Salads

All posts in the Salads category

Grilled Shrimp Salad with Chimichurri

Published September 30, 2014 by jenmatteson

Salads are pretty common in our house in the summertime, and what makes them even better is fresh lettuce or greens from the garden. This year, I’ve planted three different kinds of lettuce, and am already getting to enjoy them (yeah, I started writing this in June). But, what’s great about lettuce is it’s hearty enough to withstand cool nights in the fall. Even on the last day of September, my lettuce is still going strong!

Grilled Shrimp Salad with Chimichurri

I’ve never made a chimichurri before, but it sounded delicious and couldn’t have been more simple. The recipe I followed from Food and Wine called for parsley, but if you are a regular reader (I know, who could be regular when I haven’t been posting much lately), you know I rarely have parsley and almost always use cilantro in its place. Even better, I used cilantro from my garden!

The only other substitution was cannellini beans in place of black-eyed peas. I didn’t have any, but I had everything else, so I decided to just roll with it (you can too!) and make what I already have work. It did! I loved the chimichurri not only as a marinade on the shrimp, but it was a great dressing for the salad, as well. We didn’t need (or have) any extra to pass at the table, so I don’t think it’s necessary, but go for it if you like things saucy!

Griled Shrimp Salad with Chimichurri

Nate cooked the shrimp perfectly, he says with my help, but he did all the work. I just said when they should come off the grill. The warm shrimp, paired with the fresh garden flavors of the salad were a perfect combination. This is great for a quick dinner, and even an entertaining dinner, as it’s filling, but not too heavy.

Grilled Shrimp Salad with Chimichurri

Grilled Shrimp Salad with Chimichurri

Source: Adapted from Food and Wine
Servings: 2

Ingredients:

1/2 cup packed cilantro leaves, finely chopped
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
1 tbsp. finely chopped oregano
2 garlic cloves, minced
pinch crushed red pepper
Kosher salt
pepper
10 large shrimp, shelled and deveined
1 cup cannellini beans
1 cup yellow cherry tomatoes, halved
2 cups mixed greens
1/2 avocado, sliced

Directions:

1. In a medium bowl, whisk cilantro, olive oil, lemon juice, oregano, garlic and crushed red pepper. Season generously with salt and pepper and adjust to taste. In a large bowl, toss shrimp with 2 tbsp. of the chimichurri and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

2. Preheat grill to medium high heat. Grill shrimp, turning once, until lightly charred and just cooked through, about 2 minutes on each side. Transfer to plate.

3. In a large bowl, toss beans, tomatoes and greens with 2 tbsp. chimichurri. Season with salt and pepper and pile evenly on two plates. Top with shrimp and avocado and serve. Pass remaining chimichurri at the table.

Tarragon Chicken Salad

Published April 9, 2014 by jenmatteson

“I’m not dead, yet!”

Monty Python, anyone?

Wondering where I’ve been?  If I’ve quit blogging?  Found another love besides cooking?  Dead?  Well, you’d be wrong.  Big news on the Pigzilla family front!  No…it’s not a tiny Pigzilla.  After being unemployed for almost 8 months, I have finally found a new position.  And I love it…so far anyway.  I don’t anticipate not liking it, but I’ve only been there for two weeks, so it’s hard to say.  That being said, I have not had a lot of time for my second love, this blog.  As you know, I’m in the midst of planning a baby shower for my girlfriend, as well as another dinner party for a small group.  In addition to feeding my husband and all the things that go along with being an adult, I’ve been basically vegging out after I get home and dinner is made.  I have to get back into the grove of writing…

I love chicken salad.  But this is one thing that I’m particularly picky about.  I don’t like fruit or nuts in my chicken salad, though I do enjoy a crunch, which is where the celery comes in.  Certainly, if you enjoy fruit or nuts in your chicken salad, feel free to add at your own discretion, but purely against my strong recommendation not to.

Tarragon Chicken Salad

This is another recipe I tried for the aforementioned baby shower – I’m sorry, you’ve heard so much about this in the last few weeks.  The pairing of tarragon and chicken salad were of my own genius, but I wanted to find a great basic recipe for the chicken salad itself.  This recipe comes from Note to Self, and claims to be the absolute best chicken salad, ever.  So I had to try it.  I just subbed the tarragon for the dill.  I really enjoyed it!  I think this salad goes well on a buttery croissant because of deep tarragon flavor, but it’s just as good on wheat, white, pita or even on a salad.  This is certainly not your ordinary chicken salad, and I love that!

Tarragon Chicken Salad

Tarragon Chicken Salad

Source: Adapted from Note to Self
Servings:

Ingredients:

3 cups chilled shredded chicken (I used two poached breasts)
1/2 cup red onion, finely chopped
1/2 cup chopped celery
1/2 cup mayonnaise
2 tbsp. fresh squeezed lemon juice
1 tbsp. fresh tarragon, minced
salt and fresh ground black pepper

Directions:

1. In a large bowl, combine all ingredients.  Add additional mayonnaise to desired consistency and adjust seasonings to taste.   Refrigerate at least one hour before serving.

Meatless Monday: Roasted Butternut Squash Quinoa

Published March 31, 2014 by jenmatteson

It probably seems like we’ve been eating entirely vegetarian lately, but it just so happens, I’ve just had a lot of Meatless Monday’s in a row!  I’ve kept myself busy trying out some veggie sandwiches for my girlfriend’s baby shower, which I still have one more to share, and have just happened across some other unignorably delicious meatless recipes.

Roasted Butternut Squash Quinoa

This quinoa salad does have butter, and while I think it would certainly taste good with oil in place of butter, I’m not sure you’d be able to achieve the depth and slight sweetness of brown butter with oil.  The sage and brown butter are absolutely amazing.  While this salad can be served chilled or room temperature, I think serving it warm brings out the best flavors!  I liked this so much, you could serve this as a lunch or a side to any meal.  We had dinner with Nate’s parents; Momma Marsha made mussels, so I brought this as a side.  It went perfectly!

 DSC02961

Roasted Butternut Squash Quinoa

Source: Adapted from Food and Wine
Servings: 8

Ingredients:

2 cups quinoa, rinsed and drained
1 shallot, finely diced
4 cups water
Kosher salt
2 tbsp. butter
freshly ground black pepper
1 tbsp. olive oil
1/2  butternut squash, diced
2 tbsp. sage, chopped

Directions:

1. In a medium pot over high heat, bring the quinoa, shallot, water, and 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt to a rolling boil, stirring occasionally. Reduce the heat to low, and simmer until the quinoa has fully absorbed the water, about 15 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside.

2. Preheat the oven to 400º. Toss the squash with one tablespoon of olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Place on foil-lined baking sheet and roast for 25 to 35 minutes, or until slightly browned and tender, turning halfway through.

3. Meanwhile, place butter in medium sauté pan and melt over moderately high heat, swirling the pan continuously until the butter begins to foam and just begins to brown, about 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and add the sage, swirling for another 30 seconds.

4. In a serving bowl, toss the quinoa with the butternut squash, and sage brown butter, and serve.

Homemade Ranch (and Chipotle Ranch) Dressing and a Trick for “making” Buttermilk

Published February 13, 2014 by jenmatteson

I make a lot of salad dressing, mainly vinaigrettes, which are generally pretty simple.  However, one dressing I’ve never attempted to make before was ranch.  We always just buy it in the bottle – basically the only dressing I buy in the bottle.

Ranch Dressing

I’ve always been a vinaigrette girl, but when I first met Nate, he put ranch on everything.  And I seriously mean everything (pizza, sandwiches, cereal…okay, maybe not cereal).  Being that it was always around, it sorta turned me into a ranch person, too.  But just on my salad 😉  One thing I have a severe weakness for is anything with a chipotle ranch.  Any salad or sandwich with this on it, and it’s a sure bet that’s what I’m going to order.  So, in deciding to make homemade ranch dressing, I thought I better throw in a chipotle ranch, too.  Good thing I did, because it’s soooooooo good.  The ranch is great, too, but man, the chipotle ranch is the bomb!  Try it on tacos instead of Greek yogurt or sour cream.  It’ll knock your socks off!

Play around with the seasonings, and feel free to substitute fresh for dried or dried for fresh, depending on what you have in the fridge.

Homemade Ranch Dressing

TIP: Oh, and a quick tip about buttermilk.  I don’t usually have this in my fridge, and I hate buying some to only use a few tablespoons and let the rest go to waste.  So whether you’re in a pinch or you’re like me and hate buying the stuff, you can easily make your own at home with things you probably already have, milk and white vinegar.  To a liquid measuring cup, add one tablespoon vinegar, then fill with milk to the 1 cup line.  Let the mixture sit for at least 5 minutes before using, and viola!  Buttermilk.

Homemade Ranch Dressing

Homemade Ranch Dressing

Source: Adapted from Pioneer Woman
Servings: Makes about 1 cup

Ingredients:

1/4 cup non-fat plain Greek yogurt
1/2 cup low-fat mayonnaise
dash of Worcestershire sauce
1 clove garlic
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp fresh dill
1/4 cup fresh parsley leaves
1 tbsp. fresh chives, chopped
salt and pepper to taste
1/4-1/2 cup buttermilk (see tip above if you don’t have any)

Directions:

1. Combine all ingredients in food processor, except buttermilk.  Slowly add buttermilk to desired consistency.  Adjust seasonings to taste.  This will last in your fridge in an airtight container for about a week.

To make chipotle ranch dressing, add 1/2-1 tsp (depending on preference) McCormick chipotle chili pepper.

Pesto Chicken and Quinoa Salad (Gluten-Free)

Published January 23, 2014 by jenmatteson

Do you ever feel overwhelmed with the amount of odds and ends in your refrigerator that are on the edge of going bad?  Maybe ‘overwhelmed’ isn’t the correct word – terrified seems more like it.  At least for me.  I hate wasting, and I despise throwing food away because I’ve let it go bad.  In fact, it even irks me when other people let food go bad and have to throw it away.  I know, this is a bit of an issue.  But, there are starving kids in ….  well, you know.  Don’t get me wrong, if it has gone bad, throw it out.  But, my point is that you should be aware of what you’ve got and what needs to be used up before meeting it’s demise.

Pesto Chicken and Quinoa Salad

I truly just threw this salad together one day with a ton of leftover stuff in my fridge (cooked quinoa, shredded chicken and shredded cabbage), and it was so good, I had to re-create it and share it with you.  This is a fantastic, healthy, fresh salad.  It is packed with flavor, it’s quick, and is a perfect weekday lunch!  It’d even be great to bring camping, on a picnic, or even to a potluck.  Bonus, it’s gluten-free! Don’t have these leftovers in your fridge, it’s okay, you could use rice or couscous instead of quinoa (of course, these alternates aren’t GF); turkey or beans instead of chicken; and broccoli slaw, arugula or spinach instead of cabbage.  Get creative!

What has been your favorite recipe you’ve made with leftovers?

Pesto Chicken and Quinoa Salad
Pesto Chicken and Quinoa Salad

Source: Pigzilla Original
Servings:

Ingredients:

1 cup cooked quinoa
1 boneless, skinless chicken breast, cooked and shredded
1/2 cup shredded cabbage (broccoli slaw would be great, too!)
2 tbsp. basil pesto
1/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes
2 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
2 tbsp. olive oil
salt and pepper
2 green onions, chopped

Directions:

1. In a medium bowl, mix together quinoa, chicken, cabbage and sun-dried tomatoes.  Stir in pesto until evenly coated.

2. In a small bowl, whisk together vinegar and olive oil.  Pour over salad a little at a time until coated as desired.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Garnish with green onions.

Arugula and Apple Salad with Serrano Ham and Manchego Cheese

Published January 3, 2014 by jenmatteson

Last week I posted a roasted beet salad recipe, something I was trying out for a dinner party I was leading.  While I really liked that salad, I thought it might be too “beety” for people who weren’t really sure if they liked beets or not.  Using many of the same ingredients, I managed to make a completely different salad, which was even better!

Arugula and Apple Salad with Serrano Ham and Manchego Cheese

I had a pretty good idea of what I wanted to make, but I still searched the internet for a little direction.  I’m always weary of salad with fruit in it, but if it’s paired with a tart vinaigrette, I’m usually sold.  It’s the salad with fruit and a sweet dressing that just doesn’t work for my taste buds.  This salad pairs the sweetness of apples, with the saltiness of the Serrano ham and Manchego cheese, evened out with the spicy arugula and cider vinaigrette.

I had leftover salad ingredients and was going out of town for the evening.  My hubs was having a boys night with his bestie, and smoking some pork.  I asked what else they were having with the pork, to which he responded, ” I don’t know, potatoes?”  Classic.  I put together the salad for them to have alongside their meat and potatoes, thinking they’d maybe have a little bit.  Much to my surprise, they ate it all!  Not only is this a great salad, but a salad men will eat when their wives aren’t even around!

Arugula, Apple and Serrano Ham Salad with Cidar Vinaigrette

Arugula and Apple Salad with Serrano Ham and Cider Vinaigrette

Source: Adapted from Serious Eats
Serves 4-6      

Ingredients:

For the Salad:
5 ounces arugula or baby arugula
1 crisp apple, such as Fuji
3 oz Serrano ham, thinly sliced (Prosciutto would work)
3 oz Manchego, thinly sliced

For the Vinaigrette:
2 tbsp cider vinegar
6 tbsp olive oil
2 teaspoons (real) maple syrup
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon finely chopped shallots
Heaping 1/4 teaspoon salt

Directions:

1. Make the vinaigrette by whisking together vinegar, oil, syrup, Dijon and shallots in a small bowl.  Season to taste with salt and freshly ground pepper. Set aside.

2. Place arugula in serving bowl. Whisk the vinaigrette again until well combined, then and to the salad, little by little, until greens are well dressed. You may have a little left over. Right before serving, cut apple into thin slices and toss into salad along with Manchego and Serrano ham. Taste and adjust seasoning, then serve immediately.

Roasted Beet Salad

Published December 31, 2013 by jenmatteson

I really enjoy trying out new salad recipes, especially those that aren’t just plain ol’ lettuce (not that I’m knocking it – we eat more romaine lettuce in this house than most).  For the party I was doing a few weeks ago, I had originally planned on this roasted beet salad I found on the St. Francis Winery website.

Roasted Beet Salad

Of course, everything I made for that party, I tried out in advance to make sure it was perfection.  This salad has roasted beats, blanched beet greens, Serrano ham (prosciutto works just fine if you can’t find Serrano ham) and manchego cheese.  The dressing is bright, but simple, with red wine vinegar and capers.  The verdict was split in my house – I liked it a lot, and Nate really didn’t care for it.  However, he doesn’t like beets, so there isn’t much else to the salad besides that.  The beet greens really add a fresh beet flavor, so for someone who isn’t a fan, I can see how it wouldn’t be a hit.  I decided to go with a different salad for the party, which was a smash hit in my house and at the party.  More on that to come…

Roasted Beet Salad

Roasted Beet Salad

Source: Adapted from St. Francis Winery/Chef David Bush
Servings: 6

Ingredients:

6 tbsp. olive oil
3 tbsp. red wine vinegar
2 cloves garlic, minced
7 medium beets with greens
1 cup water
2 tbsp. capers, drained and chopped
3 oz thinly sliced Serrano ham (prosciutto can be substituted)
3 oz manchego cheese, shaved

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Cut tops off greens and reserve for later.  Arrange beets in a single layer in a shallow baking dish and pour 1 cup of water in the dish and cover with foil.  Bake until tender when pierced with a knife, about 1 hour.  Peel the beets while warm.  Cut beets in half, then slice thinly.

2. In a small mixing bowl, whisk together oil, vinegar and garlic.  Add 1/4 cup of dressing and capers to sliced beets and mix until well coated.  Season with salt and pepper and set aside.

3. Cut stems of beets and wash greens thoroughly.  Transfer to a medium saucepan filled with water over medium heat.  Cook until greens are bright green, about 3-4 minutes.  Drain greens and squeeze out excess water, cool, and chop coarsely.  Toss greens with enough dressing to coat.  Season with and salt and pepper to taste.

4. Lay ham in a single layer on serving platter.  Place greens on top of ham and top with beets.  Garnish with shaved manchego cheese and any remaining dressing.

Grandma’s Coleslaw

Published April 23, 2013 by jenmatteson

When I was young, I didn’t like coleslaw.  Of course you think you don’t like a lot of things until you actually try them.  Well, when I finally did try it, it was my grandma’s coleslaw.  After that, I really didn’t like any coleslaw other than my grandma’s.  I suppose I’ll still eat it, but I definitely think that her coleslaw was the absolute best.  Unfortunately, she literally took her recipe to the grave with her.  No one in my family had it written down.  I remember making it with her several times, and her ordering me to do this and add that, but the last time we made it was probably over 10 years ago.  This is now the second time I’ve attempted it, and I think it definitely compares to hers (of course, hers is still the best 😉 ).

Grandma's Coleslaw

While it looks like a pretty regular coleslaw, actually kind of plain with just cabbage and mayonnaise, it’s so much more.  The secret is the grated onions in the sauce.  Do not skip this step.  Chopped onions simply will not do.  Also, Miracle Whip is necessary, not mayonnaise.  The result is a creamy, slightly sweet, crunchy fresh coleslaw, perfect as a side or even a topper on some good barbecue.  We paired this with Nate’s smoked ribs, as well as topped pulled pork sandwiches with it at our St. Patrick’s Day party. However you eat it, just remember to thank Grandma M while you’re enjoying. XOXO Grams!

Grandma's Coleslaw

Grandma’s Coleslaw

Source: Slightly adapted from Grandma M’s Original
Servings: 8

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups Miracle Whip
1/4 cup milk
3-4 tbsp sugar
1/2 onion, grated
salt and pepper
1/2 head cabbage,  sliced thin

Directions:

1. In in small bowl, combine Miracle Whip, milk and sugar.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.  Remember, this is grandma’s recipe, so you may need to adjust the amount of milk and sugar to get the right combination.  The dressing should be thick, but still pourable; consistency similar to yogurt.  Add grated onion.

2. Add 1/2 of the cabbage to a large bowl, and pour in a small amount of dressing.  Stir to combine and evenly coat the cabbage.  Add more cabbage and dressing a little at a time.  Be sure not to drench the cabbage, just lightly dress it.  Reserve any remaining dressing in an airtight container for up to one week.

Spicy Peanut Noodle Salad

Published April 14, 2013 by jenmatteson

I mentioned a few posts ago that I was really on an Asian kick, and I wasn’t kidding. I’ve got another one. Only because I had 8 oz of fresh rice stick noodles leftover, and I wanted to use them up. I have no idea how long they would be good for, and the packaging was absolutely no help.

Spicy Peanut Noodle Salad

It’s “spring” here in Minnesota, so we must start thinking about our summer figures. Oh, and I have a small event coming up at the end of August that I’d like to look my best for 😉 I love eating salads; they are so versatile, and definitely a meal for spring and summer. While the technical start of spring was March 20th, we’ve had nothing close to what we would call “spring weather”. In fact, we just had a snow storm this week, dumping up to 9″ of snow in some areas. More snow is in the forecast for this weekend. I’m really glad I put all my patio furniture together and out on my deck when it was nice two weeks ago.

Two weeks agoThis week

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

But let’s talk about the salad. I really loved this salad, and the noodles bring a lot of sustenance to it. As a carb lover, adding the carbs right into my salad is brilliant! The original recipe was for  a noodle salad, but I just added more lettuce and took out some noodles to make a more salad-salad :p  This still made a huge salad, enough for Nate and I to have dinner, and each take it for lunch for two days. We ran a little short on the dressing, but that’s no biggie, though in my opinion, it was the best part! I loved all the veggies in this salad, and I added in bean sprouts (as they were also leftover from the Pad Thai I made earlier in the week).  This was a great way to use up leftover veggies, noodles, and bean sprouts to create a new exciting entrée salad.  It came together super fast, too, which is always a huge plus!

Spicy Peanut Noodle Salad

Spicy Peanut Noodle Salad

Source: Adapted from Branny Boils Over
Servings: 6

Ingredients:

For the dressing:
5 tbsp low sodium soy sauce
2 tbsp water
3 tbsp peanut butter
2 tbsp sesame oil
1 tbsp rice wine vinegar
1 tsp fresh ginger, minced
3 cloves garlic
1 tsp sugar
1 Serrano chile, seeded
1/3 cup peanuts

For the salad:
1/2 red bell pepper, julienne
1/2 yellow bell pepper, julienne
2 carrots, shredded
1 head romaine lettuce, sliced into ribbons
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cooked and shredded
4 oz rice stick noodles, cooked and cooled
1 1/2 cup bean sprouts, thoroughly rinsed (I quickly sautéed mine)
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
crushed red pepper flakes

Directions:

1. Combine all dressing ingredients in a food process, except for the peanuts.  Puree until smooth.  Add peanuts and pulse until coarsely chopped.

2. In a large bowl, combine all salad ingredients.  Pour dressing over the top and toss to combine.  Garnish with cilantro and red pepper flakes before serving.

Roasted Pear Salad with Champagne Vinaigrette, Gorgonzola, and Toasted Walnuts

Published December 7, 2012 by jenmatteson

I’m generally not a fruit-in-my-salad kind of person (unless it’s a fruit salad) but I wanted to step outside my comfort zone and try something new.  Plus, this was for my aunt’s cookie exchange, and I wanted to do something a little out of the ordinary and kind of fancy. At least I thought it was fancy.  Plus, it was a Christmas cookie exchange, and pears are all the rage this time of year.  Couldn’t have been better!

Pears prior to roasting

I had the idea for the salad before I even started searching for recipes, so I ended up kind of just winging it.  I used this recipe as a starting point (and for the dressing) from Guy Fieri, but omitted the pomegranates, added walnuts, and roasted my pears with a little bit of honey.  The salad was wonderful!  At first I thought it might be on the vinegar-y side, but Nate tested his with the gorgonzola and said that really balances it out.  I’m also not a huge fan of nuts in my salad, but the walnuts gave the salad a much needed crunch.  This would be fantastic to start your holiday meal!

Roasted Pear Salad with Champagne Vinegairette

Roasted Pear Salad with Champagne Vinaigrette, Gorgonzola, and Toasted Walnuts

Source: Adapted from Guy Fieri
Servings: 8

Ingredients:

1 pear, halved and cored
1 tbsp honey
8 cups salad greens (I used a mix of arugula and baby spinach)
champagne vinaigrette (recipe follows)
1/2 cup crumbled gorgonzola
1/2 cup toasted walnuts

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Drizzle pear halves with honey and place on a foil lined baking sheet.  Bake until softened slightly, but still firm, about 8-10 minutes.  Remove from oven and let cool.  Once cooled thinly slice pears.

2. Drizzle salad with vinaigrette as desired.  Plate greens and divide the sliced pears and top the salads.  Sprinkle with gorgonzola and toasted walnuts.

Champagne Vinaigrette

Source: Adapted from Guy Fieri
Servings: Makes 1/2 cup

Ingredients:

1/4 cup champagne vinegar
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1/2 tsp minced garlic
1 tbsp lemon juice
1/4 tsp cracked black pepper
2 tbsp water
2 tbsp olive oil

Directions:

1. In a medium bowl, combine all ingredients except olive oil.  Mix well, then slowly whisk in olive oil.  Refrigerate until ready to use.

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