Category Archives: Appetizers

Broccoli Salad

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You know those recipes that just instantly remind you of your childhood, family gatherings and summer BBQ’s?  Well, this is one of those for me.  I hadn’t eaten this in years and actually had never made it in my own kitchen, until a while ago, one of my girlfriends hosted a summer BBQ and served this salad.  I went nuts for it and ate WAY more than my fair share.  Since then, I have been making batches of this salad to keep in the fridge for weekday lunches as it is so satisfying and nice to have on hand for a quick and easy lunch.

The only thing I wasn’t crazy about was the caloric value in the recipe, because lets face it…mayo, bacon, cheese…three delicious items, but when put together, not exactly the healthiest when consumed together in a “salad”. So, I wanted to revamp it a little.  First things first, there was no way I was going to eliminate the bacon…well, because bacon is delicious.  BUT, I could attack the mayo and omit the cheese.  So, I tweaked the mayo by using 2/3 greek yogurt and keeping 1/3 the mayo.  This still gave us the mayo “taste”, but allowed me to add a good source of protein in the form of greek yogurt, not to mention reducing the calories and fat.  Omitting the cheese is a case-by-case decision – if you are serving this for company, I suggest including it, but if it is a weekday lunch salad, I don’t think the salad absolutely needs it to be delicious!

I can’t wait to whip-up another batch of this salad soon…and I know it won’t last long!

Enjoy.

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Broccoli Salad

Yield:  6 servings, 1 cup each
Prep Time:  15-20 minutes
Cook Time:  5 minutes for the bacon

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup low-fat greek yogurt (or fat-free)
  • 1/4 cup  mayo/Miracle Whip Spread
  • 2 TBSP sugar (you can also substitute Splenda for the sugar – just use a touch less)
  • 2 TBSP white vinegar
  • 6-8 cups fresh broccoli florets
  • 6 slices bacon (whatever your family favourite is!)
  • 1 small red onion, chopped
  • 1.5 cups of raisins or craisins, whichever you prefer
  • 1 cup of shredded cheddar cheese (optional)

Directions:

Prepare bacon according to package directions or using your favourite method (I love baking my bacon in the oven, on a baking sheet.  So easy to do and clean-up is a breeze!)  Once bacon is cooked and cooled, crumble bacon into bite-sized pieces and set-aside.

In a bowl, mix together the greek yogurt, mayo, sugar and vinegar and stir well.

Wash and dry the broccoli florets.  Cut into smaller bite-sized pieces.

In a large bowl/container (with a lid is a great option, to make storage/clean-up easier!) mix together the broccoli florets, the dressing, bacon, onion, raisins and cheddar cheese (if you are using it).  Mix well.

Place the salad in the fridge for a minimum of 1 hour, or longer, to allow the flavours to develop.

Serve and keep cold.

Enjoy.

Recipe adapted from Kraft Kitchen (and from my friend NP!)

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Filed under Appetizers, Healthy, Mains, Salads, Side Dishes

Banh Mi (Vietnamese-Style Pork Sandwiches)

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I can’t remember the first time I had a Banh Mi and it certainly wasn’t at a restaurant.  In fact, now that I am dusting away at my memory cobwebs, I think I was searching in my Google Reader for a recipe when I had a pork tenderloin to use-up a while back and came upon Bridget’s recipe for Banh Mi and knew I couldn’t go wrong.

Why couldn’t I go wrong…because the flavours are oh-so-right (lame, I know!).  But Banh Mi has a flavour profile that just has to be given high-praise and as a bonus, it truly is a quick and easy meal to prepare.  As Bridget describes in her post, it isn’t the most authentic recipe, but I agree with her that “taste will trump authenticity every time”.  Don’t get me wrong…this is pretty close to authentic (although I am soon to test that statement when I finally get over to Banh Mi Boys in Toronto).

Nonetheless, this is a great recipe.  I, like Bridget, made a few switches, didn’t bother with a mandoline – hand-slicing worked just fine and I used greek yogurt to lighten-up the mayo.

Definitely give this inexpensive meal a shot if you are looking for a new twist on your pork tenderloin recipes, or just a delicious sandwich to impress!

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Banh Mi (Vietnamese-Style Pork Sandwiches)

Yield:  4 servings
Prep Time:  20 minutes
Cook Time:  20 minutes

Ingredients:

  • ½ cup rice vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons sriracha
  • 4 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 3 regular red radishes, sliced
  • 15 baby carrots, julienned by hand
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/2 cup greek yogurt
  • 1 pork tenderloin (about 1 pound)
  • 2 teaspoons five-spice powder (I was a little more generous)
  • 4 hoagie buns (or 1 24-inch baguette, cut into 4 pieces and split partially open lengthwise)
  • 1 cup fresh cilantro leaves
  • 1/2 cucumber, sliced thinly

Directions:

1. Combine vinegar and sugar in microwave-safe bowl. Heat until sugar has dissolved, about 90 seconds. Add 1 tablespoon sriracha, 2 tablespoons fish sauce, radish and carrot to bowl and toss to combine. Set aside for 15 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, whisk mayonnaise, remaining 1 tablespoon sriracha and remaining 2 tablespoons fish sauce together in second bowl.  Set aside.

3. Ensure your pork is dry (rub with paper towel) and rub pork with five-spice powder.

4. Cook Pork (choose whichever method you prefer – I’ve done both and they are equally as good).

  • Grill pork over hot burner until browned on all sides and pork registers 145 degrees, 12 to 14 minutes.
  • Heat a cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat and grill pork for approximately 6-7 minutes, per side, or until pork registers 145 degrees (I rotate my pork 4 times, so each side is nice and brown).

Transfer cooked pork to cutting board, tent with foil, and let rest 5 minutes. Grill bread until lightly toasted, about 1 minute (not essential).

4. Slice pork crosswise into thin slices. Drain vegetables. Spread mayonnaise on inner sides of bread halves. Arrange slices of pork on bread and top with vegetables and cilantro. Serve.

Enjoy!

Recipe slightly adapted from The Way The Cookie Crumbles, originally from America’s Test Kitchen Feed

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Filed under Appetizers, Bread, Healthy, Mains, Thai, Vietnamese

Smoked Salmon, Spinach and Goat Cheese Pizza

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Remember in this post when I said that my Spinach and Goat Cheese Dip was versatile?  Well, here is one example of that (and I have another great use for it coming soon!)

I had left-over smoked salmon after a bridesmaids brunch I hosted, so I was trying to figure out what to do with it.  Instead of simply serving it over bagels for dinner, I prepared a batch of thin-crust pizza dough, made a quick batch of the spinach and goat cheese dip and voila, an easy, quick and delicious dinner (not to mention quite healthy too!)

It’s a great way to use-up spinach that is nearing the end of its life, however it looks incredibly fancy and I would consider serving this as an appy at my next get-together.  The onions (and capers – which aren’t photographed here) are a great touch and finish it off just perfectly.

Enjoy!

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Smoked Salmon, Spinach and Goat Cheese Pizza

Serving Size:  1 medium pizza
Prep Time:  20 minutes, excluding the pizza dough preparation
Cook Time:  10-15 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1 batch of your favourite thin-crust pizza dough, or store-bought crust
  • 1 batch of Spinach and Goat Cheese Dip
  • 10-15 slices of smoked salmon
  • 1/4 cup red onion, diced
  • 1/2 jar capers, drained and rinsed (optional – not shown)
  • Additional goat cheese for topping, if desired
  • Olive Oil

Directions:

Preheat your oven to 500 degrees (and if you have a pizza stone, preheat that as well).  It is good to allow your pizza stone to pre-heat in a 500 degree oven for at least an additional 15 minutes.

If you have a pizza peel, lay that on the counter.  Otherwise, prepare a sheet of parchment paper (either square or cut to shape of your dough).

Prepare your dough. On top of your parchment paper or your pizza peel, roll out the dough into a round pizza shape.  Leave an edge around outside for the crust. Once you’ve achieved the shape you desire, pinch the outside of the dough to create a crust. Then pierce the crust with a fork all the way around (this will prevent large air bubbles from forming in your crust while it bakes!).

Brush the dough with a light coat of olive oil.

Bake the plain crust in the oven for about 7-9 minutes.

Remove the crust from the oven, spread the spinach and goat cheese sauce onto your crust and place back in over for an additional 7-8 minutes, or until crust is golden brown.

Remove the crust from the oven, immediately top your pizza with the smoked salmon, onions and capers.  Serve immediately.

Enjoy!

JBean Cuisine original recipe

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Filed under Appetizers, Bread, Healthy, Mains