salad

Roasted Fennel and Wild Salmon Salad

Looking for a fresh, new salad recipe? This colorful plate combines raw vegetables, with slow roasted fennel, Have you ever tried fennel before? Fennel is a large bulb-shaped vegetable that is crispy and crunchy when raw, but becomes buttery and soft when slow roasted such as in this recipe. It has an anise or licorice flavor, and pairs well with seafood, which is exactly what this Mediterranean salad brings!

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Roasted Fennel and Wild Salmon Salad- serves 2

Ingredients

  • 1 medium fennel bulb, stems removed then halved through the root and cut into thin slices

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

  • 1 teaspoon salt

  • 1/2 cup wild rice

  • 4 cups greens of choice (spinach, baby kale, arugula)

  • 1 yellow bell pepper, chopped

  • 1 small tomato, chopped

  • 1/4 medium red onion, roughly chopped

  • 2 [4 oz.] salmon filet

  • Dressing: 3 tablespoons olive oil, 1 tablespoon lemon juice, 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard, salt and pepper to taste

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

  2. Toss sliced fennel with olive oil and salt and lay in a single layer on a baking sheet. Roast for 30 minutes until the fennel begins to brown.

  3. Meanwhile, cook the wild rice in 2 cups of water until tender and set aside when done.

  4. Remove the fennel from the oven and turn the oven to broil.

  5. Then pat the salmon flesh dry with a paper towel and lightly season with salt and pepper. Heat a cast iron skillet over medium heat and coat with a light layer or olive oil spray. Place the fish, flesh side down, in the skillet and cook for 3 minutes. Flip the fish and continue cooking under the oven’s broiler for 5 minutes.

  6. Mix the dressing ingredients in a small bowl. Toss the greens, bell pepper, and onion with the dressing.

  7. Assemble the salad by plating equal amounts of the dressed greens and vegetables on each plate, divide the roasted fennel, and place 1 salmon filet on top each salad. Top with a sprinkle of crumbled feta if desired.

Crunchy Honey Mustard Chicken Tenders

Have you ever thought about the elements of a meal that provide you with satisfaction? Because listen up, ya’ll, it’s not only about the taste.

Disclosure: This recipe was created through my partnership with Barbara’s Bakery and I was provided compensation for sharing this recipe. All words and opinions are my own.

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Yes, food that tastes delicious is usually much more enjoyable to eat, but let’s not forget the other elements of satisfaction, such as the way a plate of food looks visually, how it smells, how it feels in your mouth, and even what temperature the dish is. When we strive to satisfy our senses with food we are better able to take the focus off of only the nutrition or health-benefits, which can often lead to preoccupation and worry when eating. It’s all too easy to overlook to pleasure nourishing food can bring us, but my recipe today is challenging you to take back the satisfaction factor!

My husband and I looove making peach salad in the summer. It started from an actual recipe, but now we have adapted it to our own tastes and ingredients we have on hand. The salad is usually a combination of tender salad greens, raw or grilled onion, crumbled cheese, and slices or chunks of yellow peach. For more satisfaction we add a source of protein, which is usually simply grilled salt and pepper chicken. The chicken is good, but it’s not great or mindblowing.

Wanting to not settle and eat another “just pleasing” salad, I got to thinking of how to jazz up my chicken. When I asked myself what I truly wanted, I landed on honey mustard. And I knew I wanted something crunchy. A few minutes later and these Crunchy Honey Mustard Chicken Tenders using Barbara’s Bakery Spoonfuls Cereal were born!

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Seriously, these chicken tenders are SO satisfying, and they respected and honored my taste buds in every which way. So, the next time you’re questioning what you truly want, I encourage you to ask yourself some of these questions:

Think about a salty or sweet food. Does it feel right to you at this moment?

Would you like the crunch of a baby carrot or a potato chip right now?

Is the aroma of pizza appealing you to right now?

Do you want something airy or more filling and sustaining?

OKAY, now on to the recipe!

Crunchy Honey Mustard Chicken Tenders- serves 2

Ingredients

  • 3/4 pound chicken tenders

  • 2 tbsp Dijon mustard

  • 3 teaspoons honey

  • 1 1/4 cup finely crushed Barbara’s Bakery Spoonfuls cereal

  • Fresh ground black pepper

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the mustard and honey and set aside. Place the crushed cereal on a large plate and spread in an even layer.

  3. One at a time, dip a chicken tender into the honey mustard mix, coating all sides, and then dredge in the crushed cereal, firmly pressing the crumbs in any spots not coated.

  4. Lay the chicken tenders on a baking sheet and bake for 15-20 minutes until the meat reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees.

  5. Serve tenders with some fresh cracked black pepper and lay over a bed of arugula and pea shoots, with a chopped peach, sliced red onion, crumbled feta cheese, and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.

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Grilled Corn and Summer Squash Pasta Salad

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When I say “pasta salad” what dish comes to mind?

If I had to guess, I’d say for a majority of people this dish is typically made of macaroni noodles, maybe with some shredded carrot and chopped celery thrown in, and leaning heavy on the mayo to make it a thick salad that holds together. Is this what popped into your mind too?

Now don’t get me wrong, I love a pasta dish as much as the next one, but I think it’s about time we gave this summer classic an updated look- a recipe that’s just as easy to throw together and enjoy as one or with many people, but one that’s also more nutritionally balanced and servable as a main dish.

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Here’s what I’m proposing for a pasta salad redux…

  1. Consider a refreshed pasta base- if you haven’t tried a legume-based pasta, like Banza chickpea pasta, Barilla red lentil penne, or other plant-based noodles from Tolerant Foods or Trader Joe’s, I highly recommend giving them a go. These pastas are higher in protein, and therefore lower in carbohydrates, than traditional wheat varieties. Not sure how it’s going to taste? Try replacing only half of the pasta in the recipe with this new variety!

  2. Amp up the vegetables- while a small pop of color in traditional pasta salad is nothing to turn a nose up at, those shredded carrots are far from the 1 serving of vegetables I would recommend if serving this dish for lunch. Use the pasta salad as a vehicle for easily eating more veggies, rather than feeling like it’s a chore to eat ANOTHER leafy green salad on the side. Since we’re in summer, think about tomatoes, zucchini, eggplant, and peppers- they are all great pastabilities!

  3. Make it a complete meal- if you can’t tell, by bulking up the vegetables I’m trying to inch this recipe towards becoming a one-stop, one-pot complete meal. To achieve this, my last recommendation would be to add a source of protein. If preparing pasta salad in bulk you could always make up the base, and then cook and add a new protein each day to your liking. I’m thinking chicken sausages, grilled shrimp, or more chickpeas would be easy ways to round out the dish.

  4. Keep it light, but not on the flavor- you may consider this sacrilegious at first, but I think the days of mayo being the mandatory condiment for pasta salad are over. With not much to offer besides saturated fat and an overpowering flavor, mayonnaise can easily be swapped for olive oil and additional herbs and spices without compromising on flavor. If you’re still craving a little creamy quality, consider a sprinkle of feta or goat cheese for texture and tang.

So, who’s on board to try this dressed up, but totally simple summer pasta salad? Dig in!

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Grilled Corn and Summer Squash Pasta Salad- serves 2

Ingredients

  • 4 oz. legume pasta

  • 1 large ear of corn, husk removed, cleaned

  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided

  • 1 large yellow summer squash, cut in half lengthwise

  • 1/4 cup cherry tomatoes, halved (optional)

  • 1/2 cup baby arugula

  • 1/3 cup crumbled feta cheese

  • 1/8 teaspoon salt

  • 1/4 teaspoon red chili flake

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven’s broiler.

  2. Cook pasta according to package instructions or al dente. Drain, rinse under cold water, strain, and place in a large mixing bowl.

  3. To “grill” the corn indoors, rest the cleaned ear of corn over a stove burner. Turn on the burner to start a medium flame. The corn will start to crackle and pop a bit, while getting a char. Every so often use tongs to turn the corn so that the entire ear becomes lightly “grilled”. Once finished, let the cooked corn cool on a cutting board. When easy enough to handle, cut the kernels from the cob and add them to the pasta.

  4. Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a medium cast iron skillet over medium heat. Once the oil is shimmering, add the squash flat-side down. Sear the squash until the flesh starts to brown and crisp, about 5 minutes. Turn off the heat and transfer the skillet to a rack 4 inches under the broiler. Continue to cook for about 5 to 7 minutes until the squash skin starts to soften and turn slightly browned as well. Remove the cooked squash from the skillet and let cool on a cutting board. When easy enough to handle, cut the squash into 1/2 inch-thick half moon shapes and add to mixing bowl.

  5. Add the tomatoes, arugula, feta, and remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil to the pasta mixture. Toss to coat and mix well, then taste and add salt and red chili flake. Serve with protein of choice for a complete meal.

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