Chicken and Nectarine Salad with Honey-Lime Dressing

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I made this salad for Sunday dinner with my sister and her family and it was a HUGE  hit– with the adults, that is. The kids had grilled cheeses, sliced nectarines, sugar snap peas and gobbled up their meal in an instant.

We paired the Chicken and Nectarine Salad from The Scramble with a Green Salad with Pistachios and Goat Cheese and a warm baguette. Heavenly. That’s how it all tasted.

It is fun to have family and friends who enjoy delicious food as much as we do and this really was the perfect summer meal. Today will be a driving day for us as we return home, but it was such a wonderful trip with so many beautiful memories made.

I hope your mid-week comes cruising through with goodness. Many happy returns to you all!

XX, Megan

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Ingredients

1/2 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breasts
3 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
3 nectarines, pitted and sliced
1/2 cucumber, peeled, seeded and sliced (1 cup)
3/4 cup sliced almonds, lightly toasted if desired
3 – 4 scallions, thinly sliced, green parts only (1/4 cup)
2 Tbsp. white wine vinegar
1/2 lime, juice only, about 1 Tbsp.
1 Tbsp. honey
1/2 tsp. curry powder
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1/4 – 1/2 tsp. salt, to taste
1 – 2 Tbsp. fresh mint

Directions

Cut each chicken breast crosswise into thin strips. Heat a large skillet over medium to medium-high heat. Add 1 Tbsp. oil, and when it is hot, sauté the chicken, turning occasionally, until it is browned and cooked through, about 5 minutes. (Set aside some cooked chicken, sliced nectarines and cucumber for non-salad eaters, if necessary.)

In a large serving bowl, combine the chicken, nectarines, cucumbers, almonds and scallions. In a small bowl, whisk together 2 Tbsp. oil, the vinegar, lime juice, honey, curry powder, ginger and salt. (Alternatively, you can shake them all up in a jar to emulsify them.)

Pour the dressing over the salad and toss well to coat. Gently toss in the mint (optional). Refrigerate it for at least 15 minutes and up to 2 days. (Meanwhile, prepare the baguette slices, if you are serving them.) Season the salad with salt and pepper, to taste, at the table.

*The Scramble is a meal planning service to which you can subscribe here. For a fantastic price you will receive 8 weekly meals which means 8 recipes (main course plus a side dish), complete grocery list, the ability to tweak the number of people you are making for, and full nutrition facts.

PLUS tips as to how best to PREP your meal beforehand, add a punch of FLAVOR, and how to SLOW COOK almost every recipe if you’re especially slammed that night. This wonderful service really does live up to it’s name. You can come home at 6 p.m. and be sitting down to a DELICIOUS, HEALTHY, HOME COOKED meal by 6:30 p.m. most nights.

Farro with Pan-roasted Brussels Sprouts and Pistachios

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A mouthful of delicious, that’s what this meal was. Even little Chicken Nugget, my picky eater, took a sniff, took a bite, and declared, “Mom, this is so good!”

I wanted to make this as a main course (which I did), and have Watermelon and Feta Salad with Mint and Lime (which I did not) for a side but I ran out of time so we settled for watermelon and cherries straight up.

I should not that this salad is meant to be served warm, so if you are experiencing a heat wave, you might do well to wait until temps cool off a bit.

I hope your Wednesday is full of watermelon and other deliciousness!!

XX, Megan

DSC_0122For the Farro
6 cups spring water
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
2 large garlic cloves – skinned and left whole
1 fresh bay leaf
1 cup farro (semi-pearled or pearled barley is a good substitute)
For the Brussels Sprouts
1 tablespoon butter
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon maple syrup (or honey)
12 oz (340 g) Brussels sprouts – trimmed, halved and cut lengthwise in 1/8″ slices
1 shallot – skinned, halved lengthwise and cut in 1/8″ slices
2 garlic cloves – skinned and finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
freshly ground black pepper to taste
1/3 cup salted shelled pistachios
1/4 cup reserved cooking liquid from the farro

Place the water in a medium heavy-bottomed pot and bring to a boil. Add the salt, garlic, bay leaf and grains. Reduce heat to medium and simmer uncovered for 30 minutes, until tender but still al dente. Drain well, remove the garlic and bay leaf and reserve 1/4 cup of the cooking liquid.

Heat a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the butter. As soon as the butter has melted, add the olive oil and syrup. Stir well and add the Brussels sprouts. Sauté for 6 to 7 minutes until golden-brown, stirring only from time to time.

Add the shallots and sauté for 2 more minutes until softened. Add the garlic, salt and pepper and sauté for an additional 30 seconds until the garlic has released its flavor, but don’t let it brown. Add the pistachios, farro and reserved cooking liquid. Toss well and sauté for a few seconds only. Transfer to a serving bowl and serve immediately.

This recipe was originally posted on Food and Style.

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Mango and Black Bean Salad

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The summer months have me craving all things light and flavorful. All of that healthy, delicious goodness is often poached by an after dinner milkshake or other sugar-laden dessert, so please don’t get the impression that we eat clean every meal of every day of every week.

But I do like to keep our food as light and clean as I can. Whole foods are so much more vitamin and nutrient packed than anything you can get from the freezer isle (or the milkshake shack for that matter ;)! We all try, right?

This salad comes from The Six O’Clock Scramble*, and if you haven’t tried their service yet, why not?!? (See details at the end of this post.) This is the side dish I brought to our Thanksgiving in July party at our friends’ home last night.

These friends began this tradition four years ago and it is going strong!!! I have eaten some of the most delicious food of my life at this soirée, including some smoked sausage that is truly amazing!!!

This 4th we also brought spice-rubbed apple wood smoked baby back ribs, and some of my mom’s famous brownies to share. Our plates were full, our bellies were happy, and the fireworks were awesome!

Happy Tuesday, friends!! Here’s to a short week, and getting back on the eat clean wagon!!

XX, Megan

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Ingredients

1 cup quick-cooking brown rice, (about 2 cups prepared)
15 oz. reduced-sodium canned black beans, drained and rinsed
1 – 2 fresh mango, cut into 1/2-inch chunks, or use frozen
1/4 sweet onion such as Vidalia or Walla Walla, finely diced (about 1/2 cup)
1/4 cup scallions or chives, green parts only, finely chopped
1 lime, juice only, about 2 Tbsp.
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
1/4 tsp. salt, or more to taste
6 large Boston or butter lettuce leaves, separated, rinsed and dried (optional)
6 whole wheat tortillas (use wheat/gluten-free if needed) (optional)

Directions

Thaw the frozen mango, if using it. Cook the rice according to the package directions and when cooked, remove it from the heat. (If you want to serve this salad immediately rather than allowing it to chill for a while, put the rice in the freezer for 5 minutes to cool it.)

Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine the beans, mangos, onions, scallions, lime juice and cilantro. I also added one hot pepper (optional). Add the rice, season it with the salt, and toss gently. Chill it for at least 10 minutes (an hour or more is ideal) and up to 24 hours.

Serve the salad on its own or wrapped in large lettuce leaves, warm tortillas, or both.

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*The Scramble is a meal planning service to which you can subscribe here. For a fantastic price you will receive 8 weekly meals which means 8 recipes (main course plus a side dish), complete grocery list, the ability to tweak the number of people you are making for, and full nutrition facts.

PLUS tips as to how best to PREP your meal beforehand, add a punch of FLAVOR, and how to SLOW COOK almost every recipe if you’re especially slammed that night. This wonderful service really does live up to it’s name. You can come home at 6 p.m. and be sitting down to a DELICIOUS, HEALTHY, HOME COOKED meal by 6:30 p.m. most nights.

Chocolate Chip Cookie Ice Cream Sandwich Heaven

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About last night… I think I found my summer thing. You know, the “thing”. That little bit of goodness that you just want to keep happening over and over and over again. That little treat at the end of the rainbow, if you will.

This summer my thing is going to be homemade Chocolate Chip Cookie Ice Cream Sandwiches. Yes. Hands down this is my favorite treat-of-the-moment! Picture a fresh chocolate chip cookie you pulled hot out of the oven. Now picture two of them, perfectly squished around a ball of your favorite vanilla ice cream.

Wha?!? I’m telling you. There’s not much better out there!!! I recommend using THIS CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIE recipe, and this ice cream. So if you’re ever just hanging around, wondering what I’m up to this summer (cause I know that is at the top of your priority list ;), you can find me here (see below).

On my deck, under the lights, cramming yet another Chocolate Chip Cookie Ice Cream Sandwich between my lips! Happy Summer, and Happy Wednesday, friends!

XX, Megan

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Sweet Potato and Spinach Salad with Honey Lime Dressing

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I’m already putting this salad on repeat for the summer! Yet another winner from The Scramble. I have made it a handful of times already, and I am just going to keep whipping it up. Especially when my healthy eating habits have been lacking, this is the perfect dietary reset.

A few things to note. I have ALWAYS roasted my sweet potato for 20 minutes. I like them to be a little more on the soft side. I also reduce the honey content in the dressing from 1 Tbsp. to 1-2 tsp. Last but not least, I haven’t ever added cinnamon to the dressing. I really enjoy cinnamon as a general flavor, but in a salad like this I stick to chili powder and cayenne.

With all of that said, I hope you are ALL experiencing, or about to experience a very wonderful Wednesday!

XX, Megan

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20 oz. sweet potatoes, about 2 potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch pieces
2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp. smoked paprika
3/4 cup quinoa
1/2 tsp. salt
1 lime, juice only, about 1/4 cup
1 Tbsp. honey
1/8 tsp. ground cinnamon
4 oz. fresh spinach or other mild greens, coarsely chopped
15 oz. reduced-sodium canned black beans, drained and rinsed, or use 1 1/4 cups cooked beans
2 Tbsp. chives or scallions, finely chopped

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Directions

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Spray a baking sheet with nonstick cooking spray. In a large serving bowl, toss the sweet potatoes with 1 Tbsp. oil and the paprika. Spread them evenly on the baking sheet and bake them for 10 – 15 minutes, tossing once, until they are fork tender. (Reserve the bowl to serve the salad.)

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Meanwhile, cook the quinoa according to the package directions, adding 1/4 tsp. salt to the water. In a large measuring cup, whisk together the lime juice, honey, 1 Tbsp. oil, 1/4 tsp. salt, and the cinnamon.

In the bowl you used to toss the potatoes, combine the potatoes, quinoa, spinach, beans, chives and the dressing. Allow it to cool for 10 minutes, if time allows, and serve, or refrigerate the salad for up to 3 days.

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*The Scramble is a meal planning service to which you can subscribe here. For a fantastic price you will receive 8 weekly meals which means 8 recipes (main course plus a side dish), complete grocery list, the ability to tweak the number of people you are making for, and full nutrition facts.

PLUS tips as to how best to PREP your meal beforehand, add a punch of FLAVOR, and how to SLOW COOK almost every recipe if you’re especially slammed that night. This wonderful service really does live up to it’s name. You can come home at 6 p.m. and be sitting down to a DELICIOUS, HEALTHY, HOME COOKED meal by 6:30 p.m. most nights.

Sweet Potato Shepherd’s Pie

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Sweet Potato Shepherd’s Pie times 2, that is! I made this meal for a new momma of twins in our neighborhood. It sounded so good that I decided to double the recipe, double the fun and make one for her family and one for our family.

The original recipe for this dish came from Today’s Parent. The one thing that I would amend is the time recipe preparation time. Unless you have ALREADY chopped all your veggies, boiled your potatoes, and maybe even pre-browned your meat, there is NO WAY that the recipe prep time will be 10 minutes as the linked article says.

It took me around 30 minutes to complete recipe prep. On top of that, do note that if you are taking this to new parents, it will also take longer than 20 minutes to cook the dish if it comes out of the refrigerator. I would bake it for 25 minutes, and broil the top for 2-5 minutes for that browned crispy effect.

This meal was savory, filling, and just what I needed on a cold day. Plus, the leftovers were DELICIOUS!!! Hope your Wednesday is brilliant.

XX, Megan

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Ingredients

1 1/2 lb. Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and quartered
1/4 cup unsalted butter, divided
1/4 cup milk
3/4 tsp salt, divided
1/4 cup grated cheddar cheese, divided
1 cup peeled, chopped carrot
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped celery
1 lb. extra-lean ground beef
2 tsp chopped garlic
4 tsp all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups sodium-free beef stock
2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1 tbsp fresh thyme
1/8 tsp pepper
1 cup fresh or defrosted frozen green peas

Directions

Preheat oven to 425°F.

Place potatoes in a pot of cold salted water and bring to a boil. Cook for 15 min or until tender when pierced with a fork. Drain. Return potatoes to a pot over low heat for 1 min to evaporate any remaining water. Add 2 tbsp butter and mash until combined and fluffy. Add milk to loosen, season with 1⁄4 tsp salt and stir in half of cheese. Set aside.

Heat remaining 2 tbsp butter in large frying pan over medium. Add carrot, onion and celery and sauté for 5 min or until beginning to soften.
Turn heat to high. Add beef and garlic, and sauté, breaking up meat with a wooden spoon, for 5 min or until meat begins to brown. Add flour, stirring for 2 min to cook out floury taste.

Add stock, Worcestershire, mustard and thyme. Bring to a boil and simmer for 3 min or until broth has reduced and thickened and made the meat saucy. Season with remaining 1⁄2 tsp salt and pepper and stir in peas.

Transfer beef mixture to a deep 9-in. ovenproof casserole dish. Spread mashed potatoes overtop. Sprinkle with remaining cheese. Bake for 15 min or until sauce is bubbling. Turn to broil and cook until potatoes are golden.

You can make this well ahead and refrigerate, but it will need more time in the oven to heat through.

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Super Charged Spinach Salad

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No I did not dine on this fine salad in Austin, TX. However, it is the perfect get-back-into-healthy-eating or detox salad for my week after vacation. I mean that in all seriousness as I sit down to prep this post with a serving of Super Charged Spinach Salad real-time in front of me. YUM!

This recipe comes from The Scramble*, and I have made this salad five or more times in the last month. I’m pretty sure that it will be a summer staple around our house. In reality there is nothing groundbreaking about this combination. But I do love the tuna and egg combo, as well as the homemade dressing.

A note about the tuna. I made mine with 1 Tbsp. of mustard, and 2 Tbsp. mayonnaise. To that I added some Sweet and Spicy stackers from Hee-Haw Pickles. For me, the pickle makes the tuna. The pickle makes the whole salad, really. This is my humble opinion. But if you have a kickin’ pickle, it just seems to make the entire dish that much more delectable.

I’d love to hear about your favorite salads. Do you have any that you make on a regular basis? Do you have any that you love to serve for guests? Do you have a salad that is the perfect summer barbecue side? I’d love to know!! Wednesday is with us, and we’re nearing mid-week. I hope that makes you smile!!

XX, Megan

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Ingredients

2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
2 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
1 tsp. honey
1 tsp. Dijon mustard (use wheat/gluten-free if needed)
1/8 tsp. salt
6 oz. baby spinach
1/4 red onion, halved and thinly sliced (1/2 cup total)
5 button mushrooms, sliced
1 avocado, peeled and diced
1 tomato, diced, or use 1 orange, peeled and chopped
6 .4 oz. chunk light tuna in water (sold in pouches rather than cans), drained, or use white beans or chickpeas

Directions

(Start the eggs first, if you are serving them.) For the dressing, whisk together the oil, vinegar, honey, mustard and salt until the ingredients emulsify (combine and thicken).

In a large serving bowl, combine the remaining ingredients. Wah-lah! Your salad is complete!

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*The Scramble is a meal planning service to which you can subscribe here. For a fantastic price you will receive 8 weekly meals which means 8 recipes (main course plus a side dish), complete grocery list, the ability to tweak the number of people you are making for, and full nutrition facts.

PLUS tips as to how best to PREP your meal beforehand, add a punch of FLAVOR, and how to SLOW COOK almost every recipe if you’re especially slammed that night. This wonderful service really does live up to it’s name. You can come home at 6 p.m. and be sitting down to a DELICIOUS, HEALTHY, HOME COOKED meal by 6:30 p.m. most nights.

Spicy Szechuan Green Beans with Ground Turkey

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Our family really enjoyed this dish. Let me rephrase that. My husband and I really enjoyed this dish. To be honest, green beans are not a favorite food of either of my boys. But we asked that they eat four beans each and their turkey with the promise of mangoes afterwards!

I really enjoyed how light and fresh this meal tasted. I ate mine sans rice, we’re trying to be more carb conscious around here. But I still make grains and starches for my kiddos to enjoy. As always, it was a quick, easy, delicious dinner on what have been increasingly busy nights for us.

Do you have any Asian-fusion dishes you’d like to share! I’d love to know any of your favorites. You can comment below. I am always looking for good recipes. We’re rolling through Wednesday, and I couldn’t be more glad. Tonight I hope to get out on my road bike and make a good ride of it! Have a great day, friends!

XX, Megan

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Ingredients

3 Tbsp. reduced-sodium soy sauce or tamari (use wheat/gluten-free if needed)
1 Tbsp. rice wine, mirin or dry sherry
1 tsp. brown sugar
1 tsp. cornstarch
1/4 – 1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes, to taste (optional)
1 Tbsp. vegetable or coconut oil
1 lb. green beans, ends trimmed and cut in half, or use frozen
1 lb. ground turkey, pork or meatless crumble
2 tsp. minced garlic, (3 – 4 cloves)
1 Tbsp. fresh ginger, peeled and minced
1/4 cup scallions or chives, thinly sliced

Directions

(Start the rice first, if you are serving it.) In a small bowl or measuring cup, whisk together the soy sauce, rice wine, brown sugar, cornstarch and red pepper flakes (optional). Set it aside.

Heat a large nonstick skillet over high heat and add the oil. When it is smoking, add the beans (if using frozen beans, defrost them first) and cook, stirring frequently, until they are shriveled and black in spots, 5 – 8 minutes. (Meanwhile, slice the mango, if you are serving it.) Reduce the heat if necessary to keep them from burning. Transfer the beans to a plate.

Reduce the heat to medium and add the turkey, pork or meatless crumble. Cook until no pink remains, about 5 minutes, then add the garlic and ginger, stirring until fragrant, about 1 minute. Return the beans to the pan, stir the sauce again, and add it to the pan. Cook until heated through and the sauce is thickened, about 1 minute. Stir in the scallions or chives and serve it immediately, or refrigerate it for up to 3 days, or freeze it for up to 3 months.

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*The Scramble is a meal planning service to which you can subscribe here. For a fantastic price you will receive 8 weekly meals which means 8 recipes (main course plus a side dish), complete grocery list, the ability to tweak the number of people you are making for, and full nutrition facts.

PLUS tips as to how best to PREP your meal beforehand, add a punch of FLAVOR, and how to SLOW COOK almost every recipe if you’re especially slammed that night. This wonderful service really does live up to it’s name. You can come home at 6 p.m. and be sitting down to a DELICIOUS, HEALTHY, HOME COOKED meal by 6:30 p.m. most nights.

Fresh Spring Rolls

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Fresh rolls are one of my all-time favorite eats. I love the pop of the fresh ingredients with sweet and sour sauce or peanut sauce. I love the chew of the rice paper, and how they fill you up but are light and FRESH at the same time!

The other great thing about fresh rolls is that you don’t necessarily have to stick to the same ingredients. You can make them from different stuff each go-round. While the rolls are easy to make, they do take me some time. I am not yet a master of the wrap, and it does take some additional time to soak each rice paper. Just a note, so that you can plan that time into your dinner schedule. With prep, they may take as long as 30-45 minutes.

We ate these Fresh Rolls with the Indonesian Chicken Satay recipe I posted today. These rolls are also the perfect compliment to stir-fry, pad Thai, and any curry soup you feel like concocting. I hope you thoroughly ENJOY!!

XX, Megan

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Ingredients

10 rice paper wraps
1 avodcado
1/2 large red bell pepper julienned
1/2 head purple cabbage (I subbed shredded broccoli this time)
1/2 carrots julienned (1 large or 2 medium)
1 large cucumber julienned
1/4 cup cilantro (you can also use mint, basil, chives or all four!)
1 cup greens (I used spring mix, but romaine also works well)
1 can shrimp (or 20 peel and eat shrimp, cooked, and thinly sliced)

 

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Directions

Cut, slice, and chop all of your ingredients, and lay them out on a cutting board or a baking sheet so they are easily accessible.

Place warm water in a 9 ” round baking pan, or on a 9″ square baking sheet.  I used the latter. Soak each rice paper for 10-15 seconds. Transfer the rice paper to a plate, cutting board, or other flat surface.

Place your ingredients in the far 1/3 of your rice paper. Make sure not to overfill your wrapper. Ingredients may roughly fill 1/2 cup or 3/4 cup. Picking up the end of your rice paper closest to your filling. Wrap it tightly around your ingredients. Try to make the roll shape with this first wrap.

Roll once more around, and then tuck in the sides or edges of your rice paper like a burrito. Once your edge are tucked in, your ingredients should be completely contained. Finish rolling your wrapper to the end of the paper. Set rolls aside on a serving plate.