A salad even a picky eater will love

When I was little, my mom would occasionally not make dinner and we’d have French night instead.

This consisted of French bread, cheese and fruit; an incredibly simple meal that pleased everyone — especially Mom. Cooking every night for a family of eight is a thankless job.

I only have four people in my family, but my son is a picky eater, so it feels like more.

My husband and I have tried everything to curb his finicky palate. We even went the “If you don’t like it, you won’t eat” route when he was younger.

He stopped eating.

We’ve since reached a compromise. He still makes gagging noises when he smells cereal, but our dinners are relatively drama-free because he fixes his own meal if he doesn’t like what I’ve made. He just has to add healthy side dishes like yogurt or carrots to offset dining on peanut butter and crackers. Again.

I do make him try our meal before I let him make his own dinner. From the following salad, he ate the steak and the lettuce, one of the croutons and tried the red pepper. Hey, every vegetable that kid digests is another point on my “I’m a good mom” score sheet.

SOUTHWEST BEEF SALAD WITH CORNBREAD CROUTONS

  • 10 ounces store-made cornbread, cut into 3/4-inch cubes
  • 1 pound flank steak, trimmed
  • Salt and pepper
  • 7 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro
  • 1/4 cup lime juice (two limes)
  • 1 jalapeno chili, stemmed, seeded and chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 2 heads bibb lettuce, leaves torn into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 red bell pepper, stemmed and seeded, sliced thin

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Coat rimmed backing sheets with vegetable oil spray and spread cornbread cubes in even layer on the sheet. Coat cubes with oil spray and bake until crispy, about 15 to 18 minutes. Stir halfway through baking.

Pat steak dry and season with salt and pepper. Heat one tablespoon oil in 12-inch skillet and heat over medium-high heat until just smoking. Cook steak until meat registers 125 degrees, 3 to 5 minutes on each side. Transfer to cutting board, tent with foil and let rest for 5 minutes.

Process remaining 6 tablespoons of vegetable oil, cilantro, lime juice, jalapeno, garlic and 1 teaspoon salt in food processor until smooth. Transfer 1/3 cup dressing to large bowl and toss with lettuce and pepper. Salt and pepper to taste.

Slice steak thin against grain. Transfer lettuce mixture to serving plate, top with steak and croutons, and drizzle with remaining dressing.

Source: America’s Test Kitchen Simple Weeknight Favorites (America’s Test Kitchen; 2012)

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