Monthly Archives: June 2012

Chicken and Green Bean Salad

I’m a sucker for creamy, rich, mayonaisse-laden chicken salad.  I love my own homemade chicken salad the best (which I will share with you one day) but I’ve been known to order fattening chicken salad in a restaurant from time to time.  No matter how much I might want to eat it, I really try to watch my mayonaisse intake.  Having grown up in Central Illinois where everything is made with mayonaisse, this used to be more of a task than it is now.  (My dad used to make his own salad dressing with mayonaisse and sugar – ugh!).

After falling in love with and devouring Cooking Light‘s Avocado Chicken Salad, I couldn’t resist trying the mayo-free Chicken and Green Bean Salad.  Steamed green beans are mixed with chicken and grape tomatoes and then tossed in a light mixture of olive oil, lemon juice, whole-grain Dijon mustard, and fresh thyme.  If you don’t have whole-grain Dijon, regular Dijon will work (it just won’t look as pretty).  The recipe calls for cherry tomatoes but I used grape tomatoes (they are smaller and fit onto the baguette slices better).  I also quickly grilled up chicken tenders which I shredded with a fork but using rotisserie or precooked chicken will speed up the preparation.  Seasoned with salt and pepper, this chicken salad is a great option to take to a picnic or outdoor event.  Serve with toasted baguette slices, whole-grain crackers or over a bed of baby spinach and you’ve got yourself a dish good enough for lunch, dinner or as an easy appetizer.  And I bet you won’t even miss the mayonaisse!

The ingredients:

Arrange baguette slices in a single layer on a baking sheet and broil in the over for 1 minute or until toasted.

Steam green beans 3 minutes or until crisp-tender.  Drain, rinse with cold water and drain again.  Set aside.

In a large bowl, combine olive oil, lemon juice, Dijon, thyme, salt and pepper with a whisk.

Add chicken, beans, and tomatoes to dressing mixture and toss to combine. 

Serve with toast.

Additions:  None

Omissions:  None

Substitutions:

  • Grape tomatoes

Overall Rating:  Love It

Source:  Cooking Light Magazine

Cooking Light Bloggers’ Connection

I’m excited to tell you that Cooking Light Magazine has asked me to become a member of their Cooking Light Bloggers’ Connection!  This is a community area on Cooking Light’s website where their online editors recognize food bloggers who contribute to healthy eating and want to help given them (me!) social media exposure. 

Considering I’ve been a long-time subscriber to their magazine and have become obsessed with their recipes, I’m truly honored that they have approached me to become a member of this community.  If you get a minute, please take a look at other food bloggers like me who embrace healthy eating and you just might like what you see!

Find A Fork In Each Hand on Cooking Light‘s Bloggers’ Connection here:

Cooking Light‘s Bloggers’ Connection

Thanks, Cooking Light!

Heirloom Tomato Gratin

When I was a kid, I wouldn’t eat (or entertain the idea of eating) fresh tomatoes. I was okay with tomato sauce but would gag when I would see my dad eat a sliced tomato with salt, pepper, and nothing but a fork. I didn’t even want a tomato to touch my food. I remember when I started liking tomatoes – I was at lunch eating a veggie burger, forgot to ask for no tomato and didn’t even think to look under the bun before chowing down. My first instinct was Eww, tomato! But as I rushed to swallow it down, I realized it actually added a juicy, brightness to my burger. And from that day on, I have been eating fresh tomatoes. I’m not at a point where I will bite into a tomato like an apple or shove an entire cherry tomato in my mouth but I’m happy that I’ve come a very long way from that childhood gag reflex.

Heirloom Tomato Gratin is a dish that, when I was younger, I could have never envisioned myself making, let alone eating. I’ve seen a basket of heirloom tomatoes in my store the past few times I’ve been in there and decided now was the time to make this summery dish. Heirloom tomatoes are sliced and layered with softly cooked sweet onions and topped with a textured mixture of bread crumbs, salty parmesan cheese, and fresh thyme. I used whole-wheat panko crumbs but try regular panko or simple bread crumbs. I cut the recipe in half and followed the measurements per the recipe but found I need only about half of the bread crumb/cheese mixture. So use your judgment and stop when you think you have enough. Once baked, the tomatoes are sweet and accented nicely by the orange-scented onions, salt and pepper. A perfect light summer meal.

The ingredients:

Preheat oven to 425°F. Rub the inside of a baking dish with garlic, then coat with oil (I used chopped garlic so I left it in the dish).

Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-low heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, approximately 12 minutes.

Remove from heat and stir in the orange zest, orange juice and honey.

Spoon half of the onion mixture in the bottom of the prepared dish and spread to cover the bottom. Arrange the tomatoes over the onions, layering slightly. Season with salt and pepper and repeat another layer.

Combine the bread crumbs, parmesan cheese, thyme and remaining olive oil in a bowl and sprinkle over the tomatoes.

Bake 15-20 minutes until golden brown and bubbling.

Additions: None

Omissions: None

Substitutions:

  • Whole-wheat panko crumbs

Overall Rating: Like It

Source: Woman’s Day Magazine

Pineapple-Mango Yogurt Smoothie

Have you ever had one of those weekends where you just had too much?  Too much food?  Too much drink?  Too much fun?  That was the weekend I had last weekend.  When my friend in Florida came home to spend Father’s Day with her pop, we decided to take the opportunity to get the girls together and have some fun.  From Friday afternoon until the wee hours of Sunday, we partied.  And hard.  I decided it was probably necessary to get something healthy in my body and pronto!  

The Pineapple-Mango Yogurt Smoothie I made was both tasty and filling.  Frozen pineapple and mango chunks are blended with non-fat vanilla yogurt, non-fat milk, and a little sugar.  As I spent Sunday resting and relaxing, I sipped on this and felt refreshed.  I liked it so much, I made another one for breakfast on Monday.  What is it about smoothies that somehow just make you feel better?       

Pineapple-Mango Yogurt Smoothie (makes 1 smoothie)

  • 1 cup frozen pineapple
  • 1 cup frozen mango
  • 6-ounces non-fat vanilla yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons sugar or Splenda
  • 1/2 cup non-fat milk

Place all of the ingredients in a blender and blend on high until smooth.  Add more milk if necessary to reach desired consistency.  If you prefer to use fresh fruit, simply add 1 cup of crushed ice. 

The ingredients:

Place all of the ingredients in a blender and blend on high until smooth.

Add more milk if necessary to reach desired consistency.

Funfetti Cookies

I work for a company that likes to show employee appreciation by celebrating certain sports events so from time to time, the company will buy us lunch and we get to wear our favorite sports apparel.  Not long ago, we celebrated MLB opening day and shortly thereafter celebrated the NHL and NBA playoffs.  Because they happened about a week apart, the powers that be decided not to have a second lunch but to surprise us with a sundae bar with tons of ice cream and all kinds of fun toppings.  Since then, each time I go into the kitchen cabinet for a bowl or plate at lunch, I see a little plastic container holding the leftover rainbow sprinkles from that ice cream party.  I finally asked one day if I could take them home so I could make Funfetti Cookies which I would share with people at work.  The answer was “Um…cookies?!  YES!!”

The result are these colorful, chewy, perfect little cookies.  A basic sugar cookie dough with both vanilla and almond highlights is made fantastic with the addition of both rainbow sprinkles and nonpareils.  These cookies didn’t last long at the office and it was everything I could do to keep my paws off of them before I set them out for everyone to enjoy.  You don’t have to be a kid to like funfetti, ask my co-workers.  It looks like I’m going to have to make these again. 

And again. 

And again. 

Good thing there are more sprinkles left.

 

The ingredients: 

Preheat the oven to 375ºF.  Cream the butter and sugar until fluffy.

Add the vanilla, almond extract, and egg.  Beat until well combined.

In a separate bowl, sift in the flour, cornstarch, baking soda, and salt. 

Slowly add the flour mixture to the butter mixture, and continue on low speed until it’s all added and combined.  (The dough will be thick).

Mix in the sprinkles until just combined.

Roll the dough into equal sized balls and place on a cookie sheet.  

Bake for 12 minutes in a 375ºF oven.

Additions:  None

Omissions:  None

Substitutions:  None

Overall Rating:  Love It

Source:  TastyKitchen.com

Fried Egg BLT Sandwiches

Bacon, lettuce, and tomato sandwiches were a once-in-a-while meal at my house growing up. But since I didn’t eat tomatoes as a kid, my BLTs were more of BLMs – bacon, lettuce and mayonaisse.  When I did start eating tomatoes, I was a vegetarian so my BLTs became LTMs – lettuce, tomato and mayonaisse. Now that I’m no longer a vegetarian and can eat a real BLT (although I guess technically it would be a TBLT – turkey bacon, lettuce and tomato), it never occurs to me to make one.  When I saw the recipe for Fried Egg BLT Sandwiches, it was like a light bulb when off.  Why hadn’t I ever thought to do this?  I’ll eat an omelet with tomatoes and spinach and a side of bacon and toast for breakfast, so why not make a sandwich out of it?

Toasted bread is topped with spinach, a tomato slice, bacon, and a fried egg.  The recipe calls for focaccia but my store was out so I substituted a whole-wheat English muffin.  I’m sure the focaccia adds a bit of pizzazz but really any kind of bread will do.  I also used the spinach instead of arugula but only because I had spinach on hand.  If you don’t like arugula’s peppery flavor, any leafy green will be a good substitute.  Eaten open faced, this sandwich is good for breakfast, lunch, or dinner and is especially perfect for a light bite.  I’m now proud to say that I am officially a BLT eater.  Or an EBLT eater.  Whatever.

The ingredients:

Prepare bacon according to package directions.  Meanwhile, heat olive oil in a nonstick skillet over medium heat and swirl to coat.  Crack eggs into the pan and cook for 2 minutes.  Cover and cook an additional 2 minutes or until whites are set.

Place a bread slice on a plate and top with spinach, 2 bacon slice halves, and 1 tomato slice.  Sprinkle evenly with salt and pepper.

Top each serving with 1 fried egg. 

Season with salt and pepper.

 

Additions:  None

Omissions:  None

Substitutions:

  • Baby spinach
  • Whole-wheat English muffin
  • Turkey bacon

Overall Rating:  Love It

Source:  Cooking Light Magazine

Sweet Raspberry Dip

I’ve been going a little crazy lately in the produce department of my grocery store because as the weather gets warmer, the fruits seem to be getting brighter and more colorful and they all call my name. I swear I don’t know which direction to go to first and end up spinning around in circles as I decide on peaches vs. nectarines, grapes vs. cherries, blueberries vs. blackberries, or apricots vs. plums. The problem with not being able to decide is that I end up buying a little of everything and I’m left with more fruit than I know what to do with. Generally, I whip up a big batch of mixed fruit salad but sometimes when friends come over I want to make something a little less ordinary.

Sweet Raspberry Dip is a creamy, light fruit dip perfect for dipping summer stone fruit or other seasonal gems. Fresh raspberries are mashed with sugar and blended with plain Greek yogurt to make a dip similar in taste to raspberry yogurt except fresher and brighter. Serve with slices of mango, peaches, apricots, or plums or use strawberries or cherries to dunk. Use thawed frozen raspberries in the fall or winter and serve with autumn fruit like apples or pears. If you’re craving something sweet but are trying to stay healthy, this is one fruity appetizer or dessert where you won’t feel guilty if you eat too much.

Speaking of SWEET, today is my sweet, sweet sister Katie’s birthday!  She’s 12 years younger than me and one of my best friends.  I wish I could’ve made some cookies or cake for her but she is in Texas so that means it would have all ended up in MY belly and on MY thighs!  Maybe next week when I see her in Chicago, we’ll make something sweet that we can share with you! 🙂

The ingredients:

In a small bowl, mash the raspberries with the sugar.

Stir in the yogurt.

Serve with your favorite fruit.

Additions: None

Omissions: None

Substitutions: None

Overall Rating: Like It

Source:

%d bloggers like this: