Savouring Saturday: Marinated Steak Salad with Sweet Potato Croutons and Queso Fresco

This dish is truly scrumdelicious!  Seriously!

Of late, the fam and I have been refocusing on clean eating (scratch that, mom has been focused on clean eating and the kids are invariably along for the ride, while Sean comes along kicking and screaming sometimes—or after a meal he runs out for some processed food he was hankering 🙂 ).

Regardless, clean eating can be creative and delicious….and you can’t beat the color!  If, at this point, you are scratching your head about what I mean by “clean eating”…no worries.  It’s simple.  Clean eating is explained perfectly, in all it’s simplicity, by  Tiffany of thegraciouspantry.com:

METHOD 1
There are many people simply looking to remove the chemicals from their diets and bodies, and therefore  eat clean. Their focus is NOT on losing weight, but on general health.They avoid processed foods of all kinds, yet eat only when the need arises or three times per day.

METHOD 2
(I believe this is the most common/popular method at the moment)

  1. Eat  Lots Of Plants – Eat food that is straight from nature. (Some people say “as close to the way nature made it as possible”. But I think that leaves too much wiggle room – in my humble opinion) Eat mostly foods that are off a tree, bush, plant or vine, and you’ve pretty much got it covered. The idea is to stay away from anything that humans (food corporations) have altered in any way.
  2. Include Meats – Eat meats that are whole and straight from the butcher. Don’t buy pre-packaged meat products because you never know what’s in them. When possible, buy whole meats and grind them yourself. You’d be surprised what’s in ground turkey meat! You can also select a few turkey breasts and ask that the butcher grind them for you. Many butchers are more than willing to accommodate.
  3. Enjoy Grains – Eat grains that are still complete and haven’t been broken down into “glue”. Stick to brown rice, whole wheat and other whole grains.(For a list of foods to stock your pantry with, check out this list.)
  4. Read Labels I don’t know how many breads I’ve picked up at the store that say they are whole grain. But when I take a look at the ingredient list, white flour is the second ingredient after whole wheat flour!
  5. Eat Fewer Ingredients. Try not to purchase foods that have more than 3-6 ingredients in the ingredient list. And be sure you recognize each and every ingredient. If you find a “mystery ingredient” such as “spices”, contact the company! Ask them what they consider to be spices. If it’s anything other than honest-to-goodness herbs and spices, avoid it! And remember, if you can’t pronounce it, it probably shouldn’t go into your body.
  6. Eat 5-6 small meals per day. This may seem like a lot at first. But remember, you are eating smaller portions. If you really have a hard time with this, prepare your regular three meals and a snack for the day, and divide lunch and dinner in half. You’ve instantly got 6 small meals!
With that said….check out the gorgeousness I created the other night for the fam!!
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Gorgeous flavor and gorgeous color!  It was so good, that the kids requested to have it the very next night when grammy came to dinner 🙂  So, I figured that I just had to share this one with y’all. 🙂
20140226_170007I started with a marinade for the steak.  No Lawry’s Marinade here….remember: clean eating.  Nothing but whole, unprocessed foods.  So, I emulsified an onion with an entire head of garlic, lemon juice, soy sauce, cumin, cayenne and black pepper.  Bold flavor!
20140226_17052020140226_170820I coated the steak with the marinade and let it sit for 30 minutes.  It worked perfectly for carne asada.  If you use tri-tip, you could marinate overnight and have a fabulous product.
In the meantime, I cubed up some sweet potatoes, seasoned them with a sprinkle of salt, pepper, and cayenne.
20140226_173024Cook these in a bit of olive oil until they have soft interiors and crisped exteriors.  Gotta love the natural caramelized sugars!
20140226_173627Time to sear my steak!  Since it was a rainy day, I wasn’t tempted outside by the BBQ….so I pan seared my asada!
20140226_175309Once it was cooked medium rare (cuz I think it is a huge misdemeanor to cook a steak til it’s hard n’ grey), I let it rest on a cutting board while I prepped the plates.
20140226_180236I started with a pile of fresh, baby arugula for it’s peppery spice.  Then I choose to use a creamy lemon vinaigrette that I had made the day before.  You could use any favorite dressing for this, but remember: cleaning eating means making a fresh dressing.  If you find making a dressing too daunting a task, try squeezing some fresh lemon juice, combining it with equal parts olive oil or Avocado Oil and then seasoning with salt and pepper.  You could even chop up a clove of garlic for extra flavor.
Next step, pile on the sweet potatoes, then the sliced steak and top with crumbles of queso fresco.  Muah!  Food love!
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From my family table to yours!
Bon apetit.
xoxo
Chanda
steak salad

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