Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Chopping Block Recipes #1

I'm not entirely sure I'm going to actually do a lot of recipe stuff here, but I'm so excited about this latest thing we're doing in our house - I have to post it.

First, let me be very clear in stating - Until 2004 I hated salad.  In 2004, I began to learn an appreciation for fresh veggies and their taste because a lot of processed foods left my normal diet.  I even *GASP* liked some salads.  Now lettuce by itself still doesn't thrill me, but I've learned of a lot of varieties and discovered I like some of them (not Iceberg - blecch).  Sometime between 2009 and now, I stopped eating as healthy as I was.  There's a whole line of pyschological reasons based on events in my life that sum up to:  I stopped taking care of myself first and backburnered my health and eating choices. 

My husband and I have both been working on reversing that trend in our household.  So part of that plan took a turn when we discovered a fabulous restaurant called Chop'T Creative Salad Company.  We went to the one in Chinatown but there are several in DC, one in Reston and one in Bethesda (you lucky people!)

There are none in Woodbridge, Dahlgren (HAHAHAHAHAHaHAHA... sorry...whew... If you worked down here, you'd know why that makes me laugh), Waldorf, or basically anywhere not right in the core DC Metro area.  

The salads and sandwiches are awesome.  The premise behind the shop is genius.  The prices are a little higher than "fast food" but it's healthy and you get ginormous portions so it makes a couple meals easily.  In short - we love it.

However, we'll rarely get to eat there - but with a purchase of a mandolin from Bed, Bath, and Beyond (Thank you wedding present gift card...that I still need to send thank you cards for.. crap!), our flexible cutting boards at home, and a large mixing bowl: we can make our own!  Why is this better than normal salad?  No huge pieces of lettuce leaf, no toppings all trapped on top and sad lonely bland leaves on the bottom, bite-sized pieces which make it manageable to eat and it makes a large portion full of flavor without feeling like you're depriving yourself of anything.  Salad is ok, even good at times - chopped salad is awesome!

So to test the theory of "How hard can it be" I purchased some ready made salad kits of varying flavors, a bag of spring mix (Hubby likes Arugula) and combined that with the farm-fresh green onions and spinach we already have at home.  I added in salt and pepper (and some other seasonings depending on the salad), chopped them up, lightly dressed them and put them in containers in the fridge.  We ate the first one, the seafood chopped salad last night - It. Was. AWESOME.  I have a few edits I want to make next time around, but here's the recipe:

PS:  For the purists, I didn't buy all the veggies separate and clean and chop them myself because I have a 3+ hour commute, work a full-time job, and like sleeping.  When I can afford personal servants to shop, clean veggies, and prep my meals - I'll let you know what channel I'm filming on.

Seafood chopped salad:

Seafood salad bowl from Walmart: 130 calories containing iceberg lettuce (normally ick, but it was fine chopped up), carrot strands, imitation crabmeat, cheese, tomatoes, a lemon (I squeezed over the bowl at the end), and remoulade dressing.
1 cup spring mix
1 bulb green onion (don't omit, it gets chopped so fine you get the flavor and no not the texture)
1 cup spinach
Old Bay Seasoning

Chop all ingredients (except lemon and dressing) on chopping board with mandolin until small.  (I might have made mine too small, could have probably eaten this with a spoon!).  Toss into bowl, squeeze lemon over ingredients.  Toss with tongs and using 1-2 oz of dressing, coat the salad.   Dust mixture with salt, pepper, and Old Bay to taste.  Toss once more.

Perfect for two people.

Things I will change next time.  Add real lump crabmeat and small shrimp.  I dislike imitation crabmeat anyway and it just had no real flavor in the chopped salad.  Add something a little crunchy.  I need to research low calorie options for this, but I'll take suggestions.  A little extra crunch would have been wonderful.  We cleaned our bowls, were full, and didn't feel weighed down. 

Next on the list - Southwestern Salad...

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