Tag Archives: salad

Eat, Briefly – Grilled Chicken Ceasar Salad

I could eat Ceasar Salad every dang day.
It’s so simple and yummy and perfect.

For last night’s dinner I made this dressing, and added a little extra flavor by grilling the romaine for a few minutes.


This is the secret behind the extra yummy grilled shrimp Ceasar salad at one of my absolute favorite local restaurants (shout out to Big Mac and Little Lu’s- Paul and his staff are AH-MAZING at what they do!)

NOT TOO LONG ON THE GRILL!!  Just mark up each side a bit for some extra char-flavor – it is SO GOOD with the dressing!!


Sidenote- if you have leftovers of the salad, it is perfect the next morning with an over easy egg on top. (Sadly we did not have one morsel left last night, so none for me this go around.  ::pout::)

I had a glass of delicious Vinho Verde to go with dinner last night. It’s long been a favorite summer wine for me, and BTW, it’s fairly dry, which = lower carbs!


2 carbs per 5 ounce glass!!

Tonight is a T-ball practice night for Jr, so I rely on my pre-prepped freezer stash of delicious proteins, and a little extra work that I did for a side dish last night – when we come home tonight we have a legit meal that will be on the table in under 10 minutes!

(But we will chat about that tomorrow.)



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Eat- super simple ceasar salad with DIY dressing

I love Caesar Salad.  It’s my “menu option anxiety” killer.  You know that thing where EVERYTHING on a menu looks amazing and you can never ever choose between all the goodness- but the sever is coming back and you can’t put him or her off again. THE PRESSURE IS ON, YO!
Except not for Keri. When Keri feels this way she closes up that menu and responds “I’ll have the Caesar Salad, please. And another glass of Chardonnay.”  (Duh, always.)
I always love a Caesar Salad. (Ok, I’ve had like two bad experiences with blecky interpretations in my whole life. That’s a good track record considering the number of Caesar Salads I’ve eaten in my life.)
DIY Caesar dressing at home can be intimidating. It involves anchovies. It also involves raw egg yolks. Andplusalso for good measure emulsifying .
But Keri is here to save you, because her culinary-school-drop-out self is WAY too lazy for slowly incorporating fat and oil; and I am pretty sure if I brought anchovies into the house, The Hub would gag and straight up move out. So… let’s cheat our way to the best Caesar dressing you’ve ever tasted, shall we?
I adapted this Epicurious recipe to make my dressing, generally cutting corners everywhere I can; because I am so lazy that even their simple version was too much work. (Oh Keri. Sad.)
This works well for four side-salads, or two entree-sized portions topped with a protein of your choice. Here I’ve used this sweet and spicy chicken since I had some left in the fridge. Shrimp are tasty and quick cooking, or leftover steak is yummy too.

(Mmmmm, steak. ::drool::)


1 head Romain lettuce, washed
6-8 ounces protein of your choice (if you are using as a main course)
Croutons – if you are so inclined

For the dressing:
1/2 cup grated Parmesan
1/2 cup olive oil
The juice of 1/2 lemon
2 teaspoons garlic paste
1 teaspoon Worcester sauce

Rip or cut the lettuce to your liking into a large bowl and set aside.
To make the dressing, squeeze the lemon juice into a blender (I do this first in case a seed gets away from me; then I can wrangle it without having to use a strainer or be careful or whatever. Because, lazy.) Then add the cheese, garlic, oil, and Worcester sauce:
Blend on high/liquefy until the dressing is smooth and combined:
I make mine ahead and then store for up to a week in the fridge. A jar with a tight lid lets me give it a good shake before I use it:
Pour over your greens, toss to combine, then sprinkle in croutons and protein:

Look at you, making Caesar dressing from scratch.
So. Much. Yum.

So there you have it. A month of salads to get the new year started off right – good and good for you!

Uo next I am sharing a regional favorite from a state I’ve never been to (brave AND shocking, Keri,) and I am giving it a Low Carb/High (good) Fat makeover too!


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Eat- Father in law salad

WOO HOO, Week 3 of our month of salads!! I can’t be the only one who gets excited about salads, right?  I have a doozy for you this week.  It is sweet and tangy, with lots of great textures coming together for that perfect bite each time you spear a forkful.

I confess, I can’t take credit for this salad – my awesome Father-in-law first introduced me to his version of it it several years ago.  I believe he had something similar at a party or restaurant, and he decided to recreate it.  Him and I have that in common; the recreating dishes we love from restaurants, I mean.  We both do a version of a steak with chimmichurri butter served over fries that was one of our family’s favorite dishes at one of our favorite restaurants  until it was taken off the menu.  (Ahem, still mourning the loss, Steubens.)  BUT  I digress greatly – as usual.

This salad. This salad is the direct opposite of a boring salad.  It is an explosion of flavors and textures that come together so nicely, even anti-salad people love this salad.  It is a great “company’s coming” salad – whip it up ahead of time, toss the dressing into it last minute, and it is a really nice starter (no need for the protein if you are serving it this way.)

But I LOVE it as a meal- especially with the addition of the smoked salmon.  All of the sweet elements, contrasted with the salt of the fish and the crunch of the almonds?


Here we go:



1 bag fresh spinach, rinsed and dried
1small can mandarin oranges, drained well
1/2 bag dried cranberries
1/4 cup slivered almonds
2 ounces crumbly goat cheese
Raspberry vinaigrette salad dressing
4-6 ounces smoked salmon

Place the rinsed, dried spinach in a large bowl. I like to tear off the stems from the majority of the leaves – a few left is fine, I just don’t care for the texture of them to be overwhelming.


Crumble in the goat cheese, and add the oranges, after draining VERY well (or the dressing won’t cling to your salad, and that’s just sad.)


Next, in with the almonds and dried berries :


Then the dressing. I know I’m being lazy here with the bottled dressing, but I like to keep the ingredients for this dressing on hand in case we have last minute guests or I just want something different for lunch. Knowing this tasty dressing is waiting, ready to go at a moment’s notice? It’s like my sweet, flavorful, dirty little secret.


The whole thing gets a really good toss, but gentle hands here, people – don’t want that spinach all creased and crunched.

Seriously – try it.  Feed it to your “non-salad” people.  (Look out for my kid though, he will steal all your oranges and crasins. It is a salad so good that it makes 4 year olds throw what little salad ettiqute they know straight to the wind.)  This will feed two hungry adults a nice-sized meal, or split it up into four if you are using as a side.

I come back to this again and again.

I should really thank my father-in-law sometime.

Next week – a fresh and fast all homemade version of everyone’s favorite classic salad.


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Eat- BLT salad with creamy avocado dressing

Congratulations – you’ve arrived in the second full week of January!! Minds, waistlines (and livers) have started to recover from all those holiday hijinx and we are off and running into 2016!
Being the low-carb/high-fat convert that 2015 made me, if I find myself feeling bored or deprived with what I’m eating, I reach for some “good fats.” Something that will give me some creamy, heavy texture and stick with me so I don’t find myself clamoring for a snack in an hour.
Coconut oil, eggs, a small serving of nuts… all good ideas, for sure.
But NOTHING makes Keri as happy as avocado.
Here, it’s a thick avocado dressing with bright zingy lemon that really clings to lettuce leaves. Mmmmmmm.
Fun fact – when I was pregnant with Jr, I ate at least one BLT every day for over 6 months. I could not get enough BLT.Of course some of those were actually BLATs – bacon, lettuce, avocado, tomato; a very tasty combo all its own.  EVEN after all of that BLT consumption,  if I see one on the menu it is always in serious contention for my lunch order.

Bringing the great fat and flavor of the avocado together with the salty, crunchy perfection of a BLT in a salad makes a really satisfying lunch or dinner  that is anything but depriving.



1 head Romain lettuce
1 large ripe tomato
1 lemon
1/2 clove garlic (or equivalent garlic paste)
1 ripe avocado
6 strips cooked bacon (this Hormel pre-cooked is good if you want to keep things quick)

In a blender, combine the avocado, garlic, and juice from 1/2 of the lemon :


Blend on high/liquefy until smooth. Check consistency.  I like it thick, but still pourable, so if it looks more like a spread, I add the juice from other half of the lemon:


While that is blending together well, cut the tomato – I like wedges so the seeds and juice stay in the tomato a bit better, and don’t forget to give them a,sprinkle of S&P, because an unseasoned tomato is the sad panda of the salad world:


Also dice the bacon:


For this salad, I like to just dress the lettuce so everything else stays crunchy and the bacon stays, um, bacon-y (really important and highly scientific terminology.)


Then I plate up the lettuce and pile the other goodies on top:


Yes. Yes yes yes yes yes.

This recipe makes 2 good-sized dinner salads, or could be split 4 ways as a side for something else. (OOO- it would be so good with fried chicken!! Damn. Now I want fried chicken. )
But I digress- LONG LIVE THE BL(A)T!

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Eat – Fajita Salad with Houston Green Sauce Dressing

Happy 2016, y’all!

Oh look….  Keri has been in Texas again.  Bless her little Colorado heart.

Yes, yes I have – and I, of course, spent those 7 days hording all of the red meat, and kolaches, and green sauce (and kolaches dipped in green sauce, which I highly recommend,)  that Montgomery county would surrender its grasp on.

And still didn’t get enough.

BUT – the holidays are over, and it is back to reality in a brand spanking new year.  For many that means a time of resolution.  Keri actually LOVES her some resolutions (more about that today on Reluctantly Suburban, if you are so inclined,) so I fully support you and yours in your goal setting!!


A little period of nutrition correction sounding like a good idea right now?  Mildly mortified at what boozy cocoa and grandma’s famous fudge have done to the waistline?  Fear not, hungry readers, Keri has you covered!

I present to you my first ever “Salad a Week January!!” (Insert trumpet flourish here.)

Each week this month I will be giving you a good-and-good-for-you recipe for an entree salad sure to satisfy while keeping you on track.

But enough with the banter, bring on this week’s offering, which caters to  my Sad Panda feelings about lack of Lone Star in my January world, and gives us a chance to indulge in my favorite hunger-fighting good fat, AVOCADO!!!



For the dressing:

1 large avocado

1 can Herdez Salsa Verde

Pickled jalapeno slices

1-2 tablespoons sour cream

1/2 lime

For the salad:

3-4 ounces per serving skirt or flank steak

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon cumin

1 teaspoon chili powder

1/2 lime

1 bag (or 1 bunch) washed Romain lettuce

1 bell pepper and 1 onion (or whatever fajita veggies you like.)

Shredded cheddar (not pictured, because I have holiday brain, I guess)

Combine the garlic powder, chili powder, and cumin. Squeeze lime juice onto both sides of the steak and sprinkle with the seasonings.
Give it a good rub to make sure that it stays put. I like to fold the steak onto itself and let it sit in the fridge to absorb the goodness.

The dressing is a lazy interpretation of my beloved (but labor-intensive) version of Houston green sauce, and SO easy to make:
Add the salsa, avocado, and 2 jalapenos to blender :
Puree until smooth. Add a heaping tablespoon of sour cream and blend again:

At this point things become a matter of personal taste- want things tangier? More sour cream. Need more spice (as I did?) A few extra jalapeno slices. At this point I also added the juice of half a lime, to brighten things up a bit and thin down the dressing.

When the flavor and consistency is to your liking, this can be stored in the fridge for up to a week before it will get funky, just be sure to give it a shake before using.

Remove the steak from the refrigerator 1/2 hour before cooking so it has a chance to come up to room temperature. This ensures even cooking.  I like to grill my fajita steak, which takes some dedication during Colorado cold snaps (and a good headlamp if you have crappy deck lighting like we do.)

I like medium rare for just about any steak I cook, The Hub likes things a bit less pink.  The important thing with skirt or flank steak is to cut thin slices AGAINST the grain of the meat.  I put my onions and peppers on the grill in a foil packet, so I can watch everything without running back an forth to the stove.

3 to 4 ounces of steak per serving gives a generous pile on top of a bed of the Romain, with the grilled veggies and a sprinkling of cheese it is all of the best parts of a fajita dinner.  I serve the dressing on the side of this salad, because I know not everyone would drink the green sauce by glassful if given the option like I would.  (I don’t know WHY this is true about people, but I accept it because it means MORE SAUCE FOR KERI!)

So there you go – 2016 off to a delicious, nutritious start- and a brand new salad coming next week to keep you full and inspired.

Oh, and left over green sauce is AHHH-MAY-ZINGGG on grilled chicken or crockpot pulled pork, )or eggs cooked your favorite way if you, like Keri, need to get your green sauce on first thing in the morning.) You’re welcome.

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