Clean Eats, Recipes

Simple Summer Cucumber Salad

This salad reminds me of summer. It’s a perfect side for burgers or any BBQ as it’s light and refreshing. My Dad always grew a really large garden and come mid-summer, the cucumbers were out of control, so we looked for any possible use for cucumbers. This was my favorite way to use up those fresh cucumbers, my Mom made something similar (though I never saw her measure anything). I’ve added dill for a fresh twist. Plus, it doesn’t get any easier than this and you can’t mess it up. Add extra mayo if you want a thicker base, or less if you want it lighter. If you don’t have red wine vinegar on hand, I’m sure that apple cider vinegar, or some other variety would work as well. Let me know if you try something else that hits the spot!

For your next picnic or family BBQ gathering, whip this up and I promise you won’t have any complaints!

THE WHAT:
¼ cup mayo (your favorite kind will work fine) 
2 Tablespoons red wine vinegar 
1 teaspoon fresh dill (finely diced) 
½ teaspoon fine sea salt 
¼ teaspoon ground pepper 
¼ cup very thinly sliced red onion 
1.2-2 medium cucumbers (deseeded and sliced) 
  1. In a medium sized bowl, whisk the mayo, vinegar, dill, salt, and pepper.
  2. Peal your cucumbers and slice open long ways. Take your knife and score the perimeter of the seeds and scoop out with a spoon or your fingers.
  3. Slice the cucumber into approximately ¼” slices and add to the bowl with the sauce.
  4. Slice a red onion in half (from the stock end) and peal the outer layer. Slice very thin until you have approx. ¼ cup and add to the bowl with the sauce.
  5. Toss the cucumber and onion in the sauce until evenly coated.
  6. Cover and refrigerate 20 minutes to 3 hours to let marinate.Serves 4-6

ENJOY!

cucumber salad (2)

Clean Eats, Recipes

Thai Style Turkey Burger Lettuce Wraps

I’m back! Sorry for the long break. I was cleansing and then I got strep throat and then I went on vacation! The vacation was a much needed break and allowed me to get a few recipes down on paper, so here is the first of them with more to come. I hope to also share some details about our active vacation in a later post. For now,  I hope you enjoy the new recipe!

This recipe is adapted from Gwyneth Paltrow’s Chicken Burgers, Thai Style in her book “It’s All Good”. It’s a great recipe book and it has a few go-to recipes that I make often. I have made a few changes to her recipe but wanted to give her credit for inspiring my modified creation. I have substituted turkey thigh meat for the ground chicken as it holds together better. I’ve also tried to simplify the burger recipe to make it more approachable.

I recommend you try her version as well, but here is mine and I hope you enjoy them in the lettuce wraps. I love lettuce wraps in the summer. The fresh crunch of the lettuce with these spices makes it a great summer dish – much lighter than your traditional burger on a bun. These are also great sliced into a brown rice bowl with similar toppings and some sautéed greens as a side.

I love the addition of the dressing and toppings as described below, but these lettuce wraps have a number of ingredients and steps and I usually prefer to keep my recipes simpler than this. So, here are some ideas on how to simplify my recipe if you don’t have the time:

  • Leave out the quinoa. Or a better option, once a month, make a large batch of quinoa and brown rice and freeze it in quart sized freezer bags. When you need some and don’t have time to prepare it, just thaw a frozen bag and you are set.
  • Buy a jar of roasted peppers so you don’t have to roast your own. You can toss extras on salads and sandwiches.
  • It would be a shame not to use homemade dressing, I think they taste SO much better than store bought, but an option would be to buy an “Asian style” dressing to use instead. I get it, we are all time crunched.
  • And, as mentioned below, you can make these burger patties ahead of time and let them marinate. You might even freeze the raw patties and pull them out as-needed.
  • Or, a better option that I’ve done a number of times: I double the recipe and then freeze the cooked burgers for a super quick week night meal. Grab the frozen burgers and rice or quinoa from the freezer in the morning and put them in the fridge to get them thawing. This helps speed up dinner that night!

Please share any other ideas you have for enjoying these burgers in the comment section. I love to hear new ideas!

THE WHAT:
1 cup cooked quinoa per package directions 
1 large head romaine lettuce (rinsed and dried) 
1 red, yellow or orange bell pepper – sliced in half long ways, de-seeded and rubbed with EVOO and sprinkled with salt, pepper, and garlic salt 

BURGERS
1 lb ground turkey meat (dark thigh meat is best) 
1/4  cup ground flax seed  
2 finely diced scallions (green onions) – green stock included
1 Tablespoon Fish sauce (optional, but adds a great flavor)
1/4 teaspoon sea salt 
1/2 - 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes

DRESSING 
Juice of 1 lime 
2 teaspoons fish sauce 
¼ teaspoon fine sea salt 
½ tsp sesame oil 
2 Tablespoons mild flavored oil like grapeseed oil 
1 Tablespoon honey
 

THE HOW:

  1. Begin preparing the quinoa per package directions. You cook quinoa just like rice (2:1 water to quinoa), and it cooks in only 15 minutes.
  2. In a medium bowl add all of the burger ingredients and squish together by hand to blend well.
  3. Press into 4-5 patties and set on plate. If you have time to let them marinate, stick the patties back in the fridge for 30 minutes (or as long as overnight). It really helps make them more flavorful, but they are good even if you throw them right on the grill.
  4. Place burger patties and the bell pepper halves on a hot grill.
  5. Cook the burgers 7 minutes the first side and approximately 6 minutes the second side.  Check the internal temperature of the burgers if you are unsure, but do your best not to overcook as this will dry them out.
  6. Check the peppers after 5 minutes. Flip and place on a cooler part of the grill if possible.
  7. Pull the peppers off after 5 minutes on the 2nd side. You want them soft and slightly dark, but not burned.
  8. While the burgers and peppers are grilling, add all dressing ingredients to a small bowl and whisk thoroughly. Set aside. (The dressing could be prepped the day before as well.)
  9. Once peppers cool a bit, you can peal the skin (if you like) and slice them long ways.
  10. Slice or cube your avocado.
  11. Once burgers are done, let them rest approx. 5 minutes and then slice into long strips.
  12. Assemble your lettuce wraps:
    • Place two lettuce leaves on a large plate
    • Add approx. ¼ cup of cooked quinoa to the bottom of each leaf
    • Add ½ of the sliced burger to each leaf
    • Add sliced roasted bell pepper and avocado
    • Drizzle each with approx. a Tablespoon of dressing
    • Repeat for each plate

 

Serves 4-5
ENJOY!

lettuce wrap burger_blog (2)

Clean Eats, Recipes

Asian Style Stir Fry w/ Simple Homemade Peanut Sauce

I am a big fan of stir-fry since you can add any veggies you have on hand to a skillet, add a protein, a sauce and ‘wa-la’, you have a meal! Now, sure you can buy plenty of off-the-shelf peanut sauces, but I find that when I end up buying one, using it once and then I don’t get around to using it for a while. Months later find it in the depths of my fridge and end up tossing it – what a waste. I hate wasting food. So, I started making my own since I almost always have the ingredients on hand that I need to whip up my own simple peanut sauce and with way fewer additives and for a lot less money too! Plus, I can use high quality nut butter, or sub in almond butter if I need to keep it peanut free for allergy concerns. People always rave about this one and I can’t tell you how simple and healthy this is! Plus, if you happened to just make the crock pot roasted chicken, this is a great same-week meal to use up some of that chicken you have on hand.

THE WHAT:
STIR-FRY INGREDIENTS
½ box rice noodles (I prefer brown rice, but regular will do just as well)
4-6 boneless skinless chicken thighs
Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO)
Coconut Oil
garlic powder, sea salt & pepper
Small white or yellow onion - chopped
4-5 med sized carrots – sliced (slice all about the same size so they finish cooking
at the same rate)
1 yellow or red bell pepper - chopped
1-2 cups chopped mushrooms (white button or baby bella)
2 handfuls of rough chopped spinach or kale
1 Tablespoon finely chopped ginger
1 clove finely chopped garlic

OPTIONAL INGREDIENTS
Fresh cilantro
Chopped peanuts

SIMPLE PEANUT SAUCE
In small bowl, whisk together the following
2 heaping Tablespoon peanut butter (almond butter could work too)
1 Tablespoon toasted sesame seed oil
3 Tablespoons soy sauce
5 Tablespoons water (basically add water as you whisk to desired thickness)

THE HOW: 

  1. Fill a large pot with water and add 1 teaspoon of sea salt to the water – bring to a boil
  2. Rub the boneless skinless chicken thighs with EVOO
  3. Sprinkle the chicken with garlic powder, sea salt & pepper to taste.
  4. Grill chicken thighs approximately 6-7 minutes on each side until cooked through and they are not pink inside – Don’t overcook and dry it out
    • Alternatively, you could sauté the chicken in a skillet
  5. After letting chicken rest a few minutes, slice chicken and set aside.
  6. In a skillet or wok, add approx 2 Tablespoons of coconut oil or EVOO and sauté chopped onions over medium heat until translucent (3 mins)
  7. Add the sliced carrots and cook 2-3 minutes.
  8. Cook the rice noodles for 4 minutes (or per package instructions).
  9. Add the chopped bell pepper and baby Bella mushrooms along with the ginger and garlic and cook another 4-6 mins (until the peppers are cooked but still crunchy)
  10. When all is cooked, add the chicken and chopped greens and sauté until greens are wilted.
  11. Add your cooked noodles to the wok with cooked veggies and chicken.
    NOTE: You could also throw this mixture over rice if you don’t have any noodles on hand.
  12. Pour the peanut sauce over the mixture in wok and toss all together. Add a little water if its too thick, or let it simmer for a couple of minutes on low to thicken it up to your liking.
    Optional: Top with chopped cilantro and rough chopped peanuts
    Optional: Top with 1-2 scrambled eggs (cooked separately) prior to servingServes 4
    ENJOYAsian Stir Fry_Peanut Sauce BLOG