27 May 2015

Pasta Salad Season Is Here, Hurrah

Sunday, I prepped a bunch of food for the week including a vegetable soup, egg salad, and this macaroni salad. Like the soup, it helps clear out the crisper of neglected vegetables. Unlike the soup, it's definitely a dish The Husband will eat. Usually I make my creamy pasta salads with light mayonnaise that has been thinned with a little milk or Italian vinaigrette, but this time I decided to be "fancy" and thin the milk the fat-free peppercorn ranch and then jazz it up with shredded parmesan.

Love this speckled lettuce -- makes every salad fancy.

I tried to dice all the vegetables small -- pea-sized, actually -- for a bite-sized delicousness. Who wants to fork up some salad, get a tiny pea and a big chunk of celery? Eh.

Very Veggie Tuna Macaroni Salad

Yield: 4 generous servings

Ingredients

  • 2 cups uncooked whole grain elbow macaroni
  • 5 oz can water-packed tuna, drained and flaked
  • ⅔ cup chopped red bell pepper
  • ⅔ cup chopped celery
  • ⅔ cup frozen peas
  • ¼ cup diced radishes
  • ¼ cup diced red onion
  • 2 Tbsp dried parsley
  • ¾ cup light mayonnaise [Hellmann's]
  • ½ cup light peppercorn ranch dressing
  • ¼ cup shredded Parmesan cheese
  • 2 Tbsp Greek seasoning blend [Penzeys]
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Instructions

  1. Cook macaroni according to package directions.
  2. Meanwhile, combine tuna, vegetables, and parsley in a large mixing bowl.
  3. Pour frozen peas into the bottom of a colander. Drain macaroni over peas and rinse in cold water; add to tuna mixture.
  4. Whisk together mayonnaise, dressing, cheese, and seasoning blend in a small mixing bowl. Season to taste with pepper.
  5. Pour mayonnaise mixture into pasta bowl and stir to coat. Refrigerate macaroni salad for a few hours before serving.

25 May 2015

Menu Plan Monday: 25 May

Menu Plan Monday, it's-kinda-sorta-summer edition. I know summer is nearly a month away, but Memorial Day always throws a psychological switch. I want grilled things and big salads and corn on the cob RIGHTNOWTHISMINUTE. So that's pretty much what we're eating this week.

Breakfasts:
  • Microwave-scrambled egg, egg whites, garden dill (hurrah!), & baby greens with turkey sausage patties.
  • Random flavored 0% Greek yoghurt with berries & nuts.

Lunches:
  • Big bowls of garden lettuce (yay!) with grilled chicken, beets, garden dill, dried cranberries, almonds, feta, olive oil & garlic vinegar.
  • Tasting plate of crackers, cheeses, grapes, apples or dried apricots, nuts, & dark chocolate.

Suppers:
  • Grilled marinated chicken breasts with corn on the cob & cucumbers-and-tomatoes.
  • Very veggie tuna pasta salad over garden lettuce.
  • Grilled chicken burgers (topped with cucumber, tomato, red onion, garden lettuce, & ranch) with tossed salad.
  • Baked tilapia with tossed salad & pickled beets.

Grilled chicken with corn on the cob & cucumbers-and-tomatoes.

21 May 2015

Improv Challenge: Cilantro & Lime

May's Improv Challenge features the cool refreshing flavors of cilantro and lime. Unfortunately, cilantro can be very hit or miss for me -- while I usually find it delicious, sometimes it can be oddly soapy-tasting. Therefore, I did not use a lot of cilantro in this recipe!


I used barramundi in this dish, which the man at the seafood counter recommended as a sweet, mild fish similar to sea bass. I like bass and was happy to try something new as we've been eating a lot of tilapia and tuna lately. He said to cook the barramundi at 400°F for ten minutes or until it was white and flaked easily with a fork, so that's exactly what I did.

Cilantro & Lime Baked Barramundi

Yield: 2

Ingredients

  • 2 6 oz frozen barramundi fillets, thawed
  • Juice of half a lime
  • 1 cup grape tomatoes, halved or quartered (depending on size)
  • ½ cup diced red onion
  • 3 Tbsp chopped cilantro
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • ¼ tsp ground black pepper

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400°F.
  2. Pat fish dry. Place in a baking dish. Rub with 1 tsp olive oil.
  3. Mix remaining ingredients together in a bowl, and pour the mixture over the fish.
  4. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes, or until the fish flakes easily with a fork.
  5. Garnish with additional cilantro, if desired (I forgot), and serve.

Overall, I was very pleased with this dish and will definitely be making it again (with garden tomatoes, hopefully). The fish, while sweet and mild, was not overwhelmed by the sweetness of the tomatoes or the tartness of the lime. And, happily, the cilantro was not in the least bit soapy-tasting, but added a welcome grassy/summery note. I know "grassy" sounds a bit off-putting, but it was a bright green flavor that made me think of grass or chlorophyll.