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!

 

Beet, Fennel, Grapefruit and Avocado Salad

Beet, Fennel, Grapefruit, and Avocado Salad / Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

Hi. It’s spring…nearly summer. And do you know what that means? VEGGIES! Fresh amazing veggies. They are sprouting up everywhere in my garden. Beets and carrots and spinach and kale and cilantro and cucumbers and tomatoes! I can’t wait.

This weekend I enjoyed renewing my Saturday ritual of going to the Farmer’s Market bright and early and drooling over the produce and transplants that the local farmers had brought.  It makes salad making an adventure. Not your boring ol’ iceberg here…no spring rocket, and baby leaf kale, and beautiful sorel! Throw in some herbs, roasted beets, and avocado…yaaaaa, NOW you have heaven.

Beet, Fennel, Grapefruit, and Avocado Salad / Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

Beet, Fennel, Grapefruit, and Avocado Salad / Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

Beet, Fennel, Grapefruit, and Avocado Salad

Inspired by Pinch of Yum and my Blood Orange and Avocado Salad

Salad Ingredients

  • 1 large beet
  • 1 fennel bulb
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • 4 cups of raw kale, washed, destemmed and cut into 1-inch pieces (or spring lettuce mix)
  • 1 grapefruit, peeled and cut into sections
  • 1 cucumber, cut into thin slices
  • 1 avocado
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1/4 cup fresh dill, chopped
  • 1/2 cup walnuts, toasted and chopped (optional)
  • 1/4 cup of crumbled feta

Dressing Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons cider vinegar (or lemon juice or lime juice)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 tablespoon grapefruit juice (reserved from cutting up grapefruit for salad)

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or with nonstick spray. Wash the beet thoroughly and scrub the outside very well. Remove the top and bottom of the beet. Cut in half and continue to cut up the beet until you obtain even 1-inch cubes. Place into a large bowl and drizzle with about 1/2-tablespoon of olive oil and salt and pepper. Place beet cubes onto one of the prepared baking sheets. Place in the oven and bake for 35 to 45 minutes.
  2. Wash the fennel bulb thoroughly. Remove the bottom root portion. Slice longways into even 1/4-inch width slices. Place in a clean bowl and drizzle with 1/2-tablesppon of olive and salt and pepper. Place the fennel slices onto the second prepared baking sheet. Place in the oven and bake for 20 to 30 minutes.
  3. When the fennel and beets are done roasting, remove from the oven and allow to cool to room temperature. Set aside. Can be made up to 2 days ahead of time and kept refrigerated.
  4. Wash kale and massage with hands in a large bowl. Gently toss in the grapefruit pieces, cucumber, cilantro, and dill.
  5. Combine dressing ingredients into a small bowl and whisk until combined. Just before ready to serve, pour dressing ingredients over the kale, grapefruit, and cucumber. Add roasted beets and fennel and toss all ingredients together gently so as not to stain everything red.
  6. When you are ready to serve the salad, add the avocados and gently combine everything because the avocados will melt and mush quickly into the salad. Top with any additional herbs, walnuts, and feta.

Roasted Pumpkin Seeds (Pepitas)

Tis’ the season of roasting pumpkins, butternut squash, acorn squash, delicata squash…. We all know what to do with the roasted flesh. Hello pumpkin pie and pumpkin bread.

But, don’t stop there! Roast those seeds. They are delicious as a snack, on a salad, or topping a delicious pumpkin or butternut squash soup!

These were a great addition on our holiday table this year. I used the seeds from the pie pumpkin that was the centerpiece for our Friendsgiving!

Toasted pumpkin seeds are a healthy snack too.  The flavors options are endless: Cajun, BBQ, cinnamon-spice, curry, or simply salt and pepper.

When you scoop out the seeds from the pumpkin or winter squash, wash off the pumpkin goop. Discard stringy fiber from seeds along with any seeds that are split or cracked then transfer to a strainer and rinse well. Drizzle with olive oil, seasoning, and salt. Roast in an oven until golden and BAM. Tasty tasty tasty.

I hope that everyone has a wonderful Thanksgiving.  We are lucky to have amazing friends and family to celebrate and eat delicious food with.  Please be safe this week in your travels! Merry Thanksgiving from Kansas City!

Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

Ingredients

  • Seeds from one medium-sized pumpkin or winter squash (Acorn, Butternut, Hubbard, Delicata) – about 1 cup
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1 to 2 tsp seasoning of choice (Cajun, BBQ, curry, cinnamon n sugar) (optional)

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 375. Spray a rimmed baking sheet with nonstick spray.
  2. In a medium-sized bowl, drizzle the olive oil over the pumpkin seeds. Add the seasoning of choice and salt. Toss well. Place seeds in a single layer across a baking sheet.
  3. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until seeds are golden. Sprinkle with a bit more seasoning when the seeds come out of the oven. Taste and season with more salt if needed. Makes about 1 cup.

Kale Salad with Cranberries, Pecans, and Roasted Apples

I’m drowning. Drowning in recipes and ideas and drooling over too many food photos. I can’t decide what to make for Thanksgiving. I want to make tooooo much.

How about sweet potatoes…..or sweet potato casserole, or sweet potato and chard gratin, or sweet potatoes with bourbon glaze. No…I’ll make a gluten free apple pie, or an apple crisp….or baked apples….or Ack…wait… look at these chocolate-caramel tartlettes.

OK…something green….. like green beans, green beans with miso and almonds, or roasted brussel sprouts, or….. *SNAP* And then my brain just…shuts….down. Stops.

And then I end up thinking…well, hell…I guess I’ll just make a salad.

But this just isn’t any salad, people. It’s a celebration. A Kale Party!  Ya…I know no one thinks of a party when you say “YAY KALE”. Except me. And well, maybe my friend Kathryn.

This kale party in a bowl salad is adapted from The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook. Another winning recipe from this amazing compilation from Deb.  She uses cherries where I used cranberries that I had on hand. I also added roasted apples and toasted pecans for autumnal festiveness. Dig in….

Kale Salad with Cranberries, Pecans, and Roasted Apples

Serves 6 to 8

Kale Salad Ingredients

  • 1 bunch of kale, washed and dried, stalks removed and leaves torn into bite-sized pieces
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries (or cherries)
  • 1/4 cup raw pecans, chopped
  • 1 medium apple, cored and sliced thin

Honey Dijon Dressing Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon smooth Dijon mustard
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons honey
  • salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350F.  Place apple slices on half of a roasting pan. On the other side of the pan, place the chopped pecans. Roast for 5 minutes. Remove from oven, and stir. Place back in oven for an additional 5 minutes, keeping an eye on the pecans to make sure that they don’t burn. Remove from oven and allow to cool to room temperature.
  2. Meanwhile, place torn kale leaves in a medium to large serving bowl. Sprinkle with a dash of salt and gently massage the kale until it begins to break down a bit.  Add the dried cranberries, toasted pecans, and roasted apples. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  3. For the honey dijon dressing,  add the olive oil, vinegar, mustard, and honey to a small mason jar with a lid. Shake the jar vigorously.  Drizzle the dressing evenly over the salad.  Toss everything together to coat everything in dressing.  Although you can eat the salad immediately, I let mine rest for at least 20 minutes, allowing the leaves to become even more tender.  This salad is great for make ahead events!

Kale Salad with Garlic Tahini Dressing

Lately, I can’t get enough of kale salad. It’s crunchy. It’s flavorful. It’s a party in the mouth.

This kale salad is topped with an awesome tahini dressing. The recipe is based on a salad that is featured at the Whole Foods salad bar. A friend shared their recipe with me and I have made this salad for three nights in a row now. And may or may not have licked the bowl….and dreamed about this salad….and then ate it at midnight. OK, I have a problem. I know. Don’t judge.

This salad will totally make up for the fact that I also hoovered a rack of ribs, right?

If you can, mix the kale and the dressing together and allow to sit for an hour or two before serving.

Kale Salad with Garlic Tahini Dressing

Ingredients

  • 3 cups of kale, ribs removed and torn into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 tablespoon of tahini paste (sesame seed paste)
  • 1 tablespoon of soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons of lemon juice
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced and mashed
  • 1 teaspoon of good olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons of cilantro, chopped

Instructions

  1. Wash and remove center ribs from kale. Tear into pieces and place in a large bowl.
  2. In a small bowl, add tahini paste through olive oil. Mix until well blended.
  3. Pour dressing over kale and massage into kale. Let sit for at least 30 minutes and up to 3 hours.  Mix before serving. Sprinkle cilantro on top.  Eating this with an avocado on the side makes a perfect lunch.