Picnic Broccoli Salad

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At the request of the ladies in my life to eat healthier, I have been making more salads than ever before. When they asked, my first thought was boring! Then I requested if mac salad, potato salad, and pasta salads count, but apparently they do not. Thus, today is a broccoli salad, complete with mayo, bacon, and cheese…yummm healthy….Actually, it’s not unhealthy and its pretty good too. I mean you can always make it unhealthy by adding as much crap as you want into it, but I kept it pretty simple.

Ingredients

  • 3 heads of broccoli, florets chopped into eatable pieces
  • 1 cup mayo
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • salt and pepper
  • 6+ strips of bacon (up to you)
  • 1/2 red onion, chopped
  • Halved grape tomatoes
  • Shredded cheddar cheese (as much as you desire)
  • Chopped nuts (I used walnuts)
My bacon is happy

My bacon is happy

Directions

  • Blanch the broccoli florets in a pot of boiling water, drain and set aside
  • Mix the mayo, lemon juice, vinegar, sugar in a bowl
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Meanwhile, fry the bacon until crispy, dab with paper towel to get excess oil off
  • Chop the bacon
  • Add the bacon, onions, tomatoes, nuts, and cheese to the broccoli and mix well in a large bowl
  • Add the sauce and mix thoroughly (use enough to coat well, but you don’t need to use all of it)
  • Let sit in the refrigerator for at least 30 min
  • Serve and enjoy

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Seared Tuna with Asian Vinaigrette Salad

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My uncle loves to go deep sea fishing, and recently went out for tuna. He caught some yellowtail and some yellowfin. Every time he goes I always ask for some, and this time, he delivered! Tuna is pretty expensive to buy, so getting it fresh for free is pretty awesome. I seared the tuna and served it over a salad with an asian vinaigrette. The salad was made from a spring mix and napa cabbage cut into strips like a slaw.

Ingredients

  • Tuna loin
  • Spring salad mix
  • Napa cabbage
  • Grape tomatoes
  • 1/2 red onion
  • 1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1/2 lime, juiced
  • 1 tsp grated ginger
  • Some chopped cilantro
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper

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Directions for tuna and salad

  • Rinse the tuna and pat dry with paper towels
  • Grind black peppercorns onto a plate and roll the tuna loin in the pepper
  • Pour a little canola oil into a pan on high heat
  • Sear the tuna for a few seconds on each side, place on a plate and put it in the freezer for a few minutes to stop the cooking process
  • Cut the napa cabbage into strips, halve the tomatoes, and thinly slice the red onion

Directions for vinaigrette

  • Heat the vinegar in a small saucepan over medium heat, then mix the sugar in until it dissolves
  • Combine the oil, soy sauce, lime juice, sesame oil, ginger, and cilantro
  • Pour in the vinegar and sugar mix
  • Mix the dressing and chill in the refrigerator for ~20 minutes

Slice the tuna into ~ 1/4 inch slices and serve over the salad. This was my first time making an asian vinaigrette, and I really liked it. I was getting tired of balsamic dressings, so this was a nice alternative. The napa also added a different flavor and textural element which was nice. Overall, the salad was really good and I used the leftover dressing again the next day. And then there’s the tuna, which is always delicious. Hope you enjoy!

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Chili and Cast Iron Corn Bread

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We had the slow cooker out from making the hummus and decided to use it again to make chili. What goes well with chili? Cornbread of course! Corn bread made in a cast iron skillet to be exact. So we put everything in the crock pot before going to work and came home to an apartment filled with the smell of chili, and in no way was that disappointing. Then we whipped up the cornbread and ate a terribly unhealthy, but terribly delicious meal. Got the recipe for the cornbread from here.

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Ingredients for chili (semi made up from a hodgepodge of other recipes Ive seen in the past)

  • 2 lbs ground beef
  • 2 yellow onions, diced
  • 5 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup chili powder
  • 2 tsp kosher salt
  • dash of pepper
  • 3 cans of stewed/diced tomatoes
  • Shredded cheddar cheese and chopped onions for serving

Directions

  • In a large pan on medium heat, cook the onions and season with salt until soft
  • Add the garlic and chili powder and stir for a minute
  • Add the beef and cook until brown
  • Drain the majority to almost all of the oil and transfer to a slow cooker
  • Cook the chili in the slow cooker on low for 8 hours

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Ingredients for corn bread

  • 8 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1 1/4 cups finely ground yellow cornmeal
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 tbsp granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp fine salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups buttermilk

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Directions for corn bread

  • Heat oven to 450 degrees
  • put 2 tbsp butter in a cast iron skillet and set aside, melt the other 6 tbsp of butter in a small dish
  • Whisk cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl
  • Whisk eggs in a large bowl until frothy, then mix in the buttermilk
  • Pour egg mix into the flour/cornmeal mix and stir until dry streaks are incorporated (easier if you use a rubber spatula), but careful not to overmix
  • Fold in the melted butter and let stand for 5 minutes
  • When the oven is hot, place the skillet with the 2 tbsp butter in for 5 minutes
  • Remove the pan and coat the bottom of the pan with the melted butter
  • Pour the batter into the skillet and bake until golden (~15 minutes)
  • After removing the pan from the oven, let it rest for about 5 minutes
  • Cut and enjoy

This meal was pretty damn good. It was hearty and nostalgic, but on the downside it lacked any form of real vegetables whatsoever. The chili was pretty oily in the cooker, so before we mixed and served it, I spooned out most of the oil that had risen to the top. I also added a little bit of cornstarch to the chili to thicken it up. The cornbread turned out perfectly, but next time we might add some cheddar cheese to the mix, and maybe some jalapeños too.

Roasted Red Pepper Hummus

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The other day my sister randomly said she was going to make hummus. We all like hummus, but she has never made it before, and actually did not know that chick peas and garbanzo beans were the same thing until this whole process. She got the recipe from the Food Network and made one half a garlic hummus, with the other half being a roasted red pepper hummus.

Ingredients

  • 7 cups water
  • 1 lb dry chickpeas rinsed
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced or 1/4 cup roasted red peppers
  • 1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 5 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/3 cup tahini
  • 1/4 cup EVOO

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Directions

  • Place the 7 cups water, chickpeas, and baking soda in a slow cooker and cook on high for 4 hours
  • Drain the chickpeas
  • Add the chickpeas, garlic (or roasted red peppers), and kosher salt to a food processor and pulse for ~20 seconds
  • Scrape the sides of the bowl down and pulse again for another ~15-20 seconds
  • Add the lemon juice and 1/4 cup water and pulse for ~20 seconds
  • Add the tahini and pulse for another 20 seconds
  • Drizzle in the olive oil while the processor is running
  • Serve with some pita chips and enjoy

Overall, I liked the roasted red pepper hummus better because it had a stronger flavor. We actually went back and put more garlic in the other one to make a bolder flavor. Both were good though, and hummus is healthy right? If not, don’t tell me. Hope you enjoy too!

Crab Cakes

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So I made crab cakes a few times awhile back and have been meaning to make it again and post it here. It took a lot longer than I expected to get around to it, but I finally brought myself to do it (mostly because I happened to have most of the ingredients already on hand). I followed the recipe from here, and they turned out pretty good. They aren’t that hard to make and the most challenging thing is probably trying to keep them together when you put them in the frying pan. Other than that, pretty simple.

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Ingredients

  • 1 lb crab meat (I used canned crab b/c I am cheap and lazy)
  • 1/3 cup crushed Ritz crackers
  • 3 green onions, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped bell peppers
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tsp dry mustard
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • Dash cayenne pepper
  • Flour, for dusting

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Directions

  • Mix all the ingredients, besides the flour, in a bowl
  • Form the cakes and dust with flour
  • Add oil to large frying pan/skillet and place on medium heat
  • When the oil is hot, add the cakes (being careful to keep their shape) and cook until brown
  • Serve with sauce

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I made a roasted red pepper sauce using jarred roasted red peppers, mayonnaise, and a dash of salt. I placed the ingredients in a food processor and pulsed a few times until the peppers had blended with the mayo. I placed the cakes on a bed of greens and served with the sauce. The crab cakes turned out well, but were a tad on the salty side. This may be due to using canned crab, but next time I will definitely use a touch less salt.  Hope you enjoy!

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Strawberry Fields Salad

Strawberry Fields Salad

I haven’t been doing my part in our joint blog so Nate coerced me in writing this one or else he wasn’t going to post anymore. 😛 Nate and I threw an intimate dinner and game night about a week ago so I’m deciding to share a small piece of what chef Nate had prepared. Today, I will be presenting a super easy quick recipe that is perfect for summer. It’s a strawberry balsamic salad with feta cheese. I’ve actually been eating this salad for several days since it was so yummy (mostly because I can’t cook). It’s really great for lunch or as an addition to a main course.

Main Salad Ingredients

  • Spring Mix
  • Walnuts
  • Strawberries
  • Feta Cheese

Salad Dressing Ingredients

  • Lemon
  • 1/2 cup EVOO
  • 1 tbsp Strawberry Balsamic
  • Pinch of Salt
  • Dash of Pepper

Recipe

  • To make the salad dressing, mix all the ingredients listed above in a small bowl.
  • Cut the lemon and squeeze the juice into the dressing. Mix well.
  • Slice the strawberries thinly for the salad
  • Mix the spring mix, strawberries, and walnuts together
  • Now add the strawberry balsamic dressing to the salad
  • Add fresh feta cheese as desired

That was pretty easy right? I don’t even think I needed the steps for the recipe. The feta cheese wasn’t too overpowering since it was balanced well by the sweetness of the strawberries. Overall, it was an awesome start to the meal and was our only veggie for that night. Bon appetit! 🙂

 

 

Shrimp Lettuce Wraps

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Tonight I decided to make some shrimp lettuce wraps in order to use some left over vegetables from other meals.  I got the recipe from the Food Network and pretty much followed it all the way. This is a simple, tasty, and light dish, which makes for a good appetizer. I just wish they photographed better, but maybe the photography fail lies with me. Either way, here goes.

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Ingredients

  • 3 tbsp fresh lime juice
  • 3 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 3 tsp grated fresh ginger
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 lb medium fresh shrimp, chopped and deveined
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, diced
  • 2 green onions, diced
  • 5 oz water chestnuts, drained and chopped
  • 1 head iceberg lettuce, cored, cut in 1/2

Instructions

  • In a bowl, mix the lime juice, 2 tbsp oil, 1 tbsp soy sauce, ginger, and garlic
  • Add the shrimp and marinate in the refrigerator for 30 min (I ended up doing all of this in a ziploc bag. Less dishes)
  • In a pan, heat 1 tbsp oil over med-high heat and then add the bell peppers, green onions, and water chestnuts stirring occasionally
  • Add the shrimp and the marinade and cook thoroughly until the shrimp are pink (~3 min)
  • Stir in the last 1tbsp of soy sauce
  • Spoon into the lettuce leaves and enjoy (I used a slotted spoon because the mix can get very watery and messy)
Before Shrimp

Before Shrimp

With Shrimp

With Shrimp

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Overall, it was pretty good and I would definitely make it again. Hope you like it too!