Adaptable Recipes, Dinner, Easy Preparation Meals, Makeover Monday Meals, Summer Cooking Delights

Makeover Monday Meals- Salad Edition

 

 

 

 

The one thing most people can agree on is salads. The fact is a salad encompasses much more than just lettuce. By definition, a salad is a cold dish of various mixtures of raw or cooked vegetables, usually seasoned with oil, vinegar, or other dressing and sometimes accompanied by meat, fish, or other ingredients.

Salads fall into the following principal categories:

  • Green salads
  • Vegetable salads
  • Salads of pasta, legumes, or grains
  • Mixed salads incorporating meat, poultry, or seafood
  • Fruit salads

Salads are versatile and easy to prepare. Instead of picking up a pre-made salad for a light weeknight dinner, this recipe takes less than thirty minutes to make and some of the ingredients are pantry staples you already have on hand.

This pasta salad takes advantage of summer’s bounty of tomatoes, paired with black olives, fresh basil, and mozzarella. Moreover, it’s adaptable for low-carb lifestyles, vegans, vegetarians, and those with gluten sensitivities or Celiac disease.  You can even add more veggies like broccoli and red bell peppers, or whatever other vegetables you like.

We have included a recipe for a homemade dressing that takes no time to make and can be kept in an airtight container in the pantry.

 

Caprese Style Pasta Salad

1 box of tri-color penne or rotini style pasta prepared according to directions, rinsed then cooled. (gluten-free tricolor or regular penne or rotini pasta)

1 bottle of Italian dressing or homemade 4 Seasons Style Italian dressing

1 can of medium black olives, drained and sliced

1 package of cherry or grape tomatoes, sliced in halves

1 package of whole milk or part-skim mozzarella, diced into medium size cubes (vegan mozzarella)

Extra virgin olive oil

A bunch of fresh basil

 

Add the cooked pasta, black olives, and tomatoes to a large bowl, then toss them together. Add the mozzarella, then drizzle enough olive oil to coat over the mixture, then lightly toss together while adding the Italian dressing. How much you use is up to you.

Roll the basil leaves together and cut them chiffonade style. Add to the pasta salad and toss with two spoons to get the bail distributed throughout the salad. You can serve the salad immediately or if you have time,  cover and let it chill in the fridge.  This pasta salad gets better with time.

Savory Saver recipe for Copycat Good Seasons Garlic and Herb Dressing

2 Tbsps Garlic Powder ·

1 Tbsp Sugar ·

2 tsp Salt ·

2 tsp Dried Parsley ·

1 tablespoon Dried Basil ·

1 ½ tsp Onion Powder ·

½ tsp Dried Mustard …

½ tsp Black Pepper

¼ tsp Dried Oregano

¼ tsp Dried Thyme

¼ tsp Celery Seed

Ingredients for Making Dressing

2 Tbs Dressing Mix

2 Tbs Water

¼ Cup White Vinegar

⅔ Cup Neutral Oil (Canola, Vegetable, Safflower, Grapeseed or Peanut)

Instructions

Mix all dry ingredients in a small bowl.

Store in an airtight container.

To Make Dressing

Put 2 Tablespoons of the dressing mix in a Salad Dressing Shaker or Small Mason Jar.

Add 2 tablespoons of water and ¼ cup of white vinegar to the shaker.

Close Shaker and shake up well to mix and dissolve the ingredients.

Add oil to the mix and shake again until fully combined.

To Make the Carb-free version of this salad, spiralized 1 large or 2 small zucchini. In a lightly salted boiling water pot, add the zucchini noodles, and cook for 1-3 minutes. Remove from the pot, drain in a colander, and run cold water over the noodles. Set them aside and let them cool before proceeding with the recipe.

For a Vegan version of the pasta salad, you can use a vegan mozzarella. Miyoko’s Creamery makes a vegan mozzarella, there are also Great Value, Earth Grown, and Violife versions of vegan mozzarella, that are available commercially either in stores or ordered online.

Adaptable Recipes, Food Glorious Food, Makeover Monday Meals

Makeover Monday Meal- Summer Salad Edition

It’s hard to believe that we are already more than halfway through the month of July. With summertime temperatures rising across the country, light, refreshing, and easy-to-prepare recipes are the order of the day.

In our search to find the best of light, healthy, and tasty, this recipe from Simply Recipes for Tex-Mex Chopped Chicken Salad with Cilantro Lime Dressing fits the bill. Moreover, we were able to adapt it to add protein to fit with vegetarian and vegan diets too.

This recipe fits the dietary requirements for:

  • Gluten-free diets
  • Low Sugar or No Sugar diets
  • Low-Carb
  • Keto-Friendly (don’t add corn or tortilla chips)

Tex-Mex Chopped Chicken Salad by Simply Recipes adapted by Chamein Canton

PREP TIME25 mins
COOK TIME10 mins
TOTAL TIME35 mins
SERVINGS4 servings

Ingredients

  • For the salad
  • 6 cups Romaine lettuce, chopped and packed
  • 1 medium red pepper, diced
  • 1 cup English or Persian cucumber, diced
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 3 scallions, thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoon plus1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh corn kernels (2 medium ears) or frozen and thawed
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs (1 package of extra-firm tofu, drained or 1 package seitan)
  • 1 tablespoon taco seasoning mix (low-sodium taco seasoning or your favorite taco seasoning in the packet or homemade)
  • 12 corn tortilla chips
  • 1/4 cup crumbled Cotija cheese (Feta cheese or Cheddar cheese can be substituted)  (For Vegans mozzarella or cheddar shreds are a good choice)
  • For the dressing
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 cup cilantro leaves, lightly packed
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Method

  1. Combine salad ingredients:

    Combine the lettuce, red pepper, cucumber, tomatoes, and scallions in a large serving bowl. Set aside.

  2. Char the corn:

    Heat 1 teaspoon olive oil in a medium or large heavy-bottomed skillet over high heat. When the oil is hot, add the corn.

    Season corn with 1/4 teaspoon salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until blackened in spots and tender, about 3 minutes. Transfer to a plate.

  3. Season the chicken:

    Sprinkle the taco seasoning and 1/2 teaspoon salt over the surface of the chicken, rubbing it in and coating it so the chicken is fully seasoned.

  4. Cook the chicken:

    In the same skillet used to cook the corn add 1 tablespoon of olive oil and set over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, add the chicken and cook until deeply brown along the bottom and the flesh turns opaque about halfway up the side, 4 to 5 minutes.

    Flip the chicken and continue cooking, until brown on the second side and fully cooked through another 3 to 5 minutes.

  5. Cut the chicken:

    Transfer the cooked chicken to a cutting board. Once it is cool enough to handle, cut it into bite-sized pieces.

  6. Make the salad dressing:

    Place the lime juice, vinegar, honey, cumin, salt, pepper, cilantro, and olive oil into a blender and blend until smooth. Add 1 tablespoon of water, if needed, to get the blender going.

    Alternatively, make this dressing by hand. Finely chop the cilantro and place it in a medium bowl. Combine all salad dressing ingredients and whisk until smooth.

  7. Finish and serve the salad:

    Add the corn and chicken into the bowl with the salad ingredients. Crumble the tortilla chips over the top.

    Add about two-thirds of the dressing and toss to lightly coat. Add more dressing and toss again, if needed. Divide salad into 4 bowls, top with crumbled Cotija cheese, and serve.

Notes for Vegan and Vegetarians

  • To replace the chicken, you can use extra-firm tofu or seitan instead. Prepare it as you would the chicken, being mindful not to crowd the pan when sauteing in the pan. To keep it from steaming, cook the tofu or seitan in batches.

For those who don’t like Cilantro

  • You can use parsley to make the dressing in the same proportions.

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