Recipe: Dinner Salad

The sauteed rice in this salad adds a buttery, chewy crunch that delights the taste buds.

Salads are remarkably quick and simple to make, and if you think of them as a canvas, on which you add all sorts of elements — in this case, rice, chicken, and sesame seeds — you wind up with a piece of art that you eat.

And when you think, “salad,” think beyond just lettuce, to greens of all sorts. I incorporated kale in this recipe, and its aggressive, slightly peppery taste adds depth and interest. It also adds nutrition: one of the “superfoods” that also happens to be fashionable, kale is full of vitamins and fiber, and according to whfoods.org, it provides comprehensive support for the body’s detoxification system.

When the produce you eat is grown in healthy soil, without artificial chemicals or sprays, you might find it easier to eat, because it tastes better. If you haven’t already, cultivate an attitude of celebrating all of the food you eat, as opposed to getting the vegetable out of the way so that you can enjoy the rest of the meal.

Dinner Salad: Makes three dinner salads or four smaller side salads

Ingredients:

1 head Buttercrunch, Red Sail, or other decent, organic leaf lettuce (from Deer Pond Gardens if you’re in the Dayton, WA area)

4 ounces Kale

2-4 boneless skinless chicken thighs (or breasts, if that’s what you’ve got; or leftover cooked chicken. I used the smaller number of thighs because we eat less meat to stretch the grocery budget, but feel free to add more if you like a lot of meat)

1 cup leftover rice (mine was brown)

2 Tablespoons butter

1/2 cup chopped green onion

3 Tablespoons sesame seeds

Easy, EASY Salad Dressing

In a small, covered saucepan, cook the chicken over medium heat until it’s done.

Melt the butter in a skillet and fry the rice in it until hot. I fried mine until it was slightly crispy.

Slice the lettuce and kale into ribbons and arrange on plates. Sprinkle the onions atop. Once the chicken is done and the rice is hot, chop up the chicken into small, bite-sized pieces and sprinkle over the onions. Top with rice and sesame seeds.

For a variation on the dressing, replace half of the lemon juice in the Easy, EASY Salad Dressing recipe with the chicken broth. If you have fresh sage leafs on hand, chop up six and add to the dressing; if you’re using the immersion blender, it will frappe the leaves for you; if you’re whisking the dressing together by hand, mince the leaves before you whisk them in.

Bon Appetit.

This is a good time to mention that cooking for yourself, if it’s not something you already to, is a good thing to learn, not only because you eat better, but because you save money. For more on saving money, check out the book, Live Happily on Less — there’s an image of it on the right menu bar, and clicking on the image will take you to its Amazon page where you can peek inside the book.

Child of Eden by Steve Henderson. Original oil on panel available at Steve Henderson Fine Art. Licensed open edition print at iCanvasART.

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Recipe: Easy, EASY Salad Dressing

The flavors of this dressing blend with just about anything you want to put into a salad.

This extremely simple salad dressing consists of three ingredients, and is so simple that you’ll find yourself saying, “Bless that Deer Pond Gardens” place! This simple salad dressing is really, really, easy. What makes it even easier is the use of stick, or immersion blender, but if you just have a fork and good wrist, you can whisk briskly and emulsify the oil with the lemon juice. You know, it takes me more time to talk about this recipe than it will for you to make it. Dress it gently over fresh salad greens — if you’re in the Dayton, WA, area, pick up those greens from Deer Pond Gardens at the Saturday Farmer’s Market or at Deer Pond Gardens (see our About section).

Using an immersion blender — I’ve tilted the container so you can see better; generally, I keep the container flat. Make sure to unplug the blender the moment you’re not using it. The blades are sharp.

Easy EASY Salad Dressing — makes 2/3 cup Ingredients:

1/3 cup lemon juice

1/3 cup olive oil

3 Tablespoons Sugar (use less, or more, depending upon how much sour kick you want in your salad dressing)

In a mixable container, pour in lemon juice and olive oil, add sugar. Blend with immersion blender until creamy and emulsified, or whisk together with a fork until blended. That’s it. See you at the Farmer’s Market.

Three Horses, original oil painting on canvas panel by Steve Henderson of Steve Henderson Fine Art.

Three Horses, original oil painting on canvas panel by Steve Henderson of Steve Henderson Fine Art.

This article is linked to Five Little Chefs, a Life in Balance, All Things with a Purpose, A Handful of Everything, Coco and Cocoa, Celebrate EverydaySweet Bella Roos, Think Tank Thursday, The Mom Club, Buns in My Oven, Whimsy Wednesdays, Inspire Me Wednesdays, Mostly Homemade Mom, Flusters Creative Muster Link Party, Sew Much Ado, A Little Bird Told Me, Kitchen Meets Girl, Life with the Crust Cut Off, Creative Geekery Thrifty Treasury Naptime is My Time, Hungry HypoCleverly Simple, Kitchen fun with my three sonsFrugal FamilyWhipperberrySomewhat Simple, Lets get real, Mostly FoodLove Bakes Good CakesFood Renegade, Inspire Me Monday, Mopping the Floornatural living mondayCrafty Home Blog Hop

Recipe: Hot Steak Sandwich with Organic Lettuce Sexily Draped Atop

Fast, delicious, reasonably nutritious, and fun, these sandwiches are an innovative way to use lettuce fresh, organic lettuce.

When we say the word “lettuce” we mentally add the word “salad” afterwards, but lettuce is more versatile than we think.

This fun, quick sandwich — healthy fast food — is great for lunch or dinner. The lettuce is added at the end, as a festive garnish — lightly sauteed in the pan that we seared the steak in. This gentle wilting imparts flavor and impact, and is a great way to add greens to the diet of even the most stalwart steak and potato fan.

Look for organic lettuce — if you’re in the Dayton, WA area check out Deer Pond Gardens at the Saturday Farmer’s Market, 9-1 at the Depot or contact us via Facebook — https://www.facebook.com/DeerPondGarden.

Hot Steak Sandwich, etc.Serves 4 as lunch, or a light dinner

Ingredients:

Saute the steak strips in the hot oil until cooked through.

8 thick slices of French bread

1 to 1.5 pounds steak (I used round steak; use more meat if you like a lot of meat; use less meat if you’re cheap and want to save money)

3 Tablespoons oil

1 head lettuce (NOT iceberg. I used organic, Baby Bib lettuce grown at Deer Pond Gardens) Wash the lettuce and remove 30-45 leaves

Ingredients for gravy:

4 Tablespoons butter

4 Tablespoons flour (whole wheat is fine; it doesn’t have to be white)

Wilt the lettuce by briefly tossing it in the hot oil that you cooked the steak in.

1 Tablespoon Better Than Beef Bouillon or equivalent to flavor (I get mine at Costco)

1 1/2 cups water

Make the gravy first by melting the butter and stirring in the flour — the mixture should be thick but not dry. To add more flavor, stir the mixture over medium heat for 3-7 minutes until quite brown; this gives the final gravy a toasty taste. Mix the bouillon with the water and whisk into the flour/butter mixture until smooth. Cook over medium heat until thickened, cover, and set aside.

Divide the meat evenly over the bread pieces, and spoon the gravy atop.

Slice the beef into 1/4 inch strips. Heat the oil over medium high heat until hot; add the beef strips and stir briskly until they are cooked through. Remove the beef and keep warm.

While the pan is still hot, toss in the lettuce leaves and stir briskly until they are wilted (about a minute).

Place two slices of bread on each plate. (If you wish, you may toast and/or butter the slices.) Divide the meat evenly over the eight total slices; pour gravy atop; and drape the wilted lettuce over the gravy.

Good food doesn’t have to be complicated, but it does need to be composed of decent ingredients. If you are in the Dayton, WA area, join Deer Pond Gardens Saturdays, beginning May 24, at the Farmer’s Market at Dayton Depot courtyard. If you live too far away, seek out a Farmer’s Market in your area a support a market gardener producing fresh, spray-free, chemical-free vegetables and fruits.

Join us on Facebook to keep up with what’s “growing on” at Deer Pond Gardens.

Field of Dreams, original oil painting by Steve Henderson, 36 x 30 on canvas, at Steve Henderson Fine Art.

Field of Dreams, original oil painting by Steve Henderson, 36 x 30 on canvas, at Steve Henderson Fine Art.

This article is linked to Five Little Chefs, a Life in Balance, All Things with a Purpose, A Handful of Everything, Coco and CocoaSweet Bella Roos, The Mom ClubBuns in My OvenWhimsy WednesdaysInspire Me WednesdaysMostly Homemade Mom, Flusters Creative Muster Link Party, Sew Much Ado. A Little Bird Told Me, Kitchen Meets Girl, Life with the Crust Cut Off, Thrifty T Treasure, Creative Geekery, Naptime is My TimeHungry Hypo, Cleverly Simple, Kitchen fun with my three sons, Frugal Family, Whipperberry, Somewhat Simple, Lets get real, Mostly Food, Love Bakes Good Cakes, Food RenegadeInspire Me MondayMopping the Floor, natural living monday, Crafty Home Blog Hop,