What a week! I came home from Italy to two days of tornadoes through Alabama (luckily we are safe and unharmed). It’s almost May and time to welcome new blooms and fresh sunshine with refreshing seasonal cocktails that capture the essence of Spring in every sip. This Berry Sparkle Cocktail is a perfect way to make a toast to spring (and good weather ahead). It’s ideal for Mother’s Day, showers and even graduation parties. Start with your favorite berries and freshly chopped mint. Use Licor 43 and champagne or Prosecco to top it off. Cheers 🙂
Quinoa is one of my favorite Super Foods of 2012. I talked a great deal about quinoa this weekend at my nutrition/healthy eating seminar including how to pronounce it, purchase it and cook it. I had a lot of wonderful questions regarding this gluten-free grain. One serving of quinoa provides all 8 essential amino acids, and it is high in protein and fiber. It’s also a wonderful grain for those on a gluten-free diet, and it works wonderful for breakfast, a side, in soups and salads. I recommend buying the rinsed version to make your life even easier. I developed this recipe for Quinoa Salad with Almonds, Cranberries and Mint for Thanksgiving for Honeysuckle White and Shady Brook Farms Turkey. It makes a great side dish or salad, and my kids absolutely loved it. Add grilled chicken or shrimp if you wish for a main dish salad.
A few weeks ago, I shared this recipe for Grouper with Fresh Mint and Red Peppers on the blog In Good Taste, by the talented blogger, Maris Callahan. I wrote a guest post for her with a “Healthy Date Night” menu. I made the recipe the other day, and I wanted to share it with you too. For the fish, I used grouper, but feel free to substitute any of your favorite mild, white fish. This recipe is so easy, flavorful, low-fat and healthy. It can be prepared in under 30 minutes and makes a great date night, sunday night or any weeknight main dish.
Here are a few of my Healthy Date Night Tips:
-Shop the perimeter of the store, which means stay to the outside edges. This is where you will find the freshest, healthiest food items.
-Use fresh herbs and spices. When cooking with herbs and spices, fresh are always best. If you’re using dried seasonings, make sure they are the freshest possible. I only use freshly ground pepper.
-Use the freshest ingredients possible. Avoid canned, processed or preserved ingredients.
-Grill, steam, braise, stir-fry or roast foods instead of frying.
-Add more vegetables and legumes (peas, beans and lentils) to your menu.
-When a recipe calls for cream, substitute with Greek yogurt, low-fat yogurt, skim milk or soy milk.
-Don’t automatically salt your food. Taste it first.
-Select lean cuts of beef and pork. If preparing chicken, select skinless.
-Use reduced-sodium soy sauce and tomatoes.
-Use nonstick spray or olive or canola oil instead of butter or margarine.
-If you’re serving cheese as an appetizer or in recipes, select lower-fat options.
-If you’re serving warmed bread, choose whole grain.
-Serve wine but drink in moderation.
-Make the meal a special occasion. Set the table and create a relaxing ambiance to enjoy your food.
-Eat slowly and savor every bite.
-Laugh, talk and have fun. The more you talk, the slower you will eat and enjoy the meal.
I featured this recipe on my blog last year, but since I have so many new subscribers I thought I would bring it back one more time. Strawberry Limeade is just in time for the season of freshest strawberries. It’s only 2 ingredients, and it’s so easy to prepare. My kids beg me to make it year-round, and if I can’t find fresh strawberries, I purchase frozen. These already-sliced strawberries from Dole are my favorite.
I am amazed how many subscribers and fans on facebook I have that are college students, and I thank all of you and am so excited that ya’ll are cooking while in college! Carlie, a college senior at the University of Georgia, has particularly enjoyed when I post salad recipes, and she told me she has tried all of them. She asked me to “keep them coming” so Carlie, this one’s for you. This salad is a cinch! The ingredients are very simple and easy to find. Feel free to substitute salmon for the chicken or even add thin cooked vermicelli or rice noodles to this salad. I kept the dressing very light, but it is a little tangy so if you want to add more oil, feel free.
Asian Chicken Salad
Prep: 25 minutes
Yield: 4 servings
5 cups shredded romaine lettuce
1 large seedless cucumbers, thinly sliced
2 cups shredded carrots
1 tomato, thinly sliced
11/2 cups chopped cooked chicken
1/4 cup chopped fresh mint
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1/4 cup thinly sliced red onion
1/4 cup unsalted dry-roasted peanuts, toasted
2/3 cup rice wine vinegar
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon canola or sesame oil
2 teaspoons low-sodium soy sauce
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1. Combine lettuce and next 8 ingredients in a large salad bowl. Whisk together rice wine vinegar and remaining ingredients and pour over salad, tossing gently.