Tag Archive: salad

Quinoa Beet Salad

This is definitely a new favorite thing of mine.  Quinoa does have a lot of carbs but also TONS of vitamins and minerals for you.  So, where I would easily use rice or potatoes this fills in nicely.  It is also smoother and absorbs the flavors of what is being fixed more readily.  You will note that earlier I made chili with it.  It tasted like chili.  Now I am using an asian-orange-beet combination.  A lovely and healthy combination.  Enjoy this.

We are about done being healthy.  Pretty soon we will focus on SUPER BOWL food and Valentines Day.  Maybe some of this healthy stuff will make it in there though!

Soup, Salad and Laundry?

This week we are hopping with Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays (a gluten free gal!), HomesteadSimple and Haute Mom.  I am also getting ready to take this to Strut Your Stuff Saturday with the Six Sisters.  I just love them and their stuff.  You should check them out.  Such a sweet story and a fun blog with lots of great ideas.

I got a call from my son, Andy on Saturday morning.  We had planned to get together over the weekend, but I didn’t know when he might decide to come over.  His call was to ask if he could come for lunch.  Oh, and by the way, could he bring his laundry?  While I am doing his laundry he tells me he needs to go to the outlet mall to get some new jeans.  So off he goes to the mall.  He comes back with new jeans and three new shirts.  He asks me for washing details for his new clothes.  I don’t know why he asks me about those details.  I’m glad he is trying to take care of his new shirts though.

I was glad I had the chicken and fixings for a light salad, and I had the soup made up.  So lunch was a cinch to put together.  He’s been watching his weight so a full cooked meal was not necessary.  Thank goodness, because I was in the middle of mixing up some oatmeal cookies because it was a nice cool morning.  I like to bake cookies on those rare cool summer days like my momma used to do. I got them baked about 4:00PM and it had warmed up some by then.

I have enough soup and salad left over for another meal or two for me.  It should serve 4 easily.  This chicken salad would be great served on some hoagie rolls with sliced tomatoes and leaf lettuce too.   It was soup and salad for us.  It was nice.

Spicy Chicken Salad

  • ¾ * of a rotisserie chicken, diced, bones and skin removed
  • 1 large stalk celery, diced
  • ½ medium cucumber, seeds removed, diced
  • ¼ red onion, diced
  • 3-4 tablespoons Heinz Hot Relish
  • ½ cup chopped pecans, toasted
  • ½ cup mayonnaise, low-fat (if you like your salad a little more moist add more mayo)
  • ¾ teaspoon Kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • baby spinach

*I reserved ½ the breast for another meal.  You can use an entire chicken.  Combine the chicken, cucumber, celery, onion, relish, pecans, and mayonnaise.  Adjust the salt and pepper to your taste.  Mix lightly to combine.

Store in an air tight container to chill for at least an hour in the refrigerator.  Serve on a bed of spinach or your favorite salad greens along with a cup of the Summer Squash Soup served hot or cold.

I served Breton Multigrain crackers with the soup and salad to make it a full, cool and easy lunch.

Since I have an abundance of squash from my garden, (I guess you have figured that out by now.) I am in search of any way to use it.  This idea came from a cream soup recipe, which I adapted and made into a clear squash soup.  It is tasty and served warm is a nice addition to a salad.  I’m not to keen on cold soups, but this one might be ok.  I’m going to give it a try.  I think I have finally found a spot to grow German thyme in my garden.  Lots of things are getting that added lemony taste this summer.

Summer Squash Soup with Thyme

  • 3 tablespoons butter or Extra Virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium leek, white and green parts, chopped
  • 3 medium garlic cloves, chopped (about 1 tablespoon)
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 pounds mixed summer squash (green or yellow zucchini, crookneck,      pattypan), chopped into medium pieces
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 cup plain yogurt, low fat or full fat

Heat butter or oil in a large heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat until melted. Add leek and garlic and season to taste with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until leek and garlic begin to sweat but do not brown, about 5 minutes.

Add summer squash and season to taste. Cook, stirring occasionally, until squash begins to sweat. (Do not brown.) This should take about 7-10 minutes. Add enough water so the squash is almost, but not fully, covered, about 3 cups. Cover saucepan partially and lower heat to medium-low. Simmer until squash is just tender, about 12 to 15 minutes.

Use a hand blender to blend soup until smooth or blend soup in a blender in two batches. Blend until totally smooth (again, working in batches if using standard blender), about 1 minute. (Strain soup through fine mesh strainer if desired.)  I didn’t do this.  I like a little crunch to my soup.

Let the soup cool at room temperature for one hour, stirring occasionally. Transfer to refrigerator and let cool, stirring occasionally, until well chilled, about 45 minutes.

Check soup and adjust for seasoning, adding more salt, pepper.  At this point it can be served with a drop of Greek yogurt or thyme to taste.

Makes 2 quarts, serving 4 to 6.

Hooray for the Red, White and Blue!

I’m rather patriotic.  I tear up at the Star Spangled Banner unless some twit is singing it on tv at a football game or NASCAR.  A certain amount of dignity is required, I think.  I love 4th of July parades, fireworks displays and bands.  The Boston Pops can keep me in tears. My high school band was a very special group of students.  We all felt pride when it came to the National Anthem and our school song.  I’m going to get to be a part of that in September at a high school reunion at homecoming.  (Hanky alert!)

I had to come up with a food for the 4th and chicken is my “go to” food.  Plus it is white.  Blue potatoes.  I never thought I would cook blue potatoes, but what better opportunity to use some of those little things.  Paula and I agree – potatoes are one of our favorite foods.  These little tiny things can’t have too many carbs in them.  Red is for tomatoes and red onions.  This is a simple recipe.

Red, White and Blue Chicken Skewers

  • 1 package of chicken tenderloins cut in half or 3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts cut in strips lengthwise
  • 4 medium tomatoes, cut in half
  • 1 large red onion, cut in 8ths
  • 8 small blue potatoes, left whole
  • Salt and pepper
  • Low-fat salad dressing or your favorite marinade

I pre-cooked the potatoes in the microwave for about 4 minutes on a glass plate. Spread  the chicken with low-fat Italian salad dressing.  You could certainly make your own dressing.  Then I used metal skewers or you can pre-soak some wooden skewers for the kabobs.

To assemble the kabobs:

  1. Onion
  2. Chicken
  3. Tomato
  4. Chicken
  5. Potato
  6. Chicken
  7. Tomato
  8. Chicken
  9. Potato

This should make 4-5 kabobs depending on the length of your skewer.  Mine were about 10” and it made 4 very full kabobs.

After assembling salt and pepper and add an additional herb.  I chose a garlic/herb seasoning with no sodium.

I put these on a hot grill and cooked for about 7 minutes on one side and about 6 minutes on the other.  Only turning once so the tomatoes don’t fall apart.  Use tongs and turn them by using a piece of the chicken to hold on to as you turn.

Additional salad dressing can be added to one side before you turn and on the other side after turning.   Remove to a platter and allow to rest while you assemble your salad.

Homage to Ouiser-Artichoke and Mushroom Stuffed Tomatoes

Almost too pretty to eat....ALMOST!

One of my favorite movies is Steel Magnolias.  I love Ouiser!  This is one of my favorite conversations involving her:

Ouiser – Tomatoes. (put’s em in Clairie’s lap)
Clairee – Don’t give these all to me!
Ouiser – Somebody’s gotta take em. I hate em. I try not to eat healthy food if I can possibly help it. The sooner my body gives out the better off I’ll be… I can’t get enough grease into my diet.
Anelle – Then why do you grow them?
Ouiser – Because I’m an old Southern woman and we’re supposed to wear funny looking hats and ugly clothes and grow vegetables in the dirt. Don’t ask me those questions. I don’t know why, I don’t make the rules!

Ain’t that true?  And what do I have?  Tomatoes.  So, today’s post is about tomatoes.  I was trying to think of something different.  What could I do with big tomatoes?  Stuff them of course!  How boring would another chicken or tuna salad be though?  Here is my attempt at creative thinking.  This was filling and tasty with the added bonus of leaving the kitchen nice and cool on a hot summer’s day.  Don’t worry if you aren’t old enough to grow tomatoes this big.  The grocery store has a fabulous selection right now.

Mushroom and Artichoke Stuffed Tomatoes

  • 2 large tomatoes
  • 1 15 ounce can of water packed artichoke hearts, chopped
  • 6 ounces of sliced mushrooms, chopped
  • ½ of a small onion finely diced
  • 1 small pepper finely diced (I used Jalapeno but Bell would work)
  • 1 cup of croutons
  • 3 tablespoons of crumbled bacon
  • 2/3 cup of cheese crumbles (I used Cheddar but blue might be good too)
  • 2 tablespoons of chopped parsley
  • ½ cup of salad dressing (see recipe below or use your favorite)

Salad Dressing

  • 1/3 Cup olive oil (I used Chipotle Olive Oil from Con’ Olio)
  • 2 Tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated onion
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • ½ teaspoon Supremely Salad seasoning
  • salt and pepper to taste

In a medium bowl combine artichokes, mushrooms,  onion, pepper, croutons, bacon, cheese, parsley and dressing.  Stir to coat and chill in the refrigerator for about an hour.

While the other ingredients mingle slice off the top and scoop out the inside of your big tomatoes.  I used a knife to cut out a big chunk and then I used my melon baller to get all the way through the seeds.

After an hour pack the stuffing into the two tomatoes and serve.

I thoroughly enjoyed this!  Some of the rules serve a good purpose, Ouiser.  I’ll have to watch that movie again soon.

I am dusting this one off for This Week’s Cravings on July 30th!

 

Garden Feast Day 2-Portabello Mushroom “Pizza”

Almost too pretty to eat....ALMOST!

Today’s fresh vegetable feature is Portabello Mushroom Pizza.  What I love is picking almost all the stuff that goes with this meal from the garden.  I literally just bought the mozzarella cheese and mushrooms for dinner tonight.  You may be aware that I am a very low carb eater.  This dish makes me feel like I am eating lasagna and I don’t even miss the pasta.

I started by getting my already made pizza sauce from my first crop of tomatoes out of the freezer to defrost, then I grabbed my biggest bowl possible and headed out to the garden.  What a sight!  All of the dirt digging and bug fighting is worth it.  I picked lettuce, dill (I love a little fresh dill in my field greens), tomato and cucumber for a salad and grabbed some fresh basil for garnish.  I quickly snipped a few early okra and pulled up the last of my onions.  I did a thorough bug check on the tomato plants, then I hurried back to the air conditioning.  No way was I going back out into that heat today.  Grill pan it is!

Portabello Mushroom “Pizza”

  • 4 large portabello mushrooms
  • 8 Tablespoons of pizza sauce
  • Mozarella cheese 4 slices or 1 1/3 cups shredded
  • 2 Tablespoons of olive oil
  • ¼ cup torn basil for garnish

Pre-heat the grill pan over medium high heat and baste with olive oil.

Gently pull out the mushroom stems and scoop the gills from the inside of the mushroom using a spoon.  Slather the mushrooms with olive oil and place face down on the grill pan.  Cook for 5-6 minutes or until the mushrooms are starting to flatten as the moisture cooks off.  Flip and cook for another 5 minutes to lightly char the top of the mushroom.  Flip one more time for just a minute to cook off the last of the moisture.  Remove from grill pan and place top-side down on a baking sheet or broiler pan.

Assemble the “pizza” by topping each mushroom with two tablespoons of sauce and a slice or 1/3 cup of mozzarella cheese.  Then slip into the oven and broil until cheese is golden and bubbly.  Top with torn basil to garnish and serve.

 

A Heat Wave Recipe! Pasta Salad

It is hot here in this dusty west Texas border town.  (That sounds like the beginning of a song!)  All I can think of is iced tea and very cool salads to eat.  No oven right now in the Tumbleweed Contessa’s kitchen.  I use the outside grill some.  Most of the time I spend watering the flowers and veggies in the garden just to keep them from burning up.  This will pass soon and the famed “monsoon” season will be upon us.  We might get an inch of rain!

When I think about a summertime meal one of my favorites is pasta salad.  I can eat it all by itself or I like to serve it with a piece of roasted chicken (from the deli) or cold fried chicken (from the Colonel), but I like it served best as a side with a cold ham sandwich the second day.  It is great to take on a picnic or to a church pot luck supper too.

I had never eaten a pasta salad until I moved to El Paso.  Hank had moved here before our family did. He found a deli near one of his construction projects on the eastside of town.  Once we got here he raved about this pasta salad.  He even brought it home once or twice for us to try and for me to figure out how to make.  I gave it a try or two, but couldn’t make it taste like the deli’s version.  So, I gave up.  Later on, Jan, a teacher at the SEE School (where I worked)  had a pasta salad everyone liked.  I ask her for her recipe and she told me she got it from the same deli as Hank used to get his supply from.  Finally, that deli opened in a grocery store on the west side (my side of town) and I got to be a regular there to try to figure out how it was made.  It was the dressing or marinade that was the secret.  Finally I tried a different oil and everyone loved it!  I use the Good Season’s Spicy Italian salad dressing mix.  Two packets, one made with olive oil and white wine vinegar and one with vegetable oil and white distilled vinegar. The longer it can marinate in the frig before serving, the better it tastes.

Pasta Salad

  • 1 package (16 ounces) uncooked pasta
  • 1 cup broccoli florets
  • 1 cup broccoli cuts
  • ½ small red onion, finely diced
  • ½ cup scallions, thinly sliced (green and white parts)
  • 1 medium red bell pepper, finely diced
  • 3 small carrots peeled and thinly sliced
  • 3 celery stalks, finely diced
  • 1 medium zucchini, cut in half and thinly sliced into half moons
  • 1 jar marinated artichoke hearts cut in quarters, not drained too well
  • 1/2 cup green olives, sliced
  • ½ cup black olives, sliced
  • 3 tablespoons capers, drained
  • 1 cup slice white mushrooms
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Italian salad dressing mix (2 packets)
  • Olive oil (according to package directions)
  • Vegetable oil (according to package directions)
  • White wine vinegar (according to package directions)
  • White distilled vinegar (according to package directions)

Cook the pasta as directed on package, adding the broccoli to the boiling water for the last 3 minutes of the pasta cooking time.  Drain; rinse under cold running water.  Drain very well; place in a large bowl to mix.( I use a bowl with a lid to seal well to marinate.)

Add the remaining veggies and toss well with dressing.  Refrigerate at least 1 hour or preferably overnight, stirring a few times.   Taste before serving to add more dressing or salt and pepper.

I serve the salad lightly drained in a separate bowl with the excess dressing reserved to store leftovers.

Out of Flour? Buy Corn Instead

Last Thursday night I decided to make some cookies to take to work because we had all survived the hardest of weeks – a short week. That’s when you enjoy your long weekend and then make up for taking a day off by doing as much work in 4 days as you would normally have to do in 5 days!   The TWC didn’t have any flour in the canister!  Can you believe that?  I checked the pantry twice and even the freezer in case I bought some ahead and stored it.  Nothing!  Walmart is just about 5 blocks from my house but by the time I got home from Walmart, I would be out of the mood to bake.  So, sorry guys, no cookies this week.

Late in the afternoon before I left work Thursday, Mike was telling me about a dish he made by wrapping quail in bacon and cooking it in wine.  I didn’t have any quail either (and am not sure I would ever have any.)  But I have chicken – always have chicken.  After work on Friday I went to Walmart to stock up on flour, eggs, and mini chocolate chips. (They were out of flour too!)  There must be a run on chocolate chip cookies due to the last week of school!

I decided to try the bacon/chicken/wine dish.  I got some lower sodium bacon, a new bottle of wine (just in case). Then I was looking for a cool vegetable idea and came upon the fresh corn. It looked tempting so nothing would do but I got 2 ears of fresh yellow corn and that is how I came up with this salad.

Salad:

  • 2 ears corn cleaned
  • A pot of boiling water, salted
  • 1 spring onion
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and diced
  • 3 tablespoons chopped cilantro

Dressing:

  • 2 tablespoons light olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
  • Salt and pepper to taste

 

 

Clean the corn and boil for about 4-5 minutes in the salted water.  While it is cooking, prepare an ice water bath to dip the corn in to cool it off and stop the cooking.  Drain on paper towel.

Once it is cool enough to handle cut the corn from the husk.  I do this by laying it on its side and cutting all around the cob.  This avoids corn flying all over the kitchen.    Seed and dice the jalapeno and dice the onion.  Chop the cilantro and mix all these together lightly.

Mix up the dressing and toss with the corn.  I put this in the frig while the chicken cooked.  The chicken was ok, but this salad was fresh, crisp and just right!

This would be great with grilled burgers.  It is easy to take on a picnic.  I think it would be good served at room temperature.  Mine was a little chilled, but not icy cold.  It took no time to make.  A little left over with a sandwich was good too.

Give it a try. Add you own favorite herbs.  You can even mix up the vinegars for a new taste.  I think the light olive oil and white wine vinegar was light and fresh.  But try your combo and let me know how it comes out!

I still have no flour and have to bake for church.  I better get going to the store.  It may take all day to find a lonely 5 pound bag of all-purpose flour! The quest is on!

Chop Chop!

Confetti Salad 1

Chop, chop and chop some more for this great salad recipe!

As it gets warmer I always go back to summers in Kansas.  Homemade ice cream, banana salad, banana bread, homemade chicken and noodles, fresh country eggs and cream.  And the best salads.  I love marinated sweet and sour salads that are cut up in small pieces.  They make a sandwich taste so good.  I’m sure I got this from my grandmother.  She had recipes for 3 Bean Salad, Carrot Salad, and Pickled Beets.  She had small dishes of these on the cutting board along with cold sliced ham, pickles and bread and butter for sandwiches for lunch.

I spent 2 weeks each year in Meade, a little Kansas community, with my parents and brother and sisters, grandparents, aunts, uncle, and cousins.  I had a great time every year.  We had the best meals.   Many of those recipes are still some of my favorites.  But the memories that food conjures up are very special to me.  My grandmother had a little fold out of the wall table in her kitchen.  Lots of times the 3 cousins (Pam, Pat and me) got to eat in the kitchen at that little table.  There were more cousins, but we were the oldest and most important.  When I went back for a visit as an adult I was disappointed to find she had removed the table.

Of course, as a kid I never realized or understood how much energy it took to produce all those meals.  I do know how many dishes there were to wash and how hot it was in my grandmother’s kitchen.  Pam, Pat and I did an assembly line to try to get them done faster.  Aunt Betty and momma would pitch in too, and we would step out onto the back porch as we dried a plate just for a cool breath of air.  I believe the stove in her kitchen could have heated the entire house in the winter.  We would never have complained though.  She would have shooed us out of the kitchen and done them all herself (and we would have been in deep trouble with our mothers!)  Today, I would suggest we go out to eat!  But I would love to do it all over again – just one time in that same tiny kitchen with ALL those wonderful people in my life!

I use Con’ Olio olive oil in this recipe.  It is a great olive oil store in Austin.  Here is the link:  http://www.conolios.com/index.htm  They’ll ship!

Confetti Veggie Salad

  • 2 fresh zucchini
  • 3 fresh carrots
  • 2 stalks celery
  • 1 can corn (drained)
  • 1 can cut green beans
  • 1 red onion, diced
  • 1 bell pepper, diced (I used about a third of a yellow, orange and red pepper)
  • 1 small package frozen baby peas

Dressing

  • 1/2 cup light olive oil (I used Basil Olive Oil from Con Olio in Austin)
  • 1 cup vinegar (I used my homemade Basil Vinegar)
  • 3-4 tablespoons sugar (or to taste)
  • 4 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons garlic granules

Cut all the vegetables the size of the corn (or about that small). It took me about an hour to chop everything.  I was in no particular hurry so I’m sure it wouldn’t take a super chef that long.

 

 

Combine all dressing ingredients in a  jar.  Shake well until the sugar is dissolved and pour over the vegetables to marinade at least 2-4 hours or overnight in the refrigerator in a tightly sealed container.  Stir occasionally to give all the vegetables a good coating.  If after marinating overnight it appears to be a little dry, I have been known to make another half recipe of the dressing and add that.  Your option.

When I serve this, I transfer the salad to a chilled bowl and don’t serve it with all the dressing.  Again, your option.

Start off with your largest bowl.  I graduated through three before finding one large enough to be able to toss it with the dressing.  My kitchen looked like my grandmother’s by the time I finished chopping and dressing this salad!  Bowls everywhere!

I have taken some liberty with this recipe and adapted it to my taste.  This wasn’t my grandmother’s recipe. Rather a girl at work brought this salad to a pot luck lunch one time.  Denise was very generous and shared this recipe with me.    I sent a bowl of this with my son to an office pot luck and they loved it too.  So I think it might be worth a try.

 

Cool and Savory Chicken Salad

Cool and Creamy Chicken Salad

I’ve been growing herbs forever.  Do I use them like I should?  No.  But a new resolution has been made to snip them and add them to salads, soups and vegetables this summer.  I’m into growing the plants to see how lush and full they get.  But you know what I’ve found?  If I snip them they actually get fuller!  Not only that, but they are much less expensive from my pots than that plastic package at the store!  Shock!  I have a new Bay Laurel bush that has put on a couple of new leaves already.  Wouldn’t that be fun to have my own fresh bay leaves for chicken soup?  I’d love it.  Stay tuned.

I roasted some chicken for soup and decided I needed a salad too.  I wanted to keep it simple.  Not too many ingredients.  (I’ve been under the weather and I think my system said fresh greens were needed.)  I have this lettuce and spinach growing in the garden.  I don’t know why I was hesitating to pick it and use it.  It was remarkably fresh and crisp.  I picked basil, mint, chives, leaf lettuce and spinach and chilled it all in the frig after a rinse.  Made the frig smell great.  Basil and mint – love it.

Chicken Salad

  • 1 small chicken breast (skinless)
  • Salt and pepper
  • Olive oil
  • mayonnaise
  • 1 stalk celery
  • ½ cup green grapes (halved)
  • 1 tablespoon snipped chives
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh basil
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh mint leaves
  • 3 cups fresh greens (your choice)  I used spinach and lettuce
  • 1 diced tomato or halved cherry tomatoes

Prepare the chicken by drying it well and coating it with a little olive oil and salt and pepper.  Roast the chicken on a baking sheet for 30 minutes at 400°.  When cooled dice into small pieces.  Add the chives, celery and grapes to the chicken and toss with the mayonnaise and a squeeze of fresh lemon.  Set in the refrigerator to chill until time to serve.  I added a bit of salt and pepper to this.

Prepare a bed of greens.  I used leaf lettuce, spinach, fresh basil and mint.  Place the chicken in the center and surround with tomato pieces.  I could have even served some grapes on the side.  I served some crispy pretzel crackers with mine.  I just like a little salty crisp with a salad.

It was cool, fresh and tasty for a Saturday night supper.

MiddleSister Diets

MiddleSister shares some of her favorite diet friendly meals with us.  I can’t believe my child doesn’t like tomatoes.

I have found myself saying lately things like, “everyday can’t be a food party” and “sometimes it just has to be plain and simple.”  Clearly, I am dieting.  I have been following various recipes in low calorie and low fat cookbooks.  Unfortunately, I do not like fruit, especially tomatoes.  Almost every recipe has fruit and/or tomatoes.  So, I have taken their recipes as inspirations to make my own.  A few of these follow and you can expect more the longer I am dieting.

Turkey Cordon Bleu (serves 4)

I love Chicken Cordon Bleu, but it’s pretty scary in calories and fat.  This recipe is just as tasty and served with your favorite Cordon Bleu sides, just as scrumptious.  I cooked it all up and ate for four meals.  No one else in my house eats what I do.  Be careful not to overcook as it becomes too tough and rubbery.  I overcook meat all the time because I like it all well done.

  •  4 turkey breast cutlets
  • 4 slices Swiss cheese
  • 4 slices deli ham (I prefer honey baked)
  • bread crumbs to coat (I used panko)
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • non-fat cooking spray/olive oil to make the breadcrumbs stick
  • ¼ cup white wine (whatever you have laying around)
  • ¼ cup vegetable or chicken broth

Flatten out the cutlets and then layer them with the cheese and ham (1 each).  Mix together bread crumbs and thyme.  Roll it all up and hold it together with a toothpick.  Spray the outside of the turkey with enough spray to hold on the bread crumbs.  Coat with a light layer of the bread crumbs and place in a sauté pan and cook until browned (about 8 minutes).  Add the wine and broth and bring to boil and the sauce thickens a little.  I guess about 5 more minutes.  I served this over some spinach and leftovers over with green salad.  For a heartier meal, you could serve with potatoes or double up on the portion size.

 

Sausage and Peppers (serves 4)

I was cooking for the family, Tumbleweed Contessa included, but I needed to stay within my low calorie guidelines.  This recipe was really tasty and I think you could pair it with various different sides.  I paired it with polenta cakes grilled indoors for coloring and warming, but mashed potatoes or rice would go well, too.  Or, you could just serve it with a crusty French or Italian bread and butter.

  • 4-6 Seasoned Sausages (chicken or turkey are lower calorie) I like the Italian ones.  Emeril Lagasse has some great flavors.
  • 2 bell peppers (the more color the better the flavor) cut in thin strips
  • 1 large jalapeno, diced
  • 1 onion (white, but red could be good too), slivered
  • 1 teaspoon Italian Seasoning
  • 1/4 jar of marinara sauce (I never knew there were so many flavors)
  • ¼ cup water
  • 2 tablespoons flat leaf parsley, minced

Slice up the peppers and onions into thin strips.  Cut the sausage into 1 inch slices.  Spray a sauté pan with the non-fat spray and add the onion and peppers until they are slightly softened.  Add the sausages and Italian seasoning and simmer until the sausages are browned.  Add the marinara sauce, water and parsley until it’s all heated through.  To serve I bought a tube of polenta.  Sliced 1/4 inch and grilled on the grill pan.  I think you could add more or less sauce depending on how the side will soak it up.

For dessert, I made sugar free chocolate mousse and put them into chocolate shells.  It was just enough chocolate.

Jamaican Hamburger Salad (serves 6)

What did she say?  I was bored and really wanted a cheeseburger.  There are not enough calories in a day for a really good cheeseburger, so, I got creative.

  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon ground coriander
  • 1 tablespoon Lodo Red Adobo (Savory Spice Shop)
  • 1 tablespoon Jamaican Allspice (Savory Spice Shop)
  • 2 tablespoons combined minced ginger and garlic
  • ¼ cup chopped white onion
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • Bag of Salad (divided into 6)
  • ½ bunch of cilantro (divided into 6)
  • 6 Kalamata Olives (each plate)

Mix up the beef, cumin, coriander, adobo, allspice, ginger and garlic, and onion.  Shape into 4-6 patties.  Grill to your preferred doneness.  Meanwhile, plate the lettuce and top with cilantro and arrange the olives around the side.  Top with your burger and there you have it.  Of course, my husband ate his on a bun and ate some French fries.

So, everyday does not need to be a food party, but it does not have to be plain and simple either.  With a little creativity, you can make the simple slightly extraordinary.