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Watermelon Mint Salad

19 Aug

August always feels a little rushed to me. I usually spend the month trying to squeeze in those last outings and get togethers with friends and family and making sure I spend as much time outside as possible since I know the Minnesota Winter is right around the corner… And as it goes with busy schedules it’s a challenge to really sit back, relax and truly appreciate the time that you are spending with your family and friends.

With that being said, I was just recently able to spend some quality time with a good group of girlfriends of mine at one of their houses enjoying the summer weather out on her deck. We try to get together once every 6-8 weeks which with everyone’s schedule can be a little tricky but this time most of us were able to make it and we enjoyed a few summer salads and some grilled pizzas. Everyone always brings something and it turned out to be a fantastic spread! One stand out dish was a watermelon mint salad, pretty much summer in a bowl I think; so crisp, refreshing and light! I am hoping to make this salad one more time before the summer has passed us by…and by the looks of my calendar I will have plenty of chances!

Ingredients

  • 1 small seedless watermelon cut up or “balled” into bite size pieces
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil and 1/2 cup red wine vinegar. (use as much as you need to coat all watermelon chunks)
  • 1/2 of a sweet onion thinly sliced
  • a bunch of mint roughly chopped (I’d say about 1/2 to 1 cup)
  • salt and pepper to taste

Preparation

Serves: 4-6

Time: 10 minutes

First ball or cut watermelon into bite size chunks. Mix red wine vinegar, salt and pepper together and slowly
add oil while whisking. Gently mix mint, onion and melon together in bowl or carved out half melon rind and pour vinegar mixture over the salad.

Enjoy!

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Quinoa Salad with Veggies and Grilled Chicken

5 Aug

So life tends to happen…and as it goes I have fallen behind on posts but have no worries things have finally slowed down and I am able to get back in the swing of things. The recipe below is one of my summer staples. It is easily modified to whatever veggies you have in your fridge and can be done on the stove top or the grill, which I prefer since here in MN our grilling months are numbered…

This recipe is so versatile which is one of the reasons why I love it so much. Another reason is that it takes me back to a great family vacation memory – years ago we were in Laguna Beach visiting friends of my parents and Hilde (the hostess) made the most FANTASTIC grilled chicken. Now it could have been the fact that I was on vacation, or that I was a little delirious from all that lounging on the beach but I decided I had to have the recipe and have been loving it ever since.

Feel free to play around with this! I have made it many times with couscous or rice and a multitude of different veggies. It just so happened that I picked up some zucchini, squash and fresh sweet corn at the Farmers Market this past weekend.

Quinoa Salad with Veggies and Grilled Chicken

Marinade

  • 2 Tbls Honey
  • 1 Tbls Coarse Mustard
  • 1/2 Cup Balsamic
  • 2/3 Cup Olive Oil
  • 1 Lemon, juiced
  • 1 Lime, juiced
  • Salt to taste
  • Pepper to taste

Quinoa

  • 1 Zucchini
  • 6-8 Baby Bella Mushrooms
  • 1 Yellow Summer Squash
  • 1-2 Ears Grilled Sweet Corn
  • 1 Cup Quinoa
  • 4 Chicken Breasts
  • Salad Greens
  • Balsamic Vinaigrette (I used my favorite store-bought dressing)
Preparation
Time: About 45 minutes
Serves: 4
Combine marinade ingredients together in a bowl. Split into two, one for the chicken and one for the veggies. Marinate the chicken anywhere from 30 minutes to a few hours. Cut the zucchini, squash and mushrooms into chunks and marinate them for 30 minutes. While the chicken and veggies are marinating, soak the corn in cold water for at least 20-30 minutes.
Heat the grill to medium/high and put the corn on. The corn takes about 25-30 minutes on the grill. You can easily check its progress by pulling down one of the ear’s husks. After about 5-10 minutes put the chicken on and then create an aluminum foil “tray” for the veggies and put them on the grill as well. Add a bit of veggie marinade a couple of times to the aluminum foil tray while they are grilling.
As the chicken and veggies are grilling, prepare the quinoa. In lieu of water when I am making any sort of rice, couscous or quinoa I use chicken broth. I think that it adds a nice flavor but feel to free to use water or vegetable broth as well.
After you take the veggies and chicken off the grill and let the chicken rest for about 5-7 minutes, toss the salad greens with the balsamic vinaigrette, cut the corn off of the cob and mix the veggies in with the couscous. Plate the salad greens and top with couscous and one sliced chicken breast.
Enjoy!