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.
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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.

Open Faced Greek Salad Pockets

It is Monday. Shall we detox on something healthy?

This meal was all over the place. I was thinking of making a Greek dip-ish. Then I was thinking Greek pizza-ish. I ended up with a sort of open-faced Greek “un”Wrap.
greek_pizza_plate_590_390

Ingredients:

2 thin chicken breasts, marinated
2 wheat pita pockets
1 cup ricotta
2 thin chicken breasts, marinated in Greek/Italian dressing
2 cups of mixed greens/spinach/romaine
1 tomato
¼ cup red onion
½ cucumber
2 -3 tbs Italian Dressing/Greek Dressing/Olive Oil & Vinegar
2 tbs Creamy Greek dressing (optional)
½ cup feta cheese

Directions:

Grill the chicken.
Assemble the salad by mixing the lettuce greens, chopping the tomato, chopping the onion, chopping the cucumber.
Mix in salad dressing and feta.
greek_salad_pizza_bowl_590_390
Heat a skillet over medium heat. It should be sized to fit the pita pocket.
Once hot, add 2 tbs olive oil to the pan then add the pitas one at a time, flipping once.
Spread half the ricotta onto each pita pocket.
greek_salad_pizza_crust_590_390
Top with salad mix, then feta.
Slice and top with grilled chicken.
Drizzle some additional dressing over the whole thing or the creamy Greek dressing.
greek_pizza_plate_590_390
I liked the crispness of the pita… toasting them up was in my best interest, since my pitas were not exactly fresh anymore. It was a great weird mix of not a salad, not a pizza. Not a pizza topped with salad. It was tricky to eat, but that’s a challenge I was happy to accept.

This is a refreshing summer meal. I love that is has some great flavors, freshness, and uses only a few ingredients. There is only a small amount of chicken in/on this. Once again, it was a good reminder that those super skinny breast pieces are useful when cut up or one normal size chicken breast would easily serve 2-3 people this way. I had some green onions hanging around so those went on top too.

I’ve proclaimed my love for ricotta, haven’t I? It is true. I love it. Ricotta on toast + avocado = delicious. I had leftover ricotta from making personalized Pizza Dip so I figured this was definitely a different use for it. Whipped feta would be great on this too.  These would be fun on little mini pitas for an appetizer. Pita bread is a great pizza crust. I need to do that again!

BLT Pasta Salad

Now that the 4th is over, the pressure is off for your food to be red/white/blue. Phew!

I was thinking this pasta salad was getting so hearty that it didn’t really need to just be a side, I thought it could be almost the whole meal. I put it on salad with a few more veggies and thought it was great!

blt_salad_overhead_590_390

Ingredients:

6 oz plain greek yogurt
1 envelope Ranch Dressing (or Italian Dressing)
10 oz dried pasta (any shape you like)
4 slices of bacon
2 tomatoes
1 cucumber

Directions:

In advance: mix yogurt and dressing packet together and refrigerate for 3+ hours.
Boil pasta until cooked through, but just a little al dante. (I cook it longer than when I prepare hot pasta).
Fry bacon until crisp.
Let pasta cool.
Chop tomatoes, cucumbers, and bacon.
Mix dressing onto room temperature pasta.
blt_salad_pasta_590_390
Chill for an hour-or-two before serving.
Serve as pasta salad or on top of a green salad.
blt_salad_plate_590_390
Basil would have been a good addition to make the pasta salad be more BLT instead of the lettuce. I used Greek yogurt to up the protein and lower the fat from mayo. If it dries out, add a tablespoon or two of milk to get it creamy again before serving.

There are pretty much a million substitutions for this one…ready? go!

Shrimp and Couscous Salad

Sometimes it is just too hot to really cook. I don’t like when it is this hot out. I don’t know how people like the 90s. Yuck. It was too hot to cook, we had just been away for the weekend, I hadn’t planned anything so I was digging around to see what I could whip up. I came up with this salad-y dish that was perfect!

shrimp_couscous_text_590_390

Ingredients:

5 medium-large shrimp, pealed, deveined, and cooked (I used frozen)
½ cup Israeli couscous
¾ cup chicken/veggie stock/water/white wine (liquid of your choosing)
2 tbs whole grain mustard
1 tsp butter
1 cup edemame (I used unshelled, if they’re in the pods cook and pop them out earlier)
½ cup bell pepper, chopped
salt & pepper

Directions:

Add couscous to a medium pan over medium heat to toast for about 3 minutes.
Shake them around until they start getting a little tan colored.
Add in the liquid (I used chicken stock) and cover for 5 minutes.
Cook edemame (mine was frozen and deshelled and just needed to boil for 5 min).
Chop pepper and cut shrimp into 3rds or leave whole, depending on your preference while couscous is cooking
Remove from heat and add in butter and mustard.
Drop in edemame, peppers, and shrimp.
Stir until combined and sprinkle in cracked pepper and kosher salt.

This was so easy and I was using what I had. I didn’t have anything citrus based, but that would be really fresh and perfect for shrimp. I liked the butter and mustard flavors. The peppers are raw but warm up a bit from the heat of everything else. They add a good crunch. I loved this one dish meal. I’ve made couscous before sort of like this but this time, it got to be the whole meal!

shrimp_couscous_bowl_590_390

This could easily have a bunch of substitutions. Salad dressing would be a good substitute for the mustard if that isn’t your thing. It would nix a lot of calories to use water instead of chicken stock in the couscous, and to omit the butter, but I figured it was under 400 calories anyway so I’d live it up. I would have chopped spinach if I had some or cherry tomatoes would be great. My cucumber was questionable but I thought that would be a good crunch. This could use any veggies you had around.

I loved the colors and felt so summery eating outside on the deck!

What I Ate: Ramen Coleslaw

I was trying to think of an easy side I could literally throw together. I was lacking motivation recently and somehow this came out of nowhere. I’ve made it a few times, but not once this summer yet. My twist is using broccoli slaw instead of cabbage or slaw mix.

This is so easy and takes 5 minutes to prep and goes with everything. It isn’t vegetarian but it is delicious! It is probably the cheapest side-dish ever. I dare you, find a cheaper one.

The Three Bite Rule - Ramen Slaw

Ingredients:

1 bag broccoli slaw
1 pack ramen noodles, chicken flavor
3/4 cup oil
4 tbsp apple cider vinegar
4 tbsp sugar
sprinkle of pepper
1 of the chicken pack flavorings in ramen noodle package

Directions:

The Three Bite Rule - Ramen Slaw
Boil the ramen noodles for about 5 minutes then drain.
Whisk or shake in a jar the oil, vinegar, sugar, pepper, and ramen flavor pack.
The Three Bite Rule - Ramen Slaw
Mix noodles, slaw, and dressing.
The Three Bite Rule - Ramen Slaw
Refrigerate at least 30 minutes before serving. I should have thrown in sunflower seeds. That crunch on top is delicious. I like how oil-vinegary this is. There is so much flavor from the ramen. My Mum and mother-in-law both make it with grapes & nuts. I like this salad when you keep the noodles raw too. They’re super crunchy.

Let’s break it down:

1 pkg chicken ramen: $0.24 (12 pack @ $2.99)
1 pkg broccoli slaw: $2.99
very little oil & vinegar
total = $3.23 and serves about 6, or $0.53 per serving.

Can you believe that pricing? It’s a crowd pleaser that won’t break the bank.