Simple Corn and Black Bean Salad

Cook’s notes: This is a riff on an older recipe, the Best Recipe: Black Bean and Corn Salad. We needed a smaller amount of the corn salad to use as a topping on turkey taco salad.

Dressing:
2.6 oz. olive oil
2 oz. lemon juice
2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
1/3 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon dried cilantro

Corn Salad:
15 ounce can black beans, rinsed and drained
15 ounce can whole kernel corn, rinsed and drained
Mixed salad greens

In a medium bowl, whisk together the dressing ingredients (olive oil to black pepper). Stir in the corn and black beans. Serve on a bed of mixed greens.

Tuna and Pearl Couscous Salad

Cook’s notes: This recipe is based on author Pam Anderson’s Formula for Bean and Grain Salads. Ms. Anderson is one of my favorite cookbook authors. Her formula helped me make just the right dish for a supper potluck right after work. I made the pasta dish the night before, which let the flavors blend nicely. You can also use 1/3 cup your favorite vinaigrette instead of making the lemon dressing.

Yield: Makes about 7.5 cups; enough to feed a crowd

2 cups cooked pearl couscous
15 oz. can [2 cups] chickpeas, drained
2 cans tuna, drained (net 8 oz.) and flaked
1.5 cups cherry tomatoes, diced
1.5 cups roasted corn kernels
1/2 cup sliced olives
1/4 cup thinly sliced scallions
2 Tablespoons dried Italian herb blend

Dressing: 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon ground black pepper, and 4 teaspoons lemon juice.

Prepare couscous according to package directions; make the dressing while the grains cook. Place couscous in a large bowl with remaining ingredients (chickpeas to herb blend) and stir gently to combine.

Drizzle salad with dressing and toss to coat.

Lighter Sriracha Dipping Sauce

RenderedContent-3A43D374-E43E-4E0C-82AD-1320216AE2A9Cook’s notes: Thank you, Paula Jones, for a lovely sauce recipe! via Lighter Sriracha Dipping Sauce » Call Me PMc. She recommends serving it on turkey burgers or with fries or baked cauliflower or on a salad. It would also go well with raw or roasted veggies. I served it with brown rice and sauteed chicken thigh strips.

  • 4 Tablespoons “Just Mayo” light mayonnaise
  • 4 tablespoons plain fat-free sour cream or Greek yogurt
  • 2 Tablespoons honey
  • 1 Tablespoon Sriracha sauce
  • 2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
 Whisk all ingredients together until smooth. Use immediately or store in an air-tight container in refrigerator up to one week.

Zucchini Noodles with Pesto

IMG_0747Cook’s notes: Another wonderful spiralized zucchini recipe inspired by Two Peas and Their Pod. We sauteed the cherry tomatoes with the zucchini.

2 Tablespoons (1 oz) olive oil
16 oz cherry tomatoes
3 to 4 zucchinis, ends trimmed and spiralized (or cut into thin strips)
Olive oil for sautéing
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Basil pesto, to taste

Heat a large skillet over a medium-high burner. Add the oil and tomatoes, stirring frequently, until the tomato skins start to split and release their juices. Add the zucchini and gently cook until zucchini is tender, about 2 to 3 minutes. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste. Toss with pesto (about 1/4 cup, stir and add more if desired).

Ground Turkey Sausage

IMG_0748Cook’s notes: I found a wonderful recipe online for a spice blend to use in homemade turkey sausage. I omitted the brown sugar but left in the red pepper flakes.

On its own, the turkey sausage had a bite, but we used it in several dishes and found it delicious: scrambled eggs with cheese, on top of pizza with red and yellow bell peppers, and on spiralized zucchini with red sauce and mushrooms.

In a small bowl, combine all spices and set aside:

  • 1.5 teaspoons Italian seasoning (or equal parts dried basil, oregano, and thyme)
  • 1 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground or whole fennel seeds

When you’re ready to use it, brown 1 lb. (16 oz.) ground turkey in a large pan on stovetop. Add 1 Tablespoon red wine vinegar and stir.  Add spice mix and stir to combine.

Adapted from newleafwellness.

Tuna Zucchini Noodles

Cook’s notes: Adapted from several recipes to make a quick weeknight dinner. You could increase the vegetable content by adding baby spinach to the zucchini. Top with Feta cheese, if desired.

TunaZucchini

3 zucchinis, spiralized (or cut into thin strips)
Olive oil for sautéing
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Topping:
1 can (6 ounces) light tuna, packed in oil
1 can (15 ounces) chickpeas, drained
2 teaspoons dried parsley
1 large lemon (zest and juice [3 Tablespoons])
2 Tablespoons olive oil

Heat a large skillet over a medium-high burner. Gently cook the zucchini noodles until tender, about 2 to 3 minutes. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste.

In a large bowl, combine the cooked zucchini, tuna, chickpeas, parsley, lemon juice and zest, 2 Tablespoons olive oil, salt and pepper to taste. Stir to combine. Serve immediately, or cover tightly and refrigerate up to 2 days.

5×5 Lunches

food-vegetables-meal-breakfast
Photo courtesy pexels.com

Cook’s notes: I saw some lovely bento box photos on Pinterest and started jotting notes. All of the lunches had 5 common elements, which means they could easily go into a table. Each row represents the original meal. Mix and match to create new lunches.

(“Five by five” is a phrase I first heard on the show Buffy The Vampire Slayer. It comes from radio communications and means “the best possible quality and strength.”)

There are several vegetarian options, and all of the lunches are nut-free.

Protein Starch Veggie Fruit Dessert
Turkey Kielbasa Brown rice Sliced cucumbers Diced mango Yogurt pretzels
Deli turkey roll-up Pretzels Baby carrots Apple slices Macaroon
Cubed chicken Cheese and crackers Red bell pepper strips Blueberries Dark chocolate
Teriyaki chicken Noodles Pea pods Orange slices Chocolate raisins
Tuna salad Potato salad Zucchini Watermelon Carrot cake
Hummus Pita triangles Cherry tomatoes Grapes Cookie
Quesadilla Tortilla chips Guacamole Jicama slices Pineapple chunks
Quinoa salad with veggies Popcorn Steamed broccoli Pear Brownie

 

Infused Mint Water

IMG_0740Cook’s notes: I had a small package of mint from the grocery store and found a drinkable way to use it. Very refreshing on a hot day. Keeps in the refrigerator for about a week.

Add 1 package (~18g) mint leaves, diced and stems removed, to a jar. Cover with water.

Refrigerate water mixture, stirring once per day, until flavors have infused, about 2 to 3 days. Strain before drinking.

Nut-free Snacks with Protein

 

Cook’s notes: Here is a list of snacks that are balanced with carbs and protein but don’t rely on nuts. I’m not allergic to nuts, but it’s nice to have nut-free snacks. I put nuts in my morning smoothie and don’t always want to eat them again in the same day. Hard-boiled eggs are also high in protein, but I can’t stand their texture, so they are not listed here.

 

Pick one dairy or protein serving: Match with one fruit, veggie, or grain:
1 oz. cheese (2 Babybel cheeses, 1 Laughing Cow wedge, 1 string cheese) 1 cup berries, blueberries, cherries, grapes, or pineapple chunks
Black beans with salsa, 1 cup 1 piece of fruit: apple, banana, nectarine, orange, or peach
Canned tuna, 3 oz. 2 small fruits: Mandarin oranges, plums
Cottage cheese, 1/2 cup Applesauce, 1/2 cup (unsweetened)
Cream cheese, 2 Tbsp. Dried fruit (1 oz.): 9 apple chips, 4 dried apricots, 1/3 cup dried fruit, or 2 Tbsp. Craisins or raisins
Deli turkey, 2 oz. 1 low-fat [black bean] brownie
Greek yogurt, 1/2 cup Bread: 1/2 bagel, 1 corn muffin, 1 slice whole-wheat bread, 1 English muffin, 1/2 pita pocket
Hummus, 2 Tbsp. Plain oatmeal, 1/2 cup
Low-fat milk, 1 cup Popcorn, 3 cups
Roasted chickpeas, 1/2 cup Tortilla chips, 10 each
Sunflower seed butter, 2 Tbsp. Whole-wheat Fig Newton cookies, 2 each
Sunflower seeds, 3 Tbsp. 1 cup raw veggies: Baby carrots, cucumber, cherry tomatoes, red bell pepper, or sugar snap peas
Turkey jerky, 1 oz. 1/2 cup cooked veggies or baked sweet potato

Sample combinations:

  • 1 cheese stick with 1 serving of crackers
  • 1 cup lowfat milk with 1 banana
  • 1 Laughing Cow cheese wedge and 1 cup raw red bell pepper strips
  • 1 oz. Brie with 1 cup cherries
  • 1 oz. cheddar cheese and 1 cup grapes
  • 1 oz. turkey jerky and 1 orange
  • 1 string cheese with 3 whole-wheat crackers
  • 1/2 bagel [or 1 rice cake] with 2 Tbsp. cream cheese
  • 1/2 cup black beans with salsa and 10 tortilla chips
  • 1/2 cup roasted chickpeas with 1/2 cup baked sweet potato
  • 1/2 cup cottage cheese and 1/2 cup pineapple chunks
  • 1/2 cup plain oatmeal with 1/2 cup blueberries
  • 1/2 cup yogurt and 1/2 banana
  • 1/2 cup yogurt and 1/2 cup berries
  • 2 Tablespoons hummus with 1 cup baby carrots
  • Half sandwich: 1 slice whole-wheat bread topped with mustard and 2 oz. turkey or chicken
  • 2 ounces deli turkey, 1 ounce aged cheese, 1 cup mini pearl grape tomatoes, and 4 pitted Kalamata olives (EatingWell:  October/November 2005)
  • Mix 3 oz. canned salmon with low-fat mayonnaise, and eat with 1 serving of whole-wheat crackers