Tag Archives: spinach

Sriracha BLT Avocado Salad

Well, after a few indulgent dinners last week in Atlanta and those cookies I brought you on Monday, I figured it’s time to pay the piper and eat some salad. Actually, I’ve been doing pretty good eating well and I’m enjoying it. Instead of eating a plate of cookies, I allow myself one a day. When I need another snack, I’m pretty into eating apples and pears lately. But salad? Not so much. Sure, I should probably have a salad loaded with carrots and broccoli and peppers but this Sriracha BLT Avocado Salad not only looks good but is also healthy and has tons of happy flavor.

Chopped tomatoes and avocado are mixed with crunchy bacon (I used turkey bacon) and laid over baby spinach. A spicy dressing of sriracha, a little bit of mayonnaise and lemon juice is drizzled over the top, packing a punch. The creamy coolness of the avocado pairs perfectly with the sriracha dressing, the bacon adds flavorful crunch and the spinach gives a lot more nutritional value than iceberg lettuce which is typically in BLTs. This salad may not be loaded with veggies but it’s still low-calorie while not being low in flavor. Isn’t that the point of a salad? Being healthy and flavorful? Now this is a salad I can get behind!

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Combine onion, mayonnaise, Sriracha, and lemon juice in a small bowl; stir with a whisk.

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Combine tomato, avocado, and bacon in a medium bowl; toss to combine.

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Divide spinach among 4 plates; top evenly with avocado mixture.

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Drizzle with Sriracha mayo; sprinkle with pepper.

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Additions: None

Omissions:

  • Red onion

Substitutions:

  • Turkey bacon

Overall Rating: Love It

Source: Cooking Light magazine

Smoky, Cheesy Chicken and Spinach Empanadas with Chimichurri Dipping Sauce

I was in Buenos Aires for work last week and was either working, eating, drinking, or sleeping and didn’t have time for blogging or much else. In Argentina, people don’t eat dinner until sometime after 9pm. One night, we didn’t even finish eating until after 12:30am! I was worried about finding something to eat in Buenos Aires since I’d heard that they eat a lot of meat down there, primarily beef and pork, both of which I don’t eat. But luckily, they had plenty of grilled chicken, plenty of fried cheese, and tasty cheese empanadas. The empanada options there were typically either cheese or pork so I decided to come home and make my own with some chicken and spinach. The result were these Smoky, Cheesy Chicken and Spinach Empanadas with Chimichurri Dipping Sauce.

Precooked chicken, cheese, spinach, onion and pimientos are combined with a creamy mixture of cream cheese and smoked paprika before being folded into empanada dough and baked until golden brown. A quick chimichurri sauce of parsley, oregano, onion, garlic, red wine vinegar, olive oil, and red pepper flake adds a bold, fresh flavor which would also be a great addition to any beef, chicken or pasta dish. These empanadas are full of flavor and are perfect for a small meal on the go.

Tip: I found the empanada dough discs in the freezer section of my market, near the international and vegetarian frozen meals. To quickly thaw the dough, remove the discs from the packaging, separate them by the paper between each one and sit at room temperature while you make the filling.

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Smoky, Cheesy Chicken and Spinach Empanadas with Chimichurri Dipping Sauce (makes 10 empanadas)

For the empanadas:

  • 1/2 pound rotisserie or leftover chicken, shredded
  • 10 ounces frozen chopped spinach
  • 1/2 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
  • 2 tablespoons chopped pimientos
  • 2 tablespoons minced onion
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • 3 ounces 1/3-less fat cream cheese
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 14-ounce package frozen empanada discs, thawed (such as Goya Empanada Discs)
  • 1 egg

For the chimichurri sauce:

  • 2 cups flat-leaf parsley
  • 1/4 cup fresh oregano
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • salt and red pepper flake to taste

To prepare the empanadas, cook spinach according to package directions. Drain and cool slightly. In a bowl, mix chicken, spinach, mozzarella cheese, pimientos, onion, and pepper.

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In a small saucepan, mix broth with cornstarch. Add cream cheese and smoked paprika. Whisk over high heat until mixture is boiling, 2 to 3 minutes. Scrape over chicken mixture and combine well, adding salt to taste.

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Place thawed empanada discs on a flat service. Stretch each disc carefully to expand dough slightly. On each disc, spoon heaping 2 tablespoons of chicken mixtures.

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Fold dough over filling to form a semi-circle, then fold edges together and pinch to seal, using a fork. Gently place empanadas, slightly apart, on baking sheet.

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In a small bowl, beat egg to blend and brush generously over each pastry.

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Bake in a 375°F oven until empanadas are golden browned, 25 minutes. Transfer to a rack and let cool at least 10 minutes. Serve hot or warm.

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To prepare the chimichurri sauce, combine all ingredients in a food processor and pulse until desired consistency.

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Spoon into a bowl and serve with empanadas.

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Red Quinoa with Spinach and Dried Cherries

I’ve had a minor obsession with dried cherries lately. And by lately, I mean the last year. When I was in Chicago visiting my aunt last year, she offered me a huge bag of some dried cherries that she’d gotten at a farmer’s market (or something like that, I can’t remember!).  The dried cherries she had were so plump and sweet yet tart and I had to physically stop myself from consuming an embarrassing amount. Now, I grab dried cherries often to have on hand to eat with peanuts or in plain Greek yogurt. Or I just pop them as a small snack.  I came across this recipe for Red Quinoa with Spinach and Dried Cherries and figured it would be another way to try these dehydrated gems.

Red quinoa (or red rice as the original recipe calls for) is cooked and combined with onion, ginger and dried cherries. Spinach and fresh orange juice are added for yet even more layers of flavor to this superfood-filled dish. I found the red quinoa at my local Target (I have yet to find red rice) but regular ol’ quinoa or rice will work. The zing of the ginger, the sweetness of the orange, and the mild tartness of the cherries combine for a real melody of flavors. And with the quinoa and spinach, this dish is good for you!

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Prepare the red quinoa according to package directions in a medium saucepan. (Or if using red rice, combine rice and water in a medium pan, cover and bring to a simmer over medium heat; reduce the heat to medium low and cook until the rice is tender, about 45 minutes.)

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Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a large deep skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion; sprinkle with the sugar and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring, until the onion is soft, about 5 minutes. Add the ginger and dried cherries; cook, stirring, until the onion is golden brown, about 7 more minutes.

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Stir the prepared quinoa (or rice) into the onion mixture. Add the baby spinach and orange juice and stir until the spinach is just wilted, about 1 minute.

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Season with salt and pepper.

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Additions: None

Omissions: None

Substitutions:

  • Red quinoa

Overall Rating: Like It

Source: Food Network magazine

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