Spiced pork, pineapple and bean salad bowl

I think I need to start a salad bowl series. For with the warmer weather lingering on, salad bowls continue to make a regular appearance at dinner time.

The basis is generally the same – a protein, some sort of carbohydrate or other filler and, of course, lots of salad.

On this occasion, a spice-rubbed pork was the star of the show. A protein that I turn to quite often not only because it is quick to cook but its also nice and lean.

Beans added some filler, grilled pineapple gave the whole bowl a certain ‘zing’ and the rest of the bowl was filled with lots of salad and other goodies.

Another tasty addition to what’s fast becoming my salad bowl addiction!

Spiced pork, pineapple and bean salad bowl (serves 2)

  • 250g pork fillet
  • 1tbs olive oil
  • 1 tsp mixed spice
  • 1/2 tsp chilli powder
  • 6 pineapple slices
  • 2 tbs brown sugar
  • 1 small can of black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1/2 red onion, diced
  • 1 tomato, diced
  • 1/2 tsp minced garlic
  • 1tsp lime juice

To serve: coriander, avocado (diced), mesculin and shredded coleslaw (I bought a plain pre-cut bag, and added my own dressing of a little natural yoghurt and dijon mustard).

  1. Preheat oven to 200C and line a baking tray with paper.
  2. Combine oil and spices in a shallow bowl, then add pork – turning to coat. Allow to marinate for an hour or so if you have time.
  3. Place the pork fillet on teh tray and bake for 20 minutes or so or until cooked through. . Remove from oven. Transfer to a heatproof plate and cover with foil. Set aside for 5 minutes to rest.
  4. Meanwhile, sprinkle the pineapple slices with the brown sugar and grill until golden.
  5. To make the bean salad: combine the beans, tomato, onion, garlic and lime juice and coriander. Season to taste.
  6. Divide greens, coleslaw, bean salad, pineapple and avocado among serving bowls. Top with sliced pork and coriander.

Buffalo Chicken Salad with Healthy Ranch Dressing

There have been a lot of salads for dinner in the MCP kitchen of late, but the warmer weather brings with it my general craving for salads. Something cool and crunchy, with an added protein, and a nice homemade dressing – yes nice healthy end to the day when I don’t feel like turning the oven on.

This recipe for a Buffalo Chicken Salad that I came across here caught my attention. A spicy chicken, served on a bed of lettuce, carrots, celery and crunchy gala apples.But instead of going with a store-bought ranch dressing, I decided to make my own – with a couple healthy tweaks.

Greek yoghurt in place of mayonnaise, spiced up with garlic powder, mustard powder and a bunch of fresh herbs. And after playing around with the ingredients for a while, I soon had a blend that I will be sure to make again.

Tangy from the yoghurt, and packed with flavour owing to the fresh herbs, this is one versatile dressing! I think you could quite easily use it as a dip too – just add a little less water…

Healthy Ranch Dressing

  • 1 cup natural yogurt
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp mustard powder
  • a handful of chopped fresh herbs (I used parsley, chopped dill and basil)
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 2 tbs water*
  1. Combine all ingredients with 1 tbs water. Add more water if you would like a thinner dressing (or keep it thicker if you are using it as a dip).
  2. Store in the fridge until ready to use.

Chilli lime pulled pork quinoa bowl

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Whenever I make a batch of pulled pork (and thanks to my slow cooker it happens quite often), I always make sure to portion some out to freeze. It was a tip I picked up from Jamie Oliver, I think, who confirmed that it could be frozen then defrosted down the track to make for a speedy dinner.

And recently, I did just that.

I found a portion of pulled pork in the freezer which I reheated slowly in a frypan, adding a good dash of chilli sauce and a squeeze of fresh lime at the last moment to really make the flavours sing!

Then, what to serve it with?

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On this occasion I went with cooked quinoa, lettuce, cucumber, and a little tomato / onion / coriander salad. Not to mention the rest of a roasted corn and chorizo salad that we had leftover from the night before, along with a dollop of natural yoghurt and harissa hummus.

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At the last minute I came across some tortillas in the freezer too, which came back to life in no time at all with a short burst in the microwave.

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And so this chilli lime pulled pork quinoa bowl came to life. A combination of fresh, frozen and leftover ingredients – packed to the brim with flavour.

Another dinner bowl that I will no doubt attempt to recreate at some point in the future!

Herbed Yoghurt Potato Salad

img_0521As the warmer weather approaches, so does our tendency to put “BBQs” on the menu for dinner. Mr BBB is usually in charge of the meat, while I take care of the sides – the ‘regulars’ being a green salad or oven baked potatoes.

But recently I went for another potato option…potato salad!

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An Aussie favourite – that is usually loaded with mayonnaise and bacon. But on this occasion, I created a ‘lighter’ version. Still packed with flavour, yes, however in place of mayonnaise I went with natural yoghurt – and left out the bacon all together. Instead, the salad was given a flavour kick with lots of fresh herbs and another one of my favourite – dill pickles!

It didn’t take too long to prepare, and was far from difficult. With the added bonus  that I could make it in the morning and let the flavours develop throughout the day.

img_0517A nice take on an old classic indeed!

Herbed Yoghurt Potato Salad

  • 1.5kg potatoes (desiree or something similar) I left the skins on, but you could peel them if you prefer.
  • 3/4 cup natural yoghurt
  • 2 tbs whole egg mayonnaise
  • 1 tbs red wine vinegar
  • 1 tbs Dijon mustard
  • 100g dill pickles, chopped
  • 3 green shallots, sliced thinly
  • Handful chopped herbs (I used dill and mint, but parsley would work nicely too)
  1. Boil the potatoes until tender, then set aside to cool slightly. Dice.
  2. Combine the yoghurt, mayonnaise, vinegar and mustard, and season to taste.
  3. Add the dressing to the potatoes (while they are still slightly warm), along with the remaining ingredients. Stir gently until combined.
  4. Cover and place in the fridge until required.

Turkey Avocado Cobb Salad (and how I cook perfectly boiled eggs)

img_0468It’s no secret that I am a fan of loaded salad bowls for dinner. Not only do they generally hit the ‘health’ target – they are a great way to use up leftover ingredients in the fridge (particularly at the end of the week when I find myself with lots of bits and pieces in the crisper drawer).

And so this Turkey and Avocado Cobb Salad came to be!

img_0460Lettuce, tomatoes, carrots, capsicum, avocado and tasty cheese. With some chopped turkey breast, a little bacon and a boiled egg for protein. A long ingredient list, yes, but so very easy to throw together at the end of a long work day. With the only things requiring any real attention are the boiled eggs and bacon!

As for a dressing – well this was pretty simple too. A little mayonnaise, jazzed up with some lime juice and chilli sauce.

img_0467And just like that – dinner was served.   I’d give you a recipe – but there really is no need. Just go with what you have, and enjoy!

Although I can share my method for boiling eggs with you – as I think I’ve now mastered it…

Place the eggs in a saucepan, cover with water, and bring to a boil. Once at a boil, turn off the heat and leave your eggs in the water for 4 minutes (covered). After 4 minutes, place the eggs in a bowl of iced water and leave for 5 minutes or so. Peel and enjoy!

Warm Chicken and Quinoa Salad

If I needed any reassurance that we are a long way from Summer, the fact it was minus 4 on my morning walk was proof enough. Crunchy white grass met me as I stepped outside, and the neighbourhood cars were covered with a thick layer of frost.

I was pretty warm with my 4 layers of clothing on (plus gloves and beanie), admittedly, although my nose wouldn’t stop running and I returned home with a nice ‘red cheek’ glow.  And my cravings throughout the day were a long way from the salads I normally have for lunch. Instead I opted for a big plate of comforting pasta, without a moment’s hesitation.

Although salads do tend to lose their appeal in Winter, this one was still a winner. The fact it was warm probably helped, and the quinoa added a nice feeling of ‘bulk’ to what was, in all reality, a rather light dinner.

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I opted to oven-bake the chicken (free house heating!), although you could quite easily pan-fry the chicken too – if that is your preference.  And feel free to play around with the ingredients – depending what you have on hand!

IMG_8147 Warm Chicken and Quinoa Salad (serves 2)

  • 1/2 cup quinoa, cooked per packet directions
  • 2 x small chicken breasts (or one large)
  • Juice and zest of half a lemon + extra
  • 1 tbs olive oil  + extra
  • 1 tsp minced ginger
  • 1tsp minced lemon grass
  • chopped sundried tomatoes and pitted kalamata olives (as many as you like)
  • A few handfuls of baby spinach
  • 1/2 cucumber, diced
  • The kernels from one corn-cob
  • 1/2 avocado (or more if you like), sliced
  • a handful of chopped parsley and coriander + extra to serve
  1. Preheat oven to 200C.
  2. Combine the lemon juice, zest, oil, ginger and lemon grass in a small bowl.
  3. Place chicken and  in a baking dish, and pour over the oil mixture. Turn to coat well. Bake for 40 minutes or until cooked through.
  4. Meanwhile, combine the remaining ingredients, and divide among serving bowls. Top with the sliced chicken and remaining herbs. Drizzle with a little olive oil and a squeeze of lemon juice.

What about you? Do you crave salads in Winter?

Sweet Potato Buddha Bowl

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What a wet and wild weekend that just was!

We stayed mostly in the warmth and comfort of home, with some baking and lots of games being the name of the weekend. We did, however, sneak out for a little parents-only dinner which was rather lovely too – and we are officially converted to the efficiency and cost-effectiveness of Uber!

And while I finished the weekend with a belly-warming balsamic roast beef, with all the Sunday roast sides, I made a promise to myself that I would clear the archives first before posting “live”.

And this spectacular sweet potato buddha bowl has been lying dormant in the archives for too long, despite being quite the tasty mid-week meal.

And not to mention healthy.

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Inspired by a Taste Magazine recipe (you can find the recipe online here), it took less than half an hour to make. I used quinoa in place of freekeh, and built the salad with roasted sweet potato, mushrooms, cherry tomatoes, kale (that had been ‘massaged with olive oil), and some crunchy salad seeds.

Made all the more special with a spicy roasted capsicum sauce on the side (simply roasted capsicum, blanched almonds, chilli flakes, olive oil and balsamic vinegar – processed until smooth).
IMG_6678 Yes, friends, this is now one of my favourite ‘go to’ salads. Great for lunch, and substantial enough for dinner too.

BBQ Pork Rainbow Salad

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The slow cooker is well and truly ‘out’ on our kitchen bench at the moment, and a lot of curries and stews are appearing on our weekly menu. However, a review of my photo archives revealed a couple of salads that were simply too delicious not to share.

Such as this BBQ Pork Rainbow Salad, that was inspired by a Taste Magazine edition (although I can’t for the life of me find the actual recipe anywhere!)

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What  I do remember, is that it was super easy to throw together. Loaded with lots of different vegetable, textures and tastes. Resulting in a dinner that was not only nutritious, but also packed with flavour. And colour.

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I purchased the BBQ pork from our local Chinese takeaway, which sat perched atop a big salad – built with lettuce, avocado, red cabbage, celery, red onion, carrot and some sauteed bok choy. Finished with some chopped red chilli and ginger, to taste.

IMG_7588Definitely a salad that I will be making again!

Chilli lime turkey salad bowl

Do you ever find yourself grabbing the same thing off the shelves when it comes to grocery shopping?

I certainly tend to head to  ‘regular’ sections and throw staple items into the trolley without much thought. This is particularly so now that the ability to linger in the aisles and casually consider any new additions is generally thwarted by the kids demanding blueberries or yoghurt (or sneaking treats into the trolley while my eyes are looking elsewhere…)

But on a recent shopping trip,  I skipped our regular pack of chicken, and replaced it with turkey. A protein that I really do enjoy – although often forget about outside the Christmas period.

And with the addition of a few other ingredients, I was quite pleased with the end result.

A chilli lime turkey salad bowl.

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The dressing – made with chilli sauce, oil, cumin, garlic, lime juice and brown sugar – had just the right balance of spice and sour.

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Half was used as a marinade for the turkey, the other half used as a dressing over the salad.

And, as for the rest of the salad bowl, well this saw us using up whatever we had on hand. There was some leftover brown rice from a previous meal, salad leaves, cherry tomatoes, capsicum and avocado. Finished with a sprinkling of feta and chia seeds.

IMG_7596 A lovely (non Christmas) use for the turkey!

Chilli lime turkey salad bowl (serves 2)

  • 300g turkey steaks
  • 2 tbs olive oil
  • 2 tbs lime juice
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 tbs chilli sauce
  • 1/2 tsp brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • Salad ingredients – we used salad leaves, brown rice, sliced avocado, sliced capsicum, cherry tomatoes, feta and chia seeds
  1. Combine the dressing ingredients in a small bowl.
  2. Place the turkey in a glass dish, and spread with half the dressing. Cover and place in the fridge for a few hours to marinate.
  3. Heat a little olive oil in a frypan over a medium heat. Cook the turkey steaks for 10-15 minutes, or until cooked through. Cover with foil and allow to rest for 5 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile – build a salad with your chosen ingredients in 2 bowls. Slice the turkey and divide among the bowls. Top with the feta cheese, chia seeds and the remainder of the dressing.

What about you? Are you a fan of turkey?