Simple Dill Cucumber Salad! (A “Transition to Fall” Recipe!)

So, to all my gardening friends (I know there are lots of you!)  Is anyone else scrambling to use up their veggies because the air is getting nippy and the frost is threatening?  At least here in New York that is how it goes!  Or maybe you are simply overwhelmed with cucumbers…cause they are lively little guys!  The first to sprout, countless little flowers that turn into resilient veggies!  I LOVE how well my cucumbers do…but often times feel at a loss as to what to do with them!

Well, here is the perfect way to use ’em up!  This was just so delightful!  A great side to a slab of meat, and did well for a light lunch the next day!  What was even better was the fact that my cucumbers were so crisp and delightful this year…ohhh the texture of this salad was amazing!!!  You’ll love it!  Read on!

 

So, here’s what you need!

  • 2 Lg Cucumbers, or 3-4 C(You have to scroll down and see how pretty my cucumbers were, I was so proud that I grew them all by myself!)
  • 1/2 Medium Red Onion, or 1 1/2 C
  • Salt to taste
  • 1/4 C Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 1/4 C Water
  • 3/4 Tbsp Agave
  • Couple Cranks Fresh Black Pepper
  • 1/2 tsp Dill Weed (Feel free to use fresh dill.  I used what I had, and it was totes delicious, but would shine with a slightly different flavor with fresh dill.  Both will be fantastic!)
  • Tiny Dash Sriracha (I put it in everything!)
  • Tbsp Fresh Parsley (Garnish)
  • 1/4 C Sunflower Seeds (Garnish, my husband loves the crunch!)

 

And here’s how you do it!  (It’s really so easy!)

  1. Thinly slice your cucumbers.
  2. Thinly slice your red onion.
  3. Toss it all in a bowl.
  4. Combine the vinegar, water, agave, sriracha, and herbs/spices. (Minus the parsley.)
  5. Pour vinegar mixture over the veggies.  Toss to coat.
  6. Garnish with parsley and sunflower seeds. BAM!  YOU’RE DONE!  THAT FAST!  Woohoo!  Fun.  Easy.  Feel good.  I think this sort of thing is the real comfort food.  Because you don’t feel like death afterwards, haha.  ENJOY!

 

 

 

Aren’t those beautiful cucumbers?  I thought it was pretty good for an amateur gardener like me, getting on my hands and knees, ripping up a chunk of lawn, adding some fertilizer and throwing in some seeds!!  I really am quite proud!

Dill Cucumber Salad 1

 

Thinly slice your cucumbers.  Oh, and peel them to if you desire!!  I chose to 🙂Dill Cucumber Salad 2

 

Thinly slice your red onion!Dill Cucumber Salad 3

 

Toss it all in a medium bowl…

Dill Cucumber Salad 4

 

Combine vinegar, water, agave, sriraha, and herbs/spices.  Whisk together until everything is distributed, then pour over the veggies.

Dill Cucumber Salad 5

 

Toss to coat!  Garnish with parsley and sunflower seeds!  (I didn’t get a picture with the sunflower seeds because I forgot about that genius idea until the next day!  But Mr. Rodgers loved it even better with them on top, so you should try!  A great texture addition, and a good salt touch too!)

Dill Cucumber Salad 6Yummy!  Healthy!  This makes you FEEL so good as well as delighting your taste buds!!  BOOM!  AWESOME!!  YEAH!!

Okay.  I gotta go to bed.  But let me know what you think!  What is your favorite variation of a dill cucumber salad?

 

 

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Purple Summer Salad with Honey Glazed Chicken

I know I know.  Everyone is “sooooo excited” about the turning leaves, the chill in the air, the fact they can wear sweaters.  I just have one thing to say.  I won’t admit it until there is frost on my windows.  I am not letting summer go.  No sir.  I am not ready for 8 months of snow to start again.  And to make myself feel better, I am posting a SUMMER salad!  But really….this would be delicious any season. 😉

Purple cabbage.  I didn’t think I liked cabbage.  Probably because my dad used to juice it for a “health drink,” then leave the fibers on the counter or in the garbage can…which would have the house smelling rancid within hours.  If you want a super health boost, juice cabbage.  And throw the leftovers away OUTSIDE!  Haha!  HOWEVER.  When I was following the Maker’s Diet super strictly, I made a Chicken Chickpea Salad that was crammed with veggies.  It called for purple cabbage.  So I decided to give it a try.  It wasn’t so bad!  I kinda liked it.  And then I started craving it a little.  The crunch!  The color!  Yum!  Now I buy a head every time I go to the grocery store and will not make a salad or stir fry without it!  In fact, I learned to love it so much that when I found a recipe for a Purple Cabbage Salad…I got super stoked!  I adapted it a bit with the addition of chicken since I was going to be using it for lunch and wanted it to have that “you just ate a big meal” feeling haha.  The crispyness and savory/sweet thing that happens here is so fantastic! Give it a try!

Adapted from my favorite veggie cookbook, Deliciously Healthy Vegetables! Click here to find out more about it!

So, here’s what you need:

  • 1 Medium Purple Cabbage, sliced thinly
  • 2 green apple, thinly sliced (I like to slice it four times around the core so you have a core with all the seeds and stem, and four chunks that can be placed cut side down and easily sliced thinly!!  Did that make sense?)
  • 1 Red apple, thinly sliced (Fuji would be good too!)
  • 2-3 Lg Chicken Breasts
  • 1 C Pecans, coarsely chopped
  • 2-3 Carrots, Julienned or grated
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • Onion Powder
  • 1 Tbsp Honey
  • 1 tsp lemon juice

For the dressing (you can use your own, but here is one close to the original if you need some inspiration:)

  • 1/4 C Olive Oil
  • 2 Tbsp Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp Lemon Juice
  • 1 Garlic clove, minced
  • 1 tsp Dijon Mustard
  • 1 tsp agave or honey
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • (You may need to double it if you are going to eat the salad all at once :))

And here’s how you do it!

  1. Prep your veggies and nuts!  Slicey slicey choppy choppy yummy yummy!!  Pour a little lemon juice on the apples to keep them from browning, or save slicing them till later 🙂
  2. Generously salt, pepper, and onion powder your chicken breast.  If you want to stretch it farther, slice each breast in half long ways.  They will cook faster and look like more chicken once you slice it.
  3. Now cook the chicken how you desire; grill pan, grill, or oven.  Whisk together the honey and lemon juice and baste the chicken generously before and while cooking.  Cooking time will obviously depend on how you choose to cook it, and whether you sliced it in half or not. Just make sure the juices run clear. If you are grilling, just be careful unless the flames like the honey 😉
  4. Combine everything in a bowl.  You can toss it, or simply pile things on in layers…or try and make a flower with the apple slices like I did, haha!  I would recommend making enough dressing for a few servings and have each person drizzle it on themselves, because you will most likely have some left over and you don’t want it to lose its crispiness.  🙂
  5. Eat and enjoy!!  Crunch crunch, yum yum…healthy!!

Pictures!

Prep your veggies and nuts!  Slicey slicey!

Chicken Apple Cabbage Salad 1

Here’s how I did the cabbage if it helps.  Cut it in half, then thinly slice!

Chicken Apple Cabbage Salad 2

See?  🙂

Now season your chicken generously with salt, pepper, and onion powder.

Chicken Apple Cabbage Salad 4

Cook however you choose; grill, grill pan, or oven.  Whisk together equal parts of honey and lemon juice and baste the chicken before and during cooking. If you are grilling, just be careful unless the flames like the honey 😉

Chicken Apple Cabbage Salad 5

Now start throwing everything in a big bowl!Chicken Apple Cabbage Salad 3

You can leave it like this…

Chicken Apple Cabbage Salad 6

Yummmmm!  Or like this…

Chicken Apple Cabbage Salad 7

Whatever you think is prettier…tossed or stacked!!!  And…here is my sad attempt at making a pretty apple flower salad hahahahahaa!

Chicken Apple Cabbage Salad 8

So, what do you think?  Do you love purple cabbage as much as I do?!  Try this salad and let me know!!

Chef of Honor: Hannah Hayner with Kale Quinoa Feta Salad

Ohhhhhh man!  Earlier this summer Mr. Rodgers and I went to a barbecue crammed with good friends, good times (our life was forever changed by being introduced to Kan Jam!), and, of course….plenty of food temptation!   To make matters better (and worse!), it was held at our friend’s house who is a baking genius…oh man.  I was trying so hard to be good, but it was difficult with all the cakes and dips and the like.  But then I discovered this, made by one of my favorites, Miss Hannah Hayner.  WOW!  Just wow.  I no longer felt like I was missing out.  It had so much flavor, was so incredibly satisfying.  To put it simply, it rocked my world, haha!!  And so I escaped the post-bbq sick feeling, and was so satisfied!  Since then I have made this salad for Mr. Rodgers and I multiple.  It never lasts long.  It turns my husband into a human vacuum.  It’s so good.  You’ve got to try.  This lady is a flippin genius.  🙂   So, here’s what you need:

  • 10 leaves kale, cleaned and chopped into bite size pieces (or grab a bag of the pre washed, pre cut stuff and use a few good handfuls, enough to almost fill a large bowl.)
  • 1C uncooked quinoa
  • 2 C water
  • 3 Tbsp Olive Oil
  • 2 Tbsp Lemon Juice
  • 1 lg Garlic Clove, minced
  • 1 tsp black pepper (freshly cracked, reduce amount if using small grain stuff)
  • 1/2 tsp Sea Salt
  • 1/2-1 C Sunflower Seeds
  • 1 C Raisins or Craisins (She usually uses craisins, I stick with raisins because there is no sweetener added to them :))
  • 3/4 C Feta

Are your taste buds wailing yet?!  😉   And here’s how you do it:

  1. Start your quinoa cooking.  Bring the water to a boil, then stir in your dry quinoa.  Bring it back to a boil, put the lid on and turn it down to a simmer.  Let cook about 12 minutes, so that you can no longer see any moisture.  Remove from heat and let rest for 5 to 10 minutes.  Remove lid and let cool (if you are patient like that.)  We usually decide that we are starving and don’t care if our kale wilts a little by having hot quinoa dumped on top, haha!
  2. Whisk together your dressing ingredients!  AKA Olive Oil, lemon juice, garlic, salt, and pepper.  Pour over kale and toss.
  3. Add sunflower seeds, raisins or craisins, feta. and quinoa.  Toss again and serve!  You won’t regret it!  SO much flavor, but still so fresh and “good-feeling.”

Pictures!

Kale Quinoa Salad 1

Make sure your quinoa is going.  Get your kale cleaned, cut, and in a bowl.  Whisk together the dressing ingredients, dump over the kale, and toss.

Kale Quinoa Salad 2

And the rest of the ingredients,

Kale Quinoa Salad 3Toss…

Kale Quinoa Salad 4

And enjoy along with a good healthy meal!  Thank you, Hannah, for introducing us to such a wonderful recipe!!!

Grilled Stuffed Avocados (Summer Grillin’!)

Yeah.

That just happened.  You may have noticed that I am on an avocado kick.  I don’t think that will change any time soon.  I love them.  They’re healthy.  They’re tasty.  They’re 5 for $5 at PriceChopper.  😀  And this was such a fun way to mix it up at lunch time!  Plus, this meal made my husband really happy, and making him happy makes me so happy!  Was that sentence confusing enough for you?  Haha.  Are you ready for this?!  I don’t know if you are.  Well, either way…we’re doing this!!!

I have to credit my inspiration to my former boss and forever friend Aly Hennessy…I reported for duty early one morning, and she had made me scrambled eggs and grilled avocado for breakfast.  Yeah.  You all wish she was your boss, don’t ya?!  I could not believe how great the avocado was with a little char and the big flakes of sea salt…mmmm!!  So you can thank her for this experiment-turned-success!

Tuna fish sandwiches will never be the same.  And are now so much healthier!

 

So, here’s what you need:

  • 2 Avocados, Sliced in half and pitted
  • 1 Can tuna
  • 2 Boiled eggs, roughly chopped
  • 2 Tbsp Mayo
  • 1 Tbsp Olive Oil
  • 3 Tbsp Carrot, finely chopped
  • 3 Tbsp Celery, finely chopped
  • 3 Tbsp Red Onion, finely chopped
  • 1 Clove Garlic, minced
  • 2 Tbsp capers
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • Mrs. Dash to taste

 

And here’s how you do it:

  1. Start your eggs boiling.
  2. Prep all your veggies and toss in a medium bowl.
  3. Open your can of tuna, drain, and add to veggies.
  4. Peel your eggs and chop, and add to the bowl.
  5. Add your mayo and olive oil, capers, salt, pepper, and Mrs. Dash and mix it all together!  You have your stuffin’s!
  6. Heat your grill over medium.  Rub the avocado halves with a small amount of oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and throw on your grill for 2-5 minutes.  You don’t want it to get mushy, you just want to get some char…you know how I love grill lines!!  The added flavor is so fantastic, it really makes the dish.
  7. Remove avocados carefully, and stuff generously with your tuna filling!!  Eat, be satisfied, and love your life!!! 🙂

 

Grilled Stuffed Avocados 1

 

Prep your veggies…

Grilled Stuffed Avocados 2Put in a bowl with a can of tuna and two chopped boiled eggs.

Grilled Stuffed Avocados 3

 

Add all the other ingredients, minus the avocados, and mixed till well combined.

Grilled Stuffed Avocados 4

 

Rub your avocado halves with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Grilled Stuffed Avocados 5Place on a grill at about medium heat.  Cook just long enough to get a touch of char, 2-5 minutes.

Grilled Stuffed Avocados 6

 

See?  🙂

Grilled Stuffed Avocados 7Now stuff them generously with your tuna egg salad!!!  YUM!!

Grilled Stuffed Avocados 8

 

Enjoy!!!!  Yaaaaaay!

 

 

 

Hearty Roast Beef and Swiss Salad

These are a few of my favorite thiiiiings!!!  I just got that song in my head, because of this salad.  This is pulling from the archives, but I felt it was time for a nice big hearty salad recipe; it’s been a while.  However it has been long enough that I was studying the picture to help me remember exactly what I put in it…and I found myself thinking “what did I put in this salad other than beef and swiss?  Well…my favorite things!!”  Then without warning my mind was transported to a dance scene with the Van Trapps, haha.  Anywho.  Back to food.

This salad was fantastic.  It was one from the very beginning of our Maker’s Diet adventure, in fact it was adapted right from perfectweightamerica.com!  It was also one of the first days of summer last year…and I was still nannying.  I had put the baby to bed for her nap and went outside, sat on the wicker furniture, soaked in the sunshine that really wasn’t all that warm yet…and ate my salad and felt sooooooo good.  🙂  I was surprised how happy it made me!  You should try it so it can make you happy too!  🙂  Oh, and, as always…feel free to play with it!!  More or less of what you like….add things….have fun with it!  Salads are a great canvas!  This will stuff you…yay for healthy lunches that stuff you!!!

 

So…here’s what you need!

  • 1 Heart Romaine, rinsed and chopped or ripped into bite size pieces
  • A couple handfuls of spinach or mixed greens
  • 1/2 lb(ish) deli roast beef, sliced into strips
  • 1/4-1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 red bell pepper, julienned
  • 2 boiled eggs, sliced
  • 1 Tomato, sliced
  • 1 Cucumber, sliced
  • Dressing of choice (my favorite includes EVOO, AC Vinegar, Lemon Juice, tiny bit of Greek Yogurt, Dijon Mustard, and Sriracha!)
  • Swiss Cheese, grated to taste (I believe I used about 3 oz)
  • 1 Avocado, sliced

 

And, here’s how you do it.  (honestly, I don’ think this needs directions haha)

  1. Get your eggs boiling.
  2. Rinse and cut all your veggies, meat, and cheese accordingly.
  3. Put lettuce and greens in a large bowl and top with other ingredients.  Toss if you desire.
  4. Mix up your dressing (or take a bottle out of the fridge).  Dress each serving separately because this is a large salad and you don’t want it to get wilty…cause you can eat it for lunch tomorrow too!
  5. Eat and be amazed.  Tasty, so your “buds” are satisfied.  Filling, so your tummy is satisfied.  And yet healthy, so you don’t feel like you have bricks in your gut.  PERFECT for hot summer days!!

 

 

Here’s some pictures, to show you how crazy easy this is 😉

Roast Beef and Swiss Salad 1

 

Make sure your eggs are boiled or boiling.  Prep your veggies, slice your beef and grate your cheese.  And theeeeen…

Roast Beef and Swiss Salad 2Put it all in a bowl!!!  Whoo!!  That was difficult 😛

Roast Beef and Swiss Salad 3Yummy! Protein, vitamins, AND flavor!  How?!  I don’t know, but it’s wonderful….!

Roast Beef and Swiss SaladAll tossed together!!  Enjoy!!

 

 

 

Asian Inspired Salmon Salad (AKA Sweet Pepper Chutney Salmon Salad)

You know what I think is amazing?  Those moms who raise a bunch of kids and still have time to cook HEALTHY food that the kids actually love, on top of staying within a small budget.  Forget Superman.  I’d like to see Clark Kent try to do that!  To all you supermoms…you are phenomenal and I want to be just like you when I grow up! 😉  Shout out to my sister-in-love, Becca “Jim” Kirkwood, cause she’s got it down!!!

Anywho.  I just started a blog post with a bunny trail, ha.  Let me explain to you why my mind went there!!

LEFTOVERS.

Wonderful leftovers.  No, really, I love leftovers!  I have been blessed with the Kirkwood inability to make small portions of food.  Us Kirkwoods (or former Kirkwood in my case) always cook for an army.  It actually works out nicely, because the Kirkwood house is the hang out house…my parents are the cool parents that let all their kids have friends over at any time of night…and ALWAYS find something to feed them.  Usually something ridiculous like steak and mashed potatoes with garlic bread, even if its 11 at night.  Or if they are tired they’ll settle for a never ending supply of corndogs and dad’s famous rice krispy treats with essential oils!  Though my apartment here across the country from them is small…it is already starting to have the same legacy.  We have different people sleeping on our couch all the time, and you know how I love to feed people 😀  But lots of times I cook for an army…and it’s just me and Jay, and I have a lot of leftovers.  I still like it.  Cause that means less money spent next month on meals, cause this month’s meals are stretching out.  However, eating the same thing for dinner three or four nights in a row can get a little….”blah.”  So this brings me back to my adoration for supermoms.  Taking leftovers…and transforming them into something else so the family doesn’t know they are eating the same thing.  And BOOM! You saved lots of MOOOOLAH.  That was one of the first tips my sister in law gave me.  Transform your leftovers to save money and eliminate food waste.  I gave her the deer in the headlights look.  Hooooow do you figure out what to make?!  Well guess what.  I came up with this one.  Yeah baby!  Went from a tasty dinner to a creative, light, Asian style salad…all from my little brain!  Go me!  Not Super Mom yet…but maybe by the time I have kids, I will be good enough at it that I can put on the cape 😉

 

Wow.  What an intro!  Enough distraction, let’s get down to business 🙂

So, here’s what you need:

  • 1 head Romaine Lettuce (or 2 if they’re small)
  • 3 C Spinach
  • 1 Cucumber, sliced or julienned (I decided to julienne mine because…I was thinking Asian…and when I think Asian, I think about our favorite sushi restaurant, Ruyi Asian Fusion.  And it just seemed like something they would do…because their presentation is never ordinary in any way!)
  • 1/4-1/2 a Red Onion, thinly sliced
  • Half recipe of Sweet Pepper Chutney Salmon (About 1 lb Salmon, and 1/2 C chutney)

Dressing:  (This will make about enough for 2 platefuls of salad.  If you want to be able to dress the whole salad, you can double it. )

  • 1/4 C Olive Oil
  • Squeeze of Flaxseed Oil (Optional)
  • 1 Tbsp Red Wine Vinegar
  • 1 tsp Citrus (I used lemon juice)
  • 1/2 tsp Bragg’s Amino Acids ( my Soy Sauce substitute)
  • 1/2 tsp Ginger, paste or minced
  • Dash of Sriracha

 

And here’s how you do it: (Pretty self explanatory ;))

  1. If you do not have Sweet Pepper Chutney Salmon leftovers but still want to make this fantastically tasty salad, then click on the link and get it started now.
  2. Rinse your romaine and chop or rip it into bite sized pieces, and toss them into a bowl.
  3. Rinse and sort your spinach and add it to the bowl.  Toss with the romaine to evenly distribute.
  4. Slice your onions and cucumbers and scatter on top.
  5. Cut your (cold) salmon into small chunks and scatter on top.
  6. Distribute the chutney evenly over the top.
  7. Whisk together the dressing ingredients and serve on the side.  I do this because I hate it when I dress the whole salad and then we don’t eat it all and it gets soggy and I can’t eat it for lunch the next day.  Booooooo!!

 

How yummy does that sound?  Let me tell you a secret.  It was REALLY yummy!  And this is like…bare minimum for the salad…I didn’t have much in the cupboards, but think of all the variations you could do!  Here’s a few of my ideas:

  • Add a small can of mandarins, and sub the mandarin juice in for lemon juice.
  • Add raisins
  • Add apple chunks
  • Nuts or trail mix

What can you think of that would be tasty?!

 

Pictures, ready GO!

Get your veggies ready!  Clean them all, chop them all, and put in a large bowl!

Chutney Salmon Salad 2Chunk your salmon and add it to the top with the sweet bell pepper chutney

Chutney Salmon Salad 3

YUM!  Now take it outside and eat it in the sunshine!!!

Chutney Salmon Salad 4

 

Seriously, this was perfect for a spring front porch picnic with my husband!!  We took the puppies for a morning walk on a beautiful river-side trail and got some exercise…

Chutney Salmon Salad 1Aren’t they ADORABLE?!  The one on the right is mine 🙂  She needs a hair cut…anyways we started the day with fresh air, exercise, and their cuteness, then shortly after got to sit down in the shade, enjoy the sunshine, and eat something light, fresh, and oh-so-satisfyingly tasty!!  Such a good day 🙂

Chutney Salmon Salad 5Hallelujah!!  Enjoy!  🙂