Perfect Starter Salad

When I was growing up, my mom served a side salad with EVERY dinner. I wish I were motivated to do the same, but I find myself so turned off by the cutting of the vegetables, the mixing of the dressing, etc. It just seems like more work than it’s worth.

However, I have since discovered the easiest and tastiest way to go about it!

Ingredients:

Pre-washed arugula and baby spinach blend

Cherry tomatoes

1 lemon

1 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil

salt & pepper to taste

Directions:

Tear up the spinach and arugula. The kick of the arugula makes up for the lack of veggies.

Halve the cherry tomatoes

Squeeze in the juice of a lemon and the olive oil.

Add some salt & pepper and mix.

Breezy Side Salad!

Breezy Side Salad!

Tortilla Soup

Soup season is upon us! Nothing beats a fall weekend full of sweaters, football, and homemade soup. This recipe was adapted from http://www.myrecipes.com/recipe/chipotle-chicken-tortilla-soup-10000001087094/.

Ingredients:

Two chicken breasts (bone in)

1 clove of garlic minced

1 teaspoon chili powder

1 teaspoon ground cumin

14.5 oz can of whole kernel corn

1 cup water (I ended up adding a second cup at the end)

salt & pepper to flavor

14.5 oz can of diced tomatoes (the recipe calls for stewed tomatoes, but I couldn’t find any that were soy-free)

1 cup crushed baked tortilla chips

1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

7 oz can of chipotles in adobo sauce (discard the peppers and use the sauce)

1 lime

1/2 yellow onion chopped

1 stick of celery chopped

Directions:

First, make your own chicken broth (thanks, Mom)! Pour the water into your pot and place the two chicken breasts in. Add your chopped celery, chopped onion, and minced garlic. Add a dash of salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and put the lid on. Let it simmer for 45 mins.

Remove the lid. Carefully transport the chicken breasts to a cutting board to cool. They’ll be tender!

Add the tomatoes (unstrained), corn, adobo sauce, and spices to the broth. I don’t put the chipotle peppers in the soup, just the adobo sauce. If you’re looking for a stronger kick, mince a pepper and toss it in. Add water if it appears too dense.

Remove the skin and bone from the chicken breasts. Using two forks, shred the chicken by pulling it apart. Discard fat. Place the shredded chicken in the broth.

Stir. Put the lid back on and let it sit for about 20 minutes.

Serve with tortilla chips and a wedge of lime. Delicious! Happy weekend!

Middle Eastern?

I’m a mixer. The way I see it, everything on your plate is headed to the same place. So, why not mix it? Nothing beats getting a little bit of everything in one bite! This dish is definitely one for the mixers.

This is an incredibly easy and quick recipe for busy weeknights. My family refers to this as middle Eastern- it isn’t. My guess is the name stemmed from the pita. Whatever you opt to call it, it’s delicious!

Ingredients:

1 pound ground sirloin

1 red bell pepper

a handful of cherry tomatoes

a bunch of chopped green onions

1 cucumber

1 pita – Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods have a few options for soy-free pita.

Ranch dressing – Annie’s Naturals Organic Cowgirl Ranch is SOY FREE. It is not, however, dairy free. If you’re lactose intolerant, I suggest Lactaid pills.

Salt/Pepper to taste

Directions:

Tear up your pita into bite sized pieces and spread on your plate.

Chop all of your veggies into bit sized pieces (I typically cut the tomatoes in half). Spread your veggies onto your plate. If you’re serving for company, spread them out on a cutting board and let your guests build their own plates.

Brown your meat with some salt and pepper.

Toss some of the meat on top of your veggies and pita. Pour ranch on top.

What I love most about this meal is the variety of temperatures (cold veggies/hot meat), textures (pita, veggies, meat, ranch), and flavors. Feel free to add your favorite vegetables!

Steve’s Spicy Flank Steak

I’ve adapted this recipe a few times- I was initially inspired by my pseudo-cousin, Steve (a fabulous cook). Thanks, Steve!

I suggest you avoid this unless you have an extreme love for SPICY food. This recipe yields about 6 servings. I typically half it.

Ingredients:

1/2 red onion, chopped

2 limes, juiced

3 tablespoons brown sugar

3 tablespoons red wine vinegar

3 tablespoons sherry- this replaced chicken broth. While there are broths that are soy-free, they are very difficult to find. If you’d prefer chicken broth, I suggest making your own.

1 tablespoon of canola oil

1 medium jalapeño chile pepper (or three serrano chiles)

3/4 teaspoon garlic powder

1 1/2 teaspoons crushed red pepper flakes

1 1/2 teaspoons paprika

1 1/2 teaspoons chili powder

3/4 teaspoon dried parsley flakes

2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves (dried works fine if it’s easier!)

1 cup loosely packed cilantro leaves (I tend to add extra – yum)

2 tablespoons of honey

1 1/2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce (WARNING: Does contain “natural flavoring”!!! It has never bothered me in this dish- it’s such a minute amount. If at all nervous, omit it!)

3 pounds beef flank steak

kosher salt to taste

Directions:

Puree the solids and liquids into the bowl of a blender or food processor until the ingredients are well incorporated. Marinate the flank steak with 1/2 cup of the puree in a resealable bag overnight in the refrigerator. Reserve the rest of the puree to use later as a sauce.

Preheat a grill for medium-high heat.

While grill is warming, remove the meat from the refrigerator and let sit at room temperature for at least 30 minutes. Discard any marinade left in the bag. Liberally season the steak with the kosher salt, and cook to desired doneness, approximately 4 minutes per side for medium-rare. (for medium-rare, a meat thermometer should read 145°; medium, 160°; well-done, 170°)

To serve, slice the steak against the grain into 1/8 to 1/4 inch slices.

Pour yourself a bold red wine and enjoy!

WHAT TO DO WITH THE EXTRA SAUCE:

My favorite part- Coarsely chop your favorite veggies (I use onion and bell peppers). Toss them in a wok with the extra sauce and a few cups of water. Simmer until the water evaporates. They are to die for! Heed warning: the leftovers get so much more spicy!

Steve and I in the kitchen. Don’t be fooled- I didn’t do any of the work.