Autumn Steak Salad

I know salads for dinner are usually thought of as a summer thing. They are light and refreshing and rarely involve turning on an oven in the heat of the summer.
 

Fall foods are usually considered more hearty and comforting. However, there is nobody saying that you can’t enjoy a good salad in the Fall and still feel warm and full. I was looking for something that would check off all the boxes: healthy, salad, filling, hearty, full of Fall goodness, so I came up with this beauty of a dish. My husband loved it. I loved it. It definitely hit the spot.

I’ve put approximate amounts in the list below. That’s one of the things that’s so great about a salad: you have so much free reign to make it how you like. Don’t want steak? Use chicken. Or no meat at all. Change the apple, add more cranberries.

You do you, boo.

Autumn Steak Salad

1 bag mixed greens (or lettuce/greens of your choice)

1 sweet potato, cubed

Olive oil

Ground cinnamon

1 apple, diced (I used a Fuji)

½ cup dried cranberries (or more if you’d like)

½ cup chopped walnuts (or more if you’d like)

Goat cheese, crumbled

Steak cut of your choice (I used a 15oz rib eye I found at Trader Joe’s)

Maple Dijon Apple vinaigrette

Salt and pepper

Fresh sage, about 1 tablespoon, minced

Place your cubed sweet potato on a baking sheet and coat with some olive oil, salt, and cinnamon, just a sprinkle or so will be fine. Roast in a 425 degree oven for 20 minutes. Remove from the pan and set aside to cool.

While the potatoes are roasting, season your steak with salt and pepper. Cook in a skillet over medium heat (I used my cast iron) until cooked to your preferred doneness. Remove and let set for about 5-10 minutes. Slice thinly.

Mix together the vinaigrette by combining equal parts olive oil and apple cider vinegar, a tablespoon of Dijon mustard, and ½ tablespoon of maple syrup and whisk together.

Assemble the salad: In a big bowl, add the greens, apple, cranberries, walnuts, sage, goat cheese, cooled sweet potatoes, and steak slices. Drizzle with dressing and toss to combine.

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Corn and Poblano Summer Salad

I was not going to post about this. It was supposed to be an afterthought to the amazing ribs my husband and I were smoking all day. We just needed a quick side dish. No big deal. 

It was a big deal. It turned out so good I just had to make a post about it! This salad will no doubt become my go-to summer side dish. It can be served cold or at room temp. Also, since it isn’t a mayonnaise-based salad, it lends itself really well to BBQ buffets because it can sit out for longer periods of time.

And the best part? It is SO EASY! 

Corn and Poblano Summer Salad 

1 bag frozen corn

2 Poblano peppers 

1 medium avocado 

Handful of cherry tomatoes 

1 lime

3 T olive oil 

Salt and pepper to taste

Cook the corn according to package directions, usually in the microwave. You can use fresh corn too if you want, just grill them and cut it off the cob. I just find the frozen much easier and the taste is still great.

After the corn is cooked, add it to a dry skillet over high heat. The goal here is to just char it up a little bit. Set aside to cool. I put it in the fridge to bring the temperature down to warm/room temp. I prepped the rest of the salad in the meantime.

Put the Poblanos over the flame on your stove, turning until charred on all sides.


When done, put the peppers in a plastic bag and seal. Let them steam for about 10-15 minutes. 


Remove from the bag and the skin will just wipe off with a paper towel. Open up the peppers and remove the stem and the seeds. Dice the pepper.

In a bowl, add diced avocado, halved cherry tomatoes, diced pepper, and cooled corn.

In a small bowl, mix your dressing which is just the zest and juice of 1 lime, olive oil, a dash of pepper and 1t salt. Whisk together with a fork and pour over the veggies. Careful toss the veggies to coat. Add a little more salt if necessary.


That’s it! So easy and so much flavor! It was the perfect side!

Spinach and Bacon Salad 

My relationship with salad has become stagnant. Boring. Dullsville. I have been relying on my standby of plain ol’ “side” salad for too long. That’s not to say I don’t still like the old classic: crunchy iceburg lettuce, juicy tomatoes, crisp cucumbers, maybe a little cheddar and diced avocado for a little treat, all joined together by everyone’s favorite, Ranch dressing. 

Sure, that little salad has gotten my through life so far, but we’ve reached a plateau. It’s about time I upped my salad game, dear readers, and this simple little dish is just what I was looking for. 

I wouldn’t say that I like spinach. I don’t dislike it by any means, but it’s not my favorite. If it is cooked in something (like a dip or those spinach tortillas or made into noodles), I’m all about it, but raw spinach? Eh, I could take it or leave it. 

My husband loves spinach. I make him salads a lot to eat for lunch throughout the week and they are always spinach-based because spinach is really so good for you. It is high in folate, vitamins, iron, dietary fibers… I could go on. That all being said, when it came time to see what kind of salad-trouble I can get into, I started with a simple google search: Spinach Salad. 

There are soooooo many combinations out there! They all look really good too! I found a few recipes that look really good and I can’t wait to try. The best part is they are all so simple. Only a few ingredients and a dressing and you’ve got yourself a healthy salad. I figure you could serve any of them as a side dish or even a main meal, if you wanted. 

This warm spinach salad is the most common one I found, with lots of different recipes for it. The first recipe I came across was from Alton Brown, so I knew it would be good. I was right, it was delicious. And calling “warm” is a bit misleading. The dressing is warm, but the salad was more room temperature. 

Heed my warning, though, and don’t make the same mistake I did. This makes a lot of salad. I broke the cardinal rule of all salad-making and I dressed the whole thing right away, even though I knew we weren’t going to finish it that night. The next day, the texture was way off and it was just not good. I mean the flavor was still there and the rest of the components were yummy, but the spinach itself did not hold up. So, unless you are planning on finishing the whole thing, just dress individual portions. Or make less. 

Alton Brown’s Warm Spinach Salad 

8oz package of baby spinach

8 strips of bacon, diced

2 eggs, hardboiled and sliced

3 tablespoons red wine vinegar

1 teaspoon sugar

½ teaspoon Dijon mustard

Salt and pepper

*walnuts

**4 large white mushrooms, sliced

**3 ounced red onion, thinly sliced 

*This was my own addition and it was delicious 

**Note: I do not like mushrooms, so I didn’t include them. I didn’t include the onion either because forgot to pick one up from the store and I didn’t want to go back just for one thing. You understand.** 

Wash and dry the spinach. Put into a large bowl with the walnuts, egg, mushrooms, and onion. Set aside. 

In a pan, fry the bacon, remove from the pan and dab with a paper towel. Add to the spinach.

  

Reserve 3 tablespoons of the bacon grease in the pan. You can get rid of the rest. To the grease, add the red wine vinegar, sugar, mustard, and a pinch each of salt and pepper. Wisk over low heat until well combined.
  

Pour the dressing on the salad and toss.

Serve as an entree or side.

 

Strawberry Balsamic Dressing 

Sometimes I think this recipe came out of thin air. I made a salad but I had no dressing in the house. I usually do, but this time I didn’t. Lately I’ve been making this ranch dressing, which is delicious, but I didn’t have it or the ingredients to make it. Luckily, I had what I needed for this dressing. It only has three ingredients and it is really yummy!

Vinaigrettes (a mixture of vinegar and oil with seasonings) come from the French word for Vinegar (obviously), but they are a pretty universal staple in most kitchens. They are most often used as a dressing, but can be a marinade as well. Generally speaking, the ratio is 3 parts oil to 1 part vinegar, but I didn’t do that since I just sort of tossed everything into the blender until it looked good. And since I didn’t follow the vinaigrette rules, I’ll just call mine a dressing.

Traditionally, vinaigrettes are pretty basic: vinegar, oil, salt and pepper. In the US, we tend to add a lot of additions, like truffles, berries, garlic, blue cheese, etc. Seems pretty typical of the US, but also pretty yummy!

Strawberry Balsamic Dressing

1-1/2 cups chopped strawberries
3/4 cup balsamic vinegar
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil

Put all ingredients in a blender and mix until well combined.  

Dish #4: Israeli Turkey Schnitzel with Israeli Salad

When I was looking into the cuisine of Israel, I wasn’t really expecting to find something like this, mainly because I make something similar all the time! This is probably among the easiest of the dishes I will make for this blog and is perfect for a weeknight dinner. My one-year-old loved it… well, as much as she could eat without all her molars.

Schnitzel was brought to Israel by the Jews of Central Europe when the State of Israel was in its beginning stages. At the time, veal (which is the main component of Weinerschnitzel) was unavailable in the region so Turkey was a widely available and inexpensive substitute. The main difference between weinerschnitzel and the Israeli adaptation is the lack of butter. To keep with kashrut laws, the dairy and the meat cannot mix, so oil is only used. Sometimes the seasonings are changed up a bit, for example Yemenite Jews add the seasoning hawaij, which incidentally is what I did as well.

Everywhere I looked for this recipe, all the commentary proved that this is a very common dish in Israel. Paired with an Israeli salad, it makes for a great dinner.  All you need is a quick Google search and you will find all sorts of recipes for both the schnitzel and the salad. They are all very basic with a few changes here and there depending on who is making it.  Here is what I did based on my readings of other recipes:

Heat canola oil over medium heat in a big skillet. You don’t need much, just enough to coat the bottom of the pan with about 1/2″ oil.
In a bowl mix together: 1 cup panko bread crumbs, 1/4 tsp black pepper, 1/4 tsp cumin, 1/4 tsp garam masala*
In a separate bowl, beat 2 eggs.
Working one at a time, dip chicken or turkey cutlets** in the egg and then in the breadcrumb mixture.
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Add the cutlets to the hot oil and pan fry about 4-5  minutes on each side, depending on thickness. Mine were about 1/4″ thick so it didn’t take long at all.
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*I didn’t have all the ingredients needed for hawaij, but the garam masala has pretty much the same ingredients so I used it. It may not make this traditional, but it was yummy!
**You can also buy chicken or turkey breasts and butterfly them. Trader Joes sells turkey cutlets that are perfect for this.

While the meat is cooking you can put the salad together. This is hard for me to give you an exact recipe because I only made enough for one. The thing with this salad is you need to eat it right away because the oil and lemon juice will wreak havoc on the cucumber and it will not taste good. You can always chop the veggies and add the dressing later.

1 cup chopped tomatoes
1 cup chopped cucumbers
1/2 cup chopped bell pepper (everywhere I look says green, but I used yellow because it looks so nice)
pinch of salt and pepper to taste
juice of half a lemon
stream in olive oil so it’s dressed to your liking. Some people like more, some like less

I’ve seen people add green onions, mint, garlic, but this seems to be the most traditional.

This is definitely something I can see myself making again. It was really quick and easy, which is important for a working mom like myself, and most importantly, it was delicious!

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