Summer is right around the corner and I’ve been craving a fresh salad. I recently put together this salad using ingredients I happened to have in my fridge and pantry. Lately I’ve been buying spinach for my greens so I switched it up and went with kale. I used to just use kale in my smoothies until I learned how to “massage” the kale to have it in a salad. It makes it way easier to chew since it softens it up. What a game changer. So much better!
Why is this a “superfood” salad? Let’s discuss real quick. Kale has tons of vitamins, antioxidants, omega 3’s and actually has more calcium per calorie than dairy foods. It’s easy to add to smoothies as well as salads. Now that I’ve been trying to limit dairy, that gives me more reason to eat the kale.
Quinoa is an excellent form of protein which contains all 9 essential amino acids making it a complete protein source. It also has iron, zinc, potassium, calcium and vitamin E. Quinoa takes less time to cook than rice and has a subtle light flavor.
I consider myself lucky if there are any blueberries left in my fridge for me to eat. My kids looove all kinds of berries so it’s not often that I’m left with any. So when there are some, I like to use them wisely. In this salad is one of those times. Blueberries have plenty of vitamins and minerals and contain antioxidants which are good for fighting disease and supporting the nervous system.
If you’re not eating avocado-why? It’s one of the best healthy fats out there helping support heart health and lower cholesterol. It contains many vitamins, minerals and fiber and helps keep you satiated after a meal. It has a great creaminess to it so I often don’t even use salad dressing when I have avocado. Adding a little sea salt helps bring out the flavor.
Walnuts are rich in folate and contain a good amount of omega 3’s for a healthy fat option. I love the crunch the walnuts give in salads and use them often. Goat cheese is so creamy and goes amazing in not only salads but egg bakes as well. Beets finish off this salad powerhouse with a good source of calcium, magnesium and vitamins C and A.
SO MUCH GOOD STUFF IN THIS SALAD! MAKE IT! The recipe below can be made for 2 people (or just you- I won’t judge. I ate it all myself too). If you’re making it for a crowd simply double the recipe!
The weather in New England lately has been so blah that instead of making burgers like I should be, I’m making meatballs! That’s ok- it will turn soon! Sunshine is in our future, I know it. So since it’s not exactly burger weather, I figured I’d make meatballs with my ground turkey instead.
I like hiding extra veggies in meatballs because if you chop them small enough you usually can hide the complaints from the peanut gallery. I use my ninja blender to chop the carrots up small and simply chop the fresh spinach. Mixed with fresh garlic, a few spices, egg and breadcrumbs and we’re good.
Except I hate using breadcrumbs! Have you seen the ingredient list in breadcrumbs? Too much crap- including high fructose corn syrup. Since I’ve seen that ingredient in popular breadcrumbs at the grocery store, I do my best to avoid using them. Usually I’ll put oatmeal in my meatballs/meatloaf but I just made almond meal so I thought I’d use that.
I’ve been making almond milk a lot lately and with the extra pulp, I found out how to turn it into a flour/meal (bake in the oven on low heat for 3 hrs). I consider it more of an almond meal because I don’t have anything to grind it up finely like a flour. This worked perfectly for my meatballs to create the thickness needed to hold them together. You could substitute the almond meal for oatmeal which is what I typically do. I don’t grind them, just leave them whole (use gluten free oats).
Some people wonder how I cook or do anything with my kids. This is your answer. So much water play. Such. A. Mess. But it’s ok and it gives me some time to whip dinner together while they get some play time in. For those interested- first we made “cloud dough” which was simply flour mixed with some baby oil. Then we tried adding some food coloring to it. Next we were making “an ocean” and the food coloring ended up in the sink when I wasn’t looking. OH WELL.
OK I’ve made these pretzel peanut butter bars a few times and have finally perfected them! I’ve done them with or without the chocolate drizzle and both are good but let’s be honest- chocolate wins!
I start by melting the coconut oil, honey and peanut butter. The white chocolate peanut butter from Peanut Butter & Co is amazing so I loved using it for this recipe. I always have at least 2 types of their peanut butter in my cabinets- no shame. Their flavored peanut butters are simply the best and don’t have a bunch of gross ingredients in them.
While that melts on low, I combine the dry mix of oats, flax seeds and crushed pretzels. I just crush the pretzels with my hand so you can still taste them in the bar. Gives it a nice crunch.
Then combine the peanut butter mix into the dry mix and stir it gently until combined. You want it all to be sticking together. If it’s not then add a little more peanut butter.
Press is into an 8×8 baking dish on top of parchment paper. Drizzle that melted chocolate over the bars and pop them in the freezer for about 30 minutes to harden. Check out that chocolate!!
I chop the bars up into 8 total bars. I kept some in the fridge and the rest in the freezer. They unfreeze quickly and still taste great. I’ve had a few taste testers with these (not just the kiddies) and they’ve all given great reviews! Let me know how you like them!
Making dinner can be a drag sometimes, I get it. That’s why I try to keep dinners as basic as possible. If there’s an opportunity to make a big meal to use for leftovers- I definitely take advantage. Having something in the fridge I can quickly reheat for either lunch or dinner the next day makes my life much easier. I like to stretch my meals when I can so adding stuff like beans, rice, quinoa and veggies can help bulk up a dinner and leave you with leftovers.
Mexican food is a big staple in my house. Enter: The Enchilada Casserole Bake. I make some form of a taco/enchilada dinner at least once a week. I love that you can make it with either chicken, beef or turkey and they all taste good. The seasoning combination is pretty basic after you’ve done it a few times. I’ve adapted the taco seasoning recipe below from Danielle Walker’s book Meals Made Simple. I barely measure anymore but it’s something like this:
Taco Seasoning Ingredients
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 1/2 tsp cumin
1 1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp cayenne powder
1/4 tsp black pepper
I choose a protein then add my fillers that I have/am in the mood for. This time I used black beans, diced tomatoes and corn. Sometimes I add quinoa or brown rice for a more burrito style. I made 12 enchiladas which would be enough for 2 meals (1 in the freezer), but since my sister-in-law just had a new baby (hi Hudson!) I’m bringing her this meal when we go to visit. Who wouldn’t like an enchilada after having a baby?
So I start by dicing an onion with my ground beef until it’s cooked. Then I add in a can of diced tomatoes and 1/4 can of tomato sauce. I add my taco seasoning mixture, frozen corn and black beans and let it simmer for 10 minutes- this really helps the flavors blend together.
After that I spread a little tomato sauce on the bottom of the dish and start loading up the tortilla wraps. I put some mixture in it with a sprinkle of Mexican cheese then roll them up. Place them seam side down and push them close together.
You can make an enchilada sauce using the spices above and some extra tomato sauce. Top enchiladas with that sauce and a sprinkle of Mexican cheese. Bake at 350 for 20 minutes.