Seared Pork Cabbage Salad with Wild Orange Essential Oil

Hey everybody!!  I hope this finds you all  happy, healthy, and whole!
Things are a little crazy around the Rodgers home, which means it has been a fight for health. Those busy days, when you’ve worked ungodly amounts in one day, and the blankets and Netflix are calling your name…  Those are our weakness around here, and there have been a lot of them lately!! So if you think of us, send some prayers our way…because we want to feel good!! And feeling good starts with good food!
Speaking of good food…I have returned to the archives. And look what I found!! I so wish I was better at pictures because these really don’t do it justice…but this salad was FABULOUS!  

  
Aweeee yeah baby. This salad had it all…satisfying, flavorful protein…crunchy veggies, and a creamy comfort from everyone’s favorite green thing…avocados! And the icing on the cake…(I feel like I should not be using that phrase…the dressing on the salad?  Let’s start using that one instead, health nerds!!)…cabbage is cheap, pork is cheap…this meal is cheap!!  Hallelujah healthy for your body and your budget!! So, you ready to find out how to make it for yourself?!

Note: the original calls for orange juice.  Mr. Rodgers doesn’t do orange juice, too much sugar!  So I substituted Wild Orange Essential Oil blended with Olive Oil. The flavor was fantastic, and it is much better for you!!  My preferred brand is DoTerra. :). If you have questions on oils, leave me a comment and I can hook you up with my mom, she is an oil genius 😉
Here’s what you need:

  • 1 lb Boneless Pork Loin
  • 3 Tbsp Cumin
  • 2 Tbsp Chili Powder
  • Salt and Pepper (about 1 Tbsp of each)
  • Pinch of Cinnamon (I added this for Mr. Rodgers, he LOVES it on meat)
  • 3-4 Tbsp preferred cooking oil, recipe calls for olive oil but I don’t like heating it, I believe I used Coconut Oil
  • 1 Two Pound head Green Cabbage, cored and thinly sliced
  • 1/2 C Lime Juice (4ish limes)
  • 1 Chile Pepper (I usually use Serrano) 
  • 1 Red Onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 Cloves Garlic, minced
  • 2 Ripe Avocadoes, peeled, pitted and chopped
  • 3-4 Drops Wild Orange Essential Oil 
  • 1/4 C Olive Oil
  • 1/4 C Red Wine Vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp Cilanro Paste
  • Sale and Pepper
  • Optional: Toasted seeds of some kind, ie pumpkin seeds

And here’s how you do it!

  1. Combine cumin, chili powder, cinnamon, salt and pepper. Rub it alllllll over that pork. 
  2. Heat your oil over medium high heat. Add the meat and cook 3-4 minutes per side so you have a nice sear, making sure it is done but not super done. 
  3. Remove from heat and let sit while you assemble your salad. 
  4. Whisk the orange oil into the olive oil so that it is combined and the flavor is infused. Feel free to taste and adjust depending on how strong you want the orange flavor. 
  5. Combine everything but the meat in a large bowl (including your orange oil mixture).  
  6. Slice your pork into thin slices and lay across the top of the salad. You are ready to enjoy!!

Peectures:

  
Seasoned and ready to sear!

  
Yum!! A little spice, a little texture!

  
All the salad ingredients in a bowl…

  
Tossed and coated…

  
Sliced…

  
Topped…

  
And ready to go!! Hope you enjoy guys!!

Protein Packed Super Salad!

Yum!  I have noticed something about myself.  I cannot make a small salad.  Or a boring one haha!  They all end up huge, colorful, and ridiculously tasty!!  I get so inspired when I make them, that I wanted to share some of that inspiration with you!

We have to eat on the go pretty often…I have to have meals ready in the fridge so we can get up and go in the mornings and not see home until midnight or so.  The easiest and healthiest meal for this lifestyle is definitely salads!  However, making them filling and satisfying is tricky, and so important because let’s just be honest here…if you aren’t full, you’ll binge.  The best way I have found to do this is to CRAM as much protein in there that I can!  It fills the tummy, satisfies the need for your molars to really chew on something, and gives you that meaty taste so you felt like you just ate a MEAL.  So!  Here’s my newest creation!

 

Here’s what you need (For a very large salad!):

  • 3 Lg Chicken Breasts, Cut in half long ways
  • 3 Eggs, Boiled
  • 1 Package Turkey Bacon, Cooked
  • 1 Lg Romaine Heart
  • 2-3 Handfuls Baby Spinach
  • 2-3 Handfuls Spring Mix
  • 1 Tomato, Chopped
  • 1 Avocado, Sliced
  • 1 Bell Pepper, Julienned
  • 1/4 Head Purple Cabbage, Sliced
  • 1/4 Red Onion, Sliced
  • Handful Broccoli Sprouts
  • 2 Carrots, Sliced
  • 1/2 Head Broccoli, Cut into florets
  • Salt, Pepper, and Favorite Poultry Seasonings
  • Dressing of choice.  I make mine out of olive oil, Dijon, lemon, and apple cider vinegar…maybe a little sour cream if I want it creamy or sriracha if I want an extra hit!

 

And here’s how you do it:

  1. Carefully halve your chicken breasts length wise and season generously.  I used salt, pepper, rosemary, Mrs. Dash, garlic and onion.  Place on a medium heat grill or grill pan and cook until done; 10 -15 minutes total, turning part way through.
  2. Get your eggs boiling and your bacon cooking!
  3. Rinse and prepare all your veggies accordingly and toss in a large bowl. (You can keep your avocados for the top if you want!)
  4. Cut chicken into bite sized pieces, slice eggs, and crumble bacon and put on top of the salad.
  5. Serve and dress!!  So healthy, filling, and tasty!!!

Pretty easy, right?!  Let’s see some pictures 🙂

Photo (1)

Slice your chicken breasts in half and season generously.

Photo (2)

Place on a medium heat grill and cook until done, about 10-15 minutes, turning at least once.

Photo (3)

Get your eggs boiling and your bacon cooking.

Photo (5)

Rinse and prepare all your veggies and put in a large bowl.  Cut your chicken into bite sized pieces, slice your eggs, crumble your bacon, and add it to the salad.

Photo (6)

Look at all that protein!!  Yay!  SO yummy!  You can attack it as is…

Photo (7)

…or toss it all together and devour that way!

Photo (8)

So many veggies, flavors, colors, proteins…YAAAAAAAAAAY!!

Enjoy!

Valentine “Heart” Salad! (Spring Greens with Ahi Tuna and Fresh “Salsa” Dressing)

‘Tis the season of love! Of showing that special someone how you feel, in sweet, corny ways. Of indulgences and fancy dinners and candle light.  I LOVE ALL OF THESE THINGS!  However, you may be wanting to avoid breaking the bank by going out to that $150 bill restaurant…or perhaps you want to stay on track with your resolutions but still celebrate love in a memorable way…with memorable food.  Have I got a fun, easy recipe for you!!

What I love about this is 1) I completely made it up myself, and 2) the ❤ part of this salad was a completely unplanned accident, that turned out perfect for Valentines Day!  I’m an accidental genius!

Look at this pretty little “love” salad:

Photo (5)

How precious is that?  So without further ado…

Here’s what you need:

For Salad: (Whatever you use to build your usual salad, this is what I used)

  • 2-3 Handfuls Spring Mix
  • 2-3 Handfuls Baby Spinach
  • 1 Heart Romaine, Torn into Bite Sized Pieces
  • 1 Yellow Bell Pepper, Julienned
  • 1/2 Cucumber, Sliced
  • 2 Carrots, Sliced
  • Avocado, Sliced

For Fish:

  • 2 Ahi Tuna Steaks, 1 lb (They come in this shape! Yay!)
  • Sea Salt and Pepper
  • Chili Powder
  • Cumin

For “Salsa Dressing”  (You may want to double if you are planning on serving more than 2-3 people)

  • 1 Lg Tomato
  • 2 Tbsp Minced Red Onon
  • 2 Tbsp Olive Oil
  • 1/2 Tbsp Lime Juice
  • 1/2 Tbsp Red Wine Vinegar
  • Squeeze of Cilantro Paste (You can use fresh, I was making this up on the fly so didn’t have any on hand)
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

 

And here’s how you do it!

  1. Preheat oven to 350*
  2. Place tuna steaks in an oven safe pan.  Sprinkle with salt, pepper, chili powder, and cumin on both sides.  I would not cover the fish as generously as I usually have you season things.  Just a nice sprinkling so the flavor of the fish is not overwhelmed.  Set aside until oven is ready.
  3. While you wait on the oven, place all of your salad ingredients in a large bowl.
  4. Combine all of your salsa ingredients and whisk with a fork until evenly incorporated.  It will have more liquid than a normal salsa, since the purpose is for it to be the dressing for the salad.
  5. Slide tuna in oven and bake until flakes easily with a fork.  My steaks were thick and I wanted them well done, so it took about 2o minutes.  You can adjust to your tastes and steaks 🙂
  6. Place tuna steak on top of salad and drizzle with salsa dressing.  Then hand it to your sweetheart to show them how much you care 😉

 

Peectures:

Photo (1)

See how beautiful those hearts are?!  Sorry…they just make me so happy!

Photo (2)

Preheat your oven to 350*.  Now sprinkle the seasonings on both sides of the fish…see my sprinkling?  That’s all you need.

Photo

Built your big salad (excuse the ghetto nature of my salad bowl…I make big quantities and keep them in giant Tupperware so we always have salad on hand.)

Photo (3)

Mix together your salsa salad dressing.

Photo (4)

Place your fish on top of some salad…

Photo (6)

Sprinkle with salsa….

Photo (7)

This was my husband’s romantic salad to go, haha.  Now eat however you desire!!  I shredded mine up and mixed it in.  It.  Was.  Delicious.

 

Photo (8)

And bam!  There you have it folks!  Healthy, delicious, and romantic!!  Enjoy!

 

 

Fresh Four Layer Quinoa Salad

 

Wow.  Just wow.  I didn’t know how I would feel about this…being a not-so-big fan of tomatoes.  I have found a few things I can eat them in that I can tolerate…even almost like.  But I always know they are there, and fight the cringe because I know they are good for me and it’s just in my head.

Well this was different.  It’s like they weren’t even there.  Not a thought to cringe.  I was too busy shoving this in my face.

Funny thing is, I made this the day after Mr. Rodgers and I had decided “we really have to stop cheating, let’s try harder to plan ahead and eat healthy.”  Well my day was insane…leaving the house at 7 am, working a 6 hour shift at one job, coming home for a couple of minutes, then heading to job number two for an 8 hour shift.  I really wanted to just drive through McDonalds.  Gross, I know.  Guilty pleasure.  I cannot pretend that I do not like McChickens and cheeseburgers and lard-fried French fries.  But I am trying so hard to leave them all behind.  So in my short amount of time I had at home, I made this bad boy.  Texted Mr. Rodgers to see where he was, and found out that he was at said job number two with a friend, waiting to say hi to me.  So I packed up this beautiful salad, and drove on over.  Walked in to see him spooning marshmallow ice cream into his mouth.

Instead of reacting, I just walked over with this gorgeous salad in my hand.  He looked at it, stopped, and said something along the lines of “Oh my gosh, what is that?!  It looks sooo good!”  And then proceeded to look at his ice cream with an ounce of disgust.  Not a “you are gross” sort of disgust.  I’m not gonna lie.  Marshmallow ice cream is my favorite.  But more of a “why am I eating you right now when I could be eating that instead, and feel a lot better afterwards…?”  Haha!  Then as I continued to walk through the store, I got similar reactions from our friend that was hanging out with Mr. Rodgers, and my manager, who was talking about how “cute” that salad was until she left for the evening.  And I got to introduce her to quinoa!  I love informing people of my wonderful protein-packed and oh so delicious  friend called quinoa!

So, without further ado, here is my four layer salad…my new salad obsession that forever changed my life! 😉

Adapted from this wonderful $3 find!!!

Steak Mango 2Find it on Amazon here, or if you are in my area…go to a 5 Below store and pick it up!  They have lots of cook books I want to try!

This is the same book I adapted my Steak and Mango Salad from…it’s hard to say which I liked best cause they were both so fantastic!!  Yay for salads worth getting excited about!

 

So, here’s what you need:

  • 1/2 Large bag fresh spinach
  • 2-3 Ripe Tomatoes, diced…depending on your love level for them 😉
  • 1/4 Large Red Onion, Minced
  • 1 Small Yellow Bell Pepper, Diced
  • 1/2 Serrano Pepper, Minced
  • 2 Garlic Cloves, Minced
  • 2 Avocadoes
  • 1 Lime (for the juice)
  • 3 Tbsp Olive Oil
  • 1 C Uncooked Quinoa
  • Handful of Cilantro or Parsley, Chopped
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • Mrs. Dash, Onion powder, Chili powder…whatever you want to season your guacamole
  • 1 Tbsp Vinegar of choice (I usually use Red Wine because husband loves it)

 

And here’s how you do it:

  1. Start your quinoa cooking according to package directions.  It should say something along the lines of “Bring 2 C water to a boil, stir in 1 C quinoa, cover, reduce to a simmer and cook for 12 minutes or until liquid is gone.”
  2. Now prep all those beautiful veggies!  Mince, dice, chop!!
  3. Cut your avocadoes in half long ways, twist halves apart, remove pit, and separate flesh from the skin with a spoon.
  4. Smash avocadoes with a fork until it looks creamy but still a little chunky.  Squeeze in the juice of a lime, sprinkle with salt, pepper, Mrs. Dash, Onion Powder, and Chili Powder.  Just enough to get a little flavor, but not too much to overwhelm the avocado flavor…especially since there are so many other flavors in this salad.  Mix until combined.
  5. Put tomatoes, onions, garlic, bell pepper, and Serrano in a bowl and stir together.  Add Olive Oil, vinegar, salt, pepper.  Taste and adjust.  Stir in cilantro or parsley.
  6. In bowls, fill the bottom with a layer of spinach.  Add a large spoonful of the tomato mixture.  Drop a large spoonful of guacamole on next and gently smooth it out slightly.  Last layer!  Scoop up a spoonful of quinoa, and drop it on top of the guacamole as is.  Sprinkle with more cilantro and lime if you desire…now devour!!!

 

So filling…usually I am not satisfied with a meal unless there is meat in it.  This one had so much going on that it filled me right up and I didn’t even think about the fact that I hadn’t added chicken to my salad.  (I always add chicken!)  The protein in the quinoa filled me up, the thickness of the guacamole stuck to my bones, the freshness of the pico-style tomato mixture popped with flavor, and the spinach was delicious as usual and totally completed this perfect combo!  Give it a try and let me know what you think!!!

 

Peectures!!

Pico Salad 1Start your quinoa cooking, and start prepping your veggies!!  Try to get nice small, even cubes…

PIco Salad 2Do you remember how I showed you to get nice even squares out of bell peppers?  This picture is a hint…if you want a reminder head on over to my Summer Veggie Salad with a Crunch post!

Pico Salad 3Mash your avocadoes with the lime juice, salt, pepper, and seasonings of choice.  Set aside while you combine all your colorful veggies in a bowl…

Pico Salad 4Don’t you just love all those colors together?!  Now add your olive oil, vinegar, and salt and pepper to taste.  Stir to combine.

Pico Salad 5Stir in your fresh cilantro or parsley, whatever you have on hand.  Personally, I prefer cilantro! 🙂

Pico Salad 6Now line your bowl with a layer of spinach…

Pico Salad 7Dump in a ladle full of your “pico” mixture…

Pico Salad 8Smear on a big spoonful of guac…

Pico Salad 9Then top with a spoonful of quinoa, and you are ready to go!!  SO GOOD!  Make sure to get a little bit of everything on your fork for the first bite, so you can experience all of it’s beauty at once!  🙂

 

Mango Steak Salad

Don’t you just love it when you are EXCITED for lunch?  Mr. Rodgers and I are making a renewed effort to eat really healthy!  And because of that…it means lots of salads!  When some people think of eating lots of salads…it’s with a big sigh and an “I can do this!”  Well…the day I ate this salad….I couldn’t WAIT to devour this bad boy.  I had prepared it the night before and was thinking about it all day until I got a break from work so I could try it!  That’s right…you can make salads you will be excited for!  And this is one of them!  DEFINITELY!

The steak in this was so tender and delicious, the mango was sweet (one of my favorite flavors!), and the romaine was the perfect texture.  The crunch!  Yay!  You gotta try!

Oh…and did I mention that I got the inspiration for this recipe from a $3 cook book my husband bought me?! YAAAAAAAAY!!!  THREE DOLLARS!!!!  YAY!!  So…this is adapted from….

Steak Mango 2That book!!  Yay!!  It’s got fun recipes…check it out: http://www.amazon.com/Salads-Love-Food-Parragon-Books/dp/1781867275

 

So, here’s what you need:

  • 8 oz (at least) Tenderloin Steak or something similar…I believe what I found was a top round
  • 2 Tbsp Fish Sauce
  • 1 Lg Clove Garlic, Slice
  • 1 package Cherry or Grape Tomatoes (about 1 1/2 C), Quarters
  • 1 Small Onion, or about 1/4 of a large one, Dice
  • 1 Mango, Peeled, Pitted, and Sliced into strips
  • 2 tsp Agave
  • 1 1/2 Limes (juice)
  • 2 Tbsp Coconut Oil
  • 1 tsp Sesame Oil
  • 2 Romaine Hearts

 

And here’s how you do it!!!

  1. Slice the steak into strips against the grain.  Place it into a Ziploc baggie with the garlic and fish sauce.  Marinate for as long as you have, preferably over night.  🙂
  2. Put the onion, tomatoes, and mango in a medium bowl.
  3. Squeeze lime juice over the mixture in the bowl, and drizzle with agave.  Stir so that everything is combined and coated.
  4. Chop or tear your romaine hearts into bite sized pieces.
  5. When just about ready to eat, take out your skillet (preferably cast iron, my favorite!) and melt the coconut oil over high heat.
  6. Add the sesame oil, and then the steak and sear just about a minute, so that it is browned on both sides but still tender!
  7. Add the meat to the bowl with the tomato mixture.  Stir so it is also coated in the yumminess.
  8. Put a layer of lettuce down in a bowl, and then spoon on a few good scoops of the meat mixture into the middle of the lettuce.
  9. BAM! EAT IT!!!

 

Unfortunately, through the transfer of phones between husband and I (Mr. Rodgers is by far the BEST man in the world…and let me take the phone update so I can take better pictures)…I lost the pictures of the process!  But…it’s a salad…it’s pretty simple, I know you can do it!  So here’s the end product!!  YUMMY YUMMY YUMMY!

Steal Mango Salad

 

 

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?