Saturday, April 6, 2013

Protein-Packed Salads

One of my favorite meals when I'm looking to eat lighter is a protein packed salad with lots of veggies. This week, I made my version of a salad recipe that the Hy-Vee dietitians recommended using our new Angus beef. The beef is naturally aged, so it's naturally tender (and very tasty).


Peppered Steak Salad with Balsamic-Parmesan Dressing

Serves 4

1 lb. Angus beef top-sirloin steak
1 bag salad greens (any variety)
2 hard boiled eggs, chopped
1/2 lb. cherry tomatoes, halved
1 cup seasoned croutons

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese
Salt and pepper, to taste

1. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Season Angus beef steaks with salt and pepper and place in the skillet. Cook 3-4 minutes per side (for medium rare). Transfer to a cutting board to rest.

2. Dice the steak into small cubes.

3. Place the salad greens in a large bowl.

4. Top with steak, cherry tomatoes, hard cooked eggs and croutons.

5. Top with dressing and toss to combine. Serve cold or at room temperature.

This next recipe was one of my childhood favorites. The combination of crunchy noodles and toasted almonds with the tender chunks of chicken is the perfect bite. This is a really good salad for lunch and if you have leftovers (not likely!) it is also delicious the next day.

Chinese Chicken Salad

Serves 4

1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breast
2 tablespoons ground ginger
1 package ramen noodles (discard seasoning packet)
1/2 cup slivered almonds
1/2 cup sesame seeds
1 bunch green onions, chopped
2 heads romaine lettuce, chopped
1 cup shredded carrots (optional - I added it for color and crunch)

4 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
4 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/2 cup canola oil

1. Cover chicken with water in a large pot and add the ground ginger. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Cook chicken for 20 minutes (or until no longer pink in the middle). Transfer to a cutting board to rest.

2. Place almonds and sesame seeds on a baking sheet. Bake at 350 for 5 minutes or until toasted.

3. Smash the ramen noodles into small pieces. Heat 1/4 cup canola oil in a skillet and fry the noodles over medium heat until browned.

4. In a small saucepan, heat the vinegar, sugar, salt and pepper until boiling. Remove from heat and add the canola oil.

5. Combine all the salad ingredients and the warm salad dressing in a large mixing bowl. Top with shredded carrot (if desired) and serve.

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