Tropical fruit salad with lime dressing

Tropical fruit salad with lime dressing

If you’ve ever had a conversation with me or have heard me speak, you’ll recognize that I really hate food waste. Brought up by 2 parents that lived through the Depression era, you didn’t leave a pea on your plate in my house. Did you know that 40% of the food in the US ends up in a landfill? That is unacceptable! I don’t want to contribute more food waste.

Our frig is often full of food because my husband and I both love to cook. But, we either make too much or I bring home what’s left from a food demo. You can typically find noodles, fruit, rice, beans or some other item just waiting to go bad. This morning, I decided to create something out of the chopped cucumbers and cilantro left from a Saturday class. I had a pineapple that was overdue to be cut and some watermelon, berries and grapes from last week. Here’s what transpired:

Ingredients:

1 cup chopped cucumber (1/2 of a cucumber)

1 cup fresh pineapple

1 cup watermelon, cut into 1″ chunks

1/2 cup grapes

1/2 cup blueberries

1/2 cup blackberries

1/4 cup chopped cilantro

Dressing:

Juice from 1 lime

1/2 tsp. honey

Directions:

Place cucumbers, fruit and cilantro in a bowl and toss.

Whisk together lime juice and honey.

Drizzle over fruit, toss and serve.

Makes 8 (1/2 cup) servings.

 

 

Mediterranean tomato & spinach salad

Mediterranean tomato & spinach salad

I admittedly have a brown thumb and am not known for my gardening skills. We have minimal sun coupled with lots of deer, so the stars do not exactly align for a garden. But, if you give me a few crops, I’ll make you dinner!

I picked up a basil plant at my local hardware store and with the grace of lots of rain this season, it has thrived. I recently paired some cherry tomatoes with torn romaine, fresh spinach, basil and a simple dressing and VOILA! A new salad was born.

This salad can be made with any greens and other veggies can be added. I am a fan of kalamata olives and feta cheese, but bleu cheese would go well here, too.

Ingredients:

2 cups fresh spinach leaves

2 cups torn romaine lettuce

1 pint cherry tomatoes, cut in half

1/4 cup pitted/chopped kalamata olives

1/4 cup feta cheese

1/4 red onion, cut into rings

1 handful washed, torn fresh basil

Dressing:

1/4 olive oil

1/4 balsamic vinegar

1 tsp. Dijon mustard

salt/pepper to taste

Directions:

Place the greens, basil, onions, tomatoes, olives and feta cheese in a bowl.

In a separate bowl, whisk the olive oil, vinegar and mustard together. Drizzle the dressing over the salad. Toss and serve.

Makes 4 servings.

 

Breakfast quinoa with ginger and cinnamon

Breakfast quinoa with ginger and cinnamon

It’s finally cool enough in Cincinnati to have hot food for breakfast. I love oatmeal, but sometimes want something a little different for breakfast. Have you tried quinoa for breakfast?

I tend to have a lot of quinoa on hand from previous cooking demos.  It’s a favorite grain for me because of its versatility and strong nutritional profile. Quinoa is higher in protein and fiber than other grains, which means it promotes satiety (read FULLNESS). In addition, it’s a decent source of iron- a nutrient that can be deficient, particularly for women and kids. Typically, I have used it for savory dishes with vegetables and beans. Today was different! I made a small batch as a trial, but the recipe can be doubled or tripled to serve more. Below is what transpired.

Ingredients:
1/2 cup dry quinoa
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. brown sugar or maple syrup
1 tsp. ginger paste (Spice World)
1 Tbsp. slivered almonds

Directions:
Cook quinoa according to directions.
While still hot, add cinnamon, ginger paste, brown sugar and slivered almonds. Mix and serve warm.

Makes 2 (1/2 cup) servings. Nutrition facts per serving: 184 calories, 4.1 grams fat, 6.7 grams protein, 30.5 grams carbohydrate, 3.8 grams fiber, 0 mg cholesterol, 3 mg sodium

Farro salad with arugula, spinach & dried cherries

Farro salad with arugula, spinach & dried cherries

Summer is a perfect time of year to enjoy grain salads. If you’ve got a picnic, potluck or just want something delicious for dinner, look no further! This salad combines farro, fresh spinach, arugula and dried cherries in a simple orange dressing. It can be made ahead of time or a few hours before your next soiree.

Farro is a a versatile ancient whole grain that’s high in fiber and protein. It’s cooked like rice, but needs 3:1 fluid to grain. It can be cooked in chicken or vegetable broth for a savory taste, or cooked in water and seasoned afterwards. Since it takes a good 30-minutes to cook, I suggest cooking a large batch and using it in multiple dishes. The salad can “stand alone” or grilled chicken, fish or shrimp can be added to make it a complete meal. Bob’s Red Mill provided farro samples for this recipe. I brought it to a recent party and it was a hit! #samples #client

Ingredients:

1 cup farro cooked according to directions

2 cups baby spinach

2 cups arugula

1/4 cup chopped red onions

1/4 cup feta cheese crumbles

1/2 cup dried cherries or cranberries

1/4 cup shelled pumpkin seeds (pepitas)

1/4 cup orange juice

1/4 cup olive oil

 

Directions:

Cook farro according to directions and set aside to cool in a large mixing bowl.

Once farro has cooled, add spinach, arugula, chopped onions, feta cheese, dried cherries and pepitas.

Whisk together orange juice and olive oil into a dressing.

Pour dressing over the salad and toss it.

Makes 6 servings. Nutrition facts per serving: 217 calories, 12.8 grams fat, 5 grams protein, 23 grams carbohydrate, 3 grams fiber, 5.6 mg cholesterol, 85 mg sodium.

 

Avocado tuna salad

Avocado tuna salad

You’ll pinch yourself when you realize how easy and delicious this tuna salad is. There’s no doubt- green is the new black! Avocados have become wildly popular for their versatility, availability and nutritional prowess. Loaded with heart-healthy mono-unsaturated fat, avocados are showing up in everything from pudding to toast.

This salad requires minimum prep time, though you’ll have to chop some onions and celery. It does not contain hard boiled eggs, but you could certainly add them if you like. In addition to mono-unsaturated fat, avocados are also a great source of potassium, a nutrient needed to help reduce blood pressure.

Ingredients:

1, 5 oz. can of albacore tuna (flaked if possible)

1/2 ripe avocado, roughly chopped

1/2 cup minced celery

1/4 cup minced red onion

1 Tbsp. olive oil

2 tsp. lemon juice

1/2 tsp. kosher salt

freshly ground pepper

Directions:

Place all ingredients in a medium bowl. Using a fork, mash the avocado and break up the chunks of tuna as you mix the ingredients. Add more olive oil, salt or pepper if needed. Serve on your favorite cracker, toast or over salad.

Makes 4 servings. Nutrition facts per serving: 177 calories, 12 grams fat, 11.5 grams protein, 7 grams carbohydrate, 4 gram fiber, 18 mg cholesterol, 475 mg sodium.

Mediterranean farro salad

Mediterranean farro salad

This springs’ harvest of vegetables belong in this simple, delicious salad.  Farro is an ancient ‘super grain’ that cooks up like steel cut oats, meaning it needs more water than other grains (about 4:1 ratio, liquid to grain).  Season it with garlic or onions or light soy sauce as a side dish.  Higher in fiber and protein than other grains, farro is also a good source of several vitamins and minerals.  Farro is a decent source of iron (10% of the daily value)- a nutrient that’s tricky to obtain in vegetarian diets.  Adding a vitamin C rich food (like spinach, bell peppers or tomatoes) boosts the absorption of iron from plant foods such as beans or grains.  Adding a can of white beans or lentils adds protein, soluble fiber and iron to the dish.  This recipe was featured on Fox 19 on 5-9 and was sponsored by Bob’s Red Mill. #sponsored

Ingredients:

1 ½ cups uncooked farro

1/3 cup diced red onion

1 pint grape or tomatoes, cut in half

2 cups fresh spinach leaves

2 cloves garlic, minced

½ cup Kalamata olives, chopped

1 small cucumber, chopped

½ cup feta cheese

1/3 cup olive oil

1/3 cup red wine vinegar

1 (15 oz) can cannellini beans (or other white beans), drained and rinsed- optional

1 Tbsp. dried oregano

 

Directions:

  1. Prepare farro according to directions. Set aside to cool.
  2. Whisk together vinegar, olive oil, oregano and garlic and set aside.
  3. Wash spinach leaves and use a salad spinner to dry. Tear the spinach leaves and place in a large bowl.  Add chopped tomatoes, red onions and cucumbers.
  4. Add farro and white beans to the vegetable mixture, then add the dressing and blend well.
  5. Add feta cheese and olives and toss into the salad and serve.

Makes 10 (1 cup) servings.  Nutrition facts per serving:  340 calories, 11 grams fat, 47 grams carbohydrate, 14.8 grams protein, 8 grams fiber, 7 mg cholesterol, 157 mg sodium, 23 % DV iron

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