Archive for June, 2011

Black Bean and Grilled Pineapple Salad with Creamy Chive Dressing

Salad made with Produce Geek's 6.27.2011 postAs usual, the Produce Geek  was spot on with his picks this week. And everything he recommended screamed “summer salad” to me.  This week, I combined black beans and carrot chips with his suggestions of organic romaine hearts, Vidalia onions, grape tomatoes and gold pineapple slices (which my husband grilled to perfection). To top it off – my own-made creamy chive dressing. As you’ll find with nearly all of my salads, they’re meant to be meals in themselves.


 

 

What You’ll Need:


First the Produce Geek’s picks…

  • Fresh gold pineapple slices – 4 one-half inch slices, grilled approximately 3 minutes on each side
  • Grape tomatoes – 2 cups
  • Organic romaine lettuce hearts – 4 cups torn into bite-sized pieces
  • Vidalia onion – 4 slices

Other salad ingredients…

  • Sliced carrots – 2 cups
  • Black beans – 2 cups cooked (I prefer making mine from the dried beans, but canned & drained will do for the sake of time)

Get cooking…

  1. Divide romaine lettuce evenly into 4 servings and place on 4 plates.
  2. Top with grape tomatoes, carrots, and sliced onion.
  3. Add 1/2 cup cooked black beans on top of the veggies in the center of each plate
  4. Cut pineapple slices into bite-sized pieces and  arrange around the black beans
  5. Spoon on Creamy Chive dressing (below)

Creamy Chive Dressing…

Combine the following,  then stir thoroughly and spoon onto your salad plate:

  • Plain Greek yogurt – 3/4 cup
  • Mayonnaise – 1/2 cup
  • Milk – 1/4 cup (possibly less depending on the consistency of the yogurt/mayonnaise, so add a just a  little at a time)
  • Chives – 1 Tbsp
  • Sea Salt – 1/4 tsp
  • Course ground black pepper (or Cayenne if you want to turn up the heat!) – to taste
Makes approximately 4 servings. If prepared according to plan, this one is vegetarian and gluten-free.
A Note from the Author: One of the best things about salads is their versatility…I take no offense if you choose to use an alternate dressing or make other substitutions to make this one your own. In fact, I’d love to hear from you about your variations on this creation – or any other that I post – so please leave a comment!
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Broccoli and Snow Peas Stir-fry With a Mediterranean Twist

There was something in the Produce Geek‘s picks this week that inspired me to go a little Italiano. With balsamic vinegar and grapes as key ingredients in concert with some typical stir-fry favorites, this creation has a tangy sweetness that makes it stand out from the crowd.

Produce Geek's picks transformed into a stir-fry

What You’ll Need:

First the Produce Geek’s picks…

  • 2 Medium vine-ripened tomatoes – cut in half, then thinly sliced
  • Red seedless grapes – 1 cup, sliced into halves

    Produce Geek's recommendations for this week

    "Raw" materials for this week's stir-fry

  • Green seedless grapes – 1 cup, sliced into halves

Other ingredients…

  • Broccoli –  3 cups, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • Snow peas – 3 cups
  • Grilled/cooked boneless chicken breast – 1 pound cut into thin slices or chopped
  • Brown basmati rice – 3 cups
  • 3 Garlic cloves – chopped into small pieces
  • Cashew pieces – 3/4 cup
  • Olive oil – 1/2 cup (plus a little extra for prepping the pan)
  • Balsamic vinegar – 2 Tbsp.
  • Dill Weed – 1 Tsp.
  • Sea Salt – 1/4 Tsp.
  • Course ground black pepper

Get cooking…

  1. Warm a small amount of olive oil and garlic cloves on medium heat  in a large, deep frying pan or wok.
  2. Add snow peas and broccoli.
  3. Stir often and cook until tender, but still maintaining some snap. (Approximately 10 minutes)
  4. Add tomato slices and continue to stir on medium heat for approximately 3 minutes.
  5. Add Balsamic Vinaigrette (*see instructions below), chicken, grapes and cashew pieces.
  6. Stir until all ingredients are mixed evenly.
  7. Serve over brown basmati rice.

*Balsamic Vinaigrette…

In a small bowl, combine olive oil, basalmic vinegar, dill weed, sea salt and a couple pinches of course ground pepper

Makes approximately 4 servings.  Enjoy – perhaps with a nice glass of Chianti!

Squash Stir-fry Salad with Banana Dressing

Squash Stir-fry made with Produce Geek's weekly picksSometimes – especially when summer rolls around – I like to put a little twist on a stir-fry by serving it over greens rather than rice. With the picks the Produce Geek recommended this past week, it was the perfect time to do just that. And that’s exactly what I did.  Although completely vegetarian, this dish has staying power. It’s no “sissy salad”! A unique characteristic of this one is how the apple cider vinegar and lime juice are subtle, yet prominent enough to rein in the sweetness of the banana dressing.

What You’ll Need:



First the Produce Geek’s picks…

  • Green squash – 2 cups, chopped
  • Sweet red pepper – 2 cups, chopped
  • Organic green leaf lettuce – 2 cups, torn into bite-size pieces
  • Organic red leaf lettuce – 2 cups, torn into bite-sized pieces
  • Banana – 1 small

Produce Geek's picks of the week - Green squash, sweet red peppers, bananas, and organic green and red leaf lettuce

Other ingredients…

  • Sweet onion –  1 cup, chopped
  • Jalapeno pepper – 1 medium (optional)
  • Pinto beans – 2 cups (dried and cooked, or from a can and drained)
  • Fresh lime
  • Raw apple cider vinegar – 2 Tbsp.
  • Milk – 3/4 cup
  • Plain Greek yogurt – 1 cup
  • Cinnamon
  • Sea Salt
  • Course ground black pepper
  • Olive oil
  • Cilantro (optional)

Get cooking…

  1. Warm approximately 1 Tbsp olive oil on medium heat  in a large, deep frying pan or wok.
  2. Add onions, sweet red pepper, green squash, jalapeno pepper and about 1/2 tsp sea salt to the pan.
  3. Stir often and cook until tender, but not soggy.
  4. Add pinto beans and apple cider vinegar and stir until thoroughly heated.
  5. Let cool for approximately 10 – 15 minutes and serve over bed of organic green leaf and organic red leaf lettuce.
  6. Top with banana dressing (below) – Or if  you’re not a fruity dressing kinda person, use what you like best.

Banana Dressing…

  1. In blender or food processor, place milk, Greek yogurt and banana and blend until smooth.
  2. Add dash of cinnamon, pinch of black pepper, and about 1/4 tsp. sea salt and stir until mixed throughout.
  3. Pour over stir-fry salad per individual taste.
  4. Squeeze fresh lime over dressing on each plate and garnish with cilantro
Makes approximately 4 servings
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