Cauliflower “Potato” Salad with Pickled Celery

You probably don’t want to bring this to a picnic or bring it instead of potato salad if someone specifically asked for potato because you know….people are haters. Try to convert people at your own risk. I learned my lesson a few Thanksgivings ago when I tried to bring cauliflower mash instead of mashed potatoes I thought I was going to be banished from my own family! I will post my cauliflower mash recipe soon though, I promise! I prefer cauliflower salad to regular potato salad and not because it’s healthier or because I can’t eat potatoes but I just generally like and prefer the taste of it. I like it warm the best….right when the cauliflower pieces come out of the oven and you coat them in the delicious dressing…..yes…..that is life.

I have a lot of friends and family that cannot or will not eat potatoes and so I decided to get creative and make a cauliflower version but spice it up some with some pickled celery pieces. Low carb potato salad….can you believe it?! Now, I roast my cauliflower because I believe it is the only way to get the real true delicious flavor out of cauliflower and we aren’t making raw cauliflower salad because I hate raw cauliflower but Kyle loves it  and almost ate half my head of cauliflower!

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Roasted Cauliflower

Ingredients – 2 servings

1 head of cauliflower – chopped into 1 inch pieces – toss with olive oil and roast at 400 degrees for 25 minutes
1/4 Cup GOOD mayonnaise or yogurt/sour cream
2 TBSP fresh or dried dill
1 Celery Stalk
1/4 Cup White Vinegar
Red Chili Flakes
1/4 Lemon Zest
2 Hard Boiled Eggs
1/4 Red Onion Diced
Pickle or Relish
Garlic Powder
S&P
1 Jalapeno
*Traditional potato salad uses mustard but I wasn’t feeling it for the cauliflower – go ahead and use if you’d like*

How To

First – get your cauliflower roasting because it takes what feels like forever and a day.
Second- Celery Pickle – Personally, I would let these sit overnight but if you’re in a rush a half hour will do the trick. I diced my celery heart and a small piece of jalapeno and mixed them with the 1/4 cup of white wine vinegar and some salt. Set aside. I didn’t use the jalapeno IN the salad(would be tasty though) but it infused the vinegar/celery with some nice spice.

Third – mix the rest of your ingredients together with the mayonnaise and let it chill in the fridge until the cauliflower is ready. I thin out my dressing with a bit of the infused wine vinegar.

Finally – when the cauliflower is cooked and still WARM toss everything together! I like my cauliflower to still have a bite to it but the way you like it is how you should make it. You could also try this recipe with raw cauliflower and I’d only suggest letting the dressing and cauliflower sit overnight with one another to create a really good marinade. Your dressing, cauliflower, and the pickled celery pieces (not WITH the vinegar – add that a little at a time). Now, I like eating this warm but it is also delicious cold! I served this with some chicken wings that I baked rather than fried. HealthiER than potato salad….I wouldn’t call this meal the epitome of health haha. I hope you try this!

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Spanish Cauliflower Rice

I love real rice. I am not a rice hater, BUT it doesn’t make me feel the best a few hours after consuming, and you know the world is currently OBSESSED with cauliflower rice. I thought, well what the hell let’s try it and it worked! This recipe was so so so easy, flavorful, and you can eat more because it’s just veggies not rice! I am planning on making many different varieties so be on the lookout – this is only the beginning!!

Cauliflower rice is stupid expensive in the store – read below to learn how to make it all on your own!

Ingredients

1 Head of Cauliflower
2 TBSP Kerrygold Butter
1 TBSP Olive Oil
6 Roma Tomatoes (use the variety you prefer and cube them)
1/2 Jalapeno – diced
1/2 White onion – diced
3 Cloves of garlic – diced
3 TBSP Taco seasoning (I make my own which is: cumin, garlic, oregano, paprika, chili powder, red pepper flakes, and onion powder)
S&P

How To

Cut your cauliflower into large pieces. I had to make this in two batches even though I have a fairly large processor. Pulse the cauliflower in the processor until it is a rice like consistency.

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On medium heat saute your onions, jalapenos, tomatoes, and seasoning with the butter and olive oil. I only cook everything for about 5 minutes, but this part is totally up to you. THEN I bump the heat to high and throw down the riced cauliflower, stir it around or about 3-4 minutes and pull OFF the heat! Cauliflower rice does not take long at all and you still want that nice “rice bite” as I call it. Enjoy!

Bruschetta Style Chicken

Do me a favor and sing the Indiana Jones theme song while you read this. Why? I don’t really know but it’s what I’m doing currently. Bruschetta, bruschetta, bruschetta is most likely one of my favorite foods. Ironic, because I do not typically like tomatoes raw. I love tomatoes that have been cooked for about 60 seconds…it’s weird I know. You’re the one following this crazy blog not me! Bruschetta….the way I make it is perfect as the toasted bread makes the tomatoes the exact texture I like, and lets out all the juices and flavor, but we aren’t making just regular bruschetta today because we are replacing the bread with chicken!

I make this dinner at least once a week because it is fast, healthy, and I always have the key ingredients in my fridge. I may write a fun exciting blog but all my fun stuff is generally saved for the weekend, and during the week I eat healthy, fast, and convenient foods. Please try this!

Ingredients – 2 Servings

2 Chicken Breasts or Thighs…. you know I’m a the dark side of the chicken girl
4 Roma Tomatoes  – Diced
1/4 Red Onion – Diced
1/4 Cup Good Quality Balsamic Vinegar – I used We Olive Aged Balsamic
Basil – Now, I’m going to throw you a curve ball here because I am not a huge fan of fresh basil….yea yea whatever, I like the flavor I just don’t like the wilted leaves etc….I used basil infused olive oil in this recipe, but you are more than welcome to use what you please
Fresh in water Mozzarella – 2 Slices
Garlic Powder
S&P
I made a side of sauteed mushrooms and pesto potatoes 🙂

How To

So, I wanted to grill my chicken and most of the time for this recipe I do BUT it was too stinkin hot outside so I got some color on the chicken in a pan and then baked the rest of the way through. However you choose to cook your chicken isn’t really important for this dish.
While your chicken bakes dice your tomatoes and onions. Helpful hint: when making salsas, bruschettas, or even just salt and peppering tomatoes themselves the ingredients in which you are flavoring the tomatoes with sticks to them much better if you have an oil involved. I tossed my tomatoes & onions with the basil olive oil from We Olive…. salt,pepper, and garlic powder. I let this sit in the fridge to marinate.
Balsamic reduction. Easy peasy. Take 1/4 cup of good quality olive oil and place in a pan over medium heat. Stir as the vinegar slowly reduces down to a syrup-like texture. Once your balsamic coats the back of a spoon it is reduced enough.
During the last 5 minutes of your chicken baking/grilling place your lovely fresh mozzarella to melt over the chicken.
I plate this by spooning the tomato mixture over the hot chicken(that’s my jam) and then drizzling the balsamic reduction.
Finished!!! Easy, fast, and healthy!

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Chicken Fried Steak Bites!

Okay, so like, did everyone know as a kid that chicken fried steak was actually steak and NOT chicken? I know I know it is in the name, Krystal but it tricked me every time! I would get so excited thinking we were having fried chicken to only be served this chewy fried steak. UGH.  I never really liked red meat as a kid and even now as an adult I rarely eat it. I tend to stick with fish, chicken, and 3-4 nights a week vegetarian. I am not a big red meat eater and when I am it has to be done right, and so I generally leave it up to the expert: 2nd dad. I can make chicken fried steak though, right? Yes! I made these a little differently by cutting the cube steak into pieces rather than “steaks” and making bites to dip in black pepper gravy. Baby, these were good. I am now a fan of chicken fried STEAK.

I found that chicken fried steak (CFS) is all about the gravy. Gravy is life. Gravy runs through these veins. I served these with mashed potatoes, because what else? These would be an excellent appetizer for a party.

Ingredients

2lbs Cube Steak (I cut mine into pieces) Cube steak is generally just top round that has been tenderized
2 eggs
1 1/4 Cup Flour (can substitute almond or coconut here) – reserve 3TBSP for gravy
S&P
Garlic Powder
Fresh Cracked Black Pepper
25-30 Saltine Crackers
1/4 Cup Panko
Vegetable oil for frying
1 1/2 Cups Whole Milk (coconut milk can be substituted)
1/2 Cup Beef Stock
3 TBSP Kerrygold Butter

How To

Set up your batter section while your oil is heating up for frying. As always with 99% of fried foods you COULD bake these by getting some color on them and then placing in the oven, but we are going authentic today. Beat your eggs in a bowl. In a separate bowl add the crushed saltines, garlic powder, pepper, panko, and flour. I do not add salt to this because the saltines have salt.

Cut the cube steak into strips. Place strips into eggs, then into the dry batter, and then into the fryer! Since these are strips and not full steaks they only take 4-5 minutes a piece in the oil. Place them on a paper towel once out of the oil to get rid of excess oil. Taste one to see if they have enough salt for your liking.

Now, the most important part – the gravy. Country gravy. I always make gravy with pan drippings but it isn’t possible with chicken fried steak since you know….you fry it. We will pass on using oil in our gravy. Melt your butter and make a roux with those 3TBSPs of flour we reserved. Once your roux is cooked add the milk and beef stock. I added the beef stock as a little trick for one you could split the milk/stock ratio and save some calories, and two it adds a beef flavor that the gravy would lack due to the pan drippings situation. Let your gravy thicken and right before serving add a TON of freshly cracked black pepper. Delicious!

I still prefer fried chicken…… but these were bomb! Bring these to your next event and as always if you make this recipe tag us on Instagram or Facebook!

 

Macadamia, Coconut, & Panko Crusted Salmon

So, could this title have more words in it?

True Story: I have not had salmon in about 13 months, because I am allergic(maybe) to shellfish. Yes, I knoooow salmon is not shellfish, but nonetheless my experience was quite traumatizing for me. You may read all about it here if you wish: boring

So, I am writing this before I eat….life of a food blogger is eating cold food since no good picture has steam in it. This may be the last and final time you hear from me unless Jared keeps up with my blog as he is my designated afterlife social media continuer……who won’t even read this. Both fitting and ironic. We continue!

Now, you may call me a hater but I never got(until now) what the big deal was with crusting fish. I mean white fish battered and deep fried with vinegar…..yes but beautiful salmon….why? Why, Why, Why? So, I tried it for myself and it is spectacular. Crunchy toppings go quite well with the buttery flakes of salmon. I imagine you could do this with any kind of fish but salmon, halibut and even shark are your “meatiest” of fish and they hold up well to a wide range of cooking methods. Best part? You can eat in 20 minutes!

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Ingredients – Makes 2 Servings
2 – 4oz Salmon Steaks
Insert Krystal’s Rant: pleeeeeease buy wild salmon! I know it is hard to find and I know it’s expensive but it is so worth it and so so soooo much better for you! End Rant
1 Egg
1/2 Cup Panko
1/4 Cup Toasted Unsweetened Shredded Coconut
1/4 Cup Toasted & Crushed Macadamia Nuts
1/2 Lemon Zest
S&P

That’s it!!

How To

I toasted both the coconut and the nuts together just in a pan over low-medium heat….once you can small them they are done pull off the heat. Wait for them to cool down and then pulverize in food processor/blender.
Add in a bowl the panko, nuts/coconut mixture, lemon zest and S&P. Separate bowl: crack and whisk your egg.
I only crusted one side of the fish but you do you.
Dunk one side of the salmon steak into the egg wash and then into your dry mixture. This is where you really want to make sure your dry mix is sticking and you have a nice layer.


In a cast iron skillet on medium-high heat melt your butter/oil. Place fish crusted side down for 2-3 minutes and depending on how you eat your salmon get some color on the naked side of the fish and then pop in the oven or cook another 2-3 minutes on the side, pull, rest, and enjoy medium salmon. Remember cooking time all depends on your personal preference of the salmon’s temperature as well as the size of your steaks, but you can always show these pictures to your butcher and they should be more than happy to cut them to this size.

Beautiful! I ate this completely on its own because I had been cooking for hours and this seemed to be a sufficient snack, but it would go well with a small salad or grilled veggies. Keep salmon lite!

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Roasted Potatoes with Pesto & Parmesan

Pesto.
Parm.
Potatoes.

HOW can I go wrong?

I love everything about mini golden potatoes because they are small(like me), roast up nicely in the oven, and I feel like I can eat more and feel less guilty since they are itty bitty……right? I used these as a side for this week’s dinner choices and they stay well in the fridge for a couple days and reheat beautifully. These are an easy side dish to make for yourself or impress everyone at an event or party. You could even stick some toothpicks in em and call em an appetizer 😉

Ingredients
1 Bag of Mini Golden Potatoes (about 20) – halved
1/2 Cup Pesto (homemade or store bought)
1/4 Cup Grated Parmesan Cheese
1/2 Lemon Zest + 1/2 Lemon Juice
S&P

How To
Cut all your potatoes in half after washing – potatoes are a dirty vegetable! Place potatoes on a sheet pan and drizzle with olive oil…coconut oil….avocado oil(my choice)….body oil….I don’t know. Any oil you like! Bake at 400 degrees for 25 minutes. At the 25 minute mark I pull the taters out of the oven and toss them with the pesto, parmesan, lemon, and S&P. Go light handed on your salt as both parmesan and pesto are salt bombs. I place them back in the oven for another 5-10 minutes and then you are done! Success! Hope you enjoy!

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Potatoes after 25 minutes at 400 degrees right before adding final ingredients

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Veggie Lasagna

Who doesn’t like veggie lasagna, and IF you raise your hand, why are you here?! I make many variations of veggie lasagna that I will post as it begins to cool down here in California…..if ever. I had a lot of requests for this lasagna and I figured it was safe to start with a basic veggie lasagna that can be customized to you or your family’s liking.

Is anyone else slightly traumatized by lasagna? Just me? My mother used to get the Stoufer ones ALL THE TIME, and if you’ve been reading this blog for long enough you know I am not the biggest fan on marinara or red pasta sauce EVEN MORE SO frozen sauce. Well, ONE TIME, and I repeat that it was only ONE TIME because everyone else in the household wanted regular lasagna my mom bought me vegetarian frozen lasagna which of course was made with alfredo. It was gross too! So, I didn’t eat lasagna until I began blogging and even then it was a few years before I dared to make my own. Now, I am a lasagna advocate. Dirty secret: I still don’t like and haven’t made red sauce lasagna. Oops. Maybe, I should work on that?

P.S EVERY YEAR for Christmas dinner my mom STILL tries to bring those nasty lasagnas in the house. She says “let’s just do something simple this year for Christmas dinner and get frozen lasagnas” and then baby jesus rolls over in his grave. No, Santa can pack those frozen lasagnas up and dump them over the Pacific.

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Ingredients
1 Box No Boil Lasagna Noodles – these things are amazing
3TBSP Kerrygold Butter
4 Cups Whole Fat Milk
2 Cups Grated Parmesan
3 Cups Shredded Mozzarella
4 Zucchini – Cut in half long ways then cut the halves in slices
2 Cups Mushrooms – Sliced
3 Cups Broccoli – Finely Chopped
1 Cup Sauteed Yellow Onion & 2 Cloves Garlic
3 TBSP Flour
2 Cups Ricotta
1 Egg
Fresh Basil
S&P
Red Chili Flakes
2 Roma Tomatoes for Garnish

How To

First you’ll need alfredo sauce, and you can absolutely buy store bought as I will not judge you, and I do it often. Yet, if we are making lasagna we are making lasagna…..I even have a pasta maker I could have dug out but I was having a flare up that day in my right hand so no rolling dough for me!
Alfredo is one of the easiest cream sauces to make and to make it a little tiny itsy bitsy healthier I use whole milk rather than cream. Take 3TBSP of butter and melt over medium heat, once melted add 3TBSP flour and whisk that around so the flour cooks(1-2 mins), and then add your milk. Let this come to a simmer and add the grated parmesan. Your sauce should thicken up once it comes to a simmer and boom – sauce is done! I let the sauce cool before assembly.

While your sauce cools you can make your ricotta mixture. In a bowl put the ricotta, egg, S&P, sauteed onions & garlic, red chili flakes, and some chopped basil. Mix.

Assembly – Take a ladle of your sauce to the bottom of your baking dish, lay out a layer of noodles, generously coat that layer of noodles with the ricotta mixture, lay out your veggies in any fashion you desire(I keep my zucchini thicker cut so that they don’t turn to mush, also no bake noodles are PERFECT for zucchini because they absorb any water the vegetable lets out), layer of cheese, and more sauce! Repeat until you are out of noodles or out of ingredients.

Foil the top of your lasagna and place in a 400 degree oven for 40 minutes. Remove foil and let cook for an additional 15-20 minutes to let the cheese on top get nice and bubbly.

I garnish with some chopped tomatoes, chopped basil, and mix those with some olive oil, S&P, and a squirt of lemon. Lasagna is heavy and this is a fatty dish so having some acidity helps cut through the fat and cleanse your tongue for the next bite! I hope you enjoy!