorite. Salty, flaky goodness! I love a yummy colorful plate, add wine and voila!
We love food. Who doesnt? Ash loves to cook, and Lex loves to bake. Perfect duo right? Dinner. Desert. Wine. DONE.