A Salad Side (and a spring meatloaf muffin)

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April 27, 2013 by Jason Rice MD

It’s been a while since I’ve posted a new recipe, so I must apologize for that…work has been busy, and while I’m still cooking almost every night, I just haven’t had the time or the energy to take photos and write anything up. You’re not really missing anything, though – the last few weeks I’ve been mostly making repeats of recipes that are already posted.

But, today the sun was out and the temperature was in the mid-70s. I even had a day off. When the weather starts to get warm, it’s nice to have some lighter, brighter flavors, and that’s exactly what we did. When I’m in the mood for a light meal, I like to make a salad as my vegetable side dish. It really brightens the dish, and it’s a great way to utilize extra components from your entree. We were having another incarnation of meatloaf muffins tonight, flavored with a lime vinaigrette (quick recipe to be found below), and used a lot of the veggies and the dressing to make a tasty salad on the side.

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I don’t think there’s much point in making a “recipe” for a salad since it’s basically “cut stuff up and put it on a plate,” so I will just briefly describe the salad I made. The point of this post, really, is to illustrate that a salad is an ideal way to use the same ingredients you’re already using and really tie the meal together. Additionally, since the veggies are cooked in the meatloaf and raw in the salad, it provides both similarity and contrast.

I used baby arugula for the salad because I really like the flavor, but any lettuce, spinach or other greens will work just fine. To avoid over-dressing the salad, I placed the arugula into a large zip top bag with about one or two tablespoons of the vinaigrette, sealed the bag and shook it to lightly and evenly dress all of the arugula. I placed that down on plate first and then added some sweet onion, cherry tomato, red pepper and sliced mushroom. I topped it all with a few grinds of fresh pepper.

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The salad was delicious, refreshing and was complemented well by the open windows and the sounds of children playing outside. It was also the perfect accompaniment to the citrusy spring meatloaf muffins, as follows:

Preheat oven to 400. In a large bowl, combine a pound of ground chicken, 8-10 mushrooms finely chopped, 1/4 of a sweet onion finely chopped, 1 whole egg, 1/8 cup plain bread crumbs, 1 handful of arugula chopped, 2 tablespoons of citrus vinaigrette, 1/8 cup grated parmesan cheese, salt and pepper to taste. Mix meatloaf ingredients together and divide into a muffin pan lightly lined with olive oil. Bake for 30 minutes, remove and serve with a small salad or other fresh vegetables.

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I realize this post is a bit of a cop out after I haven’t posted anything in several weeks, but I will start posting more again soon. Spring is going to be a busy time, but things will start to slow down this summer and I’ll be able to spend more time in the kitchen. Even better, we are moving into grilling season, which will open up a whole new set of recipes and techniques to share. In the meantime, I hope this inspires you to make a quick salad as an elegant and healthy side to brighten up any dish. Enjoy!

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© Jason Rice and "Eats For All Ages" - 2012 to present. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used provided that full credit and citation is given to Jason Rice and/or "Eats For All Ages" with appropriate links or direction to the original content being used.
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