Bacon Blueberry Goat Cheese Walnut Salad

Boy, that’s a mouthful.  A MOUTHFUL OF PURE AWESOME.

Bacon AND blueberries AND goat cheese AND walnuts? It just came to me.

The bacon had finished crisping up in the pan and I was standing over the sink rinsing salad greens when I looked over and saw an empty tomato container.  Crap.  The BLTs I had planned on making were now a thing of the past.  Salad it would be!  (because there’s just no sense in a sandwich with only lettuce and tomato.  boring.)  I looked in the fridge for other vegetables to throw in and my eyes passed by the pint of beautiful organic blueberries.  I wanted those blueberries.  They wanted to be in my salad.  I gave in.

Blueberries and bacon…. they are perfectly matched in every way.  Sweet to savory, blue to red, juicy to crispy.  But what else could I put in a salad that was saddled with beautiful organic blueberries and crispy center-cut bacon?  I looked in the pantry and reached for the walnuts.  Score!  I wasn’t done, though.  No special salad is complete without the perfect cheese!  And what better cheese than that of a GOAT?  None, I say… none.  My masterpiece was almost done, but I still needed a dressing to bring it all together.

I thought maybe a balsamic vinaigrette would work at first, but I didn’t have any and this salad was too pretty to just splash on some straight balsamic.  I’ve been toting around a bottle of raspberry vinaigrette that I bought from Aldi months ago.  It’s more of an oil and vinegar dressing with some other flavors thrown in, so I read the ingredients, gave it a taste and decided it was the right one.  The red wine vinegar base sealed the deal.

This salad is awesome.  In fact, I’m making a big one for a get-together this weekend.  Bacon and blueberries are a sure-fire winner.  When I open up my own little bistro, this salad will definitely be on the menu.  No joke.  But until I open up that bistro, here’s the recipe for you to enjoy!

Bacon Blueberry Goat Cheese Walnut Salad
Servings: 1
PointsPlus Per Serving: 10

Ingredients

  • 3 handfuls salad greens
  • 1/3 cup rinsed blueberries (or more since they’re zero PP!)
  • 2 tbsp chopped walnuts, 3 PP
  • 1/2 oz crumbled goat cheese, 1 PP
  • 3 sliced center-cut bacon, cooked and chopped, 2 PP
  • 2 tbsp raspberry vinaigrette, 4 PP (this was just mine since it was oil-based, but if you have a lighter one, you can easily adjust the points)

Directions
1. Put salad on a plate or in a bowl, top with blueberries, bacon, walnuts and goat cheese. Pour vinaigrette over top. Enjoy!

This is seriously an amazing salad.  I spent about 20 minutes using my “internet curation” skills trying to find recipes that include these four main ingredients and I couldn’t find one!  I’m sure someone somewhere in the vast existence of time has combined these ingredients, but I’ll gladly stake my claim as the first one to officially publish it online!  If you’re curious as to some of the other recipes I found with blueberries and bacon as the main focus, check these ones out:

Blueberry Bacon Breakfast Cake from How Sweet It Is blog (this girl is freaking hilarious too, so you should subscribe to her blog!)
Pork Tenderloin with Blueberry Bacon BBQ Sauce from Noble Pig blog
Cheddar Bacon Blueberry Scones from The Cooking Bridge blog

Eating Healthy on a Budget: Warm Curried Beef Salad

For this week’s Our Harvest Coop Newsletter, I’ve decided to share a delicious salad recipe.  I made this one up when I was searching for something different to do with a bottom round steak I had in the fridge.  I wanted the right combination of savory and sweet flavors without going crazy and I definitely found it.

These days, it seems like we’re waiting for a good deal to buy meat. When I was younger, my parents refused to buy meat until it was under $2.00 a lb. Times have changed and some days we’re just hoping it will get under $4.00 a lb! But the price you pay depends most on which cut of meat you get. For us, the most affordable cuts are tri-tip steaks and bottom round steaks. Tri-tip is succulent and easy to chew and usually just a tad more expensive than the round, but it’s definitely cheaper than flank steak! Bottom round is a bit tougher to chew, but going at it with a meat mallet always does the trick.

Warm Curried Beef Salad
Servings: 2
PointsPlus Per Serving: 6

Ingredients

  • 6 oz raw beef bottom/top round, lean and trimmed, 7 PP
  • 1 tsp curry powder
  • 1/2 tsp coriander
  • 1/4 tsp chili powder
  • dash of salt and pepper
  • 3 handfuls leaf lettuce mix (you can throw some spinach in there too)
  • 1 medium carrot
  • 1/2 tomato, diced (optional)
  • 2 oz reduced fat feta cheese, 4 PP
  • 2-3 tbsp low-fat garlic-based vinaigrette (like the House dressing from Aldi), 1 PP

Directions
1. Warm up a cast iron grill pan with just a spray of Pam over medium-low heat. Mix together your spices and rub it on both sides of the beef. Then, cook the beef. It should take around 3-6 minutes per side depending on it’s thickness.

2. While it’s cooking, wash your lettuce, slice up your carrot (diagonal cuts make this aesthetically appealing!) and put into a big bowl.

3. Once the beef is done cooking, slice up diagonally into 1-1.5 inch long pieces and throw into salad bowl. Sprinkle feta cheese over top and pour in the vinaigrette. Mix up with salad tongs. You can serve immediately or put it into a tupperware container for lunch later!

I’ve been able to find the bottom round beef steaks for around $3.50-$3.86 per pound. Since we’re using only 6 oz here, that’s less than $1.75. We’ll round that to $1.50. Depending on where you get your salad from, you can pay anywhere from $2-4.00 for a half pound of leaf lettuce. Since we’re using 3 handfuls, let’s call that $2.00 for quality lettuce in this dish. Feta cheese? Maybe 75 cents for 2 oz and 15 cents for a carrot. 3 tbsp of low-fat vinaigrette? I’d say around a quarter (since I get mine from Aldi!)

COST:
$1.50 – Beef
$2.00 – Leaf Lettuce mix
$1.15 – Cheese, carrot and vinaigrette

$4.65 – TOTAL COST
$2.32 – COST PER PORTION

I’d call that a deal. You would definitely find yourself paying close to $7 or $8 if you were purchasing this salad at a restaurant. Now you’ll be saving over $5 PER PORTION! That’s $10 you’ve saved for the whole meal. $10 you can put towards that vacation you’ve been wanting to go on, right?

Boca Cheeseburger Salad

Sometimes life leaves you without your buns. Suck it up and make a salad! HAH.

No, that’s not very nice. As often as we’d like to tell others to “suck it up and deal with it” for a plethora of different obstacles in life, it’s not always the best way to go about helping others work through the frustration and get to the other side. I don’t always react positively to that advice, so why would I expect others to? Let’s try this again.

Sometimes life leaves you without your buns. Turn it into an opportunity to try something new and different! Woot woot. And that’s exactly what I did. I ran out of hamburger buns and I was craving a burger, so I had to be creative. When you can’t put something into sandwich form, you can usually turn it into a salad and it’s just as tasty and definitely as satisfying. Instead of light mayo on a bun, I used ranch in the salad. Instead of tomato on a bun (since I didn’t have any), I put corn in the salad. And it was SUPER tasty.

Not the highest quality photo, but it was an awesome salad!

Boca Cheeseburger Salad
Servings: 1
PointsPlus Per Serving: 6

Ingredients

  • 2 cups salad greens
  • 1 boca burger, cooked and cut into pieces, 2 PP
  • 1 slice 2% american cheese ripped into little pieces (or 1 oz shredded lowfat cheddar), 1 PP
  • 2/3 cup corn kernels, 2 PP
  • 1 tbsp light ranch, 1 PP
  • 1 tbsp your favorite mustard (i used habanero mustard)
  • chopped fresh tomato (optional)

Directions
1. Make sure corn kernels are defrosted (if they didn’t come from a can) and that boca burger is all cooked and cut up. Then mix all ingredients together and enjoy!

Easy peasy. Add different ingredients if you like. I would have added tomato, but I didn’t have any :( If you’re willing to add an extra point on there, cook up a slice of bacon and cut it up to add to the salad too! Or maybe sauteed onions or zucchini. Whatever you’d put on an actual cheeseburger, you can add to this salad. I think it’s safe to say that almost ANY sandwich could be made into a salad! (except for an ice cream sandwich….)