April 30, 2013

Paris of the Plains BBQ Ranch Salad

I created this salad based on a Kansas City BBQ sauce I received from my April Foodie Pen Pal.  I have been eating salads for lunch just about everyday and love to change things up from my usual 4 that I consider my "go-to" salads.  I used a good quality, healthier ranch dressing mixed with a good quality barbeque sauce.  The  sauce  my pal sent is from Kansas City's own Gates BBQ.  The ranch dressing I typically use is made by Marzetti. It is from the "Simply Dressed" line (see ingredients below). The BBQ sauce adds  a smoky sweet flavor to the salad and pairs deliciously with fresh cilantro and tomatoes. For lunch I eat salads with chicken on top, but this would go great on the side of a grilled chicken breast or nice steak.  I didn't this time, but next time I prepare this salad I will add some fresh avocado to it.  Enjoy!
Gates Bar-B-Q
  • 2-3 grilled chicken breasts
  • 1 head of romaine lettuce
  • 1 small red onion, slivered
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1 lb. grape tomatoes, halved or quartered
  • 1/2 cup ranch dressing
  • 2 tablespoons BBQ sauce 
  • Optional: 1 diced avocado
  1. Mix ranch with BBQ sauce.  Set aside.
  2. Rinse and dry lettuce, ripping it into bite sized pieces.  For crispy lettuce, let it sit in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes. 
  3. In a large bowl,add lettuce and vegetables.  Top with chicken and avocado if desired.
  4. Toss with dressing, placing cilantro on top.   

Simply Dressed® Ranch Salad Dressing 


April 28, 2013

Let's Get Social Sunday

LGSS Collage
Just a reminder - Lets Get Social Sunday will be on 9 different blogs every week!  That means maximum exposure for you :) 

Also, we have had a few requests to add BlogLovin' and Instagram to the line-up. So, if you're looking for new followers on those social media outlets, be sure to link up those as well!

Welcome to Let's Get Social Sunday!

This party is for bloggers who wish to make new friends and gain new followers. It is also an opportunity to link up all your social media sites to gain more followers for blogging opportunities and it increases traffic to all your sites.


(1) Follow your hosts and co-hosts in as many ways as possible. We are the first 2-9 link-ups in each category.


Evelyn @ My Turn for us

and meet our co-hosts this week:


Lorraine @ Cooking For the Seven Dwarfs

(2) Grab our button and share it on your blog

(3) Let us know if you followed in the comments, so we can return the follows!

(4) Find some new blogs to follow and let 'em know you found them from the Let's Get Social Sunday party. 

*Just a note - If you would like to co-host, we are accepting spots in the future for co-hosts. Please, email us at letsgetsocialsunday@gmail.com and we will send you the information on scheduling. :)

Let's Get Social Sunday
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Not a requirement, but we appreciate the love - If you enjoy this party, would you mind hitting the tweet button to help spread the word? Or share on your favorite social media! Thanks y'all :)








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April 26, 2013

Sundance Salad

Crumbled bleu cheese, pine nuts, red onions,dried cherries, poppy seed dressing.  It sounds  like an odd combination, especially the blue cheese with poppy seed dressing, but the two flavors actually compliment each other quite well.  Add that to some crunchy pine nuts, sweet plump cherries and crispy greens, and it's a unique salad next to a tender steak or for lunch with some grilled chicken breast.
Salad Ingredients
  • 1 head of romaine lettuce, washed, chopped and refrigerated for crispness
  • 1 small red onion, chopped
  • 1 cup of toasted pine nuts
  • 1 cup of dried cherries
  • 1/2 cup of crumbled bleu cheese  
  • 3 grilled chicken breasts, sliced 
  • 3/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons cider vinegar
  • 2 Tablespoons poppy seeds 
  • Mix all of the dressing ingredients in a jar and shake to combine.    
  • Plate the greens and place salad ingredients on top.  Toss with dressing.   
As a side salad, omit the chicken and serve with a nice piece of fish or a grilled steak, like a porterhouse or filet.  

April 22, 2013

South West Fiesta Chopped Salad

One of my all-time favorite salads.  Grilled chicken, fresh tomatoes, black beans and corn with creamy avocado and crunchy tortilla strips.  Tossed with a spicy salsa ranch dressing. I have even gone so far as to fry slices of fresh jalapenos for a nice spicy garnish (directions  below).  Cheese is optional.  I tend to not like cheese on this salad as it takes away from the fresh ingredients and makes it too heavy. 
  • 1 head of Romain lettuce, rinsed and chopped
  • 2 grilled chicken breasts,sliced
  • 1 1b.  grape tomatoes, quartered
  • 1 small avocado, sliced and diced
  • 1/2 cup yellow corn, prepared (see below)
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1/2 cup black beans
  • 3 corn tortillas, cut into strips
  • 1 cup of fresh cilantro, chopped 
     Optional: Fried Sliced Jalapeno
  • 1/4 cup ranch dressing
  • 1/4 cup salsa (refrigerated, homemade salsa is best)
  1. Combine ranch and salsa to make dressing.  Set aside
  2. Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a medium sized skillet and cook tortilla strips until golden an crunchy.  Drain and set aside.  
  3. For corn: Saute corn in the same skillet, just to warm and toast.  Let cool.
  4. In a large shallow bowl, arrange lettuce, chicken  and salad ingredients.  
  5. Drizzle dressing on top
  6. Finish with cilantro and tortilla strips.  
 Ingredients for Fried Jalapeno Slices
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup beer
  • 1/2 quart vegetable oil
  • 2 cups sliced jalapeno peppers
  1. Mix flour, salt, pepper, red chili powder, garlic powder, eggs, and beer together in a bowl.
  2. In a deep fryer, or large pot heat oil to 365 degrees F (180 degrees C).
  3. Dip the sliced jalapenos in the batter. Place battered jalapenos in deep fryer. The jalapenos are fully cooked when they float to the surface of the oil. They should be golden brown and crispy. Enjoy!

April 20, 2013

Surprise Recipe Swap- Baked Egg Rolls

I participated in my first Surprise Recipe Swap facilitated by the blog Hungry Little Girl.
My first secret recipe assignment was to go to   Amy's Cooking Adventures blog and find a recipe to make and share.  The first thing I noticed was how fun and colorful her blog page was.  Everything was nicely organized and matched well.  I like that. I clicked on several recipes, and even found a Monday Link party to join.  I kept going back to her latest post, which was a recipe for BAKED Egg Rolls.  I had egg roll wrappers in the fridge, so this was a great opportunity to use them.The recipe was easy to understand and well written.  I did everything exactly as she instructed and they came out great.  I was concerned they wouldn't be crispy enough, but that was not the case at all.  They were flavorful and delicious with a crunchy texture outside.  The only difference I noticed from eating the baked ones, was they didn't have the greasy flakiness of one that was deep fried.  They also  held up nicely when I dipped them in sweet and sour sauce- none of the filling fell out.   
My visit to Amy's Cooking Adventures was a pleasant one and I  will look forward to seeing and sharing her recipes in the future. 
See instructions below if you would like to participate in your own Surprise Recipe Swap. 

Here is how it works:
  • Each month on the 1st you will be assigned to another participating blogger. You will then visit their blog and pick a recipe you want to cook or bake and post about it.
  • Posting day is always the 20th of the month!
  • You are not supposed to tell the blogger you are assigned to, that you are making something of their page.
  • Your post has to have the SRS posting format (very simple instructions will be send to you, once you get approved) and should include link backs to the original recipe, pictures and of course your own opinion!
  • You will be assigned to a new partner each month, so that you never have the same link backs.
  • If you would like to be a part of our journey, read the rules and sign up. I will get back with you shortly!
  • (Don't forget to check your spam folder)

Sweet & Sour Sauce

This is an easy sweet and sour sauce to serve with your homemade egg rolls, grilled shrimp or tossed with chicken wings. Great  as a side sauce for any kind of prepared fish or chicken.  You can also add chunks of pineapple and green peppers to the cooking liquid for added flavor.
3/4 cup white sugar
1/3 cup white vinegar
2/3 cup warm water
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 tablespoon ketchup
2 tablespoons cornstarch
  1. Place the sugar, vinegar,  soy sauce, and  ketchup in a medium saucepan, and bring to a slight boil. 
  2. Meanwhile, mix water and cornstarch together to make a slurry.  
  3. Add slurry to sugar mixture.
  4. Stir continuously until the mixture has thickened. 
  5. Serve warm or at room temperature.

April 18, 2013

Pasta Primavera

I say this about a lot of my recipes or recipes that I see.  Fresh in a bowl. All these fresh vegetables, soon to be straight from the farmers market here in Holland, Michigan.   I learned how to make good pasta from working in several Italian restaurants as a college student in Florida.  You get most of your flavor from saturating the warm olive oil with fresh, minced garlic.  Adding the pasta water helps the sauce to cling to the noodle and salting the pasta water gives it extra flavor.   You can use whatever vegetables you like to make it your own.  Just make sure to cut your vegetables uniformly for a nice presentation and a good bite.  I slice them thin, and small.  I sometimes add snow pea pods along with the other vegetables, but leaving them whole.  If you want to cut calories, just omit the cream, however you may need to season a bit more without it.  Bon Appetite!
  • 3 cloves of fresh garlic, minced
  • 3 carrots, peeled and cut into thin strips
  • 2 small zucchini, cut into thin strips
  • 2 small yellow squash, cut into thin strips 
  • 1 cup of small broccoli florets
  • 5 asparagus spears, snapped, thinly sliced
  • 1 red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1  cup + 1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 Tablespoon dried Italian seasoning
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan 
  • 1 lb. dried linguini or pasta of choice
  • Optional:  Sliced grilled or sauteed chicken
  1. In a large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil on medium heat.  
  2. Add garlic and saute, about 1 minute. Add vegetables.
  3. Saute for about 2 minutes, coating with oil. 
  4. Do not overcook.  Vegetables should be tender but crisp.
  5. Add cream, coat vegetables and turn off heat. 
  6. Meanwhile, cook the pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water until al dente, tender but still firm to the bite, about 8 minutes. 
  7. Drain, reserving 1 cup of the cooking liquid.
  8. Return pasta to large pot and coat with remaining olive oil.  
  9. Toss the pasta with  the vegetable mixture, seasoning and reserved pasta water.  
  10. Spoon onto platter or bowl.
  11. Season the pasta with salt and pepper, to taste.  
  12. Sprinkle with the Parmesan and serve immediately. 
  13. Add sliced chicken if desired

Traditional Chopped Greek Salad

I have been  making tons of salds lately.  If I don't make them, I am eating them out.  A good Greek salad is one of my favorites.  I love the flaky oregano with the spicy peppers and the salty tang of the olives.  Each component is so unique and separate, yet work so well together.  Some traditional Greek salad recipes add potato salad to the center.  Or pickled beets.  Not me. 

  • 1 head of romaine lettuce, rinsed and chopped
  • 1 seedless cucumber, sliced and quartered
  • 1 lb. grape tomatoes, quartered  
  • 1  medium red onion, sliced, chopped
  • 1 lb. radishes, sliced and quartered
  • 1 1/3  cups  coarsely chopped parsley  
  • 1 1/3  cups  drained pitted kalamata olives,chopped
  • 1 cup chopped  peperoncini (see image below)
  • Optional: Sliced cooked chicken
 For the vinaigrette:
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 cup good red wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  •  8 ounces of feta cheese, crumbled

1. In a large bowl, combine salad ingredients.  I like to chop everything into small bite sized pieces. 
2. In a small bowl or jar , mix dressing ingredients.  Shake or whisk to combine.  Add cheese to dressing.  Shake. 
3.Toss desired amount of dressing with salad.  
Salt and pepper to taste.

I like to add ripped pieces of hearty sourdough directly into the salad. 

April 15, 2013

Gluten Free-er & Cleaner Last Update

I don't think I cooked one meal last week.  Dinner out , lunch out, take- out, Friday pizza and a church event Saturday with enough leftovers that fed all the church families Sunday evening. I did cook breakfast on Sunday after church. Egg's Benedict.  Yum.   So, sorry no new developed recipes to share. I was barely home last week with errands, several parties to plan and one to prepare and orchestrate, a church painting project,  and various committee meetings and obligations.   I have nothing going on and then WHAM!  It comes all at once.   
This will be  my last update for my living gluten free-er and cleaner "diet".  It's hard to be consistent with blog writing when my daily routines begin to  take paths in so many different directions.  Now that Spring is here, my days are busier as well as my nights.  My children are older but still very needy.  2 baseball teams, drivers training, and track meets take up so much of the time.  Community and church  responsibilities take up a huge chunk too.  This doesn't include the  handful of lovely Spring and summer events to plan, prepare and  and cook for.  I am also trying to plan a community garden in our subdivision.  Wow.  Too much, even for a stay-at-home mom!

I will end with the thoughts that have been swirling in my head for the last month. 
  1. Being prepared is KEY.  Plan.  Prepare. Cook.  Do it. 
  2. Eat deliberately and always with a purpose
  3. Have a heavy dose of healthy food bloggers in your Facebook news feed.  Then you always have good information coming your way.   Food Renegade is a great source. 
  4. Make breakfast an important meal of the day, not to be skipped
  5. Have healthy snacks like nuts, whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables (cut up) available. 
  6. Have a big salad for lunch that includes protein.  Have a piece of fruit to end the lunch.
  7. Eat good protein and lots of fresh vegetables for dinner.  
  8. Make it yourself.  Nothing packaged.  Resolve to do it.  Just don't buy it and you won't have it. 
  9. Consider the importance of water.  here is something I read recently that has had an effect on the way I view my drinking habits:
Coke Vs Water


75% of Americans are chronically dehydrated.
(Likely applies to half world

In 37% of Americans, the thirst mechanism is so
weak that it is often mistaken for hunger.

Even MILD dehydration will slow down one's
metabolism as much as 3%.

One glass of water shut down midnight hunger pangs
for almost 100% of the dieters studied in a
U-Washington study.

Lack of water, the #1 trigger of daytime fatigue.

Preliminary research indicates that 8-10 glasses of
water a day could significantly ease back and joint
pain for up to 80%
of sufferers.

A mere 2% drop in body water can trigger fuzzy
short-term memory, trouble with basic math, and
difficulty focusing on
computer screen or on a printed page.

Drinking 5 glasses of water daily decreases the risk
of colon cancer
45%, plus it can slash the risk of breast cancer by
79%, and one is 50%
likely to develop bladder cancer.

Are you drinking the amount of water you should
every day?

1. In many states (in the USA) the highway patrol
carries two gallons of Coke in the truck to remove
blood from the
after a car accident.

2. You can put a T-bone steak in a bowl of coke and
it will be gone in two days.

3. To clean a toilet: Pour a can of Coca-Cola into
the toilet bowl and .......Let the "real thing" sit
for one hour, then
flush clean. The citric acid in Coke removes stains
from vitreous

4. To remove rust spots from chrome car bumpers:
Rub the bumper with a crumpled-up piece of Reynolds
Wrap aluminum foil
dipped in Coca-Cola.

5. To clean corrosion from car battery terminals:
Pour a can of Coca-Cola over the terminals to bubble
away the

6. To loosen a rusted bolt: Applying a cloth soaked
in Coca-Cola to the rusted bolt for several minutes.

7. To bake a moist ham: Empty a can of Coca-Cola
into the baking pan, wrap the ham in aluminum foil,
and bake. Thirty
minutes before the ham is finished, remove the foil,
allowing the
to mix with the Coke for a
sumptuous brown gravy.

8. To remove grease from clothes: Empty a can of
coke into a load of greasy clothes, add detergent, and
run through a
cycle. The Coca-Cola will help loosen grease stains.
It will also
road haze from your windshield.

FYI: For your info
1. The active ingredient in Coke is phosphoric acid.
Its pH is 2.8. It will dissolve a nail in about 4

2. To carry Coca-Cola syrup (the concentrate) the
commercial truck must use the Hazardous material place
cards reserved
highly corrosive materials.

3. The distributors of coke have been using it to
clean the engines of their trucks for about 20 years!

April 11, 2013

Italian Pressed Sandwich

Recipe  was adapted from the cilantropist.  
Photo taken from http://cilantropist.blogspot.com/2010/10/picnic-at-presidio-with-italian-pressed.html
Last summer I was looking for ideas for a beach themed party I was planning and catering.  I saw this gorgeous sandwich on PINTEREST all wrapped up and ready to go.  Thanks to The Cilantropist, I ended up using it for 4 different events that summer. I adapted it for my younger guests, but included other ingredients for my guests with more sophisticated tastes. Visit The Cilanthropist and check out the original recipe.  You can make it your own by using the ingredients you like.  Peppers, sun dried tomatoes, pickles...anything!   I had to use the photo above so you could see how perfectly they COULD come out. I had lots of helpers so my sandwiches were not as uniform (below).  I made over 300 of them.  Wrapped.  Tied.  
  • Good quality salami or Italian sopressata (spicy salami)
  • Provolone cheese
  • Basil Pesto, preferably  homemade
  • Fresh basil leaves, large
  • Foccachia bread (from your local bakery or bakery section of the grocery store)
  1. I open up the whole loaf of bread, spread the pesto and layer the ingredients.  
  2. THEN I slice off the ends all around the loaf to make perfectly even edges, being able to see all the ingredients of the sandwich.
  3. I wrap it tightly and refrigerate overnight. Even place something heavy on top, like a large hardcover book.   That enables all the flavors to meld or "marry" together.  This step really makes a difference. 
  4. I then slice it into individual sandwiches.  Perfect serving size is about 6 sandwiches per loaf.  
  5. If I am making these for an event or picnic, I cut parchment paper to fit perfectly around the sandwich with the ends exposed.  I tied each sandwich with kitchen twin and stacked them on platters and in baskets and on trays.  
  6. The end pieces were cut up and used for an Italian Bread Salad.  Just add some grape tomatoes and a drizzle of olive oil. 

April 9, 2013

Wild Rice and Chicken Soup

Let me start by saying that I think this is my all-time favorite soup in the whole history of soup.  Wait, there is that corn chowder from MESA Grill I had once.... and there is that Lobster Bisque from the Grand Rapids Chop House....well,  this is the best soup that I make. This recipe came from a friend, who prepared it for my family upon our return home from vacation.  They turned the heat on in the house and decorated the dining room like a tropical paradise.  And, a pot of soup ready and warm with crusty bread and a nice salad.  What a way to come home from a sunny Florida beach  to a frigid Michigan winter. I have since made this recipe my own, using the ingredients the way I like and omitting a few, like flour as a thickener.  I don't like to thicken soups with flour.  I like CREAM.
  • 3 TBSP butter
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup shallots, minced
  • 1 leek, cleaned and trimmed.  Use half of the  greens and all of whites, finely sliced
  • 2 celery stalks,  thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup Riesling wine ( you can use Sherry or other  white wine)
  • 3 carrots quartered and sliced
  • 2 quarts chicken broth ( I used the boxed stock)
  • 2 tsp. tarragon
  • 3/4 cup wild rice (you can also use the pre-cooked package of Uncle Ben's and add it just at the end of cooking)
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • White chicken breast meat from a roasted chicken
  1. Heat butter in soup pot. 
  2. Add garlic, shallots,celery and leeks
  3. Cook until softened about 5 min.
  4. Add wine and reduce liquid  to half, about 5 minutes.
  5. Add carrots, stirring.
  6. Add chicken broth and bring to a boil.
  7. Cook about 10 minutes.
  8. Add tarragon, cream and rice.
  9. Cook until carrots are tender, but still a bit firm
  10. Add chicken.
  11. Salt and pepper to taste.

Citrus Cakes

This is light citrus cake made with orange, pineapple and a bit of lemon zest. It can be used as a muffin or a cake, large sized or individual.  The recipe is a basic yellow cake so you could actually add whatever flavorings you like. I like making individual cupcakes as opposed to a large cake.  When I make things larger, I use the Demarle Sunflower pan...everything can go in that and it looks beautiful.   It's molded to 16 petals which become your slices. It can be used to bake cakes,  brownies, muffins,breads and so much more

2 cups cake flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
3 large eggs, room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla
3/4 cup milk1 (11 ounce) can mandarin orange segments
Zest of 1 orange
Zest of 1 lemon
1/2 cup whipping cream
1 cup crushed pineapple,drained
1 tsp.vanilla
1/4 cup powdered sugar

Cake Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Grease and flour muffin trays, use a paper liner or better yet...use Demarle's muffin tray or gorgeous Charlotte flower shaped mini- cakes tray, or the Sunflower mold.
  3. In bowl, combine flour, baking powder, and salt with a wire whisk.
  4. Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs, one at a time. Add vanilla and mix until completely combines. Slowly add flour alternately with milk. At end of addition batter should be smooth. 
  5. Add oranges and zest  and mix well, breaking up the oranges. 
  6. Divide between muffin wells, about 3/4 full.  You may also use 2 cake pans.
  7. Bake cupcakes for about 12 minutes or cakes for 20 to 25 minutes. 
  8. Cool 5 minutes in pan, then invert onto a rack and cool completely before frosting.
Topping Directions
  1. Beat cream in stand mixer just until heavy peaks form, about 2 minutes.  
  2. Add sugar and vanilla; beat making sure not to beat too much or butter will form.
  3. Fold in pineapple, making sure to blend in thoroughly.
  4. Top cupcakes with desired amount. 
Charlotte Tray

Gluten Free-er & Cleaner Update

I think I will continue to do updates through April.  I feel like I have a nice pattern of what to eat on a regular basis besides, my posts may get monotonous!  Here are some thoughts I have gleaned over the last few weeks, but primarily, it is deliberate eating and a  focus on being prepared for every meal.  Try not to eat on the fly. 
1.  Begin with a good breakfast:
Make a crustless quiche with any combonation of veggie and cheese.  
My favorites are:
  • Asparagus with Gruyere
  • Red sweet peppers and onions with cheddar
  • White cheddar with red onion and a little bacon
Make a quick omellet with a theme:
  • Cuban style with black beans and cheddar cheese with fresh cilantro, tomatoes & onion
  • Italian with tomatoes, mozzarella cheese and fresh basil
  • Greek style with feta cheese, red peppers, olives,  tomatoes and fresh parsley
*Whole grains/yogurt
 Steele cut oats with maple syrup and dried fruit
 Yogurt with fresh fruit & granola

If you are pressed for time...begin lunch preparations the day before or while you enjoy breakfast.  
Lunch ideas can be based on what some of your prep is for dinner. I find this is helpful because I already have the ingredients out.  The focus is on prepping the vegetables and marinating or prepping the meat/protein.  I always make extra so that I can use it for lunch the next day.  For example, last night I roasted some chicken for today's lunches and dinner.  This made an Asian salad with chicken, a Wild Rice & Chicken Soup and some chicken salad for spreading on bread or crackers.  At the same time I eat lunch today I will be preparing the soup for dinner and the chicken salad for the NEXT day's lunch.  I do the same with pork tenderloin, beef and hamburger.
I do always TRY to have a sald with protein for lunch.  If I am out, I go to Panera bread and get their Asain Sesame Chicken Salad and eat it in the car.  
At home I like an Asian inpsired salad or ones that contain  southwest style flavors or a Greek salad.
I don't eat much tuna or processed meats, so my protein typically comes from chicken.  Ground beef is good for a taco salad, but only small amounts because it is heavily processed and fatty. 
2.  Lunch ideas for SALADS
  • Asian Sesame Chicken Salad
  • Fiesta Salad
  • SouthWest Chicken Salad (inspired from Logan's Kickin' Chicken Salad
  • Greek Salad
  • Chicken Salad on lettuce
Again, prep dinner at lunch time or the evening before so you are PREPARED at dinner time.  So often we forget to prep and then we are rushing to get dinner ready.  Use PINTREST and FACEBOOK to find interesting recipes to try.  Stay away from casseroles and fried foods. Look for healthy options that don't contain bread and pastas. 

3. Snacks
I don't deliberately snack and I should.  If I did it deliberately with what  SHOULD be included in a healthy diet, I think that would be best. My tendency is to grab what is around and to root and forage for what is sweet.  I have to figure this one out a bit better.  Combating the sweet tooth.  Suggestions:
  • Raw nuts
  • Fruit
  • Yogurt
  • Sliced Vegetables
  • Rice crackers

In preparation for outdoor dining and bathing suit season, I am looking forward to gathering menu ideas and cooking up the old standbys.  My husband mentioned that it will be nice to get back into the summer routine of eating better;  protein and high water content foods, fresh from the farmers market. I can't wait!
4.  I try to use the following model for dinner
Another salad (maybe something fun and nontraditional)
Lots of well cooked vegetables for dinner.  Tender but firm.  Nothing mushy! If you must have a carb with dinner, choose whole grains and red or sweet potatoes.

Sample Menus from The Rennick Home: Recipe links pending
#1Grilled Sirloin Steak, marinated the night before
Spinach Salad with strawberries, almonds and poppyseed dressing
Grilled Sliced Zucchini
Sauteed Asparagus with garlic

#2Island Pork Tenderloin (can be grilled)
Brussel Sprouts
Cream sauce

#3Shish Kabobs with beef and/or chicken (use favorite veggies on the kabobs)
Caprese sald with mozzarella, tomatoes, basil

#4Sauteed/grilled  Caesar Pork chops
Pure Michigan salad: greens, dried cherries, apples, pecans with a maple dressing
Steamed broccoli with butter and garlic
Wild Rice Pilaf

#5Grilled BBQ Chicken & Rice Salad

#6London Broil
Sweet potato fries
Spring mix salad with cucumber, red onion, asiago cheese and balsamic dressing

More menu ideas pending.  Please leave a comment and give me your favorite, HeALtHy, summertime meal. 
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