Grilled Romaine Salad with Dijon Vinaigrette

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I am good at cooking. I am scared of baking and terrified of grilling. If you frequent this blog you know of my experiences with the grill. If you don’t frequent this blog I’ll clue you in quickly. I have been known to set a grill to flames and even when the gas is turned off the grill is still engulfed by fire. Up to this point I have not had the finesse to master the grill. Now that it is 2016 and I’m feeling quite comfortable in the kitchen I’m taking it outside and learning to conquer my fears.

This salad is my first attempt and I am happy to report that so far I am pulling it off. I quite enjoyed the charred bits of romaine and would liken the wilted bits to spinach. The entire thing does not wilt or char, but the enfolded parts stay crisp leaving this salad with a lot of texture. The grilled corn and tomatoes with feta add a sweet and creamy taste. The star of this show, however, is the Dijon vinaigrette. It is the perfect tangy addition to this salad. The onion and garlic gives you a little bite but the vinegar and Dijon really stand out and balance out the sweet creaminess of the corn, tomatoes and feta. I am certainly going to make this dressing and try it on other salads. For someone who does not grill this was extremely easy to pull off. If you’re a beginner like me and are looking to learn the craft of grilling I highly suggest you start here.

Serves: 4  Calories: approximately 220 per serving  Time: 1 hour soak, 15 minutes prep, 30 minutes grill

Ingredients:

  • 3 ears fresh sweet corn with husks on
  • 4-5 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, depends on how large your lettuce is
  • 2 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 2 tbsp fresh chives, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 hearts of romaine lettuce, cut in half lengthwise
  • 1 carton of grape tomatoes, cut in half
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup feta cheese

Directions:

  1. Soak corn with the husks still attached in a bowl of full of enough water to cover them. Let soak for an hour
  2. Prepare dressing by combining 3 tbsp of the olive oil, red wine vinegar, Dijon mustard, chives and garlic. Mix well and set aside.
  3. Once an hour has passed place the corn (still in husks) on your grill rack over medium heat, approximately 350 degrees F. Cover and grill for 20-30 minutes or until the kernels are tender. Turn the ears of corn once to get an even char. Once kernels are tender remove corn from the rack and set aside to cool enough to handle.
  4. While corn is cooling brush the romaine with remaining 1 tbsp of oil. You may need a little more oil if your romaine is bigger. Depends on the size of your lettuce really. After they’re all oiled place them on the grilling rack over medium heat (again approximately 350 degrees F). Let them grill for about 3 minutes until they are charred to your liking and slightly wilted. Plate the romaine chunks.
  5. Corn should be cool enough to handle by now. Strip off the husks and the silk. Using care, cut the kernels from the ears of corn into a large bowl. Add the tomato halves and season with salt and pepper to taste. Drizzle this corn and tomato mixture with about a tbsp of the dressing and toss. Top the each romaine chunk with a bit of this mixture. Sprinkle feta over the salad and drizzle the whole plate with more Dijon Vinaigrette.
  6. Enjoy!

*Photo is an original belonging to me

*Recipe adapted from:

Better Homes and Gardens. “Grilled Romaine Salad with Tomato and Corn Tumble.”  Fresh Grilling. Ed. Jan Miller. Iowa: Meredith Corporations, 2014. 215. Print.

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Strawberry Poppyseed Chopped Salad – ★★★★★

11245474_10206328951400762_8669713775474277550_n11037467_10206328589191707_8662961639056008097_nWe don’t eat enough vegetables. There, I said it! I am a glutton for carbs and we have really been slacking in the vegetable section of the food pyramid. To change that we are doing chopped salads for dinner a few nights a week. Not only is this giving us the nutrients we are lacking but it is also SO easy to make. Dressing up a salad (with good nutritious things) really makes a difference, and makes it much less daunting to eat “just a salad.” Today I give you a great summer chopped salad that not only filled my tummy but tasted amazing. Who knew it could be so tasty getting your five a day 🙂 Perry gave this one five stars and this is why:

I am a carnivore. I enjoy meaty meals. Kelsey came at me with this “let’s eat salad” full force and, lets just say, I was not thrilled one bit. When I am told that I’m getting salad for dinner I think about a house salad you usually get with the main course. I should have known Kelsey had more up her sleeves. This salad is not your typical house salad. I will admit that the color of the dressing threw me off at first but when I took a bite my opinion completely changed. The dressing is sweet, tangy and savory if you can believe it. The salad itself was all about the toppings. The strawberries, I assume, are standard but the cheese and bacon…. They bring this salad to a new level! There is a lot of texture and flavor going on. I was left satisfied all around and give 5 stars. “

Serves: 6     Calories: 375     Time: 15-20 minutes

Ingredients for Salad:

  • 8 cups chopped hearts of romaine, or any other lettuce you love
  • 2 cups of fresh strawberries, halved
  • 8 strips of bacon, cooked and crumbled
  • 1 red onion, diced
  • 1 cup crumbled feta cheese, we used the reduced fat option
  • sprinkling of dressing

Ingredients for Dressing:

  • 2 tsp garlic, minced
  • 2 tsp diced red onion
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup white vinegar
  • 1/2 cup strawberries, chopped
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp poppyseeds

Directions:

  1. Place all dressing ingredients except the poppyseeds in a blender or food processor and pulse until smooth. Once combined stir in poppyseeds.
  2. Place a bed of lettuce on plate and top with strawberries, bacon crumbles, onion and feta cheese.
  3. Drizzle salad dressing over the plate.
  4. Serve and enjoy!

*Photos are original belonging to me

*Recipe adapted from http://lecremedelacrumb.com

Roasted Asparagus with Feta – ★★★★★

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I take pride in trying to feed my family healthy dinners, but I seriously need to up the ante on how often we eat veggies. That being said, I am trying to include one dinner a week that is 100% veggie based. The problem with this is that there are not many recipes out there that take a vegetable and stick to some sort of nutritional value AND pack in some flavor. All the recipes that look good are either smothered in a brown sugar glaze or have so much salt I would end up a bloated mess for about a week. This recipe surfaced from a google search that led me to www.gonnawantseconds.com, a beautiful recipe site that had me salivating by the time I was done looking through all the yummy meals. This recipe is a dream because it so easy to make and the asparagus tips literally melt in your mouth. You start by making a garlic and herb infused oil that I would probably drink if I knew no one would judge me for it. I think this oil would go great on roasted green beans, brussel sprouts, or basically any savory veggie you can get your hands on. I know that is what I plan to do to keep this veggie train in motion. The feta is an awesome creamy touch that Perry really enjoyed. He gave 5 stars and here is why:

” This one did not disappoint. The asparagus had a”melt in your mouth” texture at the tips but kept a tender/crisp texture towards the bottom. My favorite part was the feta. The crumbles that fell on the pan came out melted but when it cooled they were like parmesan crisps. I would describe the flavor as refreshing because it has a nice light lemony taste. I give it five stars”

Serves: 4-6      Calories: 157 per serving     Time: 45

Ingredients:

  • 2 lbs fresh asparagus, washed and woody roots trimmed
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 14 cloves of garlic, minced (original recipe only calls for 6 but I love garlic… Don’t judge me….)
  • 1.5 tsp lemon zest
  • 1.5 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup crumbled feta (I used sun-dried tomato and herb feta because… why not?)
  • 1 lemon

Directions

  1. Start by prepping your ingredients. If you’re using 14 cloves of garlic, which I totally recommend, this could take a few extra minutes.
  2. In a saucepan heat oil, garlic, lemon zest, oregano, and pepper flakes over low heat stirring occasionally until garlic starts to turn a golden brown (approx.. 5 minutes). Remove the saucepan from heat and let cool for 10 minutes.
  3. Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit
  4. In a large mixing bowl toss the asparagus with garlic and herb oil.
  5. Lay the asparagus in a single layer on baking sheet. Top with oil left in the mixing bowl and 1/2 cup of feta.
  6. Roast for approximately 15 minutes. Remove and spritz with lemon juice.
  7. Serve immediately

*Original recipe found at http://www.gonnawantseconds.com/

*Photo is an original belonging to me

Mediterranean Pizza – ★★★★★

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This was an “on the fly” recipe because we found ourselves at the grocery store short a dinner recipe. That is what is so cool about having this blog because I was able to look it up on my phone and throw something quick and delicious together. I used my “go to crust recipe” and decided I would switch up the toppings. We went Mediterranean because as of late I’ve developed an obsession with feta. The added bonus of this recipe is that we were able to get two big pizzas out of the toppings we used. Since this was a “throw together” I do not have exact measurements for the toppings but will do my best to describe what we used. Perry loved this pizza (mainly because of the banana peppers are his fav) and gave five stars. Here is why:

This pizza is definitely not your traditional cheese and pepperoni. That is one of the things I love about Kelsey’s recipes. She strays away from the norm and uses a lot of different flavors that work really well together. This one had a combination of all our favorite toppings. I love banana peppers and black olives while Kelsey loves sun-dried tomatoes and feta cheese. Every bite was different and equally as delicious if not more than the last. I was even able to bring left overs to work and it heated up great in the microwave. I give this pizza full stars.”

Serves: 4       Calories: 338

Ingredients:

  • 1 & 1/2 cups of all purpose flour
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1 & 1/4 tsp dry active yeast (I used the one specifically for pizza crust but the original kind works great too)
  • 1/4 tsp coarse salt
  • 3/4 cup of warm water
  • 1 tbsp olive or canola oil
  • Cooking spray
  • 1/3 cup + a pinch of cornmeal
  • Tall jar of sun-dried tomatoes in olive oil, sliced (also keep the oil to drizzle over crust before putting on toppings)
  • Medium jar of black olives, drained washed and sliced
  • Tall jar of banana peppers also known as pepperoncini
  • 5 oz. container of feta cheese, you can get the herbed kind if you like
  • Any herbs/spices you might like or have on hand (we used garlic, oregano and dill)

Directions:

  1. Heat oven to 450 degrees
  2. In mixing bowl combine 3/4 cup of flour, sugar, yeast, and salt. Stir in the water and olive oil. Beat about 2 minutes and stir in 1/3 cup of cornmeal and the remaining 3/4 cup of flour to make the dough ball.
  3. Sprinkle a little flour on the surface you want to knead the dough on. Knead for about 5 minutes, until smooth and elastic. Cover the bowl and let it rise for 10 minutes.
  4. Spray a cookie/baking sheet with cooking spray and sprinkle with additional cornmeal. Press dough into a rectangular shape, and pinch with fork. Bake for 8-10 minutes (until edges start to brown)
  5. NOTE: If you want to make two pizzas only use half of the toppings per pizza. If you only want to make one pizza than go topping-crazy 🙂
  6. Drizzle olive oil from sun-dried tomatoes over crust. Don’t drizzle too much because it will come out super greasy and I am assuming it may make your crust a little soggy for left overs. A little does it 😉 Layer your tomatoes, olives, banana peppers, feta and any spices/herbs you desire on top of the crust and pop back into the oven for an additional 5-6 minutes until toppings heat through and cheese softens.
  7. Slice and enjoy!

*Photo is an original belonging to me

**Recipe belongs to me but you have my permission to take it and change it and publish it on your own blog. If you post it I just ask for a little mention/credit. Sharing is caring right?

Greek Spinach Veggie Burgers – ★★★★★

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If you look at my previous posts you will find a recipe for  “veggie burgers.” I used to make them once a month and stock my freezer for the weeknights I did not feel like making a dinner from scratch. That is a great recipe but I recently found a new recipe for veggie patties that trump any other veggie burger I’ve had. These Greek spinach veggie burgers are  delicious, easy and healthy so I know I’ll be making it a few times a month. I would not suggest making them and freezing them so it is not a “stock up your fridge” recipe. We were able to get two dinners out of them though. Perry gave these a full 5 stars and this is why:

“During school Kelsey likes to make quick dinners because her time is very divided and precious. I feared that trying a new veggie burger recipe during finals week would add to her frustration but thankfully I was wrong. It only took her five minutes to whip up the patty mixture and another 8 minutes (maximum) to cook them. These burgers are delicious and as Kelsey says “guilt free.” There is a lot of flavor which is not something you would expect from a spinach patty. I would take this burger over my favorite greek falafel burger any day.” 

Serves: 4      Calories: 367

Original recipe found at: http://www.bhg.com

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup of olive oil
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1 tsp. dried dillweed
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1 cup herb-seasoned stuffing mix (or your favorite stuffing mix)
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 10-oz package of frozen spinach, thawed and drained well
  • 1/2 cup of feta cheese
  • 4 whole wheat hamburger buns or pita pockets. (Toasted if you like 😉 )
  • burger toppers (we used greek yogurt, feta, and red onion). Suggestions: red peppers, black olives, tzatziki sauce or dried cranberries. Get Creative!

Directions:

1.) Combine oil, garlic, oregano, dillweed, and black pepper. Stir in the stuffing mix coating thoroughly. Stir in eggs, spinach and 1/2 cup of feta cheese. Mix well.

2.) Form into four 1/2 inch thick patties. (don’t make the ends of the patties too thin because than you risk it coming apart when flipping.)

3.) Heat a large non-stick skillet over medium and add the patties. Cook for 3-4 mins on each side or until browned and heated through.

4.) Top with your favorite extras and enjoy!

*Photo is an original taken by me

*Original recipe found at http://www.bhg.com