Posts Tagged ‘salad’

Grandma’s brown bread made an excellent vessel for my home-made Panini.  Roast beef, Munster cheese, and big slices of tomato were squished between buttered slices of bread.  I used a small pot to press the sandwich in the pan.  It turned out so well that I had to make another round for us.

Also, on the side was a macaroni salad inspired by one of the catered salads I’ve had.  Here’s what I made:

Macaroni Salad

  • 1 large tomato
  • 1 1/3 cups dry pasta, cooked according to package directions
  • fresh basil leaves (mine were tiny sprouts from the garden, no need to chop)
  • 1 fresh mint leaf, chopped fine
  • balsamic vinegar
  • grainy mustard
  • olive oil
  • sea salt (to taste)
  • white pepper (to taste)

In a small jar with a tight-fitting lid, pour in some vinegar and equal part mustard.  Add tow to three times this amount of oil and a pinch of salt.  Put on the lid and shake until it emulsifies.  Set aside.

Drain the pasta well in a colander, then run a little cool water to stop the macaroni from cooking.  Pour the macaroni in a large bowl.  Add the tomato, basil, mint, salt and pepper.  Pour the dressing from the jar over the salad and toss to coat.  Keep covered in the fridge until ready to serve.


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Lunch Box

In my lunch box today…

Tomato Basil Soup from Randall’s (Safeway)




radish (garden)

basil (garden)

arugula (garden)

peas (garden)

beans (garden)

croutons made from French bread

Italian dressing

It was missing red onion and maybe some cheese.  That would make one smashing salad!

What did you have for lunch today?

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Not the best photo for this mile high cobb salad, we were starving!  I made one for each of us for a light dinner.  However, the only light thing about it was the lack of a slab of meat.  We could hardly finish our bowls.

  • Spring salad mix
  • shredded carrot
  • cherry tomatoes, halved
  • mushrooms, sliced
  • hard-boiled egg (one per person), quartered
  • 6 thick slices bacon, crisped and drained, crumble or chop
  • avocado, sliced
  • baby corn, drained and cut in half
  • ranch dressing (or other creamy dressing of choice)

I like to get the lettuces and carrot bits tossed in a little dressing before piling on the remaining items.  Top with a drizzle of dressing, sea salt and pepper.

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Taco Cabana (literally translated to taco shack) has become of my weaknesses in the realm of drive-thru restaurants.    I thought of Taco Bell and  the gross almost-beef crap that they use and feared I would be caught in a reoccurring nightmare.  Not so.  I also had a flashback to my first year as a university student who worked on campus at the Taco Time.  This was before I realized how much homework I would have to do in engineering, versus the art students who were my co-workers.  I was very sorry that I had to quit in my first month of part-time employment, but my manager understood.

If you visit me, you must try Taco Cabana.   They use real meat and have awesome soft tacos and fajitas. 

What’s also great is using leftovers for a quick lunch.  Take some shredded lettuce and pile on the steak fajita strips, guacamole, and shredded cheese – voilà, a steak salad!  I made an iced coffee to drink along with my salad.  It was glorious until the kids found me and stole my steak strips, guess they are trying to tell me to slim down.

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Salad had a very narrow definition for me.  iceberg lettuce, tomato, cucumber and a couple croutons laced with dressing.  Essentially the common “house salad” of restaurants.  Thanks to my uncle Byron I discovered caesar salad, still mostly leafy greens with a creamy spiked dressing.  I made this a meal with the addition of chicken strips covered in steak seasoning.

With the farm stands about to open for the season, I want to find more uses for all those beautiful veggies they offer the public each week.  In Texas, grapefruits are one of the delicious regional harvests.  While in season, these juicy pink fleshed citrus dare not be sugared up (as I would usually do as a quick breakfast, I know sugar is evil blah blah blah).  The kids even slurped down the grapefruit without wincing, that’s how wonderfully sweet they are! 

To explore salad and play with salty-sweet-sour taste buds I prepared a Grapefruit Parsley Salad with a honey-Dijon balsamic vinaigrette.  It’s really as simple as it sounds 🙂  I love the contrasting colors of the green parsley and tuna pink segments of grapefruit.  This would be a good item for a sushi party because it looks like sashimi tuna, especially on this little sushi plate from IKEA.

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We have neighbours across the street from Ecuador.  The mangoes and bananas found in my store are all coming from Ecuador this time of year.  My neighbours always bring us a taste of their homeland for us in the form of canned fish with potato chunks in a tomato-esque sauce.  Different, but good.  They pride themselves with growing the best bananas, plantains, and mangoes.  Just like Canada has the best maple syrup, beer, and hockey players – we all wear  the love for our country’s exports on our sleeves.

Inspired by the tropics, I created this dish for the kiddos as a salad along side my indian-made-easy dinner.

Mango-Banana Salad

  • 1 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 3 tbsp honey
  • 1 banana, sliced
  • 1 ripe mango, diced
  • 1 tsp lime juice (half of a key lime)

Combine everything in a bowl and serve immediately.

If I had some seedless red grapes, those could be halved and tossed in as well.

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chicken ceasar a la midnite chef

chicken caesar a la midnite chef

We found this awesome garlic spread at Costco recently, it makes a quick garlic bread out of any fresh or left over bread you have lying around.  I tried some sprinkled on my favorite salad: chicken caesar!  My croutons are two halves of a bolio roll, covered in softened butter (a good tablespoon) and a shake of garlic spread.  Put this under the broiler on low (or place the pan further away from the broiler if you only have one setting) until the edges are lightly browned.  You will smell this garlic parmesan and mediterranean herb blend as soon as it’s ready. 

The chicken is simply browned in a pan with sea salt, pepper, garlic powder, and for a hint of added herbage: ajwain.  (Since I have a whole jar of this, I’m trying it on anything that suits the flavour of an oregano-thyme sort of cousin) 

I remember going out to Vancouver Island when I graduated from SAIT.  My dad and brother came with me to Vancouver.  We visited my uncle Byron on the island, he had this huge magnolia tree in the back yard.  My brother and I took pictures of the giant tree and other odd flora not typically seen on the prairies.  Meanwhile, uncle Byron was whipping up a caesar salad for us.  I wish I knew his secret because his salad was the best!  I know the dressing was made completely from scratch in a wooden bowl which would retain the garlic and what ever else was in it.  It’s worth the trip up there, if he will prepare it again… and I’ll bring my notepad.

For now I’ll settle for this plate of fresh romain, gently browned chicken breast, and toasty garlic bolio bread.

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Food makes my soul happy.  I’m sure this is true for many, many people.  I’m not talking merely of the eating of food either.  I love to cook for my family, friends, or neighbours.  Sharing food, sharing the kitchen with Benjamin, sharing the joy food brings to people.  All that.  As I grow older (to the tender age of thirty) food, cooking, baking, playing in the kitchen keeps becoming more fun.  Watching my kiddos devour a creation is fantastic, but as they get bigger and bigger, I realize that I’m not a spring chicken anymore.  

I wanted something that looked healthy and tasted good, and was not hot because the days of summer are here to stay for a good while here in Texas.  What do we have in the kitchen today… chicken breasts?  How ’bout a salad.

You will need:

Spring Chicken Pasta Salad with a side of Naan

2 chicken breasts (prepare in a grill press or sauté pan)

1/2 lb rotini pasta, cooked al denté, drained

3 Tbsp lemon juice, fresh if you’ve got it

1 tsp dried tarragon

2 tsp finely chopped cilantro (sub. parsley)

1/2 tsp fine sea salt

3 Tbsp mayo

3 Tbsp ranch dressing (lite) or sour cream or plain yogurt should do the trick, note that you will want some pepper if ranch is not used.

1 tsp white champagne vinegar

1/2 of a large cucumber, seeded and diced small

3 roma tomatoes, seeded and diced small

3 green onions, sliced

1/2 red bell pepper, seeded and diced

Cool the pasta and chicken as the dressing is assembled.  In a small bowl, whisk together the dressing (lemon juice, tarragon, cilantro, salt, mayo, ranch, and vinegar).  Keep this cool in the fridge.

Prepare the veggies in a similar size dice.  Slice or shred the chicken.  Toss the pasta, veg, and dressing together.  Top with the chicken.


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