Food made easy for busy moms.

Pear, Pecan, and Blue Cheese Salad May 24, 2011

Filed under: Salads,Vegetarian — alaskafoodmom @ 5:47 pm
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Sometimes the best things are the most simple things. This salad is super easy to put together and really shines with some key ingredients. I prefer to use organic ingredients whenever possible. The dressing is a very simple drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and reduced balsamic vinegar. If you haven’t discoved this amazing reduction in a bottle yet, I would highly suggest you run to the store and locate it. It is well worth the price and I use it for a quick dressing on salads, over blanched asparagus, roasted pork tenderloin, grilled chicken, really just about everything I can think of really. It is my new obsession.

Organic baby spring lettuce mix
Organic pears, thinly sliced
Red onion, thinly sliced
Blue cheese or feta cheese, crumbled
Pecans or walnuts, lightly roasted in a dry pan over medium heat
Cucumbers, sliced (optional)
Extra virgin olive oil
Balsamic sauce
Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper to taste.


Black Bean Corn Salad May 4, 2011

Filed under: Salads,Vegetarian — alaskafoodmom @ 7:02 am
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This a great side dish for either grilled chicken or pork chops served with white rice.

1 can black beans drained and rinsed
1 cup frozen corn kernels
¼ cup red onion finely diced
½ cup red pepper finely diced
1 jalapeno finely diced*
3-4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2-3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 lime
1 teaspoon ground cumin
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
¾ cup cilantro finely chopped

In a serving bowl add beans, frozen corn, red onion, red pepper, and jalapeno.  Drizzle olive oil and vinegar over mixture.  Squeeze lime over salad.  Add cumin, salt and pepper to taste.  Add in cilantro and lightly toss salad.

*Remove inner membrane (white part) and seeds from the jalapeno if you don’t want the salad too hot.


Asian Cabbage Salad

Filed under: Retro Dishes,Salads,Vegetarian — alaskafoodmom @ 6:57 am
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This is a salad that my mother would make when I was growing up.  This is what I lovingly refer to as a “retro dish”.  I have updated it a bit from the original with the addition of sesame oil which gives the salad a more nutty flavor and using rice wine vinegar in place of regular vinegar.  This is great side dish with chicken teriyaki or salmon patties.

1 medium green cabbage coarsely shredded
1 bunch green onions sliced
½ cup dry roasted sliced almonds
3 tablespoons roasted sesame seeds
3 tablespoons canola oil
1 tablespoon sesame oil
3 tablespoons seasoned rice wine vinegar
1 package chicken Ramon noodle packet with seasoning packet

In a serving bowl mix together seasoning packet from Ramon with canola oil, sesame oil and vinegar until seasoning is dissolved.  Add in shredded cabbage and green onions, toss until coated with dressing.  Add in almonds, sesame seeds and fresh ground pepper to taste.  Crush Ramon noodles and add just before serving to the salad.


Three Bean Salad

Filed under: Salads,Vegetarian — alaskafoodmom @ 6:54 am
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This salad is a wonderful pairing with grilled salmon and can be kept in the refrigerator for about a week.

1 can dark red kidney bean, drained and rinsed
1 can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
1 can white or great northern beans, drained and rinsed
1 bunch green onion, sliced (white and green parts)
½ – ¾ cup finely chopped flat leaf parsley, sometimes referred to as Italian parsley
2 lemons
1/8 cup extra virgin olive oil
Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper to taste

In a serving bowl combine the three beans, green onions and chopped parsley.  Squeeze the juice from the two lemons over the beans.  Add in the olive oil and salt and pepper to taste and lightly toss the salad together.


Cucumber Tomato Salad

Filed under: Salads,Vegetarian — alaskafoodmom @ 6:53 am
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1 English cucumber peeled and sliced
3-4 vine ripened tomatoes chunked
1 tablespoon canola mayonnaise*
2-3 tablespoons seasoned rice wine vinegar
Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper to taste

In a serving bowl add mayonnaise and whip with a wire whisk until smooth.  Start to incorporate in the vinegar until smooth and the dressing is the consistency that you want.  Add in cucumbers and tomatoes and lightly toss.  Add salt and pepper to taste.

*Canola mayonnaise has half the fat than regular mayonnaise and contains less preservatives and sugar than low fat or fat free mayonnaise.


Tomato Mozzarella Salad

Filed under: Salads,Vegetarian — alaskafoodmom @ 6:52 am
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This picture is an alternate to the recipe listed below. I couldn’t find cherry tomatoes or marinated mozzarella balls at the store. So, I did some substitution with whole tomatoes and a ball of fresh mozzarella cut up. Add in the fresh basil, omit the olives and drizzle the olive oil and balsamic vinegar over the top. Still the same great recipe, just a bit different. Give both a try.

1 pint grape, cherry or heirloom cherry tomatoes
1 container marinated mozzarella balls, drained
½ cup whole pitted kalamata olives or quality Greek olive mix
2 bunches fresh basil sliced*
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon aged balsamic vinegar**
Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper to taste

Add tomatoes, drained mozzarella, olives, and basil to serving bowl.  If tomatoes are large, slice in half.  Drizzle olive oil and balsamic vinegar over ingredients.  Add salt and pepper to taste and lightly mix the salad.

*To slice the basil, remove the leaves from the stem and stack on top of one another.  Roll the leaf stack and run your knife through the stack to create ribbons.

**Aged balsamic vinegar is well worth the price that you will spend for it.  You want to look for balsamic vinegar that has been aged for a minimum of 10 years and expect to pay $15-$20 for a bottle.  This will be an ingredient that you will have in your cabinet for a long time and can make or break a dish.



Filed under: Salads,The Basics — alaskafoodmom @ 6:07 am
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Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Cut a loaf of any artisan bread or other sturdy bread of choice into small cubes.  Add the bread to a large bowel and drizzle with just enough extra virgin olive oil to lightly coat all the bread cubes.  Spread on a baking sheet and season with kosher salt, fresh cracked black pepper, granulated garlic, and dried dill weed.   Bake for about half hour or until lightly brown.  Store croutons in an air tight container in the freezer.

Feel free to experiment with different seasonings.  I will often use the Alaska dill blend that contains dill weed, kosher salt, white pepper, paprika and tarragon.  Lemon pepper is another good seasoning to give your croutons a little zest.