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Thursday, July 14, 2011

Salads to the forth power!


            In my mind, when I think of summer time, I think of salads. Salads are fresh, light, and usually require very little cooking. Plus, during the summer, I believe we all realize that we could loose a couple pounds and begin watching our weight. The biggest problem I usually run into with salads is that they get boring but in my life, that has changed. Salads now have four categories: vegetables, fruit, protein, and grain. Mixing up all these types of salads not only give you options, but also keep the summer meals healthy. So, I am going to be short on the reasons, and heavy on the recipes so I can give examples of the variety of salads.

Vegetable Salad:

This is a classic but delicious

Pear and Blue Cheese Salad

1 head of romaine
1 pear (sliced)
½ c walnuts or pecans
½ c blue cheese (or gorgonzola)

            ¼ c pure maple syrup
            1/3 c apple cider vinegar
            ½ c plain yogurt
            ¼ c olive oil
            1 clove garlic
            Salt and pepper

Mix dressing in a bowl. Cut up pear and romaine, mix with nuts and cheese. Add dressing and enjoy. (If not immediately eating, splash some lemon juice on the pear so they do not brown). 

Fruit Salad:
Berry & Citrus Salad

2 tangerines
2 blood oranges
¼ c sugar
½ t ginger
1 c raspberries
1 c blackberries
1 t lemon juice
3 oz cream cheese

Peel and place tangerine and orange in a bowl. Add the sugar and ginger, and cover the citrus well. Add the lemon juice. Let sit out for 20 minutes (or up to 1 hour). Drain the liquid the citrus produce, and keep to the side. Add the berries to the citrus. In a separate bowl, mix the cream cheese until smooth and fluffy. Beat in the excess juice into the cream cheese. Place the berries in a bowl; serve with a spoonful of cream cheese on top.

Protein Salad:

Mango Turkey Salad

3 c turkey breast (cut up)
1 c celery
1 c raisins (golden or brown)
2 green onions (sliced)
1/3 c plain yogurt
¼ c Parmesan
½ t honey
¼ c mango chutney
½ t ground ginger

            Mix together the yogurt, mango, ginger, and pepper. In another bowl, place the turkey, celery, raisins, cheese and onions. Pour the yogurt mixture over the turkey mixture and blend. Refrigerate for 1 hour. Enjoy in a sandwich, over mixed greens or however you will enjoy.

 Grain Salad:

Basil Orzo Salad

1 bunch of spinach
16 oz of orzo pasta
1 c feta cheese
½ red onion (chopped)
¾ c pine nuts
1 clove garlic
6 basil leaves (chopped)
½ c olive oil
½ c balsamic vinegar
White pepper and salt

            Prepare the orzo according to directions. Slice the spinach, onion, and garlic and basil. In a sauté pan, place the olive oil. Add the spinach, onion, garlic and basil. Add the vinegar and orzo. Remove from heat and mix the pepper as well as feta and pine nuts. Serve and enjoy.

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