Steak Salad with Bacon and Blue Cheese

Months and month ago now, I went out to dinner with some former co-workers at a restaurant/slash bar here in CT (Eli’s on Whitney for those who are local/interested). One of my friends got a seriously amazing looking steak salad, which totally gave me entree envy. My dinner was good, but hers looked so delicious that I just could not get it out of my head. This salad was composed of greens, candied walnuts, craisins, gorgonzola cheese, Granny Smith apples, and was dressed with a balsamic vinaigrette, and she had it topped with a perfectly cooked steak. I still have yet to have this specific salad, but I knew then and there that I would be putting steak salad on my dinner planning menu in the near future. Now, I knew Ron would not be thrilled about the craisins or apples in the salad (he’s not generally a fan of fruit, and especially not a fruit+meat person), but I knew he’d love the idea of steak in any form, so when I saw this salad in Rachel Ray’s magazine I immediately put it on our menu. She uses spinach and watercress in her version of this salad, but I decided to go with a more general baby greens mix, and I also changed out the Petit Filets for a more budget-friendly cut of beef. This salad turned out so well, that we immediately put in on the menu for the following week, and now looking at the pictures I wish I had the ingredients to make it again tonight.

Steak Salad with Bacon and Blue Cheese

Steak Salad with Bacon Bits and Blue Cheese
Serves 4

Ingredients:
6 slices bacon
2 lbs steak (Petit Filets are suggested, but use your favorite tender cut- I used sirloin tip steak and cut it very thinly against the grain)
1 Tbsp Worchestershire sauce
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
1/2 lemon, juiced
1 clove garlic, pressed
2 tsp Dijon mustard
1 Tbsp white wine vinegar (you could use Sherry, champagne or red wine vinegar as well)
8 cups salad greens (I like using a mix that contains baby spinach)
1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
1 cup blue cheese crumbles

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Heat a grill, or heavy (preferably cast-iron) skillet over medium-high heat.

2. Line a baking pan with aluminum foil (for easy clean up), place bacon on sheet, and cook for 15-18 minutes. When cooked, remove to a paper towel-lined plate to get rid of excess fat. Crumble when slightly cooled.

3. Season steak with Worcestershire sauce, salt and pepper, and drizzle with olive oil. Cook on grill or skillet until cooked through to your liking. The timing will depend on the type of steak used, but for a petit filet, about 4-5 minutes per side will cook it to about medium-rare. Let rest for 5-10 minutes once cooked, and then slice against the grain very thinly.

4. In a small bowl, or salad dressing mixer (pretty sure that’s not the real name of that haha), whisk together the lemon juice, garlic clove, mustard and vinegar. Slowly stream and whisk in the olive oil if doing this in a bowl, otherwise just add the olive oil and shake to combine, or use the salad dressing plunger.

5. Place about 2 cups of greens on each plate, split sliced steak, crumbled bacon, blue cheese, and sliced red onion evenly among the plates, and top with dressing.

Source: EveryDay with Rachel Ray, May 2014

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Chicken Tostada Salads

When I saw these Chicken Tostada Salads posted on Shutterbean back in May, they screamed for me to make them immediately… actually, that happens with pretty much everything Tracy makes… I mean, have you seen her photography? It just makes everything look glorious, even the mundane. These salads are anything but mundane though. Super quick, fresh and flavorful, they are everything I look for in a meal, especially a summer meal. The crispy, cheesy tortillas make a perfect base for the “salad” that goes on top. The chicken topping is really yummy, and would also make a great filling for tacos.  This is a great recipe for the summer months to beat the heat. Just a short amount of cooking time (even quicker if you use a rotisserie chicken), and super-speedy assembly, and you have an awesome dinner!

Chicken Tostada Salads

Chicken Tostada Salads

Serves 4

Ingredients:

4 corn tortillas

3 tsp extra virgin olive oil

2 oz Monterey Jack cheese (about 3/4 cup)

1/2 small red onion, finely diced

1 1/2 tsp chili powder

2 garlic cloves, minced

2 chicken breasts, cooked and shredded (If you want to use a rotisserie chicken, use the breast meat)

1/2 cup water

Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 Tbsp plus 1 tsp fresh lime juice

1/2 head romaine lettuce (6 oz), shredded

1 tomato, seeded and chopped

1 avocado, diced

Fresh cilantro, chopped, for serving

Sour cream, for serving

Hot sauce, for serving

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with tinfoil. Brush each side of the tortillas lightly, with 2 tsp of the olive oil. Place on baking sheet, and bake for about 10 minutes, until crisp and golden brown. Sprinkle the cheese evenly among the tortillas and pop back in the oven for about 3 minutes, until the cheese is melted. Set aside.

2. Place a large skillet over medium-high heat and add the remaining 1 tsp of olive oil. Add half the onion and cook  about 3 minutes, until softened. Add the chili powder and garlic, and cook about 30 seconds, until fragrant. Add the shredded chicken, 1/2 cup water, and season with salt and pepper to taste. Cook about 2 minutes, until the water is evaporated and the chicken is warm. Add 1 tsp lime juice. Remove pan from heat.

3. In a large bowl, toss the shredded lettuce with the remaining lime juice, and salt and pepper to taste. To assemble tostada salads, split the lettuce among the tortillas, and top with the chicken mixture, tomato, avocado, remaining red onion and cilantro. Top with sour cream and hot sauce if desired.

Source: Shutterbean, who adapted it from Everyday Food

Buffalo Chicken Cobb Salad with Buffalo Deviled Eggs

We’ve made it halfway through the week guys!! Aren’t you excited?! I know I am… but I’ll be even happier when tomorrow is over. The hardest days of my week are always Tuesday and Thursday, and I always feel such a sense of relief when Thursday is done with. If only there was a way to fast-forward through the work day… but alas, that has not been invented yet. I discovered something this week though that is making the work week infinitely better, and that is the amazing fact that you can watch “Are You Afraid of the Dark?” on Amazon instant watch… for free if you are an Amazon Prime member. Oh yes, this was one of my favorite childhood shows, and it is still extremely entertaining. We didn’t have cable until I was in middle school, so when we would visit my Grandparents, one of the things I looked forward to was watching Nickelodeon, and the show I most looked forward to (and always wished would be on) was “Are You Afraid of the Dark?” That and “Clarissa Explains It All” were my two top shows I loved as a kid… and incidentally, “Clarissa Explains It All” is available to watch as well. My life might just be complete now!!! Oh, and they have “Hey Dude”…. now if only they would add “The Secret World of Alex Mack”.

Buffalo Chicken Cobb Salad with Buffalo Deviled Eggs

So now that you’ve waxed nostalgic over old Nickelodeon shows with me, it’s time for the recipe! When I saw this buffalo chicken Cobb salad over on Iowa Girl Eats it screamed for me to make it because as you know,  I love all things buffalo. This is a great way to add excitement to a salad, and an awesome variation on the classic Cobb salad. I love the addition of the buffalo deviled eggs, and they would be great on their own as well for an appetizer! This is also a boyfriend-approved salad, so like the classic Cobb salad, make this if you are trying to get more vegetables into your significant other!

Buffalo Chicken Cobb Salad

Serves 4

Ingredients:

2 (6-oz) boneless, skinless chicken breasts, trimmed

1/4 buffalo wing sauce (I used Frank’s)

Salt and pepper

4 slices bacon, cooked until crisp, and crumbled

1 large head romaine lettuce, shredded

1 cup grape tomatoes, halved

1 ripe avocado, pitted, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch dice

1/2 cup feta cheese, crumbled

Ranch dressing (optional)

For buffalo deviled eggs:

4 large eggs

1 1/2 Tbsp ranch or blue cheese dressing

1 Tbsp buffalo sauce

Directions:

1. To make buffalo deviled eggs: Place eggs in medium saucepan, and cover with water by 1-inch. Bring to a boil over high heat. When vigorously boiling, turn off heat, and let eggs sit for 15-18 minutes*. Drain, run under cold water until you can handle them. Peel the eggs, and remove the yolk to a small bowl. Add the ranch or blue cheese dressing and the buffalo sauce to the yolks, and mash together until smooth. Cut the egg whites in half again, so that you have quarters, and stuff with the egg yolk mixture. I like to put my egg yolks in a ziplock bag, snip a small hole at the end, and pipe the filling into the eggs. *If you have your own foolproof method for making hard-boiled eggs, please feel free to use that instead of this method 🙂

2. To make the chicken: Preheat broiler, place oven rack 6-inches from top. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil, and spray with cooking spray. Season chicken with salt and pepper, and place on baking sheet. Broil for 4-8 minutes until lightly browned. Flip chicken over, and broil for 6-8 minutes more, until chicken is fully cooked. Let cool until they can be handled. Chop into 1/2-inch cubes place in medium bowl. Mix with buffalo sauce.

3. To assemble salad: To assemble salads, place a serving of lettuce on each plate, and then arrange the buffalo chicken, deviled eggs, bacon, cheese, avocado, and tomato on top of the lettuce in rows. Drizzle ranch dressing on top if desired.

Source: barely adapted from Iowa Girl Eats and my Chicken Cobb Salad

Quinoa Salad with Black Beans and Toasted Cumin Seeds

Happy Monday all! We’ve made it through the first day of the week, and hopefully everyone survived intact! Personally, I find Tuesdays to be even harder though, so if I can just make it through tomorrow I’ll be okay 🙂

I thought that you would appreciate a  healthy, refreshing salad to start off this week, especially with the high humidity and temperatures that are hitting the Northeast, and other parts of the country as well. Today it was over 90 degrees here, and that will continue for the next couple of days. This is a perfect salad for summer… good for lunch, a light dinner, or a dish to bring to a picnic or party. I made my salad with honey (as I didn’t have agave in my pantry), but if you use agave then this will be vegan. It is also gluten-free, so it great for those with food restrictions and/or allergies! Most importantly, it is delicious!

Quinoa Salad with Black Beans and Toasted Cumin Seeds

Quinoa Salad with Black Beans and Toasted Cumin Seeds

Serves 4

Ingredients:

2 cups cooked quinoa

1/4 tsp salt

2 tsp cumin seeds

1 cup plum tomatoes, finely diced

3 Tbsp freshly squeezed lime juice (about 3-4 limes)

2 tsp honey (or light agave nectar)

1 tsp grapeseed oil

1 (15-ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed

1 cup scallions, finely chopped

1/2 cup cilantro, chopped

1 avocado, diced (optional)

1 jalapeno, seeded and diced (optional)

Mixed greens, for serving (optional)

Directions:

1. To toast the cumin seeds, place a small skillet over low heat, add the cumin seeds, and toss for about 5 minutes, until fragrant.

2. In a large bowl, add the toasted cumin seeds, tomatoes, lime juice, honey or agave, and grapeseed oil. Mix together. Add the quinoa, and stir well to combine. Add the beans, scallions, cilantro, avocado (if using), and jalapenos (if using), and mix in gently. Season to taste with salt. Serve over greens, if desired.

Source: slightly adapted from Appetite for Reduction

Chicken Cobb Salad

Do you ever feel like you need to get some vegetables into your body, stat?! I do! Especially after many indulgences in a row, my body just craves veggies! This is a great way to incorporate vegetables into a meal in a guy-friendly way. I think a hearty salad that has the good stuff, but also some chicken, bacon and cheese is the perfect way to get my boyfriend to eat his vegetables, and be happy about it!  This classic salad was so tasty, and also very beautiful looking! Of course, when you eat it it becomes jumbled like any normal salad, but at least for a couple of minutes it looks so orderly and elegant! … and now I’m really inspired to try some other variations on the Cobb salad like this one, this one and this one.

Chicken Cobb Salad

Chicken Cobb Salad

Serves 4

3 Tbsp red wine vinegar

2 Tbsp olive oil

1 tsp Dijon mustard

2 (6-ounce) boneless, skinless chicken breasts, trimmed

4 slices bacon, cooked until crisp, and crumbled

2 hard-boiled eggs

1 large head romaine lettuce, shredded

1/2 ripe avocado, pitted, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch dice

2 plum tomatoes, cut into 1/2-inch dice

3 ounces feta cheese, crumbled

Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper

Directions:

1. Preheat broiler, place oven rack 6-inches from top. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil, and spray with cooking spray. Season chicken with salt and pepper, and place on baking sheet. Broil for 4-8 minutes until lightly browned. Flip chicken over, and broil for 6-8 minutes more, until chicken is fully cooked. Let cool until they can be handled. Chop into 1/2-inch cubes and set aside.

2. In a small bowl, whisk together the vinegar, olive oil, dijon mustard, and salt and pepper to taste. Toss the lettuce with the dressing.

3. To assemble salads, place a serving of lettuce on each plate, and then arrange the chicken, eggs, bacon, cheese, avocado, and tomato on top of the lettuce in rows.

Source: adapted from The Cook’s Illustrated Cookbook and Everyday Food: Great Food Fast

 

BBQ Chicken Meatball Sliders

BBQ Chicken Meatball Sliders

A couple weeks ago my best friend and I got together for a little horror movie watching and cooking (a couple of our favorite activities). We made a few treats for the horror-themed blog we write together, check it out here! We decided to watch Friday the 13th, and made a few delicious recipes to go along with the movie. While perusing recipe ideas for our dinner and a movie night, I came across these BBQ chicken meatball sliders and while we ultimately decided on making some awesome chicken parm sliders instead, I still wanted to try out this recipe, especially since we had just been gifted some Texas barbecue sauce and smoked cheddar cheese by Ron’s grandparents. These sliders turned out wonderfully! The smokiness of the barbecue sauce was especially good with the smoked cheddar cheese. They were great for a dinner, but would be an awesome appetizer to serve as well. Wouldn’t a make-your-own slider bar be a fun idea for a party? After making a couple recipes for these little sandwiches, I’ve gotta say I’m hooked.

BBQ Chicken Meatball Sliders

BBQ Chicken Meatball Sliders

Makes about 16 meatballs

Ingredients:

1 lb ground chicken

2 large cloves garlic, minced

1 large egg

1/2 cup dried breadcrumbs

1/2 tsp chili powder or chipotle chile powder

1/2 tsp smoked paprika

1/2 tsp salt

Freshly ground black pepper

1 cup barbecue sauce

1/2 small onion, minced

1/4 cup vegetable oil

To assemble:

Slider rolls, toasted

Shredded cabbage or lettuce

Grated cheese (I used smoked cheddar)

Tomato slices (optional)

Pickles (optional)

Directions:

1. Mix together the ground chicken, garlic, egg, breadcrumbs, chili powder, smoked paprika, salt and black pepper in a large bowl, until combined.

2. Form meatballs, by rolling 1-2 tbsp of the chicken mixture into balls.

3. Set a large skillet over medium-high heat and add the oil. When the oil is heated, add the meatballs and brown on all sides. This will take about 5 minutes total.

4. Remove the meatballs to a plate, and set aside.

5. With the skillet still on medium-high heat, add the onion, and saute a few minutes until translucent. Add the meatballs back to the pan, and then add the barbecue sauce. You can add about 1/2 cup water if the sauce is too thick.

6. Bring the sauce to a simmer, lower the heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer for about 15-20 minutes until the meatballs are cooked through.

7. Assemble sliders by placing on a slider roll and adding toppings of your choice.

Source:chickenrecipebox.com

Cheddar-Jalapeno Chicken Burgers with Guacamole

Cheddar-Jalapeno Chicken Burgers with Guacamole

I really love a good burger recipe, and I love experimenting with new combinations of toppings/flavor profiles. I am a big fan of classic burgers (Five Guys makes one of my favorite burgers), but when I come across an interesting-looking burger recipe it’s pretty much guaranteed that I’ll try it at some point. So far on this blog I have recipes for turkey burgers with cheddar and smokey aioli, jalapeno popper sliders, chipotle turkey burgers, Good Stuff melts, and taco pockets… and I can only see more recipes for burgers appearing here in the future. It’s just one of those foods that’s endlessly adaptable, and soooo delicious! I really would love to try making some vegetarian/vegan burgers as well! (Actually- the black bean-brown rice patties could be classified as a burger- those were awesome!) When I came across this recipe on What’s Gaby Cooking, I knew I would be making it soon- it has some of my favorite things right in the title- cheddar, jalapenos and guacamole. These made a very flavorful burger, with all the spices, and the cheddar, onion and jalapeno being added to the patty itself. This helps keep the burgers from drying out, as chicken is a very lean meat. The toppings that are added (all customizable of course), just make it that much better!

Cheddar-Jalapeno Chicken Burgers with Guacamole

Cheddar-Jalapeno Chicken Burgers with Guacamole

Cheddar-Jalapeno Chicken Burgers with Guacamole

Cheddar-Jalapeno Chicken Burgers with Guacamole

Serves 4

Ingredients:

1 lb ground chicken

1/2 cup yellow onion, finely chopped

1/4 cup fresh cilantro, finely chopped

2 garlic cloves, finely chopped

2 tsp jalapeno, finely chopped

1 tsp ground cumin

1 tsp paprika

1/4 cup cheddar cheese, finely shredded

Salt and freshly ground pepper

4 hamburger buns

Optional Toppings

Guacamole

Sour cream

red onion slices

lettuce

tomato

Salsa

Directions:

1. Add the chicken to a large bowl. Add the onion, cilantro, garlic, jalapeno, cumin, paprika, cheddar cheese, salt and pepper. Combine gently with hands. Form 4 patties.

2. Heat a grill pan, or large skillet on medium heat. Spray with a nonstick cooking spray, or add a little bit of oil and swirl so it coats the pan. Add the patties, and cook about 5-7 minutes per side.

3. Serve on a bun with any desired toppings.

Source: What’s Gaby Cooking