Tag Archives: salad recipes

Dreamfields Spicy and Cool Pasta Salad

Spicy and Cool Pasta Salad

This week’s to do list:

Spicy and Cool Pasta Salad

From the 2011 Pasta Extravaganza Contest

Preparation Time: 30 minutes
Makes 8-10 side dish servings


  • 1 box Dreamfields Penne Rigate
  • 2 ears corn or 1-1/2 cups frozen corn, thawed
  • 2 poblanochiles, roasted, peeled and chopped (see note)
  • 1 cup crumbled queso fresco cheese (see note)
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh chives
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 cup mango chutney
  • 2 tablespoons chili oil (see note)


  1. Cook pasta according to package directions. Remove pasta from pot; do not discard pasta water. Rinse pasta with cold water until completely cooled; drain again. Place in large bowl. Return pasta water to stove; bring to boil.
  2. Meanwhile, shuck corn and remove silks. Place in boiling pasta water 5 to 7 minutes or until corn is tender. Drain; rinse with cold water until completely cooled. Cut corn off cob.
  3. Add corn, chopped poblanos, cheese, chives, cilantro and salt to pasta; toss to combine. In small bowl, stir together chutney and chili oil. Pour over pasta mixture; toss until coated. Serve immediately. To serve chilled, do not add dressing. Cover and refrigerate pasta mixture. Remove from refrigerator 15 minutes before serving; toss with dressing.


  • To roast poblano chiles, cut poblanos in half; remove membrane and seeds. Spray with nonstick cooking spray. Line baking sheet with aluminum foil. Place chiles cut side down on baking sheet. Broil 6 inches from heat source, about 5 minutes or until blackened; check periodically. Place in plastic bag 10 minutes. Peel and coarsely chop chiles.
  • Crumbled feta or shredded Mexican cheese blend may be substituted for the queso fresco.
  • If chili oil is not available, substitute 2 tablespoons olive oil and 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes.

Nutritional information

Per serving (1/8 of recipe)

  • 268 calories
  • 9 g protein
  • 14 g digestible carbohydrates (If traditional pasta is used in this recipe there is a total of 44 g carbohydrate. For more information go to www.DreamfieldsFoods.com.)
  • 8 g total fat
  • 2 g saturated fat
  • 10 mg cholesterol
  • 304 mg sodium
  • 5 g total dietary fiber

Recipe and photograph used with permission from Dreamfields Pasta.

Disclosure: I am a VIP member of the Dreamfields Pasta “Dream Team 2012″ and was compensated for my time in running the giveaway.

Summer salads: Spinach, Tangerine and Fennel Salad with Pomegranate Vinaigrette

POM-SaladPomegranates aren’t just for the winter holidays. Luckily, POM Wonderful makes their pomegranates, juices and arils available to you year round! Summer’s a great time to enjoy their products in salads, entrees, desserts and smoothies.

This week and next I’ll be featuring a few healthy and delicious POM Wonderful recipes while I’m in Iowa learning about soy foods from the SoyFoods Council, in New York for the BlogHer conference, and in Washington, D.C. speaking at the USPCA Conference.

How do you like your pomegranate?

POM Spinach, Tangerine and Fennel Salad with Pomegranate Vinaigrette

Time to Table: 20 minutes prep, 30 minutes marinating

Servings: 4 main dish servings and 2/3 cup dressing




  • Juice from 2-3 large POM Wonderful Pomegranates (see Notes below) or 1 cup POM Wonderful 100% Pomegranate Juice
  • 3 tangerines
  • 4-5 cups fresh spinach leaves
  • 1 cup thinly sliced fennel
  • 1 cup thinly sliced red onion


  • Fennel ferns


  1. Score 1 fresh pomegranate and place in a bowl of water. Break open the pomegranate under water to free the arils (seed sacs). The arils will sink to the bottom of the bowl and the membrane will float to the top. Sieve and put the arils in a separate bowl. Reserve cup of the arils from fruit and set aside. (Refrigerate or freeze remaining arils for another use.)
  2. Prepare fresh pomegranate juice.* (see Notes below)
  3. Peel and section tangerines.
  4. Place tangerines in a bowl with 1 cup pomegranate juice and sugar if desired. Allow to marinate 30 to 45 minutes.
  5. Drain tangerines; reserve 1/3 cup of the marinade for vinaigrette.
  6. Mix 1/3 cup reserved pomegranate marinade with the other vinaigrette ingredients and shake together in a tightly covered container.
  7. Divide spinach, fennel and red onion on 4 salad plates.
  8. Divide tangerine slices on salad and dress with 1 to 2 tablespoons of vinaigrette per serving.
  9. Garnish with fennel ferns.


  • For 1 cup of juice, cut 2 to 3 large POM Wonderful Pomegranates in half and juice them with a citrus reamer or juicer. Pour the mixture through a cheesecloth-lined strainer or sieve. Set the juice aside.

This Mama’s tips

  • Make this salad a meal by adding chunks of cold rotisserie chicken or grilled shrimp. You could even sprinkle a little low fat feta on it!

Recipe and photo courtesy of POM Wonderful and used with permission.

Spinach and Melon Salad with Honey Citrus Vinaigrette


Leave it to my friend Holly Clegg to come up with a wonderful guest post about summer salads. You can check out more of Holly’s trim& TERRIFIC® recipes at hollyclegg.com and The Healthy Cooking Blog.

Summer watermelon

There is nothing quite like a big slice of watermelon on a sizzling summer day. An excellent source of antioxidants, Vitamin C and lycopene, not to mention watermelon is naturally sweet and so juicy! In the Spinach and Melon Salad with Honey Citrus Vinaigrette, melon is a fun surprise ingredient in this delightful, colorful salad. A must-try for that leftover refreshing watermelon! And, now finally the perfect solution to leftover watermelon!!!

Spinach and Melon Salad with Honey Citrus Vinaigrette

Looking for a great summer salad that’s refreshing, colorful, and jam-packed with flavor? Here it is! Give your taste buds a thrill with this fruity spinach salad accented with Maple Pecans, if desired.

Makes 6 servings


  • 1 (6-ounce) package fresh baby spinach
  • 1 cup cubed seeded watermelon
  • 1 cup cubed cantaloupe
  • 1 small cucumber, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup red onion, halved and thinly sliced
  • Honey Citrus Vinaigrette (recipe below)
  • Maple Pecans (optional, recipe below)


  1. In large bowl, combine together all ingredients. Toss with Honey Citrus Dressing (recipe below) and Maple Pecans (recipes below).

Honey Citrus Vinaigrette


  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons orange juice
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • Salt and pepper
  • Dash hot sauce


  1. In small bowl, whisk together all ingredients.

Nutritional information per serving: Calories 77, Calories from fat (%) 28, Fat (g) 3, Saturated Fat (g) 0, Cholesterol (mg) 0, Sodium (mg) 29, Carbohydrate (g) 14, Dietary Fiber (g) 1, Sugars (g) 11, Protein (g) 2, Diabetic Exchanges: 1 carbohydrate, 1/2 fat

Maple Pecans

Simple and adds that extra enticing crunch and sweetness to any salad or use as a snack.


  • 1/4 cup pecan halves
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup


  1. Preheat oven to 375ºF. Coat baking sheet with nonstick cooking spray.
  2. In small bowl, mix together pecans and maple syrup. Spread on prepared pan. Bake 10 minutes or until lightly browned.

Nutritional information per serving of Maple Pecans: Calories 40, Calories from fat (%) 72, Fat (g) 3, Saturated Fat (g) 0, Cholesterol (mg) 0, Sodium (mg) 0, Carbohydrate (g) 3, Dietary Fiber (g) 0, Sugars (g) 2, Protein (g) 0, Diabetic Exchanges: 1/2 fat

Picture courtesy of Holly Clegg and used with permission.

Cucumber, Feta and Red Onion Salad

Cucumber, Feta and Red Onion Salad at This Mama Cooks! On a Diet - thismamacooks.com

I’ve always used NAKANO Rice Vinegar to make sushi rice. However, now that I’ve become more familiar with their products, I use their rice vinegar in any recipe that calls for other types of vinegars. For example, this summer, we’ve been making a lot of salads, so I’ve been making salad dressing with NAKANO Rice Vinegar (instead of red wine vinegar), olive oil and some garden seasoning spices. Also, now that I live in the South, use Nakano’s flavored rice vinegars (like their Red Pepper Seasoned Rice Vinegar) on sautéed greens. I even used NAKANO to season a new crystal wine carafe recently!

One of my family’s favorite summer salads is based on one I used to make years ago from a recipe I found in Bon Appetit back in the early ‘90s. We even used cucumbers from the neighbor’s garden!


Cucumber, Feta and Red Onion Salad at This Mama Cooks! On a Diet - thismamacooks.com

Cucumber, Feta and Red Onion Salad


  • 3 cucumbers, seeded and diced (you can leave the peels on if you wish)
  • 6 ounces low or no fat feta, crumbled
  • 1 red onion, diced
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons NAKANO Rice Vinegar (Natural, Original Seasoned, Basil & Oregano Seasoned or Roasted Garlic Seasoned)
  • Salt and pepper, to taste


  1. Combine cucumbers, feta and onion in a large bowl.
  2. Add olive oil and NAKANO Rice Vinegar and gently mix ingredients.
  3. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Chill until it’s time to serve.
Prep Time: 20 Minutes
Total Time: 20 Minutes
Servings: Serves 4 to 6
  • Serving size: 1 cup

Check out the NAKANO website for more recipes!


Nakano is holding a  60-Day Splash it on, Step it up Challenge on Facebook to encourage their fans to to make healthy lifestyle choices such as eating more vegetables and being more active. Check it out for fun and helpful fitness tips and health features such as a step tracker wrapping around a globe that show you the number of steps you’ve walked.

They’re also offering prizes such as a one-year free gym membership for the first prize winner. (The second prize winner receives six personal training sessions and third prize winner will receive a Nakano workout bag!)

You can also sign up for Mizkan's enewsletter to be eligible for their Splash for Cash giveaway  - a chance to win $150! (Mizkan is the parent company of NAKANO.) Even if you don’t win, you’ll get a terrific enewsletter filled with tips and recipes. I signed up for it months ago and really like it.

Finally, you can connect with NAKANO on Facebook and Twitter.

How do you use vinegar in your cooking?

I wrote this review while participating in a campaign by Mom Central Consulting on behalf of NAKANO and received a product sample to facilitate my review and a promotional item to thank me for participating.

Amazon links are affiliate links. A commission may be earned from a referred sale to their website.

Summer salads: Quinoa Tabbouleh #glutenfree #CleverElectrolux #spon

Quinoa Tabbouleh

One of the ways I love saving time in the kitchen, especially in the summer months when it’s too hot to cook, is by grilling and making a salad as a side dish. One of my new favorites is this Quinoa Tabbouleh recipe I found in the June 2012 issue of Bon Appetit magazine. Quinoa is a favorite grain (it’s actually a seed) with folks who are gluten free, vegetarian or vegan because it’s a complete protein and contains no gluten. Due to its protein content, you could serve this as a main dish, too.

My family loved this salad, especially my son and husband. I made a few substitutes like using mini heirloom tomatoes from Trader Joe’s instead of cherry tomatoes and zucchini instead of cucumbers due to my food sensitivities. Play around with the recipe on your own. For example, try cilantro instead of parsley, summer squash instead of cucumbers, and dill instead of mint. Make a double batch so you have leftovers for lunch, too.


Quinoa Tabbouleh

Quinoa Tabbouleh

Based on a recipe from Bon Appetit


  • 1 cup quinoa, rinsed well
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • Ground black pepper
  • 1 large zucchini cut into 1/4-inch pieces
  • 1 (16 ounce) container mini heirloom tomatoes
  • 2/3 cup flat-leaf parsley, chopped
  • 1/2 cup fresh mint, chopped
  • 2 scallions, thinly sliced


  1. Follow the directions on your box or bag of quinoa to cook up 1 cup. I used Bob's Red Mill Organic Grain Quinoa, which has you bring quinoa, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1 cup water to a boil in a medium saucepan over high heat. Then you reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer until quinoa is tender, about 12 minutes. Remove from heat and let stand, covered, for 10 minutes. Fluff with a fork.
  2. Meanwhile, whisk lemon juice and garlic in a small bowl. Gradually whisk in olive oil. Season dressing to taste with salt and pepper.
  3. Spread out quinoa on a large rimmed baking sheet. Place in freezer for 10-15 minutes to let cool. Transfer to a large bowl.
  4. Add zucchini, tomatoes, herbs, and scallions to bowl with quinoa. Add dressing and toss to coat.
Prep Time: 15 Minutes
Cook Time: 15 Minutes
Total Time: 30 Minutes
Servings: Serves 6
  • Serving size: 1/6 of recipe
  • Calories: 290
  • Total Fat: 21g
  • Saturated fat: 3g
  • Unsaturated fat: 18g
  • Sodium: 170mg
  • Total Carbohydrates: 24g
  • Sugar: 2g
  • Fiber: 3g
  • Protein: 5g
  • Cholesterol: 0mg

Saving time in the kitchen

Having quality appliances is another way you can save time in the kitchen. Believe me, I’m suffering this now in our new home with a horrible 20-year-old stove top with only two burners.

Speaking of time saving, Electrolux induction cooktops and ranges combine the power of gas with the easy clean-up of electric, so you can boil water in just 90 seconds!1 An induction stove top is on my wish list when we do our kitchen remodel. Don’t know what they are? Then watch this video from Electrolux:

Cool, right?

What other ways can having the right appliances help you save time in the kitchen? 

110" induction burner with Power Boost, 6 qt./10" diameter pot, 1 qt. tepid water

Disclosure: I was compensated for this post as a member of Clever Girls Collective. All the opinions expressed here are my own.

Healthy Salads: Creamy Buttermilk-Herb Potato Salad

Creamy Buttermilk-Herb Potato SaladSummertime is salad time, which is why you may want to check out Cooking Light Big Book of Salads: Starters, Sides and Easy Weeknight Dinners. It features over 150 recipes for tasty, interesting, and healthy salads that are perfect for weeknight meals, cookout sides, and mouthwatering starters. The cookbook also shows you how to buy and store greens so they stay crisp, how to spot fruit and veggies at the peak of flavor, and how to whisk homemade light dressings – great tips for saving money while eating well.

We all love potato salads at picnics and barbecues, but if you’re trying to eat healthy, you tend to stay away from them. This recipe from Cooking Light Big Book of Salads lowers the calories and fat, while punching up the flavor with fresh herbs like dill. Try it at your Fourth of July party!

Creamy Buttermilk-Herb Potato Salad

Recipe courtesy of Cooking Light

Yield: 8 servings
Serving size: about 1 cup


  • 3 pounds small red potatoes, quartered
  • 1⁄2 cup crème fraîche or sour cream
  • 1⁄3 cup nonfat buttermilk
  • 1⁄4 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill
  • 11⁄4 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 large garlic clove, minced
  • Dill sprigs (optional)


  1. Place potatoes in a Dutch oven, and cover with water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer 15 minutes or until just tender; drain. Cool 30 minutes.
  2. Combine crème fraîche or sour creamand next 7 ingredients (through garlic) in a large bowl; stir with a whisk. Add warm potatoes; toss gently to coat. Garnish with dill sprigs, if desired. Serve at room temperature or chilled.

Nutritional information

  • CALORIES 176
  • FAT 5.5g (sat 3.3g, mono 1.5g, poly 0.3g)
  • PROTEIN 4.1g
  • CARB 28g
  • FIBER 3g
  • CHOL 14mg
  • IRON 1.4mg
  • SODIUM 326mg
  • CALC 34mg

This Mama’s Tip

To reduce calories/fat even further, substitute no fat Greek yogurt for the crème fraîche or sour cream.

Recipe and picture courtesy of Cooking Light and used with permission.

Disclosure: Amazon links are affiliate links. A commission may be earned from a referred sale to their website.

Holly Clegg’s Watermelon and Feta Salsa


While I’m busy setting up my new home in the Athens, Georgia area, my friend Holly Clegg has written up a wonderful guest post on one of my favorite salad combinations for summer – watermelon, feta and mint. You can check out more of Holly’s trim& TERRIFIC® recipes athollyclegg.com and The Healthy Cooking Blog.

Mint – the taste of summer

If you don’t have mint growing outside, you should. Green thumb or not, mint is about the easiest thing to grow – in fact it’s hard to kill! It can run rampant though, so a good idea to keep it from taking over your garden is to grow it in pots. The fragrant herb comes in many varieties, but the most widely used kitchen herb is spearmint, as it has a milder mint flavor better suited for cooking and garnishing. Peppermint is another popular, yet stronger mint flavoring used in anything from chewing gum to toothpaste.

To me, mint is the taste of summer, and I love to use it in as many dishes as possible. When it is fresh and in season it is hard to beat, especially since it is straight from my yard! I love to go right outside, and pick it to add to yummy recipes. Watermelon Feta Salsa is one of my favorites and always a winner. Finally something scrumptious to do with that leftover watermelon! Pair with toasted whole-wheat pita triangles and you have a delicious, nutritious sweet and savory snack or even serve as a summer salad.

Spicy Advice: Try the red pepper seasoned rice vinegar for a little extra zing. Raid a salad bar for fresh Kalamata olives-it makes a difference.


  • 4 cups chopped watermelon
  • 1/2 cup chopped red onion
  • 1/3 cup crumbled reduced-fat feta cheese
  • 2 tablespoons chopped Kalamata olives
  • 2 tablespoons seasoned rice vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh mint


  1. In small bowl mix together all ingredients. Serve.
Prep Time: 15 Minutes
Total Time: 15 Minutes
Servings: 16 servings
  • Serving size: 1/4 cup
  • Calories: 29
  • Calories from Fat: 1
  • Total Fat: 36%
  • Saturated fat: 0g
  • Unsaturated fat: 1g
  • Sodium: 98mg
  • Total Carbohydrates: 4g
  • Sugar: 3g
  • Fiber: 0g
  • Protein: 1g
  • Cholesterol: 1mg

Dietary Exchanges: 1/2 fruit

Photo and recipe courtesy of Holly Clegg.

Gluten Free Spicy Ginger Tofu Noodle Salad

Gluten Free Spicy Ginger Tofu Noodle Salad at This Mama Cooks! On a Diet - thismamacooks.comAs I promised a few days ago in my post for Gluten Free Asian Cobb Salad, here’s another San-J recipe by Carol Kicinski of Simply Gluten Free.

This would be a terrific gluten free dish for Meatless Monday as it’s vegetarian and vegan friendly.

Also, even though Carol’s directions are to serve it hot, I bet it would make a terrific summer time cold pasta salad dish, too.

Gluten Free Spicy Ginger Tofu Noodle Salad at This Mama Cooks! On a Diet - thismamacooks.com

Gluten Free Spicy Ginger Tofu Noodle Salad


  • 1/3 cup San-J Gluten Free Tamari Ginger Dressing
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (more if you want it spicier)
  • 1 pound gluten free brown rice fettuccini style pasta
  • Gluten free non-stick cooking spray
  • 1 pound firm tofu
  • 4 ounces shitake mushrooms, stems removed and sliced
  • 1 English (hothouse) cucumber
  • 1 bunch cilantro, coarsely chopped
  • 4 green onions, thinly sliced on the diagonal
  • 1 red bell pepper, cut into small dice
  • Salt & pepper
  • 1 teaspoon sesame seeds


  1. Whisk together the San-J Gluten Free Tamari Ginger Dressing with the garlic powder and red pepper flakes.
  2. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook the pasta according to the package directions. Drain and rinse with hot water. Add the dressing and toss to coat.
  3. While the pasta is cooking pat the tofu dry with paper towels and cut into 1 inch pieces. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Spray the pay heavily with non-stick cooking spray and add the tofu pieces.
  4. Let cook for 1 – 2 minutes undisturbed or until they are golden brown. Flip the pieces over and continue cooking until browned on all sides. When the tofu is done, remove from the skillet, add to the pasta and add the mushroom slices to the hot skillet and cook until browned, stirring often, about 2 to 3 minutes. Add the mushrooms to the pasta.
  5. Peel the cucumber, cut in half lengthwise, scrap out the seeds with a spoon, cut into thin slices and add to the pasta. Reserve some of the chopped cilantro for garnish and add the rest to the pasta along with the green onions and bell pepper. Toss everything together and season with salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with the reserved cilantro leaves and the sesame seeds.
Prep Time: 20 Minutes
Cook Time: 30 Minutes
Total Time: 50 Minutes
Servings: Serves 4 as entrée and 6 as appetizer
  • Serving size: 1/4 to 1/6 of recipe

Recipe and photo used with permission. © 2012 San-J International. All rights reserved.

Gluten Free Asian Cobb Salad #glutenfree

gluten free asian cobb saladLike most people following a gluten free diet, I have to avoid many brands of soy sauce when cooking Asian dishes since they usually contain wheat. That’s why I recommend using San-J’s tamari sauces, which are certified gluten free. But did you know that San-J also has a line of gluten free Asian salad dressings?

I didn’t and wanted to let my GF readers know about them by sharing some healthy salad recipes by Carol Kicinski of Simply Gluten Free. Carol created these recipes to take flavorful advantage of San-J’s gluten free Asian salad dressings, and I’ll be sharing a few more of her recipes later this month.

Gluten Free Asian Cobb Salad

By Carol Kicinski of Simply Gluten Free

Serves 4 as entrée and 6 as appetizer


  • 1 cup San-J Gluten Free Tamari Sesame Dressing – use divided
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • 1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts (2 – 4 depending on size) Kosher or fine sea salt and pepper
  • 1 tablespoon olive or vegetable oil
  • 6 cups shredded Napa cabbage
  • 2 cups shredded romaine lettuce
  • 2 cups shredded carrots
  • 1 red bell pepper, cored, seeded and finely sliced
  • 1 bunch green onions, thinly sliced on the diagonal
  • 1 English (hot house) cucumber, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced
  • 1 teaspoon sesame seeds
  • 1/4 cilantro leaves


  1. Combine 1/2 cup San-J Gluten Free Tamari Sesame Dressing with the honey and place in a large plastic food storage bag. Add the chicken breasts, toss to coat and marinate in the refrigerator for 30 minutes to 12 hours.
  2. Remove chicken breast from the refrigerator and discard the marinade. Pat the breasts dry with paper towels and season with salt and pepper. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat and coat the bottom of the pan with the oil. Add the chicken breasts; cook for 2 minutes or until golden browned, flip and cook for another 2 minutes. Cover the pan; lower the heat to medium and cook for another 4 – 8 minutes depending on the thickness of the chicken breasts. Let sit for 5 – 10 minutes then slice thinly.
  3. Combine the Napa cabbage with the romaine and place in a layer on a large platter. Arrange the chicken slices, carrots, red pepper, green onions and cucumbers on top of the cabbage/lettuce mixture in rows. Sprinkle with a little more salt and pepper, the sesame seeds and the remaining dressing.
  4. Serve immediately.

Recipe and photo used with permission. © 2012 San-J International. All rights reserved.

Featured at:

A Little Nosh

FreshedOver Healthier Cobb Salad {Win a #FreshOver Prize Pack!} #Ziploc #FreshOver

Healthy Cobb Salad

Recipe: Anne-Marie Nichols’ Classic Cobb Salad
Recipe prepared by: Anne-Marie Nichols, Photo taken by: Anne-Marie Nichols

There’s nothing healthier than a chopped salad that uses lots of vegetables and lean proteins. Unfortunately, the Classic Cobb Salad means well but really is a dietary nightmare. The dish is over the top as it contains three kinds of protein – ham, turkey and egg whites. Six kinds of fat – blue cheese, egg yolks, bacon, avocado, olives and salad dressing (three of them contain saturated fat!) And the only greens are some ice burg or Romaine lettuce and maybe a few cucumber slices.

But I have an alternative that is yummy, healthy and fresh! Inspired by Rachael Ray’s FreshOver Recipe Guide on the Ziploc Facebook page, I “healthed up” the Classic Cobb Salad by using lean proteins like roast turkey or chicken breast or in this case, diced leftover pork sirloin as my kids aren’t big turkey fans and my son, Nathan, hates chicken.

I further “FreshedOver” the recipe by using just egg whites instead of the whole hardboiled egg. I kept the olives, which are healthy, but made sure to use olives packed in brine, not oil. I used reduced fat feta and added more vegetables – cucumbers, a celery/fennel mix, and tomatoes. I eliminated the avocado altogether because even though they’re good for you, they’re high in calories and fat.

Cobb Salads are a great way to use up leftover meats and veggies, so experiment and see what you can add!

Ziploc containers make salad prep easy

A Cobb Salad requires a lot of cutting and chopping of meat and vegetables. Plus you have to hard boil, peel and chop the eggs! However, once you have this recipe prepped, it takes no time at all to serve. So what I did was prep my ingredients the day before and store them in Ziploc VersaGlass Containers in the refrigerator to put together right before dinner time.

What’s so nice about the Ziploc VersaGlass Containers is that they’re attractive enough to use as serving dishes. So instead of preparing a Cobb Salad like I did, you could use them to make a salad bar so everyone could custom-make their own Cobb Salads.

You could also do the same thing in the morning when preparing lunches to take to school or work. Give everyone a Ziploc Brand Twist ’n Loc Container or Ziploc Brand Containers with the Smart Snap Seal and have everyone prepare their own lunchtime salad to go. (Put dressing in extra small Ziploc Brand Containers with the Smart Snap Seal so your lettuce doesn’t get soggy.)

The morning after I made my healthier Cobb Salad, I found my kids making salads for their school lunches with the chopped vegetables and lettuce that were leftover in the Ziploc Brand Containers! “Look Mom, we’re making healthy lunches,” they told me. I’m so proud!

Cobb Salad prep

Recipe: Anne-Marie Nichols’ Classic Cobb Salad
Recipe prepared by: Anne-Marie Nichols, Photo taken by: Anne-Marie Nichols

A Healthier Cobb Salad

Based on Quick Cobb Salad with Yogurt Dressing from MyRecipes.com


  • 1 (5 ounce) container of baby spring mix lettuce
  • 2 cups cooked skinless chicken, roast turkey or leftover pork roast
  • 4 ounces of reduced fat feta cheese, crumbles
  • 4 eggs, hardboiled and peeled
  • 1 6 ounce can of pitted black olives, sliced
  • 1 cup fennel, finely chopped
  • 1 cup celery, fined chopped
  • 4 vine ripened tomatoes, diced
  • 1 cucumber, seeded and diced
  • your favorite low fat, low calorie salad dressing (bottled or homemade)


  1. Cut hardboiled eggs in half. Remove and toss yolks. Chop eggs whites and set aside.
  2. Combine chopped fennel and celery in a bowl or Ziploc container and set aside.
  3. Place lettuce on a serving platter. On top of lettuce, arrange meat, feta cheese, egg whites, olives, meat, tomatoes, and cucumber in rows.
  4. Serve salad dressing on the side.

This Mama’s Tips

  • Double or triple the recipe so you have plenty of leftovers for the week’s lunches and as side salads at dinner.
  • I like to make additional amounts of the fennel/celery mix. Combine it with hummus, Greek yogurt and seasonings, or a low fat cheese spread and use it in sandwiches, wraps or in pita pockets as a crunchy sandwich spread.
  • A quick and easy salad dressing is an olive oil vinaigrette. Add two parts of your favorite vinegar (I like balsamic or malt) to one part extra virgin olive oil. Add Italian or garden seasoning and some dried onion or garlic. Shake to combine.
  • If you like creamy dressings but don’t like the fat or can’t eat dairy products, check out my salad dressing recipes using tofu and more salad dressings that use tofu posts.

Fresh Over with Rachael RayRachael Ray and Ziploc Brand have been so inspiring on my FreshOver journey.
Want a chance to meet Rachael and swap recipes? Find out how on the Ziploc Facebook page!

Win a year’s supply of Ziploc Brand Products!

How to enter to win a Ziploc FreshOver Prize Pack (value $75):

Giveaway closed. Congrats to Carol J.!

  1. In the comments below, tell me your favorite way to make a meal fresh (adding vegetables or fruits etc.).
  2. Sign up for This Mama Cooks! Review’s RSS feed for ONE additional entry.
  3. Sign up for my enewsletter for ONE additional entry.
  4. Spread the word about this giveaway by submitting a link to this post on Twitter for ONE additional entry. You must leave a link to your tweet in your comment so I can check.
  5. Follow @amnichols on Twitter for ONE additional entry.

If you have done any of these additional activities you MUST come back here and leave a comment telling me what you did. I will be checking!

Giveaway starts on March 8, 2012 at noon PST and ends on March 13, 2012 at 5 p.m. PST

Click here for the Ziploc Giveaway Official Rules

Disclosure: I have partnered with Ziploc® and am being compensated for my posts. However, my opinions on the product are my own.

Rachael Ray’s Greek Grilled Chicken & Vegetable Salad with Pita Bread {Ziploc giveaway} #Ziploc #FreshOver

Recipe: Rachael Ray’s Greek Grilled Chicken & Vegetable Salad with Pita Bread

Recipe: Rachael Ray’s Greek Grilled Chicken & Vegetable Salad with Pita Bread
Recipe prepared by: Anne-Marie Nichols, Photo taken by: Anne-Marie Nichols

Have you had a chance to check out Rachael Ray’s FreshOver Recipe Guide on the Ziploc Facebook page? You can “like” the Ziploc Brand’s page and download Rachael’s exclusive FreshOver Recipe Guide. With every download, up to a maximum of 50,000 downloads, between 1/1/12 and 12/31/13, Ziploc® Brand will make a $1 donation to the organization on the fans behalf, for up to a maximum $50,000 donation. To further support Yum-O!, Rachael Ray and Ziploc will donate an additional $200,000 during the same time period, no matter how many guides are downloaded.

I’ve been enjoying Ziploc and Rachael’s “freshed over” recipes for several reasons – they’re healthy and nutritious, easy to prepare, and delicious. I was especially excited to try the Greek Grilled Chicken & Vegetable Salad on my family. We all love Greek flavors like olives and feta. Plus, I knew the kids would love it because the chicken and salad is served in pita bread. It’s a really fun way to get your kids to eat healthy salad and vegetables. Plus, if you can find whole wheat pitas and reduced fat feta, even better!

Ziploc Brand Containers make recipe prep easy

With school and afterschool activities, sometimes we don’t get home until dinner time. While this recipe doesn’t take much time to put together once your prep is done, the prep itself is a bit extensive – lots of chopping and measuring. So I got everything ready the day before by making the dressing and chopping the vegetables and herbs, and storing them in Ziploc Brand Twist ’n Loc Containers. These containers also came in handy to bring leftovers to school and work.

You can save additional time by buying already chopped lettuce and crumbled feta cheese, instead of block feta cheese.

Greek Grill Chicken & Vegetable Salad

Recipe: Rachael Ray’s Greek Grilled Chicken & Vegetable Salad with Pita Bread Recipe prepared by: Anne-Marie Nichols, Photo taken by: Anne-Marie Nichols

Rachael Ray’s Greek Grilled Chicken & Vegetable Salad with Warm Pita Bread for Wrapping

Yield 4 servings - Level Easy

Prep 15 minutes - Cook 10 minutes

Total 25 minutes


  • 1 1/3 to 1 1/2 pounds chicken breast tenders
  • Salt and pepper
  • 8 pita breads
  • 1 ripe lemon, zested and juiced
  • 3 tablespoon red wine vinegar, eyeball it
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil, eyeball it
  • 2 tablespoons fresh chopped oregano, 4 stems, stripped of leaves and chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1/2 cup pitted Kalamata olives, coarsely chopped
  • 2 hearts Romaine lettuce, chopped
  • 8 ounces feta cheese, crumbled
  • 2 vine ripe tomatoes, seeded and diced
  • 1/3 seedless or English cucumber, diced
  • 1/2 red onion, chopped
  • 1/2 cup flat leaf parsley leaves, chopped


  1. Preheat grill pan over high heat. Place chicken in shallow dish and season with salt and pepper.
  2. Preheat oven to 275 degrees F. Wrap pita breads in foil. Place in warm oven and heat until dinner is served.
  3. Combine lemon zest, juice and vinegar in a bowl and whisk in oil. Add oregano, garlic and whisk again to combine into dressing. Pour half the dressing over chicken tenders. Turn tenders in dressing to coat.
  4. Combine remaining salad ingredients in a bowl. Pour remaining dressing over salad and toss well. The salad should be very lightly dressed. Season salad with salt and pepper and transfer to a large serving platter.
  5. Grill tenders 4 to 5 minutes on each side. Transfer hot tenders to the salad lined serving platter. Remove pitas from oven and unwrap. Cut pitas in half and arrange around the edge of platter.
  6. To serve, each person can pile grilled chicken and veggies into pita halves, wrap up on either side and enjoy!

imageWin a Ziploc Brand Prize Pack!

This prize pack includes kitchen gadgets, accessories for trips to a farmer’s market or an eating fresh gift pack with Rachael Ray’s Look + Cook cookbook, worth about $120.

Giveaway closed. Congrats to Julie H.!

How to enter to win:

  1. In the comments below, tell me which recipe you want to try out from Rachael and Ziploc’s Recipe Guide.
  2. Sign up for This Mama Cooks! Review’s RSS feed for ONE additional entry.
  3. Sign up for my e-newsletter for ONE additional entry.
  4. Spread the word about this giveaway by submitting a link to this post on Twitter for ONE additional entry. You must leave a link to your tweet in your comment so I can check.
  5. Follow @amnichols on Twitter for ONE additional entry.

If you have done any of these additional activities you MUST come back here and leave a comment telling me what you did. I will be checking!

The giveaway begins on February 3, 2012 at 12:00 a.m. PST and ends on February 8, 2012 at 5 p.m. PST.

Click here for the Ziploc Giveaway Official Rules

Disclosure: I have partnered with Ziploc® and am being compensated for my posts. However, my opinions on the product are my own.

Featured at Jennifer Cooks Fusion Friday

Healthy salads: Salmon, Fresh Blueberries and Lemon Salad with Chive Vinaigrette

Salmon, Fresh Blueberries and Lemon Salad with Chive Vinaigrette at This Mama Cooks! On a Diet - thismamacooks.com I don’t know about you, but after a holiday season of turkey, pork roast and roast beef, I’m looking forward to eating something lighter and healthier. One way to do that is by eating salads and fruits even though it’s winter time. Luckily, we can get fresh fruit like kiwi and blueberries from Chile, where it’s summer time during our winter time.

Why fresh blueberries?

While I like to eat locally as much as possible, I can’t resist the temptation of blueberries. They’re surprisingly affordable, too, when you buy them at Costco or Sam’s Club.

Everyone loves fresh blueberries, especially kids, which is great since a half-cup of blueberries packs plenty of fiber, vitamin C, potassium and antioxidants into only 40 calories.

According to the Chilean Fresh Food Association, did you know that?

  • Blueberries contain a natural chemical found in laboratory studies to prevent colon cancer.
  • Blueberries contain more disease-fighting antioxidants than red wine or green tea.
  • Half a cup of blueberries a day may help improve brain function plus help prevent Alzheimer’s and dementia according to independent university studies.
  • Blueberries not only lower risk of heart disease and cancer, they are anti-inflammatory.
  • Some scientific evidence suggests that blueberries may be beneficial for the skin. New skin care treatments include blueberry extracts to help revitalize the skin and hasten healing.
  • Blueberries provide the same bacteria fighters as cranberries to help guard against urinary tract infections.
  • Blueberries are considered a “super food” by leading nutrition and medical experts and a recommended diet staple for health, skin care and longevity.

Healthy blueberry recipes

The next time I go to Costco, I’ll pick up some fresh Chilean blueberries, a salmon fillet to grill, and some lettuce greens and make this fabulous recipe from Chilean Fresh Food Association. (This salad recipe would also work with canned salmon or even canned tuna.)

You can find more recipes for blueberries and other Chilean winter fruit at www.chileanfruitonline.com.

Salmon, Fresh Blueberries and Lemon Salad with Chive Vinaigrette at This Mama Cooks! On a Diet - thismamacooks.com

Salmon, Fresh Blueberries and Lemon Salad with Chive Vinaigrette

Recipe courtesy of the Chilean Fresh Food Association


  • 8 cups salad greens, in small pieces
  • 1 pound salmon fillet, poached, baked or grilled
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh blueberries
  • lemon zest to garnish
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tablespoon fresh chives


  1. Divide salad greens on four salad plates.
  2. Tear salmon into medium pieces and arrange on greens.
  3. Sprinkle on blueberries and top with lemon zest.
  4. In a jar with a lid, combine lemon juice, olive oil, white wine vinegar, salt and pepper, and chives. Shake well.
  5. Serve salads chilled with the dressing alongside.
Prep Time: 20 Minutes
Total Time: 20 Minutes
Servings: 4 main servings
  • Calories: 493
  • Calories from Fat: 315
  • Total Fat: 35 g
  • Saturated fat: 5 g
  • Unsaturated fat: 30 g
  • Sodium: 212 mg
  • Fiber: 4 mg
  • Protein: 31 g
  • Cholesterol: 64 mg

Picture courtesy of the Chilean Fresh Fruit Association Media Center. Copyright © 2010.

Christmas leftovers: Roast Beef Salad with Chipotle Rice Vinegar Salad Dressing

Roast Beef Salad with Chipotle Dressing at This Mama Cooks! On a Diet - thismamacooks.com The problem with making roast beef is figuring out what to do with the leftovers, since reheating overcooks and dries out the meat. Sure, you could thinly slice the roast beef for sandwiches. But my favorite way of eating leftover roast beef (or venison) is cold and in a salad.

You can either thinly slice the roast beef into strips or cut it into cubes. To make your salad, add the cold roast beef to your favorite type of lettuce (I used romaine) and pile on other goodies like pine nuts, feta cheese crumbles, tomatoes, olives or whatever strikes your fancy.

Chipotle Dressing at This Mama Cooks! On a Diet - thismamacooks.com

Homemade salad dressings with NAKANO rice vinegars

Then there was the matter of all that leftover Chipotle Mayo sauce. What was I going to do with it? I got the idea to add NAKANO Roasted Garlic Seasoned Rice Vinegar to the sauce to make a fabulous homemade salad dressing. It’s very spicy, so you may want to dial down the heat by adding more mayonnaise or using a no fat Greek yogurt instead of mayo.

Roast Beef Salad with Chipotle Dressing at This Mama Cooks! On a Diet - thismamacooks.com

Chipotle Rice Vinegar Salad Dressing

Adapted from Nadia G.’s Chipotle Mayo recipe


  • 1 cup prepared light mayonnaise
  • 6 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 1/2 cup NAKANO Roasted Garlic Seasoned Rice Vinegar


  1. In a food processor, blend together the mayonnaise, chipotle peppers, sea salt and black pepper to taste.
  2. Add NAKANO rice vinegar and blend until combined.
  3. Pour into a salad dressing bottle and shake before pouring on your salad.
Prep Time: 15 Minutes
Total Time: 15 Minutes
Servings: Makes 2 1/2 cups of dressing.
  • Serving size: 3 - 4 tablespoons

Splash it on with NAKANO vinegars

NAKANO Natural and Seasoned Rice Vinegars are a healthy alternative to fattening condiments in your holiday cooking. Instead of butter and sour cream on your baked potato, try a splash of NAKANO Red Pepper Seasoned Rice Vinegar. Splash some NAKANO® Basil & Oregano Seasoned Rice Vinegar on noodles. NAKANO Balsamic Blend Seasoned Rice Vinegar would be wonderful on salads or roasted vegetables, too!

What other healthy ways can you use NAKANO vinegars in your holiday cooking?

Disclosure: Mizkan, the parent company of NAKANO, provided compensation for this post. All opinions and experiences are my own.

Watermelon Mint & Basil Salad with Feta

Watermelon Mint & Basil Salad with Feta at This Mama Cooks! On a Diet - thismamacooks.com

This summer NAKANO is encouraging us to splash it on! That’s right, just go ahead and splash their gluten free rice vinegars on veggies, pasta salads, grilled fish and chicken, and more.

Inspired by some feta cheese and a gigantic seedless watermelon that my husband bought at Costco, I came up with this watermelon salad dish. My splash of NAKANO natural rice vinegar, which has no sodium or sugar, contrasts well with the sweetness of the watermelon and the saltiness of the feta. However, it’s the addition of mint and basil that make this dish feel like summer to me.

Nakano Rice Vinegars

What are you splashing NAKANO rice vinegar on?

Watermelon Mint & Basil Salad with Feta at This Mama Cooks! On a Diet - thismamacooks.com

Watermelon Mint & Basil Salad with Feta


  • 6 cups watermelon, seeded and cut into bite sized pieces
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil, minced
  • 3 tablespoons fresh mint, minced
  • 4 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 4 ounces feta, crumbled
  • 1 tablespoon NAKANO All Natural Rice Vinegar


  1. Combine and gently toss ingredients in a decorative bowl. Serve.
Prep Time: 20 Minutes
Servings: Serves 6
  • Serving size: 1 cup
  • Calories: 100
  • Calories from Fat: 39
  • Total Fat: 4.3g
  • Saturated fat: 2.8g
  • Unsaturated fat: 0.0g
  • Sodium: 214mg
  • Total Carbohydrates: 13.4g
  • Sugar: 10.4g
  • Fiber: 0.9g
  • Protein: 3.8g

Disclosure: Mizkan, the parent company of NAKANO, provided compensation for this post. All opinions are my own.

Cooking at the Frigidaire Kids’ Good-for-You Cooking Academy event

Jennifer Garner Chef Mary Sue Millken Last week my kids, Nathan and Lucie, and I flew out to Los Angeles to join several other bloggers and their families courtesy of Frigidaire. The kids were invited to cook alongside Jennifer Garner and Chef Mary Sue Millken. The event was a filmed at the world famous Smashbox Studios for the Make Time for Change - Frigidaire Kids’ Good for You Cooking Academy campaign Frigidaire is doing to raise money for Save the Children.

The Frigidaire Kids’ Good for You Cooking Academy just launched this month. It’s an online school that features daily tips, fun recipes and how-to videos hosted by Chef Mary Sue. When parents join the Kids’ Cooking Academy, Frigidaire donates $1 to Save the Children to help make sure that more children have access to healthy foods.

Cooking up a storm with Jennifer and Chef Mary Sue

The kids had a great time, though Lucie got a little bit frustrated that she couldn’t quite keep up with Chef Mary Sue. (Both did a great job!) They were excited to meet Jennifer Garner who engaged both kids by asking them questions. She couldn't have been nicer and more down to earth - even in her 4 inch high purple heels!

My kids are used to cooking with their dad, who has no qualms about handing them a knife. (I won’t go into the time he nearly chopped Lucie’s finger off, ahem.) I don’t have a tenth of the patience that he does and prefer that everyone stays out of the kitchen when I cook. Even so, I’m comfortable with having my kids get their own breakfast or snacks and let them use the the microwave and toaster. We even let Nathan, who is nearly 11, make us eggs on weekend mornings while my husband and I enjoy a dip in the hot tub.

One of the more enticing recipes the kids made was the Mexican Chopped Salad, which featured green garbanzo beans. I was really proud when Lucie started garnishing her salad (below) with red peppers to make it more attractive. Before long, I’ll have to hire her to be my food stylist!

Even with my food sensitivities to corn and honey, I gave it a taste and it was delicious. Even the kids thought so, and they’re not big salad fans. I also liked the Cauliflower “Popcorn” that was served to us at lunch by Chef Mary Sue’s Border Grill staff. This would be an easy dish for me to substitute Galaxy Nutritional Food’s Vegan Grated Topping for the parmesan cheese.

Mexican Chopped Salad

Mexican Chopped Salad

Cumin vinaigrette ingredients:

  • Nathan and Jennifer Garner1 tablespoons cumin seeds (optional)
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon honey, warm
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Oven-Roasted Pepitas ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice, to taste
  • A pinch of cayenne, to taste
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 cup raw pepitas (hulled green pumpkin seeds), unsalted

Salad ingredients:

  • Lucie and Nathan1 head romaine lettuce, cut into 1/2-inch strips
  • 1 1/2 cups diced leftover grilled chicken or turkey (optional)
  • 1 1/2 cups canned garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 large or 2 medium apples, peeled and diced (Granny Smith, Pink Lady, or Honeycrisp)
  • 1 cup corn kernels (from grilled corn on the cob, or canned or frozen corn sautéed in olive oil)
  • 1 poblano chile, roasted, peeled, seeded, and diced*
  • 1 California avocado, halved, seeded, peeled, and diced
  • 1 small red onion, diced (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon chopped cilantro
  • 1 cup crushed corn tortilla chips

Cumin vinaigrette directions:

  1. Toast the cumin seeds in a small, dry frying pan over medium heat for 1 to 2 minutes, shaking frequently.
  2. Transfer to a blender along with other vinaigrette ingredients. Puree until smooth.
  3. Chill until ready to serve.

Pepitas directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. In a small bowl, combine lime juice, cayenne, salt, and pepper and stir until dissolved.
  3. Add pepitas, toss thoroughly, and transfer to a baking sheet.
  4. Bake until golden, about 10 to 12 minutes.
  5. Lucie Remove from oven and cool on the pan. Serve at room temperature.

Salad directions:

  1. In a large bowl, combine all salad ingredients.
  2. Add Cumin Vinaigrette to taste. Toss until well-coated.
  3. Sprinkle with pepitas and serve immediately.

* Fresh chiles can be roasted over a gas flame or under the broiler. Keep turning so skin is evenly charred, without burning the flesh. Transfer charred chiles to a closed plastic bag and steam 10 to 15 minutes. Pull off charred skin by hand and dip briefly in water to remove blackened bits. Once peeled, cut away stems, seeds, and veins.

Copyright © 2011, Mary Sue Milliken and Susan Feniger, www.bordergrill.com

Cauliflower “Popcorn”


  • The kids and Jennifer Garner1 head cauliflower
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt, to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

Cut the cauliflower into small florets, about the size of cherry tomatoes. In a bowl, toss florets with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Lay in a single layer on a baking sheet and roast in oven until the bottoms of florets touching the pan are golden brown, about 10 to 12 minutes.

Remove from oven and transfer to a large bowl. Sprinkle on parmesan cheese and toss thoroughly. Serve immediately in paper cones like popcorn.

Copyright © 2011, Mary Sue Milliken, www.marysueandsusan.com

Disclosure: My family’s participation in Frigidaire’s Kids’ Kids Good-for-You Academy was sponsored by Frigidaire who provided us with travel, food and lodging. The kids were also given their chef whites, a kids cookbook, and a kids cooking set to thank them for participating in the event. I received a cookbook.

Chicken Orzo Salad and healthy summer salad tips from Holly Clegg

Healthy Chicken Orzo Salad from This Mama Cooks! On a Diet - thismamacooks.com

Today’s guest post is by Holly Clegg, author of the soon to be released, Too Hot In The Kitchen: Secret to Sizzle at Any Age, as well as many other fabulous healthy cookbooks. You can check Holly out at The Healthy Cooking Blog, on Twitter and on Facebook.

Keep it simple: splash on flavor to summer salads

When you think of summer, Mediterranean cuisine comes to mind. Summer gardens plentiful with fresh cucumbers, tomatoes, lemons and onions combined with the powerful flavors of feta cheese and herbs make perfect light summer meals. Instead of raiding your spice cabinet for an assortment of different seasonings, keep it simple and splash on the flavors of the Mediterranean with NAKANO seasoned rice vinegars.

Here are a few easy tips for simple summer salad suggestions:

  • Purchase cut up watermelon, or any melons and combine with olives, feta, and mint with a splash of seasoned rice vinegar for an exceptional combination. (Check out this recipe for Watermelon Mint & Basil Salad with Feta.)
  • No need to mince garlic when you can savor the garlic flavor by simply splashing on Roasted Garlic Seasoned Rice Vinegar on your favorite summer veggies-roasted, sautéed or fresh for a wonderful vegetarian salad.
  • Need a quick marinade-try the Roasted Garlic Seasoned Rice Vinegar, with reduced sodium soy sauce and honey and your job is done! Turn your grilled meat into a salad topper.
  • Mediterranean main dish salads- all you need is leftover grilled chicken (or pick up rotisserie or grilled cooked and ready chicken breasts, olives, cucumbers, tomatoes, feta and the sweet and light blend of herbs in the Basil & Oregano Seasoned Rice Vinegar.
  • To make gluten free, substitute brown rice pasta for the orzo.
Healthy Chicken Orzo Salad from This Mama Cooks! On a Diet - thismamacooks.com

Chicken Orzo Salad

From Holly Clegg trim&TERRIFIC® Gulf Coast Favorites.

This wonderful summer entrée salad combines bold flavors with great ingredients. To reconstitute the tomatoes, pour 1 cup boiling water over them and let sit for 15 minutes or until soft.


  • 2 cups orzo pasta
  • 2 cups diced, rotisserie, skinless white chicken
  • 1 cup frozen peas, thawed, or shelled edamame
  • 1/2 cup chopped green onions
  • 1/2 cup crumbled reduced-fat feta cheese
  • 1 cucumber, peeled and chopped
  • 8 ounces sun-dried tomatoes, sliced, reconstituted, reserving 1/3 cup water from reconstituting tomatoes
  • 2 teaspoons dried dill weed
  • 2 tablespoons roasted garlic seasoned rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Cook orzo according to package directions. Drain.
  2. In large bowl, combine orzo, chicken, peas, green onions, feta, cucumber, toma­toes, dill.
  3. In another bowl, whisk together reserved sun dried tomato water with remaining ingredients.
  4. Toss with orzo mixture. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour before serving.
Prep Time: 1 Hour 40 Minutes
Cook Time: 20 Minutes
Total Time: 2 Hours
Servings: Serves 6
  • Serving size: 1 cup
  • Calories: 300
  • Calories from Fat: 54 (18%)
  • Total Fat: 6g
  • Saturated fat: 2g
  • Unsaturated fat: 4g
  • Sodium: 148mg
  • Total Carbohydrates: 42g
  • Fiber: 5g
  • Protein: 19g
  • Cholesterol: 26mg

Diabetic Exchanges: 2 starch, 3 vegetable. 1.5 lean meat

Disclosure: NAKANO is a client of Holly’s and This Mama Cooks! On a Diet. Picture and recipe used with her permission.