Polynesian Salad With Shrimp and Pineapple Vinaigrette

Polynesian Salad - Mimi's Fit Foods

I’m back!  I’ve been on a little (well, kinda huge to our little family) vacation to none other than Hawaii.  This was our first “big” vacation with the baby in tow, and we managed to get through the airport, survive the flights, and have a wonderful time on the island of Oahu.

Hawaii-Mimi's Fit Foods

While this was my view every day from our beach house, I also tried some delicious food (of course!).  One of the spots we frequented was a burger spot in Laie called Seven Brothers and I got myself a salad on our first visit.  The cashier said it was the most popular salad on the menu, so I ordered the Polynesian Salad.  You guys!  It was sooooo good!  In fact, I loved it so much that I had it three times while I was in Hawaii and it was what I chose for my “last meal” before I flew home.  I’m not trying to be dramatic, but I seriously couldn’t get enough of the yummy salad.

So, while I enjoyed my “last meal” I carefully studied the salad and its flavors so I could try to recreate it at home.  I’ve done it, my friends!  I’ve seriously done it!  When I sat down to eat this for dinner I could almost hear the waves crashing in the background . . . it took me right back to Laie.  It has fabulous texture thanks to the crunch you get from the carrots, cabbage, and nuts.  It also has a balanced sweetness with the grilled pineapple and the coconut.  And the dressing . . . yeah, this is what takes it over the top.  It has a distinct pineapple taste with a slight edge of sophistication because of Blue Cheese.

The Seven Brothers restaurant does not serve their salad with shrimp (although you can add fish to your salad if you want), but I thought shrimp was the perfect addition for a healthy protein.  It was a fabulous compliment to the sweet pineapple flavors found throughout.

Again, I’m not trying to be dramatic, but this salad is absolutely amazing.  I know it doesn’t scream “Autumn,” so perhaps you might think the timing of putting it on the blog is a little off, but it is the BEST thing I could bring home to you all from Hawaii (trust me . . . you would WAY rather have this than one of those cheap key chains from the Swap Meet).  You’re going to love it and so will everyone else who gets a taste.

Aloha!

Polynesian Salad With Shrimp and Pineapple Vinaigrette 

For the Salad:
12 cups (or 16 oz.) mixed greens (I used a Spring mix)
3 medium carrots, chopped fine
2 cups red cabbage, chopped fine
6 fresh pineapple rings, 1/4 thick
24 ounces shrimp, peeled and deveined
2 1/2 oz. macadamia nuts, toasted
1/2 cup, plus 2 tablespoons shredded coconut

For the Dressing:
1/2 cup pineapple juice
3 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoons agave (or honey)
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated ginger root
2 tablespoons blue cheese crumbles
salt and pepper to taste

For the salad:
Combine mixed greens, carrots, and cabbage in a large bowl.  Set aside.

Prepare grill by heating to medium (I used an indoor grill, AKA my George Foreman).  Oil grill grates.  Place pineapple on grill and grill for approximately 3-5 minutes per side, until tender and golden.  Remove from grill and cut into chunks.

If desired, season shrimp with salt and pepper (to taste).  Place on grill and grill for approximately 2 minutes per side, or until shrimp is completely pink/white and it curls up a bit.  Remove from grill and set aside.

If serving for a large crowd, wait for pineapple and shrimp to cool to room temperature and then gently toss with mixed greens.  Add toasted macadamia nuts and coconut and evenly toss.  Serve with dressing.  (Recipe makes enough for 6 good sized dinner portions and would probably serve at least 10-12 people as a side dish.)

If serving individual plates (which I mostly do at home), place approximately 3 cups of greens on a plate, top with pineapple chunks (from one ring), approximately 4 ounces of shrimp (which was about 8-10 of my medium shrimp), 1 tablespoon of nuts, and 2 tablespoons of coconut.  Serve with 2 1/2 tablespoons of dressing.

Serves 6.

For the Dressing:
Put all ingredients in a blender or food processor and process until smooth.

Serves 6.

**Notes about this salad:  The macadamia nuts are high in calories.  If you omit them altogether, you’ll save yourself 80 calories and 9 grams of fat per serving.  They aren’t the healthiest nut to have around, but they are truly Hawaiian so I left them in the recipe.  Omit them if you’re really watching your food intake.  Also, I used fresh pineapple, but I’m sure canned would work in a pinch (and for the dressing you can use the drained pineapple juice from the can).  

Nutritional Information
Salad & Dressing (Per Serving = 1/6 of the Recipe)
Calories:  402.8
Protein:  29.7g
Carbs:  27.2g
Fat:  20.6g (7.4g = Sat.)
Fiber:  6.7g
Sugars:  17g

Nutritional Information
Salad Only (Per Serving = 1/6 of the Recipe)

Calories:  336.7
Protein:  28.6g
Carbs:  22.8g
Fat:  15.2g (6.3g = Sat.)
Fiber:  6.6g
Sugars:  14.2g (all natural sugars)

Nutritional Information
Dressing Only (Per Serving = Approx. 2 1/2 Tablespoons)
Calories:  66
Protein:  1.1g
Carbs:  4.4g
Fat:  5.4g (1.1g = Sat.)
Fiber:  0g
Sugars:  2.9g

Skeleton Veggie Tray

Skeleton Veggie Tray - Mimi's Fit Foods

Ok, folks!  The Halloween parties are in full swing for us, so I’m guessing they are for you too!  One of the tips I suggest to my clients when going to parties is to offer to take something healthy that you know you can/should eat.  I mean, let’s be honest.  When we show up to parties there is always a lot of fun food that is loaded with fats and or sugars (admittedly they are usually way yummy, but not good for the belly/hips/thighs . . . ya know!?).  So, I always like to play it safe by taking something healthy that I know I can eat.

A veggie tray is alway a good solution.  However, it can be BORING.  Well, it doesn’t have to be boring for Halloween!  I found this fun way to amp up the fun with a typical veggie tray.  I took this to a family Halloween pot-luck party last weekend and it was eaten up in minutes.  There was another large veggie tray there too, but it had hardly been touched.  I’m still kind of sitting here amazed that the skeleton trick won over the kiddos and got them to eat their veggies.  They seriously ate it up (literally and figuratively).

I made the protein-packed dip from cottage cheese.  If you haven’t made the Fit Ranch Dip/Dressing  yet, you must!  (You will also deceive your little and big people with this dip.)

Hopefully this gives you a fun idea on how to fill up your belly with veggies instead of Halloween candy.  Have fun at all your parties and be safe!

Cheesy Cauliflower Quinoa

Cheesy Cauliflower Quinoa - Mimi's Fit Foods

You guys!  This is such a yummy side dish.  We all loved it at first bite!  If you love quinoa, it’s a no-brainer.  If you don’t love quinoa, well this might just be the recipe to change your mind.  You’re probably thinking, “Come on.  How awesome can quinoa get with the addition of cauliflower and cheese?”  Well, let me tell you!  It gets pretty darn awesome!  Think cheesy cauliflower with the creamy texture of quinoa thrown in.  I guess I just needed a good excuse to find cheesy cauliflower legit in a healthy way.  I totally feel 100% okay with getting my cheesy cauliflower fix with this yummy dish.  We’re totally addicted and we might end up having this more than once or twice a week now.

Cheesy Cauliflower Quinoa
Adapted from Mom, What’s For Dinner?

1 cup quinoa, well rinsed
1 3/4 cup low-sodium chicken broth
2 cups cauliflower, chopped
1 cup reduced fat cheese (I used a Mexican 4-cheese blend)
salt and pepper to taste

Add quinoa and broth to a medium pot.

Cover and bring the quinoa and broth to a boil over medium heat. Add Cauliflower and reduce the heat and simmer covered until the broth has been absorbed and the quinoa is tender,about 15-20 minutes.

Mix in the cheese, let it melt and season with salt and pepper. Serve hot! This easily reheats. Keep in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days.

Serves 6.

Nutritional Information (Per Serving = 1/6 of the Recipe)
Calories:  180.7
Protein:  10.6g
Carbs:  22.7g
Fat:  5.9g (2g = Sat.)
Fiber:  2.8g
Sugars:  2g

Grilled Peaches With a Raspberry-Lime Marinade

Grilled Peaches With a Raspberry-Lime Marinade - Mimi's Fit Foods

Have you ever had grilled peaches before?  They are delicious and make such a sweet little dessert without loads of calories.  We have them every fall when the peaches are in season.  I tried this new variation of them and they turned out so awesome.  The peaches get to take a 30-60 minute soak in a flavorful marinade made up of brown sugar, lime juice, and raspberries.  Holy moly!  So good, right!?  This marinade just adds an extra fabulous layer of taste to the grilled peaches and we were all smitten at our house.

The grilled peaches are delicious plain (well, topped with a little extra marinade, of course) . . . especially if you’re using them for a side dish.  If you want to take them to an extra dessert-ish level, you can add ice cream.  We totally did this (because, why not!?) and we chose to top our peaches with Dryer’s Slow Churned Frozen Vanilla Yogurt.  YUM!

Grilled Peaches With a Raspberry-Lime Marinade Frozen Yogurt - Mimi's Fit Foods

Grilled Peaches With a Raspberry-Lime Marinade
Adapted from sparkrecipes.com

2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice (usually 1 lime)
1 cup fresh raspberries
5 medium unpeeled peaches, halved and pitted
(vegetable oil to coat the grill)

Comine sugar and lime juice in a shallow dish; mix well.  Add 1/2 of the raspberries and mash.

Add peach halves, turning to coat and marinate at room temperature, cut sides down for 30-60 minutes.

Clean and pre-heat grill to a medium-high heat.  Coat grill rack with oil and place peaches cut sides down (save marinade).  Turn peaches over after two minutes, reduce heat to low-medium, then cook for another 15 minutes or until tender, basting once with half of the reserved marinade.  Remove from grill.

Stir remaining raspberries into reserved marinade and spoon over peach halves.  Serve warm (and top with your choice of ice cream, if desired).

Serves 5.

Nutritional Information (Per Serving = 2 Peach Halves)
Calories:  75.8
Protein:  1g
Carbs:  21.7g
Fat:  0.2g (0g = Sat)
Fiber:  3.7g
Sugars:  7.5g

Nutritional Information
(Per Serving = 2 Peach Halves + 1/4 Cup Dryer’s SC Frozen Yogurt )
Calories:  125.8
Protein:  2g
Carbs:  30.2g
Fat:  1.7g (0g = Sat.)
Fiber:  3.7g
Sugars:  7.5g

Sautéed Baby Squash with Basil and Feta

Sautéed Baby Squash with Basil and Feta - Mimi's Fit Foods

I found these cute, little baby squash at Costco and I couldn’t resist buying them.  Because of our move, we didn’t get our garden in this year so we haven’t been feeling that overdose of zucchini yet.  Thus, I plunged and made the purchase knowing we would love eating these cute squashes for dinner.  That being said, you can make this dish with your home-grown summer squash just as easily.  I thought this was a nice way to change up the flavors with the squash.  It comes together super fast (like under 10 minutes) and tastes great.  I think next time I’ll even add a drizzle of balsamic vinegar.  Yum!  This recipe offers another variation of how to use up that summer squash that seems to reproduce like crazy!

Sautéed Baby Squash with Basil and Feta

1/2 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
4 cups summer squash
1 cup yellow onion, diced
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons crumbled reduced-fat feta cheese
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh basil

Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium heat.  Add oil to the pan and heat for about 20 seconds.  Add squash and onions to pan; saute 5-8 minutes or until tender, stirring frequently.  Stir in salt and pepper.  Transfer squash mixture to a serving platter.  Sprinkle with cheese and basil.

Serves 4.

Nutritional Information (Per Serving = 1/4 of the Squash)
Calories:  86
Protein:  4.2g
Carbs:  10.9g
Fat:  2.8g (1.3g = Sat.)
Fiber:  3.3g
Sugars:  4.8g

Mango Quinoa Salad with Black Beans

Mango Quinoa Salad with Black Beans - Mimi's Fit Foods

I’m already starting to get a little sad that summer is on the tail-end.  With that being said, I’m trying to soak in as much summer cooking as I can before we truly have to say goodbye.  I’ve had this salad on my list for a while now and it’s one of those recipes that I wanted to be sure to make before summer’s end.  My, oh my!  It’s so yummy and full of summer.  I’ve been seeing  a lot of Quinoa-Mango recipes floating around and knew I was going to fall in love.  That mango is so sweet and delicious next to the quinoa.  I love having all the Tex-Mex flavors mixed in as well.  We’re talking peppers, green onions, black beans, and fresh cilantro.  The dressing tops it off with a nice tang.  Fabulous, right?

Seriously!  You can’t go wrong with this dish.  Even if you’re not a quinoa fan (what!?), you’re going to like this. The quinoa is so subtle, yet you get all the health benefits from it.  Meanwhile, you’ll be enjoying the texture from the crunchy, fresh veggies and you’ll also be hunting for that sweet mango.  I mean, it’s a “win” all around!

This recipe calls for cooked quinoa.  I cooked about 2/3 cup dry quinoa and had almost exactly what I needed for the full 2 cups.

Mango Quinoa Salad with Black Beans
Adapted Slightly From Mel’s Kitchen Cafe

2 cups cooked quinoa (cooked in vegetable or chicken broth), at room temperature
1 cup black beans, drained and rinsed
1 medium mango, peeled and diced
1 red bell pepper, diced
4 green onions, white and green parts thinly sliced
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
4 tablespoons red wine vinegar
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Place the cooked quinoa in a large bowl.  Add mango, red pepper, green onion, black beans, and cilantro.

In a small bowl combine vinegar, olive oil, lime juice, salt, and pepper.  Whisk until the dressing is smooth and pour on top of salad.  Toss to combine.  Chill the salad for at least one hour before serving.

Serves Approximately 12.

Nutritional Information (Per Serving = Approx. 1/2 Cup)
Calories:  102.7
Protein:  2.9g
Carbs:  14.4g
Fat:  4.3g (0.5g = Sat.)
Fiber:  2.5g
Sugars:  0.7g

Healthy & Low Calorie (Jicama) Fries

Jicama Fries - Mimi's Fit Foods

I have a slight love for Jicama.  However, it seems as if the Jicama Root is not very well known.  But, it should be because it’s ultra healthy and very good for you.  It’s a vegetable in the bean family and has a crisp and crunchy texture.  It has a mild taste, but tastes slightly sweet.  The beauty of this awesome vegetable is that it tastes great, but is also very high in dietary fiber.  That’s where most of the carbohydrate calories come from.  Not bad, eh?  I actually really love Jicama in my salads and get a little excited when I see it on salad bars.  (If you want to know more about Jicama, you can go here.  There is also a picture of Jicama, just in case you’re not sure what it looks like.)

So, I saw this idea to make fries out of Jicama and I thought it was genius.  Knowing Jicama , I was quite confident that the fries would turn out fabulous.  And, indeed I was right.  We all loved these things and I am so excited to have a fry recipe I can rely on for times when we’re having burgers or kabobs or I just have a crazy craving for fries.  I wouldn’t feel all that guilty about snacking on these!!

You can totally season these with whatever suits your fancy.  This particular time I used a blend of garlic, parsley, salt, and pepper.  I think they would also be great with chili powder and smoked paprika.  Yum, yum!

Jicama Fries2 - Mimi's Fit Foods

Healthy & Low Calorie Jicama Fries
Slightly Adapted from BuiltLean

1 Jicama root
1 tablespoon of seasonings of choice (garlic, chili powder, paprika, etc.)
sprinkle of sea salt
1 1/2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil

Using a vegetable peeler or paring knife, remove the papery-thin peel of the jicama root.

When you have cleanly removed all of the peel, slice the jicama into flat rounds about 1/2 inch thick, and then cut them up into strips resembling steak fries.

Lay your jicama strips out in one layer on a non-stick baking sheet, and prepare your seasonings.

Mix the seasonings in a small bowl and sprinkle them over the jicama strips as evenly as possible. Using an oil mister, apply a thin coat of olive oil. If you don’t have a mister, just drizzle the olive oil over the jicama. If need be, toss the fries around on the baking sheet to even out the seasonings and oil.

Bake the seasoned jicama fries in the oven at 375 degrees for 15-20 minutes, toss fries (or take the time to flip them all over) and bake for an additional 15-20 minutes, until they are golden-brown and crisp. Enjoy!

Serves 4.

Nutritional Information (Per Serving)
Calories:  77.6
Protein:  1.2g
Carbs:  14.5g
Fat:  1.9g (0.3g = Sat.)
Fiber:  8.1g
Sugars:  3g

Cantaloupe and Avocado Salad with Agave-Lime Dressing

Cantaloupe and Avocado Salad - Mimi's Fit Foods

Ok. Ok.  So, this might seem like a weird combination.  However, let me be the one to convince you that it is a mightily GREAT combination.  We like both cantaloupe and avocado in our house.  We like it a lot.  We also love lime.  Thus, I knew I had to give this a whirl to see if the flavors would meld well together.  Oh man!  We love cantaloupe, avocado, and lime EVEN more now.  This salad was screaming SUMMER and it tasted fresh, with a hint of sweetness, as well as a hint of tartness.  It was a perfect side dish to our dinner.  My cute little baby even GOBBLED this right up.  I seriously put a good portion size on her serving tray, turned around to do something, turned back around to check on her, and it was all gone and she was begging for more.  I kind of wish I could act like a baby sometimes and cry and grunt for more too . . . even when I know I’ve had way over my portion allotment.

I’m SUPER glad I found this recipe and had the curiosity to try it because it’s going to make several more appearances at our lunch/dinner table (and probably others too when we are asked to bring fruit to the next BBQ) this summer.  It’s not only unique, but so, so, so, SO good.

Cantaloupe and Avocado Salad2 - Mimi's Fit Foods

Cantaloupe and Avocado Salad with Agave-Lime Dressing
Adapted from Whole Living

3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon Agave Nectar
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon coarse (kosher) salt
1 cantaloupe (3 pounds), quartered and seeded
1 avocado, halved, pitted, and skinned

In a large bowl, whisk together lime juice, Agave, oil, and salt; set aside.

Cut each cantaloupe quarter in half lengthwise.  Run a knife between the flesh and the sin of the melon; discard skin.  Cut each wedge into 1/2-inch pieces.

Cut each avocado half again length-wise and then into 1/2-inch-thick chunks.  Add cantaloupe, avocado to bowl with dressing and toss to coat.  Divide among 6 plates.

Serves 6.

Nutritional Information (Per Serving = 1/6 the Recipe)
Calories:  142
Protein:  1.9g
Carbs:  18.9g
Fat:  7.5g (0.4g = Sat.)
Fiber:  2.2g
Sugars:  14.6g

*Note:  If looking to cut calories, you can cut the dressing in half.  There is PLENTY of dressing, so that wouldn’t be much of a sacrifice in flavor and will cut about 20 calories.  You can also eliminate the avocado which will save an additional 45 calories.  (So, if you eat this with half the dressing and no avocado your calorie count will be closer to 82.)

Basic Grilled Potatoes

Grilled Potatoes - Mimi's Fit Foods

Yep!  I’m still grilling like a mad woman.  Ha, ha!  I just love how fast, easy, and delicious the grill can be.  We’ve been having burgers, pizza, chicken, steak, and lots of grilled sides too.  I realized I hadn’t ever posted Grilled Potatoes and that is a shame.  These are so easy and pair so well with many grilled main dishes.

The grill gives these a nice roasted and slightly smokey taste.  Seriously so yummy!  I love how the grilling helps to give the outsides a slightly crispy texture, but the insides are still soft (kind of like steak fries).  I like to make mine with a combination of red potatoes and Yukon Gold potatoes.  They come in nice portion sizes and are delicious.

You’ll see that I microwave my taters before I grill them.  This helps to expedite the grilling/cooking process.  It’s not necessary, but if you decide to nix the microwave you’ll want to grill your potatoes on a low heat (to avoid burning the surfaces) and it could take up to 30-45 minutes before they are soft.

I am giving you the basic variation of just salt and pepper.  However, we have added herbs and other seasonings (depending on what we’re eating alongside these babies) and have had fabulous success!

We love these at our house.  I’m betting you’ll love them at your house too!

Basic Grilled Potatoes

3 medium red potatoes
3 medium Yukon Gold potatoes
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
salt & pepper to taste

Scrub potatoes and slice into 1/4-inch slices.  Place in a large microwave-safe bowl.  Drizzle olive oil over potatoes and then sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Toss well so that each slice gets coated in olive oil.

Cover bowl (with lid or plastic wrap) and microwave for 2 minutes.  Remove, toss potatoes, and place back in the microwave (covered) for an additional 2-3 minutes or until almost completely fork-tender.  (You want them to be about 90% soft/tender.)

Meanwhile, preheat grill to a medium heat.  Place potatoes on grill and cook for about 4 to 5 minutes per side or until you have golden brown grill marks.

Serve Immediately.

Serves 6 (1 full medium potato per serving).

Nutritional Information (Per Serving)
Calories:  119
Protein:  2.7g
Carbs:  23.4g
Fat:  2.3g (0.3g = Sat.)
Fiber:  1.8g
Sugars:   0.9g

Grilled Asparagus

Grilled Asparagus - Mimi's Fit Foods

Oh, how I love beautiful side dishes to go with my main meal.  I also love it when the vegetable is one of the best parts of the meal!  Our little family LOVES grilled asparagus.  The grill really helps to bring out the beautiful, unique flavor of the asparagus making it taste so incredibly fresh with LOADS of flavor.  We’ve been having this quite regularly around my house.  It’s tasty, but also SUPER easy and SUPER fast!  We’re talking a total of 6-8 minutes from start to finish.  Usually I just toss it on the grill while our meat is cooking and it’s all ready at the same time.  It’s FABULOUS!

Grilled Asparagus
Slightly Adapted from allrecipes.com

1 pound fresh asparagus spears, trimmed
1/2 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
fresh lemon wedges

Preheat grill for high heat.

Lightly coat the asparagus spears with olive oil.  Season with salt and pepper to taste (I usually do this on a plate or in a shallow pan and I toss the spears all around to ensure they get evenly coated).

Place spears on hot grill and grill over high heat for about 2 to 3 minutes, rotate, and then grill for an additional 2 to 3 minutes, or to your desired tenderness.  Just before serving, squeeze fresh lemon wedges over asparagus.

Serves 4.

Nutritional Information (Per Serving = 1/4 of the Spears)
Calories:  41
Protein:  2.6g
Carbs:  5.1g
Fat:  2g (0.3g = Sat.)
Fiber:  2.4g
Sugars:  0g