Saturday, July 23, 2011

Pork Chop Salad with Honey Balsamic Vinaigrette

adapted from allrecipes

I love that in summer I crave salads instead of much heavier foods. Unfortunately I also crave more ice cream, so it probably negates the simplicity of the salad. Regardless, this is perfect for a summer night and a great way to incorporate some seasonal favorites.


4 cooked pork chops, sliced {I took two pork chops and cut them in half width-wise)
marinade--salt and pepper, 1-2 cloves garlic, drizzle of olive oil
optional: bit of favorite BBQ sauce
greens of choice, romaine, spinach, mixed greens etc.
1-2 nectarines or peaches, cut into wedges
1-2 avocados, cut into wedges
cherry tomatoes {I used the tomatoes we had in the garden}
almonds, croutons, etc
sprinkle of sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Honey Balsamic Vinaigrette
2 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
2 Tbsp. honey
1/2 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
1 tsp. chili powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1/4-3/8 cup salad oil, or extra-virgin olive oil

    1. Place pork chops in a container and drizzle olive oil. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, and garlic. Marinate, if desired by covering and placing in refrigerator, or proceed to grilling. When pork chops are done, remove from grill and allow to cool. Optional- while pork chops are cooling, brush on a thin layer of barbeque sauce to both sides. Once cooled, slice pork chops into bite-sized pieces.

    2. For the vinaigrette, combine all ingredients except oil in a blender. Blend at medium speed for one minute. Next, with blender at medium speed, pour oil very slowly into blender. Add salt and pepper.

    3. For each serving, toss greens with a little dressing, top with tomatoes, sliced pork chop, avocado wedges, and nectarine wedges. Drizzle with more dressing and sprinkle with toasted almonds or croutons. Serve immediately.

    Thursday, July 14, 2011

    Peanut Butter Oatmeal: Afternoon Delight

    I got some steel cut oats last week (my first time trying them, loved them) and was playing around with different things to accompany them. As someone who adds peanut butter to lots of things (brownies, ice cream, granola bars, etc.), I am kinda surprised I hadn't considered adding peanut butter to oatmeal. Not exactly something to eat every morning, I'll still only let Siena eat it with applesauce mixed in, but certainly there are worse things you could eat. I enjoyed it this afternoon and it was delightful.


    1/2 cup steel cut oats
    1 1/2 cup water (if using regular oatmeal,  it is a 1:2 ratio instead of 1:3)
    1 Tbsp. natural peanut butter (or more!)
    a handful of chocolate chips, if desired

    Bring water to a boil. Add oatmeal and stir. Reduce heat to medium low and allow oatmeal to cook, stirring occasionally. Oatmeal is done with most of the water has evaporated. Remove from heat, stir in peanut butter and chocolate chips- adding a few on top, of course.

    Wednesday, July 13, 2011

    Lentil Burgers with Smoked Gouda

    from Simply Healthy Family

    The sound of this dish might not exactly make you drool like a double cheeseburger from Five Guys, but it give the arteries a nice break from all the summer cookouts. These are also a great meal for dining on a budget. We paired it with a this salad.


    2/3 cup dry lentils
    1 1/2 c water
    1 onion, finely chopped
    1/2-3/4 cup grated carrots
    3 slices bread, crumbled in food processor
    2 eggs, slightly beaten
    1/4 tsp. sea salt
    1/4 tsp. garlic powder
    1/2 tsp. leaf oregano, crumbled
    3 Tbsp. butter, ghee, or coconut oil
    smoked Gouda or smoked cheddar, sliced
    optional: roll or bun


    1. Wash lentils; add water and bring to boil. Lower heat & simmer 15 minutes covered. Add onion & carrots. Cook 15 minutes longer. Drain, reserving liquid, & cool.

    2. Stir crumbs, eggs, & seasonings into lentil mixture. Add some of the reserved liquid, if needed, to hold the burger together better.

    3. Melt butter in skillet. Drop lentil mixture by rounded one-third cupfuls into hot butter. Flatten & cook until brown on one side. Flip, top with slice of cheese, and continue cooking until brown on the other side. Place on cookie sheet & keep warm in low oven until all patties are cooked.

    makes approx. 6 burgers

    Tuesday, July 12, 2011

    Grilled Peach Salad

       This is from a random cookbook that my mom got free at Costco. They had a few good recipes in there that we'll be trying out.


    2-3 peaches cut into wedges
    1 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
    1 tsp. salt
    4-5 cups mixed greens
    chopped glazed pecans
    crumbled feta cheese

    3 Tbsp. rice or white wine vinegar
    1 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
    1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
    1/2 tsp. sugar
    1/2 tsp. sea salt


    1. Preheat grill to medium high. To prepare dressing, combine vinegar and mustard in a small bowl. Slowly pour oil into the bowl, stirring constantly to emulsify. Stir in sugar and salt.
    2. Place peaches in a bowl and drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and toss well. Place on grill and cook for 1-2 minutes on each side.
    3. Place mixed greens in a bowl. Add pecans, feta, and grilled peaches. Drizzle salad with dressing and gently toss to coat.

    Monday, July 11, 2011

    Orzo-Stuffed Peppers

    adapted from Giada's Kitchen: New Italian favorites

    This was a treat to make. We had home-grown tomatoes, zucchini, mint, and basil to enjoy. The red bell peppers were on sale for $0.49 each, so the meal was planned before I knew it. We ate this with a Caprese salad on the side to make it a meat-less meal, but I do think these would pair nicely with a grilled little something on the side. Next time, I will try incorporating a stronger cheese within the bell pepper to give it a little more punch.


    1 (28 oz) can whole Italian tomatoes- I used 3 large fresh tomatoes
    2 medium zucchini, grated
    1/2 cup chopped fresh mint leaves
    1/2 cup freshly grated Pecorino Romano cheese, plus more for sprinkling
    optional: stronger cheese like Gorgonzola or Feta
    1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
    3 garlic cloves, minced
    1 tsp. salt
    1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
    dash of Italian seasoning
    dash of oregano
    4 cups low-sodium chicken broth {can use vegetable broth to make it truly vegetarian}
    1 1/2 cups orzo
    6 sweet bell peppers (red or yellow)
    1/4 cup fresh basil, for garnish


    1. Pour tomatoes and their juices into a large blow and break them into pieces. Add zucchini, mint, cheese, olive oil, garlic, salt, and pepper. Stir to combine.

    2. Meanwhile, bring the chicken broth to a boil in a medium saucepan over high heat. Add the orzo and cook for 4 minutes.  The orzo will only be partially cooked. Drain the orzo through a sieve, reserving the chicken broth and add the orzo to the large bowl with the vegetables. Stir to combine. Transfer the warm chicken broth to a 3-quart baking dish.

    3. Slice the tops off the peppers and removed all ribs and seeds. Cut a very thing slice fro the base to help peppers stand up, if needed. Spoon the orzo mixture into the peppers. Place the peppers in the backing dish with the warm chicken broth. Cover the dish with foil and bake for 45 min. Remove the foil, sprinkle each peppers with cheese, and continue baking until the cheese is golden, about 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and carefully transfer the stuffed peppers to serving plates. Garnish with basil, if desired.

    Wednesday, July 6, 2011

    Chicken Salad Salad

    It sounds a little redundant, but I think that is the best name for it. Here is an easy way to take something delicious (but not exactly that healthy) and make it a little better and substantial.


    Chicken Salad
    4 cups cooked chicken (or make it easy with a rotisserie)
    2 cups cooked brown rice
    1-2 cups grapes
    1 1/2 cups diced celery
    2 cups fresh pineapple, cut into bite-sized pieces

    2 Tbsp. orange juice
    1 tsp. salt
    1/2 cup mayonnaise
    1/3 cup low-fat Greek yogurt

    Base for salad
    crunchy greens- like romaine, torn or chopped
    lots of red bell pepper, diced or Julienne
    1 cup slivered almonds

    1. Prepare the chicken salad by combining chicken through pineapple in a large bowl. In a small bowl, prepare dressing and when combined add to large bowl.

    2. Just prior to serving, layer the green salad with the chicken salad- adding almonds on top for extra crunch. Garnish with green onion or parsley, if desired.