Tag Archives: salad

Summer Salad with Vinaigrette

This salad…is amazing!  I had a version of it while on vacation in Indy earlier this month.  Artisan lettuce (no iceberg) with fresh strawberries, mandarin oranges, pecans, crumbled/cubed cheese, and grilled chicken.  Delicious!

Salads are wonderful for a variety of things…you can get seriously creative with them.  Fruits, nuts, cheeses, meats, etc.  Nothing is really “wrong” on a salad…with the exception of dressing.  Some people go crazy with dressing, and drown the flavor (and health value) out of a perfectly good salad.

I have been experimenting with creating everyday food items from scratch.  First up…vinaigrette.  Specifically the vinaigrette that accompanied this salad in Indy.  A poppyseed vinaigrette.  The waitress was nice enough to tell me it had these things included:

-poppyseeds (of course)
-oil
-wine vinegar
-sugar*
-red onion

She followed it up with, “It’s really quite simple to mix up.”  So, I did.  I did; however, switch up the sugar for honey (as noted by the *).  I used two different kinds of oil, olive and canola.  The dressing had a pink hue to it, so I figured she probably meant red wine vinegar.  Putting this dressing together took me all of five minutes…and it is delicious!  Best of all, I know *exactly* what is in it, and I know it is fresh!

What kinds of salads do you enjoy?  Have you ever made your own dressing?

-Erica

My {proposed} Thanksgiving “Feast”

So, since I came to the revelation that I needed (badly) to develop a plan for Thanksgiving dinner this year the wheels have been spinning…

I appreciate the input and advice from all of you.  I probably would not have come up with this fine “feast” without you!

First up – salad:

Fall Harvest Salad

To be honest, I usually do not prepare a salad for Thanksgiving dinner. This year; however, I will…and I am actually excited to try this one (because it looks/sounds delicious!). I will be using artisan lettuce instead of “plain old” lettuce, though. Also I will not be making such a large amount of the vinaigrette – my family is not big on dressings anyway.

Next comes the turkey:

Roasted Citrus & Herb Turkey

This is a bit different than my usual seasoning for the turkey, but I am excited to try something new with the turkey. You know, shake things up a bit (or a whole lot…as it might be).

Moving on to the mashed potatoes:

Faux Ta Toes

This is maybe where things start to get more interesting. I have been brainstorming ways to “change out” the mashed potatoes with all of their white starchy evilness (yes, I am aware that is not really a word). At first I switched straight to sweet potatoes, but that was an “I-may-lose-my-life-serving-it” kind of plan. So, I thought “faux” potatoes, or cauliflower. I will not follow the recipe above entirely, but this is the general idea. Instead of serving 100% mashed potatoes, I am going to switch out majority of the potatoes for cauliflower. I also usually use light sour cream instead of cream cheese. Additionally, I will be adding some herbs and spices to keep the flavor up (without adding extra calories/fat).

Now, I am not sure about anyone else out there, but when I have mashed potatoes (or even a knock off) I *have* to have corn.  So, I found this delightfully scrumptious recipe a while back:

Oven Roasted Corn on the Cob with Cilantro Lime Butter

I am hoping I will be able to find corn on the cob in the grocery today. If not, I will have to come up with something else. Maybe a variation of this recipe that does not start “on the cob?” We shall see.

The stuffing:

Wild Rice Stuffing

The last dinner item I will be serving is broccoli:

Broccoli (no special recipe)

I did not pick out a “special” recipe for broccoli because I do not really think I need one. I cook broccoli often (because I love it) and I think the way I usually prepare it is just fine (steamed with some garlic).

On to dessert.  As I mentioned before, we have always been a “multi-dessert” kind of family.  That is mostly because I *love* pumpkin and my mother hates it.  I refuse to skip pumpkin *something* on Thanksgiving, and my mother feels the same way about apple *something.*  So, here is my plan:

Apple Confit

Per the reviews on the recipe, I will be significantly reducing the sugar in the recipe. I will also likely increase the cinnamon and maybe a dash of something extra. It sounds absolutely amazing, though.

…and the pumpkin dessert:

Light Pumpkin Custard

I will be making smaller quantities this year (so I may end up halving some of the larger recipes listed above), so that it decreases the amount of food on the table (and in my fridge afterward). All in all, though, I feel as though this is a decent menu with very little room for “disaster” in the way of my weight loss path. I also believe that my family will not be too terribly upset about this menu, so that is another positive.

What are your plans for Thanksgiving? Will you be allowing yourself a “free” day, or will you be mentally preparing to curb poor eating habits?

-Erica

Curry Salad

This looks amazing, too.  Another recipe courtesy of my Facebook friend, Amy, that is on my “must try soon” list.

CURRY SALAD

2 limes
1 c dry quinoa
1 1/4 c water
3 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 1/4 tsp curry seasoning (such as Spice Islands)
3/4 tsp salt
1 package (10 oz) shredded carrots
1 c no-salt-added canned chickpeas (garbanzo beans), rinsed and drained
1 1/2 c thinly sliced scallions
1/4 c sliced almonds, toasted
1/4 c dried currants or golden raisins
3/8 tsp pepper

1. Zest or finely grate one lime to produce 1 1/2 teaspoons zest, then juice both limes.
2. In a saucepan, combine 3 tablespoons lime juice, quinoa, water, 1 tablespoon olive oil, curry seasoning, and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Bring to a boil; reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes or until quinoa turns transparent and liquid is absorbed. Cool and place in a large bowl.
3. Add carrots, chickpeas, scallions, almonds, and currants. Toss.
4. In a small bowl, combine remaining 3 tablespoons lime juice, zest, remaining 2 tablespoons oil, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 3/8 teaspoon pepper; whisk until well blended. Pour over quinoa mixture and toss. Divide evenly into four salad bowls.

Makes four servings

Here’s the dirt:
431 calories
14 g fat (1.9 g saturated)
511 mg sodium
60 g carbs
10 g fiber
17 g protein

TIP If you can’t find curry seasoning, make your own using 1 teaspoon of curry powder, 1/8 teaspoon of ground ginger, and 1/8 teaspoon of cinnamon.

-Erica

Black Bean Salad

I came across this recipe today looking over a friend’s Facebook page…and it looks *amazing* to me!  I want to try this out sometime in the upcoming week.  I *love* fresh cilantro (so much, in fact, I grow it in my garden).

BLACK BEAN SALAD

1/4 c smoked tomato vinaigrette (such as Drew’s)
1 can (15 oz) no-salt-added black beans, rinsed and drained
1 tsp ground cumin
2 c fresh corn kernels (about 2 large ears)
2 oz smoked mozzarella, diced
1 pint cherry tomatoes, quartered
3/4 c coarsely chopped avocado
1/2 c finely chopped red onion
1/4 c chopped fresh cilantro

1. In a large bowl, combine vinaigrette, beans, cumin, and salt and pepper to taste; set aside.
2. Heat a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add corn and pan-roast, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned, about 4 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool. Stir corn and remaining ingredients into black bean mixture and toss together.
3. Chill until ready to serve. Divide evenly into four salad bowls.

Serves 4
Here’s the dirt:
324 calories
9 g fat (2.7 g saturated)
554 mg sodium
42 g carbs
11 g fiber
13 g protein

TIP: If you use frozen corn kernels, make sure they’re thawed and dry so they don’t stick to the pan.

-Erica

Cucumber Chicken Salad

I prefer to have quick lunches because our days are usually busy.  In the past this led to me eating something very unhealthy just because it was quick.  Now, I am starting to make tomorrow’s lunch today, which takes away that excuse.  This is a recipe I have tried, and I truly enjoy.

CUCUMBER CHICKEN SALAD

1 c. cubed cooked chicked breast
1/3 c. chopped seeded peeled cucumber (I did not de-seed mine and it was fine – for me)
1/4 c. fat-free mayo
1/4 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. dill weed

Combine all ingredients in a small bowl and chill.

*Try this on a bun with lettuce and tomato (and I usually add a piece of swiss cheese because I just love it).

Here’s the dirt on this recipe (these facts include lettuce, tomato, and bun without cheese):
2 servings

350 calories
8 g. fat (3 g saturated)
57 mg. cholesterol
930 mg. sodium
42 g. carbs
3 g. fiber
28 g. protein

-Erica