Here’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.
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
- 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
- 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.
- When ready to serve, cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and add to tomato mixture.
- 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.
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.
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
- 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!)
- 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
- 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.
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!
Here’s another wonderful gluten free recipe the folks at San-J sent me from Amie Valpone of The Happy Apple. It would make a terrific side dish most nights, but is perfect for Meatless Monday as a main dish since quinoa is an excellent source of vegetarian protein – just double the amounts so you have plenty to serve.
Coconut Quinoa Salad
By Amie Valpone of The Healthy Apple
- 1 cup uncooked quinoa
- 2 cups cooked shelled edamame
- 1 (15 oz.) can white beans, rinsed and drained
- 1 cup finely diced red bell peppers
- 4 button mushrooms, finely chopped
- 1/2 scallion, thinly sliced diagonally
- 1/4 cup dried cranberries
- 1/4 cup shredded coconut
- 1 carrot, chopped
- 1/3 cup San-J Gluten Free Tamari Ginger Asian Dressing
- 1/2 cup roughly chopped cilantro
- 1/4 cup roughly chopped parsley
- 1/4 teaspoon lime zest
- Sea salt and black pepper, to taste
- Cook quinoa according to package directions.
- Meanwhile, prepare the salad by combining edamame, beans, red peppers, mushrooms, scallion, dried cranberries, coconut and carrot.
- Remove quinoa from heat; set aside to cool for 5 minutes. Add cooked quinoa to the bowl of salad ingredients.
- Pour San-J Gluten Free Tamari Ginger Asian Dressing on top; gently toss to combine. Sprinkle with fresh cilantro, parsley, lime zest, sea salt and pepper.
Recipe and photo used with permission. © 2012 San-J International. All rights reserved.
This week’s to do list:
- Enter a recipe in the Dreamfields’ Summer Pasta Salad Contest on Facebook. (Not on Facebook? You can enter here.)
- Enter to win the Dreamfields Family of Products here at This Mama Cooks! On a Diet – giveaway ends Thursday at midnight!
- Enjoy this pasta salad from one of last year’s winners to inspire you to enter both contests!
Spicy and Cool Pasta Salad
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)
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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.
Pomegranates 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
- 1/4 cup arils from 1 large POM Wonderful Pomegranate or POM POMS fresh pomegranate arils
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 2 cloves fresh garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon honey
- teaspoon black pepper
- 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
- 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
- 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.)
- Prepare fresh pomegranate juice.* (see Notes below)
- Peel and section tangerines.
- Place tangerines in a bowl with 1 cup pomegranate juice and sugar if desired. Allow to marinate 30 to 45 minutes.
- Drain tangerines; reserve 1/3 cup of the marinade for vinaigrette.
- Mix 1/3 cup reserved pomegranate marinade with the other vinaigrette ingredients and shake together in a tightly covered container.
- Divide spinach, fennel and red onion on 4 salad plates.
- Divide tangerine slices on salad and dress with 1 to 2 tablespoons of vinaigrette per serving.
- 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.
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
- 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
- Combine cucumbers, feta and onion in a large bowl.
- Add olive oil and NAKANO Rice Vinegar and gently mix ingredients.
- Season with salt and pepper to taste. Chill until it’s time to serve.
- Serving size: 1 cup
Check out the NAKANO website for more recipes!
Nakano 60-Day SPLASH IT ON, STEP IT UP CHALLENGE
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.
How do you use vinegar in your cooking?
Disclosure: 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.
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