Avocado-Red Pepper Salad

We like to eat this salad at family dinners. It’s delicious with Makoto ginger dressing.

Ingredients:

  • 1 box mixed lettuce greens (arugula is a nice addition too)
  • 1 seedless cucumber, peeled and sliced into rounds
  • 1 red pepper, seeded and cut into strips
  • 1 bunch scallions, chopped
  • 1 box baby tomatoes, cut into slices
  • 1 avocado, pitted and cut into chunks
  • 1 large pear, peeled and sliced
  • 2 T slivered almonds

Note: If I don’t have pears available, I use 2 T dried cranberries for a touch of sweetness.

Sweet Onion Lentils and Rice (Mother’s Day 2017)

For our Mother’s Day celebration this year we made a delicious recipe courtesy of Buzzfeed. Get a large pasta pot for this if you’re going to double the size! I’ve included the doubled ingredients.

Ingredients:

  • 3 red onions (2 will be thinly sliced, 1 will be diced)
  • 4 T olive oil, divided in half
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 cups green lentils
  • 2 cups long grain rice (we used Basmati)
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 bunch fresh parsley, for serving
  • 2 lemons, for serving

Directions:

  1. Make the caramelized onions: Heat 2 T olive oil in a large skillet on low heat. Add the onion slices, stirring for about 30 minutes, until they are caramelized and brown.
  2. In a large pot, saute the diced onion and garlic in 2 T olive oil until soft and translucent. This will take about 5 minutes.
  3. Add 7 cups of water, salt, and the lentils to the pot. Bring to a boil. Cover with a lid and simmer 10 minutes.
  4. Add the rice, cumin, cinnamon and bay leaves to the pot. Stir well and replace the lid. Cook covered on low for 15 minutes, or until rice is soft and cooked through.
  5. Fluff the lentil-rice mixture and serve topped with the caramelized onion slices and lemon slices. Top with parsley.

Cast Iron Steak

A cast iron skillet is the single best investment in a skillet you can make, in my opinion, and you don’t need to break the bank to do it! Bed Bath and Beyond sells a good one, but I’ve always heard the “gold standard” is Lodge. You can find a preseasoned Lodge skillet at Target for about $17, and it will last you years.

A note on cleaning cast iron skillets: Don’t use soap! Get a nice scrubbing brush or a Lodge pan scraper and release the browned bits under a stream of hot water. Dry the skillet right away so it doesn’t get rusty. To keep it seasoned and oiled, drizzle about 1/4 tsp-1 tsp vegetable or coconut oil onto the dried skillet and use a paper towel to work it onto the entire surface, including the sides. When you’re cooking with it, use a rubber skillet handle to grab it or use oven mitts because it will be very hot!

Here is my recipe for creating the tastiest filet mignon steaks (or rib eye, or whatever thick steak you can find) on a cast iron skillet.

Ingredients:

  • 2 pieces of filet (sliced 1 inch thick)
  • 1-2 tsp olive oil
  • 1 T butter

Directions:

  1. Heat the cast iron skillet to medium-high for a few minutes. Drizzle in the olive oil and add the butter, making sure the bottom is coated.
  2. Add the steaks and let cook for about 4-5 minutes per side, flipping once, depending on how well done you want them. For medium rare to medium I cook them a total of 8-9 minutes, and for medium to well done, I add an additional 4-5 minutes, or until the food thermometer reads 155F-160F. I recommend cooking them for less time, though, since they will taste better that way!

Basic Bacon Avocado Burgers

I don’t have a burger post on here! The other night I made burgers with avocado and crispy bacon and added a side of sliced baked potatoes. Here’s the recipe:

Ingredients:

  • 2 pounds lean ground beef
  • 16 strips bacon
  • 2-3 avocados
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Worcestershire sauce
  • Garlic powder
  • Onion powder
  • 8 burger buns

Toppings: Lettuce, sliced tomatoes, caramelized or raw onions, ketchup, mustard

Directions:

  1. Grab about .25 pounds of beef and form into a large ball. Press down on a flat surface until it forms a round disk, about 3/4-inch thick. Repeat with the remaining beef to make 8 patties.
  2. Sprinkle beef patties with salt, pepper, garlic powder, and onion powder. Drizzle with Worcestershire sauce. Flip them over and repeat on the other side.
  3. Heat an indoor grill to high. Spray lightly with Pam. Add the patties and cook, covered, 3 minutes. Flip them over and cook an additional 6-7 minutes for medium well, or until they reach the desired temperature. I generally stay in the 140-150 range for medium.

You can bake the bacon in the oven for 15-17 minutes on a rimmed baking sheet or microwave it while the burgers cook.

Serve hamburgers with lettuce, tomato, sliced avocado and bacon!

Yields 8 burgers

 

Breaded Parmesan Chicken with Marinara Sauce

Sometimes you just want some breaded chicken! I had some leftover cutlets from my Skillet Lemon Chicken, so I made this last night. Although the coating can be a bit dry, if you sprinkle some Parmesan cheese on top at the end, it will boost the flavor.

Ingredients:

  • 4 chicken cutlets, about half an inch thick
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1 egg, whisked
  • 1/2 cup marinara sauce
  • 1/2 cup Italian breadcrumbs
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese

Directions:

  1. Prepare the bowls: place the flour, egg, marinara sauce, and breadcrumbs in individual bowls and set aside.
  2. Wash and pat the chicken dry. Sprinkle with salt and pepper on both sides.
  3. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and spray with Pam.
  4. Dip each cutlet into the flour, then egg, then marinara sauce, and finally the breadcrumbs. Place on the sheet. Repeat with the other cutlets.
  5. Bake at 350F for 20 minutes.
  6. Remove the chicken from the oven and sprinkle Parmesan cheese on top. Place in the oven for 5 more minutes so the cheese starts to melt.

Skillet Lemon Chicken with Mega-Sweet Potatoes

It’s almost May! This year is flying by, and that means some fun new recipes for spring. Chicken seared on a cast iron or regular skillet tastes delicious. I buy the cutlets when I want a quick meal because they brown in 10-15 minutes. The lemon slices cooking along with the chicken in this recipe give it a sweet tangy flavor.

The chicken:

Ingredients:

  • 4 chicken cutlets, about half an inch thick
  • 1 lemon
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • Garlic powder
  • 2 tsp dried parsley flakes
  • 1/4 cup chicken broth

Directions:

  1. Heat a skillet to medium-high heat. Wash and pat the chicken dry.
  2. Sprinkle the chicken with salt, pepper, garlic powder, and parsley.
  3. Cut the lemon in half. Squeeze one half over the chicken. Slice the other half into 4 rounds.
  4. Drizzle the olive oil into the skillet and add the chicken. Let cook 4-5 minutes and flip, making sure the bottom half is browned.
  5. Cook the chicken an additional 4 minutes. Place the lemon slices on top of the chicken. Continue cooking 1-2 more minutes or until the chicken has browned. Flip the chicken over for the last couple of minutes so that the lemon slices are underneath the chicken.
  6. Pour 1/4 cup of chicken broth into the pan to deglaze at the end to create a tasty sauce.

The sweet potatoes:

Ingredients:

  • 3 sweet potatoes, cut into chunks with skin on
  • 1 T maple syrup
  • 2 tsp brown sugar
  • 1 T melted coconut oil
  • Salt
  • Pepper

Directions:

  1. Toss the sweet potato chunks with the maple syrup, brown sugar, and coconut oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste.
  2. Place sweet potato chunks onto a foil-lined baking sheet sprayed with Pam.
  3. Bake at 400F for 30 minutes.

Cinnamon Vanilla Granola 

I’ve been obsessed with making granola lately. It’s cheaper and healthier than buying it, and you can customize it so many ways. My friend shared this recipe with me. It’s from Foodbabe.com.  It’s delicious!

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups rolled oats
  • 2 cups raw nuts (I used half pecans, half sliced almonds)
  • 3/4 cup shredded unsweetened coconut flakes
  • 1 T vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup melted coconut oil
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup
  • 3/4 tsp sea salt
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 3/4 cup dried cherries or cranberries (I omitted this but if you include it, make sure you add it after the granola comes out of the oven)

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 250°F.
  2. In a large bowl, combine all ingredients except dried fruit.
  3. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Spread the granola in a single layer on it.
  4. Bake for 1 hour, turning the granola over every 20 minutes.
  5. Remove the granola from the oven and let cool. Add the dried fruit.

This will keep for a couple of weeks! You can also freeze it.