Salads and Soups

Pear Salad with Walnuts and Bleu Cheese

Pear Salad with Walnuts and Bleu Cheese

Walnut-Pear Bleu Cheese Salad with Maple-Mustard Vinaigrette
Serves 2

Watch me make this salad on live TV on Green Bay’s Fox 11 “Cooking with You.”

A double-handful of mixed greens
1/2 of a ripe pear, thinly sliced
1/2 of a cucumber, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon walnut pieces
1 tablespoon bleu cheese crumbles

  1. Place greens in a bowl.
  2. Add dressing, toss to coat.
  3. Divide lettuce and place on two plates
  4. Add equal amounts of pears, cucumbers, walnuts and bleu cheese to each.
  5. Note: You can make this vegan by either removing the bleu cheese completely, or replace it with something else savory. (Maybe wasabi-coated tofu crumbles? I haven’t tried it, but I think it would work.)

Nutritional data:
Calories:        131
Fat:                 9g
Sat fat:         1.9g
Chol:       12.5mg
Sodium: 154.1mg
Carbs:          8.4g
Fiber:           2.4g
Protein:        5.8g

Maple-Mustard Vinaigrette
Serves 2
2 tablespoons white balsamic
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons maple syrup
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

Nutritional data:
Calories:        104
Fat:                 7g
Sat fat:            1g
Chol:            0mg
Sodium:   62.5mg
Carbs:        10.1g
Fiber:              0g
Protein:           0g

BLT Pasta Salad

BLT Pasta Salad

BLT Pasta Salad
Serves Approximately 16 (one cup portions)

1 pound shell pasta
8 slices of thick-cut bacon (ideally, low sodium)
1 pound cherry tomatoes, halved (or quartered)
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
5 ounces fresh arugala
1 bunch green onions, sliced, greens and whites

  1. Bring a large kettle to a boil. Salt the water. When boiling, add the pasta and cook until “al dente”, 8-10 minutes.
  2. While the pasta boils, fry bacon until crispy. Chop and set aside.
  3. Pour off all but 2 tablespoons bacon grease.
  4. Return the skilletto stove over medium heat. Add the garlic and tomatoes, and cook over medium-high heat until the tomatoes begin to soften (2 minutes.)
  5. Drain the pasta, saving 2 cups of the pasta water.
  6. Return the hot pasta back to the kettle.
  7. Add the arugala and stir gently.
  8. Add the tomatoes and garlic, the green onion and one cup of the reserved water. Stir to mix.
  9. Top with bacon, and more pasta water if you think it needs it.
  10. This can be served warm or cold.

Nutritional data for one cup:
Calories:         103
Fat:                 2.3g
Sat fat:           0.6g
Chol:              3.8g
Sodium:      47.9g
Carbs:          17.2g
Fiber:            1.3g
Protein:        4.4g

You can increase the health benefits by using a high fiber pasta, but Tammy and I don’t eat pasta that often and we simply prefer the “regular” white pasta.

Cranberry Relish

Cranberry Relish

When I was growing up, no Thanksgiving meal was complete without cranberries. Unfortunately, it was canned cranberry sauce. And “sauce” isn’t the right word. It was actually more like cranberry gelatin. Yuck. (If you like it, that’s fine, you can have my share of it.)

This is real cranberry relish. Fast and easy, healthy and delicious. Give it a try!

Cranberry Relish
Serves 6-8
1 pound fresh cranberries, washed
1 apple, quartered and cored
1 navel orange, peeled
Sweetener, to balance tartness. Depending on the sweetness of the apple and orange, this may not be needed.

Place all ingredients in food processor. Process until evenly chunky. Chill and serve.

Panzanella

Panzanella

Panzanella
Serves 2

Such simple ingredients. Stale bread, ripe tomatoes, onion, basil, olive oil and vinegar. It’s amazing how basic items can be used to create delicious food and good lives.

2 tablespoon olive oil (use the best you can afford, because you will tastes the difference in low quality oil)
2 tablespoon red wine vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste
2 pieces of bread, dried completely and broken into bite sized chunks
2 medium tomatoes, cut into 1/8ths or 8 cherry tomatoes, halved
3-6 fresh basil leaves, chiffonade cut (Roll the leaves into a tight tube, and then cut across the tube into thin strips.)
1/4 cup diced red onion

  1. Combine first three ingredients in a small bowl and set aside.
  2. Combine the last five ingredient in a bowl. Toss to mix.
  3. Pour the dressing on top, toss and let the bread soak up the dressing for 3-5 minutes.

Nutritional data:
Calories: 178
Fat: 14.4g
Sat fat: 2.0g
Chol: 0mg
Sodium: 110mg
Carbs: 12.6g
Fiber: 3.7g
Protein: 2.8g

Note: you can use any bread that you prefer. I use Healthy Life’s High Fiber because of the good fiber content along with the low calories and sodium. It also tastes good, dries well, and is easy to find in stores.

I used a very high quality olive oil from Olivada Oils in Sheboygan, WI which was a Chipotle Infused Olive oil. It gave this salad a delicious heat and a nice kick to balance the sweet tomatoes and tart vinegar.

Wilted Lettuce and Warm Dressing

Wilted Lettuce and Warm Dressing

Wilted Lettuce Salad with Warm Bacon Dressing
Serves 2-4 (depending on the portion size)

1 large head of leaf lettuce (red or green), torn into pieces, carefully rinsed and laid out to dry.
Place lettuce into a large salad serving bowl.
Set aside.

Mix together in a large microwave safe bowl:
4 tablespoon white distilled vinegar
2 tablespoon sugar (you can also use Splenda or Stevia–I used Splenda in the numbers below. Table sugar would add 21 calories per portion.)
2 tablespoons warm bacon grease
1/4 small red onion, sliced into thin rings
4 strips of cooked bacon, chopped.

  1. Just before service, place in microwave and bring to a boil.
  2. Stir to make sure the sugar is dissolved.
  3. Pour over prepared salad and toss to coat.
  4. The salad is ready when the lettuce is starting to wilt from the heat of the dressing.

Nutritional data: (for 1/4 of the above recipe)
Calories:       109
Fat:               9.8g
Sat fat:         3.6g
Chol:       14.9mg
Sodium:  195mg
Carbs:          1.3g
Fiber:           0.1g
Protein:          3g

Grilled Halloumi Salad

Grilled Halloumi Salad

Grilled Halloumi Salad
Serves 1

Life is busy. But that does not mean we can’t eat wonderful food!

1 ounce Halloumi cheese
1-2 cups fresh arugula
1 slice from a large tomato
1-2 teaspoon olive oil

  1. Preheat your grill on high for 5 minutes.
  2. Brush your grill and using paper towel and a tongs, wipe vegetable oil on the grate to prevent sticking.
  3. Lay the cheese on the grill. Flip after two minutes. The cheese will not melt into the grate, but will brown as in the picture.
  4. Remove after another two minutes.
  5. Lay the tomato slice on the arugula. I cut the halloumi into strips and laid over the tomato.
  6. Lastly, I drizzled some Wild Mushroom and Sage infused olive oil. (This is available from Olivada, in Sheboygan, WI.)

Nutritional data:
Calories:     162
Fat:            13.7g
Sat fat:        6.7g
Chol:         25mg
Sodium: 380mg
Carbs:             2g
Fiber:              1g
Protein:         9g

By the way, halloumi cheese originated in Cyprus, and is a blend of cow and sheep milk. It has a very high melting point because it is heated and shaped before being brined. Because of the brine, it is salty, which nicely offsets the spicy/peppery arugula. The light drizzle of olive oil is all this salad needs for a balanced flavor profile.

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