ÔCUT YOUR FOOD COSTS WITH THESE SPRING SALAD MEALSÕ
Everyone is concerned with the cost of food these days, and rightly so. Some items are up as much as 50% to double the cost from nine months ago. Vegetables are up to, but respectively less than meats, dairy and eggs. Value wise and nutritionally speaking they remain your best value. To feed a hungry family of four you can still add meat to a salad but instead of four chicken breasts two will usually due.
A lavish salad makes a tasty satisfying meal, especially after a winterÕs worth of heavy starches. And, itÕs never been easier with the variety of lettuces and vegetables at farmer markets and grocers. Go ahead, think outside the box because anything can, and does go well on a tasty bed of greens.
Here are a few of my favorites:
Grilled Mushrooms, Asparagus and leaf lettuce with goat cheese
¼ c Hoisin sauce
2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
2 cloves garlic, minced
8 medium Portobello mushrooms, no stems
1 bunch asparagus ends trimmed
8 C mixed leaf or baby lettuces
1 C mixed fresh herb leaves, flat leaf parsley, chervil or dill
1 C cherry tomatoes, halved
4 Tbsp of a basic vinaigrette dressing
8 Oz goat cheese cut into wedges
In a large plastic bag shake together hoisin sauce, vinegar, garlic and a pinch of salt & pepper. Add mushrooms and marinate for 20 minutes. Remove & grill over med. heat 12-14 minutes until tender. Allow to cool and slice into ½ inch strips. While mushrooms are marinating steam asparagus until tender drain & dry. Toss lettuce, herbs and tomatoes with Basic vinaigrette. Serve up in shallow bowls, top with asparagus, cheese wedges and mushrooms.
Roasted Beet and Cucumber on Watercress
3-4 med. beets trimmed scrubbed and quartered
5 Tbsp cold press olive oil, plus more for drizzling
6 C watercress washed and spun dry
2 C seeded diced English peeled cucumber
1/3 C plain whole milk yogurt
1 Tbsp minced tarragon or dill
2 T white balsamic or rice wine vinegar
2 Tbsp drained small capers
Heat oven to 425. Line an oven proof skillet with aluminum foil and place beets on foil. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cover with more foil and roast 35-40 minutes. Cool, peel and slice and place on bed of watercress. Toss cucumber with yogurt, half the tarragon and a pinch of salt. Add olive oil, vinegar, capers, pinch of salt and pepper and the rest of the tarragon to a skillet, heat stir 30 seconds and drizzle warm vinaigrette over salad. Garnish with cucumber and yogurt.
Tea Smoked Chicken with fennel and watercress
1-1/2 Tbsp dark sesame oil
4 tsp light brown sugar
3 boneless skinless chicken breast halves
4 Earl Grey tea bags
1 Tbsp uncooked white rice
2 bunches watercress or baby arugula
2/3 C Greek yogurt of sour cream
2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 Tbsp chopped chives, more for garnish
1 sml fennel bulb, trimmed and thinly sliced
2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Rub on chicken sesame oil and 2 tsp sugar and let stand for 20 minutes. Heat oven to 400. Line lrg metal roasting pan with heavy foil. Empty tea bags onto bottom, discard bags. Add remaining 2 tsp sugar and rice. Place pan over medium heat- when mixture begins to smoke, remove. Place chicken on rack, cover tightly with foil. Transfer pan to oven and cook 30-35 minutes. Let chicken stand in pan covered 5 minutes. Transfer to a cutting board, cool then slice in ½ inch strips. Puree 1 bunch of watercress with yogurt, 1 Tbsp lemon juice, chives, salt and pepper. Discard tough watercress stems and mix in a large bowl with fennel. Stir together olive oil, remaining lemon juice, and ½ tsp salt and toss with salad greens. Arrange chicken on greens and top with watercress sauce and few grinds of pepper and a few chives.
Salad is a wonderful refreshing springtime meal on anyoneÕs menu. Experiment with your favorite proteins, vegetables and lettuces- then enjoy! Till next time, Rebecca