Kale Salad with Pistachios and Roasted Cauliflower.

Fancy breakfast side. Favorite work lunch. Quick and easy dinner. This salad has everything going for it even before I tell you how healthy and and wholesome it is (and it is healthy and wholesome). The dressing has all the things a good dressing should. Lemon and oil, sweet honey and tangy mustard, and a bit of seasoning are beautifully simple tossed with kale. The cauliflower makes it interesting and a little “meatier,” and with a good sprinkle of pistachios, things are starting to look downright fancy! I love this as an accompaniment to frittata on my weekend mornings (check the bottom photo!), and it’s an office lunch I actually look forward to. And since it’s normal to be out of an ingredient or two, I love riffing on the dressing using whatever I have around (no lemon? Try white wine vinegar. No pistachios? Almonds are great, too.). What I’m saying is, it tastes amazing, is good for you, and you can eat it for every meal. Make it. Make it today.

Lemon Parmesan Kale Salad with Pistachios and Roasted Cauliflower | KellyintheKitchen.net | extra virgin olive oil, lemon juice, dijon mustard, honey, granulated garlic, salt, pepper, parmigiano-reggiano cheese, pistachios, kale, cauliflower, cayenne pepper, olive oil

INGREDIENTS

for salad:
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp dijon mustard
1/2 tsp honey
1/4 tsp granulated garlic
salt and pepper
1/4 cup grated parmigiano-reggiano cheese (or as much as you want!)
1/3 cup chopped pistachios (or about 1/2 cup if you measure before shelling)
1 large bunch kale, washed, dried, and julienned

for cauliflower:
1 cup cauliflower florets, washed, dried, and sliced
olive oil for drizzling (no need to use EVOO here, regular is fine)
salt and pepper
scant 1/4 tsp granulated garlic
pinch of cayenne pepper

DIRECTIONS

Preheat the oven to 350 F.

Lemon Parmesan Kale Salad with Pistachios and Roasted Cauliflower | KellyintheKitchen.net | extra virgin olive oil, lemon juice, dijon mustard, honey, granulated garlic, salt, pepper, parmigiano-reggiano cheese, pistachios, kale, cauliflower, cayenne pepper, olive oil

I like to start with the dressing; the longer those flavors have to come together, the better it will taste. Combine olive oil, lemon juice, mustard, honey, garlic, salt, and pepper, and stir together. Add the cheese and gently stir it in. Set aside.

Toss the cauliflower in the olive oil, salt, pepper, garlic, and cayenne until evenly coated. Spread on a baking sheet in a single layer and roast about 25 minutes, stirring halfway through. It’s done when the florets are soft and just toasty-brown. Let it cool to room temperature before using.

Lemon Parmesan Kale Salad with Pistachios and Roasted Cauliflower | KellyintheKitchen.net | extra virgin olive oil, lemon juice, dijon mustard, honey, granulated garlic, salt, pepper, parmigiano-reggiano cheese, pistachios, kale, cauliflower, cayenne pepper, olive oil

While the cauliflower is roasting, I use this time to de-shell and chop the pistachios.

The final step is assembly. Toss the kale in the dressing, taste, and adjust seasonings if needed. Add the pistachios, and top with cauliflower. Serve as a side or as the main event. Enjoy!

Lemon Parmesan Kale Salad with Pistachios and Roasted Cauliflower | KellyintheKitchen.net | extra virgin olive oil, lemon juice, dijon mustard, honey, granulated garlic, salt, pepper, parmigiano-reggiano cheese, pistachios, kale, cauliflower, cayenne pepper, olive oil

 

Chicken, White Bean, and Brussels Sprouts Salad.

Here’s a quick and simple dinner recipe that I love to make on weeknights (you can tell from the poor lighting in my photos that I really do make this on work nights!). Shredded Brussels sprouts salads are so popular right now, but for me, they’re only really special when they check a few specific boxes: the dressing needs to have a creaminess factor, supplied by a bit of mayo here. The tart-sweet balance has to be just right – so I’ve paired apple cider vinegar with honey. And though I hate to say it, the protein must come from something other than bacon (as is so often the case with Brussels sprouts salads). This is a dinner salad, not a side salad, so the beans and chicken are essential and so so good. Here’s how you know this is an awesome dish: I always make twice as much as I’ll need, so that I can bring the leftovers to work for lunch the next day. But once or twice I have eaten the whole thing and had to think of something else to bring for lunch. What can I say…it’s healthy and tastes fantastic!

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INGREDIENTS

1 1/2 tbsp mayo
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp parsley
pinch of cayenne pepper (or a squeeze of hot sauce)
1/4 tsp Dijon mustard
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 tsp honey
salt and pepper to taste
2 chicken breasts, cooked and shredded
3 cups shredded Brussels sprouts
1/2 cup canned white beans, drained and rinsed (I used great northern beans)
2-3 tbsp chopped roasted almonds

DIRECTIONS

In a small bowl, stir together mayo, olive oil, garlic powder, cayenne pepper, parsley, mustard, vinegar, honey, salt, and pepper.

In a larger bowl, toss Brussels sprouts, beans, chicken, and almonds with dressing. C’est tout!

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Salmon Cakes and Baby Spinach Salad with Orange Vinaigrette.

On Friday night, I made baked salmon fillets for dinner. Intending to post the recipe afterward, I shot each step of the prep process – but when I sat down to eat, it was…just fine. Not great. And I tend not to blog about recipes that I don’t think are awesome or that I wouldn’t make again, so I decided not to write it up or post it here. Oh well, this happens fairly often, folks. I finished eating one of the fillets,  and I shredded up the second and put it in the fridge. I unenthusiastically figured I would make some kind of salad out of it. Meh. But then I thought, there is a lot I could do with this average-tasting salmon that would make it totally delicious! So I combed the internet a bit and found a recipe from Rachel Ray that really got me going. I adapted it a bit and the result is what you see here: a tasty dinner that sees an ugly duckling salmon fillet turned into a real swan of a meal (birds and fish – stop me if the metaphor-mixing gets to be too much). Long story short: “blah.” became “ta-da!”

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INGREDIENTS

for the salmon and salad:
1 egg
1 – 1 1/2 cups salmon, cooked and flaked (1 can of salmon will work here as well)
1 green onion, sliced thin
1/3 cup bread crumbs (I used Panko – use gluten-free bread crumbs if you like)
1 tsp of your favorite fish seasoning (I used Lake Shore Drive Seasoning from the Spice House – love this stuff!)
a squeeze or two of hot sauce (I use Sriracha)
a small handful of fresh parsley, chopped
a pinch of cayenne pepper
salt and pepper
a few tablespoons of vegetable oil (not olive oil or butter – we need it to have a pretty high smoke point)
1 1/2 cups fresh baby spinach, washed and dried
shredded carrots or any other salad fixins’ you like

for the orange vinaigrette dressing:
1 tbsp orange juice
1 tsp red wine vinegar
3-4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

Just the Recipe link: Salmon Cakes and Baby Spinach Salad with Orange Vinaigrette

DIRECTIONS

Get the pan going over medium heat (not medium high). We’ll add the oil in a little bit; for now, just heat the pan.

Crack the egg into a mixing bowl and add the salmon. Use a fork to mash up the salmon a little bit and combine it with the egg. Add green onion, bread crumbs, seasoning, hot sauce, parsley, cayenne pepper, and salt and pepper, and stir together to combine everything evenly.

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At this point, add the oil to the pan – just enough to cover the bottom. Let it get hot while you form the salmon into cakes. Divide the mixture into two even portions, and use your hands to shape each portion into a patty about 3/4 inch thick. Add them to the pan and cook until browned and a little bit crispy on each side. Mmm.

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While the cakes cook, prep the salad. I tossed the baby spinach onto a pretty plate and topped it with shredded carrots. Then make the dressing, which is incredibly easy. Just stir together all the ingredients with a fork.

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Then it’s just a matter of dressing the salad and plating the salmon cakes. Perch them right on top of the greens, and if you have any dressing leftover, drizzle a bit on the cakes. The orange is delicious here. I could hardly believe this was the boring salmon I had made the night before. Enjoy!

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Green Taco Burger Wraps.

I love lettuce wraps – I think I even prefer when things are wrapped in lettuce to any tortilla or bun (excluding hot dogs, of course). The cool crunch and the light freshness of the lettuce just seems to pair well with a lot of the foods that we think of as bun-worthy. This recipe for what I’m calling “green taco burger wraps” combines the best of cheeseburgers and tacos and wraps the whole thing in nice crunchy lettuce. The burger meat is spiced with cumin and oregano to give it a bit of Mexican flavor, and the toppings are all my taco favorites (especially avocado….mmmm). They’re easy and healthy and so delicious!

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INGREDIENTS

about 3/4 lb ground meat (I used beef)
1 egg
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp ground coriander
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
salt and pepper to taste
red onion, diced
cheese, sliced (I used cheddar)
cilantro, rough chop
tomato, chopped
red pepper, raw or lightly sauteed
4 large lettuce leaves, rinsed and patted dry
avocado, sliced
green onion, sliced
1 lime, sliced

Just the Recipe link: Green Taco Burger Wraps

DIRECTIONS

First, season the burger meat. In a large bowl, add meat, egg, cumin, garlic powder, paprika, ground coriander, cayenne pepper, salt and pepper, and red onion to taste. I set the rest of the red onion aside in a little ramekin to top the burgers with later. Use your hands to mix all the ingredients together.

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That’s the only cooking prep you’ll do in this recipe. At this point, I set the meat aside to let the flavors hang out a bit while I chopped up everything else and put all the amazing toppings into their own little bowls.

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When everything else is ready to go, cook the burgers. First, use your hands to form them into small patties (we made two little patties per person). I cooked them on my beautiful new Le Creuset grill pan from Williams-Sonoma, but a regular grill or a pan can do the trick as well. Put your pan over medium high heat and lightly grease before adding the burgers. Cook until browned on each side and medium-rare in the middle (or however you like your burgers cooked!). Set aside for 5 minutes to let the meat rest.

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The next step is just assembly!

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I started with the lettuce wrapper, then laid the burger on top and placed the cheese on top of that, so it would get a little melty. Then it’s only a matter of topping to your heart’s content – cilantro, red pepper, red onion, green onion, avocado, and a finishing squeeze of lime make these a perfect fresh and healthy lunch. Before you take a bite, just wrap the lettuce around your taco-topped burger. Then dig right in!

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Impostor “Egg” Salad.

Vegans, vegetarians, and carnivores alike: I swear to you, this is really yummy. I like to eat vegan whenever I can, and for me, it often comes down to convenience. What I love about this tofu “egg” salad recipe, inspired by Healthy Happy Life, is that it’s just as easy–if not easier–than making egg salad with actual eggs. Observe: I steamed the tofu for a couple minutes, put it in the fridge to cool while I went for a quick run, and by the time I came back it was a matter of about 5 minutes before I was chowing down on a fast and easy–not to mention healthy—weeknight dinner. This definitely falls into the “I’d never haven guessed it was vegan!” vegan recipe category, so no matter who you are, there’s no excuse not to give it a try!

INGREDIENTS

12 oz extra firm tofu, sliced
1/3 cup vegenaise or mayo
1-2 stalks celery, sliced (I didn’t have any tonight, but normally I would add some celery)
3 tbsp dijon mustard
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
1/8 tsp Lawry’s Seasoned Salt
1/2 tsp turmeric
1 1/2 tsp white wine vinegar
2 small green onions, sliced
salt and pepper to taste
chives for garnish

DIRECTIONS

The first step is optional, but I think it makes a difference in texture and is totally worth the extra time: Steam the tofu for 5-7 minutes, then place in the refrigerator and chill completely.

Now, whether you’ve steamed the tofu or not, pat it dry and cut it up until you reach your preferred egg salad-esque texture.

In a mixing bowl, combine all ingredients except the chives. Stir to combine.

Serve as a wrap or sandwich on toasted bread, or with crackers. Garnish with chives and enjoy your egg-less impostor egg salad!

Balsamic Watermelon with Goat Cheese and Basil.

Last night, my cousins and aunts and I met for a Girls Night Out at my cousin Colleen’s fabulous apartment. We all brought drinks and apps to share while we danced and chatted, and it was such a nice night! Earlier in the day, we were emailing to decide who was to bring what, and I noticed that there were a lot of carb and cheese bites. When my girlfriends and I lived in Ireland, we ran into the same situation (and we had gluten-allergic gal and a cheese hater!). It’s a real challenge to come up with good apps that aren’t heavy on the bread and cheese. I had a great recipe for mango chutney mini grilled cheeses in mind, but I decided to go with something lighter and fruitier this time. These watermelon bites are fast, adorable, and totally refreshing! I scooped the melon beforehand and then assembled them at my cousin’s place, because they’re not particularly portable.

Thanks for a fun night, girls!

INGREDIENTS

2 cups watermelon, cut into whatever shape you like (I used a melon baller for dome-shaped)
1-2 oz. goat cheese, at room temperature
handful of fresh basil leaves, ripped into bite-sized pieces
3 tbsp good quality balsamic vinegar

DIRECTIONS

There’s really just one step: assembly. Using a small spoon, scoop a bit of goat cheese onto a piece of basil and stick it to the top of a watermelon bite. Pierce it through the center with a toothpick and dip the bottom of the watermelon into the balsamic vinegar. Then arrange them on a platter and you’re all set. Yum.