Cobb Salad

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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.

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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.

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Cobb Salad
Serves 4
Good ol' fashion cobb salad recipe with a homemade red wine vinaigrette dressing.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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Chicken Caesar Salad (Homemade Dressing Included)

While we’re on this chicken and salad combo mix, I figured I may as well go ahead and add Chicken Caesar to the lineup. You can get as fancy as you want with salads, (or any meal for that matter) but you almost always go back to the basics when the plate is clean. See what I did there?

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When we go out to eat, 8/10 times I order the Chicken Caesar Salad no matter where we are. There are some places that I have had the salad quite a few times and I already know how good it is. There are other places where I am just going to assume the salad will be good enough because it’s a safe choice on the menu. Can you really mess up a caesar salad? Absolutely. Serve it with anchovies for someone who is deathly afraid of the look of anchovies. Sure, a lot of the times the dressing is made with it. I don’t need the proof right in front of my face though. 

I can totally avoid the anchovies at home because caesar dressing I’ve been using on my salads is actually really simple to make. It just consists of 6 ingredients: mayonnaise, lemon juice, garlic, parmesan cheese, worcestershire sauce and black pepper.

Nothing fishy going on here. 

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And remember, if you want to add a little extra to your salad; pasta is always a good choice. (Thanks for the introduction to it, Skinnymom) – Just be cautious with those croutons! While croutons in a salad are ohsodelicious, they’re also bread and you know what they say about bread: “All aboard the carb train.” 

Enjoy!

Chicken Caesar Salad
Serves 4
A simple recipe for chicken caesar salad with homemade caesar dressing.
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Prep Time
10 min
Total Time
10 min
Prep Time
10 min
Total Time
10 min
For the Salad
  1. 8 cups romaine lettuce, divided
  2. 2 cups rotisserie chicken, shredded
  3. 1 tomato, deseeded and diced
  4. 20 fat-free caesar croutons
  5. 2 tablespoons reduced-fat parmesan cheese
For the Dressing
  1. 2 tablespoons light mayonnaise
  2. 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  3. 1 teaspoon reduced-fat parmesan cheese
  4. ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  5. ¼ tablespoon minced garlic
  6. ¼ teaspoon worcestershire sauce
  7. 1 tablespoon water
Instructions
  1. Using a fork, remove pieces from rotisserie chicken, shredding and then placing in a large bowl. Add romaine lettuce, diced tomato. Toss well.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together ingredients for dressing. Pour over salad evenly. Toss well.
  3. Add croutons (5 per plate) and sprinkle ½ tablespoon parmesan cheese on top.
fitgirlnic http://fitgirlnic.com/

Greek Chicken Salad

When I decided on prepping Greek Chicken Salad, I did it knowing that I could enjoy it in a variety of ways. There are times when I become less enthusiastic about a meal that I’ve got repeated throughout the week; especially if it’s one that I don’t look forward to in the first place. That’s also when I decided to make my own meal-plans instead of following others. I love food too much to not look forward to a meal!

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I remember the first time I had chicken salad. My mom had brought home a container of it from Sam’s Club. I knew that I loved tuna salad, but after tasting that particular chicken salad, I found that I loved chicken salad more. 

Chicken Salad doesn’t have to be a basic recipe with the same ingredients every time. It tastes great on a plate of spinach, overtop a fresh loaf of bread, on-top of a cucumber, with a handful of crackers, or even just by itself. There is no right or wrong way to enjoy or prepare chicken salad.

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Generally each recipe I’ve came across has included grapes as far as fruit goes, but I think my favorite combination has been grapes and apples. Both flavors compliment each other well and you’re adding another texture which is always a good thing. There’s no such thing as too much fruit and that goes for chicken salad as well.

You’re always welcomed to add additional ingredients. This particular recipe calls for greek seasoning, but if you do not have all of the spices needed to prepare that; you can always just use ½ cup mayonnaise and 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice. 

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Doesn’t it look fantastic? I have to admit – I purposely prepared this shortly before lunch time so that after I was doing prepping the ingredients and taking photos, I could enjoy that open face chicken salad sandwich pictured above. And it was delicious. Enjoy!

Greek Chicken Salad
Serves 4
Chicken Salad can be a colorful recipe, with added ingredients and dressing adjusted.
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Prep Time
15 min
Total Time
15 min
Prep Time
15 min
Total Time
15 min
Ingredients
  1. 2 cups rotisserie chicken
  2. 1½ cups red grapes, halved
  3. medium apple, diced
  4. 1½ cups celery, diced
  5. ½ cup slivered almonds
  6. ½ cup mayonnaise
Greek Seasoning
  1. 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  2. 2 teaspoons dried basil
  3. 4 teaspoons dried oregano
  4. 1 teaspoons dried thyme
  5. 4 teaspoons garlic powder
  6. 4 teaspoons onion powder
  7. 2 teaspoons onion flakes
  8. 2 teaspoons dried dill
  9. 2 teaspoons ground pepper
  10. 2 teaspoons dried parsley
  11. 2 teaspoons dried rosemary
  12. 1 teaspoons cinnamon
  13. 1 teaspoons nutmeg
Instructions
  1. Using a medium size bowl, add mayonnaise and greek seasoning. Mix well.
  2. Combine chicken, grapes, apple, celery and almonds in a large mixing bowl. Add mayonnaise sauce and fold, covering all ingredients entirely. Chill for 10 minutes before serving.
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BLT Pasta Salad

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I restarted the BBG (Bikini Body Guide) program by Kayla Itsines a couple weeks ago and have been trying to watch what I eat so it doesn’t cancel out all my effort that I put into the daily workouts. I always seem to feel more satisfied with my meal-plan when it consists of lots of greens and vegetables. This week I have two similar salads scheduled, this BLT Pasta Salad and a BLT Caesar Pasta Salad. Yes, someone likes bacon in their salads. I will eat the BLT Pasta Salad Monday thru Wednesday and the BLT Caesar Pasta Salad Thursday and Friday. This weekend is much too eventful with the kids getting out of school, graduations and birthday parties so I will be trying to behave to the best of my advantage during such. Keyword, “trying.”

Now before you think “this recipe calls for ranch dressing AND barbecue sauce, it can’t be that healthy”; hear me out. This is 6 servings. I cut my servings in half since I’m only having this from Monday thru Wednesday. While you can choose to find a more healthier alternative to the ranch dressing (ie lite ranch, fat-free ranch, yogurt ranch) just know that you’re going to be mixing the portion of it with 6 cups of tossed romaine lettuce. Feel better? 

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There’s something about mixing ranch with barbecue sauce. When I didn’t watch what I ate, I used to ask for a side of ranch and a side of barbecue to dip my french fries and chicken nuggets in. It still sounds good. But not having to run for an hour and a half to work it off doesn’t, so I think I will just stick to having that ranch and barbeque in this salad. 

BLT Pasta Salad
Serves 6
Your favorite go-to-sandwich just became a salad with pasta.
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Prep Time
15 min
Total Time
25 min
Prep Time
15 min
Total Time
25 min
Ingredients
  1. 6 cups romaine lettuce, chopped
  2. 2½ cups uncooked bow-tie pasta
  3. 2 medium size tomatoes, diced
  4. 4 turkey bacon strips, fully cooked and crumbled into small pieces
  5. ½ cup ranch dressing
  6. 1 tablespoon barbecue sauce
Instructions
  1. In a medium size saucepan over med-high heat, cook pasta according to package directions. When finished cooking, drain in a strainer over cold water to cool down completely.
  2. In a large bowl, add pasta, tomatoes, bacon and romaine lettuce.
  3. Using a small bowl, add ranch dressing and barbecue sauce. Stir to combine first, before pouring overtop pasta salad mix. Toss gently and serve immediately.
Notes
  1. This can be stored for 3 days in an air-tight container. Just don't add the romaine lettuce until right before serving.
fitgirlnic http://fitgirlnic.com/

Pesto Pasta Salad

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The thing I love about pesto is the variety of ways you can use it. It’s common for us to use it during the summer for a healthier version of grilled cheese for adults. I say adults because I cannot imagine either kid liking pesto and so I am saving myself the trouble of even wasting such a delicate and tasty sauce.

This Pesto Pasta Salad is a branch off of a Balsamic Mozzarella Tomato, or bruschetta salad. You’re welcome to use any sort of pesto sauce that you like, but I recommend making your own. 

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Pesto is pretty easy sauce to make. I prefer to make my pesto over purchasing it because I like to know everything that goes into it. A classic pesto recipe only requires a few things and just takes you a few minutes to make. Add each of the following ingredients (except cheese) into a blender until everything combined resembles a paste. Remove from blender and add cheese.

Pesto Sauce:
4 cups fresh basil leaves, washed and dried off with a papertowel
½ cup olive oil
¼ pine nuts
2 garlic cloves
½ cup Parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon kosher salt

Note: If you’re making 1 day ahead, transfer sauce to a small bowl and refrigerate. 

 

Pesto Pasta Salad
Serves 4
Penne noodles with a homemade pesto sauce, diced tomatoes and fresh mozzarella cheese.
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Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
8 min
Total Time
23 min
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
8 min
Total Time
23 min
Ingredients
  1. 8-ounces whole wheat penne pasta
  2. fresh mozzarella cheese
  3. 3 roma tomatoes, diced
  4. 1 cup pesto sauce, homemade recipe above
Instructions
  1. In a medium saucepan over med-high heat, bring water to a boil. Add penne pasta and cook according to package. Drain and let cool water run over pasta until chill.
  2. In a large bowl, add pasta, mozzarella and tomatoes. Add pesto sauce and stir well. Serve immediately or refrigerate in a well-concealed container to chill.
fitgirlnic http://fitgirlnic.com/

Turkey Caesar Sandwich

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Chicken Caesar Salad, or just a side caesar salad, has always been one of my go-to choices when I’m eating out or needing a quick throw together lunch for the week. But salads get tiring after so many and sandwiches are nice but let’s be honest; half of the time they’re not the healthiest choice you can make. Ugh, carbs. 

So while trying to fix the solution, I scanned through the bread section at our local Market District and found this fantastic loaf of bread; Aunt Millie’s 35 Calorie Whole Grain. I’m still trying to limit my bread intake, but if I’m craving a sandwich now I know I can enjoy one that’s not to the roof in calories. 

OK. So since salad is getting a break, now it’s time to give chicken a break. I’m sure it’s probably the one source of protein/meat that you eat most per week. Luckily, turkey is just as good (especially for a sandwich) simply because of the similarity and it can be bought with low sodium. You can keep the caesar dressing though. It’s extremely easy to make, uses a few ingredients you may already have on hand and tastes GREAT with turkey. 

Now you have a sandwich that’s as close to a caesar salad as you’re gonna get. And it may infact be healthier. Cheers to that!

Turkey Caesar Sandwich
Serves 1
Give Chicken Caesar Salad a break. At least for one meal.
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Prep Time
15 min
Total Time
15 min
Prep Time
15 min
Total Time
15 min
Ingredients
  1. 2 slices whole grain low-calorie bread
  2. 2 leaves of romaine lettuce
  3. 3 ounces low-sodium turkey, thinly sliced
  4. 1 slice of tomato
  5. 1 tablespoon Parmesan cheese
  6. 2 tablespoons light mayonnaise
  7. 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  8. dash of Worcestershire sauce
  9. black pepper
Instructions
  1. Combine Parmesan cheese, mayonnaise, lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce in a small bowl, mixing well. Lightly sprinkle black pepper. Spread onto slices of bread.
  2. Add romaine lettuce leaves, turkey and tomato.
fitgirlnic http://fitgirlnic.com/

Healthy Egg Salad

eggsalad
When I was younger, I used to associate eggs with breakfast. Now that I’m older and have been working out for the past year+ on a pretty consistent basis, I associate eggs with the word “protein.”

With the daily recommended protein amount being 46 grams for women and 56 grams for men, eggs (6 grams each) are a fantastic source when starting the day off, or even eaten as a hard-boiled treat in-between-meals snack. But sometimes we get tired of the same ole eggs for breakfast routine and want to switch it up for something else. You can still get your daily egg or two in with this simple and healthy egg salad. Add it over-top of a rice cake or have it as a sandwich.

 

Healthy Egg Salad
Serves 4
A delicious serving of egg salad; perfect for lunch or snack as a sandwich, ontop of a rice cracker or simply by itself.
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Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
10 min
Total Time
25 min
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
10 min
Total Time
25 min
Ingredients
  1. 6 hardboiled eggs, shells peeled and chopped into small pieces
  2. 2 tablespoons light mayonnaise
  3. 2 tablespoons plain Greek yogurt
  4. 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  5. 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  6. 1/3 cup celery, diced
  7. 1/4 cup green onions, finely sliced
Instructions
  1. 1. Using a medium size bowl, mix eggs, mayonnaise, Greek yogurt, lemon juice and Dijon mustard. Gently fold, but enough that you’re combining all ingredients well.
  2. 2. Add celery and green onions, again mixing well.
Adapted from Two Peas and Their Pod
Adapted from Two Peas and Their Pod
fitgirlnic http://fitgirlnic.com/

The Importance of Meal-Planning and Meal-Prep.

I’m sure you’ve heard the phrase, “Fail to plan, plan to fail.” I often wonder if the individual who thought it up was trying to maintain a healthy lifestyle.
Healthy is not easy. There’s several components that go into the equation when it comes to trying to reroute your daily diet into something that your body will appreciate more than those greasy drive-through french fries. The most important components? Meal-Planning and Meal-Prep. Lets face it though. Not everyone loves meal-planning and not everyone loves cooking. I think you have to enjoy both in order to have a deep and committed relationship with planning a menu and looking forward to prepping food. And while meal planning can be time-consuming and meal-prep, a process (think 2-4 hours spent in your kitchen on a Sunday morning) they’re also the key to a successful healthy lifestyle.
foodprep

When I started out on my journey towards becoming more fit and healthy one year ago, I actually looked forward to the process of meal-prep. I was following an e-guide program that lasted 28 days and came with an already scheduled meal-plan for the week, grocery list to check off, which foods I was prepping on what day and what my workout was. Everything is easier when simply laid out for you. But doing so, this taught me how to continue making healthy choices when the program was over. I just had to follow two rules

1. Allow yourself 5 meals a day. That’s right. FIVE!:

Now before you get all bug-eyed, hear me out. I understand you’re either looking to lose weight or maintain. Eating 5 meals a day isn’t going to contribute to weight gain if you’re eating correctly and not just anything and everything in the fridge or pantry – in fact, 5 meals allows your body to use energy stores and burn more fat.

The easiest and most foul-proof way to do it is to fit one small snack in after breakfast and another after lunch. This leaves less need to over-indulge at dinner and less chance of finding your hand in the chip bag. That’s right – no more Doritos fingers!

2. Prep twice a week.

Yes, my friends. When I say twice a week, I mean you will be eating left-overs. I’m sure when you were younger the thought of eating last night’s dinner again for dinner tonight gave you the hebeegeebees. Not anymore! Left-overs are now your body’s best friend. Please don’t imagine microwaving frozen pizza. That’s not the kind of left-overs I meant.

It’s a lot more easier for you to schedule repetitive meals for a few days. This calls for less overall prepping and saves you some cash at the grocery store. It also rids you of that “what should I cook for dinner tonight?” headache. I, personally, meal-prep on Sunday and Wednesday. That means Monday-Wednesday I eat the same breakfast, snack, lunch, snack, and dinner. Thursday-Saturday, same thing. Sunday is my exception day. I try to maintain healthy choices, but don’t have a set plan.

Seems easy enough, right? Everything is as enjoyable as you allow it to be. Prep and dice your vegetables while listening to music or use Pinterest to find healthy alternatives to your favorite foods. And don’t forget the tupperware! Not only are you going to need plenty of it, but you get to pick some out in all shapes and sizes. The cute little dressing ones are my favorite!

 

(Pictured above is ingredients for Chorizo Breakfast Burrito)