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Category Archives: Salad

Fifth Week of the Nativity Fast: Crunchy Chickpea Avocado Salad

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Fifth Week Advent Wreath
Not only was this week the fifth Sunday of our Advent season, but it also marked two Saint’s Days in our family, both Buster’s and mine.  We both celebrate on the Sunday the Church remembers the forefathers and foremothers of Christ.  We also share this day with many parishioners including the Godparents of Snuggle Bunny and Little Man.  Needless to say it is a busy day for our family.

We managed to squeeze our Advent readings and a nap between Liturgy and a fastworthy graduation party at a friend’s house that day.

The theme for that week was repentance.  It was fitting and timely for the week as we prepared for Confession leading up to the end of the fasting season.

Throw in last minute preparations for get togethers with each side of our extended family, and there wasn’t a spare moment for blogging in the whole week and a half leading up to the Feast of the Nativity of Our Lord.

I planned simple meals for that week.  Many of them I’ve already shared.  I made Vegan Burritos using pink beans.  We tried baked potatoes and cashew sauce.  Only this time we used white potatoes and cranberry beans.  While it was filling and the kids had no complaints, I do prefer the recipe as originally posted.

Then there was this salad.  I found a great sale on Beanitos, so this meal was easy using cooked garbanzos straight out of our freezer.

Crunchy Chickpea Avocado Salad
I modified this from a recipe of Bobby Flay’s.  It’s become quite popular among the small people at our house simply because of the chips.

Crunchy Chickpea Avocado Salad

3 cups cooked chickpeas, drained
2 avocado, diced
1 small can sliced or minced black olives, drained
1/2 tsp ground cumin
3-4 Tbsp rice vinegar or white wine vinegar
Drizzle Olive oil (optional)
Salt to taste
1-2 Tbsp minced parsley or cilantro (optional)

Crumbled corn chips or Beanitos
lettuce for salad

Mix all but the chips and lettuce in a bowl. Let sit 20 minutes or so to marinate.

Put a bed of lettuce on a plate and crumble corn chips over salad.

Spoon chickpea mixture over salad.

Sausage and Sauerkraut with Dairy-Free Mashed Potatoes and Plenty of Vegetables

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I have some homemade sauerkraut at the the back of my fridge that needs to be used. It is very easy to make and tastes so much better when you make it yourself.  Little Man loves kraut and will eat it before the other vegetables on his plate.  He is particularly fond of purple kraut, and I agree with his assessment.  Besides serving it with sausage or pork chops, we like to sprinkle some over our stir fry meals as well.

Sausage and Kraut

Tonight’s dinner served as a chance to use up some stray vegetables at the back of the refrigerator.  I have to say, though I like fennel, I’m glad we used the last of it tonight.

Sausage and Kraut (with all the fixin’s)

2 lbs potatoes, large dice
1 package Gluten Free sausage of your choice
1 jar sauerkraut
1/2 lb fresh green beans, snapped into 2 inch sections
2 bunches green onions, chopped into 2 inch sections
1/4 lb radishes, optional
oil and salt, to taste
Pear-Fennel Salad (A friend suggested adding mustard and walnuts to the salad and dressing.  It was wonderful with these additions!)

How I Make Mashed Potatoes: First, start the potatoes, covered with water, boiling in a large pot.  Cook until fork tender.  Reserve the cooking water.  Mash in your electric mixer with 1/2 tsp salt, about 3 tbsp olive oil, and enough cooking water from the potato pot as you need to achieve a fluffy mash (about 1/2-3/4 cup potato water. Really it’s enough to make you happy, so use more if you need it).

Prepare the pear-fennel salad or any other salad you prefer.

Then brown the sausage on medium heat in a cast iron skillet, and use the kraut and its juices to deglaze the pan.  Put the lid on the pan to poach the sausages until they finished cooking in the middle.  Empty the skillet to free it for the next step.

Next add a little oil and salt to the pan with the green beans.  Saute them for about five minutes.  Then add green onions and saute them until everything is tender crisp.  This way all of the last bits of sausage flavor will incorporate into the green beans.

Finally toss some diced radishes into the again empty skillet with a tiny bit of salt.  These saute for just a few minutes until they are browning on the sides.

Honey-Mustard Chicken Tenders with Pear-Fennel Salad

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Today has been a day full of roasting and pureeing pumpkins for the freezer.  I freeze the puree into two cup portions, chill them in the fridge, then freeze them for the next year.  I make soups, muffins, pies, smoothies, sauces, and now pancakes with the spoils of cooking all our fall decorations.  Between now and the Nativity fast, I will be processing the rest of the squashes that have been decorating my house for the last month.   I even got a great deal on some hail damaged butternut squash from a nearby chemical free farmer.  Buster has requested that we try butternut pancakes, and I think it’s a great idea.

I am also on the lookout these next few weeks for a couple of well priced turkeys for the freezer.  I cook one and shred it for quick meals after Christmas.  The other goes straight into the freezer and waits until the first round is cooked.  “Why so much turkey”” you ask.  I like variety and this time of the year is the best time to get well priced turkey.  My mom and sister are also both allergic to chicken and beef.  This method of stocking up allows me to cost effectively cook for them.  Other cuts of turkey any other time of they year are out of my price range.

Tonight’s dinner is a favorite around here.  It is fast and easy, but and is made with things around the house instead of a bottled marinade.  It is based off a meal we were served once at a friend’s house.  My very talented friend Anita, is also a wonderful cook.  Anita grilled these on skewers, but I’ve modified the recipe for the oven.  I change up the sides based on what is in the house, but oven roasted potatoes are always on the side.  It’s the green stuff that varies.  Normally I don’t make quite so many sides, but I had a little of a lot of different things and hungry tummies to fill.

Today I served the chicken over sauteed purple and white cabbage.  That cabbage was left over from last week’s spring rolls and the borscht I made yesterday.  I’m still working on the borscht post, so you haven’t missed anything.  Then I sauteed up the long beans from last week’s CSA with a little onion in the same hot pan.

This week from Bountiful Baskets, we got lots of fennel and some pears, so I tried a fennel salad for the first time.  That fennel salad outshone the chicken!  Every kid ate it quickly, and the pickiest of them said, “It was mostly good.”

Honey Mustard Chicken
Tomorrow I promise to post what we always prepare with the rest of the package bacon.  This dinner is always prepared when the next morning is not a fast day.  The kids are always excited when we have this meal, because they know what is coming for breakfast.

Honey-Mustard Chicken Tenders

1.25-1.5 lbs chicken tenders
1/3 pkg of bacon strips cut in half, 1/2 slice per chicken tender (optional)
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp dried tarragon
1/2 cup dijon mustard
1/2 cup honey

Preheat your oven to 450 degrees.  Mine is usually already cooking the oven fries at this temperature, so it’s ready to go.

In a large (9X13) glass baking pan or casserole dish, whisk the dijon and honey with the spices and spread evenly over the bottom of the pan.

Place the chicken tenders in a single layer in the pan.  Evenly coat both sides in the honey mustard.

Put a half strip of bacon on each chicken tender if desired.  Bake for 20-25 minutes until the chicken is cooked throughout and still juicy.  Serve with a generous slathering of the honey-mustard drippings.  Sometimes when I’ve only got lettuce for a salad I drizzle the cooled drippings as dressing.

Pear-Fennel Salad

1 bulb of fennel, thinly sliced (everything, bulb, stalks, and fronds)
3 stalks celery with leaves, thinly sliced
3 pears, diced
3 Tbsp olive oil
3 Tbsp golden balsamic vinegar
2 Tbsp honey
1/4-1/2 tsp salt, to taste

Toss everything together in a large bowl.  Enjoy!

Black Rice Salad

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Black rice is sometimes called purple rice or forbidden rice.  Legends in China say that this dark whole grain rice was so rare and tasty that only emperors were allowed to eat it.  I can attest to it’s great flavor and remarkable color.  When cooked it takes on a dark purple hue.  Apparently this rice is also full of good nutrients and antioxidants.    I first tried this rice in a bread many years ago.  If you ever find a loaf, try it; it makes a great garlic toast.   So when I saw a package of black rice at my local Costco, I had to try it.  I’ve also seen it recently at Sprouts as well.  Let me know if you find it somewhere else.

Black Rice Salad

The black rice mixture in this recipe could be served as a side dish instead of on a salad.  You can serve it warm or at room temperature.  No matter how you serve it, it is sure to please.

Black Rice Salad

3 cups uncooked black rice
3/4 cup pecans, toasted and chopped
1 cup dried cranberries
1/2 bunch green onions, thinly sliced
3 stalks celery, thinly chopped with leaves
3-4 Tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped
Sliced mango, apricots, or peaches

1 head of green leaf lettuce, washed, dried, and chopped

Ginger Dressing
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon dried ginger
3-5 T maple syrup or sugar to taste
1/3  cup rice vinegar,  to taste
1/3 cup safflower or canola oil

Cook black rice with the water according to the package instructions.  Allow to cool 5-10 minutes.

In a large bowl, mix ginger dressing and adjust to taste.

Toss pecans, cranberries, celery, cilantro, and green onion in the large bowl with the ginger dressing.  Allow to sit while rice finishes cooking.

Toss rice with the other ingredients in the bowl.   Allow to cool to desired temperature.

Serve over a bed of lettuce with sliced mango or apricots.

Refrigerate leftovers, but return them to room temperature before eating.