Sides: Clean Eating Waldorf Salad

This week I’ve been focusing on eating my veggies, especially ones that I don’t eat much of. Celery is one of those things. I tend to only use it in soups, but its one of those great veggies that is full of vitamins and fiber. Much to my surprise, it’s pretty damn good mixed with fruit.

Waldorf Salad is one of those recipes that freak me out also because of the mayo that’s used. Mayo + fruit + celery just doesn’t seem right. Luckily this recipe swaps out the mayo for Greek yogurt, and it’s a great snack to have later in the morning around 11a when your stomach starts craving lunch a little early.

Let’s get started!

1 cup celery, diced (about 3-4 stalks)
2 Granny Smith apples, diced
½ cup chopped walnuts
½ cup grapes, halved
1 single-serve container of plain, nonfat Greek yogurt
¼ of a lemon

Throw the celery, apples, walnuts and grapes into a large tupperware. Squeeze the lemon into the container of yogurt and stir it well. Add the yogurt to the other ingredients, snap on the lid, and shake furiously to mix everything together. Keep chilled until you’re ready to serve.

Waldorf Salad

Waldorf Salad

Pro tip: Keep the walnuts in a bag and when you’re chopping them, take the back of your knife and smash them with your palm instead. This will keep them in one place, and when you’re ready to add them, just pour them from the bag. Less mess!

Smashing walnuts!

Smashing walnuts!

Dinner: Cube Steak

I whipped this original recipe up last weekend before our home bout. I was NSO’ing, so I didn’t really care about what I put into my body. I just wanted something hearty and comforting. I wanted to make cube steak earlier that week, so I had some on hand. I also had some baby portabellas and some leftover onions that needed to be used. Every time I tried to find a recipe for cubed steak I kept being told I needed to use canned soups and soup mixes.

Why is it so hard to make something flavorful and convenient without having to use sodium-packed mixes and canned soups?!

Turns out, it’s not. I grabbed my ingredients, took the basics of cube steak, and just started cooking.

Here we go!

You’ll need:

1 lb cube steak
1 cup Portobello mushrooms, sliced
1 onion, sliced
2 cloves of garlic, minced
Salt & Pepper
1 cup of flour
Butter or oil, or in my case bacon drippings (bacon makes it better…)
1 ½ cups of stock

Mushrooms, garlic, and onions. Great start!

Mushrooms, garlic, and onions. Great start!

1. Turn your burner on to medium-high heat. Melt a little butter or oil in the pan, just enough to slick the bottom.

2. Take your cube steak and season each side with salt and pepper. Lay it in a Tupperware bowl that you’ve put the flour into. Knock the sides of the bowl (over the sink!) to shake flour all over the steak. *This method is much easier and less messy than shaking things in a bag.* You could omit the flour, but the flour helps develop the rich gravy that you get at the end. Your call.

Dredging the cubed steak...

Dredging the cubed steak…

3. Fry each cube steak in the pan until each side gets a golden crust, about 5 minutes per side. Remove from the pan and set aside.

This smells amazing...

This smells amazing…

4. Add a little more butter or oil to the pan, again just enough to slick the bottom. Add your mushrooms, garlic, and onions. Sautee until the onions get a golden brown color to them.

More amazing smells...

More amazing smells…

5. Slide the cube steak back in, pour in any drippings that may be left on the plate, and add your stock.

6. Cut the heat down to medium-low, cover, and simmer for about 20 minutes. Halfway through, turn the cube steaks.

7. Pair with some mashed potatoes and veggies. I had some brussell sprouts that I roasted. Then I did my hair in a cute pin up bandana and enjoyed my retro meal!

Cubed Steak with Roasted Brussell Sprouts

Cubed Steak with Roasted Brussell Sprouts

Dinner: Lentil, Bacon, and Rosemary Soup

I’m pretty sure this is my favorite take on lentil soup. It’s just the right amount of broth, the lentils haven’t soaked up all of the liquid, and if you keep your veggies roughly chopped you’ll end up with a hearty, rustic soup. Split pea soup should be creamy in my book, but lentil soup should have lots of texture. For only using a cup of lentils, this recipe actually yields a good amount. Freeze extra in bags or containers and reheat later when you don’t feel like cooking or for an easy lunch.

You’ll need:

1 cup of lentils
3-4 strips of bacon, chopped
1 onion, diced
1 leek, chopped and rinsed thoroughly
2 celery stalks, chopped
2 carrots, diced
2-3 sprigs of fresh rosemary, chopped
2 bay leaves
1 14oz can on whole plum tomatoes
1 ¾ quarts of stock
Salt and pepper to taste

1. Brown the bacon in a heavy pot until crisp on medium-high heat. Add the onion and sauté until the onions are translucent.

Everything is better with bacon...

Everything is better with bacon…

2. Add the leek, celery, carrot, rosemary and bay leaves. Stir everything to coat with the bacon drippings, and cook 3-5 minutes.

The base for the soup

The base for the soup

3. Add the canned tomatoes (juices included) and the stock. Bring to a simmer, then cut the heat down to medium-low. Cover the pot and simmer for 2 hours.

4. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve hot with crusty French bread!

Sides: Beets with Orange Vinaigrette

I’ve always been a little obsessed with beets. As a kid (and holding a piece of lettuce near me would send me into a fit) I would feast on piles of cottage cheese, sunflower seeds, bacon bits, croutons, and pickled beets on trips to the salad bar. Not mixed together, of course.

Though I still love the beets that come out of jars and cans, I’ve become fond of the fresh beets that you can pick up in the produce section at the grocery store these days. I used to roast them, but then I tried this recipe and really liked how it blended fresh, light ingredients with that vinegar flavor I love with beets so much. This is an adapted Ina Garten recipe from The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook. Sorry Ina, I love you and all, but I can’t be spending $10 on raspberry vinegar. I used balsamic instead.

I won’t lie to you either… If you eat fresh beets, you will poop purple. No joke. Get ready.

You’ll need:

2 lb fresh beets, trimmed
1 Tbs Balsamic vinegar
2 Tbs orange juice
2 Tbs olive oil
Salt and Pepper to taste
¼ cup diced red onion
2 large oranges, zested and segmented. Navels are great, and I used some blood oranges

1. Trim the tops off of the beets and boil uncovered in salted water for about an hour, until they are soft.

2. Once the beets are cool enough to handle but still warm, peel and dice into small cubes. Everything will be purple!

Blood Oranges and Beets

Blood Oranges and Beets

3. Mix the beets with the onion, orange segments, olive oil, orange juice, and balsamic vinegar. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

4. Serve at room temperature or cold.

Beets with Orange Vinaigrette

Beets with Orange Vinaigrette