Chickpea, Cucumber and Tomato Salad

While its still pretty cold here in Pittsburgh, I am mentally past comfort foods and ready for backyard grilling and parties. I’ve found myself lately dreaming of summer salads. You know the salads that were made for lazy Sunday afternoons on a friend’s deck with a hotdog and beer. So despite the 50 degree rainy day, I made this chickpea, cucumber and tomato salad using fresh chives from my garden. (side note: chives apparently will survive a harsh Pittsburgh winter) The tangy lemon and dijon dressing bring together the fresh flavors perfectly and the feta offers pops of salty goodness.

chickpea salad

Another plus? The heartier ingredients in the salad hold up over time, which makes it a perfect recipe to throw together on Sunday for weekday lunches. I plan to serve this as a side  with grilled chicken and eat the leftovers for lunch at work throughout the week. This is also good stuffed in a pita with some yogurt!

Ingredients:
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon dijon mustard
1 tablespoon chives, finely chopped
1 can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
2 cups tomatoes, chopped
2 cups cucumber, chopped
2 cups kale, chopped
1/2 cup feta cheese, crumbled
1 cup cooked quinoa (about 1/2 cup dry)
sat & pepper to taste

Begin by whisking the lemon juice, olive oil, dijon mustard and chives in the bottom of a large mixing bowl.

Add all remaining ingredients and toss to coat in the dressing. Salt and pepper to taste. Allow the salad sit for at least an hour to let the ingredients soak up the lemon dressing.

Enjoy!

chickpea salad

Oatmeal Banana Bread

Like most toddlers, my son goes through phases of being obsessed with a particular food and then wanting nothing to do with it. These phases can last weeks or just days, which makes it difficult to plan for. But in an effort to keep the peace, I aim to have his usual favorites on standby knowing I’ll end up eating whatever has fallen out of his favor that week. This week he has decided he hates bananas and this left me with a bunch of browning bananas and a craving for banana bread.

What I love about this particular banana bread is that it is hearty enough for breakfast. I have never been one of those women who could eat a croissant, sip a small coffee and be satisfied until lunch. I need real food to hold me over – oatmeal, heavy Greek yogurt, whole wheat toast with nut butters and tons of fruit. And tons of coffee. So I was surprised the first time I made this recipe that the single slice of banana bread with almond butter held me over until lunch. The oatmeal adds a denseness that is satisfying while the yogurt and banana keep the bread soft and moist. I love it with simple almond butter and strawberries but I am guessing this will also make AMAZING french toast.

banana bread

Also, I strongly suggest adding chocolate chips, dried fruit and/or nuts into the batter as well. Anything your family loves! I kept it simple this time as my husband and I disagree on toppings – he prefers jellies or butter and I am all about almond butter and sliced strawberries. So if I keep the bread plain we can go our separate directions.

Ingredients:
1/2 cup Greek yogurt
3 bananas, mashed
1/3 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup oats

Pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees and prep a loaf pan with non-stick spray. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, combine yogurt, mashed bananas and brown sugar until the sugar is dissolved. Whisk in one egg at a time then the vanilla.

In a second bowl, combined all dry ingredients. Slowly add dry ingredients to the banana mixture, stirring until just combined. You would add your mix-ins at this point if you want.

banana bread

Pour the batter in the loaf pan and bake for 45 to 50 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. I tented mine with foil about 30 minutes in to prevent it from getting too dark on top. Full disclosure, I should have tented about five to ten minutes sooner.

banana bread

Let cool for ten minutes in the pan before removing and placing the loaf on a cooling rack to cool completely before packing up to store. I keep this on the counter in an airtight container for about four days, or a bit longer in the fridge.

Enjoy!

Lemon Dill Salmon

Each Friday I plan our dinners and lunches for coming week then shop and prep accordingly. This way there is no last minute debating when we get home from work and our both starving. There is already a meal planned and prepped, making it quick and easy to get dinner on the table in about half an hour. Most of the time this works perfectly but there are some weeks where something sounds great the weekend before but by the time Wednesday or Thursday rolls around I have zero interest. This is why it took so long for this salmon dish to be made. This lemon dill salmon has been on our menu board for the past two weeks and I finally made it last night for dinner. Knowing that I know now, I should have made it days ago it is that good. I just never was in the mood for salmon until yesterday, but luckily the filets were frozen and thaw quickly.

Salmon

The best part of this dish, other than it being amazingly delicious, is the little clean-up that is needed. The entire meal is baked on a single sheet pan. No sautéing, mixing in separate bowls, anything. Just toss on the pan in stages and in about 30 minutes dinner is good to go!  But most importantly the flavor is amazing. The dill and lemon are so fresh and clean lending the perfect Spring flavor to the dish. And really, is there anything better than roasted baby potatoes?! I think not.

And my son ate the salmon. I repeat… my two year old ate his salmon!

Salmon

There is nothing better than roasted potatoes

Ingredients:
3 salmon filets
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
3 tablespoons fresh dill, chopped
1 lemon, juiced
1.5 lbs baby potatoes, cut into similar sizes chunks
1/2 bunch asparagus
Salt & pepper

Pre-heat oven to 425 degrees and prep a large baking sheet with non-stick spray and foil (less clean-up).

Spread potatoes on the baking sheet into one even layer and spray the tops with cooking spray or drizzle with some olive oil. Salt and pepper liberally and bake for 10 minutes.

While the potatoes begin to cook, lay out the salmon filets and dab dry with a paper towel. Pour olive oil over over salmon and top with garlic, dill and the juice of half the lemon. Salt and pepper. After ten minutes toss potatoes in the pan and push them to either side, making room for the salmon. Lay salmon and asparagus on the pan and bake for another 10 to 15 minutes or until the salmon is cooked to your liking.

Salmon

Serve with another squeeze of lemon.

Salmon

Enjoy!