Main Dishes

School Night Eats: Salmon & Sweet Kale Salad

by Shawnda on September 12, 2014

in Lighter & Healthier,Quick & Easy,Salads,Salmon,Seafood

Salmon and Sweet Kale Salad

If you are what you eat, I’m a large bag of shredded broccoli, brussels sprouts, kale, cabbage, and dried cranberries coated in a sweet & tangy poppyseed dressing. And a half-empty bottle of Sauza.

Because life is all about balance.

Salmon and Sweet Kale Salad

Now that school and soccer practice is back, I’m finding myself short on time and energy in the evenings and have been putting some of our favorite quick & easy dinners back into heavy rotation and relying on the “cook once-eat three dinners” method. We’ll be sharing some of those new quick & healthy recipes with y’all in the next few weeks.

Because it only takes, like, 9.37 minutes to make, “Spicy” Honey-Glazed Salmon shoots to the top of the list, as does anything I can make with the two bags of Salad Chicken (or Purse Chicken, if you’re Erica) I always have in the fridge.

Both of those are excellent candidates to top the bag of my latest obsession, the Sweet Kale Salad that my friend Shannon introduced me to from Costco.

Salmon and Sweet Kale Salad

And it’s a legit obsession. I bought 3 bags yesterday. Each bag will expire inside of a week. And there’s absolutely zero chance that they even last that long.

The poppyseed salad dressing that comes in the salad kit is too high fat/high sugar for my 1500-calorie, 45-30-25 half-marathon nutrition plan so I extend the dressing with some skim milk, fat-free Greek yogurt, and some cider vinegar (as noted in the recipe below). The dressing goes farther and I can use more.

But most importantly: dinner is on the table in 14.68 minutes.

Salmon & Sweet Kale Salad

A quick, halfway homemade dinner starring the Sweet Kale Salad Mix from Costco.

Ingredients

  • 1 bag Sweet Kale Salad Kit (found at Costco in the cold produce room)
  • 4 servings of the protein of your choice (highly recommend "Spicy" Honey-Glazed Salmon)
  • To extend the dressing:
  • 1 pack of poppyseed dressing from the salad kit (it comes with 2)
  • 1/4 cup fat-free Greek yogurt
  • 1/4 cup skim milk
  • 1 Tbsp cider vinegar
  • Salt

Instructions

  1. Open the salad kit and empty the greens and the packet of cranberries and pumpkin seeds into a very large bowl. (If you are going to eat all 4 servings within the next 48 hours, make the entire salad. If not, make half now, half later.)
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the poppyseed dressing, yogurt, milk, cider vinegar, and a tiny pinch of salt.
  3. Add the dressing to the greens and toss until completely coated.
  4. Let sit 15 minutes and then serve topped with salmon or chicken.
  5. Store leftovers covered, for up to two days.

Notes

Yields: 4 servings

Source: Confections of a Foodie Bride

Estimated time: 15 minutes

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Hatch chile ranch dressing

Hi.

I made hatch chile ranch dressing. And then nearly had to cage-fight my 4-year-old for the last spoonful in the jar.

This is probably where most “normals” would back up and explain a back story that makes them sound more normal and less dramatic – and definitely less violent. But I have no back story. And quite possibly am farther away from the “normal” label than most of you guys think.

Because the over-dramatic 4-year-old mushroom-cloud meltdown that ensued left me with very few options, with cage fighting being closer to the top than I should probably publicly admit.

Hatch chile ranch dressing

But enough already about my crappy parenting skills, right? I tweaked the world’s greatest jalapeno ranch dressing and subbed in hatch chiles for what turned out to be a pretty amazing green chile dip and dressing. One over which tears were literally shed.

So go roast those green chiles. Throw them in a blender with a handful of other things that we both know that you already have on-hand. Push a button. And then grab that bag of chips bowl of salad bowl of chips.

Hatch chile ranch dressing

Hatch Chile Ranch Dressing

A tangy, creamy homemade ranch dressing (or dip) flavored with Hatch green chiles.

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup sour cream or fat-free greek yogurt
  • 3/4 cup mayo (I use light)
  • Juice of 1/2 lime
  • 1 small bunch of chives or 2 dark green onion tops (equal to ~2 Tbsp) chopped
  • Small handful cilantro
  • 2 medium hatch chiles hatch chiles, roasted, seeded, and chopped (directions here)
  • 1/4 salt
  • 1/4 tsp fresh ground black pepper
  • 1 clove garlic
  • Up to 1/2 cup milk or buttermilk (optional)

Instructions

  1. Add sour cream/yogurt, mayo, lime, chives, half of the chiles, salt, pepper, and garlic to the blender.
  2. Blend for 10 seconds, add the remaining chiles and chilantro and pulse a couple of times.
  3. Check consistency and blend in milk if desired. (I almost never do this anymore but especially if you're using full-fat mayo and sour cream - the dressing will get pretty thick after being stored the fridge - you can always whisk milk in later.
  4. Store in an air-tight jar in the fridge.

Notes

Yields: ~2 cups

Source: Confections of a Foodie Bride

Estimated time: 5 minutes

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My Favorite Salad Chicken: Mojo Brined Grilled Chicken Breast

Since I started training for the half marathons on my calendar later this year, I’ve been (mostly) trying(ish) to keep my nutrition in check. That just means aiming for a better balance of calories, eating 6-10 servings of veggies and fruit a day, and eating more chicken breast at lunch than I have in my entire life.

My Favorite Salad Chicken: Mojo Brined Grilled Chicken Breast

Aside from losing 10lbs in 8 weeks (because let’s be honest – that’s the most important part to me), that’s… actually it. I have nothing more to add to that statement. Like I said – for me, it’s the most important part of running :)

For lunch, I’ve developed a love for chopped salads (picking from the myriad of veggies I now have to keep on hand to make 6-10 servings a day) topped with grilled chicken. But not just plain ol’ grilled chicken – because that *&^% got old on day 3. Instead, I top my salads with Mojo-Brined Chicken.

My Favorite Salad Chicken: Mojo Brined Grilled Chicken Breast

Now, don’t let the word “brine” scare you. You probably just flashed on an old episode of Good Eats that involved a special bucket or a cooler, loads of ice, and a turkey the size of your 4 year-old.

NOPE.

To brine this chicken, we’re talking about a pie plate, a gallon freezer bag, a cup of water, and a tablespoon of salt. THAT’S IT. It’s a quick and small recipe that yields an insanely not-boring, juicy chicken breast flavored with citrus and garlic inspired by Cuban mojo sauce.

My Favorite Salad Chicken: Mojo Brined Grilled Chicken Breast

I pick up one of those gigantic, 5-6lb value trays of chicken breast that always seem to be on sale, throw the brine together on Saturday night/Sunday morning, and then grill them all at once on Sunday afternoon (when we’re sure to already have the grilled fired up) to have for lunches all week.

It’s by far the best part of every salad I make.

Mojo-Brined Chicken

Grilled, juicy chicken breasts marinated in a mojo-inspired brine of oranges, garlic, and oregano.

Ingredients

  • 2.5 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breast
  • 2 small valencia oranges (juice from both oranges, the zest from 1)
  • Juice from 1 lime
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 Tbsp salt

Instructions

  1. Lightly pound the chicken breast to an even thickness.
  2. Place in a gallon zip-top bag with the remaining ingredients: orange juice, orange lest, lime juice, garlic, oregano, water, and salt.
  3. Seal the bag after pressing out the extra air and squeeze it a few times to mix the brine.
  4. Place in a pie plate (or other walled-dish to prevent a fridge disaster should your bag spring a leak) and refrigerate for at least 4 hours (I typically do it overnight).
  5. Heat your grill to medium-high, remove chicken from marinade, and grill ~6 minutes on each side.
  6. Let stand for ~10 minutes before slicing.

Notes

Yields: ~6 servings

Source: Confections of a Foodie Bride

Estimated time: 4 hours 30 minutes

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Hatch Chile Borracho Beans

The onset of hatch chile season means that the pot of beans I make for the 2-3 TexMex nights that are always on the menu get a green chile makeover.

Hatch Chile Borracho Beans

Where I come from, you usually have three options for beans on taco night: refried beans, charro beans, and borracho beans.

Refried beans are easy, especially when your two-ingredient recipe calls for a can opener and a can. Charro beans take a little bit of planning and a whole lot of bacon.

Borracho beans? They also need a little bit of planning. But most of all? They need beer.

Hatch Chile Borracho Beans

In addition to being spiked with beer, these beans are also spiked with green chile salsa verde and a hatch chile pico de gallo.

Hatch Chile Borracho Beans

Here in Texas, Shiner has always been the popular choice for borracho beans. There are very few rules, but there is one thing to remember: Pick out an amber-or-darker brew from your fridge because, just like in all other aspects of real life, light beer won’t do much for you.

Hatch Chile Borracho Beans

Your favorite taco night side infused with green chiles and beer.

Ingredients

  • For the beans:
  • 1 lb dry pinto beans, rinsed and soaked*
  • 12 oz beer (medium/amber is best; I used a locally brewed jalapeno ale this time)
  • 2 Tbsp brown sugar
  • 1/2 small red onion
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tsp salt
  • Black pepper
  • 1 tsp chile powder (I used a New Mexican blend)
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 cup green chile salsa verde
  • For the hatch chile pico de gallo:
  • 3 large roma tomatoes, seeded and diced
  • 1/2 small red onion, diced
  • 2 hatch chiles roasted, seeded, and chopped*
  • Juice of 1/2 lime
  • Small handful of cilantro, chopped
  • *Either soak overnight or do the quick-soak method: bring beans to a boil, turn off heat, and let stand 1 hour; drain and proceed with recipe.

Instructions

  1. Place the pre-soaked beans, beer, brown sugar, onion, garlic, salt, pepper, chile powder, cumin, and salsa verde in a large pot.
  2. Cover with 3-4 inches of water and bring to a boil.
  3. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook with the lid ajar for ~90 minutes, until the beans are tender.
  4. Mix the ingredients for the pico de gallo and add half of the mixture to the beans.
  5. Cover and let stand for 15 minutes; stir and adjust seasoning as desired.
  6. Serve beans garnished with the remaining pico de gallo.

Notes

Yields: 8-10 servings

Source: Confections of a Foodie Bride

Estimated time: 3 hours

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