Chopped Kale and Roasted Corn Salad with Cilantro Lime Vinaigrette

Chopped Kale and Roasted Corn Salad with Cilantro Lime Vinaigrette

Chopped Kale and Roasted Corn Salad with Cilantro Lime VinaigretteOk so it’s been like four months since my last post. Pathetic, I know. But it’s not like I don’t have an excuse. Quite the contrary. I have all kinds of awesome excuses…

I went back to work in a no kidding office in the city. Briefcase and all. And can I tell you how much I love my job? Sometimes I have to pinch myself because I feel so fortunate to work with so many creative people. Seriously, the place runneth over with talent. But the best part is that I get to do what I love to do and I know that not everyone gets that opportunity. I’m a lucky girl.

I also hurt my back and had my wisdom teeth pulled out. None of that inspired me to pull out a frying pan. Matter of fact, for three months we ate a lot of foods we normally don’t. Takeout, mac-n-cheese, chicken nuggets. I was a hurtin’ puppy. Cooking was not a priority.

And while I’m listing excuses, I’ll also mention that I’m a mother of four. The kids are a major time suck, but in a good way. Recently we went through a health scare with our littlest which made me reflect on how much I love them and how lost I would be without them. They are the nucleus of my existence and if I lost any of them, my being would shatter into a gazillion fragments.

And that’s why I haven’t been posting.

Enough of that. Let’s talk food. I recently went down to Miami for the food blogging conference BlogHer Food. Miami is well known for good eats, so it seemed only right to try out some local restaurants. I did a little research and found that Yardbird Southern Table looked quite promising. Southern food served in an upscale setting. Chicken and waffles. Shrimp and Grits. Crispy fried chicken. If it was southern, they had it. And of course I wanted to eat it all.

Alas, one cannot do that in one visit, so I settled on a kale salad and the chicken and waffles. But truth be told, there was no settling whatsoever. I know that a kale salad does not sound very exciting. But let me tell you, it was one of the very best salads I had in my entire life. Chopped kale, apples, cheddar cheese, cornbread croutons and moonshine raisins. The menu listed the dressing as “cider vinegar” but clearly they were holding out.

I could taste citrus, a light tang of vinegar and several other mystery flavors that made for the most luscious salad that ever entered my mouth. Of course I immediately started pushing the salad around on my plate in order to decipher what the heck they did to make such a marvelous creation. And while I did a damn good job replicating the dressing, this version is a little different because let’s face it, moonshine raisins aren’t easy to come by in Boston.

Chopped Kale and Roasted Corn Salad with Cilantro Lime VinaigretteMy version starts the same as the Yardbird’s. A big ole head of chopped kale. I have to be honest with you. I’m not at all a fan of kale. Matter of fact, I avoid it. It’s just not my favorite leafy green. Spinach? Sure. Collard greens? Absolutely. Kale, meh.

Even still, it really works with this recipe. Kale has just the right texture for a chopped salad. It doesn’t mush down and get soggy. I hate soggy salads.

Chopped Kale and Roasted Corn Salad with Cilantro Lime VinaigretteTheir recipe didn’t have corn in it, but I did put it in my version. That’s the beauty of a chopped salad. You can pretty much use any veggie you like. I especially like roasted corn. So in it went.

Chopped Kale and Roasted Corn Salad with Cilantro Lime VinaigretteThe Yardbird menu did not mention bacon in the salad, but I definitely detected that undeniable smoky bacon flavor in the mix.  Gotta love a salad that has cheese and bacon in it. That’s my kind of salad.

Chopped Kale and Roasted Corn Salad with Cilantro Lime VinaigretteFor crunch I added sweet Vidalia onions and some chopped pecans. The addition of crunchy foods really perks up a salad. Don’t you think?

And if you don’t love pecans, use any nut you like. Walnuts, cashews and almonds are all great choices. Or if you are allergic to nuts, just skip it. The onions give the salad a nice crunch on their own.

But what makes this salad truly special is the dressing. The Yardbird dressing seemed to have a citrusy flavor with just a bit of sweet to it. My version is similar in flavor but I’ve added cilantro and a bit of jalapeño for a little kick. I know that not everyone likes cilantro. If you aren’t gah gah for cilantro like I am, you can substitute with just about any herb you like. Fresh tarragon or marjoram would be fine choices.

While this salad isn’t exactly the Yardbird version, it sure is close. You can serve it with just about anything or even serve it as an entree. It’s hearty enough with the bacon, cheese and nuts that it absolutely could be an entire meal on its own.

If you ever make your way down to Miami, do be sure to stop by Yardbird Southern Table. You won’t regret it. I will be dreaming about their kale salad and chicken and waffles for the rest of my days. Which is also the amount of time I will need to burn those calories off. Whoa mama.

Chopped Kale and Roasted Corn Salad with Cilantro Lime Vinaigrette
 
Author:
Recipe type: Salad
Serves: 6-8
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
 
A hearty kale and roasted corn salad with a hint of smoke from thick cut bacon. Dressed with a tangy cilantro lime vinaigrette.
Ingredients
For the Salad
  • 6 cups kale, chopped
  • 4 cups corn kernels, roasted (I actually grilled mine)
  • 1 8oz brick of cheddar cheese, diced (freeze the block first)
  • ¾ cup Vidalia onion, diced
  • 1 cup, red bell pepper, diced
  • ½ cup pecans, chopped
  • ½ cup thick cut bacon, cooked crisp and chopped
For the Dressing
  • 1 cup olive oil
  • 1 cup fresh cilantro
  • 3 limes, juiced
  • 1 shallot, chopped
  • 4 Tbsp white vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp honey
  • 1 jalapeño pepper, seeded (or less if you don't like heat)
  • Salt and pepper to taste (I used ½ tsp salt and about 6 cranks of pepper)
Instructions
  1. Combine all salad ingredients in a large bowl. Toss well.
  2. Place dressing ingredients into a blender or food processor and process until smooth. Use as much of the dressing as you like and store the rest in the fridge for up to one week.

 

Creamy Stovetop Cauliflower Mac n Cheese

Creamy Stovetop Cauliflower Mac n Cheese

Creamy Stove Top Cauliflower Mac n ChesseEven though my kids are pretty good eaters, sometimes it’s challenging to get certain foods into them. Foods that are high in fiber are particularly difficult. But what I’ve found is that if I sneak high fiber foods into dishes they enjoy, it’s easier to get them to eat it.

So when Dreamfields Pasta asked me to develop a high fiber and easy to make meal using their product, I was happy to do so. I had already been tossing around in my mind ways to add cauliflower to our diet because that is a very high fiber veggie. But guess what? My kids don’t like it. Time to hide it in something.

Creamy Stove Top Cauliflower Mac n CheeseFew kids don’t like mac n cheese. Heck, I love it myself. But the problem with mac n cheese is that it’s so high in fat. This version I’m sharing with you today is quite a bit lighter than traditional mac n cheese. The creaminess comes from the mashed cauliflower which not only makes the dish velvety, but it also adds a generous helping of fiber.

And you can’t even see the cauliflower in the dish. My kids scarfed it down and even asked for seconds. I win.

This trick would work well with just about any dish that requires a heavy white cream sauce. A simple way to add creaminess without a bazillion calories from cream and butter.

Also, if you are looking to introduce healthier carbs to your dinner plate, give Dreamfields Pasta a try. With 5 grams of fiber and 7 grams of protein per serving, it’s an easy way to add nutrition to your diet and it tastes great!

For more recipe inspiration, be sure to check out the Dreamfields Pinterest and Facebook pages.

How About A Giveaway?

How would you like to win a case of Dreamfields Pasta? All you have to do is comment on this post with your first name, last initial, the state you are from and your favorite pasta dish. Entries must be received by Friday, February 28th 11:59pm ET. Good luck!

4.4 from 12 reviews
Creamy Stove Top Cauliflower Mac n Cheese
 
Author:
Recipe type: Entree
Cuisine: American
Serves: 6
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
 
A lighter version of mac n cheese. Velvety and comforting with a fraction of the calories thanks to the addition of mashed cauliflower.
Ingredients
  • 4 cups cauliflower, chopped into bite sized chunks
  • 1 lb Dreamfields Pasta (you can use any shape)
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 1½ Tbsp flour
  • 1¼ cup milk (I used 1%)
  • 3 cups sharp cheddar cheese, shredded (low-fat is fine)
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 2 tsp ground mustard
  • salt and pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. Bring a pot of water to boil. Add cauliflower and cook until fork tender. Drain and mash. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.
  2. Cook pasta just to al dente. Drain and set aside.
  3. In a heavy pot, melt butter over medium heat. Whisk flour into butter. Cook for three to four minutes or until the mixture turns golden.
  4. Slowly add milk while vigorously whisking. Add cheese, egg, ground mustard, mashed cauliflower and cooked pasta. Cook for four to five minutes over medium heat.
  5. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve with toasted breadcrumbs or top with a little extra cheese.

 

Roasted Pineapple Rum Chicken

Roasted Pineapple Rum Chicken

Roasted Pineapple Rum Chicken

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Honey Mandarin Orange Butter Cake

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Buffalo Chicken Pull Apart Bread

Buffalo Chicken Pull Apart Bread

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Creamy Pesto Chicken Spirals

Creamy Pesto Chicken Spirals

Creamy Chicken Pesto Spirals

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Molasses and Cornmeal Griddle Cakes

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Molasses and Cornmeal Griddle Cakes

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Hot Shrimp Po Boy Dip

Hot Shrimp Po Boy Dip

Hot Shrimp Po Boy Dip

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Caribbean Short Ribs and a Fireball Cocktail

Caribbean Short Ribs and a Fireball Cocktail

Carribean Short Ribs

For my second Captain's Table Challenge which features recipes using Captain Morgan Rum, I decided to go a little tropical. It's only mid-Decmeber and I've already had enough of the cold weather. I'm dreaming about palm trees and sunshine over here. So this next recipe has a bit of an island flair. Caribbean Short Ribs... I love that this recipe has the flavors of the tropics but still has the heft of comfort food. I might be jonesing for flip flop weather but my tummy still knows that I live … [Continue reading...]