Warm Winter Salad

I find one of two things happens in the winter: 1. You stop cooking entirely, turning only to take out and/or meals cooked by others or 2. You start cooking only comfort food – things that are baked, cheesed, and ultimately terrible for you.  OK, two of two things happen. Let’s be honest.

As the temperatures have begun to drop, I have decided to take a summer staple, the spinach salad, and add a bit of a winter twist: warm potatoes and grilled steak. You get that same warm in your belly feeling without the giant brick in your belly feeling (and no baked on mess – hurrah!) The beauty of this recipe is that it is fast, it can be quickly modified for different group sizes without much extra effort, and an easy clean up makes it perfect for weeknight entertaining. In addition, adding the strips of steak as you plate your salad is a great way to provide the same meal option for vegetarians as well.

salad 1

What you’ll need:

Small, oven safe dish
Salad Bowl
Butter/Margerine (1 large “dollop”)
Olive Oil – about 2/3 of a cup
Fresh Garlic – 1 large clove, pressed
Dijon Mustard – 1 tbsp
Spinach
Red Onion – diced
Cherry Tomatoes – halved
Goat Cheese – crumbled
New Potatoes – halved
Flank Steak or Striploin

Preheat oven to 400° – place butter in dish and melt. Place sliced potatoes in melted butter, coat, and place back in oven, turning periodically

Toss spinach, tomatoes, cheese, and onions in a bowl; In a measuring cup: mix olive oil, garlic, and dijon mustard

salad 2

Check on your potatoes – when you feel that they are about 20 minutes from being done (browned, but not crispy) preheat your BBQ

Grill steak to medium rare (about 15 minutes) and slice against the grain – this will ensure your steak is not tough

Taking potatoes out of the oven, toss them into your bowl and mix

Lightly coat your salad with dressing – the taste is strong so you will not need a ton

Plating your meal, top each serving with a few strips of steak, serve, and enjoy!

salad 6

 

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Best Summer Salad

Summer is a super busy time, making it hard to prepare fast and healthy meals. Not to mention the sweltering heat of using the oven in an apartment with no A/C! One of our favourite things to have for dinner in the Summer (and all year, really) is a cold plate. Various fruits, veggies, meats, and cheeses laid out for us to pick at while we watch TV, or sit and read, or – as I have found the case to be this summer – craft. There is minimal clean up and it is a much healthier alternative to barbecuing whatever is in the freezer and tossing a side of chips on your plate. My personal favourite component of any cold plate we’ve made this summer is the caprese salad: a fast and easy (and filling!) way to get your daily veggies and a bit of protein.

last caprese

 

What you’ll need:

– Fresh, ripe tomatoes
– Buffalo mozzarella cheese
– Fresh basil
– Olive oil
– Sea salt
– Cracked pepper
– Baguette or crackers (or not)

first caprese

 

Cut your tomatoes into slices, then halve your slices.

tomato

 

Cut your buffalo mozzarella into slices, again, halve those. Place the cheese on top of your tomatoes – you can make this more of a mixed up salad or you can try placing a piece of cheese on each tomato.

cheese

 

Tear your fresh basil and sprinkle over your cheese – you can also put small sections on top of each piece of cheese if you went that route. Use as much or as little as you’d like.

with basil

 

Crack your pepper and sea salt over top of your creation – season to taste. Finally, drizzle some olive oil over top, adding balsamic vinegar if you want to shake it up a bit, and enjoy!

What is your go to Simple Summer Meal?

 

Perfectly Simple Potato Salad

Summertime is a great time for gatherings with lots of food and lots of friends. One of my go-to recipes for any BBQ contribution is my Dilled New Potato Salad (actually, it’s my sister’s recipe but she doesn’t know I blog, so HA!) The best part about this recipe, aside from how ridiculously easy it is, is that it can be used as a potato salad dressing, dip for chips or pita, and a great chicken marinade. Even better is that it is pretty healthy as well!

last potato

What you’ll need:

– 1 bag of new potatoes (red ones look and taste best)
– 1/2 red onion, chopped
– 3/4 bunch of fresh dill, finely chopped
– 1/2 cup fat free plain yogurt
– 1/2 cup low fat mayo
– 1-2 tbsp dijon mustard
– Cracked pepper to taste

first potato

Cut your potatoes into manageable sections – halves or quarters – and place into pot. I find it is easiest (and safest) to do this BEFORE there is water in your pot. Fill your pot with water to just cover the potatoes. Boil.

When potatoes are tender – check by poking them with a fork – drain them. If you are going the warm salad route, put your potatoes in a bowl off to the side. If you are going the cold salad route, put them in the fridge to cool. If you are in a bit of a hurry, stick them in the freezer – works like a charm!

Meanwhile…

In a separate bowl, combine the mayo, yogurt, and mustard. I like to go back at the end and add a little bit more dijon for a some kick.

combine

 

Add the onion and your dill. Don’t add all of your onion at once – sometimes they can be overpowering, so taste before you add! Use some cracked pepper to season – combine and taste – you will probably need more than you think you will.

sauce

 

Keep the contents of your bowls separate, combining right before you serve. This salad will last up to 3 days after you have combined the ingredients. Enjoy!

last potato