Tag Archives: healthy

Mango, Pineapple Salsa (serve it as an appetizer first and leftovers on pork, chicken or fish)

I love salsa. Fruit salsa. Smokey salsa. Charred salsa. Jarred salsa. Green salsa. You name it, I love it.

But I particularly love this Mango, Pineapple Salsa. One of my best friends makes a similar salsa and this is my version. My salsa won “Best Overall Salsa” at a friendly competition and it was up against an array of excellent salsas.

Aside from being delicious served on its own, this salsa is great on grilled fish or pork. I recently marinated pork chops for 24 hours in Soy Vay Veri Veri Teriyaki sauce (online) http://www.soyvay.com/flavors/veri-veri-teriyaki) and then pan fried the pork and topped it with the leftover salsa. It was fantastic!

 Pork with Mango, Pineapple Salsa

If you don’t have that sauce, use soy sauce, ginger, 1 teaspoon canola oil, 1 teaspoon rice wine vinegar  and 1/2 a garlic clove for 3-4 pork chops. That makes a nice marinade. A pork loin marinated in Asian sauce, grilled and then served with this salsa would be spectacular.

This would also be great on chicken or fish tacos.

The key to this salsa is ripe, sweet fruit. Mangoes are hardly ever ripe when you buy them, so I buy them 3-4 days before I need to make this salsa. I also buy extras in case some are not sweet. Whenever I have to use avocados or mangoes I buy extra because you’ll often get a disappointing one in the batch. I bought 5 mangoes to be safe. There were all sweet, so I ate the others for breakfast.

Let this marinate for 2 hours or more before serving. You can adapt this recipe and add 2/3 cup drained black beans to this and it’s delicious, too. In that case, I also add 1 teaspoon fresh lime juice

If you can’t find ripe mangoes, you can use the jarred refrigerated type, but fresh is always best!

I like to serve it in a margarita or martini glass for nice presentation. It’s such a refreshing salsa for summer. I adore it!

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Mango, Pineapple Salsa

2 1/2 very ripe mangoes, chopped fine

2 ½ cups finely chopped fresh pineapple

¾ of a medium red onion, chopped

2/3 of a bunch of cilantro, chopped

1 large jalapeno, seeded and chopped fine

1 teaspoon cumin seed

¼ teaspoon ground cumin

Sea salt to taste

.Directions:

Chop all the ingredients and place in a medium bowl. Add salt to taste. Toss and refrigerate at least 2 hours before serving.

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Light Greek Chicken Salad

If you love chicken salad, but are watching your fat intake, then try my Greek version. It has less calories, less than half the fat of traditional chicken salad, and calcium and probiotics. You can shave more calories by using low fat yogurt and it still tastes good.

It’s a light and healthy version.

Dill and Kalamata olives really pump up the flavor in this dish. I use garlic salt to flavor it, too. I enjoy this salad in a wrap, but you can also serve it as a salad or with pita chips as a dip.

The key is to refrigerate it at least 2 hours before serving (more is always better).

Light Greek Chicken Salad

1 rotisserie chicken

4 green onions

1 stalk celery

1 cup chopped cucumber

1/3 cup chopped Kalamata olives

1 cup plain Greek yogurt (whole or low fat)

1 teaspoon dried dill weed

1 teaspoon lemon juice

Garlic salt to taste

Pepper to taste

Remove all the skin from the rotisserie chicken and discard. Then pull the meat off the bones and chop the entire chicken into pieces. Place it in a large container with a lid.

Chop onions, celery, cucumber and Kalamata olives and add to chicken.

In another bowl, stir together Greek yogurt, dill week, lemon juice and a dose of garlic salt. Pour over chicken and stir to combine all ingredients.

Cover and refrigerate at least two hours before serving. Add garlic salt and pepper to taste before serving.

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Chicken Fattoush Flatbread

I love, love, love Fattoush, a Middle Eastern salad that explodes with flavor. I was first introduced to it at a Lebanese restaurant in Ghana. I lived in Ghana, in West Africa, for years and it has some incredible restaurants.

Fattoush is served with warm pita, usually crispy from the oven. If you have leftover pita from a party or pita that’s about to go stale, you should make Fattoush.   Fresh herbs, like parsley, mint, basil, are key to this salad. I pack a lot of parsley in mine and often use cilantro, too.  The vinaigrette is simple, lots of lemon and olive oil. If you love lemon, add the lemon zest, too.  I hit mine with a general dose of black pepper and garlic salt and load on the green onions.

My mouth is watering.

The concept of the warm pita was my inspiration for this flatbread. To transform the salad into a main course, I added rotisserie chicken and then piled it all atop of whole wheat flatbread. I made my own flatbread, but you could use Naan or pizza dough or pitas instead.

If you’re looking for a HEALTHY, delicious dinner, you’ve found it. It’s so light and flavorful. It’s the perfect summer dish.

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Chicken Fattoush Flatbread.

serves 2

1 cooked, crispy flatbread crust (I made my own whole wheat but it’s faster to buy one; my recipe follows)

1 1/2 cups thinly sliced Romaine lettuce

3 green onions, sliced

½ cup chopped flat leaf parsley

2 tablespoons chopped cilantro or mint

1 cup chopped cucumber (peeled or unpeeled, it’s up to you)

1 cup chopped rotisserie chicken

2/3 cup sliced grape tomatoes

Generous dose of garlic salt

Generous dose of black pepper to taste

Dressing

2 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1 ½ tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

½ teaspoon lemon zest (optional)

Salt

For the dressing, whisk ingredients together. Salt to taste and set aside.

Bake flatbread according to directions. You want the salad to rest for 5-10 minutes before you add it to the flatbread  but you also want the flatbread to be warm, so read the instructions before you make the salad so you time it right.

For the salad:

Thinly slice the lettuce and green onions and place in a large bowl.

Chop the parsley, cilantro or mint, cucumber, chicken, slice tomatoes and add to bowl. Pour salad dressing over salad and add a lot of black pepper and garlic salt. Taste as you go so you don’t oversalt. Allow it to rest 5-10 minutes.

When pita is ready, top it with the salad and serve.

You can use a pizza, pita or flabtread crust or make your own. For this portions, you will need 3-4 whole wheat pitas or

Whole Wheat Flatbread Crust

1 ½ cups whole wheat flour

2 teaspoons active yeast

1 teaspoon salt

1 cup lukewarm water

Stir ingredients together in a large bowl. Drizzle olive oil over the dough, cover the bowl with a clean towel and place on the oven to rise for 6 hours. Turn the oven on to 200 degrees or more to help it rise.

When it’s time to cook, preheat oven to 450 and place baking sheet in the oven to heat.

Split the dough in half. Coat your hands with flour and work the dough into a ball (you may need more flour). Sprinkle corn meal and flour on a flat surface. Start working the dough in your hands, pinching it to spread it out. Then place on the floured surface and spread with your fingers until you have a piece of flatbread.

When oven is ready, remove the baking sheet, sprinkle it with cornmeal to keep the dough from sticking, and bake 10-13 minutes, until crisp.

Top with fattoush and serve immediately.

Asian Inspired Salad with Chicken, Edamame, Granny Smith Apples and Ginger Dressing

I must say, I chose the wrong color of bowl to showcase this delicious salad. I was STARVING when I made this and all I wanted to do was photograph it so I could gobble it up. I rushed and it didn’t pay off in terms of my photo. If I had just swapped out a white bowl for the green, this salad would look more appealing.

Let me tell you, it’s DELICIOUS, HEALTHY and very LIGHT. It’s perfect when it’s hot outside. My husband and I both commented on how good we felt after we ate this salad and how long that feeling lasted.

We are both trying to shed a few pounds, so I will likely be posting more healthier food options. Don’t worry, for you junk food lovers there will be plenty of indulgence, too.

This salad gets protein from the chicken and edamame; fiber from the apples, lettuce, and Napa cabbage. The ginger dressing is light and refreshing. And then there’s the flavor punch from the cilantro and green onions. Yummy! I love it and I hope you enjoy it, too. If you do, please share it.

Asian Inspired Salad with Chicken, Edamame, Granny Smith Apples and Ginger Dressing

Makes two generous dinner or lunch portions (we had a little leftover)

1 cup shredded Napa cabbage

4 cups shredded Romaine lettuce

½ cup cooked, shelled edamame

1/2 cup chopped carrots

1/3 cup chopped red bell pepper

2 green onions, sliced

First full of cilantro

Two rotisserie chicken breasts

Dressing:

2 tablespoons canola oil

½ teaspoon sesame oil

2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar, plus 1 teaspoon

1 teaspoon ginger paste or finely shredded fresh ginger (I prefer ginger paste in the tube because it’s so easy and I can grab it whenever I need)

1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice

2 teaspoons honey

For the dressing, whisk all ingredients together in a glass bowl and set aside.

For the salad, chop all the vegetables and place in a large serving bowl or divide between two bowls or plates.

Remove chicken breast and pull off the skin. Chop the meat into desired pieces and place on top of vegetables. Toss with the dressing. Allow it to rest for 5 minutes before serving.

Fresh Corn Salad- and tips for using corn

Sometimes memories are so vivid you feel like you can taste them.

That’s how I feel about the sweet taste of corn on the cob fresh my grandparents’ farm.

My family would visit every summer. Grandpa would harvest corn in late July into August and I’d help my grandma shuck it for dinner. She always boiled it and served it so hot that a slab of butter would melt and slide down the side of the cob the second the butter touched it.

I couldn’t wait to nibble off the golden kernels in horizontal rows. It was a delicious tradition and a wonderful memory.

I still love corn on the cob although nothing compares to the flavor of farm fresh corn. For starters, corn is best consumed the day it’s picked because within 24 hours of picking, the sugars start to convert to starch and some of the flavor is lost.

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That said, I recommend buying corn from a farmers market for the freshest corn possible. If you’re not going to eat it that day, pop it in the refrigerator to slow down the conversion.

If you’re substituting fresh corn for canned, as a general rule, when you cut corn off the cob, you get about ½ a cup of corn.

When cutting corn off the cob, a neat little trick is to place the cob in the hole of an angel food pan or Bundt cake pan and then scrape off the kernels so they fall into the pan without going all over the counter (Bundt works better because the hole is smaller). I saw this idea on Pinterest and it works beautifully.

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Microwaving corn is my favorite cooking method because it’s so simple and fast. Simply pop the entire corn in its husk in the microwave and cook on high for 3-3.5 minutes; two ears for 4-5 minutes; three ears for 5-6 minutes. Allow it to cool for 5-10 minutes before you shuck it.

Another popular cooking method is to boil the corn. I always add a good dash of salt but also 1/3 cup of sugar to the water to bring out the sweetness. I particularly recommend this if you buy corn in the off season when it’s likely been shipped from far away and not as sweet. Boil corn for about 6-8 minutes. The older corn is, the longer it takes to cook because it’s starchier (add 1-2 minutes).

If you’re working with a bunch of corn, don’t toss the cobs when you’re done. Corn cobs can be used to make wonderful corn stock and frozen for corn chowder this winter. I boil 8-10 cobs with 5 cups water, 2 cups chicken stock, a carrot, two celery stalks, 1 bay leaf, and one sliced onion. Boil for an hour and then cool and freeze it for corn chowder this winter. If you want to use it right away, you can use it in place of water when making rice, quinoa or risotto.

That’s all the corn tips I have. I made this for my husband when we first met and it’s one of his favorite dishes to this day. This salad has celery, several types of bell pepper, red onion, parsley, basil and a light vinegar dressing.

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It’s so refreshing on a hot summer day and goes with everything from sausages to chicken to burgers.  It’s perfect for picnics and potlucks. And is an easy side dish for rotisserie chicken. The great thing about this corn salad is you can substitute canned corn in the winter.

Summer Corn Salad

3 ears of corn

2 celery stalks, chopped

1 red bell pepper, chopped

¾ of a green bell pepper, chopped

½ an orange bell pepper, chopped

1/3 cup finely chopped red onion

1/3 cup chopped parsley

5 basil leaves, sliced thin

Dressing:

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon canola oil

1 heaping tablespoon sugar

3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

For the dressing, whisk ingredients together in a small bowl and set aside.

For the salad, cook corn according to your favorite method. If you’re microwaving, microwave on high in the husks for 5-6 minutes. When cool enough to handle, remove husks and corn silks and cut corn off the cob and add to a large bowl.

Chop all your vegetables and add to corn. Add chopped parsley and basil and toss the salad with dressing. Cover and refrigerate 2 hours before serving. Leftovers keep for days in the refrigerator.

Lettuce Wraps with Sweet Peanut Sauce

Looking for something easy, light and refreshing in this summer heat?

Well, try my lettuce wraps. They are SO EASY and healthy.

They are versatile, too. You can add any vegetable you’d like. I have swapped soba noodles for rice noodles; added snow peas in my wraps; and love to add shiitake mushrooms!!! A little mint is nice, too. Thinly sliced daikon is great in these.

The more veggies, the merrier. The peanut sauce comes together in minutes. It doesn’t have any ginger, but you can add some if you ‘d like.I’d suggest starting with 1/8 teaspoon and going from there because ginger is potent.

There’s hardly any cooking in this recipe, so it’s perfect for people who don’t want to spend much time in the kitchen.

I hope you enjoy these.

Lettuce Wraps with Sweet Peanut Sauce

Serves 2

2 rotisserie chicken breasts, sliced

8-10 Bibb or Butter lettuce leaves, washed and dried

Two handfuls of fresh cilantro

½ cup shredded carrots

1 ounces of rice noodles

Sesame oil or your favorite Asian dressing

1 cucumber, sliced thin

1 green onion, sliced thin

Sliced bell pepper (optional)

Peanut Butter Sauce

¼ cup creamy peanut butter

½ cup boiling water

1 tablespoon brown sugar (do not make this heaping or it will be too sweet)

1 teaspoon fresh lime juice

1 teaspoon soy sauce

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First: cook your rice noodles according to package directions. They cook fast, usually in about 3 minutes. When they are done, drizzle with sesame oil or your favorite Asian salad dressing like Sesame Ginger. Rice noodles are fairly flavorless and this will add some depth of flavor and prevent them from sticking together.  If you want then to cool quickly, place in a metal bowl and pop it in the fridge.

Slice all the vegetables and place on a large platter or divide them between two plates.

Remove the skin from the chicken and place on a plate.

Make your peanut sauce.

For the sauce: Stir all ingredients together until they are combined. The water must be very hot to dissolve the peanut butter.

You can also make this on a stovetop in a small pot, but then it needs to cool before serving because the peanut butter will separate and become too thin while piping hot.

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Then make your own wraps by placing desired toppings in the lettuce leaves and then either topping it with peanut sauce or dipping in peanut sauce.

Sprinkle with sliced green onion and eat.

Southwest Quinoa Salad with Cumin-Lime Dressing

This is now my favorite Go To Summer dish. I am so in love with this quinoa salad.  It’s healthy, refreshing, low fat, high in fiber, high in protein and loaded with vitamins. And did I mention it’s delicious!

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First, I cook the quinoa with chicken broth to give it more flavor. Then I chilled it and tossed it with chicken, cilantro, red bell peppers, corn, avocado and a lime-cumin vinaigrette. Sliced grape tomatoes are a nice addition and so are black beans. I actually thought I had black beans when I made this and when I realized I didn’t, was too busy to go to the store, so I made it without.

Anyway, this is perfect for lunch as a main course; as a side dish at a picnic; or as a light dinner.

Give it a try.

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Southwest Quinoa Salad with Cumin-Lime Dressing

1 cup uncooked quinoa

2 cups low-sodium chicken broth

2 cups chopped rotisserie chicken (breast is preferred in this recipe)

Half a large red bell pepper

1 1/2 tablespoons red onion

½ cup of chopped cilantro

Half a can of corn, drained

½ cup black beans, drained (optional)

1 avocado

Dressing:

3 tablespoons fresh lime juice

1 tablespoon, plus 1 teaspoon canola oil

2 teaspoons honey

1 teaspoon ground cumin

For the quinoa: Bring quinoa and chicken broth to a boil in a medium pot with a tight fitting lid. Let it boil 3 minutes, cover with lid and cook another 15 minutes. Quinoa is done when a hook is released from the grain. Chill for later.

To prepare: Chop chicken, red bell pepper, onion and cilantro and place in a medium to large bowl. Fluff the quinoa and add it to the mix.

Drain corn and black beans (if you’re using those) and toss with quinoa. Then pit your avocado and chop.

Whisk the dressing ingredients together and pour over quinoa. Toss to coat and serve.

If you are making this ahead of time, leave the avocado off until the last minute.

Note: This recipe is also good with about ½ cup halved grape tomatoes, too.

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