Day 13: A Hearty Fiesta Salad

When one hears, “We’re having salad for dinner,” this can invoke emotions across the spectrum.

Grumble…err…all I want is a steak & baked potatoes with a quart of gravy covered over it, not some puny little rabbit food.

Eh, salads are so boring…they never fill me up, and I’m just tired of eating them.

Yay! Salad! I had one for lunch, and I can’t wait to try another way to turn the boring green salad or caesar on its head with this new one!

Are any of those YOUR responses when presented with a salad for dinner after a very, very long day? Sure, sometimes all we want is the one meal we know our doctor would disapprove of us having (like my stupid craving for Pizza Hut last night…what was I thinking?).

So we need an alternative. We need a healthy lettuce-based meal that is fun, interesting and (of course) delicious. It needs to be colorful and enticing to look at and eat.

Behold, the Hearty Fiesta Salad. Let’s make it.

Hearty Fiesta Salad
4 servings (2 for dinner, 2 for lunch the next day)

8 cups of greens (your choice–I used spinach and baby kale)
Handful of baby carrots or 1-2 large carrots, chopped
1/2 cup corn or other veggie (use whatever you have on hand)
1 cup black beans (rinsed and drained, if from a can)
12-16 oz of chicken/pork/turkey/beef or veggie crumbles, cooked and seasoned with taco seasoning (cumin, garlic powder, chili powder, onion powder, oregano, red pepper flakes, salt)
1 cup Shredded cheese (your choice)
1/4 cup toasted sunflower seeds
Optional dressings/on the side: Salsa, Guacamole

Assemble your plate or bowl by layering each of the ingredients (split the above into 4 servings). Add a dash of your favorite seasoning blend (like Trader Joe’s 21 Seasoning Salute) to the top of the salad for surprising flavor in each bite (much like a steak). 🙂

Eat, drink, be merry and full!

Happy eating! Laurel


Fall Harvest Salad

Enjoying the awesome fall produce right now doesn’t mean we have to cook it to death in order to enjoy it. After all of the hearty, piping hot soups and breads lingering around this season, sometimes we just need a salad. Something crisp, something green, something light. But it must be filling, or what’s the point?

Fall Harvest Salad
Sweet and tangy, this salad highlights fall’s pears and apples, along with the saltiness of a sharp cheddar. Dress with a light dressing, like poppyseed, for a filling lunch.
2-3 cups salad greens (spinach + arugula is in season)
1/2 pear
1/2 tart apple (Granny Smith)
1 ounce sharp cheddar cheese
1 tablespoon salad dressing

1. Wash the greens, chop the fruit and cheese into bite-sized pieces, and layer all on a plate.
2. Top with poppyseed dressing for a little sweetness.

Happy lunching!


Curry Chicken with Mango Salad

Do you ever come up with a dish based on someone else’s title?

I saw this on Curried Chicken with Mango Salad

It sounded really good, really filling, really healthy. And we had chicken, mangos and couscous…why not?

But that’s as far as I got with the recipe from Eating Well. I noticed that the chicken was glazed in a mango chutney and closed the computer. It was time to get creative, even if it isn’t the most authentic curried chicken on the planet. The results? One of Matt’s favorite meals that I’ve made. Surprisingly good. Hope you can use this beautiful, sweet mango fruit in your next dinner!

Curry Chicken with Mango Salad
4 servings  *12 oz. Tofu can be substituted for chicken

1 TB olive oil
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/4 t. + 1/8 t. crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 cup chopped red bell pepper
Dash of salt and pepper
1 cup orange or pineapple juice
1 mango, sliced into bite-sized pieces + 1 mango (for salad)
2 large chicken breasts cut in half lengthwise (total of 1 pound)
1/3 cup honey mustard
2 TB curry powder
1/2 cup rice crisp cereal, breadcrumbs or panko crumbs
2 TB chopped mint

Step One: Make the chutney

  • Preheat oven to 375. In a saute pan on medium-high, heat the oil and then add the onion and 1/4 teaspoon of red pepper flakes. Let heat for 1 minute, or until flakes are toasted.
  • Then, add the red bell pepper and salt and pepper. Cook for 3 minutes. Then add juice and mango slices, and reduce to medium heat, letting cook for 10 minutes.

Step Two: Make the chicken

Chicken + Tofu
  • In the meantime, mix the honey mustard, 1/8 t. red pepper flakes and curry powder in a small bowl. In a second small bowl, pour the breadcrumbs (or other coating). Dipping the chicken in the mustard mix, roll it in the breadcrumbs and place on a lined baking sheet (use foil with cooking spray or parchment paper). 
  • Bake at 375 for 18—20 minutes, or until crisp on the outside and cooked in the middle. (I turned a piece of chicken over and cut into it slightly to see no pink.)

Step Three: Make the couscous

  • Boil 1 1/2 cups of water in a pot. Once the water is boiling, immediately remove the pot from the stove and add 1 cup of couscous and let sit for 5 minutes. Fluff couscous with a fork, and add a dash of salt and pepper.

Step Four: Add couscous or rice to a plate and place the chicken on top. Drizzle with mango chutney and serve sliced mango “ball” on the side (see photo below). Sprinkle raw mango with chopped mint. Eat. Be merry.

Mango Salad “Ball”: 
1) Slice one side of the mango.
2) Holding the slice in your palm, slice vertical and horizontal lines into the mango, without cutting through the skin (and cutting your hand!).
3) After cutting, turn the mango inside out…voila!

Happy eating!


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