Successful Salad-Making at the Drop of a … Paper Towel?
I don’t usually post recipes here … I do have some favorite ones on my website and on Pinterest at Dietitian Jill Place … but I ended up finding a revelation there in one of my suggested pins. I’ve always told my clients that they should make one meal a day a salad meal. But doing them is so messy and time-consuming. And I’m one of those people who’s always running out of the house five minutes late … a hastily-made gluten-free sandwich tucked gingerly in my consulting go-bag … that it’s never been an option before.
The pin was entitled “How to Eat Salad Every Day and Like It!” … you can find the whole article it was attached to by clicking here. There’s even a video and lots of chopping. Because of it … last week …. I DID eat salad every day. But I didn’t chop, spend lots of time, or stress … here’s what I did …
STEP ONE: Buy a bagged salad of your choice.
STEP TWO: Get what I call “fixin’s” at your local salad bar. These are everything that AREN’T greens, like tomatoes, cucumber, peppers, beans, grains, corn, olives … yadda, yadda.
STEP THREE: Buy matching plastic containers … the article recommends six-cup ones but I purchased three-cup instead … ideal for a lunchtime salad … RED ones to match my kitchen.
STEP FOUR: Add the greens and fixin’s to half to two-thirds of the container.
STEP FIVE: THE KEY TO THE WHOLE THING … put a folded-up paper towel on top of the greens and fixin’s, put a top on it, turn it upside down, and put it in the fridge. The paper towel absorbs moisture and keeps the greens crisp … I hate soggy, wilty ones and that’s probably why I haven’t put a salad-a-day regime into my life until now.
STEP SIX: Eatin’ day … take out one of the containers, turn it over, replace the soggy paper towel, tear of a sheet of plastic wrap, and cradle it into the top part of the container. Then fill the plastic with bits of protein … chicken, fish, beef, eggs, cheeses … and other things like avocado, cut-up fruit … whatever floats your tub … and wrap the plastic around it. Check out the above-mentioned article for lots of other ideas.
STEP SEVEN: ALSO A BIG DEAL (and something I learned from the article) … add some crunchies in a plastic snack bag … like Fritos, croutons, or tortilla chips (I chose blue corn chips and pea snacks), zip it up, and tuck that into the container too. Final tuck … a little container of dressing. Seal the whole thing up and go. Then, when it’s time to eat, take out the meat, crunchies, and dressing, remove the paper towel, unwrap and dump the rest of the things back in, mix them all up, and enjoy!
Today, I’m chopping (yes … I do that sometimes … with my very old Hinckels butcher knife …. they were the best and aren’t made anymore) up some ham, throwing in some large-grated cheddar and blue cheese crumbles with pea snacks for the crunchies, and including a cup of blue cheese dressing for a killer chef salad. It took five minutes and is something I’m totally looking forward to.
But here’s what I did last week … this is even MORE killer. I love, love, LOVE tostadas. So here’s my own carry-to version … the only chopping required was cubing up some avocado into that pulled-off plastic. Add to that some grated cheese, my blue corn chips, and this vegetarian version of one of my fave icebox fillers that I use as the base for many dishes, including tostadas, enchiladas, and chile rellenos (yes … I’m a Mexican food freak!) I couldn’t believe how amazing this tasted … even better than the meaty one.
SPICED MEAT FILLING
1 package Beyond Meat Feisty Beef Crumbles (or ¾ cup ground beef or ½ cup ground beef and ¼ cup ground pork)
1 Tbsp oil of choice
½ cup chopped fennel bulb (or onion … I use fennel as I’m onion-sensitive)
1 clove garlic, minced
1 fresh or canned jalapeno pepper, stemmed, seeded, and minced
1 tsp palm (or brown) sugar
1 tsp chili powder
¼ tsp salt
¼ tsp dried oregano
¼ tsp ground cumin
¼ tsp ground cinnamon
½ cup canned, diced tomatoes
1 Tbsp cider vinegar
Saute fennel (onion), garlic, and pepper in oil and cook until tender over medium-low heat, 3-5 minutes (if using meat, brown first in oil, reduce heat … add onion, garlic, and pepper and cook 3-5 minutes, then spoon off pan drippings). Add remaining ingredients and Beyond Meat … simmer, stirring occasionally, for 15 minutes.
Any other salad-making ideas … please comment below. And I’d love to find out how all this worked for you. Sometimes it’s just a matter of figuring out how best to bring something about before you can make it happen. My thanks to Mary Younkin, the creator of barefeetinthekitchen.com, for making this happen for me.
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How do you put more veggies in your life? What do you think of this idea?