Raw Rainbow Corn Salad

{a bowl of summer}

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August 1st.  Wow, is it just me or has this year flown by?  I honestly cannot believe it is already August.  That being said, summer is in its last month & before I know it Bryan, Chase and I will be heading out to the apple orchard for our annual fall trip.  Then we will be bundled up trudging through the snow to go pick out the perfect Christmas tree.  But just not quite yet…. There are far too many summer days to soak up & recipes to create.

Has anyone tried to freeze corn on the cob before?  I see them at the grocery store, but am thinking about trying it out so I have some of this amazing summer sweet corn for the winter.

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This summer corn has appeared in several of my recipes and oftentimes is our side dish.  Not only are they so easy to make, but there are so many ways to cook (or not) them.  I grilled the corn, which I used in the Kale & Corn Salad I posted on Paige’s site.  I also added them to my summer Shrimp & Corn Chowder.  For this recipe, I left the kernels as is, straight up raw off the cob.

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Originally, I made this salad for my sister & her husband’s going away party.  If I do say so myself, it was a pretty decent hit.  I whipped it up for one of my girlfriend’s bachelorette parties…again a successful dish.  It also makes for some great leftovers.  All of the flavors meld together & become bolder as they sit.  Another added bonus, the beautiful colors.  I used literally every color of the rainbow.. ok I didn’t use blue so I made sure to use a blue bowl for serving.  This dish is definitely eye-catching & I loved photographing it!

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If you know how to chop & you love an easy, yet crowd-pleasing dish this is your winner.  No cooking involved.  Simply chop, mix, serve.  I hope you are enjoying these beautiful (cool in MI) summer nights & taking time to cook delicious food, relax with family & truly enjoy life!  I know I am :)

Raw Rainbow Corn salad

Recipe by: Sara
Prep Time:  15 minutes   |||   Cook TIme: 0 minutes   |||   Servings: 8-10   |||   Difficulty: Very Low

Ingredients
8 ears of corn, husked & silk removed
1/2 orange bell pepper, diced
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
1/4 cilantro, chopped
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 Tbsp rice wine vinegar
1 lime, juiced and zest
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp chipotle seasoning
1 Tbsp cumin
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
5 oz queso fresca, crumbled

Directions
1.  Remove the kernels from their cobs by placing a coffee cup upside-down in a large bowl.  Hold the cob vertically, using the base of the coffee mug as its platform.  Use your knife to slice down the cob.  The kernels will fall into the bowl.
2.  Add all other ingredients, except about 1 oz. of the cheese.  Stir together.
3.  Chill in the fridge until ready to serve & top with remaining cheese.

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Grilled Corn & Kale Salad

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Hey everyone!  Happy Tuesday!  I am excited to announce that I will be a recipe contributor to A Dose of Paige.  What does that mean?  Well, you may remember when Paige & I swapped blogs a while back.  She shared a DIY for spices jar labels & I shared a DIY homemade taco seasoning on her blog.  We loved doing the swap and both had a ton of great feedback from our readers.  That being said, she asked if I would contribute a monthly recipe to her blog.

Be sure to check out her blog every 3rd week of the month for a delicious dose of Paige.  June’s pilot recipe features a lot of fresh ingredients while using the grill.  Grilled Sweet Corn & Kale Salad!  Yum.  Sweet & smokey corn, crunchy kale, juicy tomatoes.  Have I got you intrigued yet?  Head over to her blog to get all the details:

A dose of Paige:  Grilled sweet corn & kale salad

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Strawberry Tomato Basil Salad

{deconstructed tomato mozzarella}

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It baffles me knowing that when I was younger I hated cheese.  I really don’t understand people who don’t like it.  It is one of the items I would take with me on a deserted island (given the island is thriving with assorted fruits and veggies).  I blame a portion of a little excess weight gain solely on cheese.  The devil, I swear.  It tastes just so damn good.  The whole lot:  cheddar, blue, mozzarella, brie, parmesan – I love them all.

I always thought fresh mozzarella was one of the more gross looking cheeses.  Soft, white, jiggly pieces.  They often made an appearance throughout my life and I always avoided the creepy things.  Until one day, I decided at a family Christmas party I would give it a try (this was in the midst of my growing cheese obsession).  Needless to say, I think I ate the entire platter with sliced tomatoes – something I have always loved.

Remember when I did the love your lunch series?  I shared a quick lunch idea for a Tomato Mozzarella Flatbread.  I’m pretty sure I spilled my love for this amazing combination in that post.  It has only since grown as the weather warms and sometimes just a light little lunch or dinner is needed.  After eating a late lunch the other day, I wanted to come home and prepare something very simple, quick and light.  I was craving a Tomato Mozzarella salad, but didn’t have any mozzarella on hand.  I scrounged the fridge for what I had and set to work reconstructing a unique version of my beloved salad.

Enter the characters:  Sweet, plump strawberries.  Tart tomatoes.  Refreshing basil.  Creamy feta.

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I started by halving the strawberries and dicing the tomatoes.  I cut the basil into julienned ribbons and mixed the three together.  A simple balsamic honey dressing was drizzled over and topped with the feta cheese.  The sweet, salty, and tart flavors create a great combination.  This salad can be made to serve at a BBQ or as a simple lunch or side dish.

strawberry tomato basil Salad

Recipe By: Sara
Prep Time:  5 minutes   |||   Cook TIme:  0 minutes   |||   Servings: 2 |||   Difficult Level:  Low

Ingredients:
1 cup strawberries, halved
1 cup tomatoes, diced
6-7 large basil leaves, julienned *see photos*
1/4 cup reduced fat feta cheese
3 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 tsp honey
salt and pepper
dash of cayenne pepper

Directions:
1.  In a bowl, combine the strawberries, tomato and basil.  Stir to combine.
2.  In a separate bowl, whisk together the vinegar, oil and honey.  Season with salt and peppers.
3.  Pour over strawberries and tomatoes, stir to combine.
4.  Sprinkle with crumbled feta cheese.

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it’s my birthday, I’ll eat quinoa if I want to…

…but in all reality, I definitely don’t want to.  Who eats quinoa on their birthday?? Birthdays are supposed to be about cupcakes, sprinkles, cheesecakes, drinks and whatever ones birthday heart desires to eat, right?

So yes.  Today marks the 6th anniversary of my 21st birthday:

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Or the 26th anniversary of this pretty cute DOUGHIE baby.:

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I am not a huge fan of being a grown up and having a birthday. Everyone should get their birthday off work, it be acceptable to still wear a crown, and drink all day long while carrying a Strawberry Shortcake balloon around town. Unfortunately, that’s not much of the case anymore and I am working all day instead. However, I will be enjoying a beautiful evening dining somewhere delicious with Bryan.  So back to food talk….

So don’t get me wrong.  I do really like quinoa and we already reviewed its amazing benefits here.  However, today in fact is my birthday and I choose to not eat quinoa today.

I am choosing to share this delicious quinoa salad recipe with you all.  I made it over the weekend to bring to Easter dinner at Bryan’s grandparents.  They are trying to eat really healthy and I was on the list to bring a cold, non-lettuce, salad.  At first, I thought perhaps my jicama or cabbage salad, but those didn’t have enough UMPH to be served as an Easter side dish.

My recent quinoa experience steered my brain towards a healthy grain salad.  In addition, I wanted to incorporate bright, springy vegetables considering it was going to be gorgeous spring weather.  While at the store, I bought a variety of peppers and a pop of crunchy sweet corn. I decided on a pretty simple Honey Lime Vinaigrette to marry the quinoa and veggies together.  It was very flavorful, but not overpowering and it accentuated the sweet notes of the peppers.

I am also choosing to share this post today as part of the Love Your Lunch series.  It definitely is a salad that is better the next day.  The flavors are much stronger and delicious after marinating together overnight in the fridge.  Since we had plenty of leftovers, I took a tupperware to lunch & it was so tasty and kept me full and satisfied until dinner.

My main plan was to just use the sweet corn, cilantro and the vinaigrette in this salad, but the peppers were on sale and too pretty to pass up.  The vegetables can be easily swapped for whatever is your preference or on sale at the time.  Try a combination on snap peas, red pepper, and feta cheese.  Or asparagus, eggplant and goat cheese.  The options are endless.

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So no.  I will not be eating quinoa today because I ate it all up yesterday.  Today, I am allowing myself to wander outside the office walls for lunch for some fresh air… it is Earth Day after all!

spring quinoa salad with honey lime vinaigrette
recipe by:  Sara
Hands on Time:  15 minutes   ///   Cook Time:  15-20 minutes   ///   Servings:  6-8

Ingredients:
1 & 1/2 cups quinoa
1 red pepper
1 green pepper
1 orange pepper
3 ears of sweet corn
1 jalapeno, minced
1 tsp ground chipotle powder
1/4 cup finely shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1/2 cup fresh lime juice
2 Tbsp honey
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp garlic powder
salt & pepper

Directions
1.  Cook quinoa according to package instructions then place in fridge to cool.
2.  Cut the peppers into a small dice and remove the corn from the ears.  Combine in a bowl with the chipotle seasoning and jalapeno.
3.  In a small bowl, combine the lime, honey, olive oil, and garlic with a whisk until thoroughly mixed.
4.  Season with salt and pepper.
5.  Add the cooled quinoa to the pepper and corn mixture.
6.  Pour dressing over salad and stir to combine.
7.  Stir in cheese and season salad with salt and pepper to taste.
8. Chill for 30 minutes or until ready to serve.

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#LoveYourLunch – Mandarin Cabbage Salad

{the crispy salad}

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Hi there!  Welcome to another week of Love Your Lunch.  I really love this series because not only does it give me ideas and inspiration for my lunches, but it allows me to blog about my simpler culinary adventures.  Sometimes, I feel like I need to blog ingredient-rich, 100% homemade recipes.  I need to shake that thought because really the simplest recipes are the most delicious, right?

The Love Your Lunch series is really just that – simple ingredients providing a tasty meal.  A lot of our lunch ideas can easily be altered to be a bit heartier for dinner as well.  Be sure to check out what Marisa and Becca are dishing up for lunch this week:

Cooking Like Lou
Two Places at Once

Now on to my menu…

I hate soggy salads.  It is almost as bad as soggy Cheerios.  Both must be crisp and crunchy.  It is pretty impossible to prepare a salad for your lunch, dressed and expect it to be fresh by lunchtime.  My friend the cabbage allows for a dressed, yet crispy salad and it is loaded with healthy benefits.

This salad is a bit similar to my Spicy Asian Slaw, but not really… It is made with prepared Sesame Ginger dressing and some added Asian pieces.  I love how the mandarin oranges give it a subtle sweetness and the crispy rice noodles the must-have crunch.  The best part is this salad can be made the night before and stored in tupperware to quickly grab in the morning.  However, the rice noodles should remain separately, but their container is light and easy to toss into your lunch bag.

Mandarin Cabbage Salad

Recipe by: Sara
Servings:  1   ///   Prep Time: 5 minutes

Ingredients:
about 2 cups of  thinly sliced green cabbage
1 Tbsp cilantro, chopped
1/2 cup mandarin orange slices
Sesame Ginger salad dressing [I used Maple Groves Farms of Vermont]
2 Tbsp crispy fried rice noodles
1 chicken breast, poached and cut into pieces[optional]

Directions:
1. In a bowl, combine the cabbage, cilantro, dressing and chicken if using.
2.  Stir to combine.
3.  Top with mandarin oranges and rice noodles.

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Enjoy.

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#LoveYourLunch – Sweet Peach Arugula Salad [part 2]

{sweet like a peach}

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Welcome to the second installment of the Love Your Lunch series!  For those of you new to these posts – I summarized the gist of it here.  Don’t forget to check out what Marisa is posting on Cooking Like Lou too!  We are very excited to have Becca from Two Places at Once on board starting next week.  You remember Becca, right?  She posted the delicious Blueberry Scone recipe a few weeks ago on my blog.  If you are interested in joining along the Love Your Lunch series, contact me :)

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Last week, I featured my typical Bento box style lunch.  However, like I have said before, a lot of my lunches are salads made of whatever is in my fridge.  Last week there was a sale on organic greens so I had a giant tub of arugula and mixed greens.  I came up with a bunch of different versions, but this one by far was my favorite…probably because I am a fruit addict.  It also was a nice little hint of summer that is never ever going to happen in Michigan.

These peaches were from Chili which I thought was unique and they ripened real fast and were unbelievably sweet.  I expected them to a bit more bitter with less subtle flavors, but they tasted like a small bit of summertime.

All of the ingredients in this salad are very simple to gather in the morning and throw into your lunch bag.  I suggest portioning some of the toppings the night before in a container for an even speedier morning.  Pair this salad with a Greek yogurt and I promise you’ll love your lunch.

Sweet peach & strawberry arugula salad

Ingredients:
Arugula
5-6 strawberries, quartered
1 peach, sliced
2 Tbsp sliced almonds
Raspberry vinaigrette
Blue cheese crumbles [not pictured]

Direction… do I really need to put these?
1.  Make the salad.

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I hope you have a wonderful week and have planned ahead so that you can love your lunch the rest of the week!

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Ode to the Jicama

{hic-a-ma}

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There are a ton of fruits & vegetables that go unnoticed at the store.  As creatures of habit, we tend to stick to the basics – lettuce, carrots, potatoes, green beans.  Next time you go to the store really look around and take in the incredible variety around you.

A few years ago, I spotted this interesting tuber-like veggie? fruit? potato?

IMG_3440I placed the ugly little thing in my shopping cart and toted it home.  It sat on my counter for a few days until I did enough research to know how it is typically prepared.

The jicama is also known as a Mexican turnip or yam.  It is typically eaten raw, paired with chili powder, cilantro, onion, etc.  Very similar to the basic ingredients in a salsa.   The texture is like that of a raw potato or crisp apple.  The taste is relatively sweet, a bit starchy, and super crunchy & fresh.

My first experience with the old jicama consisted of the basics.  I julienned it and tossed with cilantro, lime juice, red onion, salt, pepper, cayenne [ingredients similar to those in my Pineapple Salsa].  A refreshing raw salad.  This time I wanted to add a bit more umph to salad.  I had some delicious Cara Cara oranges & Meyer lemons in my fridge so I decided to create a tropical, citrus jicama salad.

It turned out to be a perfect combination of flavors: starchy, sweet, sour, spicy and tasted amazing.  I had a bottle of dried, toasted coconut pieces (typically used for baking) that brought the whole thing together.  This bottle was purchased at Home Goods.  If you can’t find something like it, I suggest just toasting some shredded coconut to put on top.

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I really enjoyed this unique salad and it made me stray from the typical fruits & veggies that end up in my shopping cart.  If you are trying to broaden your palate, start with the jicama.  Its mellow flavor isn’t something super adventurous or weird.  Although pretty high in carbs, it has a lot of vitamins and minerals that are beneficial for the body, including an abundance of your daily dose of fiber.  So next time you are at your grocery store, pass by the boring white potatoes and pick up a jicama!

tropical Citrus jicama salad
Recipe By: Sara
Hands-on Time:  15 minutes   ///   Cook Time:  0 minutes   ///   Servings: 4

Ingredients:
1 large jicama, peeled and cut into thin matchsticks
2 oranges, peeled & cut into segments
1 Meyer lemon
2 Tbsp red onion, minced
2 Tbsp cilantro, chopped
1 tsp Mango Masala sea salt [use kosher salt if you don’t buy this :)]
1 Tbsp toasted coconut pieces or chopped shredded coconut
1 tsp coconut oil, melted

Directions:
1.  In a small bowl, combine the juice from the lemon, salt, coconut oil and pepper.  Stir to combine.
2.  In a serving bowl, toss together the red onion, jicama, and cilantro.
3.  Drizzle the mixture over the jicama.
4.  Top with orange segments and toasted coconut.
5.  Chill until ready to serve.

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enjoy!

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