Mediterranean Pasta Salad

I spent the middle of my March Madness-on-a-Saturday afternoon online looking for some new healthy recipes for the week that I could give a try. Pinterest never fails, I found this easy (and super delicious) recipe from Gimme Some Oven that I just had to prepare for my lunches. Not only does it include just a few simple ingredients – the dressing is extremely tasty and blends well with the pasta and vegetables.

Meal prep keeps me on my toes. I’ve always believed that if you don’t plan accordingly, you’re setting yourself up to potentially slide off the path. 

Luckily – this pasta salad holds well for several days. Prep away.

Mediterranean Pasta Salad
Serves 4
Quick take on a Mediterranean style pasta dish that's best served cold.
Write a review
Print
Prep Time
15 min
Total Time
25 min
Prep Time
15 min
Total Time
25 min
Ingredients
  1. 12-ounce box of farfalle pasta
  2. 1 English cucumber, diced
  3. 1 pint grape tomatoes, cut into halves
  4. 4-ounces crumbled fat-free feta cheese
  5. half of a medium size red onion, sliced thin
Lemon-Herb Vinaigrette
  1. 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  2. 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  3. 1 tablespoon lemon juice (fresh is best!)
  4. 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  5. 1 teaspoon organic honey
  6. 2 garlic cloves, minced
  7. 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  8. 1/4 teaspoon salt
  9. small pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
Instructions
  1. Cook pasta accordingly. Drain and rinse with cold water until pasta can be handled.
  2. Meanwhile, prepare lemon-herb vinaigrette dressing by whisking all ingredients in a small bowl. Set aside.
  3. Using a large bowl, add your pasta, cucumbers, tomatoes, and onion slices. Mix well. Carefully fold feta cheese into mixture, followed by drizzling the lemon-herb vinaigrette dressing overtop. Toss salad well so that dressing is evenly spread.
  4. Divide between 4 bowls and serve with additional feta cheese if desired.
Notes
  1. The original recipe calls for olives. I don't care much for them, but if you do, feel free to add a handful to the ingredients.
fitgirlnic http://fitgirlnic.com/

Ranch-Style Cobb Salad

 

IMG_3509

If you’re like me, you’ve gone through your Pinterest feed for what feels like a gazillion times looking for some sort of “different” kind of lunch to prepare for the week. I often like to base my mid-day meals around salads or something close to, as lunch is when I like to get the majority of my greens and vegetables intake. 

With today being Labor Day, the kids being home from school and a local Arts Festival going on; I wanted to get my grocery shopping done early yesterday so that I could successfully complete all my Sunday chores today and not having some spill over into the first of the week and delay any fun or relaxation for today. I started my meal-plan planning extra early because so. (Remember… fail to plan, plan to fail!) – and while things didn’t go as planned (one child is sick), my food was still ready today so I didn’t have to worry about screwing up on my new dietary!

IMG_3513

I don’t feel like I get my share of enough egg-protein, or at least I don’t feel like I have lately. So when I opened my laptop this morning I made sure to search for a recipe that would require at least one egg or more. I can always make the staple recipe for egg salad; I could prepare it blind-folded, but I wanted something that had a little more taste to it. One where by Tuesday afternoon, I’m already sure that come Wednesday’s lunch time I will be wanting anything BUT what I’ve already got prepared. And so I ran across this recipe for a Cobb Egg Salad from Lemon Tree Dwelling that had one key ingredient that won me over – dry ranch dressing mix. I like to use my dry ranch with yogurt for a healthier take on ranch dressing for dipping some veggie sticks in. If you love ranch, you can’t really go wrong with this dressing mix.

Another great thing about egg salad is how quickly you can prep it. Sure, if you’re not much of an hard-boiled egg peeler it can take *some* time, but I promise with practice and correct technique you’ll get the knack of doing it. Afterall, it took me months but I finally got it and I can proudly say that today I peeled 6 eggs in under 10 minutes. That’s an accomplishment! The rest of the ingredients though – super easy to assemble and throw into a bowl. Almost too easy. 

IMG_3496

Ranch-Style Cobb Salad
Serves 3
If egg salad and cobb salad were to meet in an alley, and egg happened to have brought ranch with him and cobb, arugula lettuce - this would be the outcome. Enjoy this recipe with rye crackers, as a salad or on a sandwich. Perfect for both parties and for meal-prepped lunches for the week.
Write a review
Print
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
12 min
Total Time
22 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
12 min
Total Time
22 min
Ingredients
  1. 6 large eggs, hard boiled and peeled
  2. 4 pieces cooked turkey bacon, crumbled into small pieces
  3. 4 tablespoons lite mayonnaise
  4. ½ dry ranch dressing mix
  5. ¼ cup grape tomatoes, diced
  6. ¼ cup celery, diced small
  7. ¼ teaspoon green onions, sliced thin
  8. ¼ cup chopped arugula lettuce
  9. ¼ cup shredded cheddar cheese
Instructions
  1. Hard-boil your eggs; bringing your pot of water and eggs to a raging boil over medium-high heat. When this has happened, turn off heat and cover pot with a lid allowing to sit for 12 minutes. Run cold water over eggs before attempting to peel. After eggs have been peeled, chop into small pieces.
  2. Using a large mixing bowl add eggs, bacon, tomatoes, arugula and cheese. Next add mayonnaise and dry ranch dressing mix, stirring gently but combining well. Serve or store in a tight-closed container for later.
Notes
  1. Original recipe can be found at Lemon Tree Dwelling (www.lemontreedwelling.com) - I added a few extra vegetables, etc of my own to their own delicious recipe.
fitgirlnic http://fitgirlnic.com/

Week 1 of FitGirlsGuide’s #28DayJumpStart Food Recap

I’m sure you’ve noticed a slow-down as far as posts go. I have a good reason! You see I’m currently doing the 28 Day Jumpstart program by FitGirlsGuide. That means for the next few weeks, I will not be posting recipes unless they are ones I’ve cooked up for my family. And if I do post something that centers around me individually, it will mostly consist of notes regarding my health journey and the food experiences I’ve encountered while participating in this challenge.

If you like anything you see, by all means go check FitGirlsGuide out for yourself! Not only do they put together a wonderful meal-plan for you with daily exercises, but there’s a community of supportive individuals who are doing the same challenges as your with similar goals – and best of all, they’re SUPER encouraging. Sometimes that’s what we need most.

I’m only mid-week but since I’ve already experienced each meal that is scheduled for the entire week, I’m going to do a little recap on each entree today. Usually it helps to hear others experiences with food before you know for sure if you want to try something out for yourself. 

Week 1 Food Recap:

cherrypiefridgeoats1
Cherry Pie Fridge Oats

I always look forward to breakfast during week 1 of this challenge because I love Cherry Pie Fridge Oats. They’re delicious, extremely healthy and easy-as-pie to assemble the night before; perfect for those who are on the go super early! I eat mine cold and with a hot cup of coffee after finishing a session on the elliptical. 

Roasted Veggie Power Bowl
Roasted Veggie Power Bowl

For lunch, you’re given the freedom to pick and choose your vegetables. I like to sample a variety of ways of preparing the Roasted Veggie Power Bowl and in the past have came up with dishes similar to a burrito bowl at Chipotle or chicken fried rice (above)… However, if you like to just follow the ingredients and instructions to ensure you’re doing the challenge just as it’s been laid out for you; the main recipe is still fantastic! 

Little suggestion – make your own homemade hummus. While store bought hummus is the quick way to go, there’s nothing like the taste of freshly grounded chickpeas and tahini sauce. 

streettaco
Sweet Potato Street Tacos

I remember the first time I scanned the Week 1 Menu, I was hesitant at first on if I was going to like the Sweet Potato Street Tacos. Before FitGirlsGuide, I didn’t really eat sweet potatoes. I guess you could say I was a regular stuck up Russet potato kinda-gal. There is truth that you don’t know what you’re missing out on if you don’t actually “get out there” – and the same goes for food tasting. These tacos are delicious! 

So I guess that means sweet potatoes are pretty special; you can’t throw just any ingredient in a corn tortilla and pass it off as a “taco.” 

pitapizzaparty
Pita Pizza

Truth be told, I’ve never met a person who doesn’t like pizza. So I have a hard time believing that someone is going to read “Pita Pizza” and think “Ew, there is no way I am going to like that.” Think of them as individual pizzas on a flat piece of round pita bread that you get to add healthy ingredients to and then cook in the oven for a few minutes. Sound good? No. It sounds GREAT.

Buffalo Chicken Tortillas

IMG_3400

Love buffalo chicken, but need a little break from the buffalo chicken dip you have at parties? I stumbled upon this recipe while searching for something simple and easy to prepare for lunch this week since I will be back and forth between two houses before we move. I was not only surprised at how almost effortless these tortilla rollups were, but how good they were! You really can’t go wrong with buffalo anything and while this is very similar in ingredients to the buffalo chicken dip; it still has it’s own unique taste. 

IMG_3386

Because we do tacos once a week, I often have an abundant amount of flour tortillas in the pantry and hate to see them go to waste. I try to come up with new and different ways to use them rather it’s just an easy microwaveable cheese rollup, or homemade cinnamon tortilla “chips” to enjoy with a side of fresh fruit. Your tortilla options are endless! This called for 4 tortillas, but let’s say you were to prepare this recipe for a game-day; you’d only need a few to make a plateful of little tortilla rolls. Best part is the prep time is 5-10 minutes max if you’re using rotisserie chicken!

IMG_3389_2

Buffalo Chicken Tortillas
Yields 15
Simple buffalo chicken tortilla rollups using a few key ingredients and a quick assemble. Great as a game day appetizer!
Write a review
Print
Prep Time
10 min
Total Time
30 min
Prep Time
10 min
Total Time
30 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 cup rotisserie chicken, shredded
  2. 4-ounces cream cheese, room temperature
  3. ¼ cup frank's buffalo sauce
  4. 1/8 cup blue cheese crumbles
  5. ½ cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  6. 1 tablespoon sour cream
  7. 2 6-inch flour tortillas
Instructions
  1. Using a medium size bowl, combine cream cheese, blue cheese crumbles and sour cream. Stir so that all are mixed together well.
  2. In a separate medium size bowl, add rotisserie chicken and buffalo sauce. Combine so that chicken is evenly coated with sauce.
  3. Using parchment paper on a solid surface, lay tortillas flat. Add 2-3 tablespoons of cheese mixture to tortilla, spreading evenly to all edges. Next add 2-3 tablespoons of chicken mixture, spreading evenly on-top of cheese mixture. Roll tortilla, tightly, and remove from parchment to a plate. When all tortillas are rolled and plated, place plate in refrigerator for 20-30 minutes to allow tortillas to "cool." This makes it easier for cutting.
  4. When time is up, remove tortillas from fridge and place onto a cutting board. Using a large knife, slice into each tortilla to make small rollups that are not too large, but not too thin so that they fall apart.
  5. Serve chilled with green onions for garnishing, if desired.
fitgirlnic http://fitgirlnic.com/

Arugula Power Salad with Blueberries and Honey-Lemon Dressing

IMG_3363

This may be the easiest salad I have ever prepped before! Aside from washing blueberries, the only thing you really have to put together is the dressing and that’s easy when you have a salad mixer. This one from Crate and Barrel is fantastic; I love how well it combines the ingredients together. 

IMG_3366

Arugula Power Salad with Blueberries and Honey-Lemon Dressing
Serves 4
A delicious salad made of power greens, blueberries, sliced almonds, feta cheese and a honey-lemon dressing drizzled overtop.
Write a review
Print
Prep Time
5 min
Total Time
5 min
Prep Time
5 min
Total Time
5 min
Ingredients
  1. 5-ounces arugula, kale, butter and spinach lettuce
  2. 1½ cup fresh blueberries
  3. 2-ounces feta cheese
  4. ½ cup sliced almonds
Dressing
  1. 2 tablespoons pure honey
  2. 1½ tablespoons lemon juice
  3. ¼ cup olive oil
  4. ½ teaspoon minced garlic
  5. ¼ teaspoon sea salt
  6. pinch of black pepper
Instructions
  1. Add all salad ingredients into a large bowl prior to making dressing.
  2. In a smaller bowl, add all dressing ingredients and whisk well. Drizzle over salad. Toss to cover evenly and serve.
fitgirlnic http://fitgirlnic.com/

Cobb Salad

IMG_3285
A lot of meal plans that I have seen in the past have included a hard boiled egg at some point, be it with an entree or as a mid-day snack. I’ll be the first to admit that while I do tend to eat a lot of eggs for breakfast or as a quick and easy snack, I do not necessarily like them. I never have and I’m way past the “you just may grow to like them” stage. However, there are some circumstances where they taste a little more enjoyable to me, and in a cobb salad is one. I’m not sure if it’s because of the dressing or the ingredients that they’re paired up with; they’re just much more tolerable.

But if you’re an egg lover, then chances are you’ll love this salad as well. It’s simple to make, and really doesn’t take much preparation effort aside from cooking the bacon and hard-boiling the eggs. And the dressing is light and delicious.

IMG_3286

Funny thing about these pictures – if you’ve already scrolled down and looked at the recipe ingredients, you know that it calls for blue cheese. Yes, that’s shredded mozzarella cheese in the picture. I had full intentions of eating this Cobb salad with blue cheese and didn’t pick up any at the grocery this week because I made my list knowing that I had a container in the refrigerator whose expiration date wasn’t even close to today’s date.

Don’t trust those expiration dates. 

After preparing everything and assembling, I got to the part where I add the cheese and went to open the container. The FOULEST smell, hit me so hard it almost knocked me out! Not to mention that the entire amount was covered with more blue than you typically see. Again, expiration date? The end of August. There was no way I was using that, so I tossed it in a plastic grocery bag and walked it to the garage dumpster verses even taking the chance of smelling that in the trash container in the house. So gross. So THAT’S why I used mozzarella cheese. Tastes good with this version, and you know – if you don’t like blue cheese, you can always substitute it with other cheese choices such as goat cheese, mozzarella, or feta. Whatever is on your plate is always your pick of the crop! Enjoy.

IMG_3288

Cobb Salad
Serves 4
Good ol' fashion cobb salad recipe with a homemade red wine vinaigrette dressing.
Write a review
Print
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
15 min
Total Time
30 min
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
15 min
Total Time
30 min
Ingredients
  1. 2 cups romaine lettuce
  2. 4 hardboiled eggs, peeled and sliced
  3. 3 roma tomatoes, diced
  4. 6 slices cooked turkey bacon, crumbled
  5. ½ cup blue cheese crumbles
  6. ¼ cup avocado, optional
Red Wine Vinaigrette Dressing
  1. ¼ cup red wine vinegar
  2. ¼ cup olive oil
  3. ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  4. ¼ teaspoon salt
  5. 1 tablespoon dijon mustard
  6. 1 teaspoon pure honey
  7. 1 garlic clove, minced
Instructions
  1. Using a small bowl, mix together all ingredients for dressing with a whisk until well combined.
  2. Align a plate with lettuce, tomatoes, avocado, turkey bacon, egg slices and blue cheese crumbles. Drizzle dressing overtop.
fitgirlnic http://fitgirlnic.com/

Easy Sesame Noodle Bowl

We’re in the process of moving here shortly. Movin’ for the most part is fun because you’re either getting your own place, upgrading to a bigger home or about to live in a whole new city/state. We bought a home, had it gutted and added on additional square feet so it’s basically a brand new build. That makes it twice as exciting. But the packing up is not exciting at all. You don’t realize how much junk you own until it’s time to divide between what to box up and what to throw away. I guess that’s why most hoarders don’t move.

Inbetween packing this week, I will be spending a few hours here and there at the local pool to get some vitamin d for my pale skin. I have planned a easy sesame noodle bowl for my lunch and while some would prefer such a meal hot, I will be eating my chilled from sitting inside a portable cooler. Still same taste, but the being served cold will definitely help a cool down from the heat – it’s in the 90’s this week!

Easy Sesame Noodle Bowl
Serves 8
An easy meal made in 15 minutes tops that can be served cold or hot and with or without vegetables.
Write a review
Print
Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
10 min
Total Time
15 min
Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
10 min
Total Time
15 min
Ingredients
  1. 12-ounces lo-mein egg noodles, cooking accordingly
  2. 4 green onions, sliced thin
  3. ¼ cup soy sauce
  4. 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  5. 4 garlic cloves, minced
  6. 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  7. 3 tablespoons sesame oil
  8. 4 tablespoons canola oil
  9. snap peas, optional
  10. cabbage slices, optional
  11. green pepper slices, optional
  12. diced cucumber, optional
Instructions
  1. Cook noodles according to package directions. In the meantime, cut green onions. When noodles have finished cooking, drain in strainer. Using a large bowl, add noodles and set aside.
  2. Add remaining sauce ingredients into a medium size bowl. Whisk well and pour into large bowl of noodles and green onions. Use a large spoon or tongs to combine noodles and sauce well.
  3. Sprinkle with green onions and any additionally vegetables you like.
fitgirlnic http://fitgirlnic.com/

White Bean Tuna Salad

beantunasalad

Quick lunch alert! It’s pool season and if you’re like me; you are attempting to not only eat healthy at all times, but also avoid the ridiculously overpriced pool food. I love pizza as much as the next person, so I have to remind myself how long it would take to burn those pizza calories off on the elliptical (it’s 60 minutes) each time I see a child walk by with a slice on their plate.

White Bean Tuna Salad is packed with protein and inexpensive to make. While all beans are low-calorie and cholesterol free; I used a can of Northern Beans because I know that in just a single cup there’s nearly 4 of iron. And that’s not the only benefit – they’re also a great source of dietary fiber, protein and potassium. Which makes the “did you get your beans in today?” phrase make sense.

White Bean Tuna Salad
Serves 3
A light take on a tuna and bean salad. This tastes great on it's on, on top of a slice of grain bread or crackers.
Write a review
Print
Prep Time
10 min
Total Time
10 min
Prep Time
10 min
Total Time
10 min
Ingredients
  1. 15-ounce can Northern Beans
  2. 5-ounce can chunk light tuna in water
  3. 2 green onions, sliced
  4. 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  5. 1 tablespoon olive oil
  6. 1 tablespoon lite mayonnaise
  7. salt and pepper, for taste
Instructions
  1. Rinse and drain beans using a colander. Set aside.
  2. Add can of tuna to a small bowl after draining excess juice in sink. Pat dry with a paper towel. Next, add beans to tuna followed by green onion slices, lemon juice, olive oil and mayonnaise. Sprinkle a pinch of salt and pepper over-top and mix well.
  3. Chill in refrigerator momentarily before serving.
fitgirlnic http://fitgirlnic.com/

 

Balsamic Chicken and Fruit Spinach Salad

It should be mandatory for all salads to include at least one fruit topping. I happen to love fruit so the more, the better in my case. So with that being said, I present to you the holy grail of fruit in a salad:

spinachchickensalad3

Paired with chicken, slivered almonds and feta cheese. 

spinachchickensalad4

Balsamic Chicken and Fruit Spinach Salad
Serves 2
Write a review
Print
Prep Time
10 min
Total Time
10 min
Prep Time
10 min
Total Time
10 min
Ingredients
  1. 4 cups baby spinach
  2. ½ cup fresh blueberries
  3. ½ cup fresh strawberries
  4. ½ cup mandarine oranges
  5. 3 tablespoons feta cheese
  6. 3 tablespoons slivered almonds
  7. 2 cups rotisserie chicken, shredded
Dressing
  1. ¼ cup olive oil
  2. 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  3. ½ teaspoon dijon mustard
  4. ½ teaspoon honey
  5. 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
Instructions
  1. Add all salad ingredients into one large bowl. Drizzle dressing over-top and divide between two large bowls.
fitgirlnic http://fitgirlnic.com/