Showing posts with label salad. Show all posts
Showing posts with label salad. Show all posts

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Thai Chicken Salad with Peanut Dressing

 I eat a salad for lunch almost every single day.  I love filling a bowl full of bright greens and other colorful veggies for a healthy midday meal.  But if you're going to have a salad every single day, you've got to be careful to keep it interesting, otherwise you'll get so bored that you'll end up coveting your sons mac and cheese and pigs in a blanket (not that I have ANY idea what that's like.)
This is a salad that I'm already looking forward to making again.  I love peanut sauce, so to have an entire salad coated in it's velvety, sweet flavor is just heaven.  There is a lot you can add to this salad to keep it fun, hot cooked rice noodles, crispy wonton strips, chopped sweet peppers, or you could sub shrimp or pork instead of chicken. 

Thai Chicken Salad with Peanut Dressing
From The New Way to Cook Light

Ingredients

6 cups torn romaine lettuce
2 cups shredded skinless, boneless cooked chicken breast (go rotisserie!)
2 cups fresh bean sprouts
1 cup shredded carrot
3/4 cup sliced celery
2/3 cups light coconut milk
1 tablespoon brown sugar
2 tablespoons creamy peanut butter
2 tablespoons lower sodium soy sauce
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1/8 tablespoon ground red pepper
2 tablespoons coarsely chopped unsalted, dry-roasted peanuts
4 lime wedges, optional

Directions

Combine first five ingredients in a large bowl.  Combine coconut milk and next 5 ingredients (through red pepper) in a small saucepan, bring to a boil.  Reduce heat, and simmer 5 minutes, or until mixture thickens slightly, stirring occasionally.  Remove from heat, and cool 2 minutes.  Pour warm coconut milk mixture over lettuce mixture.  Sprinkle with peanuts, and serve with lime wedges, if desired.  Serve immediately.

Serves 4

Per Serving: 262 cal, 11g fat, 27g prot, 17g carbs, 4g fiber

Linked up with Taste and Tell

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Chicken Salad Sandwiches

 
Lately I've been craving summer and all that it entails.  Just the thought of getting a tiny burn on my cheeks and nose puts me in a good mood.  One huge summer activity in our family is getting the boat on the lake and spending the day skiing, swimming, or sometimes even just docking the boat and enjoying the beautiful day under a tree.

One of the most enjoyable parts of the day are the epic picnics that my mom packs.  This woman's ability to pack an amazing spread will go down in history.  Always so much food, always an abundance of paper and plastic ware and everything is always delicious!  

One item that I continuously request now are my mom's chicken salad sandwiches.  I didn't know how much I liked chicken salad until the day I tried hers.  What baffled me was how simple they were to make.  No secret ingredients, no complicated technique.  Just good fresh ingredients, light mayo and seasoned salt, that's it!  And it's amazing every time!

As a quick side note, I don't actually measure my ingredients when making stuff like this.  These are estimates.  But don't sweat it, do everything to your own personal taste, I don't think it's possible to screw this up.

Chicken Salad Sandwiches

Ingredients

3 cups chopped cooked chicken (I use rotisserie)
1/2 cup chopped celery
1/2 cup chopped red pepper
1/4 cup chopped green or red onion
1/4 cup chopped almonds
1/4 cup dried cranberries (optional)
1/2 cup chopped apple (only do this if you plan to serve it immediately.  If not either omit, or add right before serving, otherwise it will make salad watery)
1/2-1 cup light mayo (add or subtract according to how creamy you'd like it.)
1 tablespoon Seasoned Salt (add or subtract to taste, I like mine fairly strong)
Pepper to taste

Directions

In a large bowl combine all ingredients except mayo, seasoned salt, and pepper.  In a small bowl, mix mayo, seasoned salt, and pepper and add to salad.  Toss to coat.  Serve either on a bed of lettuce, sandwich bread, or croissants that have been split lengthwise. 




Monday, January 21, 2013

Buffalo Chicken Pasta Salad



I'm going through a bit of a Buffalo Chicken obsession right now.  If it even slightly resembles the flavors of the classic chicken wing, I have to have it, or pin it :)  Who in the world though that chicken, drenched in hot sauce, smothered in blue cheese would be so good?  I don't know, but I sure would like to give whoever it was, one heck of a high five.

I found this wonderful salad on Shelbys page a few months ago and I've been in love ever since.  I've been known to whip up a huge bowl, and enjoy it for lunch every day until it runs out.  And I'm always sad when that day comes.

The flavors of this salad go so perfectly together.  The sauce has a great kick, thanks to the hot sauce and is balanced out with the pungent blue cheese.  It's spicy, but not too spicy for kids.  It's creamy, it's crunchy, and it really hits the spot when you need a savory dish full of flavor.  It's the perfect side dish for pot lucks and picnics, even if they are on your living room floor in front of the TV :).

Buffalo Chicken Pasta Salad
By

Ingredients

8 oz dried rotini pasta, cooked according to package directions
2 stalks celery, diced
1 green onion, thinly sliced, including green top
1/3 cup roasted red pepper
2 cups cooked chicken, cubed (I used canned chicken once when I was in a hurry, it turned out great)
1/2 cup Mayonnaise (I used low-fat)
2-3 tablespoons Frank's Red Hot Sauce (use according to taste, I like a lot, but if you're feeding a crowd, you may only want to do 2)
1 teaspoon Worcestershire Sauce
1 tablespoon roasted red pepper brine (the juice the peppers are in)
2 tablespoons crumbled Gorgonzola cheese

Directions

Mix pasta, celery, onion, roasted red pepper and chicken in large mixing bowl.  Set aside.

Mix together Mayonnaise, hot sauce, Worcestershire sauce, red pepper brine and crumbled Gorgonzola cheese. 

Toss mayo mixture with pasta mixture and chill.  Enjoy

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Pepper Jack Pasta Salad


Considering how often I make this, it's a wonder that I haven't posted it before.  This has become my absolute favorite "go-to" side dish for parties, barbecues, or if I just want to eat it for lunch all week (which happens, often).  This salad is packed with a delightfully tangy punch, and for some reason, I just love eating those little tiny Acini Di Pepe.  They tickle my mouth!  It makes me giggle!

Pepper Jack Pasta Salad
Adapted from Cooking Light April 2009

Ingredients

6 ounces uncooked acini di pepe pasta (about 1 cup)
2 1/4 cups diced plum tomato (about 14 ounces)
1/3 cup capers, rinsed and drained
1/4 cup finely chopped red onion
1/4 cup sliced pickled banana peppers
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 ounces Pepper Jack cheese, cut into 1/4-inch cubes
1 (16-ounce) can navy beans, rinsed and drained
1 ounce salami, chopped
1 garlic clove, minced

Directions

1.   Cook pasta according to package directions, omitting salt and fat. Drain.

2.   Combine tomato and remaining ingredients in a large bowl. Add pasta to tomato mixture, tossing well to combine.


Monday, September 24, 2012

Tilapia Sandwiches with Citrus Honey Slaw

 My husband is on call a lot, at least once a week, which means that one dinner a week it's just me and the kids.  Normally a night like that means reheated leftovers, cereal, or (don't judge) popcorn and peanut M&M's.  Hey, when dad's gone, that means I have to be the strict parent AND the fun parent.

 But every once and a while I don't plan right and I end up preparing a dinner like this for just me and my kids.  It's not that I don't like to go through this kind of effort for my kids, but let's just say that they don't appreciate it like another adult would.  In fact, I usually sit down to a beautiful plate like this to a bunch of "ewwwww, do I HAVE to eat this?"  If Glenn was there at least I'd have someone to balance the whining.
 So, I ditched the bread, broke up the fish fillets and served this to my kids as fish nuggets.  Problem solved, coolness restored, and a delicious dinner for me.

Tilapia Sandwiches with Citrus Honey Slaw
Rachel Ray's Big Orange Book

Ingredients

4 tilapia fillets, 6 to 8 ounces each
3 limes, one of them zested
salt and pepper
all-purpose flour, for dredging
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 sleeve saltine crackers ground up in food processor (I used Ritz), making 2 cups crumbs
2 teaspoons smoked paprika
1 teaspoon seafood seasoning such as Old Bay
2 tablespoons plus 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
4 hoagie rolls split in half (I would scoop out some of the bread in the center)
1 cup sour cream
1 chipotle in adobo, seeded and finely chopped, plus 1 teaspoon of adobo sauce (I omitted)
2 teaspoons hot sauce
3 tablespoons honey
1 16 oz bag of slaw mix
1 head of Bibb or romaine lettuce, core removed, leaves separated and cleaned
1 large beefsteak tomato, thinly sliced
1 ripe Hass avocado, sliced
1 small red onion sliced
1 dill pickle, thinly sliced lengthwise

Directions

Preheat oven to 400 or the broiler to high.  (This is to toast your rolls.  I just put them in the toaster.)

Season the fillets with lime zest, salt, and pepper.  Set up three dishes on the counter: one with the flour, one with the eggs, and the third with the ground saltines, smoked paprika, and seafood seasoning.  Bread the seasoned fish fillets by coating them first in the flour, then in the egg, and finally in the seasoned cracker crumbs.

Once all of the fillets have been breaded, place a large skillet over medium-high heat with about 2 tablespoons of oil.  Once the oil is hot add the breaded fillets to the pan and cook until golden brown on each side and cooked through, 3 to 4 minutes per side.  Remove the cooked fillets to a paper-towel-lined plate and squeeze the juice of half a lime over them so they soak up the lime juice while still hot.

While the fish fillets are cooking, place the split rolls onto a baking sheet and toast them in the hot oven until golden brown.

Combine the sour cream, chipotle, and adobo sauce in a small bowl and reserve.

In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the juice of 2 limes, the hot sauce, and the honey.  Whisk in the remaining 1/4 cup of oil and some salt and pepper.  Empty the bag of slaw mix into the dressing and give it a toss to coat.

Once the fish is cooked, assemble the sandwiches.  Place the fish on the bottom of the rolls, and top with lettuce and tomato.  Douse the avocado with the juice of the remaining half lime.  Top the tomato with avocado, onions, and pickle slices.  Slather the roll tops with the flavored sour cream and set in place.  Serve the sandwiches alongside the slaw.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Gorgonzola Chicken Salad


I would love to be more of an innovator in the kitchen and invent my own recipes. I have a lot of respect for those that are. Most of my creations are at least inspired by recipes that I find in books or online. It's rare that I'm able to come up with anything on my own, and when I do, it's usually out of necessity. This was one of those times. Right before we moved I was desperate to eat every morsel out of our fridge before I took a trip to the grocery store. I didn't plan to move a bunch of food, and I absolutely hate to throw food away, I honestly lose sleep over wasted food. So with some leftover chicken and Gorgonzola cheese, this lighter and tasty salad was born. Protein seekers rejoice, with all the chicken, cheese and yogurt, this salad packs a serious punch!  

Gorgonzola Chicken Salad

Ingredients

1 1/2 cups shredded chicken
1 apple, peeled and chopped
1 celery stalk, chopped
1/4 cup almonds, chopped
1/4 cup dried cranberries
 2 green onions, or one shallot, chopped
3/4 cup fat-free greek yogurt
2 tablespoons low fat mayo
1 teaspoon worchestershire sauce
3 tablespoons blue or gorgonzola cheese (more or less to taste)
salt and pepper
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

Directions

In a medium sized bowl, combine chicken, apples, celery, almonds and dried cranberries, and onion.  In a small bowl combine remaining ingredients except salt, pepper and parsley.  Mix dressing into chicken mixture and combine.  Add salt and pepper to taste and fresh parsley.  Serve either chilled or at room temperature, as sandwiches, wraps, or on a bed of lettuce.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Spicy Chicken-Spinach Lettuce Wraps



To once again quote Barney from How I Met Your Mother, "If you want to make God laugh, just tell him your plans." I don't think anything could be closer to the truth for us these last few weeks.

To make a long story short, after spending the last few months expecting to either stay in Philly, or move to California, we woke up one morning and discovered that neither were going to happen for us. Not only that, but we had absolutely no clue where we were going to go after my husband graduated from dental school. After a LONG week of stress, tears and uncertainty, my husband finally landed an Oral Surgery internship in New Jersey! It was probably the last place we expected to end up, but we are so excited. New York will be close and from what I've heard, New Jersey is beautiful.

So those are our plans. And of course, being the weird food blogger that I am, the first thing I thought was "I hope I have better lighting in my new apartment for my food pictures!" Haha, you understand, right?

I found these lettuce wraps on Emily's blog at The Open Pantry. I just love visiting this blog. It's bright and fun, and not only does she post delicious recipes, but this girl can make an adorable cake!

We loved these lettuce wraps. They're low carb, low fat, but high flavor, and just delicious with either a peanut sauce or sweet chili sauce.


Spicy Chicken-Spinach Lettuce Wraps
Adapted from The Open Pantry

Ingredients

1 lb Ground Turkey (or diced chicken)
2 tsp Sesame Oil
2 tsp Canola Oil
1-2 tsp Garlic Chili Paste
2 Cloves Garlic, minced
3 tsp Ginger, minced
4 Green Onions, Chopped
2 cups Baby Spinach
1/2 cup Carrots, shredded or minced
1-2 Tbsp Low Sodium Soy Sauce
1 Tbsp Oyster Sauce
2 tsp Rice Wine Vinegar

Directions

Heat the sesame and canola oil in a wok over medium high heat. Add the garlic, ginger, garlic chili paste, carrots and green onions to the wok. Cook for 1 minute, add the ground turkey. Cook until the turkey is no longer pink. Add the soy sauce, oyster sauce, rice wine vinegar, and spinach. Toss together, cook for 1 more minute and remove from heat. Serve turkey mixture with red lettuce leaves as wraps and top with spicy/sweet soy sauce and peanuts. Enjoy!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Tilapia Couscous Salad



Holy cow, what in the heck happened? I blink my eyes and practically a month goes by without a post. I blame the holidays. I also blame an awkward month of not quite knowing how to eat. Overall I think I did pretty well making it through the majority of the month without going crazy. I even hit my lowest weight so far (122 lbs!).

But then Christmas came...as well as cheese, and sugar and things wrapped in puff pastries. Needless to say, I definitely enjoyed myself, and I have a slightly expanded waistline to testify of this fact. No fretting though. Christmas only comes once a year and I have an entire year to make up for it, which I am more than looking forward to.



So to kick off our healthy eating for the New Year, I have a delicious and clean recipe for you. I wasn't sure if I was going to post this one because I'm not a fan of the bland, colorless picture. However, sometimes you have to forgive ugly food and have faith that it's still going to be a winner. This is as easy to make as it is delicious. It's also so bright and fresh, you'll feel healthier for having eaten it.



Tilapia and Couscous Salad

From The Best of Clean Eating

Ingredients

1 cup dry whole-grain coucous
olive oil cooking spray
1/2 lb tilapia fillets (4 small or 2 large, I used a bit more for protein) skin and bones removed
2 large carrots, peeled and diced
1 stalk celery, finely diced
1 medium yellow onion, finely diced
1/2 bell pepper, cored, seeded and diced
zest and juice of 1 lime
zest and juice of half lemon
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
2 teaspoon dried parsley
sea salt and fresh ground black pepper

Directions

Cook couscous according to package directions.

Heat a large nonstick or cast-iron skillet over high heat for one minute. Spritz with cooking spray and reduce heat to medium-high. Place tilapia in skillet and cook for two minutes per side. Remove tilapia and let cool for five minutes before flaking with fork.

In a large bowl, combine couscous, tilapia, carrots, celery, onion and bell pepper.

In a medium bowl, whisk together lime zest and juice, lemon zest and juice, Dijon mustard, oil, garlic and parsley. Season with salt and black pepper. Pour dressing over tilapia-couscous mixture and stir until well combined. Garnish with additional parsley, if desired. Serve immediately or chill in refrigerator, covered, for up to one day.

Serves 6: 1 serving is 1 cup

Per Serving: 154cal, 3.5g fat, 21g carb, 4g fiber, 3g sugar, 11g protein

How was everyone's holidays? Any plans for the New Year?

Monday, July 25, 2011

Asian Shrimp, Mango and Avacado Slaw


Hello my friends, I've missed you! The month went so fast, but what a great month. Lots of relaxing, boating, swimming, playing and EATING. Spending all that time with family was so nice and we had a great time, but it also feels good to be back in the comfort and quiet of home.


I have to post this salad because it's what my mom and I ate the most when we were together. Cathy, who's got a great blog at Wives with Knives posted this a few months ago. I immediately bought the ingredients, absolutely loved it, and promptly sent my mom the recipe. Since then I'm fairly confident that her and my dad have enjoyed it at least ten times. We have tried the creamy dressing as well as the vinaigrette, and honestly they are both delicious. The only change we made was adding a bit of red pepper to the slaw, and a scoop of peanut butter to the dressing. The slaw lends itself to a lot of variations, like Cathy says, but guaranteed delicious. Check out the recipe here, and thank you Cathy!




And now a few pics of one of our best boating days. We combined a day at the lake with a my mom's birthday and it was a fabulous day. My entire family was there and we had an absolute blast. I never laugh as hard as I do when I'm with these people.



I love this shot, my husband, who really hasn't done a whole lot of waterskiing, has absolutely no fear. The very first time he got up he was catching air. He did have his fair share of wipeouts though, as you see here.



Taking a tube ride with our son. He's braver then I am, I caught him laughing during some moments that had me white knuckled.



Hanging out on the Big Mable with two of my brothers. Seriously the funniest people I know.



My little girl taking a swim. Her favorite part of the day was just being able to jump off the boat into the water.



Me and my guy.



My daughter and her grandma, the birthday girl.



My son and his cousin. Two of the best friends and worst enemies at the same time, you know how it is at that age, haha!

How has your summer been so far? What are you doing to beat this heat?

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Buffalo Chicken done Two Ways

Gosh, I've been a lousy blogger.

I would love to tell you that it's because I've been insanely busy saving the world, or throwing awesome crazy parties, but here's my lame excuse...

I've been reading.

A lot.

Can one have an unhealthy obsession with books? I suppose there are way worse obsessions, but seriously, when shopping, sunlight, and mealtimes start to become obstacles, rather then enjoyable, perhaps it's time to address some issues.

Luckily I have managed to squeeze in a meal here and there. Two of them were courtesy of Masterpiece's Buffalo Chicken marinade, a sample I received for free as a Foodbuzz member.


First let me say something about the marinade itself. It's delicious. I'm definitely not a Connoisseur of buffalo wings, by any means, but I did really like this sauce. It's very tangy, and hot, and proved itself to be versatile for several different uses.



The first thing I made was a Buffalo Chicken risotto that I could not stop thinking about. I was almost certain that if I made it, I was going to be the only one who liked it, but my husband and I both lapped this up like starved puppies. My husband even declared it the best risotto he had, but considering the fact that it was infused with classic "man-food" I wasn't too surprised. My mouth still waters every time I think of this dish.



Buffalo Chicken Risotto
Cuisine Magazine April 2011

Ingredients

4 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
3/4 cup hot sauce, or Masterpieces Buffalo Chicken Marinade
2 Tablespoons honey
1 Tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1/2 cup minced celery
1/2 cup onion
2 Tablespoons unsalted butter
1 cup dry arborio rice
1/2 cup lager beer, or white wine (I used wine)
2 cups chopped cooked chicken

chopped celery
blue cheese crumbles
blue cheese dressing (I used homemade)

Directions

For the brodo, simmer broth, hot sauce, honey, and worcestershire in a saucepan over medium heat.

For the risotto, sweat minced celery and onion in butter in a large saute pan over medium heat until slightly softened, 3-5 minutes. Stir in rice and saute until each grain is coated in butter.

Deglaze the pan with beer or wine and stir until completely absorbed, 1-2 minutes. Add brodo to the pan in 1/2-cup increments; simmer and stir frequently until each addition is almost completely absorbed before adding the next, about 45 minutes total. Stir in chicken and heat through.

Garnish each serving of risotto with chopped celery, blue cheese crumbles, and blue cheese dressing (don't skip this part, it really makes the risotto!)



The second thing we made were these delicious buffalo chicken salads. Really no recipe needed for this one. Warm cooked, shredded chicken, coated with the buffalo chicken marinade, over the stovetop. On a large bed of lettuce (yes there really is lettuce under there), top with broccoli, celery, sliced cucumbers, chicken, blue cheese crumbles, and tortilla chips. Serve with a side of blue cheese dressing as well. This was very delicious, and rather healthy. The chicken and blue cheese make this a very flavorful salad.



I'll go ahead and dedicate these manly chicken dishes to all the fathers out there, Happy Father's Day! I sure am grateful for my dad, and the father of my kids.

And now to come full circle, are you a reader? If so, what kind of books do you like to read?

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Corn and Black Bean Salad



I feel like after blogging for over three years, you're allowed throw in a repeat every now and again, especially if it's as good as this salad.

This is probably more of a dip then a salad, but really it can go either way. While it's probably served best as an appetizer or party food, I'd be perfectly happy eating a big bowl of this stuff for lunch, just throw in some whole grain tortilla chips and you've got one flavorful and nutrient packed lunch. This would also make a great addition to your taco salad, nachos, burritos or tacos. Gosh, I already want to make this again!

Corn and Black Bean Salad

Ingredients

2 cans black beans-drained and rinsed
2 can corn-drained
1 red onion chopped
2 avocados chopped (I omitted avocados this time around, but it is good)
1 red pepper chopped
1 yellow or orange pepper chopped
2 cups cherry or grape tomatoes halved
1/2 cup chopped cilantro

Vinaigrette
2 TB lime juice (fresh if possible)
2-3 tsp chili powder
1-2 tsp salt (kosher salt if you have it)
1-2 TB olive oil

Directions

When chopping veggies, try to make them as uniform in size as possible.

Combine all of the veggies, including cilantro, in a large bowl. In a small bowl combine lime juice, chili powder and salt. Then, whisk in olive oil to desired consistency, there won't be a lot of dressing, but it will be STRONG. Add dressing to salad and toss well. Serve with tortilla chips, those Scoops chips are great with this salad.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

My Favorite Pasta Salad



People always say that summertime is a good time to lose weight. Since it's hot out, your appetite lessens, and everyone would rather munch on fruit and veggies instead of rich soups and casseroles.

And it makes sense, but somehow summer still ends up being the toughest season for me to maintain my weight. And the reason is that I'm such a sucker for those delicious potluck and barbecue foods. Potato salad, pasta salad, apple pie, lemon bars, cheeseburgers and hotdogs grilled over charcoal, the list goes on. Give me a plate of that goodness, combined with awesome friends and a warm summer night, and life truly doesn't get better. I'm already looking forward to it, I just might have to replace the extra potato salad with a juicy slice of watermelon instead.



This pasta is one of my summer faves. It's so easy to make, keeps for several days and is delicious either cold or room temp, making it a very convenient picnic item. You have most likely had a version of pasta salad similar to this, but I had to post this anyway because it's just so dang good.


Pasta Salad

Ingredients

2 packets Italian Dressing, prepared according to directions, I used the less oil option (using the stuff from the packet vs. the bottle really does make a difference, it's worth the extra step!)
1 lb tricolor pasta
8 oz salami, diced
8 oz provolone or pepperjack cheese, diced (I used provolone for this, but next time I will use pepperjack, I like a good kick)
8 oz cherry tomatoes, halved
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 green pepper
2 cans olives, sliced

Directions

1. Cook pasta according to directions, drain and cool.

2. Combine all ingredients and toss well. Keep chilled, it tastes best after it has a few hours to sit and blend flavors.

When is it hardest for you to eat healthy. Any tips on maintaining during those times?

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Southwestern Chicken Pasta Salad



Ah spring. It's glorious isn't it? It's warm, sunny, bright, and CLEAN! The air is fresh, the grass is covering all the mud, and everyone is scrubbing and purging for the bright new season. Our dinner tables start to look different too. Instead of rich creamy soups and casseroles, we see a lot more fresh veggies and grilled meats.

This pasta salad definitely fits in that category. Penne pasta full of bright, fresh veggies, tangy roasted chicken breast and tossed in a light, but flavorful dressing. It's served cold or at room temp, which makes it perfect for a picnic. Just the thing you'd want to do on a beautiful spring day.

Southwestern Chicken Pasta Salad
Adapted from Cooking Light August 2005

Ingredients

1/2 pound uncooked penne rigate
2 chicken breasts
2 teaspoons lemon pepper
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 cup fresh corn kernels
3/4 cup (3 ounces) shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1/2 cup sliced green onions
1/2 cup diced red bell pepper
1/2 cup chopped plum tomato (about 2 tomatoes)
1/4 cup fresh orange juice
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon chopped canned chipotle chiles in adobo sauce (I used a blend of Mexican seasonings instead, about 2 teaspoons)
3 teaspoons chopped cilantro
1/2 teaspoon salt

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 375. Rub chicken breasts in lemon pepper and drizzle in olive oil. Roast for 20-25 minutes, or until cooked through and juices are clear. Let chicken cool and dice it.

2. Cook pasta according to package directions, omitting salt and fat. Drain and place in a large bowl. Add Chicken and next 5 ingredients (through tomato); toss well to combine.

3. Combine orange juice and remaining ingredients, stirring with a whisk. Drizzle over pasta mixture; toss gently to coat. Cover and chill. (Be sure to season well to your liking).


Happy Spring!!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Roasted Butternut Squash Salad with Blue Cheese Vinaigrette



It's gorgeous today! The sun is shining, the wind is minimal and I didn't even need a jacket when I went outside. I can't wait for my daughter to get home because as soon as she does, we're packing up and spending the rest of the day at the park. I love days like today!

And on a beautiful spring day, you need a beautiful green salad. I found this salad on Natalie's blog, The Sweets Life. This girl knows her stuff, especially when it comes to beautiful healthy food. As soon as I saw this salad, I knew I had to have it. In my mind, it's perfect for spring because it's got the summery crispness of the leafy lettuce or spinach, but also the winter nostalgia of creamy butternut squash and dried cranberries. Combine that with crispy bacon and an incredible homemade blue cheese vinaigrette, and you have yourself springtime on a plate! Thanks Natalie, I will be enjoying this salad a lot! Check out the recipe here.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Homemade Balsamic Vinaigrette



Check that baby out! My sweet husband got if for me for Christmas after I told him to after a few weeks of flirtatious hinting and winking. Anyway, it's a fun dressing mixer, specifically for vinaigrettes, squeezing the handle on the side emulsifies the oil and vinegar. It even has recipes on the side with the measurements included, making it so easy to throw a delicious dressing together. Is is essential to make your own vinaigrettes? no. Does it provide hours of super fun entertainment, especially during these cold winter days? you know it!

The first time I used my fun new contraption, I made was balsamic vinaigrette. I've had plenty of balsamic vinaigrettes in my day, and while I like them, I've never LURVED them or anything. Well, I do now!

I don't know what it was about this dressing, maybe it was the fresh ingredients, or the fact that I got to sit and mix it myself while giggling like a nerd, but it was so delicious. Tangy, fruity, sharp. Once again, I looked forward to eating my salad because of this vinaigrette. I'm telling you, homemade is the way to go!

Homemade Balsamic Vinaigrette

Ingredients

1/2 olive oil (I actually probably did about 1/3 cup to lighten it up a bit)
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
2 crushed cloves garlic
salt and pepper to taste

Directions

Combine all ingredients and mix until well combined. Toss in salad. My favorite salad for this dressing has diced apples, cranberries, toasted almonds and diced sharp cheddar cheese. Totally delicious.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Homemade Blue Cheese Dressing



I'm a bit of a salad dressing hoarder. It drives my husband crazy. At one time I've been known to have up to ten dressings in our fridge. The problem is, I always want a light dressing, but it's usually rare that I actually like it enough to eat it again and again. So I finally decided to make my own.

Enter angels, or a great white light, or whatever it is that signifies a life changing moment.

Seriously, after all these years, I've finally found a light dressing that makes me excited to eat a salad again, and they're so easy! I only have to look as far as what's already in my fridge or pantry, and it's not as full of all the chemicals and preservatives that might be in regular dressing.

I made this after having a nice hunk of Stilton left in my fridge from Christmas. The great thing about having such a strong flavored cheese is that a little goes a long way, and did it ever. This dressing had the wonderful pungency of blue cheese, as well as the nice tang you get in a dressing. It was chunky, it was creamy, and you would never guess that you were eating something light. Give it a try, you might never buy it out of a bottle again!



Blue Cheese Dressing

America's Test Kitchen Healthy Family Cookbook

Ingredients

1/4 cup crumbled strongly flavored blue cheese, such as Roquefort or Stilton
1/4 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup light mayonnaise
1/4 cup lowfat sour cream
2 tablespoons water
2 teaspoons white wine vinegar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon pepper

Directions

Mash the blue cheese and buttermilk together with a fork in a bowl until the mixture resembles cottage cheese with small curds. Stir in the remaining ingredients until well combined.

Per 2 Tablespoons: 45cal, 3g fat, 1g carb, 1g prot, 0g fiber

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Mediterranean Pasta Salad



Every other weekend or so Glenn and I try to drop the kids off and go out. Sometimes we like to have a nice night of dinner and a movie, other times we're just happy to go grocery shopping together, as long as it's just the two of us.

Before we dropped the kids off, I threw this salad together for the kids. We were planning on eating out, so we didn't want to eat any to ruin our appetites. The kids weren't too crazy about it, but Glenn and I couldn't stop picking at it. I don't think either of us wanted to admit it, but we both would have been happy to stay home and eat this for dinner instead!

This is such a quick and easy salad, great for potlucks and picnics. It's chuck full of colorful, healthy veggies, and then rounded out by soft cheesy tortellini. It might not be the most "wintery" dish, but sometimes it's nice to have a little blast of summer during these cold months to give us a ray of hope!

Mediterranean Pasta Salad
Adapted by Fresh Food Fast by Cooking Light

Ingredients

1 9 oz package refrigerated rainbow three cheese tortellini
1 quart water
1/4 pound asparagus spears, trimmed
1/3 cup chopped red pepper, or roasted red pepper, depending on preference
1 ounce Pepper Jack cheese, cut into 1/4 inch cubes
6 drained canned quartered artichoke hearts
8 grape tomatoes, or 3 seeded and diced tomatoes
8 black or kalamata olives
2 thin slices prosciutto, cut crosswise into strips
1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil
3 tablespoons light balsamic vinaigrette

Directions

1. Cook pasta in 1 quart boiling water 6 minutes. Add asparagus to boiling water, and cook 1 minute. Drain in a colander, and rinse with cold water until cooled. Drain.

2. While pasta and asparagus cook, combine bell pepper and next seven ingredients into large bowl. Add tortellini and asparagus; toss gently.

Serves 3: Serving size 1 1/3 cups

Per Serving: 304 cal, 16.2g fat, 29.7g carb, 11.2g prot, 2.2g fiber
 
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