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Cheeseburger Salad

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Usually when I want to enjoy a cheeseburger in salad form, I make a hamburger salad and just top it with some shredded cheddar.  But I knew I had to try this Pampered Chef version when PW featured it a while back.  So glad I did because it’s so much better than my old stand-by!  I love how the sauce is mixed into the meat so that you don’t need dressing.  Saucy, flavorful meat, crisp lettuce, pickles & onions, juicy tomatoes, cheddar cheese–this salad just can’t be beat!

OK, now Pampered Chef and PW get all crazy and actually turn hamburger buns into croutons by baking them.  So cute, right?  But grizzle, puh-lease!  I may be crazy in certain ways, like adding way too much butter and sugar to my desserts to where they are literally swimming in evil, but I’m not the kind of crazy that likes to bake my own croutons in the summer for a simple salad.  If I’m turning on my oven, it’s for something sweet, not for croutons.  If you’re not my kind of crazy, you might want to just go to the original recipe for the crouton instructions.  As for me, Texas Toast croutons suit my salad just fine.

But, truth be told, this is the way I prefer to eat my cheeseburger salad:

Sans croutons.  I mean, the reason I like to turn hamburgers and cheeseburgers into salad is to get away from the bread because it gets in my way, and I like the veggies way more than the bread.  Plus, I get enough carbs from sugar. :)

Cheeseburger Salad

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2 lbs. ground beef
1 ¼ cups ketchup
3 tablespoons prepared yellow mustard
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
2 small red onions, one sliced into rings, the other diced
8 dill pickle spears, sliced
4 Roma tomatoes, quartered and sliced
8 oz. cheddar cheese, shredded
16 cups chopped Romaine lettuce (about 2 heads)
Texas Toast croutons (optional)

Cook the ground beef in a large skillet over medium heat. Remove from heat, drain the fat, and stir in the ketchup, mustard, and Worcestershire sauce. Add the diced onions and pickles (you can set some aside for garnish if you like). and stir to combine. Put 2 cups of lettuce on each plate, then divide the burger mixture between them. Top with cheese, tomato, onions and pickles if you set some aside, and croutons if desired.

Makes 8 servings.

Recipe source: adapted from The Pampered Chef

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Corn Salad with Queso Fresco

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It’s been a while! And I’ve noticed I’m not the only one blogging less–it seems summer time is a busy time for everyone and I’m no exception.  Except I haven’t been busy with obligations–I’ve been busy having fun!  That’s the best kind of busy, right? :)

I’ve been enjoying my nephew’s baseball games, we celebrated my PIL’s 50th anniversary, we’ve been biking and walking, I’ve been baking for bake sales, birthdays, and banana bread experiments, and we’re going to Lake Afton every chance we get.  When it’s this hot, the only thing I want to do is soak in the sun’s heat on the beach (with SPF 1,000 sunscreen, of course) and then cool off in the water.  Love it so so much!

I haven’t been cooking very much, but this corn salad is one of the dishes we’ve enjoyed lately.  I love eating cool foods on hot days and fresh corn in the summer is so yummy in any form!  This salad has a a Mexican vibe to it and the flavors are great.  You can make it as is for a side dish, or turn it into a meal by adding some leftover grilled or rotisserie chicken.  Fabulous!

I added so much chicken and tomato to my salad that the corn was hardly the main feature any more!

Corn Salad with Queso Fresco

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4 cups fresh or frozen corn kernels
8 ounces queso fresco or cotija cheese
1 large red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1 small red onion, finely chopped
1 jalapeno pepper, chopped (and seeded if desired-the seeds will add more heat)
1/2 recipe (about 6 ounces) Cilantro-Lime Vinaigrette (recipe follows)
1 large avocado, pitted, peeled, and cubed
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Optional: chopped tomato and leftover rotisserie chicken

Bring about 1 inch of water to a boil in a large stock pot. When the water boils, add the corn and cook for 2-3 minutes. Drain and rinse and then add to a large bowl. Toss together the corn, red bell pepper, red onion, jalapeno pepper, and crumbled cheese. Toss with Cilantro-Lime Vinaigrette. Chill until ready to serve. Right before serving, gently toss in the avocado and season with salt and pepper. Serves 10-12.

Recipe source: Our Best Bites

Cilantro-Lime Vinaigrette

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1/4 cup fresh lime juice (about 2-3 juicy limes)
1/4 cup white wine vinegar or rice vinegar*
4-5 cloves garlic
1/2 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
1 tablespoon sugar
1 cup canola oil
1/2 cup roughly chopped cilantro, stems removed

In the jar of your blender, combine lime juice, vinegar, garlic, salt, and sugar. Blend until ingredients are completely combined. With the blender running, add the oil in a steady stream. Add cilantro and blend until the cilantro has broken down but still maintains some of its texture. Serve with greens, on any type of Mexican salad, or use as a marinade.

*Reduce sugar to 2 teaspoons if using seasoned rice vinegar, which contains sugar.

Recipe source: Our Best Bites

Warm Chorizo & New Potato Salad

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This is a very simple summer-friendly recipe that is also, shockingly, husband-friendly. My poor man just does not get the amount of meat and potatoes he believes he requires, so when I served him this salad, he was so ecstatic to be eating meat and potatoes, that he didn’t even care there was a bed of lettuce underneath.

The meat and potato mixture is substantial and satisfying, but I really think you need the egg on top to complete the salad. Jenna said it was optional, but I’m not going to tell you that. You need the warm yolk to run out over the salad and serve as a dressing. It really pulls the whole thing together quite nicely.

Warm Chorizo & Potato Salad

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1.5 lbs new, red, or gold potatoes (I used gold)
Salt and pepper to taste
15 oz chorizo sausage
16 oz mixed salad greens or shredded lettuce
1 lemon
4 poached or over-easy eggs

Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Meanwhile, cut the potatoes into bite-size chunks; add to the water and once boiling, reduce heat a bit and continue to boil until fork-tender, but not mushy. Meanwhile, start your sausage to cooking. Add to a skillet and cook over medium heat, breaking it and crumbling with a spatula as you go. Remove from heat if it gets done before your potatoes are ready. Once the potatoes are tender, drain and add to the sausage. Stir well and cook another minute or two. Season with salt and pepper. Divide salad greens among four plates, then divide sausage and potatoes on top of each. Top with a poached or fried egg and serve immediately.

Recipe source: slightly modified from Jenna’s Everything Blog

Black Bean and Sweet Corn Quinoa Salad

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Last week, I shared the Fudge Babies recipe, divulging how late I was in jumping on the raw dessert train.  Well, raw desserts aren’t the only thing I was incredibly slow to catch on to.  Until this week, I also had not tried quinoa (pronounced keen-wah), despite seeing it on nearly every blog I frequent!  I’ve been saving recipes for years, finally bought some over a month ago, and finally, finally, made something with it this week.

Quinoa is gluten-free and while it’s not a grain (it’s a seed), it is often used in place of rice and is cooked the same way.  Although I’ve now enjoyed it, I still can’t tell you if I like quinoa or not, because I couldn’t identify its flavor apart from everything else in this salad.  The salad itself was stupendous, so I guess if I didn’t like quinoa, I wouldn’t have liked the salad as much.

It has a pleasant Mexican flavor profile, and while carbohydrate-heavy, it is also fiber and protein-rich.  It is so delicious that I am a bit ashamed to admit I couldn’t even wait to sit down and eat it from a bowl like a civilized human being.  As soon as it was done, I took a taste and then stood over the pan, shoveling it into my mouth with the ginormous serving spoon.  In my defense, I was stressed, approaching a certain time of month, very hungry, and found this salad to be irresistible.  The perfect storm of coincidences to bring out the barbarian in me.

Black Bean and Sweet Corn Quinoa Salad

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1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
3/4 cup uncooked quinoa
1 1/2 cups chicken or vegetable broth
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 cup frozen sweet yellow corn
2 (15-ounce) cans black beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 cup cilantro, chopped

In a medium pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat. When shimmering and hot, add the onions and saute for 4-5 minutes, stirring often. Add the garlic and stir for a minute or two until the garlic is fragrant, being careful not to burn the garlic.  Add the quinoa and cover with broth. Stir in cumin, cayenne pepper, salt and pepper. Bring the mixture to a boil. Cover, reduce heat and let simmer for 20 minutes (or until all the liquid is absorbed).  Stir in the frozen corn and black beans. Cover and let the pot sit off the heat until the corn and beans are heated through, about 5-6 minutes. Stir in the cilantro. Serve warm or chilled – it is delicious both ways!

Serves 4 as a main dish, serves 6-8 as a side

Per serving (1/4 of recipe): 417 calories; 7 g fat; 72 g carbohydrates; 17 g fiber; 20 g protein; 10 Points Plus

Recipe source: Mel’s Kitchen Cafe

Pineapple & Mango Salad

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I’m ba-ack!  My husband, sister, and I had a fabulous time with our friends in Texas and I put together a slideshow if you are interested, which you can view here.

I had planned to share my favorite basic cheesecake recipe with you upon my return, but you will have to wait until Monday for that one because I’m on a deadline to get a mango recipe posted for BSI (Blogger Secret Ingredient). Trust me, I’m doing you a favor! This salad is so delicious and you don’t risk gaining ten pounds if you go wild and eat the entire recipe.  Which you might be tempted to do with the cheesecake.

OK, so I’m a mango purist.  Mangoes are my absolute favorite fruit and I find them so delicious as they are, with nothing added, that it’s hard for me to make a recipe with them.  There is, however, a lovely salad that I make with them from time to time (usually when I have a mango surplus, because using my only mango for anything other than eating plain would be sacrilege) that is so simple and pure in itself, I don’t feel like I’m adulterating the fruit by including it in the salad.

There are only three ingredients and they marry so well together that in the past I have been inspired to give the salad names that would usually be associated with cocktails, like Hawaiian Sunrise and Tropical Paradise.  To keep things simple and pure, in keeping with the recipe itself, I decided to just go with Pineapple & Mango Salad for it’s official title.

I’ve made this salad with parsley, mint and cilantro and I usually prefer the parsley, though any of them will work.  If you think another sounds better, go with that.  I think it is a matter of personal taste, or perhaps even occasion, as when I’m serving it as dessert after a Mexican meal, the cilantro seems best.  And if you want to give it a little more tropical feel, add in some sweetened coconut.  I did that this morning on my second bowl and thought it was nice, though being a mango purist I can’t exactly condone the behavior. ;)

Pineapple & Mango Salad

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1 ripe pineapple
4 ripe mangoes
1/2 cup fresh parsley, mint, or cilantro, chopped fine

Cut a slice off the bottom of the pineapple and cut the top off as well.  Sit the pineapple up on on its now-flat end and slice down around the sides to remove the outside.  Keep cutting until you have no pits remaining in the flesh.  Cut the pineapple into quarters, then slice the middle off of each to remove the pit.  Lay each quarter on its back, cut into thirds length-wise, then chop into chunks.  Place the pineapple chunks in a large bowl.  Peel the mangoes and cut the flesh away from the seed.  Chop the flesh into chunks and add to the bowl.  Add the parsley and stir until combined.  Cover and refrigerate overnight, or at least until well chilled, before serving.

Veronica’s notes: this salad is perfectly delicious when the fruit is ripe, but if yours is a little under-ripe, you can add in some agave nectar or other sweetener of your choice.  If you don’t feel like cutting up a pineapple, you can usually find fresh cut pineapple at salad bars at supermarkets, or even in the refrigerated produce section.  There is a simpler way to cut the flesh from a mango, which is depicted here (I don’t use this method because I feel like I can’t cut the cubes close enough to the skin and I waste too much of the mango), and to see a tutorial on cutting pineapple, click here.

Recipe source: CW (that’s my Mom.  Dad calls her CW, which stands for Crazed Woman, and she calls him “crazy man.”  Gotta love my dysfunctional family! :) )

This is linked with Nutmeg Nanny for BSI: mangoes.

Questions of the day: 1) Is there anything you love so much in its natural state you can’t alter it?  2) What is your favorite fruit?  3) Do you know anyone that has mean/teasing pet names for their significant other?

Restaurant-Style Tabouli

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Hummus and tabouli are my favorite sides to serve with Lebanese fare.  Not only are they simple to make, but crazy delicious!  My Mom’s tabouli consists predominantly of bulgar wheat, and most recipes I’ve found are the same, but I noticed when I ordered it at restaurants, it was mostly parsley with a tiny bit of bulgar in it.  Not only is this lower in calories (bonus!), but I actually prefer the taste.    The parsley and lemon make for a very refreshing salad!  Here’s my version of restaurant-style tabouli.

Restaurant-Style Tabouli

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3 bunches parsley, chopped
1/3 cup chopped onion
2 medium tomatoes, diced
1/4 cup fine bulgar wheat
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 teaspoon salt

Mix all ingredients in a bowl, cover, and let sit overnight before serving.  There is no need to cook the bulgar, as it will absorb moisture from the salad and become tender in a few hours.

Makes 6 servings. Per serving: 76 calories; 3 g fat; 12 g carbohydrates; 3.5 g fiber; 3 g protein

Recipe by Veronica Miller

I used red onions in the first picture, and white onions in this one. You can also use green onions, if you prefer.

On a personal note: I’m leaving to visit friends in Texas so this is the last recipe I’ll be posting for a while.  I know I’m not a regular poster anyway, so you guys won’t even miss me!  Nevertheless, I will return later next week with some sweets & savories for you. You’re in for a few treats! :)

Watermelon & Tomato Salad

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I got this recipe from my friend, Pia, who has a wonderful blog with tons of ethnic recipes, particularly Filipino since she is from the Philippines. Now, I know what you were thinking when you read the title of this post.  You’re wrong! Watermelons and tomatoes CAN be put together in a salad–and it is delicious!  This salad is sweet, salty, acidic, tangy, and is so refreshing.  You will love it.

Watermelon & Tomato Salad
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5 cups seedless watermelon, cut into cubes
1/2 lb. tomatoes, seeded and diced
2 teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
1/4 cup olive oil
1 medium red onion, thinly julienned
freshly ground black pepper
chopped cilantro for garnish

In a large bowl mix chopped watermelon and tomatoes. Stir in sugar and salt and place in fridge to marinate for 15 minutes.

After 15 minutes, mix in red wine vinegar, olive oil and onions. Keep chilled.

When ready to serve add freshly ground black pepper and garnish with chopped cilantro.

Serves 8.

Nutritional Info (per serving): 106 calories; 7 g fat; 11 g carb; 1 g fiber; 1 g protein

Recipe source: Inato lang Filipino Cuisine and More

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