Taco Salad with Avocado Lime Dressing

My little one can sleep through the blender whirring, which is awesome. Sometimes he naps in the “office” and I clench my teeth when hitting that pulse button not too far away, but he hasn’t been bothered by smoothies, or dressings, or anything in the blender! I hope he continues to sleep deeply like his Momma. I made this salad feeling like a million bucks because I repurposed some chicken meatloaf by just warming with taco seasoning, AND had a use for the rest of the black beans, AND was eating salad. #winning

The Three Bite Rule - Taco Salad with Avocado Lime Dressing
Don’t forget, excuse the shape of some of the meat since it’s first life was chicken meatloaf that was absolutely to die for, and no I didn’t photograph it as I dumped stuff in and hoped for the best. Seriously. It restored my faith in meatloaf. Also, excuse the fact that I forgot the black beans until after taking pics.

Ingredients:

2 avocados
1/8 cup lime juice
1 tsp garlic, minced
2 tsp apple cider vinegar
1/8 cup vegetable oil
pinch of sugar

Directions:

Put avocados, lime juice, garlic, sugar, and cider vinegar into a blender.
The Three Bite Rule - Taco Salad with Avocado Lime Dressing
Blend on low and stream in oil until smooth.
The Three Bite Rule - Taco Salad with Avocado Lime Dressing
Assemble salad and drizzle on the dressing. I kept mine pretty thick but you could add more oil & lime juice to thin it out if you’d prefer.
The Three Bite Rule - Taco Salad with Avocado Lime Dressing
My salad had lettuce, cucumbers, cheddar, salsa, black beans, and taco meat. I originally thought I’d be putting avocado onto the salad but then used it for the dressing. It was really good! Because of the salsa, I didn’t think I needed that much dressing. I have to admit I dunked a few tortilla chips in the leftover dressing (which was a good choice) so I’m not sure how well any leftover dressing would keep. I think it’d turn avocado-brown, but be ok to eat.
The Three Bite Rule - Taco Salad with Avocado Lime Dressing

Salmon with Creamy Dill & Cucumber Dressing

I’m sooo psyched to share this one! I was excited to make it, even more thrilled when I ate it, and just couldn’t wait to share it with you! I came upon the salmon, courtesy of my parents buying a big piece and giving me some. They deserve all the credit for making this month’s fish adventure happen, and making my own salad dressing made this a double whammy. Spell-check deserves the credit to helping me correctly spell whammy.

The Three Bite Rule - Salmon with Creamy Dill & Cucumber Dressing
Mr. J doesn’t do fish so this was lunch for one and was quick & easy to make a single serving. There. Nothing stopping you. A reminder we can all use. In the time it took for the fish to cook, I mixed the dressing & prepped the salad.

Ingredients:

1 piece of salmon
2 tbs butter
1 tsp fresh or dried herbs or spice blend
3 tbs sour cream
3 tbs mayo
1 tbs garlic, minced
1 tbs cider vinegar
1 tsp dill
1/4 cup English cucumber
leafy greens & tomatoes for salad

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 400-degrees.
Cut butter into pieces onto a piece of plastic wrap. Top with herb mix, salt, & pepper.
The Three Bite Rule - Salmon with Creamy Dill & Cucumber Dressing
Twist up the plastic wrap and mash the butter together to incorporate the spices.
Put the salmon onto a piece of foil and dot with the herbed butter. Fold up the foil to form a packet.
The Three Bite Rule - Salmon with Creamy Dill & Cucumber Dressing
Bake for 20 minutes until cooked through.
The Three Bite Rule - Salmon with Creamy Dill & Cucumber Dressing
While salmon is cooking, add the sour cream, mayo, cider vinegar, garlic, dill, salt, and pepper. Mix well and refrigerate until serving.
The Three Bite Rule - Salmon with Creamy Dill & Cucumber Dressing
Chop & plate salad ingredients. Optional: toss lightly with oil/vinegar. Place the salmon on top.
Add chopped cucumber to the dressing just before serving.
The Three Bite Rule - Salmon with Creamy Dill & Cucumber Dressing
Spoon some dressing over the plate & enjoy!
The Three Bite Rule - Salmon with Creamy Dill & Cucumber Dressing
Ohh wow. So good. I loooved the herb & buttered salmon. It was flaky and the dressing was perfect. I liked the crunch of the cucumber in the dressing rather than in the salad. This was a delightful reminder that the butter makes it feel decadent while a small amount of dressing kept it fresh yet flavorful. My parents lightly dress salad with a healthier dressing so a creamy one can just be for some touch of flavor.

Clearly I enjoyed it:
The Three Bite Rule - Salmon with Creamy Dill & Cucumber Dressing

Kale Pesto Pasta Salad

Last fall Mr. J found a recipe for roasted kale pesto that he served over pork chops and polenta. I loved it and figured the pesto would be great for pasta salad.

The Three Bite Rule - Roasted Kale Pesto Pasta Salad

Ingredients:

1 head of kale
1/4 to 1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 cup walnuts
2 tbs lemon juice
3 tbs Parmesan
1/2 pound pasta

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Tear the kale off the stems and spread onto a sheet pan.
Drizzle with olive oil, salt & pepper.
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Bake for 5 minutes, check and flip being careful not to let it burn. Cook for another 3 minutes.
The Three Bite Rule - Roasted Kale Pesto Pasta Salad
Transfer into a food processor with walnuts, lemon juice, Parmesan, salt, and pepper.
The Three Bite Rule - Roasted Kale Pesto Pasta Salad
Blend until smooth while slowly streaming in the olive oil until you reach your desired thickness.
The Three Bite Rule - Roasted Kale Pesto Pasta Salad
Let cool. Boil salted water for the pasta. Cook until al dente and drain.
Toss with the pesto.
The Three Bite Rule - Roasted Kale Pesto Pasta Salad
Refrigerate over night, or at least 8 hours.
Toss with a drizzle of oil if it is too dry.
The Three Bite Rule - Roasted Kale Pesto Pasta Salad
I loved this. It could easily be a cool meal for some hot-weather. The pesto is unbelievable. I love this pesto but I think it blows regular pasta salad out of the water. That creamy mayo-heavy sweet pasta salad has nothing on this.

I couldn’t believe how much the color changed. The flavor deepens with time.

Asian Salad with Peanut Butter Chicken

This salad is sooo easy and only took a few special touches to make it something special. This Asian-inspired salad is the perfect meal to make dinner seem different. If you cook and shred the chicken in advance, this would be a 10 minute meal! I also might skip the chicken on the salad and grill some sesame garlic wing to go with this.

The Three Bite Rule - Asian Salad with Peanut Butter Chicken

Ingredients:

3 chicken tenders, each cut in half
8 oz Broccoli slaw
2-3 tbs sesame soy vinaigrette (bottled or 1 tsp sesame oil, 1 tbs rice vinegar, 1 tsp soy sauce whisked together)
1/4 peanut butter
2 tbs soy sauce
1/2 cup edemame, shelled and cooked
orange segments (or packaged Mandarin oranges with no sugar added)
1/2 cup cashews
1/4 cup crispy wonton strips (found in the produce area, or make your own)

Directions:

Bring a pot of water to a low boil. Then add the chicken. Cook for about ten minutes. Check that it is cooked through, if not keep cooking.
Toss broccoli slaw with dressing in a large bowl.
The Three Bite Rule - Asian Salad with Peanut Butter Chicken
When cool enough to handle, shred the chicken.
In a small pot add the peanut butter on low, stirring occasionally until melted.
Stir in the soy sauce, and remove from the heat.
The Three Bite Rule - Asian Salad with Peanut Butter Chicken
Toss the shredded chicken into the peanut sauce to coat well.
The Three Bite Rule - Asian Salad with Peanut Butter Chicken
Top the salad with orange segments, edemame, cashews, crispy wonton strips, and chicken.
The Three Bite Rule - Asian Salad with Peanut Butter Chicken
I loved this. I could eat this regularly. The chicken feels kind of heavy and thick from the peanut butter, but the sharpness of the broccoli slaw dressing balances it. The sweet oranges are bright with lots of crisp texture from the nuts and wonton strips. The broccoli slaw was a welcome change from other greens. I love it.

This is such a cheap one, especially since it uses very little chicken.

Cost breakdown of Asian Salad with Peanut Butter Chicken:

(cost per quantity that was used)
broccoli slaw: $2.00
chicken tenders: $2.50
edemame: $0.25
packaged oranges: $1.00
cashews: $1.50
wonton strips: $1.00
total = $8.25 for 3 servings, or $2.75 per person

You might be able to grab the edemame from the salad bar, which would make it super cheap without any leftovers. The wonton strips aren’t totally necessary with the nuts so you could skip one or the other if you wanted to simplify a bit.

I’ll totally make this again.

What I Ate: His & Hers Caesar Salad

What I Ate’ is a series of posts for so-easy-this-doesn’t-need-a-recipe but I’m sharing with you for the idea or inspiration.

I love caesar salad for the fresh greens, the salty Parmesan, and crunchy croutons, and garlicky dressing. It isn’t the healthiest salad, but it is ohh-so-good. It made for such a quick dinner to welcome spring. The simplicity is the charm.

I topped mine with grilled shrimp. I squirted the shrimp with a touch of lemon, salt, and pepper. They only needed to grill for a few minutes for the charred flavor.

The Three Bite Rule - Caesar Salad with Grilled Shrimp
Mr. J had his topped with steak. The steak marinated all day in a teriyaki marinade.

The Three Bite Rule - Caesar Salad with Grilled Steak
I toasted a few slices of wheat bread, tossed with olive oil, Italian seasoning, and salt. Instant croutons! While the steak & shrimp was grilling, I whipped up a quick caesar dressing I’ve made before.

Sometimes the easiest meals are exactly what I want. Other times I want lots of complicated components juggling more than is necessary for a random week night. It was awesome to blend the dressing, toss the salad together, and get the grill going. I had everything made, cleaned up, and plated by the time the steak & shrimp was off the grill. #winning

Greek-Style Kofta over Salad

I like to vary up my dinner planning for the week. I could eat Mediterranean or Mexican everyday so I try to make sure there’s a mix. I do the same with meals to be blogged. It is much faster to cook without moving food to better lighting and snapping photos or making notes.

Cutthroat Kitchen had to make kebabs and one chef ended up being challenged to make his own skewers with vegetables. His were sad carrots but it did get me thinking kebabs are fun. Any food on a stick is fun! I figured we were long overdue for a meal like this. It felt balanced because of the raw veggies and grilled meat. The feta adds the saltiness and the creamy dressing added some tang. Overall is was fresh, and light but filling.

The Three Bite Rule - Greek Kofta

Ingredients:

1/2 pound ground chicken/pork/veal/lamb/beef
1/2 small white onion, chopped
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp coriander
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
splash of red wine
3 cups lettuce
1 tomato, chopped
1/2 cucumber, chopped
1/2 cup feta
1/4 cup Creamy Caesar/Greek/Italian dressing

Directions:

Preheat a grill, grill pan, or electric indoor grill to medium-high heat.
If using bamboo skewers: soak in cold water for at least 10 minutes.
Mix ground meat, onion, spices, vinegar, red wine, salt, and pepper.

The Three Bite Rule - Greek Kofta
Form into 4 oblong logs onto skewers.
Brush with oil and grill.

The Three Bite Rule - Greek Kofta
Grill 15-20 minutes, rotating to cook through (cooking time will vary depending on the ground meat. I used ground chicken which cooked longer than beef would).
Toss together lettuce, tomato, cucumbers, and feta.

The Three Bite Rule - Greek Kofta
Drizzle with dressing then top with kebabs.

The Three Bite Rule - Greek Kofta
I loved this. The spices are so welcoming and truly make this dinner feel different. The meat is juicy and so flavorful. I love the warmth of the kebabs against the cool salad. Ahhh. So good.

Warm Bacon Vinaigrette Dressing

In an attempt to throw together an easier dinner, I let this salad get out of control. I just kept adding and adding and adding ingredients.

The salad started with some basics, then I kept adding things to heft it up. That’s when I added a hard boiled egg. Then I figured white beans would be good. I had some carrots that just needed to be roasted.  Then some bread from the freezer became cheesy garlic bread. There was a lot happening on this salad.
The Three Bite Rule - Warm Bacon Vinaigrette
The dressing was a bit underwhelming. I loved the bacon flavor added to the salad. I don’t know if I’d make it again.

Ingredients:

2 slices of bacon
3 tbs red wine vinegar
3 tbs olive oil

Directions:

Fry the bacon until crisp. Cut into small pieces.
The Three Bite Rule - Warm Bacon Vinaigrette
Drain most of the fat and discard.
In the same pan, over low heat, whisk in the vinegar and olive oil.
The Three Bite Rule - Warm Bacon Vinaigrette

Cook for about 2 minutes, and remove from the heat.
The Three Bite Rule - Warm Bacon Vinaigrette

Add in the bacon pieces and pour over salad.
The Three Bite Rule - Warm Bacon Vinaigrette
The salad was good. It was just a lot going on. Between roasting the carrots, toasting up some garlic bread, boiling the egg, and then chopping all the ingredients. I need salad for dinner more often. Maybe I should have skipped the egg and tomato, just to simplify it.

Do you make dressing? Any tips for me?

What I Ate: Wintry Salad

What I Ate’ is a series of posts for so-easy-this-doesn’t-need-a-recipe but I’m sharing with you for the idea or inspiration.

This is the season of intense foods, holiday parties, hot chocolate based cocktails, and seasonal candy. I figured a few meals should off-set those delicious things. I threw this salad together calling it a Wintry Salad on our meal planning calendar and Mr. J found it comical. What’s winter about salad he asks? I say white beans, pears, and blue cheese dressing make a subtle nod to winter. Either way, we should eat more salads for dinner. This one is hearty and filling while still getting lots of veggies to you.
The Three Bite Rule - Wintry Salad
I had 3 chicken tenders I lightly breaded and cooked, but didn’t use and then froze them. I forget what they had been for, but that was the perfect amount of chicken for some protein without being a ton. I made enough salad for 2 of us for dinner and one for Mr. J to take for lunch. That equates to 1 chicken tender per serving. Plus 2 strips of bacon crumbled, into 3 servings. Basically, I just want to remind you that the amount of protein on salad can be wayyy less than you’d serve otherwise.

The Three Bite Rule - Wintry Salad

Wintry Salad Ingredients (add or swap as you desire!)
mixed greens
tomatoes
cucumbers
1 pear
3 chicken tenders
2 strips of bacon
1 cup white beans
blue cheese dressing

I tossed it with a tiny bit of Italian dressing. That helps reduce how much creamy dressing anyone will “need”.

suggested adaptations:
wintry salad + feta – blue cheese dressing = Greek-ish salad
wintry salad – chicken – bacon + artichokes = vegetarian friendly
wintry salad – chicken – bacon + leftover holiday ham + roasted carrots = lightened up leftovers
wintry salad + balsamic onions + warm bacon salad dressing = winter wonderland

Chopped Greek Salad

I have one more (possibly the best meal) from vacay to share, but I wanted to space ‘em out with some regular posts too. Coming back from vacation and work travel, I wanted greens! I needed more veggies! I had one last cucumber from the rents’ garden so I thought, let’s go Greek!

This is suuuuper easy and nothing out of the ordinary, but I think chopped salads are a great way to make salad feel more special for dinner.

Ingredients:

2-3 cups lettuce or greens of your choosing
1 tomato, chopped
1 cucumber, chopped
1 cup chickpeas
1/2 cup feta crumbled
1/4 cup Greek, caesar, or creamy Caesar dressing
3 chicken tenders, marinated & grilled, then chopped
1 cup croutons

Directions:

Wash & chop lettuce putting into a big bowl. (I didn’t chop the lettuce all that much, but chop to your preference)
chop_greek_lettuce_590_390
Add tomatoes, cucumbers, chickpeas, and feta.
chop_greek_bowl_590_390
Toss with dressing & top with chicken and croutons.
chop_greek_plate_590_390
I loooove Greek salad and think this was a good one for dinner. The chicken and chickpeas make it filling. The garden cucumber and garden tomato are good reminders how good these veggies are when they’re local and in season. We’re nearing the end but I’ll enjoy them while they last.

Greek Pasta Salad

Before I get to any Parisian treats or Czech delights, I have a weekend trip to Maine and I’m prepping for San Fran. I unpack to repack. I wanted to share a Greek inspired dish with you. This is a quick meal that I knew would include leftovers and would use tomatoes from our garden.

I settled on a Greek inspired pasta salad. It would be super easy to customize too. We ate this as a meal served with some hummus & pita chips, but I’ll have to keep it in mind for the next BBQ.
The Three Bite Rule - Greek Pasta Salad

Ingredients:

⅔ pound of pasta (I used our fav shape Campanelle)
1 cup Greek salad dressing
1 large tomato
½ cucumber
½ cup creamy Caesar dressing (optional)
Salt & pepper
1 tsp oregano (or basil)
⅓ cup feta

Directions:

(to be partially made/prepped the night before)
Boil pasta in a very large pot of salted boiling water.
Cook pasta through to your liking (for pasta salad, I think it is better a touch past al dente). Drain pasta and transfer pasta to a large bowl or container that can be covered.
When pasta cools a bit to room temperature, mix most of the Greek dressing over the pasta.
The Three Bite Rule - Greek Pasta Salad
Refrigerate overnight, or at least 4 hours.
The next day, mix pasta and chop tomatoes, cucumbers, and dice red onions.
The Three bite Rule - Greek Pasta Salad
Mix veggies into the pasta and mix in creamy Caesar dressing. Add salt, pepper, and oregano. Refrigerate until serving.
Sprinkle feta over the top and serve.
The Three Bite Rule - Greek Pasta Salad

I loved this. Greek flavors are some of my favorites. I never think of pasta in the summer but why not a cool pasta. This is salad minus the lettuce! It is filling and flavorful. The creamy Caesar dressing was something I had, but could easily be omitted.

Pasta salad is really lackluster if it isn’t made in advance enough. I set a timer and went about the rest of my evening while the water was boiling and while the pasta cooked. Prep the night before or it’ll be a let down. It would be easy enough to throw together in the morning before heading off to work too.
The Three Bite Rule - Greek Pasta Salad

I don’t do olives, but they would be a great addition for some Greek-ness. Grilled chicken, artichokes, chopped/shaved asparagus, sausage, mushrooms, or chopped spinach would be lovely as well. This is the summer equivalent of a one-pot-wonder.