Saturday, May 29, 2010

Roasted Cauliflower

Hi all! Hope you're enjoying your memorial day weekend! Ryan, the hubby, gets two days off for summer holidays (an attempt by his firm to compensate for the madness that is busy season), so we're trying to savor every moment. Few things give me more joy than watching my toddler have fun! I wish you could have seen him go streaking across the park in just his swimming trunks when the water features turned on. So stinkin' cute!

Anyway, back to the real point of this blog... I am infatuated with roasted cauliflower! Jane, from the fabulous This Week for Dinner, shared the idea, and I've been addicted ever since. It's healthy, easy, and seriously so good! The next time I feel like eating pasta, I'm just going to make this instead. :)

Roasted Cauliflower
1 head of cauliflower, broken up
a few tablespoons of olive oil
salt and pepper (fresh ground is best)
2 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese

Preheat to 400 degrees.

Place cauliflower on a baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil; add salt and pepper. Toss cauliflower to lightly coat with the oil and seasoning.

Roast for about 25 minutes. Stir once or twice during cooking. Check for doneness with a sharp knife, to the point where you can pierce the cauliflower fairly easily but not to the point of mushiness. Remove from oven and toss with grated parmesan cheese.

*Today was the first time I added a few pieces of broccoli. It roasted better than I was expecting!

...And why not add these photos while I'm at it??

Is it weird to be proud of your child for making off with not one, but two of those people's balls? haha They were actually really nice and let him "play" with them to his heart's content.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Red Wine Vinaigrette

Can you believe it—another salad! I know, you're shocked. If only losing weight was as easy as posting four salads in a row. :)

This is a delicious vinaigrette, definitely worth whipping up ASAP. I rarely buy bottled dressings because I love the control of making my own; I can know exactly what goes into it. I think this vinaigrette would pair well with tons of salad variations. For a fabulous salad using this dressing, check out it's original posting on my virtual friend Melanie's blog. (I'm so cool. I have virtual friends. :) The salad pictured above is simply some mixed greens, cherry tomatoes, red onion rings, and feta cheese. I loved it.

Red Wine Vinaigrette
2/3 cup red wine vinegar
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/4 cup red onions, finely grated
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
2 teaspoons salt
ground pepper to taste
2 cups canola oil

Blend all ingredients except oil in a blender. BWhile processing, slowly add the canola oil and blend well. Transfer dressing to a jar. Can be refrigerated for 1-2 weeks. (Melanie found it gets a little thick if it is too cold, so she recommends sticking it in the microwave for 5-10 seconds to help thin it out before using if it has been in the refrigerator for several days).

But like I said, do check out the original post because those ingredients—bacon, pears, parmesan, etc.—make one fabulous salad. Trust me.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Chinse Chicken Salad

Told you the salads would keep coming... :) Three in a row!

You've probably had a variation of this salad, but this particular recipe is the best, in my opinion. I originally got the recipe in BYU's cooking class, but I've adapted it to perfectly suit our family's tastes. It's tangy and crunchy and pretty to look at. :) Btw, do I cook anything that doesn't involve cilantro? Definitely my all-time favorite ingredient.

1/2 cup canola oil
1 Tablespoon sesame oil
6 Tablespoons vinegar
1/4 cup sugar
1 packet of chicken flavored Ramen seasoning
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper

1 bunch of green onions, sliced
half a head of cabbage, sliced (I use both purple and green for the color)
1 small bunch of cilantro (or half of a larger bunch - to taste)
1/3 cup slivered almonds
1 Tablespoon sesame seeds
1 package Ramen noodles
1 can mandarin oranges, drained (not pictured)
1 boneless skinless chicken breast, cooked and sliced

Combine the dressing ingredients by whisking vigorously. Refrigerate.

Break up the Ramen noodles into small pieces and place on a baking sheet. Add sesame seeds and almonds. Broil under high heat for 2-3 minutes, or until golden. (Watch carefully to avoid burning.)

Prep vegetables and assemble the salad.

Erica's Notes
  • The chicken can be prepared any way you like. When I'm grilling chicken, I like to grill extra to have on hand for meals like this. It makes this salad super easy to throw together if you already have a grilled chicken breast in the fridge, ready to slice and place on top of the salad. Or you could skip the chicken altogether if you're serving this salad as a side dish, rather than a main dish.
  • I skip toasting the almonds because almonds are healthiest raw.
  • Did you know cabbage is totally a power vegetable? This is a great way to get your family to eat it! I recently read this article and have been trying to pack more (and different) vegetables into our diet.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Chipotle Chicken Taco Salad

My reference to Chipotle in this post has nothing to do with the restaurant this time, just the chiles. :) I love southwestern salads and am always on the lookout for something new. The chipotle chiles in adobo sauce give this salad a deep, smokey flavor, as well as a spicy kick. The avocado and light sour cream make it creamy and also balance out the heat from the chiles. Our family loved it, even the toddler! (I'm conditioning him to like spicy foods like his dad and I do, and so far it seems to be working!)

I dress our salads pretty lightly. To get a better idea of what it probably should look like, check out Cooking Light's photo of it.

Chipotle Chicken Taco Salad
From Cooking Light

Combine the following for the dressing:

1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro
2/3 cup light sour cream
1 tablespoon minced chipotle chiles, canned in adobo sauce
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon chili powder
4 teaspoons fresh lime juice
1/4 teaspoon salt

Combine for the salad:

4 cups romaine lettuce
2 cups sliced chicken breasts (about 2 breasts)
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved (or regular tomatoes, diced)
1/2 cup diced peeled avocado
1/3 cup thinly sliced red onion
1 (15-ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 can corn, rinsed and drained (or defrosted frozen corn)

I seasoned the chicken with cajun seasoning and salt & fresh-ground pepper. Then I grilled it. Mmmm!

By the way, you may be seeing a lot of salads around these parts while I work off my baby weight. (MUST. KEEP. SWEET. TOOTH. AT. BAY.)

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Lime Fajita Bowl

Whenever we go to Chipotle, we get the chicken burrito bowl. It's loaded with vegetables and fresh salsa and guacamole, and we skip the fat that's in the tortilla. (Not that I'm above eating a good, thick tortilla every now and then, because I'm not!) Today's meal was born from the burrito bowl concept, and I could not love it any more. I've said it before, but I'll say it again: It's ridiculous how happy a good meal makes me. I'm pretty sure this one will make you happy too. :)

As usual, my proportions aren't huge, so you may want to double it if you're feeding more than, say, three adults.

Marinate the following for at least 1 hour:
2 boneless skinless chicken breasts
juice and zest of 2 limes
1/4 cup canola oil
half of a packet of Italian seasoning
1 onion, cut into rings
1 green bell pepper, sliced

Salad ingredients:
3 leaves of romaine lettuce, sliced into small pieces
1-2 tomatoes, diced
half a bunch of cilantro
1 small onion, diced
1 avocado (to make a simple guacolole)
1 lime
half a can of black beans, rinsed
  • After marinating, grill the chicken and vegatables. (We have a grill attachment that is more like a skillet. If you don't have something similar, you may have to saute the veggies over the oven, but that's okay too!) Once cooked, let the chicken cool for a few minutes, and then slice.
  • Assemble salad ingredients in a serving bowl. Layer on sliced chickn and grilled onions & peppers. Warm up black beans in microwave; add to salad. Toss.
  • Make a simple guacomole by smashing avocado and adding lime juice and salt and pepper. (Or use store-bought guacolmole.) Spoon guacomole over the top. (Add sour cream or grated cheese if you wish.) Squeeze one lime over the top of the salad.

This is a super healthy meal that is absolutely packed with flavor—the smokiness of the grill and the brightness of the lime juice. If you try it, please let me know what you think!