Sunday Salad: Southwestern Chicken and Spaghetti Squash Salad

Every now and then I get a glimpse of what life looks like without a crazy toddler begging for every second of my attention. Cole is in Florida on a mini vacation with my parents, and Christian was working a beer festival all day, so Chet was my shadow all day. Normally he can be demanding and my day is spent according to his schedule. Today I felt like he become a partner in my schedule. It’s amazing how different that can feel.

Today started off with a run with Heidi while Chet navigated from his stroller. The afternoon was filled with lazy play, and then I got to spend some time in the kitchen with my little sous chef.  We made peach baked oatmeal for an easy breakfast option this week. Dinner was our next task. Tonight we enjoyed Southwestern Chicken and Spaghetti Squash Salad by Eat Live Run. Such a wonderful combinations of foods that I already had in our house thanks to our CSA box from Cullipher Farm. Dinner was delish, and there is plenty for lunch this week!

Ingredients:

for salad —

1 small spaghetti squash

1 can black beans, drained and rinsed

1 orange or red bell pepper, sliced thin

1 bunch cilantro, minced

2 cups shredded green cabbage

2 cups thinly sliced cooked chicken breast (I cooked the chicken in the slow cooker with a jar of salsa and then shredded)

1 cup chopped jicama {optional}

avocado for serving

for zesty buttermilk dressing—

1/2 cup well shaken buttermilk

1/4 cup mayonnaise (I used plain yogurt)

juice of 1 lime

1/2 tsp garlic powder

1/2 tsp cumin

pinch of cayenne pepper

1/4 tsp salt

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Slice your spaghetti squash in half length-wise and scoop out the seeds. Place the squash cut side down on a greased sheet pan and bake for 40 minutes, until very tender. Let squash cool before using a fork to scoop out “spaghetti” and place in a bowl. You can do this step up to three days before you prepare the salad.

Next, make the dressing. Whisk together the buttermilk, mayonnaise, lime juice, garlic powder, cumin, cayenne and salt in a small bowl. Set aside.

To prepare the salad, place the cooled spaghetti squash in a large serving bowl. Top with black beans, chicken, bell pepper, shredded green cabbage, cilantro and jicama, if using. Toss all ingredients together well. Drizzle dressing over salad {you may not want/need to use all the dressing}.

Serve salad on plates topped with sliced avocado.

**Assembled salad will stay fresh, without dressing and avocado, for up to four days covered in the fridge. Dressing will stay fresh for up to a week and is also great served as a dip with raw veggies

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Find my entire collection of salads here.

Sunday Salad: Crab Pasta Casserole

Hurricane Arthur put a damper on fourth of July plans here in Virginia Beach. While the morning of the fourth was a wash out, the rest of the weekend has been beautiful. Pool parties and fireworks were rescheduled. This all worked out great for our family because Cole came home Saturday afternoon. He made it home from fireworks on the beach, and a cookout with our favorite family friends.

Our entire family sat poolside this afternoon enjoying low humidity and gorgeous summertime weather. My contribution to the cookout was a no brainer. My family requests this dish several times a year:

Crab Pasta Casserole

Ingredients:
8 ounces uncooked pasta
2 large onions chopped
1/2 pound fresh mushrooms, sliced (mushrooms omitted for preference reasons)
1/2 cup green red and orange bell peppers, chopped (color changed for visual appeal)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup butter
16 ounces crab meat, chopped
1/2 cup sour cream
2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 teaspoon basil
1 1/2 cup shredded Cheddar cheese

**I also added a bunch of asparagus, chopped, to the veggie mix

Directions:
Cook pasta according to directions.

Meanwhile in a skillet, saute onion, garlic, mushrooms and green pepper in butter until crisp tender. Remove from the heat. Drain pasta; add to vegetable mixture. Stir in crab, sour cream, basil and salt.

Transfer to 2 greased 8-inch baking dishes. Sprinkle with cheese. If you don’t wish to cook both, at this point you can cover and freeze one casserole for up to 1 month.

Cover and bake the second one for 20 minutes at 350 degrees F. Uncover and bake for 5 more minutes.

Notes: I used one box of pasta (about 14 ounces) and doubled up on the veggies and other ingredients to make a huge family size portion with leftovers for lunch.

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This recipes will always be connected to summer family cookouts. I hope you enjoy it too!

(Read all my Sunday Salad recipes here)

Sunday Salad: Summer Citrus Quinoa Salad

The best part of Sunday Salads: people share recipes with me all the time. My friend Nicole sent me a recipe via facebook earlier this week, and I knew I had to try it. When I got in the kitchen tonight, I did some modifying and created a dish of my own. We had some berries to eat up, and this seemed like a perfect match.

(Modified from Sally’s Baking Addiction)

Summer Citrus Quinoa Salad

Ingredients:

Quinoa, cooked (1 cup uncooked, approximately 4 cups cooked)

Strawberries, chopped

Blueberries

Orange, peeled, separated, diced

Dressing:

Lime Juice, 2 limes

Orange Juice, 1 orange

2 tbsp. olive oil

2 tbsp. honey

1/2 cup Cilantro, chopped

Directions:

1. Cook quinoa

2. Chop up fruit

3. Make Dressing, whisk together

4. Mix together in bowl

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Today Christian spent his day on the water fishing. He brought home Red Drum which we fried for dinner. The quinoa salad topped with fish and avocado was a perfect match.

For lunch tomorrow I’ll be enjoying the same quinoa salad with grilled chicken (marinated with coconut oil, garlic, and paprika) and goat cheese.

I love summer cooking! Simple. Easy. Delicious.

Enjoy!

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Sunday Salad: Bacon Lime Sweet Potato Salad

I knew exactly what I would make when we made dinner plans with friends. I’m a bit obsessed with sweet potatoes lately, so when this recipe popped up in my news feed I knew I had to make it.

(Paleo) Bacon Lime Sweet Potato Salad

The website Empowered Sustenance is full of delicious, good for you recipes. This one didn’t disappoint. It was quickly devoured by everyone. The small serving that we had left, we added to our scrambled eggs with avocado this morning for an amazing breakfast at home Head over to her blog to the recipe and instructions. It is worth the extra click! (click here.)

Note: I double the recipe to serve 8 adults.

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Sunday Salad: Cilantro Lime Cucumber Salad

When we made plans for a cookout with friends last weekend to celebrate Christian’s birthday, I knew I had to find a cucumber salad. It’s one of his favorites. I never make it. Another one of his favorites, cilantro. The recipe below was a no brainer. And it was an instant hit.

Recipe from The Food Charlatan

Cilantro-Lime Cucumber Salad
Yield: 5-6 side servings

Ingredients
1 jalapeno, seeded and finely diced
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
½ teaspoon salt, or to taste
black pepper to taste
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 cucumbers, very finely sliced (see photos)
4 tablespoons minced cilantro, to taste

Instructions

Head on over to her blog to read how to make it!

My only modification was to double the recipe. I had ten mouths to feed, and this produced enough for everyone.

In party celebration mode, I forgot to take photos. Good thing Pinterest is filled with them!

Another great summer salad for our weekly rotation!

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Sunday Salad (Cinco de Mayo style): Mexican Salad

It’s not Sunday, but I took today off to enjoy my last (!!!!!!) sick day at my current job. I go back to work (for only three more days!!) tomorrow, so it feels like Sunday to me.

AND it’s Cinco de Mayo. My taste buds are 100% Mexican so this is a holiday I always celebrate. Tonight’s menu: fajitas and Mexican salad.

Mexican Salad

Ingredients:
1 can corn,drained and rinsed
1 can black beans,drained and rinsed
1 small red onion, chopped
2 avocados, peeled, seeded, and chopped
2 large tomatoes, seeded and chopped
2 Tablespoons olive oil (I used coconut oil)
2 Tablespoons lime juice (I used a whole lime
1 Tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

Optional: (add to taste)
jalapeño peppers, seeded and chopped
fresh cilantro leaves
(I didn’t add these but did add a diced red bell pepper)

Directions: Whisk together lime juice, olive oil, red wine vinegar, salt, and pepper in a large bowl. Add corn, black beans, tomatoes, red onion, and avocado. Toss to coat. Cover and chill salad until ready to serve. Can be eaten by itself or with tortilla chips.

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This one was super easy to make. Chet did all mixing.

I ate mine as a dip with blue corn chips. Christian added it to his fajita bowl. Both were a win! My Mexican taste buds are happy happy!

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Christian’s dinner. I forgot to take a picture of mine!

Sunday Salads: Shaved Asparagus and White Bean Salad

Today felt like the perfect summer day. I slept in and snuggled with Chet all morning. Christian spent the afternoon kayak fishing. I ran this evening. We ran out of hours in our day and ended up eating dinner after 9pm. There is nothing better than living on a summer time clock.

Tonight’s salad was original published in Clean Eating Magazine

Shaved Asparagus and White Bean Salad

INGREDIENTS:

2 bunches fresh asparagus (about 1 lb each)
1 tbsp olive oil
1 medium red onion, thinly sliced
3 1/2 cups cooked cannellini beans or 2 15-oz BPA-free cans cannellini beans, drained and rinsed well
2 tbsp fresh orange juice
2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 tbsp champagne vinegar
1/2 cup chopped unsalted walnuts (2 oz), lightly toasted
1/2 cup shaved Pecorino Romano or Parmesan cheese (2 oz)
1/4 cup slivered basil
Sea salt and fresh ground black pepper, to taste

INSTRUCTIONS:

Hold each spear of asparagus by its thick stem and lay it down on a cutting board. Using a vegetable peeler, shave asparagus into long ribbons. Place ribbons in a large bowl and discard remaining stems. (NOTE: You should be left with about 1 lb shaved asparagus.) Drizzle oil over asparagus and toss to coat.

Add onion, beans, orange and lemon juices, and vinegar. Toss to combine.
Fold in walnuts, cheese and basil. Season with salt and pepper. This salad can be served immediately or prepared in advance; chill, covered, for 4 to 6 hours in refrigerator.

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Cooking Notes:

Shaving asparagus is time consuming. I had hoped our local store would have thicker asparagus but it didn’t. I also used coconut oil instead of olive oil.

It was the perfect light dinner salad. I will admit, I’m a carb girl. We paired this salad with grilled blackened tuna. It was perfect, but my carb addiction left me craving corn bread or sweet potato fries.

I’ll definitely make this salad again, but I’ll make another side to go with it.

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Since I had some room left in my stomach after dinner, I decided it was the perfect reason to indulge in dessert! Ben and Jerry’s Phish Food is my favorite!