Tag Archives: SPINACH

STRAWBERRY JALAPENO SPINACH SALAD with a very special dressing too!

We can’t always explain why we are the way that we are.  We can’t usually find reasons to explain our behavior…. Some  days are good, some are not as good and some are just not good.  It happens.  Well, at least it does to me.  When I get like that it’s no ones problem but my own so I have to find a soloution.  To the kitchen we go….

Something new, summery, and delicious, found it’s way into my menu tonight.  For years I’ve enjoyed my Mommy’s awesome Spinach Salad.  I’ve made it many times and I’ve blogged it here before.  I needed some fresh basil and feta for another dish so I was racing to the grocery store for probably my 3rd trip this week (my organization skills blow chunks)  I walk in and all the fruit was glorious AND….. on sale!  Strawberries were calling my name as were the glorious BC cherries.  KIWIS!! oh and 3 bananas and seriously, these are the largest grapes I’ve seen in my life!!  How lucky to live in such a great place with so much healthy crisp produce. Woooo Hooooo.  Who wants to come visit me??  I’ll feed you!

juicy giant grapes. I am not a lion!!! Big right!

juicy giant grapes. I am not a lion!!! Big right!

With a cart full of fruit and the rest of the stuff I needed, homeward bound.  I’ve always wanted to add strawberries to a spinach salad but never had the push to do it.  Well its go time now and I’m super excited.  Then the flavour profile I’ve been desiring came to me!  Oh but wait.  I don’t have what I need and I just got back!!!  In a grocery store, I am easily distracted.  Always sure to forget something or things, so I make lists… and even then I fail.  I’m not going back…. so after begging Hubby to go once, twice, 4 or 5 times.. pouted around for a bit…. he put down his tools and ran to the market to get me some Jalapenos.

K so maybe you know your peppers, and you’ve looked at the pics from this post and you know those are not jalapenos in my photos.  Well the little market up the street didn’t have good looking jalapenos…. they were old and wrinkled and worthy mind you but for photos… nope.    Serranos are a great sub for jalapenos but 3 times hotter FYI….

Serrano Chili Peppers are the thinner of the 2, where as a Jalapeno Pepper is the girthy one. *wink wink*

Ladies, I mean chefs…. pick your preference… haha

The idea in my head comes to life and I’m very pleased with how it turned out.  Photos by me, House Of Haley Photography

Here is my Strawberry Jalapeno Spinach Salad with a very special dressing.  Strawberry Jalapeno Balsamic Red Wine Vinegar Dressing.  Try saying that after a few glass of wine… or bottles for some of you.  Hey, I don’t judge, you do you, its cool!

I’m pretty sure I could have come up with a much more simple name but when I’m looking for a recipe or when i’m wanting to make something it frustrates me having to read through a recipe to try and figure out the flavour profile from it.  The title says it all!

And here is the dressing.  Almost as cute as Strawberry Shortcake LOL.   Seriously made him go to the store for the pepper for this shot.  Let me add in another “LOL”  OMG i’m howling, I’m sorry if that’s not as funny to any of you as it is to me!  Thanks Hubs
STRAWBERRY JALAPENO BALSAMIC RED WINE VINEGAR DRESSING

♥ 2 CLOVES GARLIC
♥ 1 C. RED WINE VINEGAR
♥ 2 T. JALAPENO WHITE BALSAMIC VINEGAR
♥ ½ C. OLIVE OIL
♥ 1 TSP. SALT
♥ 1 TSP. SUGAR
♥ 1 TSP. GRAINY MUSTARD
♥ ½ TSP. GROUND BLACK PEPPER
♥ 1 WHOLE STRAWBERRY

Combine and blend/pulse for just a few seconds till the garlic is no longer whole and vinegars and oil have blended. DO NOT OVER DO IT. Trust me….. Just for a few seconds.

The Jalapeno White Balsamic Vinegar was a Christmas gift from Sister In-Law and it’s a great addition to many meals.  I use it mostly when I do any type of roasted potatoes.  With the right seasonings, its a great way to brighten up the flavours.

vinegar

I certainly don’t expect you to have this Jalapeno White Balsamic Vinegar, nor do I expect you to go out and buy some.  Althought, it’s totally recommended for your pantry fo sho!  This one is from Evoolution out of Edmonton, Alberta, CA.

Let’s get to it shall we!

Words can’t explain what it’s like to cook upstairs…. renos are coming along… thats all i can say.   So cool!  Look at the way that natural daylight casts across all that divine good-for-you food up there.  haha  It’s the simple things in life.

dressingI’m a hardcore #clasher Clash of Clans junkie… game always on… always creepin.  LOL

Again I’m using my new immersion hand blender and the mixing vessel it came with to make this.  You can use a blender but you’ll end up with most of it on the sides.  Use a battery operated whisk or just chop up the strawberry and garlic before you make the dressing, put it all in a jar and shake the crap out of it.

I peeled 2 cloves of fresh garlic.  Its hard for me to use such a little amount, but 2 cloves is just right.

Add in the vinegar’s and then the oil.  If you find after it’s all done that it’s too thick… add in some more vinegar and whisk it up.  If you over blend this you’ll end up with a strawberry like mayonnaise.

Next add in the S+P, sugar and mustard.  The mustard is crucial to the flavour of this dressing.  I’ve used mustard powder before but I find French’s Bold & Spicy Deli Mustard to be the perfect one.  I’m actually addicted to this mustard.  So so so good I could eat it with a spoon.

Now blend.  I’m going to be straight up honest here… I bombed this the first time, hence my warnings…. DO NOT OVER BLEND hahaha.  Pulse a few times, The strawberry is obviously going to thicken it up quite a bit.  I’ve increased the amounts of vinegar to hopefully compensate.  This is why I say recipe blogging is tricky.  So as always, make it your own.  Do what you feel is right and adjust to your liking.  We are all different.

STRAWBERRY JALAPENO SPINACH SALAD

♥ 1 BAG BABY SPINACH, FRESH AND WASHED
♥ HARD BOILED EGGS, COOLED AND SLICED (1 PER PERSON)
♥ MUSHROOMS, FRESH AND SLICED
♥ STRAWBERRIES, SLICED AND SLICED
♥ BACON, COOKED AND CRUMBLED
♥ 2 T. GREEN ONIONS, FINELY CHOPPED
♥ 2 TSP. JALAPENO OR SERRANO PEPPER, FRESH AND DICED

Make this salad up just before you’re ready to eat. Plate it per person rather than in a large salad bowl. I find that the ingredients are at such different weights that you don’t get a proper serving. Person 1 will get all spinach and egg, while the last person gets all the bacon onion and pepper. LOL Just my opinion.

This is where you get to do your fancy…. BE FANCY Plate it up per person, make it pretty, show you care. Then you can give yourself those extra slices of strawberries and bacon. Haha shhhhhhhh….

Use about a handful of spinach leaves per person. Layer in individual salad bowls or plates and drizzle with a little of our Strawberry Jalapeno Dressing from up above.

It was delicious to eat.  Looks pretty cool too.  Each bite held a yummy little mouthful.

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GRILLED CHICKEN SPINACH SALAD with RED WINE VINEGAR DRESSING

My mommy has always made a spinach salad and it is THE BEST! When we have it, we can’t get enough of it. It has bacon in it and when you get a bite it literally is a tongue tantalizer. Normally we will have this with a steak and potato but how can I make this fabulous little tongue pleaser more of a meal. So it’s easy. Make a salad with lots of fresh spinach, green onions and mushrooms, some grated hard boiled egg and then…… grilled bbq’d chicken chopped on top. Heck yes! Let’s do it up. A big plate full of this goodness!

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GRILLED CHICKEN SPINACH SALAD with RED WINE VINEGAR DRESSING

Here’s what you’ll NEED:
Lots of fresh baby spinach
Lots of sliced fresh mushrooms
Lots of chopped green onions
6 cooked eggs, hard yolks (see below)
6 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp.pepper
1/2 PRE MADE HOMEMADE GARLIC BALLS
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. sugar
1 tsp. dijon mustard or mustard powder

Here’s what you’re GONNA DO:
To make the best hard boiled eggs that are cooked to absolute perfection follow these simple steps:
1. place eggs in the bottom of a pot
2. add cold water, fill to be 1-2″ above the eggs
3. bring water to a rapid boil
4. once boiling, remove from heat and cover with a lid
5. set a timer for 20 minutes
6. after 20 minutes add ice cold water to stop the cooking process
7. drain water
8. with eggs still in the bottom, gently shake back and forth to slightly crack the egg shells
9. under cold water the shells will come right off.
Easy peasy!

For the chicken part:
Pound out your chicken breasts in a big ziploc freezer bag. I use a wooden rolling pin! LOL You don’t want to demolish them… just break down the structure of those bad boys and flatten them out a bit. This will allow them to cook much faster and be a tender bite instead of a big mouthful and hope it’s fully cooked bite…
I gently massage them with a little big of olive oil just so they stay moist on the grill. I seasoned them with a small bit of sea salt, seasoning salt, fresh ground pepper, garlic, and oregano, because I love oregano.
Preheat your bbq, I’m going to say med-high but you need to know your bbq, you need to watch your food when you’re bbqing. Practice makes perfect! When they turn that white cooked colour flip them, about 10 minutes the first side and about 5 or so minutes on the second. Ensure they are cooked through and grilled up nicely Oh on the bbq! Oh on the grill Yo! haha I love bbq’d food!

–In a large salad bowl add in spinach, green onions, mushrooms
— you can slice the cooked eggs or you can use a cheese grater. I was so hungry, I opted for the grater, and also it makes the egg go further. Slicing the eggs makes for a much nicer presentation. Add to the salad bowl.
–mix it up and serve onto salad plates
–chop up a grilled chicken breast and then gentle swipe it ontop of the salad off of the cutting board.
–repeat for all servings
–serve with the red wine vinegar dressing

Oh the dressing!!! I make this in a jar. It’s easy to add in all the ingredients and shake it up. Because it’s oil and vinegar it will seperate obviously, just shake it up before serving it and keep it in the fridge. Add to the jar the last 7 ingredients. Shake it up. Taste it and adjust it to your liking!

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So like I said up there at the top, my Mom used to make Spinach salad for us all the time, the same as this but with bacon and no chicken. Gosh I love that version, and I will still make this version, when I feel like being a bad girl. 😉

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BAKED TURKEY & SPINACH MEATBALLS

Hello Everyone. Since adding a Facebook Page, Cooking With Hay, {please come by and LIKE my page} I have some more followers this time around and I just wanted to take this opportunity to say ‘Hello and Thank You’
I appreciate every single one of you, and any LIKE or SHARE that you can throw my way as well. You keep this fun for me.

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In just 10 days Hubby and I will be off to Nuevo Vallarta, Mexico. If you’re on my personal FB, you’re most likely annoyed with my daily countdown photos… sorry about that. I’m just super excited! The point to this rambling… I’ve been trying to empty out the freezer before we go. Don’t ask me why, because I don’t have an answer. 😜 One of the last few things In the freezer was 2 lbs of extra lean ground turkey breast!! Awesome. I bought this for one purpose and one purpose only…. our favorite meatballs, Baked Turkey & Spinach Meatballs to be exact! So lean, so good! I will serve these with some turkey gravy, garlic mashed potatoes made with no butter or milk. {I use chicken stock, salt and garlic} and sweet corn.
You may remember an older post about these meatballs, but it didn’t contain any pictures and I’ve since jacked up the spinach and the seasonings a bit. I hope you like this new tweek!

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BAKED TUREY & SPINACH MEATBALLS

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely minced
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (optional – adjust to your preference)
  • 2 x 16 oz pkg. frozen chopped spinach (defrosted, drained, and squeezed to remove excess water)
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/3 cup chicken broth
  • 2 1/2 lbs lean ground turkey
  • 1 cup bread crumbs, {I make my own from the loaf ends if my favorite 12 grain bread.
  • 2 large eggs

 
INSTRUCTIONS:

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Prepare a large baking sheet by spraying with cooking spray.
  • In a frying pan on medium heat, heat olive oil until hot. Then add onion, garlic, salt, pepper, thyme, oregano, and red pepper flakes. Sauté until onion is tender.
  • Add spinach to pan and combine with onion mixture. Add Worcestershire sauce and chicken broth and mix well to combine. Cook until most of the liquid has cooked out. Remove from heat and allow to cool to room temperature.
  • In a large bowl, combine the turkey, bread crumbs, and egg. Add cooled onion/spinach mixture to the meat.
  • 5. With your hands, create meatballs that are about 1 – 1 1/2 inches in diameter and place them on the baking sheet. Leave a little bit of space between each meatball. When you are done shaping your meatballs, you will probably have about 40-42 meatballs from this recipe. If you don’t need this many, you can freeze them after baking or cut this recipe in half.
  • Bake until your meatballs are cooked through with an internal temperature of 160 degrees F – which was about 20 minutes for my oven. Remove from oven and serve as desired.

 
20140214-142852.jpgOne my favourite smells is onions in a frying pan. Adding in the garlic and seasonings and you are suddenly transported to a very happy happy land. Haha. Ok it’s good, but maybe not that good… No, it IS that good!!

20140214-142839.jpgWhen they are done they are golden and smell divine. Here’s the before and after!
20140214-142901.jpgHa! I’m supposed to freeze some if these. Dude, by the time we are finished with these, there won’t be enough to bother freezing!!

20140214-142912.jpgLike I said ,way back there up above, I served these with garlic mashed potatoes {no butter, no milk}. I put in 1 Garlic Ball {click this link to make them yourself} add in some salt. I use Sea Salt and some of that leftover chicken stock because I know what you were thinking when you had so much stock left… “What am I going to do with this leftover stock?” {Ok maybe you’re not thinking that, but I’m always trying to use everything. Waste not want not after all.}. So you should still have stock left after the meatballs, and the mashed potatoes so tomorrow morning you can add it to some fresh cut hash brown potatoes in a ‘barely’ oiled hot pan. So you don’t need as much oil! Hahaha! Oh, I got sidetracked…. I also served this with turkey gravy, spiced up with oregano and red pepper flake because I idolize red pepper flake hahaha and sweet juicy corn!

20140214-142925.jpgHere, I used my fork and broke one of these scrumptious meatballs open. I have doubled the amount of spinach originally called for to 2 packages. This ensures lots of Popeye strength, and so much healthy goodness and flavour! Your call. I say use 2 packages of spinach and if it’s too much for you cut it down next time but it’s not like it’s intolerable, I swear, you’ll thank me! Hehe!

20140214-143048.jpgI thought there would be some sort of drippings in the pan that I could use to make some good gravy but check out this cooking sheet…. Dem are some lean mean healthy machines…. Depending on how much gravy you put on! Another reason to make a shitload of gravy at Christmas time. Freeze it in portions for occasions such as this. I just said ‘shitload’ on my blog. Is that completely inappropriate, it’s just that that seemed like the most appropriate wording. I don’t know. I’m still learning…..

20140214-143059.jpgSeriously hearty, mostly healthy and your tummy will be forever thankful! Please hit me up with a comment below if you make these and what your thoughts were! I love feedback.

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Bruschetta Chicken on Spinach and Avocado Salad

20140118-220113.jpgLook at it all steaming and juicy up there. My photos are aways rushed and half assed because I’m anxious to eat it! Haha. #bloggerproblems

I made my Bruschetta Chicken again. I baked it in the oven this time, because the air is thick and the fog is heavy and I really don’t want to be out by the BBQ right now.

I make this often it seems but I added a little twist by putting it on a salad this time. It’s that good. Plus, I need to eat more green veggies.

Fresh Spinach is a favorite in our house.
20140118-220133.jpgSince I decided to do a salad with the chicken this time, I got to work on the tomatoes and dressing the day before so it had lots of time to marinade together.

Start by chopping up and deseeding 4 Roma tomatoes, into small even pieces so they stay on the chicken nicely.

Add in 2 Premade Homemade Garlic Balls or 4 or 5 minced garlic cloves.

I used 1 full packet of fresh basil and about half of another one {rolled and sliced, chiffonade style}.

But the good thing about cooking and the reason I find it so hard to post specific recipes is that… it’s always up to you, as to how much of what, you add. Your palate is different than mine and the joy of cooking is making it your own Fo Sho! Whoa, ramble, where was I? Oh ya the tomato mixture…

K, add in some coarse sea salt and about a cup and a bit more of the balsamic vinegar. Give it a good mix and then refrigerate it over night.
20140118-220141.jpgDay of dinner!

Butterfly 4 boneless, skinless, chicken breasts {see how in my previous Bruschetta Chicken post done a few months ago}

I then scored them and drizzled on some balsamic and popped those bad boys in a preheated 400 degree oven for 25 minutes. After this time I cranked the heat up to 425 and left them for another 5 minutes.
20140118-220208.jpg15 minutes after you’ve put the chicken in you’ll want to prepare the basic salad. This is made up of fresh baby spinach leaves, cubed avocado {this is why we wait 15 minutes. Don’t want your avocados to brown on you.} and some more chopped up Roma tomatoes.

Next pull out your marinaded tomatoes. With a spoon take some of the liquid, the oh-so-yummy, garlicky, vinegary, tomatoey goodness, and drizzle it over your salad. Some might want to add some olive oil but I don’t see the point. It’s not needed!!

My phone starts wailing “I’m Different by 2 Chains signifying that the chicken is ready for toppings. I let it play for a few beats and jam out obviously, before taking it out of the oven.
Reduce the heat back down to 400 degrees.

Sprinkle some mozzarella cheese and heap on the marinated tomatoes. I think I get them close to an inch high. Completely cover the chicken with the tomatoes, in my opinion this is the best!

Bake in the oven again for about 10 minutes keep your eye on em.
Tomatoes stay fairly fresh and juicy.
20140118-220218.jpgWhen they’re done they look like this. I know, I can’t believe the cooking sheet actually comes clean after this, but it does, to some degree… LOL

Now, I like to find my biggest knife and chop up the chicken into lengthwise strips on a cutting board. Lift the cutting board and swipe that juicy, hot, steaming chicken onto your oh-so-fresh salad.

Need I say more? No, I thought not.
Now grab a fork and dig in.
You have waited long enough.
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BAKED TURKEY & SPINACH MEATBALLS ~ Who doesn’t love a good meatball?

I recently purchased some lean ground turkey meat and I wasn’t sure what I was going to do with it at first… a girlfriend of mine started eating healthier and one of the things she did was eat alot of turkey…  well she looks great so I figured if I had it in my kitchen, I’d have to find someway to eat it…  I searched online and found a yummy little recipe perfect for my lean ground turkey meat.

BAKED TURKEY & SPINACH MEATBALLS

(source: http://homecookingmemories.com/)

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely minced
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper      flakes (optional – adjust to your preference)
  • 16 oz frozen chopped spinach (defrosted,      drained, and squeezed to remove excess water)
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/3 cup chicken broth
  • 2 1/2 lbs lean ground turkey
  • 3/4 cup bread crumbs
  • 2 large eggs

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Prepare a large baking sheet by spraying with cooking spray. I actually line my baking sheet with foil and then spray with cooking spray.
  2. In a frying pan on medium heat, heat olive oil until hot. Then add onion, garlic, salt, pepper, thyme, oregano, and red pepper flakes. Sauté until onion is tender (about 5-6 minutes total time).
  3. Add spinach to pan and combine with onion mixture. Add Worcestershire sauce and chicken broth and mix well to combine. Cook until most of the liquid has cooked out (evaporated). I don’t have much liquid in my pan after I combine all these, but it will depend on how well you drained your spinach. Remove from heat and allow to cool to room temperature.
  4. In a large bowl, combine the turkey, bread crumbs, and egg. Add cooled onion/spinach mixture to the meat. I do all of this step with my hands, but you can use a spoon if you prefer.
  5. 5. With your hands, create meatballs that are about 1 – 1 1/2 inches in diameter and place them on the baking sheet. Leave a little bit of space between each meatball. When you are done shaping your meatballs, you will probably have about 40-42 meatballs from this recipe. Don’t need that many? Freeze them after baking or cut this recipe in half (but I say freeze them and then you’ve done the work only once and have a future meal).
  6. Bake until your meatballs are cooked through with an internal temperature of 160 degrees F – which was about 20 minutes for my oven. Remove from oven and serve as desired.

Oh my gosh, they were soooo good.  I made them bigger than the recipe calls for and so of course it didn’t make as many but I found them to be a bit more moist this way.  Turkey doesn’t have as much fat so I didn’t want my meatballs to be dry.  You also get your vitamins from all the spinach!   I just love spinach and I’m so glad hubby likes his greens too!

Mmmmm, if you are looking for a meatball fix, or if you are wanting a different little appy for your upcoming party… these little morsels will be a hit!

If you make them, please let me know what you think!

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