Dinner for a friend

We have a friend who had knee surgery last week and wanted to help with dinner for her and her family. Temperatures here were up to 100 today so we wanted to deliver something cool and refreshing. I opted for my my friend Becky’s Goddess pasta salad. I assembled the platter and brought the dressing so they can pour over the top when ready. It makes enough that it is our dinner too!

Becky is a Goddess Pasta Salad

Makes 6-8 servings

  •  1 3/4 lb shrimp, shelled and deveined and roasted with olive oil, salt and pepper for 10 minutes at 400
  •  1 (1 lb.) pkg small shell pasta, cooked rinsed and drained
  • 2 tsp Champange or white wine vinegar
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp pepper
  • 1 small head Green Leaf lettuce separated into leaves
  • 2 medium tomatoes, cut into wedges
  • 1-2 yellow bell pepper, cut into strips
  • Green Goddess Dressing

Toss together pasta, vinegar, salt and pepper.  Line a large platter  with lettuce leaves; spoon pasta in center and top with shrimp.   Arrange tomato and bell pepper around pasta.  Serve salad with Green  Goddess Dressing

Green Goddess Dressing

  •  1 1/3 Cups Mayonnaise
  • 1/2 cup fresh parsley leaves
  • 2 T chapped fresh chives
  •  2 tsp Champagne or white wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp anchovy paste ( I use much more than that)
  • 1 tsp grated lemon rind
  •  2 T fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 tsp pepper

Process all ingredients in a food processor until smooth, stopping to scrape down sides.  Cover and chill until ready to serve.

Greek Salad

Keith is not a big fan of Greek Salad – but he loves this one. Marinating the onion and cucumber in the dressing softens the flavors, adding shrimp makes it more appealing and using good quality Feta improves the flavor. If you don’t think you like Greek Salad, try this one. You could add a different protein if you don’t like shrimp.

Greek salad (for 2)

  • 4 TB olive oil
  • 1 1/2 TB red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 TB lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • salt and freshly ground pepper

Whisk ingredients together in a bowl

  • 2/3 lbs shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • lettuce greens (I used a mixture of green leaf and mache – Romaine is also good)
  • 3 tomatoes, chopped
  • 1/2 cucumber, sliced
  • 1/2 red onion, sliced thin
  • 4 oz good quality feta cheese cubed
  • olives (optional – I omitted the olives because my husband isn’t a big fan)

Toss shrimp with olive oil, salt and pepper and roast at 400 for 8 – 10 minutes.  Let cool to room temperature.  Combine cucumbers and red onion with vinaigrette in a bowl for at least 20 minutes.  When ready to serve, combine lettuce with cucumbers and onions (including the dressing), add tomatoes, feta, olives (if using) and cooked shrimp.

Slight change of plans

The plan for tonight was spinach salad with spiced pork.  I was going to use a pork tenderloin that I had in the freezer.  Since there was leftover stuffed flank steak, we went ahead and had the salad but used the leftover flank steak as the protein.  The pork will save until another time for us, but here is the recipe for you:

Spinach salad with spiced pork

  • 8 oz pork tenderloin, sliced into 1/2 inch slices
  • 1 tsp Sriracha
  • 1 TB brown sugar
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • Pam cooking spray
  • 1 package baby spinach
  • 1 red pepper cut in strips
  • shaved carrot

Toss pork slices with Sriracha, sugar and garlic powder.  Heat a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat and spray with Pam.  Add pork slices to pan and cook about 3 minutes a side.  Top each plate with spinach, red pepper strips and shaved carrot.  Then top with ginger dressing (see below) and pork.  Serve.

Ginger dressing

  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 TB fresh ginger, minced
  • 3/8 cup olive oil
  • 1/8 cup water
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1/8 cup rice vinegar
  • 1 1/2 TB honey
Shake all ingredients in a jar and use on salad.

A day behind

Things got away from me a little bit last night.  We had dinner late – I need to readjust my menu planning to allow for summer evening activities like tennis and golf.  No complaints as we are happy to have those activities recently restored during the pandemic.  I enjoyed this salad but I wouldn’t say it was a hit with anyone else.  Keith did say that he really liked the salad dressing so we will repeat that.

Grilled Salmon, potato and asparagus salad

  • 1 small salmon filet per person (I didn’t notice until I unpacked them that the lady at the seafood department had sold me one enormous filet and one tiny one – shoot for ones that are the same size)
  • small potatoes (I did some extra for Samantha who had hers with meatballs from the freezer)
  • asparagus
  • greens

Dressing

  • 1/4 cup good olive oil (I used some that a friend brought me from Italy)
  • 2 – 3 TB fresh lemon juice
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 1 TB chopped parsley
  • 1 tsp orange zest
  • salt and pepper to taste

Whisk all ingredients together.

Brush salmon with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.  Grill to desired doneness.

Brush asparagus with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.  Grill.

Put potatoes in salted water and bring to a boil.  Cover and reduce to a simmer.  Simmer for about 20 minutes or until potatoes are tender.

Place a mound of greens on each plate and top with dressing.  Top salad with cooked salmon, asparagus and potatoes.

grilled salmon salad

Tonight we are eating from the freezer – our favorite Cream of Maryland Crab Soup!

A new entree salad for Spring

I have a fairly new salad cookbook and was looking through it for inspiration.  I found an entree salad that screamed spring – it included asparagus and smoked salmon.  These are two things we love and two things that feel springy.  I tweaked it a bit and served it for dinner.  A definite hit and do-over!

Smoked salmon and asparagus salad

  • 1/2 cup half and half
  • 1 TB white wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1 TB minced tarragon
  • 1 package salad greens of your choice
  • asparagus (tough ends broken off and blanched in salted water for 2 – 3 minutes, then chilled)
  • 1/2 lb smoked salmon
  • 1 shallot thinly sliced

Whisk together half and half, vinegar, lemon juice and tarragon.  (Cream will curdle and thicken.)  Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Top each plate with greens and asparagus.  Spread smoked salmon across veggies and top with shallot.  Pour dressing over salad and serve.

Delicious!

 

Inspiration

I saw blood oranges at the grocery store over the weekend.  They looked so pretty that I had to buy some.  Then I started getting a vision for a salad.  The vision started with a blood orange vinaigrette and it grew from there.  We both loved the salad and it is a definite do-over!  You could easily adapt with whatever toppings you like.

Spinach salad with roasted shrimp and blood orange vinaigrette

  • 1 blood orange, juiced
  • about 1 tsp white wine vinegar
  • 2 – 3 TB olive oil
  • 1 bag baby spinach
  • 2/3 lb shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1 avocado, chopped
  • 1 tsp chopped red onion (I had extra from last night’s chili)
  • 2 tsp slivered almonds
  • 2 tsp craisins
  • 2 TB crumbled goat cheese

Mix orange juice, vinegar and olive oil by shaking in a jar.  Toss shrimp with olive oil, salt and pepper and roast for 8 – 10 minutes at 425 (until pink).  Place spinach on plates and top with dressing.  Top with shrimp (I halved them after they were cooked), avocado, red onion, almonds, craisins and goat cheese (or your choice.)  Serve.  Delicious, beautiful and healthy!

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Menu swap

This week was a bit unusual in that I had chicken on the menu plan twice – once in the Southwestern Cobb salad and once in the chicken with coconut curry.  The coconut curry was inspired by the fact that we had a packet of Saffron Road coconut curry simmer sauce and we had leftover rice from ordering Indian carryout.  I’m not usually a fan of prepared sauces and marinades but we have had several of the Saffron Road and they have all been excellent.  I was going to have that on Thursday and the salad on Tuesday.  Then it turned out that Graul’s was out of bone-in chicken breasts on Monday.  I wanted to do the salad because I found Queso Fresco at Wegman’s!  It’s hard to find so I was psyched to find the real thing.  Delicious!

Southwestern Cobb Salad

Dressing

  • juice of 1 lime
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp dried chipotle pepper
  • 2 TB olive oil
  • 1 tsp honey

Shake all ingredients together in a glass jar with a lid.

Chicken

  • 1 bone in chicken breast per person
  • olive oil
  • kosher salt
  • pepper

Preheat oven to 375.  Toss chicken with oil and salt and pepper in a ceramic baking dish.  Bake at 375 for 30 – 40 minutes.  Remove skin and slice.

Salad

  • dressing (see above)
  • chicken (see above)
  • salad greens (tonight I used mache but I often use Romaine)
  • 1 avocado, pit removed and sliced
  • 3 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
  • 1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • cheese (preferably Queso Fresco but you can substitute goat cheese or feta)
  • fresh tomatoes (you can use salsa but I have delicious tomatoes from my garden)

Mound plates with lettuce and top with dressing.  Line up chicken, black beans, avocado, cheese, tomatoes and bacon.  Serve.

End of summer :(

I hate to see summer coming to an end.  I love the sun, the pool, the warm weather, the fresh produce, etc. and dread winter with short days, cold weather, snow and ice.  I love to enjoy seasonal foods and although oysters will be some consolation during winter months, it seemed like a good idea to enjoy soft shells one more time.  I have three soft shell preparations that I love (with mustard sauce, Thai curry and on salad – all recipes on blog) but decided to go with the salad option tonight since we have fresh cherry tomatoes in our garden.

Soft Shell Crab Salad

  • Soft shell crabs, cleaned (1 -2 per person)
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • Panko (1 cup) – you can also use any combination of flour, panko and Wondra flour
  • Canola or vegetable oil
  • Salad greens (I use Mache but your choice and availability)
  • Cherry or grape tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup Mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup Pesto

Preheat oven to 450.  Wash greens and arrange on plates.

Whisk together Mayonnaise and Pesto.  Taste and adjust to suit.

Dip soft crabs in egg and then panko.  In a non-stick saucepan over medium heat, swirl in oil.  Cook crabs starting wit the shell side down.  Cover pan to avoid spattering.  After 4 minutes, toss to other side.  Cook another 3-4 minutes.  Remove to a baking sheet (cover baking sheet with aluminum foil for easy cleanup) and transfer to oven for 5-6 minutes.  (This sets the meat.)

Top each salad with 1 -2 crabs.  Drizzle with Pesto dressing and sprinkle with halved grape tomatoes.  Serve.

The pesto and the tomatoes help to make it a celebration of summer!

A new grilled vegetable salad

If you follow the blog, you know that one of my favorite summer sides is the grilled vegetable salad that has the goat cheese and grilled bread.  I could eat it once a week.  Keith likes it but probably not once a week.  I found a new grilled vegetable salad recipe that I tweaked a little bit.  I also knew that the salad alone would not be enough for dinner in Keith’s opinion so I added grilled shrimp.  It was very good!

Grilled vegetable salad with shrimp

Dressing

  • 3 TB extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 TB sherry vinegar
  • 1 shallot minced
  • 2 tsp chopped tarragon
  • 2 tsp whole grain mustard

Salad

  • 1/4 lb asparagus spears
  • 2 heirloom tomatoes, cut in quarters
  • 2 small zucchini, cut in thirds lengthwise
  • 2 unpeeled avocados, quartered and pitted
  • 1 TB extra virgin olive oil
  • salad greens
  • 2 TB chopped hazelnuts
  • 5 – 6 shrimp per person, brushed with olive oil, salt and pepper and skewered

Whisk together all dressing ingredients to make a vinaigrette.

Toss vegetables with olive oil, salt and pepper.  Grill over moderately high heat – about two minutes for the avocados and asparagus and about 5 minutes for the tomatoes.  Grill shrimp 2 – 3 minutes a side.

Roughly chop grilled vegetables (remove the skin from the avocado) and combine with greens and dressing.  Divide between plates and top with hazelnuts and grilled shrimp.

This was the first time I ever had grilled avocado and it was really good.  The salad would also be good topped with grilled chicken.  You can easily adjust the quantities or add other vegetables you like.

If you have leftover grilled vegetables save them.  (I reheated the grilled vegetables that were leftover and topped with some goat cheese for a different salad another night.)

Spinach salad with spiced pork

Tim the trainer is going to like this one too – lean pork tenderloin on a big salad.  Keith says he’s starting to feel like a rabbit but he was quite enthused about this combo – it’s a definite do-over.  The salad dressing recipe came from a friend’s book club meeting many years ago.

Spinach salad with spiced pork

  • 8 oz pork tenderloin, sliced into 1/2 inch slices
  • 1 tsp Sriracha
  • 1 TB brown sugar
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • Pam cooking spray
  • 1 package baby spinach
  • 1 red pepper cut in strips
  • shaved carrot

Toss pork slices with Sriracha, sugar and garlic powder.  Heat a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat and spray with Pam.  Add pork slices to pan and cook about 3 minutes a side.  Top each plate with spinach, red pepper strips and shaved carrot.  Then top with ginger dressing (see below) and pork.  Serve.

Ginger dressing

  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 TB fresh ginger, minced
  • 3/8 cup olive oil
  • 1/8 cup water
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1/8 cup rice vinegar
  • 1 1/2 TB honey
Shake all ingredients in a jar and use on salad.
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