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
An easy meal made in 15 minutes tops that can be served cold or hot and with or without vegetables.
- 12-ounces lo-mein egg noodles, cooking accordingly
- 4 green onions, sliced thin
- ¼ cup soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
- 3 tablespoons sesame oil
- 4 tablespoons canola oil
- snap peas, optional
- cabbage slices, optional
- green pepper slices, optional
- diced cucumber, optional
- 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.
- 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.
- Sprinkle with green onions and any additionally vegetables you like.
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
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.
- 15-ounce can Northern Beans
- 5-ounce can chunk light tuna in water
- 2 green onions, sliced
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 tablespoon lite mayonnaise
- salt and pepper, for taste
- Rinse and drain beans using a colander. Set aside.
- 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.
- Chill in refrigerator momentarily before serving.
I was extremely excited about making this dessert for the first time. I’ve had it at my in-laws before and had never really entertained the idea of trying to recreate it myself until we went strawberry picking a couple weeks ago. Ever since I’ve had a fridge full of berries; I’ve kept imagining how beautiful food pictures would turn out because of the vibrant red color. Plus this would be a great dessert for a upcoming fourth of July party so I had better get my practice in now.
And so because of the strawberries + jello’s deep red hue and because it was a really nice day out, I thought there was no way I was not getting a handful of great pictures to share along with the recipe.
Chances are that if people are too excited to serve and devour it, you’re not getting a very time lengthy photo-op. Just take your dessert that you spent a few hours slaving over (I’m being dramatic) and eat it. If it’s good enough, you’ll bake it again. And this dessert was beyond good enough.
Strawberry Pretzel Salad
- 6-ounce package strawberry Jell-o
- 2 cups boiling water
- 1lb fresh strawberries, hulled and sliced into small pieces
- 2 cups salted pretzels
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
- 8 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 8-ounce package cream cheese, softened at room temperature
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- 8-ounce tub of cool whip, thawed
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Using cooking spray, well grease a 13x9 pan. Set aside.
- Combine strawberry jell-o in medium sauce pan after two cups of water are boiling. Stir well until mixed and lower heat allowing to cool down to room temperature.
- Using a large ziplock bag, crush two cups of pretzels using a rolling pin.
- In a medium size saucepan, add butter and allow to melt over med-high heat. Add ¼ cup granulated sugar, whisking well. Next add crushed pretzels and stir with a wooden spoon. When pretzel mix is combined well, add it to 13x9 pan; pressing to the bottom and edges are evenly covered. Set aside and allow to cool down to room temperature.
- In a large mixing bowl, add cream cheese and ½ cup granulated sugar. Use a hand mixer to beat mixture until it appears fluffy and light. Add whip cream and gently fold in until everything is combined completely. Spread overtop pretzel mixture evenly and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
- Next add strawberry slices to jell-o. Stir well. Pour overtop whipped cream mixture; spreading evenly. Return to refrigerator and allow to cool 2-4 hours before serving chilled.
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:
Paired with chicken, slivered almonds and feta cheese.
Balsamic Chicken and Fruit Spinach Salad
- 4 cups baby spinach
- ½ cup fresh blueberries
- ½ cup fresh strawberries
- ½ cup mandarine oranges
- 3 tablespoons feta cheese
- 3 tablespoons slivered almonds
- 2 cups rotisserie chicken, shredded
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- ½ teaspoon dijon mustard
- ½ teaspoon honey
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- Add all salad ingredients into one large bowl. Drizzle dressing over-top and divide between two large bowls.
It wouldn’t be summertime without a fruit salad.
Summer Berry Watermelon Salad
A delicious fruit salad to enjoy during a hot summer day.
- 4 cups watermelon, chopped into cube shapes
- 1 pint blueberries
- 1 pint raspberries
- 1 pint strawberries, quartered
- 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
- Add all ingredients in a large bowl, mixing well. Serve slightly chilled.
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?
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.
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.”
Chicken Caesar Salad
A simple recipe for chicken caesar salad with homemade caesar dressing.
- 8 cups romaine lettuce, divided
- 2 cups rotisserie chicken, shredded
- 1 tomato, deseeded and diced
- 20 fat-free caesar croutons
- 2 tablespoons reduced-fat parmesan cheese
- 2 tablespoons light mayonnaise
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon reduced-fat parmesan cheese
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- ¼ tablespoon minced garlic
- ¼ teaspoon worcestershire sauce
- 1 tablespoon water
- Using a fork, remove pieces from rotisserie chicken, shredding and then placing in a large bowl. Add romaine lettuce, diced tomato. Toss well.
- In a small bowl, whisk together ingredients for dressing. Pour over salad evenly. Toss well.
- Add croutons (5 per plate) and sprinkle ½ tablespoon parmesan cheese on top.
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!
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.
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.
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
Chicken Salad can be a colorful recipe, with added ingredients and dressing adjusted.
- 2 cups rotisserie chicken
- 1½ cups red grapes, halved
- medium apple, diced
- 1½ cups celery, diced
- ½ cup slivered almonds
- ½ cup mayonnaise
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt
- 2 teaspoons dried basil
- 4 teaspoons dried oregano
- 1 teaspoons dried thyme
- 4 teaspoons garlic powder
- 4 teaspoons onion powder
- 2 teaspoons onion flakes
- 2 teaspoons dried dill
- 2 teaspoons ground pepper
- 2 teaspoons dried parsley
- 2 teaspoons dried rosemary
- 1 teaspoons cinnamon
- 1 teaspoons nutmeg
- Using a medium size bowl, add mayonnaise and greek seasoning. Mix well.
- 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.
When you finish putting together a week’s worth of lunch in the form of a salad and it doesn’t take much effort at all yet it tastes like it should? The feeling of satisfaction AND victory. Not only did I just save myself time each day by prepping this meal ahead in bulk amount, but I get to look forward to having more time to actually enjoy it.
Most Mediterranean salads have olives in them. Feel free to add those to the list of ingredients if you happen to like olives. I don’t, so I opted to leave them out.
Mediterranean Pasta Salad
A quick and easy take on a Mediterranean salad with an added bonus: pasta noodles.
- 12-ounces farfalle pasta, cooked according to directions
- 1 cucumber, diced
- 3 roma tomatoes, diced
- 4-ounces crumbled low fat feta cheese
- half of a medium size red onion, thinly sliced
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
- 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 2 teaspoons dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon honey
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon fresh black pepper
- Cook pasta according to package over med-high heat in a medium size saucepan. Drain in a strainer under cold water for 30-45 minutes to cool off pasta. Drain again.
- Add cucumber, tomatoes, red onion and feta cheese to a medium size mixing bowl. Add Lemon-Herb Vinaigrette and combine well. Next add pasta and combine again. Serve immediately.
Adapted from Gimme Some Oven
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?
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
Your favorite go-to-sandwich just became a salad with pasta.
- 6 cups romaine lettuce, chopped
- 2½ cups uncooked bow-tie pasta
- 2 medium size tomatoes, diced
- 4 turkey bacon strips, fully cooked and crumbled into small pieces
- ½ cup ranch dressing
- 1 tablespoon barbecue sauce
- 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.
- In a large bowl, add pasta, tomatoes, bacon and romaine lettuce.
- 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.
- This can be stored for 3 days in an air-tight container. Just don't add the romaine lettuce until right before serving.
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.
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.
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
Penne noodles with a homemade pesto sauce, diced tomatoes and fresh mozzarella cheese.
- 8-ounces whole wheat penne pasta
- fresh mozzarella cheese
- 3 roma tomatoes, diced
- 1 cup pesto sauce, homemade recipe above
- 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.
- 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.