Tag Archives: salad recipes

Grilled Calamari with Grapefruit, Olives and Pine Nuts

Grilled Calamari with Grapefruit, Olives and Pine Nuts at This Mama Cooks! On a Diet - thismamacooks.com

I love calamari, but most of the time when I see it on a menu, it’s breaded and fried. When we go into Atlanta and have lunch at Legal Sea Foods after visiting the Georgia Aquarium, I take the opportunity to indulge in an order of fried calamari off their gluten free menu.

What I really miss it having calamari the way my mom used to make it – Italian style in a tomato based sauce served on top of pasta. She also use to sauté calamari steaks in butter and vermouth after dipping it in an egg and wheat germ batter. If anyone knew how to serve calamari, it was my mom!

Well, I have to say that celebrity chef and winner of Food Network Star Season Six, Aarti Sequeira also has a way with calamari. In this dish, she combines it with Florida grapefruit, olives, and my favorite nut substitute, pine nuts, for a wonderful wilted salad.

You can find calamari in the freezer section of your grocery store or at an Asian grocery store. If you find it fresh or frozen and whole, here's a tutorial on how to clean it. It's not that hard unless you're squeamish.

To toast your pine nuts, put them in a pan over medium heat and toast them until they start to turn golden. Keep an eye on them, as it's very easy to burn the pine nuts!

For more recipes from Chef Aarti, go to Florida Grapefruit’s Facebook page. Or check out her other healthy grapefruit recipes here at This Mama Cooks! On a Diet like:

More recipes for you grapefruit lovers:

Grilled Calamari with Grapefruit, Olives and Pine Nuts at This Mama Cooks! On a Diet - thismamacooks.com

Grilled Calamari with Grapefruit, Olives and Pine Nuts

Recipe by Chef Aarti Sequeira

Ingredients

  • 1 pound baby squid (tubes and tentacles), cleaned
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup 100% Florida grapefruit juice
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, plus extra for grilling
  • Pinch red chile flakes
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 large ruby red grapefruit, cut into segments
  • 1 cup baby arugula, washed and dried completely
  • 1/4 cup green olives (about 8), pitted and thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoon currants
  • 1 tablespoon toasted pine nuts
  • Salt and pepper

Directions

  1. Pat squid dry with paper towels. Stir together garlic, grapefruit juice, 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, red chile flakes and a big pinch of salt and pepper in a large bowl. Separate out 3 tablespoons of this marinade into a smaller bowl, add the squid and toss to coat.
  2. Heat a large grill pan over high heat. Wait until it’s very hot to start cooking or else the squid will stick.
  3. While the pan heats up, toss grapefruit segments, arugula, olives, currants and pine nuts in the large bowl of marinade.
  4. Lightly brush the grill pan with oil. Shake the squid of any excess marinade, lay it on the hot grill and cook about 3 minutes per side for the tubes; cook the tentacles until nice and crispy, about 5 minutes total. Work in batches if necessary. If the squid sticks after 3 minutes, cook another 30 seconds; it will release when it’s cooked.
  5. Toss tentacles into the large bowl. Slice tubes into thin rings. Toss calamari with the arugula mixture. Taste for seasoning. Serve immediately.
Prep Time: 10 Minutes
Cook Time: 25 Minutes
Total Time: 35 Minutes
Servings: Serves 4 to 6
  • Serving size: 1/4 to 1/6 of recipe

Picture and recipe used with permission.

Kale Salad with Fruity Vinaigrette

Kale Salad with Fruity Vinaigrette at This Mama Cooks! On a Diet - thismamacooks.com

Continue reading

Kale & Grapefruit Salad with Warm Bacon-Wild Mushroom Dressing

Kale & Grapefruit Salad with Warm Bacon-Wild Mushroom Dressing at This Mama Cooks! On a Diet - thismamacooks.com

I love having grapefruit for breakfast. But I’m not fond of cutting open grapefruit every morning and dividing up the sections, even though I have a marvelous grapefruit knife. That’s why I buy those jars of already prepared grapefruit or those little snack cups, with the grapefruit sweetened with fruit juices and perfectly proportioned, for a breakfast sized snack.

Don’t be fooled, grapefruit is not just for breakfast anymore as shown in this terrific salad recipe from celebrity chef and winner of Food Network Star Season Six, Aarti Sequeira. In a recent survey, Florida Grapefruit discovered that nearly 70 percent of Americans ages 45 to 64 think it’s important to taste or try new ethnic foods, recipes or dishes. Chef Aarti’s recipe, Kale & Grapefruit Salad with Warm Bacon-Wild Mushroom Dressing, fulfills Americans’ wish to spice up their everyday dinners and entrees by using of-the-moment ingredients.

She’s revealing a new recipe every two weeks through March 18 on the Florida Grapefruit Facebook page, so stop by and check them out! I’ll be sharing another of her grapefruit recipes here at This Mama Cooks! On a Diet next week, too.

Tips:

  • If you’re allergic to nuts, use pine nuts or pumpkin seeds instead.
  • To make this salad vegetarian or vegan, substitute a soy bacon for the pork bacon.
  • To save time, use jarred or freshly peeled and segmented grapefruit in the produce department at your grocery store.
  • Make sure to use 100% grapefruit juice and not grapefruit “cocktail,” which may have added sugar, corn syrup, or high fructose corn syrup added to it.
Kale & Grapefruit Salad with Warm Bacon-Wild Mushroom Dressing at This Mama Cooks! On a Diet - thismamacooks.com

Kale & Grapefruit Salad with Warm Bacon-Wild Mushroom Dressing

Ingredients

  • 1 to 2 bunches (about 1 pound) black kale, washed, stalks removed, sliced into 1/4-inch ribbons
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, divided, plus more for massaging
  • 3 slices thick-sliced bacon, roughly chopped
  • 8 ounces wild mushrooms, thinly sliced (recommended: crimini and chanterelle)
  • 1 medium shallot, minced (about 1/4 cup)
  • 1/4 cup champagne vinegar
  • 1/4 cup 100% Florida grapefruit juice
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1/3 cup toasted hazelnuts, roughly chopped
  • 1 large ruby red grapefruit, cut into segments
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Directions

  1. Place kale in a very large bowl. Sprinkle with a couple of pinches of kosher salt and a very light drizzle of extra virgin olive oil. Now, begin “massaging” the kale; squeeze fistfuls of the leaves and rub between your fingers. The kale will begin to wilt within minutes! Once uniformly wilted, set aside on the counter and prepare the dressing.
  2. Grab a medium sauté pan or skillet and place it over medium-low heat. Add bacon pieces and cook, stirring every now and then, until most of the fat has rendered off and bacon bits are brown and just crispy. Using a slotted spoon, remove bacon to paper-towel lined plate. Pour off bacon fat into a measuring cup. If necessary, add enough extra virgin olive oil to make 1/4 cup. Pour back into sauté pan.
  3. Add the mushrooms, stir to coat in the fat, then spread out into an even layer. Don’t touch them for 3 to 5 minutes! They will start to soften and sizzle. Now stir and cook, stirring often until they are golden brown around the edges. Stir in the shallots and cook until the whole mixture is browned and aromatic.
  4. Add champagne vinegar, scraping up any brown bits on the bottom of the pan with your spoon. Turn the heat off. Add 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, the grapefruit juice and 1 tablespoon honey. Stir together, taste for seasoning and adjust according to your palate.
  5. Sprinkle kale with hazelnuts, bacon bits and grapefruit segments. Pour warm dressing over the top and serve immediately.
Prep Time: 25 Minutes
Cook Time: 20 Minutes
Total Time: 45 Minutes
Servings: Serves 4
  • Serving size: 1/4 of recipe

Recipe and photo used with permission.

Grapefruit, Salmon, and Avocado Salad

Grapefruit Salmon and Avocado Salad at This Mama Cooks! On a Diet- thismaacooks.com Photo by Romulo Yanes. Courtesy of Martha Stewart Living. Copyright © 2014.

How are your New Year’s resolutions to eat healthier going? Well, I hope I can inspire you with a recipe from the January/February 2014 issue of Martha Stewart Living that is on newsstands now. I love salmon, avocados and grapefruit, so when I saw a salad that combined these foods, I knew it had to be a winner. This is also a great salad to make if you have some leftover grilled salmon from dinner the night before.

And don’t throw out that grapefruit peel! Instead, use it to make candied grapefruit peel for baking, or to use in hot tea or cocktails. Leave the pith (the white flesh) on the peel and cook it up using the method I used in my Homemade Candied Ginger recipe. If you use a no calorie sugar substitute like Swerve Sweetener [affiliate code], the candied grapefruit peel will be practically calorie free!

Ingredients

  • 2 skinless wild-salmon fillets (each about 8 ounces, 1 inch thick)
  • Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 scallions, trimmed and thinly sliced
  • 1 Ruby Red grapefruit, peel and pith removed, segmented
  • 1 ripe avocado, pitted, peeled, and sliced
  • 2 cups sunflower shoots, watercress leaves, or a combination of both
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Season salmon with salt and pepper. Place in a 9-inch baking dish. Drizzle with 1 tablespoon oil and sprinkle with half of scallions. Bake until salmon is partially opaque in center, 10 to 12 minutes. Transfer to a dish and let cool.
  2. Break salmon into large pieces and divide among serving dishes. Top each with grapefruit, avocado, greens, and remaining scallions. Season with salt and pepper. Whisk remaining 2 tablespoons oil with lime juice and season with salt. Drizzle dressing over each salad.
Prep Time: 15 Minutes
Cook Time: 35 Minutes
Total Time: 50 Minutes
Servings: Serves 4
  • Serving size: 1/4 of recipe

Photo by Romulo Yanes. Courtesy of Martha Stewart Living. Copyright © 2014. Used with permission.

Brussels Sprout and Apple Slaw with Balsamic Vinaigrette

Brussels Sprout and Apple Slaw with Balsamic Vinaigrette from This Mama Cooks! On a Diet - thismamacooks.com

This time of year is crazy. I have relatives coming in from out of town and I’m trying to get things done from work to Christmas shopping before they arrive. Just the other day I spend six hours with the kids shopping for end of the year gifts for their teachers, friends and their dad, which required stopping at eight different stores to find everything we needed. Pile on running a couple more errands and hitting two grocery stores, I was exhausted but thankful I felt up to the task. After being in and out of the hospital this year, I’m glad I was able to do it by myself without my husband’s help. The kids were great organizing lists and helping carrying in groceries, of course, but I felt like Super Woman after completing all of our tasks!

One stop shopping at Target

I do like shopping at stores where you can buy gifts as well as grocery shop, which is why Target is one of my favorites. Right now if you’re out doing your last minute holiday gift shopping at Target, stop by their grocery section to pick up Kraft products for holiday entertaining and cooking. Right now you can save up to $20 using coupons at Target on all kinds of Kraft products from Kraft Shredded Cheese to Gevalia Coffee.

Kraft dressings

Inspired by Target’s Kraft sale, I picked up a couple of bottles of Kraft dressing. While I do make my own salad dressing most of the time, it’s nice to have a few bottles of Kraft dressing in the pantry, especially this time of the year when I don’t have fresh herbs from the garden. I picked up a bottle of Kraft Cucumber Ranch and Kraft Balsamic Vinaigrette along with some Brussels sprouts, apples, red onions, and dried cranberries since I wanted to make a slaw salad for dinner.

Healthy Brussels Sprout and Apple Slaw from This Mama Cooks! On a Diet - thismamacooks.com

Healthy Brussels sprout slaw salad

When you’re busy with holiday shopping, cooking and entertaining, it’s hard to remember to eat healthfully. Salads like this Brussels Sprouts and Apple Slaw with Balsamic Vinaigrette are a great way to keep on track and fill up on healthy fruits and vegetables. It’s also a nice spin on slaw and a different way to serve up Brussels sprouts. If you know someone who says, “Ewwwww, Brussels sprouts!” don’t tell them it’s in the slaw until after they try it. They’ll just think it’s a crunchy, sweet slaw with cranberries.

This salad takes no time at all to make if you have a food processor. Finally, if you’re serving up leftover turkey or ham sandwiches during the holidays, sneak in a layer of Brussels Sprout and Apple Slaw in your sandwich. It’s sort of like “pig pile Elvis style,” but much healthier!

Brussels Sprout and Apple Slaw with Balsamic Vinaigrette from This Mama Cooks! On a Diet - thismamacooks.com

Brussels Sprout and Apple Slaw with Balsamic Vinaigrette

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 pounds Brussels sprouts
  • 1 Granny Smith apple, cored and cut into quarters
  • 1 Fuji apple, cored and cut into quarters
  • 1/2 medium red onion
  • 3/4 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/2 cup Kraft Balsamic Vinaigrette

Directions

  1. Using a food processor, shred the Brussels sprouts, apples and red onion.
  2. Place the shredded sprouts, apples and onion in a large bowl. Add the cranberries.
  3. Pour the vinaigrette over the slaw and toss to coat evenly.
Prep Time: 30 Minutes
Servings: Makes 10 cups
  • Serving size: 1 cup

From shopping for gifts to planning family dinners, it’s hard to keep up with all your holiday to-do’s. This year, Kraft is helping out with great weeknight meals and entertaining ideas to make the season a little bit easier. Plus, Kraft is offering up to $20 in coupons, redeemable exclusively at Target, to make food shopping easier and to help you have a happy holiday season.

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Kraft. The opinions and text are all mine.

 

Spicy Celery Root & Carrot Slaw Salad

Spicy Celery Root & Carrot Slaw Salad at This Mama Cooks! On a Diet - thismamacooks.com

Now that fall’s here, it’s time to embrace root vegetables once again! How about some Curried Sweet Potato & Fig Soup, Gluten Free Pumpkin Bread, or Vegetarian Borscht with Kale? However, when it comes to root vegetables, we rarely think of cold salads or slaws. That’s why I was intrigue by my friend, Robyn Webb’s recipe for Celery Root Salad at Diabetes Forecast, the magazine put out the American Diabetes Association. It seemed like a root vegetable version of a coleslaw type salad using celeriac (celery root), fennel (anise), and a little bit of carrot. Plus the photo by Kyle Dreier and food styling by Whitney Kemp (the online thumbnail shot doesn’t do it justice) was gorgeous and inspiring.

Unfortunately, going over the recipe, I found a few things I needed to change. First, I couldn’t eat it due to my food sensitivity to sour cream. Second, a lot of people don’t like the taste of fennel/anise, so I’d have to disguise it or play it down somehow. (Fennel has a black licorice taste, which I love but many people hate.)

Spicy Celery Root & Carrot Slaw Salad at This Mama Cooks! On a Diet - thismamacooks.com

Third, when you buy celeriac, it’s usually a huge bulb, so either you have to make a double batch or throw half of it into the compost. So, I had to increase the ratios so you wouldn’t have to waste food. Fourth, I wanted more of a “bite” to the sauce and felt adding some NAKANO rice vinegar and ground chipotle chile pepper instead of cayenne would do the trick. Fifth, I wanted to add more carrot to it for sweetness and color.

In addition to all my changes, I wanted to make this as allergen friendly as possible – gluten free, egg free, milk free, etc. To do this I used a dairy and egg free no fat mayonnaise from Trader Joe’s and a Tofutti Sour Cream. In addition, I used NAKANO rice vinegar since all their vinegars are gluten free. It's naturally nut free, too. However, this vegetarian slaw salad is not soy free. That was one allergen I couldn't avoid.

Spicy Celery Root & Carrot Slaw Salad at This Mama Cooks! On a Diet - thismamacooks.com

While Spicy Celery Root & Carrot Slaw Salad is a great on it’s own, I liked serving it up in a brown rice tortilla wrap. But the best way was with grilled fish tacos with some avocados and salsa – delicious. This would make a great tailgate party or potluck slaw salad, too!

Finally, celery root is rather tough to grate – too tough for a box grater in my opinion unless you’re a lineman for the Denver Broncos with big, strong hands. I highly recommend using a food processor to shred it. Using a good processor for the fennel and carrots will make things much easier, too.

Spicy Celery Root & Carrot Slaw Salad at This Mama Cooks! On a Diet - thismamacooks.com

Spicy Celery Root & Carrot Slaw Salad

Ingredients

  • 2 3/4 cups peeled and shredded celery root (celeriac)
  • 1 cup shredded fennel bulb
  • 5 large carrots peeled and shredded
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup Tofutti sour cream
  • 1/4 cup no eggs, no dairy, no fat mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon spicy mustard
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons NAKANO Natural Rice Vinegar
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground chipotle chile pepper
  • 1 teaspoon minced green onions (white bulb ends only)
  • 1 teaspoon minced chives
  • whole chives for garnish (optional)

Directions

  1. In a large serving bowl, combine the shredded celery root , fennel, and carrots.
  2. Toss well, then add the lemon juice and toss again. While tossing, pick out any large pieces of root vegetables that weren’t shredded by your food processor.
  3. In a small bowl, gently whisk together Tofutti, mayonnaise, spicy mustard, olive oil, NAKANO Natural Rice Vinegar, sea salt, black pepper, and ground chipotle chile pepper.
  4. Fold the minced green onions and chives into the Tofutti dressing.
  5. Add the Tofutti dressing to the celery root slaw salad and toss well. Cover with a lid or plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 20 to 30 minutes before serving. Garnish slaw salad with whole chives, if desired.
Prep Time: 30 Minutes
Total Time: 40 Minutes
Servings: Serves 8
  • Serving size: 1/2 cup

Asian Citrus Watermelon Salad

Asian Citrus Watermelon Salad from This Mama Cooks! On a Diet - thismamacooks.com

With Labor Day weekend coming up and football season starting, I’m sure you’ve got lots of potluck or tailgating parties coming up. Since it’s still in season, watermelon is the perfect choice for a healthy party side dish. By now, I’m sure you’ve had your fill of Watermelon Mint & Basil Salad with Feta or something similar. So why not try this Asian Citrus Watermelon Salad using NAKANO Citrus Seasoned Rice Vinegar? This would go well with my Sriracha Chicken Skewers or teriyaki beef or chicken cooked up on the grill!

Asian Citrus Watermelon Salad from This Mama Cooks! On a Diet - thismamacooks.com

You can assure all your gluten free and nut free guests that the salad is OK to eat because you’ve used tamari sauce instead of soy sauce, and pine nuts instead of peanuts. Just make sure to double check that the fish sauce doesn’t have any wheat or soy sauce in it. (The kind I used didn’t.)

Asian Citrus Watermelon Salad from This Mama Cooks! On a Diet - thismamacooks.com

Asian Citrus Watermelon Salad

Inspired by this recipe from the July/August 2013 issue of Food Network Magazine

Ingredients

  • 1 teaspoon toasted sesame seed oil
  • 1 teaspoon lemon flavored olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce
  • 1 tablespoon low sodium tamari sauce
  • 3 tablespoons NAKANO Citrus Seasoned Rice Vinegar
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 1/4 cup minced red onion
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoons minced ginger
  • 1/2 Thai pepper, seeded and minced or 1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced
  • 5 cups seedless watermelon cut into 1” chunks
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped fresh basil
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped fresh mint
  • 3 tablespoons pine nuts

Directions

  1. Whisk together sesame seed olive, olive oil, fish sauce, tamari sauce, vinegar, lime juice, red onion, garlic, ginger and jalapeno in a large bowl.
  2. Add the watermelon and toss to combine.
  3. Let sit 10 minutes.
  4. Add the cilantro, basil, mint and pint nuts to salad.
  5. Toss to combine. Serve immediately.
Prep Time: 30 Minutes
Total Time: 30 Minutes
Servings: Makes 6 to 7 servings
  • Serving size: 3/4 cup

Crunchy Thai Quinoa Salad from Laa Loosh

Crunchy Thai Quinoa Salad

Are you familiar with Laa Loosh? Whether you’re an aficionado of Weight Watchers or healthy recipe blogs, check it out - along with an interview with yours truly that is!

Along with the interview, Laa Loosh and I did a recipe exchange. They’ve featured my adaptation of Hugh Acheson’s A New Turn in the South, Saffron Braised Celery and Grilled Fish with Hot Sauce Buerre Blanc. In return, today I’m featuring this healthy and colorful Crunchy Thai Quinoa Salad, which would be a wonderful Meatless Monday meal. You can also use this as a side dish or bring it to a potluck party.

To make this nut free, use sunflower butter instead of peanut butter. (This will change the nutritional information, however.) To make the quinoa salad gluten free, make sure to use low sodium tamari sauce instead of soy sauce. No honey in the house? Try agave nectar, sorghum or even some real maple or brown rice syrup.

Crunchy Thai Quinoa Salad

Recipe by Laa Loosh

Servings: 8 (serving size 3/4 cup)

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup quinoa, prepared according to package directions
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 1 cup red cabbage, shredded
  • 1 carrot, shredded
  • 1 cup shelled edamame
  • 1 cup green onions, diced
  • 1/2 cup cilantro
  • 1/4 cup Better’n Peanut Butter
  • 1/3 cup reduced sodium soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon fresh grated ginger
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • Juice from 1 lime
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Place cooked quinoa in a large bowl and set aside to cool.
  2. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, whisk together Better’n Peanut Butter, sesame oil, lime juice, honey, vinegar, soy sauce, ginger, garlic, and salt and pepper.
  3. Once quinoa has come to room temperature, add all the vegetables. Pour dressing over top and toss to combine. Serve cold or at room temperature.

Nutritional information: 177 calories; 4.5g fat; 24g carbohydrates; 8g protein; 4g protein. Each serving = 4 Points+

Recipe and photograph used with permission.

Flank Steak With Chickpea Arugula Salad from Bertolli Olive Oil

Flank Steak With Chickpea Arugula SaladDuring my recovery from brain surgery, I’m featuring recipes from brands I use and love. This one comes courtesy of Bertolli, a brand that I trust and cook with often. They were nice enough to send me a complimentary bottle a few weeks ago – always good to stock up on staples when you can’t get to the grocery store too often!

This elegant, easy and quick to make dish is from Chef Fabio Viviani. You can watch him make the dish below. This dish is naturally gluten free and a great way to serve your meat and salad all on one dish.

Flank Steak With Chickpea Arugula Salad

Recipe courtesy of Chef Fabio Viviani and Bertolli Olive Oil

Serves: 4

Prep Time: 15 minutes | Cook Time: 10 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound flank steak
  • 1 teaspoon Bertolli® Extra Light™ Tasting Olive Oil
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • Grated peel from 2 lemons
  • Grated peel from 1 orange
  • 2 tablespoon Bertolli® Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 can (15 ounces) can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 1/2 cup pitted kalamata olives, chopped
  • 2 green onions, sliced
  • 1/2 cup chopped pepperoncini
  • 4 cups arugula

Directions:

  1. Season steak with salt and ground black pepper. Heat Bertolli Extra Light Tasting Olive Oil in 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium-high heat and cook steak, turning once, 10 minutes or until desired doneness.
  2. Whisk together lemon juice, lemon peel, orange peel, and Bertolli Extra Virgin Olive oil in medium bowl. Add chickpeas, olives, green onions and pepperoncini. Add Arugula; toss to coat.
  3. Slice steak and serve salad on top.

Recipe and photo used with permission.

Sensational Summer Pasta for the Fourth from Holly Clegg

Sensational Summer Pasta for the Fourth from Holly CleggHere’s a Fourth of July guest post from Holly Clegg featuring a recipe from her new cookbook, Holly Clegg’s trim&TERRIFIC™ Eating Well To Fight Arthritis: 200 Easy Recipes and Practical Tips to Help Reduce Inflammation and Ease Symptoms [affiliate link]. Serve leftovers (if you have any) as a pasta salad the next day.

You can make this gluten free by using brown rice pasta. This is also perfect to serve as a Meatless Monday dish!

You can find more of Holly’s trim& TERRIFIC® recipes at hollyclegg.com and The Healthy Cooking Blog.

Red, White and Blue

Fourth of July is right around the corner, and I wanted to share the perfect summer recipe to add to the red, white and blue festivities. For a classic, any-occasion dish the pasta salad is where it’s at – and this Sensational Summer Pasta does not disappoint, especially since it is “red and white!” Fresh ingredients at their best, ripe juicy tomatoes, basil, and creamy mozzarella, meld together for an all-star crowd favorite.

An easy tip to seed tomatoes - cut the tomato in half from side to side and gently squeeze the tomato to watch seeds easily pop out. Try growing basil in pots as it is fairly easy and nothing beats fresh basil in the summer! You can easily chop fresh basil by rolling it up and slicing it into pieces. If you don’t have fresh basil handy, you can use dried at a ratio of 3:1. In other words, 1 tablespoon fresh = 1 teaspoon of dried herbs.

Add a side of blueberries, or your favorite blueberry cobbler and you have a delicious red, white and blue spread! Highlighting the fresh ingredients of the season to accompany the meat you throw on the grill, this trim&TERRIFIC recipe is sure be worthy of the fireworks on those hot summer nights.

Sensational Summer Pasta for the Fourth from Holly Clegg

Sensational Summer Pasta

This is one of those times that fresh is best! A simple salad with summer ripe juicy tomatoes, fresh basil and mozzarella really rocks!!!

Ingredients

  • 4 cups coarsely chopped ripe tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1/2 cup chopped green onion
  • 1/2 cup loosely packed basil leaves, torn or chopped
  • 1/4 pound fresh mozzarella cheese, cubed
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 12 ounces bowtie or curly pasta

Directions

  1. In large serving bowl, combine tomatoes, garlic, green onion, basil, cheese, and olive oil. Season to taste. Cover, and keep at room temperature at least 2 hours up to 6 hours.
  2. When ready to serve, cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and add to tomato mixture.
Prep Time: 2 Hours 20 Minutes
Cook Time: 15 Minutes
Total Time: 35 Minutes
Servings: Makes 8 servings
  • Serving size: 1 cup
  • Calories: 278
  • Calories from Fat: 97 (35%)
  • Total Fat: 11g
  • Saturated fat: 3g
  • Unsaturated fat: 8g
  • Sodium: 19mg
  • Total Carbohydrates: 36g
  • Sugar: 4g
  • Fiber: 2g
  • Protein: 9g
  • Cholesterol: 12mg

Dietary Exchanges: 2 starch, 1 vegetable, 2 fat

Recipe and photo used with permission of the author.

Layered Mexican Christmas Eve Salad with Smoked Beets #SRC

Layered Mexican Christmas Eve Salad with Smoked Beets at This Mama Cooks! On a Diet - thismamacooks.com

For this month’s Secret Recipe Club challenge, I was thrilled to be assigned a food blogger from my old home state of Colorado, Lea Ann Brown of Cooking on the Ranch. I so miss Colorado’s food blogging community! While I was tempted to try out several of Lea Ann’s breakfast recipes (anything with an egg is A-OK with me), I decided trying her Mexican Christmas Eve Salad would be more seasonally appropriate. Yes, yes, I know it’s June, but making a nice salad for dinner seems like a good idea when it’s too hot to cook. Don’t you agree?

I took Lea Ann’s advice and make this a chopped salad and arranged it in a trifle bowl, since she felt the Mexican Christmas Eve Salad reminded her of an English trifle. In addition, I did a little research on Ensalada de Nochebuena or Christmas Eve Salad. According to Hispanic Kitchen,

Although many variations exist, three ingredients are at the core: beets, pomegranate and jicama. The root vegetable – jicama is also known as "Mexican potato," so it's an appropriate member. Beets are included for color along with pomegranate seeds sprinkled across the top. Apples, oranges, and sometimes bananas round out the list.

Lea Ann’s version uses pomegranate seeds, romaine lettuce, peanuts, oranges, jicama, along with red and golden beets. I’ve seen other recipes use pepitas (pumpkin seeds), apples, bananas, and pine nuts. I kept pretty true to her recipe, but omitted the peanuts due to my daughter’s nut allergy. I’ll serve pepitas on the side if anyone’s interested in adding them to their salad, though I doubt my kids will go for it. For the dressing, most recipes call for Crème Mexicana, which is Mexican sour cream. If you cannot find it in your grocery store or want to use something lighter, use nonfat Greek yogurt instead. I found Lea Ann’s version super thick, so I thinned it with rice vinegar. Finally, I doubled Lea Ann’s recipe so it would fit in my Pampered Chef trifle bowl.

Layered Mexican Christmas Eve Salad with Smoked Beets at This Mama Cooks! On a Diet - thismamacooks.com

How to smoke beets

After having smoked cauliflower at Pulaski Heights BBQ in Athens, GA, I started experimenting by smoking various vegetables from beets to kohlrabi. While you can roast beets in the oven using my method for cooking and peeling beets, I love smoking beets in my electric smoker. Here’s how:

  1. Set smoker to 275 degrees. Add your favorite type of wood chips. And don’t forget to add water to the drip pan!
  2. Coat an oven safe roasting pan with cooking spray. (Make sure your pan will fit inside your smoker.)
  3. Remove beet tops from beets and set aside. (Use the beet tops to make a Simple Beet Salad.)
  4. Wash beets. Cut into quarters and place in your roasting pan.
  5. Place roasting pan in your smoker and cook for 3 hours or until the beets are soft when pricked with a knife or fork.
  6. Remove from smoker and let cool.
  7. Peel skin off beats with a paring knife.
Layered Mexican Christmas Eve Salad with Smoked Beets at This Mama Cooks! On a Diet - thismamacooks.com

Layered Mexican Christmas Eve Salad

Ingredients

For salad:

  • 6 red beets, smoked, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 1 romaine heart, coarsely chopped
  • 1 small jicama, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 4 navel oranges, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 2 (5.3 ounce) containers pomegranate arils

For dressing:

  • 1/2 cup light mayonnaise
  • 1/2 cup Crème Mexicana
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons orange juice
  • 2 canned chipotle chilies, minced
  • 4 tablespoons rice vinegar

Directions

For salad:

  1. Layer ingredients in your trifle bowl in the order listed. For fun you may want to break up the romaine lettuce into two layers.
  2. Since beets have a tendency to run, you may want to have them as the bottom layer.

For dressing:

  1. In a small mixing bowl, combine ingredients and stir until blended.
  2. Serve on the side.
Prep Time: 30 Minutes
Total Time: 30 Minutes
Servings: Serves 6 to 8
  • Serving size: 1 large bowl

More from the Secret Recipe Club!

Want to join the Secret Recipe Club? You can sign up here.

Hummus & Tabbouleh Salad from Holly Clegg’s Eating Well to Fight Arthritis

Hummus-Tabeloug-Spread

This week and next, I’ll be sharing some recipes from Holly Clegg’s trim&TERRIFIC™ Eating Well To Fight Arthritis: 200 Easy Recipes and Practical Tips to Help Reduce Inflammation and Ease Symptoms [affiliate link].

Let’s start with Holly’s Hummus & Tabbouleh Salad. She told me she made this for a party and everyone was raving about it. She’s been using the Hummus &Tabbouleh Salad as an appetizer, yet it's kind of like a salad, too - but with a lot of hummus! I think it would make a wonderful vegetarian sandwich spread, don’t you?

If you’re gluten free, substitute quinoa for the tabbouleh and serve on brown rice tortillas or gluten free bread.

Hummus-Tabeloug-Spread

Hummus & Tabbouleh Salad

A layered mound of fantastic flavors makes a splendid Mediterranean salad. Serve with toasted pita bread. Also, makes a great dip.


Did you know that parsley is also a good source of plant iron? One cup contains about 20% of your RDA.

Ingredients

  • 1 (5.25-ounce) box Tabbouleh mix wheat salad (makes 2 1/2 cups)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 cup chopped red onion
  • 1 cup chopped tomatoes
  • 1 cup finely chopped cucumber
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh parsley (flat leaf preferred)
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 (10-ounce) container roasted red pepper hummus
  • 1/4 cup crumbled reduced-fat feta cheese

Directions

  1. In bowl, prepare tabbouleh mix according to package instructions. After water is absorbed, fluff with fork and add olive oil, mixing well.
  2. To tabbouleh, add red onion, tomatoes, cucumber, parsley, lemon juice and season to taste.
  3. On large serving plate, spread hummus, top with tabbouleh salad and sprinkle with feta. Cover in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 20 minutes before serving.
Prep Time: 30 Minutes
Cook Time: 20 Minutes
Total Time: 50 Minutes
Servings: Makes 4 servings
  • Serving size: 1 cup
  • Calories: 308
  • Calories from Fat: 103 (34%)
  • Total Fat: 12g
  • Saturated fat: 1g
  • Unsaturated fat: 11g
  • Sodium: 909mg
  • Total Carbohydrates: 47g
  • Sugar: 7g
  • Fiber: 11g
  • Protein: 9g
  • Cholesterol: 3mg

Dietary Exchanges: 3 starch, 2 fat

Recipe and photo used with permission of the author.

Meatless Monday: The Passionate Vegetable cookbook review and a recipe for California Fiesta Quinoa Salad #meatlessmonday #glutenfree

California Fiesta Quinoa Salad from The Passionate Vegetable cookbook

Has your family participated in Meatless Monday yet? Maybe you’re reluctant to because someone in your family thinks veggies are yucky. Or maybe you’re just perplexed on how to cook up a vegetarian dish that’s filling and will be liked by all family members. That’s why you have to check out the new cookbook by Suzanne Landry, The Passionate Vegetable. Her health inspired recipes  promise to revitalize your life whether you’re a vegetarian or a meat lover.

You can tell that Suzanne is a health educator, because The Passionate Vegetable is as educational as it is inspirational. The cookbook includes a simple guide to food nutrition, suggestions for healthy vegetarian meals, transition recipes for the meat lover (love this!), and a guide to remaking your pantry to be healthier and vegetarian friendly. The Passionate Vegetable contains over 145 recipes including breakfasts, salads, soups, grains and bean dishes, and entries, as well as a chapter devoted to meat and healthy treats and desserts. It also features fantastic food photography for some but not all her recipes, unfortunately. Recipes I’m looking forward to making include Ratatouille over Spaghetti Squash and Roasted Fresh Figs with Goat Cheese.

Summer salads

With the weather getting warmer, I’m on the lookout for recipes that require a minimum of cooking and are more on the light side. This recipe from The Passionate Vegetable for California Fiesta Quinoa Salad fits the bill, since you can make it ahead of time in the morning when it’s cooler. Quinoa makes a terrific main dish since it’s an excellent source of vegetarian protein and it’s gluten free. Suzanne suggests adding leftover quinoa salad to scrambled eggs – just before the eggs set hard, add 1/4 cup and give it a stir. She likes this egg and quinoa salad dish for breakfast, but you could make it for lunch or dinner, too!

California Fiesta Quinoa Salad

Recipe from The Passionate Vegetable by Suzanne Landry from Health Inspired Publishing

Serves 6

Salad ingredients:The Passionate Vegetable

  • 1 cup quinoa, uncooked
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/4  teaspoon sea salt
  • 3/4  cup tomato, chopped (1 medium tomato)
  • 1/4 cup celery, chopped (1 stalk)
  • 1/2  cup cucumber, seeded and chopped (1 medium cucumber)
  • 1/2 cup scallions, chopped (4 scallions)
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro, cleaned and chopped
  • 1/2 cup fresh or frozen corn, blanched
  • 1/2 cup cooked black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1/4 cup black olives, pitted and diced (Kalamata are the best!)

Dressing ingredients:

  • 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1   teaspoon hot red pepper flakes (or more to taste)
  • 2   tablespoon red wine vinegar or 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1/2  teaspoon sea salt

Directions:

  • Boil 2 cups water and add salt. Thoroughly rinse quinoa in strainer. Place in boiling water, cover, and reduce heat to medium-low. Cook for 20 minutes or until grain is fluffed and water is absorbed.  Remove from pot into a large bowl and allow to cool before adding vegetables.
  • Slice tomatoes into 1/2-inch slabs and remove most of the seeds.  Then cut tomatoes into sticks and crosswise into ½-inch cubes.  This will give you evenly sized tomato pieces that won’t get mushy if the salad isn’t eaten right away.
  • Cut celery by slicing down the rib in the center of the stalk. If the stalk is large you might want to cut it in thirds. Then cut crosswise into 1/2-inch pieces.
  • Slice cucumber lengthwise into 4 strips and then remove center seeds. Chop these strips into 1/2-inch pieces. Remove root ends of scallions and cross chop into 1/4-inch pieces. Toss cooled quinoa with all remaining vegetables, beans, and olives.
  • Mix vinegar, oil, hot pepper flakes, and salt together.  Toss lightly with salad.  Refrigerate for an hour before serving.  This will last 5 days in the refrigerator.

Recipe and picture used with permission.

Support the Salad Bar Nation initiative to bring 2013 salad bars to schools

Salad Bar Nation raising funds for salad bars in schools

The Salad Bar Nation initiative by the Whole Kids Foundation is committed to improving the nation’s health by challenging Americans of all ages to eat a salad every day. A great idea in my opinion, because we all need more leafy greens and vegetables in our diets! They’re also utilizing text-to-give and online fundraising with the hopes of raising $5 million to fund 2,013 salad bars in schools across the country 2013. That’s is why I’m sharing the the infographic below, so you have some quick stats about Salad Bar Nation and the benefits of salad bars in schools.

In addition, to inspire you to eat more salads, the campaign’s website, SaladBarNation.org, is featuring a new salad each week along with simple healthy salad tips, so check it out! This week’s salad is the Mediterranean Crunch Salad – yummy!