Leftover Lunch Salads



Enjoying spring days, warm sun, smooth breeze means finally craving fresh, raw, light meals again.   For me, spring = big meal salads.  Salads that satisfy, that you crave, that use up all of the delicious leftover morsels sealed away in the fridge from the night before.

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Lunch Salad Outline

Stock up on Sunday:

Make a few dressings to choose from throughout the week. I’m really enjoying this, and this one lately.  If you want to go really crazy, experiment with one of these.
Cook 2-3 of your favorite grains – millet, quinoa, brown rice, faro – sky’s the limit.
Stock up on veggies you enjoy eating raw – those super crisp carrots from the farmers market, a bouquet of radishes, buttery avocados, rainbow beets.
Roast extra vegetables for dinner each night.
Make extra protein for dinner each  night.  Double your bean recipe, slow-roast a whole side of salmon, marinade an extra chicken breast or two, or just hard boil a handful of eggs.



All salads need a base.  Combine leftover grains and an array crisp greens.  I like to a 20:80 ratio of grains to greens.

Top your base with shreds of fibrous, colorful veggies.  The more colors, the more beautiful your lunch salad will be.  If you have some leftover roasted vegetables, throw those in now too.  Yesterday I had leftover roasted cauliflower tossed in a lemon-parsley vinaigrette that took my salad to the next level. If you have any preserved veggies (capers, olives, roasted peppers) add those now too.  Toss all of this with 2-3 Tbsp of dressing.

Select your protein of choice and add around 4 oz to your salad. As Bon Appetite puts it – “What is a salad without protein? A snack.”  Protein helps to keep you full and, if we’re being honest, makes your salad all the more delicious.

Now for the extras – sprinkle on some crumbly feta, chop and toss in those aromatic hazelnuts you toasted last week, slide slivers of avocado out of their shell.

Serve yourself a big heap and dig. in.

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Dinner at the Distillery

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Earlier this year I collaborated with Cardinal Spirits in hosting a super fun, locally supported event we called Dinner at the Distillery.  Picture a four course dinner made with seasonal, locally sourced ingredients and each course perfectly paired with one-of-a-kind cocktails made by maestro barista Logan Hunter.   The menu, below, was designed by the super talented screen printer, Kristy Hughes.


The photographer of the evening, Anna Powell Teeter, just posted a beautiful photo essay of the evening.  Perhaps you’d like to take a look?

A week of seasonal vegetarian eating

As far as winters go, we’ve had it pretty mild in Bloomington.  Only two medium-sized snows, a handful of cold days, lots of sun.  Here is a menu plan and shopping list for a week’s worth of vegetarian meals celebrating the bounty of a mild winter.   A note, this menu is best cooked while listening to the  Junun soundtrack and dancing uncontrollably.


Poached egg on avocado toast with an apple or small salad
Steel cut oatmeal with frozen raspberries, banana, and a drizzle of honey

Lunches – follow lunch with a fruit of your choice
Turmeric broth with mung beans, kale, mushrooms, and millet
Sweet potato and broccoli/cauliflower bowl with miso-tahini dressing and an optional fried egg
Green soup with 1/4 cup of cooked quinoa stirred in and an optional serving of tofu or egg

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Dinners – follow dinner with a fruit of your choice
Red bean curry with brown rice and steamed veggies
Vegan palak paneer with quinoa
Butternut squash burrito bowls with salsa fresca and guacamole

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Shopping list  – makes 3 servings of each of the breakfasts, 4-6 servings of the lunches, and 6-8 servings of the dinners.  Piece together your week by enjoying leftovers on busy days.

2 avocados
3 bananas
2 cups frozen raspberries
10 fruits to eat after meals
2 cups mushrooms
2 bunches kale
7 onions
1/2 cup worth of ginger
3 heads garlic
2 sweet potatoes (1.5 pounds)
1 large bunch broccoli or cauliflower
45 oz spinach, swiss chard, or a combination of the two
2 bunch cilantro
1 yukon gold potato
1 tomato
1 medium butternut squash
1 red bell pepper
2 poblano chiles
1 large green chili

Beans, Grains, and Rice
1/2 cup millet
1 cup quinoa
1/2 cup mung beans
3 cups red kidney beans
3 cups black beans
1.5 cups brown rice
1 cup wild rice mix
1.5 cups steel cut oats

1 loaf whole-grain bread of choice
1 cup nutritional yeast
Marsala or dry sherry (optional)

2 cans diced tomatoes
1 can coconut milk

Condiments and Sauces
4 Tbsp honey
2 Tbsp Tahini
2 Tbsp white miso

A dozen eggs
4 cups unsweetened almond milk
2 14-oz blocks of tofu

Oils, vinegars, and juices
11 tsp fresh lime or lemon juice
Plenty of olive oil
1/4 cup rice vinegar
2 Tbsp toasted sesame oil

2.5 tsp turmeric
1/4 tsp mustard seeds
7 tsp cumin
1 tsp cayenne pepper
2 tsp sesame seeds
plenty of salt and pepper
7 tsp coriander
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
3 tsp garam masala
Red pepper flakes

Late Spring Sample Menu

After learning a bit about a client’s preferences, I give 7 options for them to choose from when designing their weekly menu.  Here is an example of just that.  Most clients go for 5 meals a week, four servings each.  All of these freeze perfectly and require very little work to reheat.  I love including a la carte add-ons.  Here I included a breakfast and dessert option. Bon appetite!


1. Chicken dish – Sesame-soy glazed chicken thighs with steamed farmers market vegetables tossed in an asian dressing and jasmine rice (GF, LF, DF)

2. Sandwich dish – Hamburger patties made with We farm beef, homemade buns, local Swiss Valley cheddar cheese, and sweet potato fries (GF without buns)

3. Pasta dish – Roasted beets and pasta bowties on a bed of orange zest and sage infused ricotta with a side salad (V, GF option)

4. Vegetarian dish – Baked and lightly breaded eggplant parmesan (pictured) with garlic bread (made on a bagguette from Muddy Fork Bakery) and side salad

5. Soup dish – Rhodes farm beef chili with 4 types of chiles and pinto beans and a loaf of cornbread (GF)

6. Kid’s pick – Oven-baked chicken fingers with a cherry tomato salad and fresh, chunky applesauce

7. Meat lover’s pick – Bacon wrapped meatloaf with roasted garlic mashed potatoes and side salad (GF)

Breakfast option – farmers market strawberry parfaits with almond granola from Muddy Fork Bakery

Dessert option – Dark chocolate fudge brownies (pictured below)


Brown Butter Beets with Orecchiette, Ricotta, and Pistachios

I was walking through the farmers market the other week when I spotted a stall selling beautiful, round, plump beets.  Usually beets at the market are on the small side – still bursting with flavor, don’t get me wrong, but not the big, juicy ones.  These were the big juicy ones.  I ran over and bough 4 bunches, confident I would find a way to use them throughout the week.  Imagine my excitement when I came across Melissa Clark’s article for a pasta recipe with brown butter, beets, ricotta, and pistachios.


The toasty aromas of brown butter, lovely pink hue that takes over the pasta, orange-zest infused ricotta, and crunchy green pistachios make this dish not only delicious to consume, but a pleasure to cook and to set in front of guests.


Melissa Clark’s Brown Butter Beets with Orecchiette, Ricotta, and Pistachios
Servings: 4-5         Cooktime: 30-40 minutes

1 1/2 cups whole milk ricotta
1/4 tsp orange zest (or more to taste)
1 1/2 tsp fresh sage, chopped
1 1/4 tsp salt, plus more for water
1/2 tsp black pepper
6 Tbsp unsalted butter, divided
1 1/2 pounds beets, peeled and finely grated or chopped
1 1/2 tsp balsamic vinegar
3/4 pound orecchiette pasta
1/2 cup parmesan
1/4 cup roasted, unsalted pistachios, chopped
Mix ricotta, orange zest, sage, salt, and pepper in a medium bowl.  Let come to room temperature while prepping and cooking the rest of the dish.
Heat a large pot of heavily salted water to a boil.
Brown 5 Tbsp of butter in a very hot sauté pan. Once it has turned into a dark hazelnut color and produces a toasty aroma, add beets.  Stir to coat, add a bit of salt and pepper. Reduce heat to low, cover and cook for 10 minutes.  Stir in vinegar.
While the beets are cooking, add orecchiette to the boiling water.  Cook until al dente.  Drain, but reserve 1/3 cup of liquid.  Combine pasta, parmesan, reserved cooking liquid, and 1 Tbsp of butter.  Toss well.  Mix in the beet mixture.
Dollop spoonfuls of ricotta on top of pasta and sprinkle generously with pistachios.  Serve immediately.
Pictures by the lovely and talented Anna Powell Teeter.

7 Days of Omnivorous Eating

Sprinkling a few meatless meals into the week not only increase the health of your meals.  It can also decrease food costs, cut down on the carbon footprint of the meal, and introduce new flavors and textures to the table.  There are so many reasons to have one or more meatless meals a week.  Below is a sample menu of how one could eat meatless every other day of the week.


Monday – Cheese and spinach stuffed pasta shells with a homemade marinara sauce and side salad

Tuesday – Wine-braised chicken legs with roasted broccoli and brown rice pilaf

Wednesday – Vegetable stir-fry with a soy glaze and white rice

Thursday – BBQ ribs with macaroni and cheese and steamed collard greens

Friday – Mexican lasagna with an avocado, tomato, red onion, and romaine salad tossed in a lime vinaigrette

Saturday – Salmon burgers with homemade buns and a side of carrot fries

Sunday – Roasted tomato soup with whole wheat rolls and side salad

Welcome to Plated Table | A Meat-Lover’s Sample Menu

Here is a sample of the types of meals I can make.  I cooked this last week for a family of 7. Each meal is packaged in glass pyrex – making it super easy to reheat – and labeled.  Though the menu below contains mostly meat dishes, I myself am a vegetarian.  Using Plated Table means you get to eat what you want to eat – so if that means meatless, vegan, meat-lover, or even gluten free, we can work it out.


Monday – Free range Chicken pot pie with a drop biscuit topping and crisp side salad
Tuesday – Sesame baked chicken thighs with honey-glazed carrots and white rice
Wednesday – Meatless southern black beans with garden salsa, roasted bell peppers, slices of avocado, and brown rice
Thursday – Bacon-wrapped meatloaf with a side of locally grown creamed spinach and classic mashed potatoes
Friday – Spaghetti with creamy bolognese sauce and a fresh chopped salad