Super Green Spring Salad

Super Green Spring Salad // Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

It’s spring! And my garden is blooming and booming. I’ve been eating this Super Green Spring Salad every chance I get since all of the ingredients are directly from my garden… delicate lettuce, baby kale, bright broccoli with pretty tiny yellow flowers, crisp sugar peas, mint, chives. This salad is less of a recipe, and more of a throw-together spring green treat!

Super Green Spring Salad // Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

Super Green Spring Salad // Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

But, I should pause and preface this delicious garden post with the fact that I am not a good gardener. Seriously. I’m bad. Plants shrivel at my touch. They tell their other plant friends to run and hide when I decide to buy them. Any success I have at gardening is not my doing. Plants thrive in my garden in spite of me. I just wish I was a good gardener like my grandmother was. She could make anything grow and she could make you think that you could do it too. *sigh*

The first year we moved to Kansas City, I decided that I wanted to BE A GARDENER! (p.s. I said this with both hands on my hips and in a booming voice).  This is a laughable statement because at the time I killed anything in a pot in my house and at one point was scared to even get a pet because I couldn’t even keep a plant alive!

But, dangit, I was going to finally try to grow a garden and feed myself and eat healthy and get dirt in my fingers and sweat and love it and bring bushels of food in at the end of the day and sigh and say “way to go me!”.  So I bought three tomato plants and marched into the backyard of our new rent house with a shovel and a prideful grin on my face.  Like a blind settler deciding on their perfect plot of land, I just shoved my shovel into the hard clay ground next to the fence and dug three holes. That’s it. I just stuck the tomato plants in the ground as if I were planting flowers.  But, despite my ineptitude and lack of reading up on “how to grow tomatoes“, I ended up with some darn good tomatoes that year. Those plants grew over 8 feet tall! I even canned tomato sauce! Yeah. All that from just digging three holes…..and praying like hell and battling thieving squirrels!

Super Green Spring Salad // Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

Basically, I kill any plant that is not in the ground. If it is up to me, all plants would die. However, after I put the plant in the ground, I cross my fingers that mother nature will take over and that she’ll be the true gardener.  I depend on her to water my garden too. I’m not saying that’s the right thing to do…it’s just what I do…as a bad gardener!

Also, as a bad gardener, I don’t weed. I should…but I don’t. I feel like everything should be given a fighting chance.  My husband goes out to my garden and tries to weed things and I freak out. FREAK out. I’m scared that he’s going to pull a baby beet or a baby kale or maybe just a baby, hell I don’t know. “NOOOOO! That’s a blah blah blah and I wanted it there…. yeah. I WANTED that weed.”

Sorry, I’m super protective of my garden… even if it’s a weed box. Back off!

As a bad gardener, I plant things too close together. My husband always tries to correct my eagerness to cram as much as possible into our tiny raised beds. But I tend to say, “Space shmace. If you want to survive, you gotta try harder Mr tomato!!!!”.   This doesn’t always work out….buuuut, I won’t admit that to him.

But this year, six years into BEING A GARDENER, my garden is growing like a REAL garden!  Thank you again, mother nature. I have one of the biggest lettuce crops (which love these cool temps and tons of rain that KC has gotten this spring). I also have gorgeous broccoli heads! Oh and peas! I have snow peas climbing a trellis (actually it’s a defunct hand rain I pulled off my outdoor stairs) and tiny pea pods dangling everywhere! Kale is coming up like a champ! Baby beets are gearing up and their greens are getting taller.  I’m even growing brussels sprouts and cauliflower for the first time. Way to go me! I hope my grandma would be proud. I think she’d also really love this Super Green Spring Salad that I’ve been making from all of my garden goodies!

Super Green Spring Salad // Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

I mention my lack of gardening skills in order to encourage anyone that loves fresh produce but may be scared to begin their own garden because, like me, they are terrible with plants. But don’t be scared. Just go do it!  What do you have to lose? A few bucks on a pack of seeds? You’ll fail, but you will also succeed and learn from those mistakes.  Man, I sure sound like an after school special, don’t I?  Anyways, I love seeing what new things I can grow. Nothing is better to me than walking outside my door to my own farmer’s market!

On this Memorial Day weekend, I encourage you to branch out, dig a whole, plant something.  Plant something in honor of the one’s that you have loved and in their memory.  And then every time you go out to tend to it and get dirt on your fingers and sweat on your brow and harvest your fresh amazing produce, you can remember them and realize that their memory lives on. But also, don’t forget to give yourself a high-five from them and say “way to go!” (but say it with both hands on your hips and in a booming voice).

Super Green Spring Salad // Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

Super Green Spring Salad

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: Easy
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Note – This salad does not really have a set list of ingredients and can morph into whatever you have on hand. I have provided a gentle guide for what I like to use, but feel free to mix and match with whatever greens you have on hand or can spot at your local farmer’s market.  

Ingredients for the Salad

  • Four generous handfuls of spring greens mix (such as, leaf lettuce, baby kale, arugula, beet greens, etc.), gently rinse and dry
  • Handful of fresh sugar snap peas or snow peas
  • Two small heads of broccoli
  • Handful of fresh herbs (such as mint, dill, chives, cilantro)

Ingredients for the Lemon Vinaigrette 

  • Juice of 1 large lemon (about 1/4 cup)
  • 1 teaspoon of finely grated lemon zest
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 teaspoon of kosher salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper

Instructions

  1. Slice the snow peas or sugar peas in half or into bite-size pieces if they are large. If they are small, you can keep them whole. Whatever you choose.
  2. Chop the broccoli florets from the stalk. Chop the florets into small portions. Cut off the bottom fibrous portion of the stalk and chop the tender portion into 1/4-inch bite-size pieces.
  3. Place the lettuce, peas, broccoli, and herbs into a large bowl.
  4. Place all vinaigrette ingredients into a lidded jar. Shake vigorously until well mixed. Just before serving, drizzle about 1/3 cup of the dressing over the salad and toss gently. Place leftover dressing in the fridge or add more if needed.

Suggested toppings:

  • Optional Protein Toppings: chicken, quinoa, boiled egg, chicken sausage, fish
  • Optional Misc Toppings: sunflower seeds, roasted nuts, crumbled feta, shaved parmesan, goat cheese

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Broccoli, Apple, and Shaved Brussels Sprout Salad with Tahini-Maple Dressing

Broccoli, Apple, and Brussels Sprout Salad with Tahini-Maple Dressing // Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

Welcome the season of “How Many Parties, Booze, Snacks, Sweets, Treats, and Good Times Can I Shove Into My Face and Schedule”.

But there is one big problem with this season.

My stomach. She’s such a fun killer.

Broccoli, Apple, and Brussels Sprout Salad with Tahini-Maple Dressing // Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

Broccoli, Apple, and Brussels Sprout Salad with Tahini-Maple Dressing // Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

Given my cranky belly and gluten intolerance, I often go to holiday parties and find that there is hardly anything that I can eat without severe consequences. Lately, my trick for getting through party after party is to bring a delicious, healthy, and festive dish that I can eat and enjoy. By doing this I hopefully won’t be the one over in the corner munching on a pound of carrots and staring like a voracious dog at others eating seven layer bars, molasses cookies, sausage balls, and chocolate covered pretzels…. “No no no, I’m good. I LOOOOVE carrots. I hate other delicious things. No go on. Please keep eating. Please, I’m fine. I’m FIIIINE.”

This Broccoli, Apple, and Shaved Brussels Sprout Salad with Tahini-Maple Dressing has been my go to Christmas salad this season.  It’s incredibly delicious with great crunch from the broccoli and brussels sprouts and crisp apple. Plus the savory tahini-maple dressing will have you wanting to lick the spoon! I have taken this salad to four different parties and have had great responses. It also holds up very well as leftovers for lunch the next day.

Broccoli, Apple, and Brussels Sprout Salad with Tahini-Maple Dressing // Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

Oh and look how festive this salad looks! Greed, Red, and White! Sometimes I even add dried cranberries for more red pop!

So Happy Holidays to you and yours!  Make a plan during this holiday season and don’t get overwhelmed!  You can do it!

Broccoli, Apple, and Shaved Brussels Sprout Salad with Tahini-Maple Dressing

  • Servings: 6
  • Difficulty: Easy
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Ingredients

  • 2 broccoli crowns, florets only, chopped
  • 1/2 lb brussels sprouts (about 2 big handfuls), stems removed and discolored leaves discarded
  • 1 large honey crisp apple, cored and chopped
  • 1/4 cup crumbled feta (do not include for dairy free option)
  • 1/4 cup sliced almonds

Tahini-Maple Dressing

  • 1/3 cup tahini
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons water

Instructions

  1. Chop the broccoli into small bite size pieces and place in a large bowl. Use a sharp chef’s knife or mandolin slicer to slice the brussels sprouts as thin as possible. Alternately, a food processor’s slicing disk could be used. Add the brussels sprouts to the large bowl with the broccoli.
  2. In a separate small jar or bowl, whisk the tahini, lemon juice, and maple syrup together to form a paste. Add water one tablespoon at a time until the mixture is creamy and pourable like vinaigrette (not too watery). Pour the dressing over the broccoli and brussels sprouts and toss to combine.  (The salad can be made a few hour ahead of time to this point and refrigerated).
  3. Add the chopped apple, feta, and sliced almonds to the salad and toss lightly.  Serve immediately.

Notes

  • For paleo friendly, vegan friendly, and dairy free, do not include the feta cheese.
  • If you don’t have tahini, almond butter could be used.
  • For added protein and a complete meal, add some cooked quinoa or shredded chicken.

Summer Squash Pasta with Creamy Basil-Cilantro Dressing

Summer Squash Pasta with Creamy Basil-Cilantro Dressing // Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

Many people have a love/hate relationship with summer squash. I am on the love side. I could easily eat way too much of this vegetable when it is roasted or grilled.

Recently I have seen many recipes featuring this summer bounty raw….hrmmmmm.   One of the most beautiful and intriguing raw squash recipes I have seen is from Kimberly Hasselbrink’s beautifully photographed and thoughtfully constructed cookbook, Vibrant Food. Her recipe for Summer Squash Pasta with Green Goddess Dressing instantly had me salivating and curious about the squash “pasta”.

Summer Squash Pasta with Creamy Basil-Cilantro Dressing // Big Eats Tiny Kitchen Summer Squash Pasta with Creamy Basil-Cilantro Dressing // Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

After I purchased a boat load of beautiful yellow summer squash at the farmer’s market this past weekend, I knew exactly what was on my To Do list of “things to go in my belly”. My version of this squash “pasta” dish is slightly adapted from the original recipe.  I used the herbs that I had on hand which were different from what the recipe called for: tarragon, parsley, basil, and chives. I instead used a mixture of basil, cilantro and chives. Delicious. I also used lime juice instead of the recommended combo of lemon juice and red wine vinegar. Although I’m sure the original is amazing, my version tasted like a bowl of summer bounty and was amazing. It shows that this recipe is adaptable and flexible with whatever you have on hand.

Summer Squash Pasta with Creamy Basil-Cilantro Dressing // Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

So stop serving soggy yellow squash casseroles and serve up this fresh raw squash pasta dish. It will impress everyone…even yourself. I would even venture to say that those that aren’t into yellow squash may change their mind after eating this dish.

Note – It is best served immediately after placing the dressing on the “noodles”.  It would also taste great with grilled chicken mixed in for a main course dinner.

Summer Squash Pasta with Creamy Basil-Cilantro Dressing

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: Easy/Medium
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Ingredients

  • 2 to 3 medium summer squash (about 2 lbs)
  • 2 teaspoons salt, plus 1/4 teaspoon salt for dressing
  • 1/2 cup greek yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • juice and zest of 1 lime
  • 3/4 cup fresh herbs (I used 1/4 cup each of basil, cilantro, and chives)
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 jalapeño, seeded and minced (optional)
  • 1/4 cup shelled pistachios

Instructions

Note – For those of you with a cool spiralizer, you will easily be able to crank out squash pasta. However, I do not have this cool toy and still created squash noodles easily by using a mandolin slicer and then julienning the slices into thin noodle-like strands.

  1. Make squash noodles by Julienne slicing or spiralizer. Place squash noodles in a colander and sprinkle 2 teaspoons of salt on top. Allow to sit for 20 minute and drain excess liquid from squash. After 20 minutes, use a paper towel or clean kitchen towel to gently press excess liquid out of squash. Transfer squash to a medium bowl.
  2. Meanwhile, in the bowl of a food process, combine yogurt, olive oil, lime zest, lime juice, basil, cilantro, chives, garlic, jalapeño, and salt. Process until all ingredients are smooth and combined.
  3. Toss dressing with squash. Sprinkle with pistachios and extra herbs. Serve immediately.

Fresh Corn, Tomato, and Quinoa Salad (Gluten Free)

Fresh Corn, Tomato, and Quinoa Salad // Big Eats Tiny Kitchen (Gluten Free)

I want to begin with an apology to my 8 year old self for this post because I’m breaking a BIG commandment with myself.

Thou shall NOT cut corn OFF the cob…ever.

My kid self would be appalled. I mean…WHY would anyone ever cut corn OFF of the cob. They are taking ALL of the fun out of eating corn.

When I was little and we had corn on the cob for dinner, it felt like a holiday. I would ask for more corn over a slice of pie any day. Weird child, I know. There was also a period in my young life when I think I didn’t have front teeth for over a year, but continued to gnaw down ear after ear of corn, while projecting kernel after kernel into the air in front of me like a machine gun.

Fresh Corn, Tomato, and Quinoa Salad // Big Eats Tiny Kitchen (Gluten Free)

Plus, when I was a kid and corn wasn’t on a cob, that it meant it came in a can…*shudder*. I haaaate canned corn. Sorry to all you canned corn eaters. But if you have ever had FRESH FRESH FRESH corn straight from the cob, it will change your life. So I feel like my childhood self might forgive me if she had ever had fresh corn directly from the farm.  To satisfy my inner child, I bought 12 ears so that most of them could be eaten directly from the cob.

Fresh Corn, Tomato, and Quinoa Salad // Big Eats Tiny Kitchen (Gluten Free)

A lesson in cutting corn from the cob. Place the cob slightly angled up and down OVER a bowl. Cut the kernels off with the blade of the knife pointed awaaaay from you, allowing the kernels to fall lovingly into the bowl. Otherwise, your kernels will catapult off of a plate onto the ground. We can’t let those kernels go to waste! All kernels need a home…a.k.a my belly!

Fresh Corn, Tomato, and Quinoa Salad // Big Eats Tiny Kitchen (Gluten Free)

Fresh Corn, Tomato, and Quinoa Salad // Big Eats Tiny Kitchen (Gluten Free)

Next thing about this salad is that it is a substantial and gluten free feast. It has quinoa which is a super food, or so I’ve been told. I love that bit of crunch that the cooled quinoa and fresh corn provide to this lush herby and fresh salad. It’s perfect for a gluten free and vegetarian option at a picnic lunch or a cool weeknight meal. You can make the quinoa ahead of time and just throw everything together prior to serving. Easy peasy. It also would be good with some grilled chicken on top, for those meat lovers like my dear hubby.

P.S. One or two or three things about the dressing! It is VERY good….like hide in a closet and drink it good. I was going for a type of green goddess style of herbaciousness. Feel free to mix up the herbs…cilantro, mint, tarragon, basil..whatevs. If you don’t have yogurt on hand, I think half an avocado would do well in this dressing. Aaaaand if you don’t have yogurt OR an avocado, throw in some soaked and drained nuts or sunflower seeds instead and give them a whirl in the food processor. You will just need to add water to make it the desired consistency.

Fresh Corn, Tomato, and Quinoa Salad // Big Eats Tiny Kitchen (Gluten Free)

Fresh Corn, Tomato, and Quinoa Salad (gluten free)

  • Servings: 4 as a main dish, 8 as a side dish
  • Difficulty: Easy/Medium
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Salad Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup quinoa, rinsed and drained (I used mixed quinoa, but any color would work here)
  • 2 ears of fresh corn, kernels removed from cob (about 2 cups)
  • 1 pint of cherry tomatoes, cut in half (I also added a big heirloom tomato because I loooove tomatoes)
  • 1 sweet bell pepper, thinly chopped
  • 1 medium carrot, thinly sliced
  • 2 cups of assorted greens (spinach, baby kale)
  • feta crumbles
  • Fresh basil and cilantro
  • salt and pepper to taste

Dressing Ingredients

  • 1/3 fresh basil and cilantro
  • 1/4 cup fresh chives
  • Juice of 2 limes
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons greek yogurt
  • pinch of salt

Instructions

  1. Place rinsed quinoa and 1 cup of water in a small pot over medium heat. Allow to come to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and cook for 10 to 15 minutes until water is fully absorbed. Remove quinoa from heat. Place cooked quinoa in a covered dish and refrigerate until cooled. Can be made several days ahead of time.
  2. In a medium bowl combine corn kernels, halved cherry tomatoes, carrot, sweet bell pepper, and greens.
  3. In a small food processor, add all dressing ingredients and process until desired consistency is achieved. Place dressing in a jar and refrigerate until ready to use.
  4. After the quinoa is cooled, add the quinoa and the dressing to the corn and tomato salad. Toss well. Sprinkle with feta, additional basil and cilantro. Season with additional salt and pepper to taste.

Fresh and Easy Salsa

Fresh and Easy Salsa / Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

Put me in front of a bowl of chips and salsa, and it would take the strength of ten mules on steroids to pull me away. I’m serious. Chips and salsa are my go to snack…

Not saying it’s a good thing. Just sayin that your hand maaaaaay get gnawed on if you go for a chip or scoop of salsa while I’m diving in. Seriously. I can’t stop this dipping train!

And now that tomatoes are so prevalent in my garden, it’s time to get this crazy SALSA train started!!!

Fresh and Easy Salsa / Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

Fresh and Easy Salsa / Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

I used fresh roma tomatoes, but other varieties are juuuust fine. Plus, I’ll tell you a secret. This recipe can even be made in the winter with (gasp) canned tomatoes.  I have used some that I canned from my garden, but if you only have store-bought, go for the good kind! Muir Glen is my fave. The secret to this salsa is definitely good tomatoes AND lime juice.

I whip up my salsa using a food processor but if you love to chop chop chop, then feel free to dice away. I like to reserve my energy for diving head first into the salsa bowl. If you do end up chopping up the ingredients, your salsa will just be more chunky….which is what I’m going to be if I don’t get my face out of this bowl of chips and salsa soon!

Give me more!

Fresh and Easy Salsa / Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

Fresh and Easy Salsa

  • Servings: 4 Cups
  • Difficulty: Easy
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Ingredients

  • 4 cups diced fresh tomatoes (about 15 roma tomatoes)
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 2 jalapeños (chopped and seeds removed if you want mild salsa)
  • 1/4 bunch of cilantro
  • juice of 2 limes
  • 2 teaspoons salt (or to taste)

Instructions

  1. Place tomatoes in bowl of food processor and pulse a few times until tomatoes are fine diced. Transfer tomatoes to a medium-sized bowl.
  2. Place chopped onion, garlic, jalapeños, cilantro, and lime juice to bowl of food processor. Pulse for 15 seconds or until everything is chopped fine. Transfer contents to the medium bowl with the tomatoes. Stir well and add salt to taste. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve. Can be made ahead of time.

Thai Burger-in-a-Bowl

Thai Burger-in-a-Bowl / Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

The concept of “home” is an interesting one to me. Although I call Kansas City my home now, other places feel like home when I am surrounded by certain people.

Last weekend I took a short road trip through my home state of Oklahoma. My first destination was Tulsa where i spent a few days with three of my closest girlfriends from college for Estrogenfest…an annual tradition with no men, no children, lots of love, and lots of booze. It is like a boozy spa retreat for my soul. We talk. We laugh. We cry. We remember old times. We build each other up. We bring out the best in each other. It feels like home.

Thai Burger-in-a-Bowl / Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

I took back roads to get there from Kansas City. I like not traveling on the main highways during road trips so that I can see the forgotten pieces of slow American life. Slowing down is something I have to remind myself to do often. I was able to spend good quality time by myself and with my thoughts. I felt centered. I felt home.

After a few days, I left my girlfriends and headed further south to see my family. Being with my brother and two sisters is one of the biggest rewards I get in life.  I can sit for hours around them without saying anything and all feels right in the world. We laugh so much with each other…inside jokes get funnier, food tastes better, the hot summer breeze feels right. It feels like home.

Thai Burger-in-a-Bowl / Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

After a few days in OKC, I headed back to Kansas City.  Even though I find comfort in the people that I see back in Oklahoma, Kansas City is my new home. When I am gone from here, I miss it more and more.  The streets are becoming more and more familiar to me.   I realize that other cities just don’t seem as pretty as Kansas City.  I miss my rituals when I’m gone. I miss the tall trees from my neighborhood. I miss seeing the same people every morning during my morning jog. I miss cooking. I miss playing chess at night with my husband while drinking good beer. I miss visiting the same friendly farmers on Saturday mornings and asking how their farms are doing. I miss my home.

Weeknight dinners at my home often consist of burger-in-a-bowl. It’s super easy and refreshing. This past week when I got back from trekking around OK, I whipped up this Thai Burger-in-a-Bowl using a slaw I made with red cabbage from the market and tons of herbs from our garden. This is heavily inspired by my Green Curry Burger. I hope you enjoy this comfy recipe as I share it from my home to yours.

Thai Burger-in-a-Bowl / Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

Thai Burger-in-a-Bowl (Gluten Free)

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: Easy/Medium
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Adapted from my green curry burger wraps.

Thai Burger-in-a-Bowl Ingredients

  • 4 burgers, grilled (see instructions below)
  • Cabbage and Carrot Slaw
  • Greens (Kale, Butter Lettuce, Chard)
  • Spicy Peanut Sauce Dressing
  • 1 lime, cut in quarters
  • siracha
  • cilantro, mint, and basil

Burger Ingredients

  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon gluten-free tamari
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground pepper

Cabbage and Carrot Slaw

  • 1/2 large head of red cabbage, shredded
  • 5 medium carrots, shredded
  • 1/3 cup rice wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon sesame seed oil
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
  • 1 tablespoon chopped mint
  • 1 tablespoon chopped basil
  • salt and pepper to taste

Spicy Peanut Sauce Dressing

  • 1/3 cup unsalted creamy peanut butter (or almond butter)
  • 1 Tablespoon fresh ginger, peeled and grated
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 Tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 Tablespoon rice wine vinegar
  • 1 Tablespoon lime juice
  • 1 Tablespoon honey
  • 1 teaspoon Siracha
  • ¼ Cup water

Instructions

  1. Making Burgers – Combine all of the ingredients in a large bowl and mix with hands until ingredients are distributed throughout meat. Try to handle meat as lightly and as little as possible so that the meat does not become compact and tough when cooking. You are making burgers, not meatloaf, people! Form the meat into 4 equal-portioned patties, about ¾-inch thick. Make a dimple in the middle of the patty, pressing down with thumb or fingers. This will keep the burger from bulging during the cooking process and maintains juiciness. Sprinkle with additional salt and pepper and set aside.
  2. Making Slaw – Combine all ingredients in a large bowl. Mix well. Place in refrigerator while preparing everything else, mixing every once and awhile. Best if made at least 30 minutes ahead of time. Can be prepared up to 1 day ahead of time.
  3. Preparing the Spicy Peanut Sauce – Combine all ingredients in a small food processor or bowl. Mix well. Set aside.
  4. Cooking Burger Patties – Prepare a gas or charcoal grill to medium-high heat. When the grill is ready, place the patties on the rack, cover, and cook, turning once, until done to preference, 3 to 5 minutes on each side.
  5. Assembling Thai Burger-in-a-Bowl – Divide greens among four bowls. Add about 1/2 cup of slaw to each bowl and then top with a grilled burger. Add desired amount of siracha and herbs on top of burger. Drizzle peanut sauce on top of assembled burger. Squeeze fresh lime juice on top of everything.

Picnic Perfect Herby Deviled Eggs

Picnic Perfect Herby Deviled Eggs / Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

I’m constantly looking for easier and more efficient ways to do things. Must be the engineer in me. Well today, I have an amazing genius picnic tip.

Use an egg carton to transport deviled eggs. Genius!

This weekend we had a tasty picnic with friends to celebrate the 4th of July. My hubby and I rode our bikes to the park and brought along some snacks, including deviled eggs. My solution to transport the deviled eggs was to use the egg carton as the perfect transport container.

I placed separate muffin liners in the carton to make these a less messy picnic dish. I also decided to use nearly the whole egg instead of cutting them in half. I cut the top third of the egg off and scooped out the yolk. The yolks were then mixed with greek yogurt (instead of mayo), herbs, salt, and Dijon mustard. I then scooped the yolk mixture into a baggy, cut off the edge, and pipetted the mixture into each egg white. Fancy pants picnic dish!

Picnic Perfect Herby Deviled Eggs / Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

I unfortunately do not have very many pictures of these puppies since I was running behind and had to rush to get these beauties loaded up in the egg carton and then head out on my bike to the picnic. But I will tell you that I will definitely be repeating this process for future deviled eggs that will be accompanying me to potlucks and picnics.

The only downside to this recipe is that deviled eggs go waaaay too fast. Womp Womp.

Herby Deviled Eggs (Grain Free, Gluten Free)

  • Servings: 12
  • Difficulty: Easy
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Ingredients

  • 12 eggs
  • 1/3 cup greek yogurt
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon minced chives (some reserved to sprinkle on top)
  • 1 teaspoon minced parsley
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

Instructions

  1. Place eggs in a medium saucepan and add cold water until the eggs are covered by 1 inch of water. Bring to a rolling boil. Remove saucepan from heat, cover, and then let stand for 11 minutes. Drain the pot and run cod water over the boiled to cool them.
  2. Meanwhile, place remaining ingredients into the bowl of a food processor and mix together. Reserve some chives and parsley for sprinkling on top.
  3. Peel all of the eggs. To transport easily to a picnic, make whole deviled eggs by cutting off the top third of the egg. Remove yolks carefully with small spoon or butter knife, leaving the whites fully intact. Transfer yolks to bowl of food processor with greek yogurt mixture. Process until smooth.
  4. For easy picnic transport, line egg carton with individual muffin liners. Place intact egg whites into each separate muffin tin liner. Place egg yolk mixture into a sealable plastic back (like a ziplock). Cut the corner tip off of the bag for easy pipetting into each egg white. Sprinkle with remaining herbs. Place plastic wrap on top of filled eggs and refrigerate up to 8 hours.

Paleo Curried Pumpkin Seed Crusted Chicken

Paleo Curried Pumpkin Seed Crusted Chicken

Things have been pretty busy for me lately. We recently traveled to Pittsburgh to see two of our dearest friends and our twin godsons that are 16 months old! So adorable. It was a fun-filled weekend that had me taking naps EVERY day. Twin boys…whoooosh. Then I was in Omaha for work. THEN my two awesome kid sisters came and visited me.

When I’m running around full steam, on the road, and on air planes, I need a good snack. I recently tried SuperSeedz, gourmet pumpkin seeds, and I absolutely LOVE them. I took them on the road with me and shared my new addiction with everyone. They are so delicious and have tons of different flavors. They are one of the best gluten free and paleo-friendly treats on the market.

Paleo Curried Pumpkin Seed Crusted Chicken

I’m typically not a big person on doing giveaways, but I am completely in deep smit with these pumpkin seeds.  So if you are looking for a tasty snack that is loaded with protein and nutrients, you have to try these!

Paleo Curried Pumpkin Seed Crusted Chicken

Paleo Curried Pumpkin Seed Crusted Chicken

For a sweet treat, try the chocolate flavored Cocoa Joe! ERHMERGERD! Or spice it up with the Curry Flavored seeds. I really liked these seeds so much that I used the curry flavored pumpkin seeds as a nut crust for a paleo version of chicken fingers! Super kid friendly and easy for the whole family to help prepare.

SuperSeedz and I are giving away a FREE box of all of the delicious flavors that SuperSeedz offers! It’s an amazing snack box full of tasty treats.  There are two different ways to enter this giveaway.

Receive up to 2 entries if you:

  1. Subscribe to Big Eats Tiny Kitchen blog by email. 
  2. Leave a comment below about your favorite way to use pumpkin seeds. Extra points for creativity!

The fine print: You have until midnight CST on Sunday, July 6th, 2014, to leave a comment or subscribe to my blog for chances to win the box of tasty treats. I will notify the winner by email on Monday, July 7th, 2014. To claim the prize, the winner must reply within 7 days with a valid mailing address or another winner will be selected at random. Good luck!

Paleo Curried Pumpkin Seed Crusted Chicken (Grain Free, Gluten Free, Paleo-Friendly)

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: Easy
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Note – A food processor or blender is necessary for this recipe.

Ingredients

  • 2 lbs of chicken breasts or thighs, boneless and skinless
  • 1/2 cup roasted and salted pumpkin seeds (I used Super Seedz Curry Flavor)
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 1 teaspoon curry powder (or any seasoning that you prefer)
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 eggs

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 F. Spray a roasting pan with nonstick spray or line with parchment paper. Set aside.
  2. Process 1/2 cup pumpkin seeds in a food processor for 1 minute or until seeds resemble bread crumbs. Add coconut, curry powder, and salt and pulse until combined. Pour pumpkin seed mixture onto a large plate.
  3. Whisk two eggs in a medium bowl. Dredge chicken in egg to fully coat. Take egg-coated chicken and lay onto plate with pumpkin seed mixture. Coat chicken on both sides with pumpkin seed mixture thoroughly. Place coated chicken onto roasting pan.
  4. Cook chicken for 35 to 45 minutes at 400 F (until chicken is cooked through), flipping halfway through cooking time. Remove from oven when cooked through and allow to cool for 5 minutes.

 

Thai Chicken Salad with Spicy Peanut Sauce Dressing

Thai Chicken Salad / Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

One of my all time favorite salads that I make is my Spring Roll Salad with Thai Dressing. It is the perfect salad to make when herbs are springing forth from the ground in full force. It’s packed with fresh mint, fresh cilantro, and fresh basil.  I jam all of those fresh beauties in the salad and top with carrots, cucumber, and spring onions and just POUR that beautiful thai dressing in my mouth..I mean, on the salad. But seriously, I could totally gorge myself on that stuff.

If you don’t have fresh herbs growing, you can totally grab some at the farmers market in large beautiful bunches. But I recommend growing some in pots. Super easy and incredibly rewarding to be able to use fresh herbs in a flash. They are easy to grow from seed or purchasing starters at your local gardening store.

Thai Chicken Salad / Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

Thai Chicken Salad / Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

Anywho, I decided to take my amazing herbalicious spring roll salad to a new level. I topped it with grilled chicken that had been marinated in a thai flavored marinade for an hour. My husbands words after eating this salad were “This is the best salad I’ve ever eaten in my life.”  Who can’t love a great juicy grilled chicken and amazing peanut sauce! Heaven.

So this is seriously an easy peasy dinner, folks. Maybe not as easy as scrambled eggs but soooo much more tasty. Marinate the chicken for at least an hour or as long as overnight. You can use bone in or boneless, heck you can even go with breasts, thighs, legs, wings…whatever you want. I want judge if you’re a thigh person over a boob person. It’s cool. We are being super easy over here. Note: if you choose bone in breasts or thighs, it will take longer to grill than boneless. But who cares…we are grilling. Grab a brew, throw your meat on the grill, cheers to summer. That stupid winter is over. And here comes that ungrateful sticky humidity. Get ready!

Thai Chicken Salad / Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

While the chicken is grilling, throw your greens, herbs, and veggies together in separate bowls or one massive bowl. Whip up the Spicy Peanut Dressing. Add water to the peanut dressing as needed to get it to the consistency that you want. Set it aside and let everyone pour the sauce at their leisure. You may want to make extra!

Pull the chicken off the grill, let sit for a few minutes, then cube it up. Add it to the salads.

Pour dressing. Pour some more. C’mon!

Done.

Eat.

Lick bowl.

Dream about peanut dressing until the time you get it. Or is that just me? Life sure is better with fresh herbs and peanut dressing!

Thai Chicken Salad with Spicy Peanut Sauce Dressing (Gluten Free, Dairy Free)

  • Servings: 2-4
  • Difficulty: Easy
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Chicken Marinade Ingredients

  • 1.5 to 2 lbs chicken breasts or chicken thighs (I used 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts)
  • 2 Tablespoons nam pla (thai fish sauce) (I use red boat…great write up on it here)
  • 2 Tablespoons gluten-free tamari (or coconut aminos)
  • 1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
  • juice from 1 lime
  • 1 tablespoon fresh ginger
  • 1 teaspoon coriander
  • 1 tablespoon curry paste (red or green works)

Spring Salad Ingredients

(basically this Thai Spring Roll Salad of mine)

  • Mixed greens (lettuce, baby kale, arugula, etc)
  • shredded carrots
  • cucumber
  • green onions
  • red bell pepper
  • avocado
  • fresh limes
  • fresh mint, cilantro, and basil
  • Thai Spicy Peanut Sauce Dressing (substitute peanut butter, almond butter, or sunflower seed butter in the dressing depending on your dietary needs)

Instructions

  1. Place chicken in a resealable plastic bag or shallow glass dish. Mix marinade ingredients in a small dish and pour over the chicken. Cover and allow to marinate in the refrigerator or an hour or overnight.
  2. Preheat the grill (or preheat oven to 425 F). Remove chicken from the marinade and allow excess marinade to drain. Place chicken on hot grill for 4 to 5 minutes per side, or until a thermometer reads 155 F within the thickest part of the chicken breast or thigh. If baking, place the chicken on a prepared baking sheet and bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until chicken is cooked through. Remove cooked chicken from grill or oven and allow to sit for 5 minutes. Cut into bite sized pieces.
  3. Mix ingredients for the spicy peanut dressing together in a small bowl or small food processor. You can use almond butter or sunflower seed butter in place of the peanut butter based on dietary needs. Add water as needed to obtain the consistency that you desire for dressing. Set aside.
  4. Assemble salad ingredients in separate bowls or in a single bowl. Top with cubed grilled chicken. I like mine with extra herbs, sliced avocado, and a big squeeze of lime too. Then pour the peanut dressing on top. I even go for an extra dash of siracha to boot. Mmmm. Enjoy!

 

Carne Asada Salad (Paleo Friendly and Gluten Free)

Carne Asada Salad / Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

Have you ever lost your mojo? Felt lost?

If you are frequent reader or friend of mine or even someone I have passed on the street, it has been a bit too obvious that I have lost my mojo.  I’m typically so goal-driven, mega type A, and awesome…or anal, whichever you deem it. But not for sometime. For a while I have felt like a feather in the wind with no direction, which is TERRIFYING to me. I think we all have a threshold of how much willpower we have and how much we can endure. And then one day you snap…for me it was the lack of ketchup in our house when I had made sweet potato fries…. FOR THE LOVE OF PETE WHY CAN”T I HAVE WHAT I WANT!

Too dramatic? naaaah.

Carne Asada Salad / Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

But there has to be a certain point when you just have to realize that life just is what it is. We get handed certain things in life and we can either roll around in it like a stinky pile of poop or we can make poop pie and throw it at someone that deserves it. I’ve decided to quite rolling in poop and throw it. Wait…I don’t think that came out right.

Well, you get what I’m saying right?  Take out your frustrations on others, am I right? That’s what friends are for? right? Friends? Thanks for being there for me. 🙂 No really. Thanks.

This week has been operation “get my mojo back”. If you have often felt like your mojo is gone, I challenge you to get it back by realizing that we can’t compare ourselves to others (even past versions of ourselves). We are where we are and we have to try to enjoy these moments, even the hard ones, because our time is short and our love is vast.

Carne Asada Salad / Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

Here are a few of the things I did to get mojo back this week that you can try:

  • Exercise – Go for a walk. Listen to the birds, see the trees in bloom, embrace the now.
  • Treat Yo’ self – Hello mani/pedi.
  • Cook – Try something simple and fresh for yourself and family. Your belly will thank you.
  • Laugh – This is the most important thing of all.

As part of my “get my mojo back” week, I decided to cook something fresh and simple. I thawed out a strip steak from our purchase of 1/4 of a COW. (I don’t know which fourth I got, but he’s tasty.)  Strip steaks are nice and thin and are great for carne asada! So I whipped up a quick carne asada marinade when I got home from work. Fresh limes are key to the marinade. Let your steak marinade for at least an hour and up to 4 hours. Fresh greens are abundant in the farmers market and in my garden so I decided to create a fresh salad instead of tacos.  I used fresh baby butter lettuce, baby kale, and cilantro that is growing in our garden and some other goodies that I picked up at the market to create a Carne Asada Salad that was quick, delicious, and something that I will be making many times during this grilling season. Feel free to modify your toppings, but focus on fresh and good quality items.

Carne Asada Salad / Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

Carne Asada Salad / Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

Strip steaks are thin and will not require a long time on the grill. For medium, you will likely only need to grill it 4 to 5 minutes per side, or less. Keep an eye on it. You could even cook your steaks inside in a cast iron skillet or grill pan if you don’t have a grill.

Carne Asada Salad (Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Paleo Friendly)

  • Servings: 2-4
  • Difficulty: Easy
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Marinade Ingredients

  • 1 lb strip steak (flank steak would work too)
  • 1 large clove of garlic, smashed and minced
  • juice of 1 large lime
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon coriander
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne powder
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

Salad Ingredients

  • Mixed greens (baby kale, spinach, arugula, butter lettuce, etc)
  • 1 bunch of cilantro, chopped
  • green onions, diced
  • 1 cup grape tomatoes, diced
  • crumbled feta (optional)
  • fresh limes
  • avocado
  • salsa

Instructions

  1. Place the strip steak in a large glass bowl or baking dish.  Do not use metal because it may react with the acids in the marinade. Salt and pepper on both sides. Combine the marinade ingredients in a small bowl and pour over the steak. Make sure that all of is covered and saturated with the marinade. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and allow to marinate in the refrigerator for 1 to 4 hours. Pull out of the refrigerator and allow the steak to come to room temperature (about 30 minutes). 
  2. Preheat your grill or grill pan using medium-high heat or flame. Brush the grates of your grill with a bit of olive oil so that the steak does not stick to the grates. Remove the steak from the marinade and place onto the hottest part of the grill and cover the grill. Grill until the underside of the steak is browned, about 4 minutes depending on the thickness of your steak.  Flip the steak and cook on the other side for another 4 minutes.
  3. Remove the steak from the grill and allow to rest for 5 minutes. Thinly slice the steak across the grain on a diagonal. This will help the steak from being chewy.
  4. Prepare four salad bowls and place sliced steak on top. As another option, prepare these as tacos using grilled corn tortillas. Mmmmm! Happy eating!