because what is life without good food?

Posts tagged “Lowfat

New Recipes at SumptuousSpoonfuls.com

I know I promised I would post the recipes here every time I post a new recipe on my blog’s new home … but it’s getting away from me … so much to do with the transfer of domains and all the other things going on in my life … I did export and import all of the email subscribers from here over to there … are you getting emails from my new blog? If not, please go add your email address on my new blog: www.SumptuousSpoonfuls.com  … seriously, please, go now! I don’t want to lose you.

Okay, now let’s talk new recipes … here’s what’s new on my blog: click on the pic or the title to see the recipe … I hope you’ll visit me at my new site!

Tropical Kiwi Monster Protein Kale Smoothie

Tropical Kiwi Monster Protein Kale Smoothie

Apple Pie Wontons

Apple Pie Wontons

Curried Chicken Salad in Crispy Wonton Cups

Curried Chicken Salad with Grapes in Crispy Wonton Cups

Havarti Cheddar Kale Omelet with Bacon

Havarti Cheddar Kale Omelet with Bacon


Great Northern Pumpkin, Kale & Sausage Stew

Great Northern Pumpkin, Kale & Sausage Stew

I made a delicious stew the other day with pumpkin, kale, Great Northern beans, and chicken sausage.

It’s a bowl full of comfort and goodness.

Head over to my blog’s new home for the recipe.


Shrimp & Tomato Bisque

Shrimp & Tomato Bisque

My girlfriends were coming for the weekend so I wanted to make them something super delicious … it was chillier than we expected it to be this weekend, so I decided a nice pot of hot soup would be just the thing.

It did happen just perfectly … two of my friends were staying in a camper and when they showed up at my house on Saturday, it was just about lunchtime plus they were quite chilled and hungry so the soup warmed them right up and filled our bellies before we went out to see the sights. I was so happy because they all raved about the soup and the two who don’t like things too hot & spicy said it was just right. Whew!

Shrimp & Tomato Bisque

Shrimp & Tomato Bisque

  • 1/2 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 – 3 cloves of garlic, peeled and chopped
  • 3 stalks of celery, chopped (about 1 cup)
  • 1 cup of chopped onion
  • 1/2 cup chopped carrot
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1/4 cup Chardonnay or other white wine
  • 2 garden fresh tomatoes + 2 roma tomatoes (about 0.7 lb), peeled and chopped
  • 1 cup beef or vegetable broth
  • 1 cup mixed vegetable juice such as V8 (or tomato juice)
  • About 1/4 cup fresh basil leaves
  • About 1 Tablespoon fresh tarragon leaves
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 teaspoon Old Bay Seasoning
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Sriracha (or other hot sauce … use more or less depending on how spicy you like your soup)
  • 2 cups fat free half & half
  • 1 lb shrimp, fresh or frozen
  • To garnish: freshly shredded Asiago or Parmesan cheese and fresh herbs

Directions:

  1. Peel and chop the garlic and mix it with the olive oil in a small bowl. Set aside to let the garlic infuse into the oil while you chop the rest of the vegetables.
  2. Once you’ve chopped all the vegies, heat a saucepan or soup pot over medium heat and pour in the garlic and olive oil, then add the celery, onion and carrots and sautee until the onion is soft and translucent. If the vegetables get dry before the onions are soft, add the wine and cook until it has evaporated. Add the flour and stir to coat all the vegetables.
  3. Add the wine (if you haven’t yet added it!), tomatoes, broth, juice, herbs, seasonings and Sriracha and stir well to mix. Bring the mixture to a slow boil, then reduce heat and simmer until the tomatoes break up and you have a nice thick soupy mixture, about 20 – 30 minutes or so. Using an immersion or regular blender, puree the soup. (If you have a blender with a glass carafe, let the soup cool a bit before pureeing it to avoid cracking the glass.)
  4. Pour the soup back into the saucepan and add the half and half and stir to mix, then add the shrimp. Cook over medium low heat just until the shrimp is hot and cooked through. Serve hot, garnished with shredded cheese and fresh herbs if you like, with some flatbread or Naan on the side.

Shrimp & Tomato Bisque

This recipe was shared at Weekend Potluck and Scrumptious Sunday.


Fire-Roasted Salsa Sisters

Fire Roasted Salsa Sisters

I’ve had some really good salsas lately that were fire roasted, so I decided to try making some. The key to making a fire roasted salsa is to roast the vegetables on the grill. The “fire” from the grill gives the salsa a delectable smoky flavor. (Okay, it’s really smoke from the coals that adds the smoky flavor, not fire, but “smoke roasted salsa” just doesn’t have the right ring to it …)

It’s very simple to do, really, but it makes for such a delightful-tasting salsa. So the next time you fire up the grill, I suggest tossing some peppers, tomatoes and onions on there and make up a fire roasted salsa. It’s the perfect healthy, delicious condiment to go with a good quesadilla (like this chipotle black bean quesadilla with avocado cream I made the other day), tacos, eggs, and so much more … I really love a good salsa and always have some homemade salsa in my fridge. This fire roasted salsa has totally won my heart. Strangely, it’s the simpler red one that I love the most, although the hearty Adobo salsa with cilantro and white beans is also lovely in its own chunky way. They each have their own personality, so to speak, just like sisters.

Fire Roasted Salsas: Two Variations

Rojo Fuego Salsa (Red Fire Salsa)

For this salsa, I peeled the tomatoes and peppers after grilling them, resulting in a brilliant fire-red colored salsa.

  • 4 whole hot chili peppers (use more or less depending on how hot your peppers are and how hot you like your salsa. Mine were super-hot and a brilliant red color!)
  • 4 large garden fresh tomatoes
  • 1 onion, cut in fourths (skin on!)
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Directions:

  1. Heat up the grill and put the chili peppers, tomatoes, and onion directly over the heat to roast. Turn as they cook so all sides are roasted. The skins on the peppers should turn black and charred on all sides, the tomatoes should be soft with the skins cracked, and the onion should be lightly brown.
  2. Once they are cooked on all sides, remove from the grill and let the vegies cool off until they are cool enough to touch. Pull the skins off the tomato and peppers and onion and discard the skins.
  3. Put the peeled vegies into a blender or food processor and pulse till everything is very finely chopped and mixed well. If you want a smoother salsa, puree in the blender/food processor to your liking. Store in a covered container in the fridge.

Rojo Fuego Salsa (Red Fire Salsa)

Adobo Fuego Salsa (Adobo Fire Salsa)

When I made this salsa, I didn’t peel the peppers after roasting. The charred bits of skin add a bit of extra smoky flavor to the salsa.

  • 2 large garden tomatoes
  • 2 – 7 jalapeno peppers (adjust the number of peppers for how hot you want your salsa … if you want a very mild salsa, use bell pepper in place of the jalapeno)
  • 1/2 onion
  • 2 -3 cloves garlic
  • 1/4 cup cooked white beans
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon adobo seasoning
  • A few sprigs of cilantro (just the leaves, not the stems)

Directions:

  1. Heat up the grill and put the jalapenos, onion and tomato directly over the heat to roast. Turn as they cook so all sides are roasted. The skins on the peppers should turn black and charred on all sides, the tomatoes should be soft with the skins cracked, and the onion should be lightly brown.
  2. Once they are cooked on all sides, remove from the grill. Do NOT peel the peppers, but do pull the peel off the tomato and onion.
  3. Put the tomato, jalapeno, and onion into a blender or food processor with the rest of the ingredients and pulse till everything is very finely chopped and mixed well. Store in a covered container in the fridge.

Copioso Fuego Salsa (Hearty Fire Salsa)

This recipe was shared at Fit & Fabulous FridaysFriday Food Fight, and Scrumptious Sunday.


Roasted Pepper Tomato Tapenade

Roasted Pepper Tomato Tapenade

My friend gave me a bit of this lovely roasted pepper tomato tapenade she made. Ooh it was delicious! I tried spreading it on toast with melted cheese over top. Yum. I put it on a sandwich. Oh yes! I imagined all the things I could do with this scrumptious spread: it would be lovely in lasagna and all sorts of appetizers (little toasts! yes!) and pizzas and things. I only had a tiny bit that she gave me … but … she had told me what she put in it … tomatillos, sundried & fresh tomatoes, roasted peppers, garlic, olive oil … hmmm …

I still had four of the tomatillos she gave me and a couple fresh garden tomatoes, and oh yes, peppers from mom’s garden … and I even had some of the “sundried” tomatoes (that I dried in the oven), so I thought I would see if I could make a tapenade.

I threw in some fresh herbs and capers for good measure. It’s not exactly like her tapenade, but even if I had had her recipe on hand, I am sure I wouldn’t have followed it precisely. I just can’t properly follow a recipe!

I want to thank my dear friend Denise for giving me her marvelous tapenade … which spurred me to try making it. What a wonderful spread!

Roasted Pepper Tomato Tapenade

Roasted Pepper Tomato Tapenade

The best way to roast the peppers, tomatillos and tomato for this tapenade is on the grill, but you could also roast them in the oven.

  • 1 medium fresh garden tomato
  • 3 roma tomatoes
  • 4 tomatillos
  • 1 large bell pepper
  • 1 hot pepper (I used this big hot red pepper my mom gave me similar to a New Mexico Green Chile, only it’s red … but I think you could use any hot — or not so hot — red pepper)
  • 2 – 4 cloves of garlic, peeled
  • 1/2 cup sundried tomatoes
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 Tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • Several sprigs of rosemary
  • A couple sprigs of tarragon
  • A few fresh basil leaves
  • 1 – 2 tablespoons capers

Directions:

  1. Heat up the grill and set the tomatoes, tomatillos, and peppers directly over the heat. Roast until the skins of the peppers are charred and black (make sure you turn them to roast all sides of the vegies!) and the tomatoes are soft. This should only take a few minutes if your grill is good and hot.
  2. Let the roasted vegies cool for a bit till they are cool enough to handle, then cut out the stem & core of the peppers and tomatoes, leaving the charred skin ON.
  3. Pop all the ingredients except the capers in a handi chopper or food processor and blend until it forms a smooth paste. Pour the tapenade into a bowl and stir in the capers. Add salt if you like … I didn’t think it needed any.
  4. Serve on toast or crackers, use as a sauce for pizza, stir it into the ricotta mixture for your lasagna, use it as a tasty sandwich spread … or just let your imagination run wild.

Roasted Pepper Tomato Tapenade

This recipe was shared at Melt in your Mouth MondayTotally Tasty TuesdayTuesday Talent ShowTasty Tuesday, Show & Share Wednesday, Cast Party WednesdayNewlyweds Recipe Linky, Gala Dinner Party, Fit & Fabulous Fridays and All my Bloggy Friends.


Skinny Peppermint Mocha Slushie

Skinny Peppermint Mocha Slushie

It’s National Coffee Day … I intended to make it to the coffee shop this morning to buy myself a fancy coffee, but then I got busy with other things … When I finally got home this afternoon, I still had a craving for coffee. I opened the fridge and there sat a pot of cold coffee that my son had made. It’s very warm (almost summer-ish!) for late September, so I decided a peppermint mocha slushie would be a fitting way to celebrate the occasion.

If I had thought ahead, I would have frozen some coffee ice cubes. Oh well, it was still delicious.

Skinny Peppermint Mocha Slushie

  • 1/2 cup coffee, brewed double strength, then chilled
  • 1 cup 2% lowfat milk (or fat free half and half would be even creamier … I am sure almond or coconut or soy milk would work fine for this too)
  • 3 teaspoons dark unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 3 Tablespoons Stevia in the raw
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon peppermint extract
  • several fresh mint leaves (if you have them)
  • 1 – 1 1/2 cups crushed ice (or frozen coffee)

Pour everything into a blender and blend till it’s a nice smooth, slushie texture. Add more ice if needed to get it to the desired thickness.

Skinny Peppermint Mocha Slushie

This recipe was shared at Fit & Fabulous FridayShare it Saturday, Scrumptious SundayWeekend Potluck, All my Bloggy Friends and Everyday Mom’s Meals.


Black Grape, Walnut, & Blue Cheese Salad

with Vanilla Ginger Yogurt Dressing

Black Grape, Walnut & Blue Cheese Salad with Vanilla Ginger Yogurt Dressing

I found some gorgeous big, juicy, crunchy black grapes at the grocery store the other day. I am not really much of a grape lover (unless it’s WINE!), but my kids like them, so I decided to bring some black grapes home for the teenagers. But my kids didn’t eat them. I even put some in a little container for my daughter for a before-dance snack, but she didn’t touch them. I kept reminding my son that they were there … no luck.

So it seems like I’m stuck eating the grapes. I tried to think of a way to eat them that I would actually enjoy and the first thing that came to mind is a salad. I thought if I added some crunchy walnuts and blue cheese, that would probably make them palateable. And you know what? It worked! I think I may actually start LIKING grapes …

Black Grape, Walnut & Blue Cheese Salad with Vanilla Ginger Yogurt Dressing

Black Grape, Walnut & Blue Cheese Salad with Vanilla Ginger Yogurt Dressing

Red or green grapes would work nicely in this salad too. Red ones would add more color, too!

  • Mixed greens
  • Black grapes, sliced or halved
  • Walnuts, toasted
  • Blue cheese crumbles
  • Vanilla Ginger Yogurt dressing (recipe below)

Prepare the dressing and set aside. Fill your salad bowl most of the way with mixed greens. Add a generous amount of grapes and toss to mix. Top with some toasted walnuts and blue cheese crumbles and drizzle with the Vanilla Ginger Yogurt Dressing.

Black Grape, Walnut & Blue Cheese Salad with Vanilla Ginger Yogurt Dressing

Vanilla Ginger Yogurt Dressing

  • 1/3 cup vanilla lowfat yogurt
  • 1 – 1 1/2 teaspoons freshly grated ginger root
  • milk or rosewater, to thin

In a small bowl, mix the vanilla yogurt with the grated ginger root. Add milk or rosewater as needed (I used a little of each) to thin out the yogurt to the right consistency to drizzle properly.

This recipe was shared at Fit & Fabulous FridaysScrumptious SundayAll my Bloggy FriendsTuesday Talent Show, Tasty Tuesday, Newlyweds Recipe Linky, Show & Share Wednesday and Lifeologia’s Birthday Party Potluck.


Fairy Tale Tomato, Corn & Bread Salad

with Great Northern Beans & Tahini Yogurt Ranch Dressing

Fairy Tale Eggplant, Tomato  and Bread Salad: something's missing ...

Have you ever made something once and thought “it’s good, but it really ought to be better?” Yeah, that’s what happened here. The first time I made it I used a great big eggplant and I tried cooking it on the grill. Except my coals ran out of heat and the eggplant didn’t get properly cooked and it was this awful rubbery texture. I ended up picking all of the eggplant out of my salad that night and just eating the tomatoes with the corn and bread … not that that was a BAD thing, it was quite delightful that way. I just hated wasting the lovely eggplant …

So: take 2. This time I used a couple of my fairy tale eggplant. If you’ve not seen fairy tale eggplant, they are those tiny purple eggplant that look SO adorable because they are about finger sized or a little bigger, maybe half my hand size?  You never have to peel them or salt them because their skins are perfectly tender and they are never bitter. If you’re inexperienced with eggplant, fairy tale eggplant are a good place to start. This time was definitely better … but something was missing … oh my gosh! the corn! I totally forgot the corn. Okay, so I went and grabbed some corn from the freezer, cooked it up and added it … ah! much better!

Fairy Tale Eggplant, Tomato, Corn and Bread Salad

Fairy Tale Tomato, Corn & Bread Salad

Adapted from Williams Sonoma. For one hearty serving or two small “sides”:

  • 2-4 fairy tale eggplant (about 1/2 cup after roasting/chopping)
  • 1 cup fresh garden tomato, chopped into bite-size chunks
  • 1/2 cup cooked white beans, drained
  • 1/2 cup cooked corn, drained
  • 2 slices of sweet onion, chopped coarsely
  • 1 – 1 1/2 cups toasted whole wheat bread cubes (about 1 inch in size … or smaller … to your liking)
  • A few fresh basil & tarragon leaves
  • A few roasted sunflower seeds
  • Tahini yogurt ranch dressing (recipe below)

Directions:

  1. Slice the fairy tale eggplant lengthwise in 1/2-inch slices. (You can use other eggplant in place of Fairy Tale, but you may need to peel them first.) Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray and set the eggplant on the baking sheet. Spray them with cooking spray and sprinkle with a bit of salt or Red Robin Seasoning. Roast the eggplant in the oven or toaster oven at 400 for about 10 minutes or until they are tender.
  2. While the eggplant are cooking, chop the tomato and onion and heat the white beans and corn up. Also, set the bread cubes on another oiled baking sheet  and let them toast in the oven for the last few minutes of the eggplant roasting or until the cubes are lightly browned and toasted.
  3. Chop the eggplant into bite-size chunks. In your salad bowl, toss the eggplant, tomato, corn and onion till well mixed. Gently fold in the toasted bread cubes, drizzle with tahini ranch dressing and sprinkle with fresh herbs and sunflower seeds.

Fairy Tale Eggplant, Tomato, Corn and Bread Salad

Tahini Yogurt Ranch Dressing

  • 1/2 cup nonfat greek yogurt
  • 1/2 cup lowfat buttermilk
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoons tahini
  • 1 Tablespoon light mayonnaise
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 cup mixed fresh herbs (I used rosemary, basil, thyme, tarragon, oregano, parsley … dill would be wonderful too, but my dill plant has died off)
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon salt (start with 1/4 teaspoon and add more to taste as needed) + freshly ground pepper to taste.

In a handi chopper or food processor, blend all ingredients till the herbs and garlic are well chopped and the mixture is fairly smooth. Taste the dressing and add salt and/or pepper to taste. Store any leftover dressing in a covered container in the fridge.

This recipe was shared at Cast Party WednesdayFriday Favorites and Newlyweds Recipe Linky.


Zucchini Lemon Poppyseed Cupcakes

Zucchini Lemon Poppy Seed Cupcakes

After the Zucchini Lime Cake went over so well and I came home from Mom and Dad’s house with a zucchini the size of a baseball bat (only fatter), I thought I might try a lemon version of that cake … but with poppy seeds because lemon and poppy seeds are just sooo yummy togehter. I also wanted to make it in cupcake form because my daughter really really loves cupcakes.

Anyway, I decided to take a short break from work and whip up some cupcakes right before my girl came home from school. And she just happened to come home that day with this book about cupcakes that she checked out from the library. So it was quite serendipitous that I happened to be baking cupcakes. She really wants to try some of these cupcake recipes out of the book. I am supposed to choose which one we will make. Maybe I need to just buy her that book so we can try them all. The cupcakes finished up just as we were supposed to head out the door for dance, so I grabbed one of the smaller cupcake pans and brought it along and she ate two of them on the way. The rest of the six I fed to my yoga friends, right out of the cupcake pan, at the bar we go to after yoga for a glass of wine.

Most of these cupcakes we ate unfrosted, but I did make a lemon cream cheese frosting to go on some of them. Do you want the recipe for the frosting? It’s just light cream cheese, powdered sugar and lemon juice. You can add lemon zest if you like to intensify the lemon taste.

Zucchini Lemon Poppy Seed Cupcakes

Zucchini Lemon Poppyseed Cupcakes

You could also bake these as a cake in a 13x9x2 inch pan or two rounds or … well, whatever you like. Just add more cooking time for a cake.

  • 2 cups finely shredded zucchini
  • 1/4 cup oil
  • 1/2 cup lowfat or nonfat plain yogurt
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup sugar
  • zest of 1 lemon + juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 – 4 teaspoons poppy seeds (I used two and my daughter and I both agreed they could use more poppy seeds)

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350. In a large mixing bowl, mix the wet ingredients, then stir in the dry ingredients.
  2. Spray your cupcake pans with cooking spray or use cupcake liners and fill each cupcake about 2/3 full.
  3. Bake for 20 – 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  4. Frost them if you like with lemon cream cheese frosting and sprinkle with poppy seeds (and lemon slices if you want to be extra fancy).

Zucchini Lemon Poppy Seed Cupcakes

This recipe was shared at Cast Party WednesdayThursday’s TreasuresFit & Fabulous FridayWeekend Potluck and Foodie Friends Friday, Lunch Box Linky and Share it Saturday.


Tomato Cuke Salad w Tahini Yogurt Ranch Dressing

Tomato Cucumber Salad with Tahini Yogurt Ranch Dressing

Tina at Mom’s Crazy Cooking has a monthly challenge for food bloggers. She asks all of us to make one certain thing on the 7th of each month … the idea is we are searching for the ultimate recipe for that one thing. This month it’s ranch dressing. Ranch I can do! I’ve made plain ranch, garlic ranch, avocado ranch, sundried tomato ranch … they were all really good, but this time I thought I would like to add some tahini (sesame seed paste) to the ranch and then lighten it up by cutting the amount of mayonnaise down. The tahini along with the fresh herbs adds such a complexity of flavor that you won’t even notice the mayo went away. This salad dressing makes an excellent dressing for just about any savory salad or a good dip for veggies or chips.

The tomato cucumber salad uses the fresh garden ingredients that are overflowing in my house right now: tomato and cucumber. I added some sweet onion, toasted walnuts and edam cheese because I thought they would taste wonderful with the fresh tomato & cucumber.

Tomato Cucumber Salad with Tahini Yogurt Ranch Dressing

Tomato Cucumber Salad with Toasted Walnuts, Edam Cheese & Tahini Yogurt Ranch Dressing

For each salad:

  • 1 – 2 tomatoes, that roughly match the diameter of the cucumber, cut into slices
  • 1/2 – 1 cucumber, sliced thin
  • A couple thin slices of sweet onion
  • A few thin slices of edam cheese, cut into small rectangles
  • A couple tablespoons of walnuts, toasted
  • A couple Tablespoons of Tahini Yogurt Ranch Dressing (recipe below)

Directions:

  1. First make the dressing.
  2. Then prep the salad by alternately layering slices of cucumber and tomato on your plate. If it’s a round plate, simply follow the curve of the plate, then tuck the last tomato or cucumber under the starting one.
  3. Top with sweet onion slices, cheese and walnuts. Drizzle each “row” of tomato/cucumber slices with a bit of the dressing. Garnish with fresh parsley leaves.
  4. To eat the salad, take a slice of cucumber, slice of tomato and make sure to get a little onion, cheese, walnuts and dressing on top. It’s a little messy when you’re eating it, but SO worth it!

Tomato Cucumber Salad with Toasted Walnuts, Edam Cheese & Tahini Yogurt Ranch Dressing

Tahini Yogurt Ranch Dressing

  • 1/2 cup nonfat greek yogurt
  • 1/2 cup lowfat buttermilk
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoons tahini
  • 1 Tablespoon light mayonnaise
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 cup mixed fresh herbs (I used rosemary, basil, thyme, tarragon, oregano, parsley … dill would be wonderful too, but my dill plant has died off)
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon salt (start with 1/4 teaspoon and add more to taste as needed) + freshly ground pepper to taste.

In a handi chopper or food processor, blend all ingredients till the herbs and garlic are well chopped and the mixture is fairly smooth. Taste the dressing and add salt and/or pepper to taste. Store any leftover dressing in a covered container in the fridge.

This is a Crazy Cooking Challenge post. Click on the button to see all the other wonderful ranch dressings.

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This recipe was also shared at Manic Monday, Newlyweds Recipe LinkyTotally Tasty TuesdayTalent Show TuesdayThursday’s Treasures, Weekend Potluck and Fit & Fabulous Friday.


Creamy Cheesy Chicken Wild Rice Soup

Creamy Cheesy Chicken Wild Rice Soup

It is September … the weather is starting to cool down. I was really loving the cooler weather … until my allergies kicked in …

Ah but I am lucky! I “inherited” some wild rice from my sister. She said it was too salty and brought it along up to my parents’ place last weekend for us to “fix” for her. Well we didn’t get around to making anything with it, she left and my other sister left and there was still the wild rice in the fridge, so my mom asked if I would take it. Sure, I said. Then I can make soup!

So yes, I made soup. And what’s better than soup in the fall when there’s a little chill in the air and your allergies are in overdrive? Soup is just the thing to make you feel better … it’s so warm and comforting and wonderful.

Creamy Cheesy Chicken Wild Rice Soup

Creamy Cheesy Chicken Wild Rice Soup

This is a very thick and chunky soup. Feel free to adjust the amounts of vegies, rice and meats to your liking … if you want more of the delicious cheesy broth, put in fewer vegies and rice. Like many soups, it is really better the next day. If you want a vegetarian soup, leave out the meat and use vegetable broth in place of the chicken broth

  • 1/2 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup chopped celery (reserve the leaves!)
  • 3/4 cup chopped onion
  • 1/2 cup chopped carrots
  • 1/2 cup chopped zucchini
  • 2 – 3 cloves of garlic, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 2 cups milk (I used 1%)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 cup shredded Edam cheese (I used some Dofino Edam cheese that Dofino sent to me as a “sample”)
  • 1/4 cup Asiago cheese (or other sharp cheese such as parmesan or romano)
  • 1/2 – 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup corn
  • 2 cups cooked wild rice (use the wild Minnesota wild rice if you can find it … it’s SO much better!)
  • 3/4 cup cooked leftover chicken (or more if you want a meatier soup)
  • 1/2 cup corn (frozen, thawed or pre-cooked fresh)
  • 1 teaspoon Red Robin Seasoning or your favorite seasoned salt
  • The leaves from a few sprigs of fresh oregano and parsley
  • Salt & freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • For garnish: shredded cheese and oregano or parsley leaves

Directions:

  1. Heat a saucepan or your soup pot over medium heat and add the olive oil and swirl it around.
  2. Pour the celery, onions, carrots, zucchini and garlic into the pot. Over medium-high heat, sautee the vegies until the onions are soft and translucent and the zucchini is tender.
  3. Add the flour to the pan and stir, coating all your little vegetables and garlic bits in flour. Do this quickly before the flour starts to brown.
  4. Add the milk and bay leaf and cook over medium heat, stirring often, for about 5 – 10 minutes or so or until the mixture thickens.
  5. Add the shredded cheeses and cook for a few minutes longer until the cheese melts, then stir in the broth, rice, chicken, corn, and lower the heat to a simmer (on medium low to low) and cook for 15 – 20 minutes to let the flavors meld. Stir in the reserved celery leaves, oregano, parsley and Red Robin Seasoning. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Serve hot, garnished with a bit more shredded edam cheese and a few fresh oregano or parsley leaves. Store leftovers in a covered container in the fridge.

Creamy Cheesy Chicken Wild Rice Soup

This recipe was shared at Share it Saturday, Manic Monday, Totally Tasty Tuesday and Talent Show Tuesday.


Cantaloupe Walnut Salad w Maple Mint Yogurt Dressing

Cantaloupe & Toasted Walnut Salad with Maple Mint Yogurt Dressing

I went into the kitchen to get a cup of chai this morning. It was nearing lunchtime and when I reached into the fridge to grab the milk, the cantaloupe reached out to me. I came out of the kitchen with this salad. I got so caught up in the salad that I had to go back into the kitchen for the tea.

You must try this salad. It is pure simplicity to make, but tastes like heaven, especially if you can find yourself a really good juicy sweet cantaloupe. The sweet maple syrup with the mint and the tangy yogurt perfectly balance the juicy muskmelon and the crunch of the nuts. The mixed greens just round it all out, adding crunch, color, and variety.

Not to mention your body will love you for it. Every ingredient in this simple salad pitches in to help you feel energized and alive.

Cantaloupe & Toasted Walnut Salad with Maple Mint Yogurt Dressing

Cantaloupe & Toasted Walnut Salad with Maple Mint Yogurt Dressing

Inspired by my Maple Mint Cantaloupe Lassi

  • Mixed greens
  • Fresh cantaloupe, cut into chunks
  • Toasted Walnuts
  • Maple Mint Yogurt Dressing (recipe below)

Mix up the dresssing. Fill your bowl most of the way with greens. Add a generous pile of cantaloupe chunks. Sprinkle with a couple tablespoons of toasted walnuts. Drizzle with the Maple Mint Yogurt dressing to your heart’s content. Garnish with fresh mint leaves or edible flowers if you like. Revel in the wonderful taste of this ultra simple salad.

Cantaloupe & Toasted Walnut Salad with Maple Mint Yogurt Dressing

Maple Mint Yogurt Dressing

  • 1/4  cup plain nonfat yogurt
  • 1 Tablespoon maple syrup
  • About 1 Tablespoon fresh mint leaves, chopped fine

In a small bowl, stir together all ingredients. Drizzle generously on the salad. Store any remaining dressing in a covered container in the fridge.

This recipe was shared at Newlyweds Recipe LinkyTastetastic Thursday, Fit & Fabulous Friday and Share it Saturday.


Zucchini Lime Cake with Pistachios

Zucchini Lime Cake with Pistachios

The great thing about being a food blogger is sometimes you get to have cake for breakfast. Which is a very good thing when you stayed up too late baking zucchini cakes to take along to your parents’ house for the 50th wedding anniversary party and didn’t have dinner and woke up STARVING.

I just wanted to use up the last of my zucchini before I visit my parents’ garden again. It is always overflowing with good vegetables this time of year. Besides, we are going to have lots of extra mouths to feed this weekend and it will be good to have something relatively healthy and totally delicious to snack on. The last big zucchini was big enough to make two cakes, so I made a chocolate one and this beautiful zucchini lime cake that my sweet friend Dor from La Difference Catering made when her house was overflowing with courgettes. She calls them courgettes. I think that’s a marvelously elegant word! Still I refer to them as zucchini. That’s just what we call those big green squash things here in the midwest US.

By the way, today we are on the letter Z in the A-Z Health Challenge on facebook! We made it! I have to thank all the wonderful bloggers who contributed their recipes, tips and knowledge along the way. That’s what made it so very fun. I will do a wrapup post with all the letters and their health benefits once this anniversary party is over.

For today, Z is for Zucchini! Let’s eat cake!

Zucchini Lime Cake with Pistachios

Zucchini Lime Cake with Pistachios

Slightly adapted from La Difference Catering. I made just a small amount of frosting because I like it light on the frosting, so if you want a heavily frosted cake, you will need to make extra frosting.

  • 1/2 cup golden raisins
  • 2 Tablespoons golden rum
  • 1 3/4 cup finely shredded zucchini
  • 1/4 cup oil
  • 1/2 cup lowfat or nonfat plain yogurt
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Frosting:

  • 3/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 oz. light cream cheese
  • zest of 1 lime
  • juice of 1/2 lime
  • Topping: a few Tablespoons of chopped roasted pistachios

Directions:

  1. Set the raisins in the small bowl, pour the rum over and let them soak for a good while (an hour or so) until they plump up good.
  2. Mix the wet ingredients.
  3. Add the dry ingredients and stir it all together. Stir in the raisins and rum.
  4. Spray a 9×13 inch pan with cooking spray, pour in the batter and bake for 30-40 minutes at 350 or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  5. Mix up the powdered sugar with the cream cheese till smooth, then add the lime zest and juice. Once the cake is cool, frost it. Just before serving, sprinkle with a few tablespoons of chopped pistachios.

Zucchini Lime Cake with Pistachios

This recipe was shared at Weekend PotluckTalent Show TuesdayTrick or Treat Tuesday1 Month of Fun, Cast Party Wednesday, and Thursday’s Treasures.


Grilled Chicken Stuffed with Eggplant Tarragon Cream

and a Mushroom Cherry Tomato Quinoa Pilaf

Grilled Chicken Stuffed with Eggplant Tarragon Cream

Ever since I made Baba Ghanoush, I’ve been wondering: what else could you do with eggplant puree? And then I picked up these HUGE chicken breasts at the store and was marinading them in buttermilk for my daughter and I for dinner … and it occurred to me that these babies would be really good stuffed with something wonderful and creamy. Eggplant puree, with cream cheese! and fresh tarragon and basil! Ah yes! How wonderful would THAT be?

Um yeah, completely wonderful … especially when you serve it over a pilaf of nutty quinoa with garlicky sauteed mushrooms and fresh garden cherry tomatoes.

Grilled Chicken Stuffed with Eggplant Tarragon Cream

Grilled Chicken Stuffed with Eggplant Tarragon Cream

  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • Marinade: buttermilk + seasonings

Eggplant Tarragon Cream Filling:

  • 3/4 cup chopped roasted (or grilled) eggplant
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 1 oz light cream cheese
  • About 1 Tablespoon fresh chopped mixed basil & tarragon leaves

Directions:

  1. Put the chicken breasts in a bowl and add enough buttermilk to cover them completely. Add seasonings as you like: I added a couple teaspoons of Mrs. Dash and a couple teaspoons of a basic rub seasoning I like to use. Let the chicken marinade in the buttermilk for at least an hour … I left mine in there overnight.
  2. To cook the eggplant, I took a couple of the little purple tender eggplant from mom’s garden, sliced them lengthwise, sprayed them with cooking spray and set on a baking sheet that I’d sprayed with cooking spray. (If you’re using a larger eggplant, you probably want to peel it and slice into 1/4 inch slices.) Bake at 400 for about 10 minutes or until the eggplant is soft and tender. Chop the eggplant roughly and toss them into a handi chopper with a couple cloves of garlic, the cream cheese and some fresh tarragon and basil leaves. Pulse to mix it all well and make a good creamy filling.
  3. Now, take the chicken breasts and slice into them horizontally with a small knife, not cutting all the way through so you make a little pocket in each chicken breast. Fill each pocket with half the filling, then close the open end with a toothpick.
  4. Heat up your grill and sear both sides of the chicken breasts on the hot part of the grill, then move them to the cooler part of the grill to cook until they are cooked through.
  5. Serve over a bed of the mushroom cherry tomato quinoa pilaf (recipe below), garnished with a few fresh basil or tarragon leaves.

Grilled Chicken Stuffed with Eggplant Tarragon Cream

Mushroom Cherry Tomato Quinoa Pilaf

  • 1/2 – 3/4 cup of mushrooms sauteed with red wine, garlic, and bruschetta seasoning (see my Chardonnay Mushrooms recipe for instructions)
  • 2 cups cooked quinoa
  • 1/2 cup cherry tomatoes
  • Roasted sunflower seeds

Sautee the mushrooms with a couple cloves of garlic and a splash of red wine like I did with my Chardonnay Mushrooms. Add the hot, cooked quinoa, then the cherry tomatoes and stir gently to mix. Cook for just a few minutes to let the cherry tomatoes heat up. Serve the pilaf sprinkled with a couple tablespoons of sunflower seeds for a nice salty crunch.

This recipe was shared at Cast Party Wednesday, Weekend Potluck1 Month of Fun and Talent Show Tuesday.


Cantaloupe Lassi with Vanilla

Cantaloupe Lassi with Vanilla

My dad loves cantaloupe. He loves it so much that one time he even built a “cantaloupe accelerator” so that his cantaloupe plants would start producing fruit earlier in the season. He doesn’t do the “accelerator” anymore, but he still grows cantaloupe every year, and he has perfected the art of growing them to the point where eating cantaloupe from dad’s garden is almost a spiritual experience. It is the sweetest, most flavorful cantaloupe you have ever tasted …

So we went to visit my parents the other weekend and his cantaloupe are ripe (but he’s having trouble with the gophers eating them … can you blame them for wanting a bite?) He mentioned to me that he and mom have been blending up the cantaloupe with some yogurt and drinking it just like that. I said to him “you mean like a lassi?” … well, he didn’t know it was called a lassi; he just knew he liked blending his cantaloupe with yogurt.

For those of you who don’t know, a Lassi is a drink made with yogurt. It is common in India and Pakastan. I was most familiar with the Mango Lassi which is a blended mango drink with yogurt, but I did a little research and discovered there are many ways to make a lassi: some are spiced and savory, some are fruity and sweet, but all of them are made with yogurt.

Anyway, my dad gave me some cantaloupe to bring home, so I had to try making his Cantaloupe Lassi. I added vanilla because I just love vanilla so much. I also froze some of the cantaloupe chunks to make it extra cold and smooth, almost like a milkshake. My dad is right (as usual!) … a Cantaloupe Lassi is truly a wonderful thing. It’s healthy, it’s cold, it’s quick, it’s easy, but most importantly: it’s delicious!

Cantaloupe Lassi with Vanilla

Cantaloupe Lassi with Vanilla

  • 1/2 cup fresh cantaloupe chunks
  • 1/2 cup frozen cantaloupe chunks
  • 1/2 cup plain or vanilla yogurt … I have tried both plain (with no sweetener) and vanilla yogurt … I think I like the vanilla better, but they were both really good!
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Put all the ingredients in a blender and blend till smooth. Pour and drink!

Here’s another delicious variation …

Maple Mint Cantaloupe Lassi

  • 1/2 cup fresh cantaloupe chunks
  • 1/2 cup frozen cantaloupe chunks
  • 1/2 cup plain yogurt
  • 2 Tablespoons maple syrup
  • Several fresh mint leaves

Put all the ingredients in a blender and blend till smooth. Pour and drink!

Cantaloupe Lassi with Vanilla

This recipe was shared at Manic Monday, Melt in your Mouth MondayTotally Tasty Tuesday, 1 Month of Fun and Cast Party Wednesday.


Sesame Noodles with Cucumber

Sesame Noodles with Cucumber

Brianne at Cupcakes & Kale Chips is a great source of food inspiration for me. When she posted a recipe for sesame noodles, I wanted them right away … it was a simple, quick recipe, so I went into the kitchen and made them straight away. I have veggies galore in my kitchen right now, so I had to throw some of those in. So I sliced up some cucumber in thin noodle-like strips and tossed in some shredded carrot and sweet onion.

I also replaced the peanut butter in the recipe with PB2 … it’s a powdered form of peanut butter that has most of the oil removed. And I left out some of the oil to cut down the amount of fat. It was still quite delicious. I looove this sauce!

You could add in cooked chicken or shrimp or scallops to dress this dish up, use other vegetables or even replace the noodles with zucchini noodles (have you seen that? zucchini cut up in long thin strips like noodles? I want to try that one of these days!) Anyway, I used brown rice Pad Thai noodles and that worked wonderfully. My cucumber strips weren’t quite straight or thin enough to really act like noodles, but they added a refreshing crunch to the dish.

Sesame Noodles with Cucumber

Sesame Noodles with Cucumber

Adapted from Cupcakes & Kale Chips (who got the recipe from The Mom 100 Cookbook by Katie Workman)

There is enough sauce to cover about twice this much noodles/vegies, so go ahead and make more if you have more mouths to feed. I was just cooking for me … I’m lucky, though. Making this amount means I have some of that scrumptious sauce left for another day.

Sauce:

  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • A 2-inch hunk of ginger root, peeled
  • 2 Tablespoons white or rice vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons Sriracha or other hot pepper sauce (use more or less to taste)
  • 2 Tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 – 2 Tablespoons dark sesame oil (I used 1 Tablespoon, but I think it could use a little more)
  • 4 Tablespoons PB2
  • 3 Tablespoons water

Noodles and vegies:

  • 4 – oz. of noodles (I used brown rice pad thai noodles, but any long skinny noodle will work …)
  • 1/2 cup of cucumber, cut in long thin strips like the noodles
  • 1/4 cup of shredded carrots
  • 1/4 cup thinly sliced onion
  • 1/4 cup thinly sliced bell pepper
  • Garnish: fresh cilantro, chopped peanuts, sesame seeds (or chia seeds if you can’t find your sesame seeds … like me)

Directions:

  1. Make the sesame sauce: whir all of the sauce ingredients in a handi chopper, food processor or a blender until smooth. Set the sauce aside.
  2. Prepare the noodles according to the package directions, reserving 1/2 cup of the noodle cooking water (or 1 cup if you are making a full batch), then drain the noodles.
  3. Add the reserved cooking water to half of the sesame sauce and blend. Place the warm drained noodles in a large bowl and toss them with the sauce and vegies until everything is coated.
  4. I skipped this step because I was starving but the recipe says to let the noodles cool to room temperature because they will absorb more sauce as they sit. This might be true … I have yet to try it.
  5. Garnish with cilantro leaves and peanuts or sesame seeds and serve. Try not to inhale them like I did.

Sesame Noodles with Cucumber

This recipe was shared at: Foodie Friends FridayFit & Fabulous Fridays, Serendipity & Spice, Weekend Potluck, Summer Salad Sundays, Recipe of the Week and Manic Monday.


Chicken & Blueberry Salad

with Goat Cheese, Sweet Onions, Toasted Almonds and a Cherry Malbec Vinaigrette

Blueberry Chicken Salad with Goat Cheese, Almonds & Cherry Malbec Vinaigrette

I went to the kitchen the other day to find myself some lunch … started pulling things out of the fridge and this is what came of it. I made my daughter a pretty salad with just lettuce and strawberries too while I was at it. I cooked her up a piece of salmon too. I thought about putting some salmon on my salad, but decided that chicken would go better with the blueberries.

For the dressing, I decided on my Cherry Malbec Vinaigrette … I think you could probably make the dressing with blueberries in place of the cherries and it would go even better with this particular salad, but the cherry taste was quite nice on there too.

Blueberry Chicken Salad with Goat Cheese, Almonds & Cherry Malbec Vinaigrette

Chicken & Blueberry Salad with Goat Cheese, Sweet Onions & Toasted Almonds

  • 1 hot, cooked chicken patty (or boneless chicken breast if you prefer) for each serving
  • Mixed greens
  • Fresh blueberries
  • Sweet onions, sliced thin
  • Almonds, lightly toasted
  • Goat cheese crumbles
  • Cherry Malbec Vinaigrette Salad Dressing (recipe below)
  • Violets or other edible flowers for garnish (optional)

Cook up your chicken. While that’s cooking, fill a salad bowl most of the way with greens. Top with as many blueberries as you desire, then sprinkle with sweet onions, almonds, and crumbles of goat cheese. Chop up and add the chicken, drizzle with the dressing, and  garnish with flowers just before serving.

Chicken & Blueberry Salad with Goat Cheese, Almonds & Cherry Malbec Vinaigrette

Cherry Malbec Vinaigrette

This is the dressing I used in my Cherry Beef Salad. You can make it with blueberries in place of the cherries if you prefer.

  • 10 sweet cherries, pitted
  • 1/4 cup Malbec (or other red wine)
  • 2 Tablespoons cherry (or berry) syrup
  • 2 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon finely chopped fresh rosemary
  • a few fresh basil leaves
  • a few sprigs of fresh thyme
  • a few sprigs of fresh dill
  • 1/4 teaspoon Sriracha
  • 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon chia seeds (optional, but they add nutritional value and help thicken the dressing)

In a handi chopper, blender or food process, blend up all the ingredients well till the cherries and garlic are fully pureed. Store in a covered bottle in the fridge.

This recipe was shared at Scrumptious Sundays, Summer Salad Sundays, Manic Monday and Made it by Monday.


Blueberry Gooseberry Ginger Yogurt Cheesecake

Lowfat Blueberry Gooseberry Ginger Yogurt Cheesecake

It’s hard to choose, but I think this is my favorite of all the recipes I made for my party last Saturday night. It’s a rich, decadent, creamy no-bake blueberry gooseberry mini-cheesecake made with nonfat greek yogurt and light cream cheese. The graham cracker crust is made with candied ginger, egg white and just a bit of butter.

Well, okay, you do bake the crust, but the creamy ginger yogurt filling is not baked. The gooseberry sauce is cooked on the stove and it’s quite simple to make. Then you mound fresh, sweet blueberries over top.

This cheesecake is the most Bohemian, Ally-style cheesecake I have ever made. If you have ever run across my friend Ally from Ally’s Kitchen, you know exactly what I mean when I say that. She has this bold style of cooking, food styling, and photography that transcends amazing. So I’m dedicating this recipe to my dear friend Ally.

Each part of this recipe is quite simple, so I suggest making this in steps. I made the crust and the gooseberry sauce one evening, and set the yogurt to drain overnight, then mixed up the filling in the morning. This was done days before the party, so at party time, I just pulled it out, put on the sauce and the berries, and cut little slices for the friends who wanted to try the cheesecake. Seriously, serve this in little slices. It’s really rich.

Lowfat Blueberry Gooseberry Ginger Yogurt Cheesecake

Blueberry Gooseberry Ginger Yogurt Cheesecake

a.k.a. Bohemian Blue Goose Cheesecake

Adapted from Food & Wine. Makes a 7-inch cheesecake with a pretty thick crust. If you want a larger cheesecake, double the yogurt filling recipe. There will be enough of the crust (although the crust will be thinner) and plenty of gooseberry sauce to make a normal-size cheesecake.

Crust:

  • 10 whole graham crackers, broken into pieces, or 1 1/2 cups plus 2 1/2 tablespoons of crumbs
  • 1/4 cup crystallized ginger, finely chopped (if you want to make your own, here’s a recipe)
  • 1 tablespoon ginger sugar (the sugar that falls from the ginger pieces when you make candied ginger … you can substitute white sugar)
  • Pinch of salt
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 large egg white

Filling:

  • 1 cup greek yogurt
  • 4 oz. light cream cheese
  • 3 Tablespoons honey
  • 2 teaspoons freshly grated  ginger
  • Juice and zest from 1/2 of a lemon

Gooseberry sauce: (makes more sauce than you’ll need for the cheesecake)

  • 1 3/4 – 2 cups of gooseberries, cleaned (snip off the tough stems of the berries)
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon chia seeds

Topping:

  • Fresh blueberries
  • Mint leaves, for garnish (if desired)

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°. Spray a 7 inch springform pan with a removable bottom with cooking spray.
  2. In a handi chopper or food processor, process the graham crackers with the candied ginger, sugar and salt until finely ground. Add the butter and egg white and blend until the crumbs are evenly coated. Press the crumbs evenly over the bottom and up the sides of the pan. Bake for about 20 minutes, until the crust is light brown. Set the crust aside to cool.
  3. While the crust is baking, set the gooseberries and brown sugar in a saucepan and cook over medium heat for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally and smashing a few of the gooseberries with a spoon to release the flavor. Remove from heat and stir in the chia seeds (they will thicken the sauce). (If you don’t have chia seeds, you can use cornstarch or tapioca to thicken the gooseberry sauce–chia seeds are just a very quick, healthy way to thicken things.)
  4. Now for the filling! First you will make a “cheese” out of the greek yogurt. Take a coffee filter and place it in a strainer or funnel over a tall mug or something to catch the juices. Put the yogurt in the coffee filter and set it in the fridge to let it strain overnight.
  5. In the morning, mix the yogurt cheese with the cream cheese, honey, ginger and lemon zest & juice till smooth and well mixed. You might need to use a blender to get it smooth. (I did!) Pour the filling into the crust and smooth it out to cover the crust. Cover and store in the fridge till serving time.
  6. Just before serving, spread the cheesecake with a layer of the gooseberry sauce, then add a tumble of blueberries (as many as you like). Serve in small slices because the taste is really rich, and garnish with a mint leaf or two, if you so desire.

Lowfat Bluberry Gooseberry Ginger Yogurt Cheesecake

This recipe was shared at Everyday Mom’s MealsMy Sweet PartyScrumptious Sunday, Crazy Sweet TuesdayHearth & Soul Bloghop, Totally Tasty Tuesdays, and Cast Party Wednesday.


#Tomatolove: Sundried Tomato Ranch Dressing

Sundried Tomato Ranch Salad Dressing

After making Melissa’s Sundried Tomato Vinaigrette, I still had a few sundried tomatoes left and I thought perhaps I should try throwing them in some ranch dressing too? Yep, it works. Tastes mighty fine. The sundried tomatoes do make it thicker, so if you want a drizzle for your salad, you’ll need to thin it out a bit.

Sundried Tomato Buttermilk Ranch Salad Dressing (or Dip)

  • 1/3 c. light mayonnaise
  • 2/3 to 1 c. buttermilk
  • 1/4 c. nonfat greek yogurt
  • 3 heaping tablespoons chopped sundried tomatoes
  • 2-3 big fresh cloves of garlic
  • A handful of fresh basil leaves
  • ½ teaspoon sugar
  • Several fresh parsley leaves or ½ teaspoon dried parsley
  • A few fresh dill twigs or ½ teaspoon dried dill weed
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • A sprig of fresh rosemary leaves
  • 2 green onions (tops only)

Whir all the ingredients in a handy chopper or food processor until smooth. Adjust seasonings to taste. Add more buttermilk as needed to get the dressing to the desired consistency. Mine was pretty thick, but I was using it for a pasta salad so that was just perfect.

Use for pasta or potato salad, on green salads or as a dip with vegies. Store in a covered container in the fridge.

Sundried Tomato Ranch Dressing (or Dip)

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This recipe was also shared at Summer Salad SundayScrumptious Sundays, Weekend PotluckManic MondayTip Junkie, Cast Party Wednesday and EveryDay Mom’s Meals


4th of July Fruit Kebabs with Dipping Sauces

Fourth of July Red White & Blue Fruit Kebabs with dipping sauces

After the rainbow fruit kebabs we made for my daughter’s birthday, my daughter and I thought it would be fun to do a 4th of July version with red, white and blue. We were having trouble figuring out what to use for the white, though. Are there white fruits? I suppose you could use apples or bananas … at the time, we couldn’t think of any … so we ended up going with angel food cake for the white … you could also use marshmallows.

Fourth of July Red White & Blue Fruit Kebabs with dipping sauces

But then if you have cake, you want a dipping sauce, right? Something wonderful to dip it in or to drizzle over it to make it more dessert-like.

Three options occurred to me:

  1. Whipped cream: so you have a berry shortcake on a stick
  2. Strawberry (or blueberry) yogurt: a healthier option for dipping. You could even mix your own using plain yogurt and  crushed strawberries and honey
  3. Honey Ginger Lime Yogurt Sauce: oh yeah! the take-it-over-the-top, make-it-flippin-amazing option (this was my favorite … can you tell? The way the sauce soaks into the cake and contrasts with the fruit is just oh so wonderful.)

I am guessing you probably don’t need a recipe for #1 and #2, so I’ll just give you the recipe for #3. These 4th of July kebabs are a great project to do with kids … it’s a good pattern recognition exercise for little ones.

Fourth of July Red White & Blue Fruit Kebabs with dipping sauces

Red, White & Blue Fruit Kebabs with Honey Ginger Lime Yogurt Sauce

The sauce is, incidentally, the very same dressing I used on my Red, White & Blueberry Salad.

  • Blueberries
  • Angel Food Cake, cut into squares
  • Strawberries, washed and cut in half
  • Wooden skewer sticks

for the dipping sauce:

  • 1/2 cup fat-free plain yogurt
  • 4 teaspoons of honey
  • 1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
  • Juice of 1/2 lime

In a small bowl, whisk all of the sauce ingredients together until they are well mixed. Keep any leftover sauce in a covered container in the fridge.

Skewer the fruit and cake on the wooden skewers to make a red, white and blue pattern. My daughter says the way to do it is to start with blueberries, then cake, then a strawberry so that you end up with a strawberry on top.

Serve with dipping sauces of your choice.

Fourth of July Fruit Kebabs with a Honey Lime Ginger Yogurt Sauce

This recipe was shared at Totally Tasty TuesdaysTrick or Treat Tuesdays, and Thursday’s Treasures.


Red, White, & Blueberry Salad

with Goat Cheese, Pinons, and a Honey Ginger Lime Yogurt Dressing

Red, White & Blueberry Salad with Goat Cheese & Toasted Pinons

My foodie friend Justine over at Full Belly Sisters has been making red, white and blue foods like crazy lately … which got me thinking … I need to make a red, white and blue salad! It’s been in my head for a week, waiting to come to life. I’m so glad I finally took time to make it today (even though my son was upset with me for making something for myself since we had agreed to go out for lunch today … hey, it’s just a salad!)

Besides being just the right colors for the 4th of July, it’s got just the right mix of sweet, creamy, tangy and crunchy to make a super-delicious salad. Tangy goat cheese pairs so well with berries, sweet onions kick up the flavor just slightly, the pinons add a soft crunch and a slight sweet nutty flavor, and the lime and ginger yogurt dressing takes it over the top.

Red, White & Blueberry Salad with Goat Cheese and Toasted Pinons

And you know what else? Before eating this salad, I felt tired and run down. But AFTER eating this delectable salad, my body felt so refreshed, revived, ready to go! Besides, all those gorgeous colors are a feast for the eyes …

Red, White & Blueberry Salad

with Goat Cheese, Pinons, and a Honey Ginger Lime Yogurt Dressing

  • Mixed Greens
  • Fresh Strawberries, washed and sliced
  • Fresh Sweet Blueberries, washed
  • Sweet onion, sliced  and roughly chopped
  • Pinon nuts and/or almond slices, lightly toasted
  • Goat cheese crumbles
  • Honey Ginger Lime Yogurt Salad Dressing (recipe below0
Fill the bowl most of the way full of mixed greens. Arrange/tuck a bunch of sliced strawberries and fresh whole blueberries amongst the greens, then sprinkle on the nuts and crumbles of goat cheese . Drizzle with the dressing and serve.

Red, White & Blueberry Salad with Goat Cheese and Toasted Pinons

Honey Ginger Lime Yogurt Salad Dressing

  • 1/2 cup fat-free plain yogurt
  • 4 teaspoons of honey
  • 1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
  • Juice of 1/2 lime

In a small bowl, whisk all of the ingredients together until they are well mixed. Keep any leftover dressing in a covered container in the fridge.

Red, White, and Blueberry Salad with Goat Cheese & Toasted Pinons

By the way, Justine at Full Belly Sisters made a Red, White & Blue Salad too! Go check out her version.

This recipe was shared at Patriotic Potluck, Summer Salad SundaysScrumptious SundaysManic Mondays and Trick or Treat Tuesdays.


Rhubarb Salad with Gorgonzola & Goat Cheese

Rhubarb, Walnut, Goat Cheese & Gorgonzola Salad

Do you ever get bored with your ingredients? I asked my mom for some rhubarb because I wanted to make some rhubarb crisp and try chia seeds in place of the tapioca, but then that just didn’t sound good. I wanted to try something DIFFERENT with my rhubarb.

So the idea struck me … could you put rhubarb in a salad? Why not? I did a quick search on google and found a few different recipes for rhubarb salad. They all involved roasting the rhubarb in sugar or honey. Honey sounded better to me than sugar. I added some sweet onions and gorgonzola to the recipe to kick it up a bit, and a few chrysanthemum leaves to the greens to add that peppery taste and topped it off with a honey lemon ginger vinaigrette.

Rhubarb, Walnut, Goat Cheese & Gorgonzola Salad

Rhubarb Salad with Gorgonzola & Goat Cheese

Adapted from yumsugar. This amount of rhubarb is about right for a big one-person salad or two side salads.

  • Chopped walnuts
  • 1 cup rhubarb, washed and cut into chunks
  • 1 Tablespoon honey
  • Mixed greens (throw in a few chrysanthemum greens if you happen to have an organic chrysanthemum plant about)
  • Sweet onion, sliced and quartered
  • Gorgonzola & goat cheese crumbles
  • Honey Lemon Ginger Vinaigrette (recipe below)

Spray a small baking sheet with cooking spray. Set the walnuts on the tray and toast in the oven on the bottom rack at 400 for about 5 minutes … or until they are fragrant and slightly browned. Watch them carefully so they don’t burn. Remove the walnuts from the baking sheet.

Mix the rhubarb with the honey and place it on the baking sheet. Bake at 450 on the top rack for about 5 minutes or until the rhubarb is just beginning to soften. Let the rhubarb sit for a few minutes in the fridge to cool.

Once the rhubarb has cooled a bit, fill your bowl most of the way with mixed greens, toss in the sweet onion and rhubarb, sprinkle with the cheeses and toasted walnuts and drizzle with the vinaigrette.

Rhubarb, Walnut, Goat Cheese & Gorgonzola Salad

Honey Lemon Ginger White Wine Vinaigrette

  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • 1/4 cup rice vinegar
  • Juice of 1/4 of a lemon
  • 2 Tablespoons honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
  • 2 Tablespoons spicy brown mustard
  • 2 cloves of garlic, peeled and chopped fine
  • 2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

Mix everything except the olive oil together in a bowl till well mixed. While whisking, slowly pour the olive oil into the dressing in a small stream. Keep whisking until the olive oil is well mixed into the dressing. Refrigerate any leftover dressing in an airtight container. Before use, take it out of the fridge for a few minutes to let the olive oil “melt” again (it will solidify in the fridge) and shake well.

This recipe was shared at Newlyweds Recipe LinkyFit & Fabulous Fridays and Summer Salad Sundays.


Walnut Date Nasturtium Salad

with Gorgonzola cheese, sweet onions and a Honey Lemon Ginger White Wine Vinaigrette

Walnut Date Nasturtium Salad with Sweet Onions and Gorgonzola Cheese

I am totally enthralled with edible flowers … so I planted some nasturtiums this year. I soaked the seeds overnight, planted them, watered them, waited. And waited. Watered some more. Waited. Weeks passed and none of them grew. I was so disappointed … but I took the pots and planted other things.

And then one day I noticed something growing in with my celery plant. It didn’t look like a weed to me so I let it grow … and grow … and it produced a flower. A brilliant red flower.  There was a little tickle of recognition in the back of my mind, but I had never seen a red nasturtium before so I couldn’t quite figure out what this gorgeous flower was. I took a picture of it and posted it on facebook and asked my friends what it was. I was almost embarrassed when my friends pointed out to me that it was a nasturtium. Silly me! So one of my little seedlings DID grow … she just took her time doing it.

My Surprise Nasturtium

My daughter asked if we were going to eat it, but I just couldn’t bring myself to eat this lone pretty flower. I let it stay there on the plant. However, my sweet little plant heard my silent wish and made me more flowers. A bunch of them. Enough for a salad. I didn’t act quick enough and the heat killed several of them off, but still I collected enough for one salad. Maybe she’ll make me some more again? I’ll be happy either way. I’m so glad this little plant graced my life with her beauty. Her flowers tasted pretty good too. Slightly peppery, but mildly flavored. The leaves are little more peppery. I only used a few leaves; my sweet plant is just a little one and I want to let her grow. The flowers turned more orange over time.

Walnut Date Nasturtium Salad with Gorgonzola Cheese and Sweet Onions

Walnut Date Nasturtium Salad

  • Mixed greens
  • Toasted walnuts
  • Pitted Dates, sliced
  • Crumbles of Gorgonzola cheese
  • Sweet onion, sliced thin and quartered
  • Several nasturtiums (and toss in a few of the leaves too … why not!)
Fill your salad bowl 3/4 full of greens. Toss on some walnuts, sliced dates, crumbles of gorgonzola, and sliced onion. Tuck in Nasturtium flowers (the whole flower or just the petals, either way … I kept one whole and tossed the petals from the not-as-pretty flowers in there). Drizzle with the honey lemon vinaigrette (recipe below) and serve.
Walnut Date Nasturtium Salad with Honey Lemon Ginger Vinaigrette

Honey Lemon Ginger White Wine Vinaigrette

  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • 1/4 cup rice vinegar
  • Juice of 1/4 of a lemon
  • 2 Tablespoons honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
  • 2 Tablespoons spicy brown mustard
  • 2 cloves of garlic, peeled and chopped fine
  • 2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

Mix everything except the olive oil together in a bowl till well mixed. While whisking, slowly pour the olive oil into the dressing in a small stream. Keep whisking until the olive oil is well mixed into the dressing. Refrigerate any leftover dressing in an airtight container. Before use, take it out of the fridge for a few minutes to let the olive oil “melt” again (it will solidify in the fridge) and shake well.

This recipe was shared at Weekend PotluckManic MondaysKatherine Martinelli’s Nut Bloghop and Melt in your Mouth Mondays.


Cinnamon Chocolate Chia Pudding

Cinnamon Chocolate Chia Pudding

So I have these chia seeds that I won from Lauren at Nutri-Savvy and Ruth’s Foods and I’ve heard they make a nice pudding … tapioca-like. Well, of course I had to try a chocolate version. I added a little cinnamon because I love the taste of cinnamon and chocolate together: the taste combination reminds me of Mexican hot chocolate.

The chia pudding does have a tapioca-like texture, except there is a slight crunch from the seeds. And it’s much easier to make than tapioca. I think I still prefer the texture of tapioca, but this is a nice, simple, and very healthy pudding. I thought it was really interesting how the little chia seeds seemed to absorb most of the chocolate. It’s so healthy you could eat it for breakfast and even pat yourself on the back for taking good care of your health. The chia seeds give it fiber, protein, and healthy omega-3 fatty acids (which are very good for your heart).

Cinnamon Chocolate Chia Pudding

Adapted from Oh She Glows

  • 1/4 cup + 2 Tablespoons chia seeds
  • 1/2 cup fat free half & half + 3/4 cup milk (or use 1 1/4 cups milk of your choice)
  • 1 Tablespoon honey (or more to taste)
  • 2 Tablespoons dark cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon real vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 very ripe banana, mashed (optional, but hey if you have a ripe banana sitting there that needs to be used, toss it in. I always seem to have some over-ripe bananas about that need to be used up)

In a bowl, whisk together all of the ingredients until the clumps are gone. Place in fridge for 1-2 hours (or overnight), until it’s thick. Add milk if you want the pudding a little thinner, or more chia seeds if you want it thicker (then chill again for a while …).

Serve it cold or heat it up in the microwave for a warm pudding.

Cinnamon Chocolate Chia Pudding

This recipe was shared at Scrumptious Sundays and Fit & Fabulous Fridays.


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