Friday, March 31, 2017

Healthy and Delicious Egg Recipes

Courtesy of Christine Skopec
Culture CheatSheet

Hi Friends,

When you’re looking to get lean, exercise is only half the equation. You can do all the crunches in the world, but the foods you eat are every bit as important. As part of our Cook to Get Cut series, we’ll show you how to use some of the healthiest eats to sculpt your physique without sacrificing flavor. Getting fit never tasted so good.

You already know protein is great for curbing hunger and building muscle, but did you know your body responds even better when it gets it from eggs? According to Men’s Health, your body needs less protein from the breakfast staple than it does from meat to get the same benefits. If you typically stick to just the whites, listen up. The yolk is packed with B vitamins, folate, riboflavin, iron, and zinc. They also happen to be the tastiest part of the whole package.

So how do they help you slim down? Livestrong said the protein fills you up and curbs your hunger. And since the nutrients help repair muscles, including eggs in your diet will help you perform your best at the gym. Start eating your way to a leaner body today with these five spectacular recipes.

Scrambled Egg, Black Bean, and Arugula Breakfast Tacos are leading the recipes for healthy and delicious options. Tacos can get a bad rap thanks to late-night binges after way too much alcohol. While those greasy versions from the drive through can be a calorie bomb, tacos can make for a nutritious meal when prepared in your own kitchen. Food52’s recipe gets a double dose of protein from eggs and black beans, which also provide satiating fiber. Arugula adds a spicy bite, and offers vitamin K to keep your bones healthy. Finishing the tacos with queso fresco and salsa verde takes the flavor through the roof. This breakfast almost guarantees a great day.

  • 4 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • Pinch salt
  • 6 small corn tortillas
  • 1 handful of arugula
  • 1 cup black beans, drained, and rinsed
  • ½ cup crumbled queso fresco
  • ⅓ cup salsa verde

In a medium pan, melt butter over low to medium-low heat. Crack eggs in a small bowl, and whisk to combine. Add eggs to pan, and stir constantly until just set, 3 to 5 minutes. Season with salt, and remove from pan. Set aside.

Warm tortillas. Divide eggs, arugula, beans, salsa, and cheese evenly among tortillas. Serve.

2. Shakshuka with Feta

Making a perfectly cooked egg can be tricky. Go too long and you’ll end up with overcooked yolks while the other end of the spectrum yields raw whites. Shakshuka is perfect for guys who struggle with the stove method, because the oven’s heat is much gentler. Try The New York Times’ version of this spiced North African dish to get your yolks right every time.

Made from mostly tomatoes and bell pepper, the stew offers tons of vitamins and minerals. Plus, some studies suggest eating tomatoes could help protect your heart. As nutritious as this recipe is, it certainly doesn’t taste like health food.

  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 large onion, halved, and thinly sliced
  • 1 large red bell pepper, seeded, and thinly sliced
  • 3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon sweet paprika
  • ⅛ teaspoon cayenne
  • 1 (28-ounce) can whole plum tomatoes with juices, coarsely chopped
  • ¾ teaspoon salt, plus more
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper, plus more
  • 5 ounces feta cheese, crumbled
  • 6 large eggs
  • Chopped cilantro
  • Hot sauce

Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-low heat. Add onion and bell pepper. Cook gently until very soft, about 20 minutes. Add garlic and cook until tender, 1 to 2 minutes. Stir in cumin, paprika, and cayenne, and cook 1 minute. Add tomatoes and season with ¾ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper. Simmer until tomatoes have thickened, about 10 minutes. Stir in feta.

Gently crack eggs into skillet, spacing apart. Season tops of eggs with salt and pepper. Transfer to oven. Bake until eggs are just set, 7 to 10 minutes. Serve with cilantro and hot sauce.

3. Avocado Egg Salad Sandwich

Upgrade a basic egg salad with PDXfoodlove’s recipe, which adds a dose of creamy avocado. This sandwich already tastes phenomenal, but you can boost the flavor even more with some simple additions. Try adding fresh basil or dill to the salad. A bit of diced celery is also a nice mix-in for those who like a little bit of crunch.

  • 2 slices whole-wheat bread
  • 2 hard-boiled eggs, roughly chopped
  • ½ avocado
  • ¼ teaspoon dry mustard
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon mayonnaise
  • Lettuce
  • Sliced tomato

Add avocado to a small bowl. Mash gently with a spoon. Stir in eggs, mustard, and mayonnaise. Season with salt, to taste. Chill until ready to serve.
Spread egg salad onto one slice of bread. Top with lettuce, tomato, and second slice of bread. Serve.

4. Soba Noodles with Dashi, Poached Eggs, and Scallions

Noodle soups are rarely a figure-friendly meal thanks to tons of fatty meats and ridiculous portions. Make a much healthier soup that’s every bit as satisfying with chef Douglas Keane’s soba and poached egg version, which he shared with Food & Wine. Unlike most other starchy strands, soba noodles bring a fair amount of nutrition to the table. Livestrong revealed they’re filled with fiber, protein, vitamins, and minerals.

This recipe also has ease in mind. Start by steeping dashi powder and kombu in hot water, then strain. From there, everything cooks right in the flavorful broth.

  • 1 (1-ounce) piece of kombu
  • 4 cups water
  • 2 tablespoons dashi powder
  • 4 ounces dried soba noodles
  • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
  • 2 heads of baby bok choy, halved lengthwise
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 tablespoons thinly sliced scallions
  • 2 teaspoons soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lime juice
  • ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

In a medium saucepan, cover kombu with water. Simmer gently until kombu rises to surface, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat, and add dashi powder. Let steep 20 minutes. Strain through a fine meth strainer, and return to same saucepan.

Bring broth to a simmer over moderate heat. Add soba noodles and sesame oil, and cook 3 minutes. Add bok choy, and submerge with a spoon. Crack eggs, one at a time, into a small bowl, and tip into the broth. Poach until whites set and yolks remain runny, about 4 minutes. Remove from heat.

Use a slotted spoon to transfer eggs to bowls. Add scallions, soy sauce, lime juice, and pepper flakes to broth. Transfer soba noodles and bok choy to bowls, and top with broth. Serve.

5. Farro with Crispy Egg, Asparagus, Spinach, and Dill

Grain bowls tend to be a little bit boring. Give new life to the lunchtime staple with Borrowed Salt’s farro and egg version. With whole grains, eggs, and veggies, this dish has everything you need for a healthy meal. A lemon and mustard dressing adds tons of flavor while the crispy egg provides an unexpectedly satisfying texture.

Don’t be intimidated by the egg, because it’s easier than just about any other preparation. Heat a skillet with olive oil, and add your eggs to the pan. By the time the bottom is crisped and brown, you’ll have fully cooked whites and a slightly runny yolk. This method is great for a lot more than grain bowls, too. Try adding a crispy egg to salads, stir-frys, and sandwiches.

  • 1 cup farro
  • 3 cups water
  • ½ small shallot, minced
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • ½ teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 pound asparagus, trimmed, and cut into 2-inch lengths
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 large handfuls baby spinach, roughly chopped
  • 1 teaspoon roughly chopped fresh dill
  • Salt and pepper
  • Olive oil

Bring water and a large pinch of salt to a boil in a medium saucepan. Add farro, and reduce to a simmer. Cook until tender, about 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, mix shallots, lemon juice, and mustard in a small bowl. Let sit a few minutes for shallot to soften. Add 1 tablespoon olive oil and salt, to taste.

About 3 minutes before farro is done, place a steamer insert over top. Add asparagus, and cover to cook. Otherwise, add asparagus directly to farro. Drain, and put back in same pot. Mix in spinach and dill. Mix in dressing. Set aside.

Heat a drizzle of olive oil in a small skillet over medium heat. Add both eggs. Cook until bottom is crisp and brown, whites are set, and yolks are still runny, about 3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

Serve farro in bowls, and top with eggs.

Our egg eaters will enjoy these uncomplicated but delicious and health egg dishes.

Bon Appétit...

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Thursday, March 30, 2017

Make-Ahead Breakfasts You Can Eat on the Go

Courtesy of Christine Skopec
Culture CheatSheet

Hi Friends,

Recipes for make-ahead breakfasts and on-the-go breakfasts rule the web, but few combine the convenience of both. It doesn’t do much good to have a crockpot full of creamy oatmeal if you just have to dash out the door in a few minutes. Likewise for a travel-friendly sandwich that takes the better part of an hour to assemble.

Lucky for you, we’ve done a bit of digging. You can easily make these six recipes over the weekend, then bring them along for your commute. Weekday mornings are starting to look less horrible.

Freezer Breakfast Burritos is the featured eat on the go for good reason; they are very popular and easy to eat away from our normal early breakfast table or breakfast bar. All the convenience of the the versions from the gas station without the questionable ingredients, these frozen burritos from Gimme Some Oven make portable eating super delicious. They’re filled with potatoes, veggies, and beans to make them super satisfying. Though these burritos are vegetarian, you can also add a little bit of breakfast sausage or bacon to the mix.

To make this a travel-friendly option, simply wrap your burrito in aluminum foil after heating it in the microwave. It’s an extra step, but you can speed through the process in less than a minute.

  • 12 large eggs
  • ¼ cup milk
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium white onion, peeled and diced
  • 1 pound Yukon gold or red potatoes, diced into ¼-inch cubes
  • 1 large red bell pepper, cored and diced
  • 1 (4-ounce) can chopped green chiles
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 (15-ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 2 (8-count) packages large flour tortillas
  • 2 cups shredded pepper Jack cheese
  • Salsa

Whisk eggs, milk, a generous pinch of salt, and a pinch of pepper in a large bowl to combine. Heat a large skillet over medium heat and grease with nonstick cooking spray. Add eggs and cook, stirring with a rubber spatula, until scrambled, about 4 to 6 minutes. Transfer to a plate and set aside.

Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 3 minutes. Add potatoes and peppers and cook, stirring frequently, until tender, about 7 to 10 minutes. Add beans, chiles, 2 teaspoons salt, and cumin. Cook for 2 minutes to heat through, then remove from heat.

Spread a large piece of plastic wrap on a work surface and set a tortilla in the center. Top tortilla with about ¼ cup of eggs followed by an equal amount of potato mixture. Add a sprinkling of cheese, then fold into a burrito, tucking sides in before rolling. Wrap in plastic wrap and repeat with remaining ingredients. Transfer burritos to freezer.

To thaw, remove from plastic wrap and microwave on a microwave-safe plate for 60 to 90 seconds, or until hot. Serve with salsa.

2. Breakfast Blueberry-Oatmeal Cakes

These breakfast treats from Eating Well are essentially a cross between a muffin and a bowl of oatmeal, which means they’re both delicious and healthy. They get a huge dose of flavor from a touch of maple syrup and cinnamon. If you’re using frozen berries, add them without thawing to keep the mess to a minimum.

  • 2½ cups old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 1½ cups low-fat milk
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • ⅓ cup maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¾ cup fresh or frozen blueberries

In a large bowl, combine oats and milk. Let soak in refrigerator until liquid is mostly absorbed, 8 to 12 hours.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit and grease a 12-cup muffin tin with cooking spray. Stir egg, syrup, oil, vanilla, cinnamon, baking powder, and salt into soaked oats to combine. Divide mixture among muffin cups and top each with 1 tablespoon berries.

Bake until cakes spring back when touched, 25 to 30 minutes. Let cool in pan for 10 minutes, remove with a paring knife, and serve.

3. Freezer Breakfast Sandwiches

If a breakfast sandwich from McDonald’s is your choice on busy morning, this homemade version from Damn Delicious, adapted from Eat Cake For Dinner, is perfect. With just a handful of ingredients and about 30 minutes worth of work, you’ll have six sandwiches to get you through the week. Feel free to try the method with different types of meat and cheese as well. Prosciutto and fontina would be pretty spectacular.

  • 6 large eggs
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 6 English muffins, split
  • 12 slices deli ham
  • 6 slices cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Lightly grease six 10-ounce ramekins with oil or nonstick cooking spray. Transfer to a rimmed baking sheet. Crack an egg into each ramekin and scramble using a fork. Season with salt and pepper, transfer to oven, and bake until set, 12 to 14 minutes.

Place one egg round over the bottom of an English muffin. Top with two pieces of ham and one slice of cheese. Close with muffin top and repeat with remaining ingredients. Tightly wrap each in plastic wrap and transfer to freezer.

To reheat sandwiches, remove plastic wrap, then wrap sandwich in a paper towel. Microwave until hot, about 1 to 2 minutes.

4. Banana-Chocolate Chip Protein Bars

When you want something that tastes as good as a slice of chocolate chip-banana bread, but won’t leave you feeling sluggish, these protein bars from Food Network are about as good as you can do. They’re made with two types of whole grains, protein powder, and a good helping of almond butter to keep you feeling full all morning.

As healthy as these bars are, you do want to make sure you’re picking a quality protein powder. A lot of products on the market are loaded with sugar and other fillers, so do a little bit of research before buying.

  • ½ cup honey
  • ½ cup almond butter
  • ½ cup boxed coconut milk
  • ¼ cup vanilla protein powder
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 2 cups crisp brown rice cereal
  • ½ cup sliced almonds
  • ½ cup roughly chopped dried banana chips
  • ½ cup minim chocolate chips, divided
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • Nonstick cooking spray

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease a 9-by-9-inch baking dish with cooking spray.

Heat honey, almond butter, coconut milk, protein powder, canola oil, and vanilla in a small saucepan over medium-high heat just until it begins to simmer, about 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from heat.

In a large bowl, mix oats, cereal, almonds, banana chips, ¼ cup chocolate chips, and salt to combine. Add honey and almond butter mixture and stir with a spatula until combined. Transfer to prepared baking dish. Cover with parchment paper, and pack firmly into dish. Bake for 15 minutes. Remove from oven and top with remaining chocolate chips. Let cool, then cut into bars.

5. Crustless Zucchini and Basil Mini Quiches

While carrying around a slice of quiche isn’t all the practical for a morning commute, bite-size versions you can stash in a zip-top baggie are. Try the method with this easy recipe from The Kitchn. These are designed to be stored in the freezer, but it’s a good idea to keep a few portions in the fridge. This way you can simply snag a bag on your way out.

  • ¼ cup cornstarch
  • 1¼ cups whole milk
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • ¾ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ⅛ teaspoon nutmeg
  • Canola or vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 shallots minced
  • 2 small zucchini, grated
  • ¼ cup grated Gruyère or Parmesan cheese
  • Finely chopped fresh basil

Preheat oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. Add cornstarch to a medium bowl, then pour in ½ cup milk, mixing until smooth. Whisk in eggs and yolks, and again whisk until smooth. Whisk in remaining milk along with cream, salt, and nutmeg.

In a nonstick pan, heat oil over medium. Add garlic and shallots and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add zucchini and cook, stirring, just until softened, 3 to 4 minutes. Remove from heat.

Grease mini muffin tin wells with canola or vegetable oil. Add a pinch of cheese to each well, then a teaspoon of zucchini, and a pinch of basil. Add 1 tablespoon egg mixture to each well, transfer to oven, and bake until golden, about 15 to 18 minutes. Let cool for 10 minutes, then use a paring knife to remove. Let cool completely.

Freeze mini quiches in a single layer in a covered container. To reheat, transfer to a 400-degree Fahrenheit oven for 5 to 10 minutes.

6. Smoked Salmon and Dill Muffins

Standing in line to grab a bagel with the works makes for a stressful morning when you’re crunched for time, so go for these savory muffins from Betty Crocker instead. The recipe is even quick to prepare thanks to biscuit mix. They just might be the most sophisticated take on a savory muffin we’ve ever seen.

  • 3 tablespoon butter
  • 1 meidum onion, finely chopped
  • 1 (4.5-ounce) package smoked salmon, flaked or chopped
  • 1½ cups biscuit mix
  • 1¼ cups shredded Italian cheese blend, divided
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
  • ¾ teaspoon grated lemon zest
  • ½ cup milk
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 egg

Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease a 12-cup muffin tin with cooking spray.

Melt butter in a small skillet set over medium-high heat. Cook onion until tender, stirring frequently, about 3 to 5 minutes. Stir in salmon, then remove from heat.

In a large bowl, combine biscuit mix with ¾ cup of cheese, the dill, and lemon zest. In a small bowl, combine milk, oil, and egg, whisking to break up egg. Make a well in center of dry ingredients, then add milk mixture. Stir until just moistened. Add onion and salmon and mix just to combine.

Evenly divide batter among muffin cups, filling each two-thirds full. Sprinkle with remaining cheese. Bake for 18 to 20 minutes, or until golden. Let cool for 2 to 3 minutes, then remove from pan. Serve.

Use these recipes to make your hectic life a little easier.

Bon Appétit...

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Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Food Truck Style Tacos You Can Make At Home

Courtesy of Christine Skopec
Culture CheatSheet

Hi Friends,

Tacos have quickly become one of Americans’ favorite foods. With endless opportunities for variation, the tortilla-based meal can easily suit any taste. As popular as they are now, the history of the taco is relatively unknown. Jeffrey M. Pilcher, a University of Minnesota history professor who has studied Mexican food extensively, revealed to Smithsonian Magazine that no one knows for sure who invented the street food, but it was most likely created by Mexican miners in the 18th century. He goes on to say that immigrants eventually brought the dish with them to the U.S. and used available ingredients like hamburger to create the hybrid version that many of us grew up eating.

Though those crunchy shells topped with shredded lettuce and cheese might be decent, street-style versions, which can of be found at food trucks, definitely have them beat. These five recipes will turn you into a taco master in no time. While they’re great for a solo meal, consider cooking them up for a party. No one will ever complain about a taco bar, and all you need are a few fillings, some garnishes, and a stack of tortillas for an impressive spread.

Chicken Tacos with Chipotle Crema is the first taco on our list. Anyone who’s had a chicken taco at a restaurant knows the meat can get a little dry. Many places use chicken breast for the protein, but omfg. so good’s version uses chicken thighs for a moister, more flavorful filling. Cooking the meat couldn’t be any easier. Just arrange the chicken on a sheet tray, then let it slowly roast in the oven. Tuck into tortillas and top with goodies like avocado and queso fresco. A chipotle sauce makes a cool, creamy, and spicy finish.

If you have difficulty finding Mexican cheeses at your grocery store, you can make an easy swap; farmer’s cheese is available at lots of regular markets, and it’s surprisingly similar to queso fresco. We guarantee it’ll be way better than any bagged, shredded mix.

  • 1 pound boneless skinless chicken thighs
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 1 medium white onion
  • 3 to 4 thyme sprigs
  • 1½ teaspoons smoked paprika
  • 1½ teaspoons cumin
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground white pepper
  • Olive oil

Chipotle Crema
  • ½ cup sour cream
  • 3 tablespoons half-and-half
  • 2 tablespoons adobo sauce
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • Salt

To Serve
  • Corn tortillas
  • Shredded cabbage
  • Diced avocado
  • Lime wedges
  • Queso fresco
  • Pickled jalapeños

Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Clean any remaining bits of fat off chicken, then arrange on a parchment-lined baking sheet in a single layer. Drizzle with a few tablespoons of olive oil. Peel and cut garlic cloves, then arrange on top of chicken. Roughly chop the onion, and arrange on top of chicken along with whole thyme sprigs.

Combine paprika, cumin, salt, and pepper in a small bowl, then sprinkle evenly over chicken. Roast chicken 30 to 35 minutes, until completely cooked. Remove from oven, and transfer to a large bowl. Discard herbs, garlic, and onion. Once cooled, shred meat with two forks.

Meanwhile, whisk sour cream half-and-half, chipotle sauce, lime juice, and honey in a small bowl to combine. Taste and season with salt, to taste. Refrigerate until ready to use.

Warm tortillas in a dry skillet for a few seconds on each side, until pliable. Top each tortilla with chicken, cabbage, queso fresco, avocado, crema, pickled chiles, and a squeeze of lime.

2. Easy Fish Tacos

California is considered the land of fish tacos, but coastal areas in Mexico feast on seafood. Bring the fresh flavor to your kitchen with Chow’s delicious version. This dish skips the usual frying procedure, opting to grill the fish instead, which is healthier and easier. Start by marinating the fish, and it will be ready to go by the time you’re done making the slaw and heating the grill. With plenty of lean protein, fiber, and vitamins, this meal is super nutritious.

  • 1 pound firm white fish, like tilapia or snapper
  • 2 medium limes, halved
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cumin
  • ¼ teaspoon chili powder
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided, plus more
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • ½ small head of cabbage, thinly sliced
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • ½ medium red onion, thinly sliced
  • 6 to 8 (6-inch) corn tortillas
  • Sliced avocado
  • Guacamole
  • Salsa
  • Sour cream
  • Hot sauce

Place fish in a baking dish, and squeeze with juice of one lime half. Add garlic, cumin, chili powder, and 1 tablespoon of oil. Season with salt and pepper, and turn to coat. Refrigerate at least 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, combine cabbage, onion, and cilantro in a large bowl, Squeeze with juice from one lime half. Drizzle with 1 tablespoon oil, season with salt and pepper, and toss to combine. Taste, and adjust seasoning.

Warm tortilla in a dry skillet over medium-high heat. Transfer to a clean dish cloth, and repeat with remaining tortillas. Fold towel to keep tortillas warm.

Heat a grill to medium-high heat. Brush grates with oil. Cook fish without moving, until underside has marks, and appears white, about 3 minutes. Flip and cook until other side is opaque, about 2 to 3 minutes longer. Transfer to a platter.

Break fish into pieces, and add to tortillas, then top with slaw, garnishes, and a squeeze of lime juice.

3. Swiss Chard and Chipotle Tacos

Feasting on Mexican food usually means tons of meat. While that’s awesome for most people, it’s kind of a bummer for your vegetarian friends. The next time you throw a get-together, serve up these chard and corn tacos from Saveur. Filled with hearty mushrooms and spiced with chipotle, they’re just as satisfying as any steak version.

This filling is so good you might want to make extra to use in other meals. Add it to a sandwich with some grilled chicken, or toss with pasta. You can also stick with the Mexican route and use it as a filling for enchiladas.

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 onion, quartered, and thinly sliced
  • 2 cups thinly sliced cremini mushrooms
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 2 chipotle peppers in adobo, seeded, and finely chopped, plus 1 teaspoon adobo sauce
  • 2 ears of corn, kernels removed
  • 1 bunch Swiss chard, stems removed, and leaves cut into ½-inch ribbons
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Warm corn tortillas
  • Chopped cilantro
  • Sour cream
  • Lime wedges

Heat olive oil in a 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion, and cook until slightly caramelized, 6 to 7 minutes. Add mushrooms and garlic, and cook until mushrooms are browned, about 5 minutes. Add soy sauce, chipotles, adobo sauce, corn, chard, salt, and pepper. Cover pan, and cook, stirring occasionally, until chard wilts, about 5 minutes. Spoon mixture into tortillas, garnish with toppings, and serve.

4. Grilled Pork Tacos, Pastor Style

For sweet and salty lovers, these pork and pineapple tacos from Rick Bayless make a phenomenal meal. Though the flavor is complex, this recipe uses fewer than 10 ingredients. Just make a simple marinade by blending some achiote paste, chipotles, vegetable oil, and water, then coat the meat. You can grill the pork if the weather’s nice, but it will turn out just as well if you cook it in a heavy skillet right on the stove.

  • 1 (3.5-ounce) package achiote paste
  • 3 chipotles in adobo, plus 4 tablespoons of sauce
  • ¼ cup vegetable oil, plus more
  • 1½ pounds (¼-inch-thick) sliced pork shoulder
  • 1 medium red onion, sliced ¼-inch thick
  • ¼ of a medium pineapple, sliced into ¼-inch-thick rounds
  • 20 warm corn tortillas
  • 1½ cups tomatillo salsa

In a blender, combine achiote paste, chiles, sauce, oil, and ¾ cup water. Blend until smooth. Use one-third of marinade over meat, and turn to coat. Reserve remaining marinade for another use. Cover and refrigerate pork at least 1 hour.

Light a charcoal grill to high heat with coals banked to one side, or light one side of a gas grill. Brush onions with oil, and season with salt. Grill until richly browned, about 1 minute, flip, and cook until other side browns, about 1 minutes longer. Move to cool side of grill. Oil and grill pineapple in the same way. Working in batches, cook meat, about 1 minute per side, until cooked. Transfer to a cutting board, and chop into bite-sized pieces. Transfer to a skillet to keep warm over grill. Chop onion and pineapple, and add to pork. Toss everything to combine, taste, and season with salt, to taste. Serve mixture in tortillas, and garnish with salsa.

5. Carne Asada Baja Street Tacos

These steak tacos from Honest and Tasty will please any meat lover. Filled with nothing more than sliced beef, onions, cilantro, a bit of hot sauce, and sour cream, the meat really has a chance to shine. Since the tacos are so simple, make sure you’re getting the best beef you can find. This is not the time to use that 75% off meat that’s dangerously close to expiring.

  • 2 pounds flank steak, trimmed of fat
  • ½ cup vegetable oil, divided
  • 12 corn tortillas
  • 1 cup chopped cilantro
  • 1 lime, sliced into wedges
  • ½ large white onion, thinly sliced
  • Sour cream, or Mexican crema
  • Hot sauce
  • Salt and pepper

Heat griddle over high heat. Add 2 tablespoons of oil to steak, and rub to coat. Season generously with salt and pepper. Cook steak on hot griddle, and cook about 5 minutes per side, or until medium rare. Remove from heat, and let rest.

Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a small pan over high heat. Add tortilla, and cook about 10 seconds per side. Remove to a paper towel-lined plate. Repeat with remaining tortillas, adding oil, as needed. Slice steak, and cut into small pieces. Assemble tacos with steak, onion, cilantro, and a squeeze of lime. Top with hot sauce and sour cream. Serve.

Bypass the next food truck taco to make your own at home...

Bon Appétit...

Check back for more great recipes from your friends at Interior Design.

Your kind contribution will allow us to continue sharing great, no cost and cost saving ideas for your space. Click the "Donate" button below to make a contribution. Thank you!

Live well,

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Terrific Tasting Mussel Recipes

Courtesy of Christine Skopec
Culture CheatSheet

Hi Friends,

When you’re looking to get lean, exercise is only half the equation. You can do all the crunches in the world, but the foods you eat are every bit as important. We’ll show you how to use some of the healthiest eats to sculpt your physique without sacrificing flavor.

Health-conscious eaters regularly fill their plates with seafood like salmon and tuna without even letting their minds drift toward mussels. Though these mollusks don’t get as much love, they’re every bit as healthy as any other type of fish. According to, a 3-ounce serving contains 146 calories, 20 grams of protein, a whopping dose of iron, and a surprising amount of vitamin C.

Because mussels have a naturally sweet flavor, they pair wonderfully with loads of other ingredients. They’re also rock stars for busy nights because cooking takes a matter of minutes. Get more mussels in your life with these five recipes.

The featured Curried Carrot and Mussel Soup is a sweet, creamy carrot soup that gets more staying power with the addition of plenty of mussels in this recipe from Food & Wine. The shellfish create their own broth when steamed in wine, so you’ll end up with a full-flavored dish without much effort. In fact, this delicious soup comes together with just nine ingredients.

High in vitamin B12, mussels could be a great brain food. Studies, including a recent example from Current Alzheimer Research, have linked low levels of the nutrient to Alzheimer’s disease. Getting your fill of vitamin B12 might not be a guaranteed way to eliminate your risk, but it’s not a bad idea.

  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 2 onions, thinly sliced
  • 1¼ pound carrots, cut into ¼-inch slices
  • 1 tablespoon curry powder
  • 1 quart canned low-sodium chicken broth or homemade stock
  • 2 cups water
  • 6 pounds small mussels, scrubbed and debearded
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 1¼ teaspoons salt

Melt butter in a large pot over medium-low heat. Add onions and carrots. Cook, stirring occasionally, until onions are translucent, about 5 minutes. Add curry powder and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add broth and water, bring to a boil, reduce heat to a simmer, and cook until carrots are tender, about 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, discard any broken mussels or ones that don’t close when you tap the shell. Add to a large stainless steel pot and pour in wine. Cover and bring to a boil. Cook, shaking pot occasionally, just until mussels open, about 3 minutes. Remove mussels as they open, then close to cook remaining ones. Discard any mussels that don’t open. Once cool, remove all but 12 mussels from shells and discard shells.

Blend half of carrot mixture in a blender or food processor, then return to same pot. Pour mussel liquid into carrot mixture, leaving behind any accumulated grit. Add shelled mussels and cook over low heat just until heated through, about 1 minute. Serve soup topped with remaining mussels.

2. Quick Paella with Shrimp and Mussels

Traditional paella is quite a project to pull off, so many never attempt the dish at home. This speedy version from Eating Well is a great way to enjoy the flavors without the time investment thanks to quick-cooking seafood and instant brown rice. Leftovers make a perfect cold salad you can pack for work later in the week. Just add a lemon wedge to brighten the flavors a bit, and your midday meal is good to go.

Packed with grains, vegetables, and seafood, this dish is pretty much the poster child for Mediterranean eating. The diet has been linked to scores of health benefits, including a longer life. One 2014 study found those who adhered to a Mediterranean diet have longer telomeres, caps at the ends of our chromosomes that help protect our genetic data, which suggest a longer life.

  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • ½ cup chopped onion
  • ½ cup chopped red bell pepper
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 cups instant brown rice
  • 1⅓ cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • ½ teaspoon dried thyme
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 1 large pinch saffron
  • 1 pound (21 to 25) peeled and deveined raw shrimp
  • 1 cup frozen green peas, thawed
  • 1 pound mussels, scrubbed well
  • 4 lemon wedges

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion, bell pepper, and garlic. Cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are tender, about 3 minutes. Add rice, broth, thyme, salt, pepper, and saffron. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Cover and cook for 5 minutes.

Stir in shrimp and peas. Place mussels on top of rice in an even layer. Cover and continue to cook until mussels open, rice is tender, and shrimp are cooked, about 5 minutes longer. Remove from heat and let rest, covered, until liquid is absorbed, about 5 minutes. Serve with lemon wedges.

3. Thai Seafood Salad

If your entrée salads all look like same variation of chicken breast with greens, shake things up with this Thai-inspired salad from Fine Cooking. It’s brimming with seafood, fresh herbs, and crunchy veggies tossed in a vibrant dressing. Don’t be intimated by the variety of seafood, either. You can easily simplify the recipe by using just one or two types of shellfish.

The delicious taste is reason enough to make this salad, but the health benefits give it extra credit. Mussels might even be the key to warding off cancer. One 2012 study revealed a type of peptide in mussels can kill breast, prostate, and lung cancer cells.

  • 24 small mussels, scrubbed and debearded
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • ¾ pound (51 to 60 per pound) fresh shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • ½ pound cleaned squid, bodies cut into ¼-inch rings and tentacles halved if large
  • ½ pound sea or bay scallops
  • ¼ pound fresh or pasteurized jumbo lump crabmeat

  • 6 tablespoon fresh lime juice
  • 4½ tablespoons fish sauce
  • 1½ tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons finely chopped spicy green chiles, such as serrano or jalapeño
  • 2 teaspoons finely chopped garlic

  • 2 cups bite-size pieces Boston lettuce
  • 3 tablespoons thinly sliced shallot
  • ⅓ cup thinly sliced scallions
  • ¼ cup coarsely chopped fresh cilantro
  • ¼ cup coarsely chopped fresh mint
  • ½ cup sliced English cucumber
  • ½ cup halved cherry or grape tomatoes

Place mussels in a medium pot and add ½ cup water. Cover and set over high heat. Bring to a boil and cook until shells open, about 1 to 2 minutes. Remove from heat and transfer to a plate. Discard any unopened mussels, then remove meat from cooked mussels and transfer to a medium bowl. Discard shells and cooking liquid.

Bring a 3-quart saucepan filled with water to a boil over high heat. Add salt, then add shrimp and cook until opaque and just cooked through, about 2 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and add to bowl with mussels.

Once water returns to a boil, cook squid until firm and white, about 1 minute. Remove and add to same bowl with mussels and shrimp. Once water returns to a boil, repeat with scallops, cooking just until translucent, 1 to 2 minutes for bay scallops and 2 to 3 minutes for sea scallops. Remove and add to bowl with seafood. Add crab and set aside.

In a medium bowl, combine lime juice, fish sauce, sugar, chiles, and garlic. Stir to dissolve sugar. Set aside.

Arrange lettuce on a serving platter. Transfer seafood to bowl with dressing and add shallots. Toss to coat, then add scallions, cilantro, and mint. Toss again, then scoop over lettuce with a slotted spoon. Toss cucumber and tomatoes with remaining dressing and arrange around seafood. Drizzle remaining dressing over top. Serve at once.

4. Angel Hair Pasta with Mussels and Red Pepper Sauce

Like clams, mussels pair wonderfully with pasta. Try this recipe filled with a tomato and red pepper sauce from Cooking Light to taste for yourself. While the dish is already healthy, you can get boost the nutrition even more by wilting in some spinach or chard at the very end.

Since our less-than-healthy diets have been linked to high levels of inflammation, cooking more dishes like this mussel-studded pasta is a good idea. One recent study published in Nutrients found arthritis patients treated with an extract from mussels enjoyed reduced inflammation.

  • 8 ounces angel hair pasta
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • ⅓ cup diced onion
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 2 cups diced red bell pepper
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • Pinch ground red pepper
  • 1 (14.5-ounce) can whole tomatoes, chopped and undrained
  • ½ cup white wine
  • 36 mussels, scrubbed and debearded
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

Cook pasta according to package directions without adding salt or oil. Drain and keep warm.

Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onion and garlic and cook until tender, about 5 minutes. Add bell pepper, salt, and red pepper. Cook for 2 minutes. Add tomatoes and wine, bring to a boil, reduce to low heat, and simmer for 10 minutes. Add mussels and increase heat to medium. Cover and simmer for 7 minutes, or until shells open. Discard any unopened mussels. Serve over pasta and garnish with parsley.

5. Cider-Cooked Mussels with Kale

One-pot meals score points for simplicity as well as keeping dishes to a minimum, and they can also be speedy if you choose wisely. This kale and mussel recipe from Delicious meets all three criteria. In just 20 minutes, you’ll have a delicious dish that needs nothing more than some crusty bread to become a complete meal.

If you don’t particularly care for the strong taste of fatty fish, mussels are a great alternative for getting a dose of omega-3s. Even if you try to get your fill with supplements, you’re better off getting these healthy fats from real food. Unlike seafood consumption, studies have shown fish oil supplements don’t cut the risk of heart disease or death.

  • Olive oil
  • 2 shallots, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 3½ ounces kale, chopped
  • 6¾ ounces good quality dry cider
  • 2 pounds mussels, cleaned and debearded
  • 1 small bunch of fresh parsley, finely chopped
  • Bread

Heat a drizzle of oil in a deep pan. Add garlic and shallots and cook over low heat, stirring, for 5 to 6 minutes. Add kale and cook, stirring, for 1 to 2 minutes. Add cider and increase heat to a simmer. Add mussels to pan, bring to a boil, cover, and cook, shaking pan occasionally, until mussels have opened, about 3 to 4 minutes. Discard any mussels that don’t open.

Add parsley to mussels and stir to combine. Serve mussels in bowls with bread to mop up juices.

Again, exercise is only half the equation, add these delicious mussel recipes to complete your goal without sacrificing taste.

Bon Appétit...

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Monday, March 27, 2017

Dinners Cooked in a Toaster Oven

Courtesy of Catherine Northington
Culture CheatSheet

Hi Friends,

Toaster oven cooking may seem elementary, but it can make for some tasty cooking! The toaster oven is a great appliance to keep in your kitchen, as its heats up in seconds and can make for many versatile last-minute dinner dishes. The toaster oven heats and crisps meals to perfection, and it tends to involve substantially less effort than its conventional brethren.

Lemon-Thyme Bruschetta is featured to kick-off dinners cooked in a toaster oven. This light and lemony dish makes a great last minute appetizer or snack. Flavored with thyme, this delicious finger food has an added touch of honey, lending a sweet balance to the dish. They’re a warm, crisp addition to the menu and take only around 15 minutes to prepare. This recipe from the Kitchn yields 10 appetizer servings.

  • 1 baguette; thinly sliced
  • 8 ounces ricotta cheese
  • 1 lemon; zested
  • Honey
  • 8 springs fresh thyme

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Mix together ricotta and lemon zest. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Set aside. Toast baguette slices in the oven for 5 to 7 minutes until slightly browned and warm. Spread liberally with seasoned ricotta. Drizzle with honey, sprinkle with thyme. Serve warm.

2. Miso-Glazed Toaster Oven Salmon

Quick, easy, and tasty! The tangy and sweet flavors of the soy sauce and vinegar are nicely offset by the addition of a dry, fragrant sake to the marinade in this dish. This miso glazed salmon from Serious Eats takes just 15 minutes to complete and yields 4 servings — a great choice for last minute dinner prep.

  • ¼ cup red or white miso
  • ⅓ cup sake
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 4 skinless salmon filets, at least 1 inch thick, 5 to 6 ounces each

Whisk together miso, sake, soy sauce, oil, and sugar. Rub mixture over every surface of salmon filets. Transfer to a plastic zipper lock bag or sealable container. Proceed immediately to next step, or for best results, marinate for about 30 minutes or up to two days.

Preheat toaster oven to high on broiler. Cover a small broiler pan with aluminum foil. Rub excess marinade off of salmon and place on broiler pan. Broil until top surface is well charred and salmon is barely warm in the center, about 5 minutes, using the foil to protect any areas that threaten to burn. Serve immediately.

3. Moroccan Pork Kebabs

Cooking in your toaster oven isn’t just simple — it’s delicious! These Moroccan-inspired pork kebabs are savory and complex addition to your next dinner menu. They’re low in calories, high in protein, and packed with flavor. This recipe from Real Simple yields 4 servings and takes about an hour and 15 minutes to complete.

  • ¼ cup orange juice
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • ⅛ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt
  • ¾ teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 ½ pounds boneless pork loin, cut into 1 ½-inch chunks
  • 1 small eggplant, unpeeled, cut into 1-inch chunks
  • 1 small red onion, cut into 8 wedges
  • Pita bread or flat bread, for serving
  • 1 half-pint container store-bought tzatziki (cucumber-yogurt sauce; optional)
  • ½ small cucumber, thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
  • Wooden skewers, soaked in water for 30 minutes

Heat toaster oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. In a large bowl, whisk together the orange juice, tomato paste, garlic, cumin, cinnamon, 2 tablespoons of the oil, 1 teaspoon of the salt, and ½ teaspoon of the pepper. Add the pork and toss. Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes and up to 8 hours.

Meanwhile, in a bowl, combine the eggplant, onion, and the remaining oil, salt, and pepper. Place the vegetables on skewers, alternating eggplant and onion. Transfer the skewers to a foil-lined toaster-oven baking tray. Bake for 20 minutes. Turn the vegetables.

Place the pork on skewers and add them to the tray. Bake until the vegetables are tender and the pork is cooked through, turning the pork and vegetables once, about 25 minutes.

Meanwhile, wrap the bread in foil and place on top of the pork during the last 5 minutes. Transfer the skewers and bread to individual plates. Spoon the tzatziki (optional) on the side and sprinkle with the cucumber and mint.

4. Biscuit Mini Batch for Toaster Oven

These biscuits are a 15-minute shortcut to savory goodness. Instead of whipping together a whole batch, just throw this simple dough into the toaster oven for a few minutes. These are hot, soft, and flaky and are delicious when accompanied with gravy or simply served on the side with a dinner main. This recipe from Food takes 15 minutes to complete and yields 6 biscuits.

  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 tablespoon butter, melted
  • ½ cup milk

Pre-heat toaster oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Mix together flour and baking powder. Work in melted butter. Add milk and mix into a soft dough. Drop 6 biscuits onto a small baking sheet that will fit into your toaster oven. Bake 8 to 12 minutes or until done.

5. Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms

Stuffed mushrooms may look, sound, and taste complicated — but this recipe from Mother Would Know is deceptively simple! This vegetarian-friendly recipe is bursting with flavor: basil, onion, and garlic add character to the dish, all baked inside of a lightly crusted portobello mushroom. The dish takes about 45 minutes to complete and yields 2 servings.

  • 2 large portobello mushroom caps
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • ½ medium onion (about ? cup)
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 6 ounces fresh baby spinach
  • 2 tablespoons ricotta cheese
  • ½ cup tomatoes, chopped (about 6 cherry tomatoes or 8 to 10 grape tomatoes)
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons chopped basil
  • ¼ cup bread crumbs
  • ¼ cup shredded or grated Parmesan cheese

Lightly oil toaster oven pan. Clean the outside of the mushroom caps with a bit of water and dry them. Cut off the stems and use a small spoon to gently scoop out the black gills.

Chop onions, garlic, and basil. Preheat the toaster oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Preheat pan with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Add the onion and garlic and cook under a medium heat until they are transparent (about 5 minutes).

Add spinach to the onion and garlic. Cook a few more minutes until the spinach has wilted. Add the ricotta cheese, tomatoes, and basil, then mix to combine all the ingredients in the pan. Add salt and pepper to taste. Place mushroom caps on the oiled pan. Stuff half the contents of the pan into each of the 2 mushrooms.

Put the bread crumbs and most of the Parmesan cheese into the now-empty pan, toss together, and divide between the mushrooms. Add the remaining bit of Parmesan on the top of the mushrooms and sprinkle with the last tablespoon of oil. Bake for about 20 minutes, until the top is crusty and the filling looks hot inside.

6. Herb-Roasted Chicken Tenders

You’re never too old to enjoy chicken tenders for dinner! Celebrity chef Eric Ripert shares this quick and easy meal with Today. Herbes de Provence lend the dish its flavorful character. It’s savory and delicious — particularly when served alongside a sweet honey Dijon medley for dipping. This recipe takes 20 minutes to complete and yields 2 servings.

  • 7 ounces chicken tenders
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon herbes de Provence
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon honey

Heat toaster oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. Drizzle half of the olive oil onto the toaster oven tray. Season the chicken with salt, pepper, and herbes de Provence.

Arrange the chicken in a single layer on the tray and drizzle the remaining olive oil over the seasoned chicken. Bake the chicken for 8 to 10 minutes, until cooked through.

While the chicken is cooking, stir together the Dijon mustard and honey. Serve the chicken tenders with mustard on the side. Alternately, serve the chicken tenders on skewers as an appetizer or with an arugula salad.

Try any of these six recipes for a quick and delicious toaster oven dinner. Toaster ovens are great options for small spaces, studio and tiny house living where space is limited.

Bon Appétit...

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Friday, March 24, 2017

Make Classic Meals Into Gourmet Sandwiches

Courtesy of Alli Neal
Culture CheatSheet

Hi Friends,

Sometimes, you’re out of clean forks. Sometimes, you just need a sandwich. Branch out from the cold cuts and sliced cheese, though. Whether you’re looking for a new way to eat a favorite meal or a way to love your leftovers, making your meal into a sandwich can be just the way to update a recipe. These recipes don’t just take a scoop of last night’s dinner and plop it between two slices of bread, though — they’re classic meals reimagined as sandwiches.

The featured Lasagna Grilled Cheese is toasted with cheese and tomatoes. No, this isn’t a slice of lasagna between two slices of bread. Instead, Joy the Baker takes the two most iconic flavors of lasagna, tomato and ricotta, and transforms them into a lasagna-esque sandwich. It’s then griddled to a golden crisp. Beware: Hot ricotta may get everywhere on your first delicious bite.

  • 4 slices of a good, sturdy bread
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter with a dash of olive oil
  • ½ cup part-skim ricotta cheese
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 (14-ounce) can cherry tomatoes
  • ½ cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • Extra salt and pepper for seasoning

Lay out bread slices.

In a medium skillet or nonstick pan, melt butter over medium-low heat.

In a small bowl, stir together ricotta, basil, salt, and pepper.

Top each slice of bread with a bit of mozzarella cheese. Top two of the bread slices with a few smashed cherry tomatoes. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. On the remaining two slices of bread, dollop and spread the ricotta cheese.

Combine the sandwich halves and place in the warmed skillet. Grill on each side until golden. Remove from the pan and allow to rest for 3 minutes before slicing in half and serving.

2. Chicken Pot Pie Salad Sandwiches

A mashup of chicken salad and chicken pot pie, these sandwiches don’t have to be served as “sliders” on biscuits, but why wouldn’t you? For a super easy meal, The Cooking Channel uses rotisserie chicken and store-bought biscuits. You are, as always, invited to make your own!

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 small red onion, cut into ½-inch dice
  • 2 sprigs thyme
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 small carrot, peeled and cut into ½-inch dice
  • ½ cup dry white wine
  • ¼ cup half-and-half
  • ½ rotisserie chicken, skin and bones discarded, meat shredded
  • ⅓ cup mayonnaise
  • ¼ cup fresh flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped
  • 1 stalk celery, cut into ?-inch pieces
  • 2 ounces sugar snap peas, cut into ¼-inch pieces
  • 6 store-bought biscuits, split

Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onions, thyme, a large pinch of salt, and a few grinds of pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes. Add the carrots and continue to cook until the onions are softened and browned in spots, 3 to 5 minutes more. Add the wine, increase the heat to medium-high, bring the wine to a boil, and cook until reduced by half, 2 to 4 minutes. Turn off the heat, stir in the half-and-half, and mix in the chicken. Transfer the mixture to a large mixing bowl and refrigerate until cool, about 30 minutes.

Discard the thyme. Stir in the mayonnaise, parsley, celery, and snap peas, and season with salt and pepper. Divide the chicken mixture among the biscuits and serve immediately.

3. Shakshuka Open-Faced Sandwich

Shakshuka is a classic Middle Eastern dish of eggs cooked in a spiced tomato sauce, often accompanied by red peppers. Here, Stephanie Smith from 300 Sandwiches turns it into an open-faced sandwich in a new way to make an egg-and-cheese sandwich.

  • 4 eggs
  • 4 English muffins or Portuguese sandwich muffins
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 2 cups marinara sauce
  • 1 green bell pepper, cut into strips
  • 1 red bell pepper, cut into strips
  • 1 small red onion, cut into strips
  • 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
  • 1 tablespoon black pepper
  • ¼ cup fresh basil leaves
  • ¼ cup crumbled feta cheese

In a large skillet with a lid, warm olive oil, then add garlic and stir for 30 seconds. Then add green and red peppers and onions, and cook for 5 minutes. Next, add marinara sauce and stir. Simmer for another 5 minutes.

With the back of a spoon, create 4 wells in the sauce for the eggs. Crack one egg into each well, cover the skillet with the lid, and cook about 6 minutes. When the eggs are nearly done, sprinkle the cheese on top and then layer on basil leaves. Remove from heat.

Meanwhile, toast muffins. On a plate, lay out a split muffin and spoon one egg with peppers and sauce on top. Repeat with other 3 and serve.

4. Bacon Mac-and-Cheese Sandwich

You can either use leftover baked mac and cheese to make this sandwich from The Food Network or you can use the recipe provided for easy mac and cheese. If you’re a Velveeta user, use Velveeta here. If Velveeta isn’t your thing (we seriously understand), use cream cheese instead. Make sure you use a really sharp cheddar.

Mac and cheese
  • 8 ounces elbow macaroni
  • Kosher salt
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 3 cups milk
  • 8 ounce processed cheese, such as Velveeta
  • 1½ cups shredded sharp yellow cheddar
  • Splash hot sauce, or pinch of cayenne
  • Freshly ground black pepper

  • 4 cups mac and cheese
  • 8 slices country white bread, buttered
  • 4 slices cheese
  • 8 slices thick-cut smoked bacon, cooked
  • 2 Roma tomatoes, sliced into ¼-inch slices, optional
  • Hot sauce, optional

To cook the mac and cheese, boil the pasta according to package specifications to al dente. Drain.

Melt the butter in a medium saucepot over medium heat. Whisk in the flour and stir for a couple of minutes, making sure it’s free of lumps and the flour taste is cooked out. Stir in the milk, bring to a simmer, and cook over medium-low until thickened, about 5 minutes. Stir in the processed cheese and cheddar until melted, add the hot sauce, and fold in the macaroni. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Evenly spread the mac and cheese in an 8-inch square baking dish. Cover the dish with plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm, about 1 hour. Cut the mac and cheese into 4 equal-size squares.

Preheat a griddle over medium-low heat. Place each mac and cheese square on a slice of bread, then top with 1 slice cheese and 2 slices bacon. Top with a second piece of bread and griddle the sandwich until golden and warm, about 4 minutes per side. Repeat with the remaining ingredients. Serve.

5. French Onion Soup Sandwiches

Joy the Baker really likes making things that are decidedly not sandwiches into sandwiches, and she’s at it again with these soup sandwiches. If you’re really into caramelized onions, make this sandwich. If you have leftover French onion soup, put it back on the stove and cook it all the way down.

  • 2 medium yellow onions, peeled, cut in half, and sliced into ¼-inch thick semi-circles
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened, plus more for buttering the bread
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 scant teaspoon coarse sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
  • ½ teaspoon fresh-cracked black pepper
  • Pinch of granulated sugar
  • 3 tablespoons beef broth, beer, or white wine to deglaze the pan
  • ½ cup finely shredded Gruyere cheese; use more cheese to your own taste
  • 4 slices bread

Place a medium heavy-bottomed sauce pan over medium heat. Add the butter and olive oil, and stir until butter is melted. Add the sliced onions all at once. Stir to coat the onions in the fat. Allow onions to cook, undisturbed, for about 4 minutes. Add salt, thyme, and pepper and stir. Place lid on the pan and allow to onions to cook for about 4 minutes at a time. Lower the heat if the onions are browning too quickly. Remove the lid to stir the onions occasionally. The onions will begin to brown, break down, and resemble an onion jam.

When onions are entirely browned and completely soft, add your chosen liquid to the pan. Using a wooden spoon, scrape any burned bits off the bottom of the pan as the liquid evaporates. This takes about 30 seconds. Remove pan from heat and allow to rest while you assemble the sandwiches.

Butter one side of each slice of bread. On the unbuttered side, add a good sprinkling of Gruyere, top with warm onion mixture, top with more cheese, and add the final piece of sandwich bread. Repeat process in assembling the other sandwich.

Cook sandwiches over medium heat in a medium sauté pan. Flip and cook until golden on the outside and melty on the inside. Serve immediately.

6. Pot Roast Sandwiches

A little reminiscent of a French dip sandwich, these pot roast sandwiches are — you guessed it — a great way to use up leftover pot roast. They’re also a wonderful way to get through a pot roast craving without sitting down to a big Sunday dinner. These sandwiches from Oh Sweet Basil don’t have carrots and potatoes, so maybe you should make some fries on the side!

  • 1½ pound tri-tip
  • 2 bay leaves
  • ½ teaspoon dried thyme
  • ½ teaspoon onion powder
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon dried rosemary
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • ¾ cup beef drippings
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • ¼ cup cold water
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 onion, sliced
Sandwich assembly
  • Hoagie rolls or baguette
  • Butter for toasting

Place beef in a slow cooker with seasonings and butter. Cook on low for 8 hours, flipping halfway through.

Twenty minutes before the beef is done, add the tablespoon of butter to a skillet and heat over medium until melted. Add the onions and toss to coat. Reduce heat to low and let cook for 20 minutes.

When the beef is done, remove from slow cooker and transfer the drippings to a saucepan over medium heat. Add 1 cup of water and bring to a boil. Create a slurry with the cornstarch and cold water, whisking thoroughly, and add to the drippings. Bring back to a boil, then immediately turn down to a simmer and cook until thick, about 10 minutes.

Butter and toast the bread face-down on a skillet or in the oven. Shred the beef — really, picking it up should do this for you — and place on the bread. Top with onion and gravy. Serve.

7. Loaded Turkey Panini

This one is almost like cheating, because these days, everyone has had a Thanksgiving sandwich/gobbler/whatever you call it. This version from Pinch of Yum has more than your normal version, though, with pear slices, bacon, crisped sage, Muenster cheese, and goat cheese. This particular sandwich doesn’t have stuffing because Lindsay had already eaten all the stuffing, but yours could (and should) have stuffing.

  • 2 slices of thick, sturdy white or wheat bread
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • A few slices of turkey
  • A few sage leaves
  • A few spoonfuls of cranberry sauce
  • 1 ounce goat cheese
  • 2 slices cooked bacon
  • 1 slice Muenster cheese

Heat a skillet or panini press to medium-high heat. Place the bread on a plate. Layer the ingredients between the two pieces of bread: turkey, sage, cranberry sauce, goat cheese, bacon, and Muenster cheese. Spread each piece of bread with butter on the outside.

Transfer to the hot skillet or panini press and press down gently. When the outside is golden-brown and the inside is melted and warm, remove from heat, slice, and serve.

Gourmet sandwiches for you, your family and good friends with leftovers; our twist on recycling.

Bon Appétit...

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Thursday, March 23, 2017

Pizza Recipes You Can Make in 30 Minutes or Less

Courtesy of Christine Skopec
Culture CheatSheet

Hi Friends,

Even though the exact amount of time it takes to prepare a meal and still have it qualify as speedy differs for each person, 30 minutes usually meets the criteria. It would certainly explain why Domino’s implemented its promise to have pizza on your doorstep in under a half hour in 1984. The pledge ended in 1993 after a St. Louis woman struck by a frenzied delivery driver was awarded $78 million, but the hope of getting dinner on the table in less than 30 minutes lives on.

While anybody can throw together a sandwich or scramble some eggs in this amount of time, pizza sounds undeniably more delicious. Good news, it’s completely doable if you make it yourself. These seven delectable recipes will show you how. Fried Egg and Sausage Ciabatta Breakfast Pizzas is our featured pizza recipe today. French bread pizzas were all the rage a few decades ago, then they pretty much vanished. It’s too bad, because using a crusty loaf as the base for a pizza is a genius way to make the meal really fast. Bon Appétit revived the idea with a version topped with sausage and egg. Though the recipe is intended to be for breakfast, it’s delicious any time of day.

  • 1 (1-pound) loaf ciabatta bread
  • 1 cup chopped green onions
  • 8 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 8 ounces sliced pepper Jack cheese
  • 1 pound spicy or sweet Italian sausage, casings removed
  • 8 large eggs

Preheat oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. Cut bread in half horizontally and transfer each half to a baking sheet. Mix onions and 6 tablespoons oil in a small bowl and season with salt and pepper. Reserve 2 tablespoons oil, then spread remaining oil over bread halves. Top with cheese.

Cook sausage over medium-high heat, breaking up with a spoon, until cooked through, about 7 minutes. Divide among bread halves. Transfer to oven and bake until cheese melts and bread begins to crisp, about 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat 1 tablespoon oil in each of two large skillet over medium-high heat. Crack four eggs into each. Season with salt and pepper and cook for 2 minutes. Remove from heat and let stand in skillets as pizza bakes.

Arrange four eggs over each pizza then top with remaining onion oil. Cut pizza between each egg into four pieces. Serve.

2. 20-Minute Grilled Pizza with Smoked Salmon and Mixed Greens

For those who don’t want to turn their kitchen into a sauna by cranking the oven, grilled pizza is a great alternative. The intense, direct heat also cooks pizza dough in a fraction of the time. Try it out with these salmon-topped pies from Food Network. Because the pizza is so speedy, you even have time to toss a crisp salad to serve on the side. In short, this recipe is a weeknight miracle.

  • 8 ounces whipped cream cheese, at room temperature
  • Zest and juice of 1 small lemon
  • ¼ cup fresh dill, roughly chopped, plus more
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 pound frozen pizza dough, thawed
  • All-purpose flour, for sprinkling
  • ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more
  • ½ pound smoked salmon, thinly sliced
  • 1 Persian cucumber, very thinly sliced
  • 2 radishes, very thinly sliced
  • 5 ounces mesculun mix

Preheat grill to medium high. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. In a small bowl, combine cream cheese, lemon zest, 1 tablespoon of lemon juice, and ¼ cup dill. Season with salt and pepper and mix to combine.

Divide dough into two balls and roll each into an elongated crust on a floured work surface. Each one should be about 16 inches long and 6 inches wide. Transfer crusts to prepared baking sheet. Brush both sides of each crust with 2 tablespoons oil and lightly season with salt.

Oil grates and grill crusts until beginning to puff and grill marks appear, about 2 minutes. Flip and cook just until cooked through, about 1 to 2 minutes longer. Discard parchment paper and transfer crusts to bare baking sheet.

Spread cream cheese mixture evenly over crusts. Top with salmon, then scatter cucumbers and radishes over the top. Garnish with remaining dill.

In a large bowl, whisk remaining lemon juice, remaining oil, and a large pinch each of salt and pepper to combine. Add greens and toss to combine. Serve pizzas with salad.

3. Easy Barbecue Chicken Naan Pizza

When a bare fridge and pantry require a trip to the grocery store in order to make dinner, this barbecue chicken pie from Bowl of Delicious is a winner. With just six ingredients, you’ll be out of the store in no time. And because the crust is made with already cooked naan, this pizza will be ready in 20 minutes.

  • 2 whole-wheat naan flatbreads
  • ½ cup barbecue sauce, divided
  • 1 cup cooked shredded chicken
  • ¼ cup sliced red onion
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro

Preheat oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. Bake naan directly on oven racks until beginning to crisp, about 5 to 7 minutes. In a small bowl, toss chicken with 2 to 3 tablespoons barbecue sauce.

Remove crisped naan from oven and spread remaining barbecue sauce over each piece. Add chicken, cheese, and onion. Return to oven and bake until cheese is melted and bubbling, about 10 minutes longer. Remove from oven, top with cilantro, slice, and serve.

4. Blue Cheese and Bacon Pizza

Serious blue cheese fans need look no further than this white pizza from Taste and Tell. With little more than bacon and dairy, the pungent cheese really has a chance to shine. Be aware you’ll need to allow plenty of time for the pizza stone to heat up, if you’re using one. As long as you preheat the oven when you walk in the door, it shouldn’t derail your dinner plans.

  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • ¾ cup milk
  • Salt, pepper, and freshly ground nutmeg
  • 1 pound pizza dough
  • ½ pound bacon, cooked and chopped
  • ⅔ cup crumbled blue cheese

Place pizza stone in your oven and preheat to 475 to 500 degrees Fahrenheit, or as high as your oven will go. Allow stone to preheat for at least 30 minutes.

In a small saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Sprinkle in flour and cook, whisking, for 1 minute. While whisking, gradually add milk in a steady stream. Continue to cook, whisking, until sauce thickens. Season with salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Remove from heat.

Roll pizza dough into a large round on a pizza peel or a piece of parchment paper. Evenly spread béchamel over crust, then top with bacon and blue cheese. Transfer pizza to oven and bake until crust is crisp and cheese is bubbling, 8 to 10 minutes. Slice and serve.

5. Flatbread Pizza with Spinach and Goat Cheese

Whether you’re vegetarian or not, meatless meals are a smart choice for those looking to speed their way toward dinner. Take this spinach pizza from Green Valley Kitchen, for example. It’s packed with flavor thanks to three kinds of cheese and some garlicky greens, but only takes 15 minutes to prepare.

  • 2 naan flatbreads
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 4 cups baby spinach
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • Pinch red pepper flakes
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • ½ cup grated mozzarella cheese
  • 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 ounce goat cheese, crumbled

Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Heat oil in a nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add spinach and cook, tossing occasionally, until beginning to wilt, about 2 minutes. Add garlic and red pepper. Season with salt and pepper and continue to cook, until combined and wilted, about 2 minutes longer. Remove from heat.

Set flatbreads on a baking sheet and top each with spinach. Evenly divide mozzarella, then Parmesan over the two flatbreads. Top with goat cheese, transfer to oven, and bake for 5 minutes. Switch oven to broil and broil until bubbling and beginning to brown, 1 to 2 minutes. Remove from oven, slice, and serve.

6. Greek Pizza

Some people are happy to dig into a salad for dinner, but it’s definitely not for everyone. Even a fully loaded Greek version can leave you feeling peckish in an hour or two. Translating the flavors to a pizza makes for a more substantial meal without making things too complicated, so try it with this quick recipe from Cookie and Kate. If you’d like to add a little protein, toss some shredded rotisserie chicken on top.

  • 1 batch easy whole wheat pizza dough or 1 pound store-bought dough
  • ⅔ cup marinara sauce or 1 (32-ounce) can whole tomatoes, drained and crushed with your hands
  • ½ teaspoon dried oregano
  • 2 cups shredded low-moisture, part-skim mozzarella cheese
  • ½ cup thinly sliced roasted red bell pepper
  • ½ cup quartered marinated artichoke hearts, halved
  • 15 pitted Kalamata olives, halved
  • ½ cup crumbled feta cheese

Optional garnishes
  • Torn fresh basil
  • Red pepper flakes

Preheat oven to 500 degrees Fahrenheit and arrange rack in upper-third position. Add a pizza stone to rack, if using.

Divide dough in half and roll each portion into an 11-inch circle on a lightly floured surface. Top dough rounds with sauce or crushed tomatoes, then top with oregano. Evenly divide mozzarella, red peppers, artichokes, olives, and feta between two crusts.

Bake pizzas, one at a time, until crust is crisp and cheese is bubbling, about 12 minutes in a regular oven, less if you’re using a stone. Transfer to a cutting board and top with basil and red pepper flakes. Slice and serve.

7. The Ultimate Meat Lover’s Pizza

Most meat lover’s pizzas really don’t live up to the name, featuring only a stingy sprinkling of protein. For true carnivores, a homemade version is definitely the way to go. With bacon, ground beef, Italian sausage, pepperoni, and ham, this version from i am a food blog more than delivers on the promise of meat. And with a total cook time of 30 minutes, it can be yours tonight.

  • 1 ball no-knead pizza dough or store-bought dough
  • ⅓ to ½ cup pizza sauce
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 to 1½ cups shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 8 to 10 slices pepperoni
  • 1 to 2 slices ham, cut into small squares
  • 2 slices bacon, cooked and cut into small pieces
  • 1 spicy Italian sausage link, removed from casing and cooked
  • ½ cup cooked ground beef
  • Grated Parmesan cheese
  • Red pepper flakes

Arrange rack in middle position and preheat oven as hot as it will go, usually 500 to 550 degrees Fahrenheit.

Lightly grease a cast-iron skillet and dust with cornmeal. Alternatively, grease and dust a baking sheet. Shape dough into a thin round and transfer to pan or baking sheet. Spread sauce over top. Top with garlic, mozzarella, pepperoni, ham, bacon, sausage, beef, and Parmesan.

Transfer to oven and bake until crust is crisp and cheese is bubbling, about 12 to 15 minutes. Serve with red pepper flakes.

Enjoy your fresh from the oven home-made pizzas in 30 minutes or less.

Bon Appétit...

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Wednesday, March 22, 2017

6 Protein-Packed Salads That Will Actually Fill You Up

Courtesy of Emily Coyle
Culture CheatSheet

Hi Friends,

Many consumers want to eat healthy, but healthy sometimes translates to hungry, and no one wants to be hangry (hungry plus angry). That’s where hearty salads come in. Doctored with protein-packed ingredients and toppings, the carnivore-friendly salads we’re highlighting today are lean, green, and if prepared with pre-cooked meat, can even be made without turning on your oven. Pick one of these nutritious recipes and you’ll be amazed at how satisfying well-made salads really can be.

Up first is a formula from Martha Stewart for a Chef’s Salad with Turkey, Avocado, and Jack Cheese. Thanks to the protein from the pre-cooked turkey and the healthy fats from the avocado, this salad will fill you up, and it’s far from tasteless thanks to the addition of cheese, carrots, radishes, and a buttermilk-based dressing you can make completely by yourself. Whether you enjoy the greens for lunch or dinner, you’re guaranteed to enjoy the hearty yet healthy meal, and you’ll remember once again that nutritious can be delicious.

  • ⅓ cup low-fat buttermilk
  • ⅓ cup reduced-fat sour cream
  • 2 tablespoons cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • Coarse salt and ground pepper
  • 1 large head Boston lettuce
  • 1 pound sliced roasted turkey breast, torn into pieces
  • 1 avocado, pitted and sliced
  • 1 cup alfalfa sprouts or pea shoots
  • 6 radishes, halved and thinly sliced
  • 4 carrots, cut into matchsticks
  • 4 ounces Monterey Jack cheese, cut into strips (1 cup)

In a small bowl, combine buttermilk, sour cream, vinegar, and honey; season with salt and pepper. Set dressing aside. Divide lettuce among four serving plates; top with turkey, avocado, sprouts, radishes, carrots, and cheese. Drizzle with dressing, and serve.

2. Smoky Ham and Corn Salad

Try this Smoky Ham and Corn Salad from Eating Well. Once again, you can prepare this dinner salad without turning on the oven as long as you plan ahead and pick up fresh diced ham at the store. Accompanying your ham on the bed of greens is a mixture of fresh corn, crunchy croutons, crisp tomatoes, and a light dressing. We told you greenery really can be delicious.

  • ⅓ cup reduced-fat sour cream
  • 2 tablespoons distilled white vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon paprika, preferably smoked
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 8 cups trimmed frisée, or 8 cups mixed salad greens
  • 1 medium tomato, diced
  • 1 cup fresh corn kernels
  • 1 cup croutons, preferably whole-grain
  • ¾ cup diced ham

Whisk sour cream, vinegar, paprika, and salt in a large bowl. Add frisée (or salad greens), tomato, corn, croutons and ham; toss to coat.

3. Taco Salad

More fun healthy fuel can come in the form of Taco Salad. Try this recipe from Little Spice Jar and see how taco fillings taste just as good on top of a bed of greens as they do in carb-heavy tortillas. Skip the calories from the carbs and instead enjoy the meaty Mexican flavors on their own. You can eat your tacos with a fork while still getting your Mexican fix of beans, beef, avocado, tomatoes, and cheese.

Ground Beef
  • 2 teaspoons canola oil
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 1 packet taco seasoning, homemade or packaged
  • ⅓ cup water
Taco Salad
  • 6 cups shredded romaine lettuce
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 large haas avocado, diced
  • 2 handfuls tortilla chips, crushed up
  • Catalina Dressing, as needed

For the seasoned ground beef: In a large skillet over medium heat, add the oil and sauté the onions for 2 minutes. Add the ground beef and brown. Drain any excess fat. Add the taco seasoning along with the water and let the ground beef simmer for 5 minutes or until all the water has evaporated.

To assemble the taco salad:
In a large bowl, or in individual bowls, toss the romaine lettuce, tomatoes, black beans, cheddar cheese, diced avocado, and tortilla chips. Drizzle with as much or as little of the dressing as desired.

4. Grilled Steak Salad with Tomato Vinaigrette

This next salad recipe from Bon Appétit requires that you turn on the grill, but trust us when we say the end result is well worth it. This Grilled Steak Salad with Tomato Vinaigrette could make a greens convert out of anyone, and it’s all thanks to the help of fresh ingredients, including corn, tomatoes, and lettuce. The perfectly seared steak doesn’t hurt either. Thanks to a punch of protein from the meat, the dish won’t leave anyone hungry.

  • 1 pound hanger, skirt, or flank steak
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt plus more t
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 medium tomato, halved
  • 1 tablespoon minced shallot
  • 1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
  • ¼ cup plus 5 teaspoons olive oil, divided
  • 4 spring onions or 6 scallions, bulbs halved, dark-green parts discarded
  • 5½-inch-thick slices ciabatta
  • 8 cups mixed summer lettuces
  • ¾ cup fresh basil leaves, torn into ½-inch strips

Season steak with 1 teaspoon salt and pepper; set aside. Grate cut sides of tomato on coarse holes of a box grater into a medium bowl down to the skin; discard skin. Add shallot and vinegar; whisk in ¼ cup oil. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Set aside.

Build a medium-hot fire in a charcoal grill, or heat a gas grill to high. Toss spring onions in a medium bowl with 1 teaspoon oil and season with salt and pepper. Grill onions until just tender, 2 to 3 minutes per side. Transfer to a cutting board and cut into 2-inch pieces.

Grill steak until seared and cooked to desired doneness, 3 to 5 minutes per side for medium-rare, depending on steak’s thickness. Transfer to a cutting board. Let rest, about 10 minutes. Meanwhile, make croutons: Brush both sides of bread slices with remaining 4 teaspoons oil and season with salt and pepper. Grill bread until dark golden brown and nicely charred in spots, about 2 minutes per side. Set toast aside until cool enough to handle, then break toast into roughly 1-inch pieces.

Thinly slice steak against the grain. Toss lettuces, basil, spring onions, croutons, and some of the vinaigrette in a large bowl. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Add steak and toss gently to coat. Serve with remaining vinaigrette alongside.

5. Shrimp Cobb Salad

Another protein-packed salad is coming your way from Cooking Light. This recipe for Shrimp Cobb Salad yields a bed of greenery studded with perfectly seasoned shrimp, veggies, and even some bacon pieces. Because what would a cobb salad be without bacon? This salad will come together in 20 minutes or less, and it doesn’t require the use of your oven or grill.

  • 4 slices center-cut bacon
  • 1 pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • ½ teaspoon paprika
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • Cooking spray
  • ¼ teaspoon salt, divided
  • 2½ tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1½ tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon whole-grain Dijon mustard
  • 1 package romaine salad
  • 2 cups cherry tomatoes, quartered
  • 1 cup shredded carrots
  • 1 cup frozen whole-kernel corn, thawed
  • 1 ripe peeled avocado, cut into 8 wedges

Cook bacon in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat until crisp. Remove bacon from pan; cut in half crosswise. Wipe pan clean with paper towels. Increase heat to medium-high. Sprinkle shrimp with paprika and pepper. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add shrimp to pan; cook 2 minutes on each side or until done. Sprinkle with ? teaspoon salt; toss to coat.

While the shrimp cooks, combine remaining ? teaspoon salt, juice, oil, and mustard in a large bowl, stirring with a whisk. Add lettuce; toss to coat.

Arrange about 1 ½ cups lettuce mixture on each of 4 plates. Top each serving with about 6 shrimp, ½ cup tomatoes, ¼ cup carrot, ¼ cup corn, 2 avocado wedges, and 2 bacon pieces.

6. Balsamic Chicken and White Bean Salad

Last but not least is this Balsamic Chicken and White Bean Salad from You’ll be getting your protein fix from your chicken and beans with these greens. In this recipe, balsamic-marinated chicken mixes with cannellini beans, feta, and rocket lettuce to yield a salad that is a fun twist on your usual standbys. The key to keeping salads interesting is continually mixing and matching ingredients, and it’s safe to say that this cool combo is a satiating home run.

  • 1⅓ pounds skinless chicken thigh fillets, trimmed
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 tablespoon whole-grain mustard
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • Olive oil cooking spray
  • 1 can cannellini beans, drained
  • 1¼ cups cherry tomatoes, halved
  • ½ cup low-fat feta cheese, crumbled
  • ⅔ cup rocket leaves
  • 1 lemon, cut into wedges, to serve

Season chicken with salt and pepper. Whisk garlic, mustard, and vinegar in a ceramic dish. Add chicken and turn to coat. Cover and refrigerate for at least 20 minutes.

Preheat a barbecue plate on high heat. Remove chicken from marinade. Lightly spray chicken with oil. Cook for 1 minute each side or until golden. Reduce heat to medium-low. Cook chicken for 6 to 8 minutes each side or until cooked through. Transfer to a plate. Cover and stand for 5 minutes.

Slice chicken. Combine beans, tomato, feta, rocket leaves, and chicken in a large bowl. Toss gently. Spoon onto plates. Season with pepper. Serve with lemon.

Great recipes to fill up on protein without those pesky pounds.

Bon Appétit...

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