On several occasions these past few months, I have feared that an apocalypse is nearing the city of Boston, because MAN has the weather been GORGE! This winter was beyond strange – I think we had a full week of 80 degree weather in March and after last year’s weekly 8-12 inches of snow, even the lightest of flurries didn’t last more than a few hours this year. We’ve had some rain recently, but personally, I enjoy a rainy day or two – justifying extreme couching and Bravo t.v. watching is a lot easier when the weather is ick. And, the ‘greenness’ of everything is beyond beautiful!
For some reason nice weather makes me think of salads – perhaps because the veggies and fruit are so fresh and pretty, I want to use them as much as possible – or because nice weather means that it won’t be long before I have to unlock the safe and blow the 1 inch layer of dust off of my bathing suit.
So the other night for dinner, it was a delicious chicken breast made by Dave, with fresh Rosemary and Tyme from our ‘porch garden’ (Dave is OBSESSED with this Boos Block Mincer thing we got and is finding any excuse to use it) and this yummy Tomato, Cucumber and Feta salad I put together! I’ve recently really come to like Feta, and the fat free version of it is a nice option if you’re looking to add a little flavor to something. Would I stick a spoon in there and eat it like peanut butter? Ehhh maybe not so much, but, it can really accent some dishes nicely. Of course you can use the regular version too if you like!
Tomato, Cucumber and Feta Salad
2 cartons of grape tomatoes
(I used one Red and Yellow)
1 english cucumber
8-10 basil leaves chopped
2 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
2 tbsp. fat-free italian dressing
1 garlic clove, minced
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup fat-free feta cheese
1) Slice the grape tomatoes in half and place in a large mixing bowl. Then peel the english cucumber, cutting it lengthwise down the middle and then slicing the two halves. Add to the tomatoes. Then add the feta cheese and toss lightly.
2) In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the balsamic vinegar, italian dressing, minced garlic and salt and pepper.
3) Lightly toss the tomato/cucumber/feta mixture in the balsamic dressing mixture until combined.
4) Sprinkle the chopped basil over the top, or mix in the salad – whatever your preference.
Delicious – healthy – you could even have seconds! And still fit into that teeny weeny yellow polka dot bikini 🙂
I can smell summer – this weekend is Memorial Day, which is like the unofficial kickoff of most people’s favorite season of the year (for me, it’s a close tie with fall – and I kind of like winter too? I know – weird)
But with summer comes all this delicious fresh produce! Tomatoes yanked right off of the vine – corn fresh out of the husk – it’s the season for grilled meats, salads and salsas and cocktails served in frosty glasses with drink umbrellas by cute pool boys who spray you with water if you get too hot…
Wait a minute – I’m getting ahead of myself here. It’s pouring rain outside right now – can you tell that I’m fantasizing as I’m typing this?
Well back to the rainy reality of the moment – until the time comes that you can be waited on hand and foot by a cute cabana boy, try this Black Bean, Corn and Tomato Salad. It went perfectly with steak that we made on the grill, but it could also serve as a hearty salsa with salty chips and icy margharitas.
Is it Friday yet?
Black Bean, Corn and Tomato Salad
Adapted from Skinny Taste
1/4 red onion, chopped fine
juice of 2 limes
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tsp. chili powder
1/2 cup fat free Italian Dressing
salt and pepper to taste
2 medium vine ripe tomatoes, diced
1 cup canned black beans , drained and rinsed
1 cups frozen corn (or canned, or fresh, whatever ya have)
2 tbsp. finely chopped cilantro
1) Combine red onions, lime juice, minced garlic, chili powder, italian dressing, and salt and pepper in a medium bowl. Set aside.
2) Add chopped tomatoes, black beans, corn and cilantro and let sit at room temperature for about 1/2 hour.
Perfect for your Memorial Day cookout this weekend, pool boys or no pool boys 🙂
My friend Ashley turned me onto this salad from Martha Stewart – and I feel like all the frying and desserting we’ve been doing lately, it was time for a salad.
When Ash made it, it was perfectly dressed, and I thought it was such a perfect combination of flavors – a roasted sweet potato that had been seasoned with salt and pepper to offset the sweetness of the potato, and the saltiness of the feta cheese (fat free at that!) contrasted really well with that peppery flavor that arugula has. So it was a low-fat salad that packed a huge flavor punch!
So what did I do with it? Added more calories! I loved this salad just as is, but I thought to add some added sweetness and crunch to it, that would just make it that much more amazing. I love dried cranberries on any salad – and also, have recently become a fan of candied nuts – and they’re so expensive in the stores! And it takes no time to make them yourself.
Arugula Salad with Feta, Sweet Potato, Cranberries and Candied Pecans
1 box/bag of baby arugula
1 large sweet potato
1/2 cup whole pecans
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup cinnamon
1/2 tablespoon butter
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup fat free feta cheese (or more if you like)
1/2 teaspoon grated orange zest
1 tablespoon fresh orange juice
1 teaspoon white-wine vinegar
Salt and pepper
1) For the sweet potatoes – preheat oven to 450 degrees and cut your sweet potatoes into 1″-1.5″ chunks. Place on a rimmed baking sheet and toss in olive oil and then season with salt and pepper. Cook for about 10 minutes until soft. Set aside.
2) For the candied pecans – place pecans in a medium saucepan and toast over medium heat for about 3-5 minutes. Once the pecans have been toasted, add 1/2 tablespoon of butter and let melt to coat the pecans. Mix the sugar and brown sugar together (or you can buy premixed cinnamon and sugar in the seasoning section) and coat the buttered pecans in the sugar/cinnamon mixture. Set aside.
3) For the dressing – In a large bowl, whisk together 2 tablespoons oil, grated orange zest, orange juice, and white-wine vinegar; season with salt and pepper
4) Layer arugula, roasted sweet potatoes, cranberries, candied pecans and then sprinkle top with crumbled feta cheese. Use dressing to your liking. I only like a little dressing, so I add mine on afterwards, but you could definitely pre-dress the arugula if that’s what you prefer.
This is a perfect late spring/almost summer salad for any occassion – and not too bad for you either! Thanks Ash! And Martha!