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Drizzling pomegranate vinaigrette over a Niçoise Salad with Bacon

Niçoise Salad with Bacon and Pomegranate Molasses Vinaigrette


  • Author: RebeccaBlackwell
  • Prep Time: 60 minutes
  • Total Time: 60 minutes
  • Yield: 4 large salads

Description

This somewhat non-traditional take on the delicious Niçoise Salad includes buttery potatoes, marinated peppers, green beans, cherry tomatoes, bacon, and tangy Pomegranate Molasses Vinaigrette.

*This recipe has been modified to fit this week’s meal plan. Click here for the original Nicoise Salad recipe.


Ingredients

For the Pomegranate Molasses Vinaigrette:

  • 1/3 cup diced shallot (1 large shallot, outer skin removed)
  • 1/3 cup unseasoned rice vinegar
  • 1 tbsp dijon mustard
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 3 tbsp pomegranate molasses (*see note)
  • 2 tsp kosher salt (3 tsp table salt)
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup bacon fat – reserved from sautéing bacon for the salad. You can also use extra virgin olive oil if you prefer.

For the Salad:

  • 2 tsp grapeseed or extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 lb thick cut bacon, sliced into 1-inch pieces (after cooking, reserve bacon grease for salad dressing)
  • 1 lb new potatoes (small round potatoes), washed and unpeeled
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 tbsp unseasoned rice vinegar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1/2 lb green beans (approximately 1 1/2 cups), fresh or frozen. If fresh, snip off the ends and cut into 1-inch pieces.
  • 1 medium size red onion, outer skin removed, cut in half, each half cut into thin (about 1/8-inch) slices
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes
  • 1 cup (approximately 12 ounces) marinated roasted bell peppers (*see note)
  • 8 cups washed Romain or Boston Lettuce cut into bite-size pieces (*see note)
  • Croutons, for serving, prepared or Homemade. (*See note)

Instructions

Make the Pomegranate Molasses Vinaigrette:

  1. Put the diced shallots in a bowl and pour the rice vinegar over them. Let sit for 15 minutes to mellow their flavor. Add the mustard, honey, pomegranate molasses, salt, and pepper and whisk to combine. Add the bacon fat or olive oil by pouring it into the dressing in a thin steady steam, whisking constantly as you pour.

Make the Salad: 

  1. Cook the bacon: Add the oil to a 12-inch (or larger) skillet and set it over medium heat. Add the pieces of bacon and cook, stirring frequently, until the bacon is crispy. Using a slotted spoon, remove the cooked bacon from the skillet to a paper towel lined plate to drain. Reserve the bacon fat that’s in the skillet for the salad dressing.
  2. Cook the potatoes: Fill a large saucepan about halfway with water and add 2 tablespoons of salt and the potatoes. Set the pan over high heat to bring the water to a boil. When the water boils, lower the heat slightly, to maintain a simmer. Let the potatoes boil until tender – approximately 20 minutes. Drain the cooked potatoes in a colander set in the sink then place them in a bowl. Add 1 tbsp rice vinegar and toss the potatoes around in the bowl to coat. Set aside.
  3. Cook the eggs: Fill a medium size saucepan about 3/4 full of water and set it over high heat. When the water comes to a boil, carefully add the eggs. Let the water come back to a full boil, then reduce the heat so that the water maintains a very gentle simmer with bubbles breaking the surface only here and there. Let the eggs cook in the gently simmering water for 10 minutes. Remove the eggs to a bowl of ice water, let sit for at least 10 minutes to cool, then peel and cut into 1/4 inch thick slices.
  4. Cook the green beans: Fill a medium size saucepan about halfway full with water and add 1 tbsp of salt. Set the pan over high heat and bring the water to a boil. Add the green beans (no need to thaw if frozen) and boil for about 3 minutes, just until the beans are tender. Drain in a colander in the sink. Rinse the beans under cold water for a minute or two to stop their cooking.
  5. Assemble and serve the salad: You can either assemble the salad on one large platter, or set out all the salad components and let each person build their own. If assembling on a large platter, lay down the lettuce first, then arrange all the other components in groups over the salad. Either drizzle the dressing over the salad, or allow each person to dress their own. Pass the croutons alongside the salad; adding them to the salad will make them soggy.

Notes

  • If you’re making this salad as a main dish for 4 people, 8 cups of lettuce will allow for 2 cups per person, which is a generous amount of greens. If you feel this is too much (or too little) adjust accordingly.
  • Because it’s become increasingly popular over the past few years, you can sometimes find bottles of Pomegranate Molasses in supermarkets. And, of course, like everything else in the world, you can order it on Amazon. A bottle of Pomegranate Molasses will run you around $15. Making it yourself will cost you about 1/3 of that and is as simple as pouring some pomegranate juice into a pan and letting it reduce down into a thick, intensely flavored syrup. Here’s how to make it.
  • Marinated Bell Peppers are one of my favorite refrigerator staples. They are easy to make and will keep in the refrigerator for up to 3 weeks. You can also find jars of prepared marinated peppers in most major supermarkets. They are also available on Amazon.
  • Homemade Crouton options: Homemade croutons are one of those things that are so simple to make and so delicious that I feel they’re almost always worth it. This simple recipe will show you how.  Another option, is to simply sautéed some bread cubes in leftover bacon fat. Simply cut a few slices of bread into 1-inch cubes, heat a few tablespoons of bacon grease in a skillet, and toast the bread in the hot bacon grease until crunchy. Sprinkle the croutons with a bit of salt towards the end of cooking.

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A bowl of Asian Short Rib Beef Fried Rice

Short Rib Fried Rice


  • Author: RebeccaBlackwell
  • Prep Time: 45 Minutes
  • Cook Time: 18 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 3 minutes
  • Yield: 6 servings

Description

Short rib meat as tender as butter and coated in sauce from my all-time favorite Asian Short Rib recipe is the starting point for this delicious saucy fried rice. A handful of vegetables and pomegranate molasses create a rich and flavorful meal that’s deeply satisfying.

*This recipe has been modified to fit this week’s meal plan. Click here for the original Short Rib Fried Rice recipe.


Ingredients

For the short rib meat:

1 recipe Asian Short Ribs: Follow the recipe instructions to turn the cooking liquid into a sauce, reducing the liquid until you have 2 cups of sauce. Use 1 cup of sauce for tonight’s short ribs and reserve the other cup of sauce for Black Eyed Peas with Andouille Sausage on Day #3. Remove the meat  from the bone and shred. Use as much or as little short rib meat as you like for this dish, reserving any remaining meat for other dishes. (You’ll find a list of other recipes that use short rib meat right above the recipe. Short Rib Meat will freeze well – add it to an airtight container with some of the sauce and freeze for up to 3 months.)

*Reserve the short rib bones in a separate container in the refrigerator. They will be used to enrich the sauce for Black Eyed Peas and Sausage on Day #3.

For the rice:

  • 3 cups jasmine or long-grain white rice
  • 3 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 4 cups water
  • 1/2 tsp salt

For the Fried Rice:

  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 cup green beans, fresh or frozen and thawed, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 3 tbsp butter, divided
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1/2 cup diced shallot
  • 1 cup broccoli florets
  • 1/4 cup pomegranate molasses

Instructions

Cook and chill the rice:

  1. Pour the rice into a fine mesh strainer and rinse under cold running water until the water runs clear.  This helps remove any excess starch from the grains. Let drain.
  2. Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat until hot and shimmering. Add the rice and cook, stirring constantly, for 1 minute.
  3. Add the water and salt. Increase the heat to high and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover the pan, and cook until the rice has absorbed all the water, about 17-18 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat, remove the lid and cover the pan with a clean dish towel that’s been folded in half. Replace the lid, setting it over the dish towel and let stand for 10 minutes.
  4. Spread HALF the rice out in an even layer onto a baking sheet. Let cool 10 minutes then chill in the refrigerator for 20 minutes. Reserve the other half of the cooked rice in a container in the refrigerator for Black Eyed Peas with Andouille Sausage on Day #3. While the rice chills, proceed with the rest of the dish. (You can prepare the rice up to 2 days ahead of time. Scoop into an airtight container and store in the refrigerator until ready to use.)

Make the Fried Rice:

  1. Put the green beans in a microwave safe bowl and sprinkle with 1 tablespoon of water and about a 1/2 tsp of salt. Cover and cook in the microwave on high for 4 minutes, until crisp-tender. Set aside.
  2. Add 1 tablespoon of butter to a large non-stick skillet or wok and set over medium heat. When the butter has melted, add the eggs. Cook stirring constantly, just until the eggs are scrambled. (Be careful to not over cook. You want the eggs to be set but not super dry.) Scrape the scrambled eggs out of the pan onto a plate and set aside.
  3. Rinse out the skillet, add 1 more tablespoon of butter, and return to medium-high heat. When the butter has melted, add the diced shallot and and broccoli florets. Sprinkle with about 1/4 tsp of salt and cook, stirring frequently, for 3 minutes.
  4. Add 1 more tablespoon of butter to the skillet. Add the green beans and stir-fry for 1 minute longer.
  5. Add the rice, pomegranate molasses, short rib sauce, and short rib meat to the skillet. Stir to combine, bring to a simmer, and reduce the heat to medium. Let simmer for 5-10 minutes, stirring frequently, until the sauce has thickened.
  6. Stir in the scrambled eggs and serve.

 

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Taking a bite of Black Eyed Peas with Andouille Sausage served over rice.

Black Eyed Peas with Andouille Sausage


  • Author: RebeccaBlackwell
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 2 1/2 houra
  • Total Time: 59 minute
  • Yield: 6 servings

Description

Black eyed peas become incredibly creamy and flavorful when cooked low and slow with paprika, garlic, and shallots. Served with sautéed Andouille Sausage and rice, this is a hearty, nourishing dish that’s especially comforting when the nights are cold and the days are short.

*This recipe has been modified to fit this week’s meal plan. Click here for the original Black Eyed Pea and Sausage recipe.


Ingredients

  • 1 lb dried black eyed peas, pre-soaked according to instructions below. (Curious about why soaking beans is important? See the original recipe for an explanation about what soaking accomplishes.)
  • 2 tbsp grapeseed or extra virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1/4 cup minced shallot (1 medium shallot, outer skin removed and chopped into small pieces)
  • 3 tsp minced garlic (about 3 cloves of garlic)
  • 1/2 tsp salt (more to taste)
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper
  • 2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/41/2 tsp ground cayenne (to taste)
  • 5 cups chicken stock
  • 1 cup Asian Short Rib Sauce (*See note for substitutions)
  • Short Rib bones, reserved from Asian Short Ribs
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 21 oz Andouille Sausage (You’ll reserve half for Couscous with Butternut Squash and Sausage on Day #5)
  • About 3 cups of cooked rice, for serving (allowing for about 1/2 cup of rice per serving)

Instructions

*Prepare dried black eyed peas by soaking them in water before cooking. To soak beans in water overnight: Rinse beans in a colander set in the sink, then place in a large bowl and cover with water. Put the beans in the refrigerator to let soak for up to 24 hours. Drain and rinse the peas. Quick-Soak method: Rinse beans in a colander set in the sink, then put them in a saucepan and cover with water. Set the pan over high heat, bring the water to a boil; let boil for 2 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat, cover, and let the peas soak for 1 hour. Drain and rinse the peas.

  1. Add 1 tablespoon of oil, minced shallot, and garlic a large saucepan or dutch oven. Set over medium heat and cook until soft, about 3 – 4 minutes. Add salt, pepper, paprika, and ground cayenne, and cook for 1 minute longer, stirring constantly.
  2. Add the chicken stock, Asian Short Rib Sauce (see note below for substitutions), reserved short rib bones, and baking soda. Turn the heat to high and bring to a boil. Stir in the black eyed peas and the bay leaves. Cover the pot and adjust the heat to maintain a gentle simmer. Cook, stirring every once in a while, until the beans are very soft and falling apart, about 2 hours. (Cooking time might vary – See note.)
  3. While the beans cook, cut the andouille sausage into 1/2-inch thick slices. Heat the remaining tablespoon of oil in a large skillet set over medium heat. Add the sausage in batches and cook, turning the pieces over every now and then, for 5-10 minutes, until the sausage is well browned. (Don’t over crowd the pan; add only enough sausage to cover the bottom of the pan without any overlapping. Cook the sausage in batches.) Remove from the heat. Use half the sausage in this dish and reserve the other half for Couscous with Butternut Squash and Sausage on Day #5.
  4. When the black eyed peas are soft and falling apart, taste and add more salt if desired. Stir in the cooked andouille sausage and serve over rice.

Notes

  • If for some reason you don’t have any leftover short rib sauce, you can substitute the following ingredients: 1/4 cup soy sauce, 3/4 cup chicken broth, 2 tbsp dark brown sugar, 1 tbsp grated fresh ginger, 1 tbsp toasted sesame oil, 2 tbsp chili garlic sauce. Stir all the ingredients together, then add in place of Asian Short Rib sauce.
  • Cooking time might vary considerably depending on a wide variety of factors including age of the beans and even climate and altitude. Allow some flexibility in your cooking schedule to accommodate a longer cook time if necessary.
  • Slow Cooker Option: One reader left a comment on the original recipe that they had great success cooking this dish in the slow cooker. Start the dish on the stovetop; but instead of letting it simmer on the stovetop for a couple of hours, dump everything into the slow cooker and let it cook on low for about 6 hours.

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Simple Perfect Roasted Cabbage

Simple Roasted Cabbage


  • Author: RebeccaBlackwell
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 35 minutes
  • Total Time: 40 minutes
  • Yield: 6 servings

Ingredients

  • 1 head of cabbage
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • salt and pepper

Instructions

  1. Heat oven to 425 degrees.
  2. Trim the bottom and core from the cabbage. Cut the cabbage in half, crosswise. Then cut each half into three thick slices, for a total of six slices. Lay the cabbage slices in a 9×13 baking dish; it’s ok if they overlap a bit.
  3. Melt the butter in the microwave in a small dish. Stir the olive oil into the butter. With a pastry brush or a spoon, brush the cabbage with the butter and oil. Sprinkle each slice generously with salt and pepper.
  4. Roast until the edges of the cabbage slices are brown and crispy, about 35-40 minutes.

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A bowl of vegetarian cauliflower chickpea curry with coconut.

Cauliflower and Chickpea Curry with Coconut


  • Author: RebeccaBlackwell
  • Prep Time: 35 min
  • Cook Time: 20 min
  • Total Time: 55 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings

Description

This simple vegetarian/ vegan curry is both hearty and light, and packed with layer after layer of flavor. The combination of chickpeas and cauliflower is super nutritions and creates an interesting combination of flavors that’s meaty without actually including any meat.

If you have any leftover cooked rice from earlier in the week, this dish is your chance to use it up. Otherwise, plan on cooking some additional rice, according to the package instructions.

This recipe has been modified to fit this week’s meal plan. Click here for the original recipe.


Ingredients

  • 1 cup shredded coconut, sweetened or unsweetened (*see note)
  • 12 cups roasted cabbage, reserved from Day #3
  • A 1 1/2 – 2 lb head of cauliflower; 3-4 cups cauliflower florets
  • 3 tbsp grapeseed or extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup diced shallot
  • 1 small jalapeño, stem and seeds removed, diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, stem and seeds removed, chopped into 1-inch pieces
  • Salt and ground black pepper
  • 2 tsp minced fresh garlic
  • 1 tbsp grated fresh ginger
  • 3 anchovy fillets (*see note for vegan substitutions)
  • 8 oz green curry paste (you can use red curry paste if you like)
  • 2 tsp garam masala
  • 2 cups vegetable broth or water
  • 13.5 oz can unsweetened coconut milk (*See note)
  • 3 tsp real maple syrup (can also use honey, molasses, or brown sugar)
  • 1 can chickpeas (15 or 16 ounces)
  • 14 tbsp freshly squeezed lime juice (to taste)
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 23 cups of cooked rice, for serving (If you have any leftover rice from earlier in the week, use that, cooking a bit more if needed.)

Instructions

* Have all ingredients prepped and at hand before you begin cooking the curry. 

  1. Add the shredded coconut to a skillet and set it over medium heat. Cook, stirring frequently, until the coconut is starting to brown. The second you see brown spots on a few pieces of coconut, stir constantly, and watch carefully. Cook only until about half the coconut is brown. If you cook any longer, some of the coconut will burn. Remove the pan from the heat and scrape the coconut into a bowl. Set aside to cool while you prepare the curry.
  2. Cut the roasted cabbage into 2-inch pieces, pile it into a bowl, and set aside.
  3. Slice the cauliflower head from the stem, break apart the individual florets, pile them into a bowl, and set aside.
  4. Add the oil, diced shallot, jalapeño, and red bell pepper to a large saucepan and set the pan over medium heat. Sprinkle with about 1/2 tsp salt and pepper. Cook, stirring frequently, until the vegetables are soft and the shallots look translucent, about 5 minutes.
  5. Turn the heat up to medium high, add the cauliflower, and sprinkle with about 1/2 teaspoon more salt. Cook, stirring frequently, until the cauliflower is spotted with brown splotches. (See images and video above for what this should look like.)
  6. Reduce the heat back down to medium and add the diced garlic, grated ginger, and anchovy fillets. Cook, stirring constantly, for 1 minute. Add the curry paste and garam masala and cook, stirring constantly, for 1 minute longer.
  7. Stir in the broth (or water), coconut  milk and the maple syrup, scraping up any brown bits from the bottom of the pan as you stir. Stir in the chickpeas and another 1/2 tsp of salt. Turn the heat up to high and bring the liquid to a boil. Adjust the heat to maintain a gentle simmer and let cook for 20 minutes, stirring from time to time.
  8. Remove the saucepan from the heat and add the lime juice. Start with 1 tablespoon and taste. Add more salt and more lime juice, bit by bit, until it tastes right to you. Stir in the chopped cabbage and cilantro.
  9. Serve over rice, topped with shredded coconut.

Notes

  • Should you use sweet or unsweet shredded coconut? Topping curry with sweetened or unsweetened coconut is simply a matter of taste. Personally, I like how sweetened coconut compliments the savory flavors in the curry. But, if you don’t typically like to blend sweet and savory flavors, use unsweetened coconut.
  • Vegan substitutions for anchovies: minced kalamata olives, soya sauce, or miso
  • Coconut Milk: I prefer to use full- fat coconut milk from a can, which will make the dish silkier than reduced fat. If you’re wondering what the difference is between canned coconut milk and the kind found in cartons, see information above the recipe.

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Couscous grain bowls with butternut squash and andouille sausage.

Couscous Veggie Bowls with Butternut Squash and Sausage


  • Author: RebeccaBlackwell
  • Prep Time: 40 min
  • Cook Time: 30 min
  • Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
  • Yield: 4-6 servings

Description

Nutty, chewy Pearl Couscous wrapped in the flavors of shallots, cinnamon, star anise, ginger, turmeric, and paprika, then tossed with roasted carrots, butternut squash, and Andouille sausage. This dish is warm, comforting, and intensely satisfying, especially throughout the winter and fall.

This recipe has been modified to fit this week’s meal plan. Click here for the original Couscous Veggie Bowl recipe.


Ingredients

  • 2 large carrots, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • A 1 1/2 lb butternut squash, peeled, seeds removed, and cut into 1-inch pieces (you should have 3 heaping cups)
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • 3 tbsp butter
  • 1/2 cup minced shallot
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 4 star anise
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/41/2 tsp crushed red pepper (to taste)
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1 3/4 cup chicken broth or water
  • 1/2 cup dried apricots, chopped
  • 1 1/3 cup pearl couscous
  • 9 ounces fully cooked Andouille Sausage links, sliced and browned (reserved from Day #3)
  • 1 cup chopped fresh cilantro

Instructions

  1. Heat the oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Toss the chunks of carrot and butternut squash with olive oil and spread them out onto a large rimmed baking sheet. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and roast for 30 minutes until the vegetables are tender.
  3. Add the butter and minced shallots to a large heavy bottom saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until the shallots are soft and look translucent. While the shallots cook, combine cinnamon, star anise, ground ginger, turmeric, paprika, and crushed red pepper in a small bowl. Add the spices to the shallots, reduce the heat to low, and cook for another 4-5 minutes, stirring constantly.
  4. Stir in the wine, turn the heat up to medium-high, and cook, stirring frequently, until nearly all of the wine has evaporated. Stir in the broth or water, bring to a boil, then add the couscous and apricots. Lower the heat enough to maintain a gentle simmer, cover the pan, and let cook for 6 minutes.
  5. Add the sausage, carrots, and squash to the saucepan and stir to combine. Let cook for another 2-3 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the cilantro.