Mexican Tomato & Corn Salad

Tomato, Corn, Cilantro, Lime, Queso Fresco

This side dish is fresh, tangy, flavorful, and sweet!  The sweet corn and cherry tomatoes are coated with a tangy dressing that leaves you wanting more!  With fresh corn and cherry tomatoes in season, now is the PERFECT time to be making this salad.  However, I think it’s so good that the salad will still be a home run in the winter too!  You can cut corn kernels directly off the ear, or use frozen corn.  Also, Queso Fresco cheese is a Mexican cheese that you can usually find in most grocery stores among the other cheeses.  (If you can’t find it, feta cheese is most widely used as a substitute.)  We loved the change-up that this salad gave us (as compared to usual carbohydrate side dishes like potatoes or rice . . . . although we love those too).  I craved it for days after I made it (thank goodness I had leftovers)!

*Note:  If you need/want to save some unnecessary calories, pull the cheese out of the recipe.  That will save you 40 calories & 3 grams of fat per serving.

Mexican Tomato and Corn Salad
Adapted from melskitchencafe.com

For the salad:
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 1/2 cups fresh or frozen corn kernels
2 cups halved grape or cherry tomatoes
2 oz. crumbled queso fresco cheese
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
salt and pepper to taste

For the dressing:
1 tablespoon freshly grated lime zest (zest the lime(s) before juicing)
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon minced garlic (from about 3 garlic cloves)

In a large skillet, heat the 1 teaspoon olive oil over medium heat. Stir in the corn and cook until soft (but not mushy), 3-5 minutes, stirring/tossing occasionally. Cool corn slightly and set aside.

Whisk together the lime zest, lime juice, vinegar, 1 tablespoon olive oil and garlic in a small bowl.

In a medium bowl, combine the tomatoes, cheese, cilantro and corn. Toss the salad with the vinaigrette and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Serves 4 (Makes Approximately 4 Cups).

Nutritional Information (Per Serving = Approximately 1 Cup)
Calories:  160
Protein:  5.9g
Carbs:  19g
Fat:  8.2g (2.7g = Sat.)
Fiber:  2.7g
Sugars:  4.5g

Steak & Potato Skillet Salad

Sounds interesting, right?  That’s what I thought when I first came across this hearty salad.  I think I’ve said it before, but I rarely like salads to be my main course.  I LOVE them as a side, but do not prefer them as the star.  However, when I saw this salad I thought that, while it sounded interesting, it also sounded hearty.  I mean, I still get my steak and potatoes!

This was a SUPER easy way to prepare both the steak and the potatoes.  I used the microwave and one skillet to achieve a freshly seared steak AND crispy potatoes.  While I seared the steak, I popped the potatoes in the microwave to give them a head start (you’ll want to avoid having raw insides and burnt outsides).  By the time the steak was ready to rest, the potatoes were ready to be added to the skillet to finish cooking . . . not to mention they were infused with a meaty flavor from the browned bits left behind by the seared steak.  Talk about delicious!

The dressing was very tasty!  I think it was the thyme that really complimented the beef here.  I will tell you that the reason this recipe has a tad bit more calories than expected is because of the dressings (those darn dressings will get us EVERY time).  So, if you’re really watching calories then you’ll want to half the amount of dressing you put on your salad.  (Just so you can see, I did end up putting the calorie count for the dressing alone.  You can find it at the bottom of the post.)

I really loved this salad . . . even as my main course.  It was LARGE, meaty, and filling.  Oh, and very tasty to boot!

Steak and Potato Skillet Salad
Adapted from The America’s Test Kitchen Healthy Family Cookbook

Dressing
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
3 tablespoons water
1 tablespoon red onion, minced
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 teaspoon minced fresh thyme (or 1/8 tsp. dried)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper

Salad
1 pound boneless top sirloin steak, about 1-1/4 inches thick
salt and pepper
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 pound potatoes (about 3 medium), scrubbed and cut into wedges
3 romaine lettuce hearts (about 1 pound), torn into bite-sized pieces
1/3 cup thinly sliced red onion

For the dressing:  Whisk all the ingredients together in a bowl until bell combined; set aside.  (Alternatively, you can put it all in a food processor and process until combined.)

For the salad:  Pat the steak dry with paper towels and season with salt and pepper (about 1/8 teaspoon of each).  Heat 2 teaspoons of the oil in a 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until just smoking.  Brown the steak well on the first side, about 3 minutes.  Flip the steak, reduce the heat to medium, and continue to cook until the center of the steak registers 120 to 125 degrees on an in, 5 to 7 minutes longer.  (This is for medium-rare.  If you prefer it more or less done, cook for more or less time accordingly.  I cooked mine until they were 130 degrees.)

Transfer the steak to a carving board, tent loosely with foil, and let rest for 10 minutes.  Cut the steak across the grain into 1/4-inch-thick slices.

Meanwhile, toss the potatoes with the remaining 1 teaspoon oil in a large microwave-safe bowl.  Cover the microwave on high until the potatoes are tender, 5 to 10 minutes, stirring the potatoes halfway through the cooking time.

Return the skillet to medium-high heat until just smoking.  Add the potatoes in a single layer and cook until well browned on both sides, about 5 minutes.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Whisk the dressing to recombine.  Toss the lettuce and onion with 1/2 cup of the dressing, then divide it among four plates.  Arrange the steak and potatoes on top of the salads, drizzle with the remaining dressing, and serve.

Serves 4.

Nutritional Information (Per Serving = 1/4 of Recipe)
Calories:  380
Protein:  29g
Carbs:  29g
Fat:  16g (3g = Sat.)
Fiber:  4g

Nutritional Information – DRESSING ONLY (Per serving)
Calories:  83.4
Protein:  0.1g
Carbs:  5.5g
Fat:  7g (1g = Sat.)
Fiber:  0.1g

Pomegranate & Apple Winter Salad With Creamy Pomegranate Dressing

This salad is soooooooo perfect for holiday parties.  It’s also sooooooo perfect for winter time.  This looks so festive and tastes so yummy too!  I first made this for Thanksgiving dinner and we’ve had it a couple of times since then.  The only ingredients that are sacred to the recipe are the apples and pomegranate arils/seeds.  After that you can totally play with the vegetables that you might enjoy in the salad.  I LOVE the sweetness and crunch that the fruit offer to this salad.  The apples and the pomegranate really compliment each other and you’ll be delighted how the tart meets the sweet.  The dressing is a cinch to throw together and it continues to highlight the star ingredients.

If you’re looking for a healthy and delicious side to take to your next party, you ought to consider this one!  If you’re just looking for something to change things up at home, this may be your ticket too.  If you want to turn this into a full meal, you can easily add chicken to your salad with great success!  Enjoy!

Pomegranate & Apple Winter Salad
With Creamy Pomegranate Dressing

Mimi Original

3 cups mixed greens (I used romaine)
1 medium apple, diced (I used honey crisp)
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 cup pomegranate seeds (arils)
1 medium carrot, chopped
1 cup sliced mushrooms
1/2 cup sliced red onion
1/2 cup sliced red bell pepper
1/2 cup sliced cucumber

Dressing:
1/3 cup pomegranate juice
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 shallot, minced
2 teaspoons sugar
2 teaspoons canola oil
2 tablespoons light mayonnaise
1/4 teaspoon salt

To prepare salad, place greens in a serving bowl.  Pour lemon juice over chopped apple and stir to coat (this helps to prevent the apple from browning).  Top greens with apple, pomegranate seeds, and remaining vegetables.

To prepare dressing, combine juice and next 5 ingredients a small bowl; stir well with whisk.  (You can also put all ingredients in a food processor and process until smooth.)

Serves 6.

Nutritional Information – Salad Only (Per Serving = 1/6 of Recipe)
Calories:  56.2
Protein:  1.5g
Carbs:  12.8g
Fat:  0.6g (0g = Sat.)
Fiber:  2.9g
Sugars:  7.8g

Nutritional Information – Salad & Dressing (Per Serving = 1/6 of Recipe)
Calories:  101.6
Protein:  1.6g
Carbs:  17.3g
Fat:  3.7g (0.4g = Sat.)
Fiber:  2.9g
Sugars:  11.7g

 

Chicken & Avocado Quinoa Salad

I love salad, but I rarely love to eat salad for my main course.  It’s always been a delicious side dish for me (and I rarely make a major meal without preparing one full of healthy veggies).  However, once in a while there is a salad that can steal my heart away at dinner or lunch (usually lunch!).   I’m pretty sure I loved this salad because it was hearty AND fresh.   How often can you put those two adjectives together?  It has quinoa (oh, how I love the texture of quinoa), chicken, avocado, and fresh veggies which is all covered in a light and lemony dressing.  If I’m being honest here (which I always am!), I wouldn’t choose to eat this most nights because of my before mentioned salad quandary.  But, I would definitely eat this for lunch more often.  That being said, it really was a fabulous meal change for us and I highly recommend throwing it in your file of recipes to try.  Besides, don’t you think it looks pretty?

Chicken & Avocado Quinoa Salad
Adapted from Picky Palate

1 1/2 cups uncooked quinoa, rinsed and drained
2 cups broccoli florets
2 pounds cooked, cubed chicken breast
1/2 cup diced yellow or red sweet peppers or bell peppers
1/4 cup fresh Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 avocado, diced

Cook quinoa according to package directions. Transfer to a large bowl, stirring every 5 minutes to break up. Let cool for 15 minutes.

Place broccoli, chicken, peppers, and Parmesan cheese into a large bowl. Add quinoa and stir to combine.

To prepare dressing, place olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper into a medium bowl, whisking to combine. Pour over quinoa, stirring then gently stir in cubed avocado.

Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Serves 8.

Nutritional Information (Per Serving)
Calories:  358
Protein:  30g
Carbs: 27.1g
Fat:  14.5g (1.6g = Sat.)
Fiber:  4.6g
Sugars:  2.6g

Fit Ranch Dip (and Dressing Too)

This is a staple around my house!  It is amazing the way this dip/dressing comes together and tastes so much like the REAL thing.  Have you ever blended cottage cheese?  Well, if not, you’re about to do it because I’m not sure how you can resist trying this!  By taking cottage cheese and blending it you end up with a very similar texture as sour cream.  I just add Ranch seasoning to it, and magically I have a ranch dip that is low in fat and high in protein.  This works great on a relish tray with vegetables, I put it on my baked potatoes, I often times add a little milk to it to make it more of the consistency of dressing and then use it as such on my salads (it tastes so good on taco salads), and whatever else you like to use ranch for.  I’m sure it’s easy to see why this is a staple at my house.  Perhaps it can become a staple at yours too!  Feel free to play around with the flavors or seasoning packets.  My favorite at the moment is the Spicy Ranch mix.

Fit Ranch Dip

1 cup 2% milkfat cottage cheese
1 tsp. ranch seasoning (such as Hidden Valley Ranch seasoning mixes)

Put cottage cheese in a food processor or blender.  Process/blend until smooth (texture should resemble that of sour cream).  Add ranch seasoning and process/blend until combined.  Serve.

Serves 8.

Nutritional Information (Per Serving = 2 Tablespoons)
Calories:  27.3
Protein:  3.9g
Carbohydrates:  1.4g
Fat:  0.5g (0.3g = Sat.)
Fiber:  0g
Sugars:  0.1g