Monday, January 4, 2016

Weekend Round-Up With Some Healthy Choices for Monday

Creamy Chicken Caesar Pasta Salad
This chicken Caesar pasta salad is made with a delicious homemade Caesar salad dressing, penne rigate, grilled chicken, crunchy croutons, and fresh romaine lettuce. It makes for an easy dinner and the leftovers are even better for lunch the next day. The salad allows for creativity as it is ideal for using leftover zucchini, artichokes, steamed broccoli and/or matchstick carrots. Another swap is to use chickpeas instead of chicken, or even grilled shrimp. Use whatever shape of pasta you prefer. A time saver is to cook or grill the chicken ahead.
Recipe adapted from and serves 6-8
Dressing Ingredients:
  • 1 cup low fat buttermilk (no substitutions)
  • ½ cup Greek yogurt or lite/low fat sour cream
  • ¼ cup lite mayonnaise
  • 2 TB. lemon juice
  • 1 tsp. Dijon mustard
  • optional 2 tsp. anchovy paste
  • 1 clove garlic, grated
  • ¼ cup Parmesan cheese
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 lb. grilled chicken, diced
  • 1 lb. penne rigate or fusilli pasta
  • 1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
  • 1 heart of romaine, chopped or small bag of baby spinach, stems removed 
  • ½ cup scallions, chopped (greens only)
  • ¼ cup Parmesan cheese, grated and 1/2 cup shaved Parmesan cheese 
  • 2 cups croutons
Dressing Directions:
  • Combine all the ingredients for the dressing in a food processor or blender. Blend until smooth. Refrigerate a few hours. 
  • Boil the pasta according to package directions. Drain, rinse with cold water, let cool.
  • When ready to serve combine the chicken, pasta, tomatoes, romaine, and scallions in a large bowl, and toss with desired amount of dressing. Top with grated Parmesan , shaved Parmesan cheese and croutons, serve immediately.

Very Veggie Fried Rice
Who doesn’t love fried rice? But it can be high in calories.. This recipe is healthier by swapping out the white rice with brown, omitting the ham and packing in the veggies. You get a veggie overload in this rice and you are going to love it! And it’s so filling that you could even count this as your main dish instead of just a side. If you really wanted to you could even dice up some chicken breasts into small pieces and cook those in the wok first, set them aside and then add them back in when you add the rice. It’s so good as it is though that it really doesn’t need any thing else added to it. The dish may require a bit of chopping but the rest is a breeze to put together. Recipe adapted from and serves 5-6.
  • 3 cups cooked and chilled brown rice*
  • 2 TB. oil
  • 1 cup diced carrots (dice somewhat thin)
  • 1 cup chopped yellow onions
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 TB. minced fresh ginger
  • 1- 1/2 cups small diced broccoli florets
  • 3/4 cup small diced red bell pepper
  • 4 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup frozen petite peas, thawed and drained
  • 3/4 cup frozen petite corn, thawed and drained
  • 3 - 4 TB. soy sauce, to taste
  • 1 TB. sesame oil
  • Heat oil in a large non-stick wok (or large, deep skillet) over medium-high heat. Add carrots, onions, garlic and ginger and saute 3 minutes. Add broccoli and bell pepper and saute until veggies are soft, about 3 - 4 minutes. Move veggies over to one side of the pan, crack eggs into opposite side and scramble and cook through.
  • Stir rice, peas, corn, soy sauce and sesame oil and cook and toss 2 minutes. Serve warm.
Cooking Tip:
  • Cook the brown rice with a little less water than listed on the package so it's not so moist and absorbs the soy sauce and moisture from the veggies better. It also works best if you can prepare the rice a day in advance.

Bon Appetit!

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