Tag Archives: Salad

Sesame Crusted Tuna

This meal is my idea of a pleasant surprise, meaning I had set aside an hour to cook dinner on Sunday and SURPRISE it took me 15 minutes. Also in my list of pleasant surprises: finding out my new sky-high heels are actually comfortable, and realizing I did not, in fact, drink all the wine in the house when I’m dying for a glass at 11am 5pm on a Saturday.

On the menu:
Sesame crusted tuna over arugula with ginger soy dressing
Serves 2

2 tuna steaks (around 1/2 pound each)
4 Tbsp sesame seeds
1/4 tsp salt
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 bunch of arugula (this is the bed if greens for your tuna so use as much as you like)

Dressing:
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 tsp powdered ginger (or 1/4 tsp fresh ginger root, minced)
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 1/2 Tbsp rice vinegar
1 1/2 Tbsp low-sodium soy sauce
1 1/2 Tbsp honey
2 Tbsp water

With a paper towel, pat tuna steaks dry of any residual moisture. In a flat, shallow dish, pour sesame seeds in an even layer. Add salt and combine. Dredge tuna steaks in the sesame seeds so the steaks are coated on both broad sides AND the edges. In a medium sized skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Sear each steak for around 60 seconds on each side, including the edges (use tongs for this part). Remove from heat and let sit for 1 to 2 minutes before serving (yes, the inside will be raw and no, you won’t get sick from it).

Whisk all ingredients for dressing in a small bowl. Heat in microwave for 1 minute so the honey melts a bit. Whisk again. Plate arugula over 2 plates, pour half the dressing over the greens, plate the tuna on top of the greens, and then top with remaining dressing.

NOTE: This recipe takes about 15 minutes from start to finish, a tiny bit longer if you’re slow in mincing the ingredients for the dressing. The clean up is minimal, the presentation is impressive, and the leftovers (should you have any…) are divine. Eat it cold so you’re not the smelly office girl.

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Vegetarian Week: Quinoa Salad with Red Pepper and Chickpeas


When preparing my vegetarian menu, I knew I need something to round out the vegetables and dairy. While staying away from traditional pastas, I thought I’d experiment with quinoa. Truth be told, the only reason I’ve never delved into this seed-that-functions-like-a-grain prior to my veg meal is because I can’t find it in my grocery store. And I’ve experienced the blank “I don’t know what the heck you’re talking about” stare at that store too many times to ask for something that sounds French but isn’t at all. “Keen-waaaaaaah?”

I found some organic quinoa at my produce market instead and went to town on this recipe. It ended up being way more delicious than I thought it would be and filling to boot.

On the menu:
Quinoa salad with red pepper and chickpeas
Serves 4 as a side

1/2 cup dry quinoa
1/4 chopped fresh parsley
1/2 cup canned chickpeas
1 shallot, minced
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 red bell pepper, chopped
3 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
2 Tbsp tahini
1 Tbsp olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

Cook quinoa according to the directions on the package. Once completely cooked, remove from heat and stir in chickpeas, red pepper, and parsley. In a small bowl, whisk together the shallot, garlic, lemon juice, tahini, and olive oil. Add salt and pepper to taste. Drizzle dressing over the quinoa and chickpeas and stir gently until incorporated.

This can be served warm, or refrigerated for a later use and served cold.

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Vegetarian Week: Peach, Tomato, and Corn Salad with Feta


Prepare yourselves: this salad is a hit. I know, you’re like, “Seriously? An exciting salad?” But in the dead of summer, when fruit is at its ripest and heat is at its hottest and your pits are at their sweatiest (no? just me?), you want something cool and refreshing even if you’re sittin’ pretty in Arctic/office air conditioning. This salad is it. When I served it to my parents my dad said, “What made you think this would all go together?” But truthfully, the geniuses over at WSJ thought this would go together. And I trust them.

On the menu:
Peach, tomato, and corn salad with feta
Serves 4
Adapted from this recipe from Wall Street Journal

3 ripe, sweet tomatoes
3 ripe (but still semi-firm) peaches
2 ears corn, shucked and boiled, kernels cut off
1/4 cup red onion, sliced thin
3/4 cup feta cheese, crumbled
3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil

Cut tomatoes and peaches into wedges of equal size. In a large bowl, add tomatoes, peaches, corn kernels, onion, and olive oil and toss until combined and coated. Plate salad. Crumble feta over the top. Serve any remaining feta on the side.

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Mediterranean Chicken Salad

I love to cook (…duh) but sometimes weeknight meals feel like a chore to come up with. The BF and I do our weekly grocery shopping on Sundays and sometimes I just can’t think past Sunday night as far as meals go. “Are you sick of penne vodka?” I always ask, staring down at the shopping list with the same twenty items as last week and the week before.

If you’re like me, and you often run out of ideas, there’s a savior: Epicurious Weekday Meal Planner. It’s literally a meal for every night of the week. Not just an entree, not just a soup or a sandwich, a whole meal: salad, entree, and even a dessert suggestion. Epicurious even offers up suggestions on what to do with leftovers (for example, 2 cups of rice made on Monday could serve as the base for Tuesday’s soup). And the best part? Most meals are working-girl/guy friendly. You won’t find any four-hour-long roasting menus or Thanksgiving-sized turkey dinners. If you’re ever stuck for a meal idea, you gotta check it out.

The below meal comes straight from Epicurious’ Weekday Meal Planner and it exceeded my expectations. And I love that it makes enough leftovers for my lunch tomorrow and The BF’s dinner on Thursday.

On the menu:
Mediterranean chicken salad
Serves 5
Adapted from Epicurious.com 

4 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 Tbsp fresh tarragon, chopped
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1/2 Tbsp dijon mustard
Salt and pepper to taste
3 cups cooked, diced chicken

1 cup orzo
1/3 cup dried cranberries
1 6-oz. jar of artichoke hearts, drained
2 Tbsp capers, drained
3 cups mixed greens
1/2 cup grape tomatoes, halved
1/2 cup cucumbers, diced

In a small bowl combined oil, vinegar, tarragon, lemon juice, and mustard, and whisk together until combined. Add salt and pepper to taste. Toss the chicken with 1/4 cup dressing until coated.

Cook orzo as directed and once drained, toss cooked orzo with the remainder of the dressing. Add chicken to the orzo, then add the cranberries, artichoke hearts, and capers.* Plate mixed greens and then chicken salad on top of the greens. Add tomatoes and cucumbers on the side (or on top if the mood strikes you).

*This salad is “supposed” to be served cold (I don’t really do a lot of things I’m supposed to when it comes to cooking) but I looooved the flavor of the balsamic vinegar when the chicken and orzo warmed it up, so feel free to serve it warm or at room temperature.

Note: I warmed up some naan and served it alongside the salad. It was the cherry on the sundae… and yes. Afterward I ate a sundae.

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Avocado Shrimp Salad

Did you ever have one of those days where you’re a food blogger and you make something really delicious and then you and your dinner guests devour it and you realize you forgot to take a picture of it? Don’t you just hate when that happens? I made this dish, and was so super proud of it, and as I was cleaning the plates off The BF said, “You forgot to take a picture… huh?” Rest assured, friends, this dish is beautiful and tastes just as good. You won’t regret making it. Pinky promise.

On the menu:
Avocado shrimp salad
Serves 4 

3 Tbsp red onion, diced
1/4 cup cilantro, finely chopped
1/2 pound shrimp, cleaned and tails removed, cooked and diced
2 avocados, ripened
1 lime, juiced
1 tsp kosher salt
1/2 cup alfalfa sprouts

Combine red onion, cilantro, shrimp, lime juice, and salt in a plastic bowl.

Cut avocados in half, careful to keep the skin intact. Remove pit. Scrape out the flesh, leaving a thin layer of flesh on the skin. Mix the avocado insides with the rest of the fillings, careful not to mash it too much [the salad is better if you leave the avocado a little chunky].

Divide the sprouts up between the 4 avocado shells and then fill each shell with 1/4 of the salad. Chill for at least an hour before serving.

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Make Ahead Greek Pita

I don’t claim to be any type of gym rat. Running on a treadmill just doesn’t turn me on the way eating chips in front of the TV with a beer after work does, you get me? But in the interest of keeping my heart healthy and my saddle bags under control and yada yada yada, I bit the bullet and joined the gym. The problem? Going to the gym after work leaves little to no time for cooking delicious dinners, unless I want to eat at 9pm. And I don’t.

This recipe is perfect if you’re like me, and want to take a maximum of 20 minutes to prepare dinner on a week night. It’s even MORE perfect for a Monday night when you have oodles of time on Sunday to get everything prepared. You can make the sauce ahead of time, cut up and marinade the chicken ahead of time, even chop the vegetables ahead of time. Then when it comes time to assemble dinner, you only have to toss the chicken in a skillet, cook it, and serve. Gym-sweaty to dinner-ready in no time at all.

On the menu:
Greek chicken pita
Serves 2 – 3

Tzatziki:
NOTE: this is WAY more tzatziki than you’ll need for this particular dish, so if you want to halve it, you totally can.
8 oz. plain yogurt
1 cucumber, peeled, seeded and diced
1 1/2 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 lemon, juiced
1/2 Tbsp chopped dill
2 cloves garlic, peeled

Add all ingredients to a food processor. Pulse until blended. Refrigerate for at least an hour before serving, or for best results, overnight.

Marinade for chicken:
6 oz. plain yogurt
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp fresh ground pepper
2 medium sized chicken breasts, cubed

Add yogurt, olive oil, oregano, salt, and pepper in a bowl and mix well. Add cubed chicken and stir until chicken is coated. Let sit at least 2 hours, or for best results, overnight.

Preparation and assembly:
2 Tbsp olive oil
Marinated chicken (see above)
2 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed

Heat olive oil and garlic cloves over medium heat in a non-stick skillet. Wipe excess marinade from chicken, and add chicken to pan. Cook until chicken cubes are cooked through, around 10 minutes.

Add to a warm pita with freshly chopped tomatoes, cucumbers, and thinly sliced red onions. Top with tzatziki. You can also throw all of this in a bowl without the pita, top with tzatziki and eat it as a salad over lettuce.

Disclaimer: the pita in the picture is actually Indian naan… still freaking delicious.

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Just Chill and Lay Back Cause It’s…

Oh hey! Remember me? I missed you guys. So I’m back. With a couple basic recipes, but stuff you’ll want to make over and over again. And ain’t it pretty?

On the menu:
Cranberry, almond chicken salad
BTM Salad
Serves 4 

Chicken salad

2 chicken breasts
1 sprig fresh dill
1/4 cup cucumber, chopped
1/4 cup celery, chopped
1/4 cup craisins
1/4 cup slivered almonds
2 Tbsp mayonnaise
Salt and pepper to taste

Place chicken breasts in a medium sized pot and cover with water for poaching. Turn heat to high and let water come to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cover pot for 10 minutes. Turn heat off and let chicken sit in hot water for 15 – 20 minutes. Once chicken is cool, shred with fingers and toss with remaining ingredients. Refrigerate chicken salad for at least 30 minutes before serving.

BTM Salad

1 medium sized tomato, sliced to 1/4 inch slices
1 ball of mozzarella (approximately the same size as the tomato), sliced to 1/4 inch slices
1/4 cup basil, roughly chopped
1 cup of fresh corn, boiled on the cob and then sliced off the cob

Dressing:
1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
2 Tbsp olive oil
Salt and pepper

Plate slices of tomato alternately with mozzarella. Mix corn together with balsamic/oil dressing. Top slices of tomato and mozzarella with corn mixture.

This meal is so basic, is best served cold, and is super light and refreshing for summer. The subtle change in the classic BTM salad is really unexpected and delicious… and led this “meal for 4” to turn into a “meal for 2” when The BF had seconds. And then thirds. I thought I’d have leftovers but the “This is SO GOOD!”s were way more gratifying.

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