Chopped Salad with Colorful Squashes in a Honey Garlic Vinaigrette

Zucchini SaladWe’ve had more than our share of fun these past few months. Fun that included more than our share of food.

That being said, it’s time to skinny up our diet before the holidays hit. My plan is to add extra salads back into our daily meal plans, starting with this chopped salad with crunchy squash, spicy red onion and sunflower seeds.

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Cauliflower Salad with Croutons and Bacon Bits

Cauliflower Chopped Salad

When I buy a head of cauliflower, this snowy white vegetable sits in the crisper completely neglected, until it turns a lovely shade of brown.

After I toss it in the compost bin, I vow never to make the same mistake again. I’m sure you can guess what happens the next time cauliflower lands in my grocery cart!

Not this time! I’m moving into a new era of cauliflower love starting with a cauliflower salad.

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Kale Salad with Quinoa, Parmesan Cheese and Sunflower Seeds

Kale and Quinoa Salad

For more than a few good reasons, you’ll find kale salads make frequent appearances on our dinner table.

Kale and Quinoa Salad

Spend just one minute searching for kale on the internet and you’ll produce hundreds of websites touting the health benefits of this leafy green vegetable.

That’s because it’s packed with antioxidants like vitamins A, C and K , which studies believe contribute to the prevention of various  cancers.

Kale is also loaded with fiber, so if you want to lower your cholesterol and reduce your risk of heart disease, kale is the way to go.

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Beet and Avocado Salad with Feta Cheese and Basil

Beet and Avocado SaladCombining beets with avocado in the same salad recipe would never have occurred to this healthy home cook.

That is until I discovered The Flavor Bible. I happened upon this handy tool for the kitchen a few weeks ago, and I’ve been using it ever since. 

Beet and Avocado SaladAmazon’s describes this book as The Essential Guide to Culinary Creativity, Based on the Wisdom of America’s Most Imaginative Chefs,”  and I completely agree.

Home cooks love to be inventive in the kitchen, but it’s easy to get into a cooking rut. I often find myself using the same combination of ingredients over and over again.

The Flavor Bible takes a food like beets and tells you the season it can be found and methods of cooking. Then you can find the foods, spices and herbs that complement it best.

Beet and Avocado SaladTo make this healthy salad I looked up beets in the book to find a list of complementary ingredients, then headed off to the store with my grocery list in hand.

When it was time to create my masterpiece, I layered roasted beets, sliced avocado, slivers of spicy red onion, and fresh basil on a platter. After a drizzle of olive oil and lemon juice to add brightness, I topped the works with a crumble of salty feta cheese and a grind of pepper.

The flavors of my beet salad harmonized perfectly thanks to my new kitchen Bible!

I have the electronic version, but I purchased the hardcover for Grandma Karen. After thumbing through the book and feeling it in my hands, you can be sure it’s on my gift list. (Hint, hint Mr. Mike!).

Beet and Avocado Salad with Feta Cheese and Basil
 
Prep time
Cook time
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Shake It Up! If beets aren't your thing, you could replace the beets with sliced zucchini or cucumbers.
Ingredients
  • 4 small roasted beets, sliced
  • ½ medium avocado, sliced
  • 5 leaves basil, thinly sliced (Chiffonade)
  • ¼ small red onion, thinly sliced
  • 4 tablespoons low fat feta cheese, crumbled
  • ½ tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 sqeeze lemon juice
  • salt and pepper, to taste
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Place whole and unpeeled beets in a foil packet in a single layer. Roast in the oven for 1 - 1 /12 hours until just tender. You don't want mushy beets. When beets are cooled, peel off skin with your hands and slice.
  2. Layer beets, onion, basil and avocado on a plate. Sprinkle with feta cheese. Drizzle with lemon juice and olive oil. Season with salt and pepper.
Notes
Food energy: 193kcal
Saturated fatty acids: 4.02g
Monounsaturated fatty acids: 6.70g
Polyunsaturated fatty acids: 1.15g
Total fat: 11.87g
Calories from fat: 106
Cholesterol: 16mg
Carbohydrate, by difference: 17.02g
Total dietary fiber: 4.71g
Protein: 5.39g
Total lipid (fat): 12.83g
Water: 163.63g
Ash: 2.82g
Total sugars: 10.98g
Calcium: 122mg
Iron: 1.29mg
Magnesium: 40mg
Phosphorus: 130mg
Potassium: 544mg
Sodium: 291mg
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 2

Beet, Apple, Grape SaladIf you’re a beet lover, this salad with beets and grapes in a walnut vinaigrette makes a refreshing summer side dish for your next grilling adventure. It’s another combination of ingredients I wouldn’t have thought to toss into a salad bowl, but we thoroughly enjoyed the mix of orange and red beets with sweet apples and red grapes.

Have a terrific week everyone and if you get a chance be sure and pick up The Flavor Bible. You won’t be disappointed.

~Kristi

eBook to Skinny Up Your Recipes

Quinoa Salad with Kale, Watermelon, Grapes and Feta Cheese

Quinoa Salad with Watermelon

Sad to say, but watermelon is not my thing. It’s  just too clingy sweet for my taste.

I know that colorful melon is good for me, and most people think it’s crazy that I avoid it. In fact, World’s Healthiest Foods states that “Alongside of tomatoes, watermelon has moved up to the front of the line in recent research studies on high-lycopene foods. Lycopene is a carotenoid phytonutrient that’s especially important for our cardiovascular health . . .”

Sounds like a good reason to get over my aversion to it, so I decided to tone that clingy sweetness down by adding it to my favorite salad ingredients – quinoa and kale.

Sound like a good reason to add watermelon to my diet to me!

Along with the pile of grapes on the counter, a lovely bunch of tarragon and a few crumbles of feta cheese, I was able to mellow out that watermelon and turn it into a salad I was completely happy with.

Quinoa Salad with WatermelonI must admit, this is definitely a colorful dish!

Watermelon and Feta Salad

As I was digging through my recipe archives, I discovered this earlier version of a watermelon salad with chickpeas and red onion.  The chickpeas add a nice protein boost, making it a meal in a bowl. But alas, my pantry was bare.

Let me know what you think of this easy salad combination. With just a handful of ingredients and watermelon readily available this time of year, it’s really a fun combination of flavors. Even this watermelon avoider loved it!

~Kristi

Quinoa Salad with Kale, Watermelon, Grapes and Feta Cheese
 
Prep time
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Shake It Up! Baby spinach and cantaloupe would be a terrific combination in place of the kale and watermelon.
Ingredients
  • 2 cups quinoa, cooked according to package directions and cooled
  • 4 cups watermelon, cubed into smaller pieces
  • 2 cups grapes, halved
  • 2 cups kale, finely chopped
  • 1 cup low fat feta cheese, crumbled
  • 2 tablespoons tarragon, minced
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 squeezes lemon juice
Instructions
  1. Combine all ingredients in a bowl and gently toss together to combine ingredients.
Notes
Food energy: 333kcal
Saturated fatty acids: 6.18g
Monounsaturated fatty acids: 4.28g
Polyunsaturated fatty acids: 0.81g
Total fat: 11.27g
Calories from fat: 101
Cholesterol: 33mg
Carbohydrate, by difference: 44.16g
Total dietary fiber: 4.29g
Protein: 11.73g
Total lipid (fat): 13.76g
Water: 294.37g
Ash: 3.81g
Total sugars: 18.51g
Calcium: 262mg
Iron: 2.71mg
Magnesium: 94mg
Phosphorus: 306mg
Potassium: 592mg
Sodium: 441mg
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 4

Chopped Salad with Pork, White Beans, Avocado and Cajun Lime Dressing

Chopped Salad with Pork

I don’t know about you, but when I roast a pork loin, or bake pork chops, I always have leftover meat. Most likely I find myself in this situation because I’m always ready to cook for a crowd, and now I’m cooking for two.

But that’s okay, there’s no such thing as wasting food in this house. I can always put leftovers to good use.

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