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.




Spinach salad with grilled salmon

Tonight was healthy eating night – spinach salad with grilled salmon.  I cooked the salmon on the stove on a grill pan.  It definitely helps to cover the salmon with a pan lid.  This salad is very adaptable and can easily incorporate leftovers or favorite elements (olives, nuts, other veggies, etc.)

Spinach salad with salmon

  • baby spinach
  • 1 minced shallot
  • 3 TB olive oil (I used some flavored olive oil)
  • 1 TB white wine vinegar
  • salmon fillet (about 6 oz per person)
  • pine nuts
  • goat cheese

Combine the shallot, olive oil and vinegar in a jar and shake to combine.  Brush salmon with olive oil and cook on a grill pan over medium heat about 5 minutes per side covered.  (I started with the skin side up).  Put spinach on plates and pour dressing over spinach.  Heat goat cheese in a hot oven for 3 – 4 minutes until warm but not melted and toast pine nuts.  Top dressed spinach with pine nuts, warm goat cheese and cooked salmon (and whatever else you like – we had the leftover garlic smashed potatoes on the side).


Healthy eating

Tonight we had a spicy marinated flank steak, sliced thin, skewered and grilled.  When you are trying to use less fattening ingredients, adding lots of spice can really help.  Keith loved it and there is enough leftover for his lunch tomorrow.

Thai syle grilled spicy flank steak

  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1 small yellow onion, minced
  • 1 TB fresh ginger, minced
  • 1 TB chopped fresh lemongrass or 1 tsp dried
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, minced (leave out seeds and wear gloves when handling)
  • 1 TB low sodium soy sauce
  • 1 tsp fish sauce
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 lb flank steak, diagonally across the grain into thin slices
  • 3 scallions, thinly sliced
  • 2 TB cashews, chopped

Combine honey, onion, ginger, lemongrass, garlic, jalapeno, soy sauce, fish sauce and sesame oil.  Pour over flank steak and refrigerate for at least an hour and up to overnight.

Skewer steak strips and grill – about 5 – 6 minutes.  Serve over rice topped with scallions and cashews.

Thai style grilled steak

Thai style grilled steak

Back to reality

The last week and a half has included dinner out for Samantha’s birthday, Samantha’s party with cake, a few other meals eaten out and our neighbor party.  Add all of those together and I’m up one and a half pounds.  Not a lot, but I know how hard it is to lose.  So I planned a very healthy dinner tonight to get us back on track:

Grilled scallop salad

  • Romaine lettuce, washed and dried
  • 2 TB olive oil
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 3 TB mint leaves, torn
  • 1/2 seedless cucumber, washed and cut in half lengthwise and brushed with olive oil
  • 3 scallops per person, brushed with olive oil
  • 1 avocado, pitted and sliced

Whisk together olive oil, lime juice and mint leaves.  Toss with romaine lettuce in a large bowl.  You can either grill the cucumber or include it uncooked.  Grill the scallops on a grill pan over the stove, about 3 minutes per side.  Chop cucumber and add to lettuce mixture.

Divide lettuce mixture between plates.  Top with sliced avocado and seared scallops.   The finished product:

Salad with grilled scallops

Healthy dinner

We are approaching the magical time of year when I start to realize that the pool will be opening in less than 2 months and that it is time to stop hibernating and eating homemade onion rings and try to get in a few more healthy veggies and drop a couple of pounds.  This salad is a great option.  My husband even commented that he really likes this salad (in spite of the fact that it isn’t a salad with bacon or cheese!)  And it only takes a few minutes to put together.

Chicken Fajita Salad


  • 3/4 lb skinless boneless chicken breasts
  • 1 TB Cajun Seasoning
  • 2 tsp olive oil

Sprinkle Cajun Seasoning on both sides of chicken and brush with olive oil.  Grill outside or in or sear in a nonstick pan until done.

Salad Dressing

  • 1/2 cup Salsa
  • 1/4 cup chopped red onion
  • 1 TB lime juice
  • 1 TB balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard

Combine all ingredients in a blender or food processor.  Place dressing in a jar and refrigerate until ready to use.  This can easily be done the night before to expedite weeknight dinner preparation.


  • Salad Greens, washed and dried
  • 1 Red Pepper, sliced
  • 1 Yellow Pepper, sliced
  • 1 Tomato, chopped
  • 1 Avocado, sliiced

Toss greens, peppers and tomato, chopping.  Add salad dressing and toss to combine.  Serve salad and top each plate with sliced grilled chicken and sliced avocado.

Chicken Fajita salad

Chicken Fajita salad

Greek salad with shrimp

The weather here has been unseasonably warm.  That makes me crave salad.  Tonight was one of my new favorites – Greek salad with shrimp.  Here is the recipe and a picture:

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.

The "Big Salad"

Chicken and veggies

I adapted this from a Weight Watchers recipe (time to start eating a little healthier now that the holidays are over.)  The recipe called for cooking the chicken for about 30 minutes but ours was nowhere near done after 30 minutes.  Next time, I’ll start it earlier and I may try cutting the breasts in half.

Chicken and veggies

  • 1 bone in chicken breast per person
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 TB chopped thyme
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 4 small red potatoes sliced
  • 3 shallots, sliced
  • 6 additional cloves of garlic, sliced
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 4 thin slices lemon

Combine 2 cloves of garlic with thyme and salt.  Stuff under skin of chicken breasts.  Toss potatoes, shallots and sliced garlic with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.  Put chicken at one end of a ceramic baking dish and potato mixture at the other.  Place lemon slices on top of chicken and bake at 375 for 45 minutes or until meat thermometer registers 140.  Broil for 2 minutes to brown and serve.  I had mine with an arugula salad topped with Parmesan crackers.

Eating light to start 2013

Eating light to start 2013