Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Strawberry salad with lemon Dijon vinaigrette

A lot of people prefer “lighter” meals in the summer, but they don’t want to feel hungry a few hours later! So I’m sharing ideas to transform your wimpy side salad into a hearty dinner salad.

Salads are a great way to use fresh, local ingredients, and they make a great base for whatever you’re grilling.

There are no rules to building a dinner salad, but there are certain key elements every good dinner salad should contain.

Those elements are greens, protein, fruit, nuts, and cheese.

Another key to building the perfect salad is using ingredients that are in season. That’s what is going to help it taste the best. Fortunately, summer is the best time to do that in Indiana as we approach a season where most produce is readily available.

If you’re worried about the amount of time it takes to prep the ingredients for salad, you can always buy pre-cut ingredients or use rotisserie chicken as a shortcut.

The last thing I want to emphasize before I discuss this particular recipe is salad dressing. I think the biggest misconception about salad dressings is fat makes you fat. NOT TRUE! Fat slows the digestion process, and it’s great for heart health and glowing skin. That’s why you don’t need a fat-free dressing.

BUT you should avoid dressings high in saturated fat and added sugar. Pay close attention to that when you’re looking at the label.

When time allows, make your own salad dressing. That way you can control everything that goes into it. It also tastes a lot better!

Now, onto this strawberry salad! Here’s the breakdown if the ingredients I used:

Greens: Spinach—it is packed with iron and fiber, among other macronutrients. It’s also currently in season in Indiana.

Protein: Grilled chicken breast—salads are versatile enough that you can incorporate anything you grill with them. I also added bacon because bacon makes everything better.

Fruit: Strawberries—they’re currently in season in Indiana!

Nuts: Pecans—they provide a crunch like croutons, but they contain important nutrients like manganese which is important for helping your metabolism properly function.

Cheese: Goat cheese—it’s a little bit lower in fat than other cheeses , and it has a tangy taste which pairs well with the sweetness of the strawberries.

Miscellaneous: Pickled onions—Not as sharp of a taste as raw onions, and they’re easier to eat, in my opinion. Also, red onions are important for your immune and digestive systems.

Strawberry salad with lemon Dijon vinaigrette
Serves about 4 people
For the salad
  • 6 cups baby spinach
  • 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts (about 8 ounces)
  • 4 pieces of bacon, cooked and crumbled
  • 1 cup strawberries, sliced
  • 1/2 cup pecans, chopped
  • 1/4 cup goat cheese, crumbled
  • 1/2 cup pickled onions
For the pickled onions
  • 1 medium onion, sliced very thin
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 Tablespoon honey
  • 2 teaspoons salt
For the lemon Dijon vinaigrette dressing
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 Tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
For the pickled onions
  1. Place onion in mason jar or another bowl with lid.
  2. Warm water for 2 minutes in microwave or on stove. Add vinegar, honey, and salt, and whish until it looks uniform. Pour over onion. Cover and refrigerate until you’re ready to serve. They’ll stay good for up to 3 weeks.
For the salad
  1. In a large bowl, toss all of the ingredients together.
For the lemon Dijon vinaigrette
  1. Add ingredients to mason jar and shake or whisk together in bowl. Store in the refrigerator for up to 3 weeks.

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Cookout Cookies are perfect for summer

This is a sponsored post by Challenge butter, but the text and opinions are all mine. Thank you for supporting brands that make Kylee's Kitchen possible!

I will always love themed treats, and I’ve made some pretty fun ones in the past for the Indy 500 / Memorial Day weekend. This year is no exception! I wanted to celebrate the official start of grilling season by making cute little grills.

There are multiple steps to this, but nothing is too tricky, so stay with me! I started by making the easiest, tastiest chocolate cookies. It’s the same base recipe I use for my hot cocoa cookies. They’re soft, thick, and very chocolatey.

Then I made a batch of classic buttercream with red food coloring. This will act as the flames in the grill.

The third step is the trickiest: I made a picture of a grill grate using the paint program, and I printed it out, making sure it was the same size as the cookies. I then set a piece of wax paper on top and used melted chocolate to draw the design on the wax paper. It will harden after just a few minutes. That’s when you peel it off the wax paper and stick it on top of the frosted cookies.

The last step is the most fun! Use your favorite candies to create shish kebabs to lay on top of the grill.

If I’m being honest, this is not a quick recipe. But sometimes it’s just fun to spend time in the kitchen, and the final result is totally worth it!

Cookout Cookies
For the cookies
For the buttercream frosting
  • 1 cup Challenge butter, softened
  • 4 – 5 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons heavy cream
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • Red food coloring
For the grill grates
  • Melted chocolate
For the shish kebabs
  • Gummy bears, Mike & Ike’s, Hot Tamales, etc. cut into small pieces
For the cookies
  1. In a large bowl, combine dry cake mix, melted butter, and egg.
  2. Add cream cheese and beat until completely incorporated.
  3. Stir in chocolate morsels.
  4. Refrigerate dough for 30 minutes so it’s easier to shape into a ball.
  5. Once dough has been chilled, preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  6. Form dough into 1-inch balls, place on baking sheet, and bake for 8 minutes.
  7. Allow to cool before frosting.
For the buttercream
  1. Beat the butter on medium speed until smooth–about 2 minutes.
  2. Add heavy cream, vanilla, salt, and powdered sugar. Beat on low speed until combined, and then increase mixer to high speed for about 3 minutes.
  3. If frosting isn’t thick enough, add 1/2 cup more powdered sugar. If frosting is too thick, add more heavy cream.
  4. Frost cookies. I always prefer to use a piping bag, but you can just spread it on if you prefer.
For the grill grate
  1. Print out picture of grill grate, and cut piece of wax paper to lay on top of it.
  2. Melt chocolate and add to Ziploc bag. Cut one corner and trace grate design on wax paper.
  3. Let harden and place on frosted cookies.
For the shish kebabs
  1. Place small candy pieces on toothpick and place on top of grill grates.

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