Posts tagged spinach

Flank steak spinach salad

Lean, flat flank steak is a quick-cooking meat that’s perfect for weekday dinners or jazzed up with fixins’ for weekend meals.

This recipe takes a little planning ahead: you rub a flavorful paste into the meat the night before you plan on grilling. (I usually make two at the same time—one for dinner that night, one for leftovers for a meal the next). Don’t be put off by the rub’s main ingredient. The mustard base (note: DIJON, regular mustard won’t work) brings together several marinade musts, including vinegar and other acidic ingredients so you don’t have to hunt down each one. They’re in there. I add in a few of my favorite seasonings like garlic and paprika, but if you have a good smoky seasoning mix you like, toss some of that in too.

You’ll notice I upped the pepper in here. Most of the pepper’s spicy edge is burnt off during grilling, it’s the tanginess that’s left over. But, you’ll need to use freshly ground pepper versus the finely ground variety you’ll find in most shakers. Don’t have a pepper shaker? They aren’t much more expensive than the regular variety and it really does make a difference. Plus, unlike some spices, you’ll use pepper all the time.

As with most meats hot off the grill, this one is better if you wait about 5 minutes before cutting. A little patience gives the meat time to soak up all those marinade ingredients you worked to rub in. Flank steak works well with many meals, fajitas come to mind, but I like serving it with a simple spinach salad.

Recipe

Mmmmm...flank steak

Prep time: 15 minutes + marinating + grilling

Servings: 4-6

Ingredients

1 pound flank steak

Wet rub

1 1/2 tablespoons Dijon mustard

½ teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

½ teaspoon paprika

½ teaspoon garlic powder

½-1 teaspoon fresh ground pepper

¼ teaspoon cayenne powder

Soy sauce

Agave syrup or honey

Salad

1 bag baby spinach

1 tomato, sliced

Parmesan cheese

green onions

Balsamic vinegar

fresh basil (optional)

Directions

  1. Stir wet rub ingredients together to form a paste.
  2. Rub the paste into the flank steak using your fingers.
  3. Place in a large plastic bag overnight.
  4. Remove flank steak from the bag about 30 minutes to an hour before grilling.
  5. Bring grill to high heat and place the meat on the rack.
  6. Grill for 5-7 minutes on each side.
  7. Optional, but REALLY good—in the final 1-2 minutes cooking on each side brush generously with a combo of equal parts soy sauce and agave or honey (called a finishing sauce). If you don’t use the finishing sauce, make sure to sprinkle with salt at the end of cooking.
  8. Allow meat to cool for 5 minutes before cutting to retain juices.
  9. On each plate place a generous serving of spinach, followed by tomato slices. Place several pieces of steak on top followed by a drizzling of Balsamic vinegar then green onions, Parmesan cheese and bits of fresh basil.
Digg This
Reddit This
Stumble Now!
Buzz This
Vote on DZone
Share on Facebook
Bookmark this on Delicious
Kick It on DotNetKicks.com
Shout it
Share on LinkedIn
Bookmark this on Technorati
Post on Twitter
Google Buzz (aka. Google Reader)

Harry Potter’s polyjuice potion

It’s polyjuice potion time! What’s great about this magical concoction is…get this..it can be any color you want. Yup, before putting together my brew I checked on Harry Potter wikia and the color of the juice changes based on the person you want to become (dutiful HP readers would remember this). Gregory Goyle and Bellatrix Lestrange? Gross color, worse flavor. Mafalda Hopkirk (remember from the Ministry of Magic) was much more appealing. And Harry Potter‘s? Pure gold, of course.

So when it comes to crafting your version, have fun with the flavor and color. But I do have a few tips on making it taste fizzy and appear out of the ordinary. Pull out your caldron (that would be blender for us muggles) and start mixing.

1)1:1 juice to crushed ice ratio

Photo credit: Harry Potter wikia

I used grape juice to give the drink a bit of sourness. And instead of ice cubes, I chose crushed ice so that I didn’t have to blend it all the way. To me, polyjuice potion should be a bit crunchy instead of smooth so I pulsed 3 cups grape juice plus 3 cups crushed ice briefly.

2)Add yogurt

I added one container of berry yogurt to give the potion some creaminess and thickness. (You can use as much yogurt as you want just make sure only to pulse and not purify your concoction.)

3)Pop in berries–and spinach

My kids love smoothies so I wanted to make this one unique. Again, I thought having bits of various ingredients would make the drink feel more Harry Potteresque instead of smoothy-ish. I added 3/4 cup blueberries and 1/2 baby spinach and barely blended it so that the chunks of dark green and purple stood out. Finally, in the bottom of each glass I put in three blackberries so that when my kids were slurping up the last bits they’d find something unexpected.

Blueberries and spinach ready to be pulsed

4)Omit hair & lacewing flies

Yes, real polyjuice potion has the person’s hair in it that you want to turn into–along with some other ingredients I didn’t have on hand:), but I decided to forgo this step and instead sit back with my kids and watch Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince while downing our potion.

Your turn–what flavors would you put in your polyjuice potion? And what Harry Potter character would you most like to be?

Digg This
Reddit This
Stumble Now!
Buzz This
Vote on DZone
Share on Facebook
Bookmark this on Delicious
Kick It on DotNetKicks.com
Shout it
Share on LinkedIn
Bookmark this on Technorati
Post on Twitter
Google Buzz (aka. Google Reader)

Fun veggie garnishes

Yes, these are little flowers made out of carrots, zucchini, green onions and bean sprouts. While I’d love to say that this was all a terribly creative tactic to get my kids to eat healthier, well, it’s not really. I just think it’s fun. My kids do too.

But hey, that’s not to say they don’t enjoy eating their greens just a little bit more because they look even more appealing. You want to give it a try too–don’t you?

Here are some of my favorite plate dress-ups featuring an assortment of greens:

Green onion flowers:

Using the end of the green onion stem, cut in straight from the end to about one-inch. Work in a circle to make several of these slits. Press the cut ends onto a flat surface so that they spread apart.

Carrot & zucchini flowers:

I have mini cookie cutters for making Linzer cookies that I’ve found also work to make veggie shapes. Press carrots, zucchinis, cucumbers, even green peppers or other sturdy, relatively flat veggies into different shapes. Even if you don’t have mini-cookie cutters as long as you have a big enough veggie slices you can create whatever shape you want (I have a tree shape for Christmas, a heart for Valentine’s Day and even a cactus for Southwestern meals).

Spinach backgrounds:

Chicken Parmesan topped with pesto, cream & spinach, veggie flowers

Make those flowers even more dramatic on the plate by adding a dark spinach leaf as a background. My kids don’t even ask what the decorations are made of anymore–they just smile and eat ‘em up.

Check out more ideas on how to get your kids eating more veggies and other health foods through games, tips and other tricks on Motherboard.

Your turn–are you a veggie decorator? Or do you have ways you decorate your plate (well, and your kids’) with a few greens?

Digg This
Reddit This
Stumble Now!
Buzz This
Vote on DZone
Share on Facebook
Bookmark this on Delicious
Kick It on DotNetKicks.com
Shout it
Share on LinkedIn
Bookmark this on Technorati
Post on Twitter
Google Buzz (aka. Google Reader)

Spinach-Blueberry Brownies

Spinach-Blueberry Brownies

Ingredients
6 tbsp Unsalted Butter
¾ cup Semi Sweet Chocolate Chips
2 Eggs
2 tsp Vanilla
½ Cup Sugar
½ Cup Purple Puree (see below for recipe)
¼ Cup Flour Blend (see below for recipe)
¼ Cup Rolled Oats, Ground
1 Tbsp Cocoa Powder

Directions

  1. Melt the butter and chocolate chip together and set aside.
  2. In a mixer, mix together eggs, vanilla, sugar, and purple puree and slowly add in the chocolate mixture.
  3. Add the flour blend, rolled oats, and cocoa powder in a separate bowl and add to the liquid mixture. Mix until well combined.
  4. Spray an 8×8 square baking pan and place brownie mixture into the pan. Bake for 25-35 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean in a 350 degree oven.
  5. Cool and serve

Flour Blend: 1 cup All Purpose Flour, 1 cup Whole Wheat Flour, 1 cup Wheat Germ

Purple Puree: 4 cups cooked spinach (drained) 2 cups blueberries (fresh or frozen), ½ tsp lemon juice and 1 tsp water. Combine all the ingredients and place in a food processor and puree until smooth

Digg This
Reddit This
Stumble Now!
Buzz This
Vote on DZone
Share on Facebook
Bookmark this on Delicious
Kick It on DotNetKicks.com
Shout it
Share on LinkedIn
Bookmark this on Technorati
Post on Twitter
Google Buzz (aka. Google Reader)