Sensational Salads & Veges

Zucchini Parmesan Fries with Basil Pesto Mayo

Can I admit that these zucchini fries were mildly inspired by Carl’s Jnr’s Zucchini Fries? Should I fess up about that here? On the odd occasion we go to Carl’s, this is always what I get. But they are bad – and the mayo is highly processed (bit yuck) so I thought I’d have a crack at making these for myself, with the king of cheese:  Parmesan. Why add cheese? Well, that’s simple, cheese, in case I haven’t mentioned it is my favourite food – I can’t get enough of it.  Anyhow, back to the fries – so easy, delicious and we scoffed our way through these in front of the rugby, I was disappointed I hadn’t made a bigger batch. Then again, maybe it was just as well I hadn’t…   The addition of a basil pesto dip to accompany the fries is simply stellar.  

Note, if you don’t want to fry these, you can bake ’em. I’ve noted how to do that below the recipe. Enjoy!

zucchini parmesan fries with basil pesto mayo

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Warm Chicken Salad with Ranch Style Dressing

warm chicken salad with ranch style dressingI made this winter appropriate salad for dinner on Saturday night and both my vege-dodging husband and super-fussy friend scoffed this.  In fact, my husband ate so much he complained “I’ve eaten too much” for the rest of the evening. However, this might have something to do with the chocolate fudge self-saucing pudding I made for the kids… That he tucked in to.

When I made this I marinaded the chicken breasts for a couple of hours. That said, I make versions of this salad on week nights and, not being a particularly organised creature, thinking ahead to put the chicken on to marinade is in the too-hard basket. So, as I do when I’m in ‘quick-cook mode’ simply pan fry the chicken sprinkled with some of your favourite seasoning (I love Masterfood’s Tuscan Seasoning, Moroccan Seasoning, or Mrs Dash Garlic & Herb Seasoning).  Actually on that note, this whole recipe, like many of mine that you’ll find on my blog, is very much of the ‘improvise or get creative’ type. No kumara? Use pumpkin. No green beans?  Use capsicum.  No cashew nuts? Use almonds. No bacon? Leave it out.  Lastly, the ingredients look like a lot – I get that. Take some shortcuts if you like, hell buy a pre-made Ranch Dressing to speed things up (Paul Newman’s is a goodie). 

If you do make the dressing though – save the recipe, you’ll want to use it over and over…

Note: Usually I use a special feature on my blog to layout my recipes, but this app I use is misbehaving itself and I’ve admitted defeat for now. So if you are reading the recipe below and moaning at the layout (and lack of a print button) – sorry! I’ll try redoing it next week,b ut for now, my patience has, errr, expired… Lou x

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Zucchini & Tomato Bake

zucchini tomato bakeI used to make this deliciously simple zucchini bake dish all the time but I forgot about it until I was gifted a sh*tload of zucchini last month…I had zucchini coming out the wahzoo. I beavered away in the kitchen making zucchini salad, zucchini chocolate cake, zucchini curry, zucchini fritters (anyone else thinking of Forrest Gump right about now?) when something jolted my memory and a little voice in my head said ‘hang on!’ – what about zucchini/tomato bake? And I’ve made it three times since in the last few weeks, it’s that good.

Note, it might look a tad dry on top, but trust me: Once you cut into it, the moist goodness of the melted zucchini and tomato hits you. I love the crunchy topping as a contrast. Mmmm.

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Bacon, Broccoli and Cauliflower Salad

bacon broccoli and cauliflower saladI’ve been making this delicious salad for years, however it recently got an extreme makeover! My friend Emma sent me her cauliflower and broccoli salad recipe, which is really similar to mine, but it had a few extra ingredients that I just knew would take the recipe to a whole new level.  Emma’s addition of sweetness and vinegar in the creamy mayo dressing, as well as cauliflower a main ingredient, well… Oh yes. See for yourself!

Thanks Emma for the inspiration x

Bacon, Broccoli & Cauliflower Salad Recipe

Salad ingredients
1 head broccoli, cut into small pieces
1/2 head cauliflower, cut into small pieces
8 slices streaky bacon pan fried till cripsy, cooled, then chopped into little pieces
1/2 cup Craisins (you can use raisins or sultanas too)
1/4 cup sliced almonds (you can sub with other nuts)
1/4 cup chopped walnuts (”   “)
3 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds (dry fry them in a frying pan)
½ cup red onion chopped (Top tip: Finely dice the onion, cover it in cold water, drain the water out after five minutes, pat the onion dry with a paper towel. This step takes the acidity out of the onion!)
1 red capscium, finely sliced
2 heaped tablespoons of fresh herbs (you choose, I use any of the following: Flat leaf parsley, basil, mint – use what’s on hand!) – reserve some for ganish!

Dressing
1 cup of my Homemade DIY mayonnaise (click here) – if you don’t fancy making your own mayo, Best Foods or Hellman’s Mayonnaise are your next best options
1 tablespoon cider vinegar (rice wine and standard white vinegar work too!)
1 tablespoon of runny honey

  • Place salad ingredients in a large bowl.
  • Mix all the dressing ingredients together in a separate bowl.
  • Add the dressing ingredients to the salad – mix well. Top the salad with the reserved herbs as a garnish.
  • Chill for half an hour before serving

Couscous with herby feta and pomegranate

I made this yummy and rather festive looking salad over my recent (glorious) summer holiday in Ohope. It would have been gorgeous on the dinner table on Christmas Day – check out those colours!  I actually wanted to make this dish using Israeli couscous but we couldn’t find it anywhere! It didn’t matter a bit, regular couscous worked super well and I’ll definitely be making this again.   Bonus too, as well as being delicious this salad was super easy to prepare.

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Beetroot, Walnut and Feta Salad Recipe

SAMSUNG CSCI put a photo of this salad on Facebook and asked if anyone wanted the recipe – a couple of you waved your hands: So here you go!

Note, in the pics, I hadn’t added the dressing yet: I’ll do that right before I demolish it (I made this ahead of time for my work lunch tomorrow!).  On that note: I have made this salad with a red wine vinaigrette and this orange one: This one is my favourite. There’s something special about the flavour combo of beetroot and orange 🙂

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Thai Beef Salad Recipe

Thai Beef SaladI adore this dish and so do all the blokes I’ve ever cooked it for, it’s definitely a ‘man appropriate salad’ and, if I do say so myself, it’s every bit as good as the salads I scoffed back on holiday in Thailand last year.

Generally I’m a massive fan of clean fresh Asian flavours, if you hadn’t gathered that already (there’s a few Asian recipes on this blog). The weather warmed up here in the Hawke’s Bay recently: Warm enough to get outside and fire up the BBQ to cook the steak! (more…)

Kale Chips (where have I been?)

kale chips recipeI was a kale virgin until recently – I kept hearing about this superfood (mainly on my Facebook newsfeed from all the Paleo/Cleaning eating sites that I admire).   When I saw some in my local green grocers for the grand total of $2, I thought I’d give kale a whirl. “How do you like to eat kale?” I asked my local Asian greengrocer. “As chips” he replied and he talked me through how to make them. “I’m into this”, I thought and I busted it out for dinner. YUMMM!  Crunchy, delicious, healthy goodness. A new favourite food!  We’ve had them three times in the last couple of weeks.

As an aside, it turns out I’m a late bloomer… Kale Chips have been on trend for years with Hollywood folk (probably as kale is a nature super-food and jam packed full of nutrients) and, more recently they’ve been applauded by clean eaters and paleo lovers. Where have I been? It’s a bit like when you get a new car, a model you haven’t heard before, then after you’ve been driving in it for five minutes you realise every other sod has one.   Anyhow, I figure if I’m a kale virgin, you might be too, hence this post and, clearly if my local green grocers’ kale chip recipe has made it as a blog post, I’m a fan! So, if you are looking to get more greenery in your diet, or want low calorie meal ideas, or you were a fan of my roast cabbage recipe, get cracking with cooking kale chips, coz kale chips are every bit as good as roast cabbage. (more…)