The Salad Bowl: Honey-Balsamic Bean Salad

Spring seemed to pass us by and jump right into summer and I’ve been craving salads! Instead of adding salad to my meal, I want to plan my meals around the salad. The other day I made this protein packed salad. It was a tasty change of pace for a salad. The dressing is vinegar based, so it’s an ideal salad for picnics or your next cookout.

HONEY-BALSAMIC BEAN SALAD
(from 101cookbooks.com)
Print This Recipe

8 oz (about 1 1/2 cups each of cooked chickpeas, pinto beans, and black beans (choose other beans if desired)
1 small head of romaine lettuce, washed, dried, and shredded
1/3 cup sliced almonds, toasted
2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 1/2 Tablespoons runny honey
2 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 1/2 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/4 + teaspoon sea salt
10 sprigs fresh thyme

Combine the beans, lettuce, and most of the almonds in a large salad bowl. Set aside. Make the dressing by whisking the olive oil, honey, balsamic vinegar, lemon juice, and salt in a small container. Taste, and adjust to your tastes.

Run your finger up each thyme sprig, removing the leaves. Add to the salad bowl along with a good amount of the dressing. Toss well, and add more dressing if needed. Top with remaining almonds. Serves 4-6.

Advertisements

Weekend Fare: Balsamic-Glazed Salmon

I was contemplating what to share with you for this edition of weekend fare and remembered that I had some lovely salmon fillets in the freezer. We haven’t shared much in the way of seafood here. Honestly, my family doesn’t eat enough fish. It’s so good for you, it’s a quick meal, and it’s delicious but it’s one of those proteins I don’t think to make very often.

This beautiful salmon was very red – it’s wild caught alaskan salmon. I was a bit disappointed that I overbaked it a little so it wasn’t as moist as I would have liked but we really liked the glaze on these fillets. I served the salmon with roasted potatoes and almond green beans which we really enjoyed!

BALSAMIC-GLAZED SALMON
(adapted from allrecipes.com)
Print This Recipe

4 (6 ounce) salmon fillets
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tb. white wine
1 Tb. honey
1/3 c. balsamic vinegar
4 tsp. Dijon mustard
salt and pepper to taste
1 Tb. chopped fresh oregano (I had to use dried – fresh would be SO much better!)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil, and spray with non-stick cooking spray.

Coat a small saucepan with non-stick cooking spray. Over medium heat, cook and stir garlic until soft, about 3 minutes. Mix in white wine, honey, balsamic vinegar, mustard, and salt and pepper. Simmer, uncovered, for about 3 minutes, or until slightly thickened. Divide in half.

Arrange salmon fillets on the greased, foil-lined baking sheet. Brush fillets with half of the balsamic glaze, and sprinkle with oregano.

Bake in preheated oven for 10 to 14 minutes, or until flesh flakes easily with a fork. Brush fillets with remaining glaze, and season with salt and pepper. Use a spatula to transfer fillets to serving platter, leaving the skin behind on the foil.

Dinner for Two

Note: My oven decided to not work (of course! :)). Therefore, your spinach will look much nicer than mine… My sincerest apologies. It’s been quite the week!

My favorite way to celebrate Valentine’s Day is to cook a nice dinner and enjoy it with my husband. It’s quiet and romantic. I choose a nicer menu and we enjoy it after our rowdy boys are in bed. These easy recipes are sure to impress!

FILET MIGNON w/BALSAMIC REDUCTION
(Adapted from Giada DeLaurentiis)
Print This Recipe

1/2 c. balsamic vinegar
1 Tb. sugar 
1 Tb. butter
2 (5 to 6-oz.) filet mignon steaks (each about 1-inch thick)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 oz. goat cheese, gorgonzola, or bleu cheese

Boil the balsamic vinegar and sugar in a heavy small saucepan over medium-high heat until reduced, stirring occasionally, about 18 minutes.

Meanwhile, preheat the broiler. Melt the butter in a heavy, oven-proof skillet over medium-high heat. Pat filet dry and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cook the steaks to desired doneness, about 4 – 4 1/2 minutes per side for medium.  Crumble the cheese over the steaks and broil just until the cheese melts, about 1 minute. Sprinkle with pepper.

Transfer the steaks to plates. Drizzle the balsamic sauce and serve.

GARLIC ROASTED POTATOES
(adapted from Ina Garten)
Print This Recipe

1 pound small fingerling or red potatoes 
 2 Tb. good olive oil
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp. minced fresh parsley (opt.)

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Cut the potatoes in quarters and place in a bowl with the olive oil, salt, pepper, and garlic; toss until the potatoes are well coated. Transfer the potatoes to a sheet pan and spread out into 1 layer. Roast in the oven for 45 minutes to 1 hour or until browned and crisp. Flip twice with a spatula during cooking in order to ensure even browning.

Remove the potatoes from the oven, toss with parsley, season to taste, and serve hot.

CREAMY SPINACH
Print This Recipe

1 Tb. butter
1 sm. onion, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 (16 oz.) package frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
1 c. heavy cream
Salt & Pepper to taste
Dash of nutmeg
3 Tb. fresh grated parmesan cheese, divided
1/4 c. shredded swiss cheese

Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees.

Melt butter in a skillet. Add onion and garlic and saute until tender. Add the spinach and cook until warm. Stir in cream, salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Cook for 2-3 more minutes or until slightly reduced and creamy. Remove from heat and  stir in swiss cheese and 2 Tb. parmesan. Divide between 3-4 ramekins. Top with remaining parmesan and bake for 15 minutes or until bubbly and cheese is melted.   

CARAMEL MACCHIATO CHEESECAKE
(adapted from allrecipes.com)
Print This Recipe

2 c. graham cracker crumbs
1/2 c. butter, melted
2 Tb. white sugar

FILLING:
3 (8 oz.) packages cream cheese, softened
1 c. white sugar
3 eggs
1 (8 oz,) container sour cream
1/4 c. brewed espresso or strong coffee
2 tsp. vanilla extract

GARNISH:
Caramel ice cream topping
Fresh whipped cream
Grated Chocolate or Hard shell Chocolate Sauce

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly coat a 9-inch springform pan with nonstick cooking spray.

Mix together the graham cracker crumbs, melted butter, and 2 tablespoons of sugar until well combined. Press into the bottom of the prepared springform pan, and 1 inch up the sides. Bake in preheated oven for 8 minutes, then remove to cool on a wire rack.

Reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees F.

Beat the softened cream cheese in a large bowl with an electric mixer until fluffy. Gradually add 1 cup of sugar, beating until blended. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Stir in sour cream, espresso and vanilla. Pour batter into the baked and cooled crust.

Bake cheesecake in the preheated oven for 1 hour and 5 minutes; then turn the oven off, partially open the door and allow the cheesecake to rest for 15 minutes more. Remove from the oven, and run a knife around the edges. Cool cheesecake on a wire rack to room temperature, then cover the springform pan with plastic wrap, and chill in the refrigerator for 8 hours.

To serve, cut the cheesecake into wedges and garnish each slice with whipped cream, caramel sauce drizzle, and chocolate curls OR spread caramel sauce on top of cheesecake and drizzle with hard shell chocolate.

Or if you prefer a simpler dessert, I recommend one of these desserts or perhaps a cappucino and cookie. Enjoy!