Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Tomato Onion Salad

Salads make for great suppers in the summer months. This tomato and onion salad is low in fat and sodium, a vegetarian favorite and of course, gluten free. Serve it with crusty French bread or as a side with fish.

All you need for this salad is fresh spinach, ripe tomato and red onion, and a little vinaigrette. I used tomato and onion from my garden, but spinach is out of season here in Phoenix, where temperatures in June soar to over 100 degrees, so I had to purchase it. If spinach isn't to your liking, try peppery arugula or red lettuce.

Red wine vinegar and olive oil, with a dash of salt and a pinch of sugar, makes your vinaigrette.

Slice the tomato and onion and lay the slices on a bed of spinach. Dress the salad with a teaspoon or so of vinaigrette and squeeze a little lemon juice over the top.

Slice the bread and supper is ready.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

White Bean Salad

My White Bean Salad is great for a light summer supper or a side dish with lean grilled chicken breast. It's low in fat and sodium, gluten free and vegetarian.

2 tablespoons Olive oil
1/4 to 1/2 chopped onion
Two pounds of raw spinach leaves
8 ounces of cooked white beans
6 ounces of cherry tomatoes

1 tablespoon orange juice or lemon juice
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
1/8 teaspoon dried dill
Olive oil to taste

Lemon Pepper spice blend
Sliced almonds

Whisk the orange or lemon juice, white wine vinegar and seasonings in a small bowl and allow to rest.

Heat a large pan on medium heat and add the olive oil. Add the onion and spinach. Cook for approximately 3 minutes, until the spinach begins to wilt. Add the beans and cherry tomatoes and continue cooking until the spinach is wilted and the beans are heated through.

While the spinach mix is cooking, stream olive oil into the vinegar blend to taste, approximately one teaspoon. If you prefer a tangier taste, use less. If you prefer a smoother blend, add more.

Remove the spinach mix from the heat and pour into a salad serving bowl, preferably one with lower sides and a flat bottom. Slowly pour the dressing over the spinach mix and toss, using salad serving spoons.

Add a few dashes of lemon pepper spice blend and sliced almonds, if desired. The lemon pepper adds kick and the almonds add crunch. Don't have either? Add a pinch of pepper and a few croutons.

Use other greens if you don't care for spinach, such as baby greens. If you want the tomatoes to pop, add them in with the onions. Don't like cooked onions? Add red onions after the spinach or greens are wilted.

Remember: Use gluten free wine vinegar and gluten free croutons if you need to avoid wheat products.

Note: You can adjust the amount of beans you use in your salad as well as use canned beans. I prefer dried beans I prepare myself as they retain more calcium and protein than the canned.

Products you may enjoy:

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

The Taylor Digital Nutrition Scale, Model 3833

The Taylor Digital Nutritional Food Scale not only tells you how much a given portion weighs, but the nutritional information for that portion as well. All you need do is weigh the food, then punch in a code and press a key to specify the information you need. This product is exactly what a health conscious contemporary cook needs.

A booklet comes with the scale that lists the food codes; the booklet is as important as the scale. For example, the code for raw tomatoes is 310. Punch in 310 with your portion of tomatoes on the scale and then press the calorie key and the exact amount of calories in that portion is revealed on the screen.

For example: One pound of tomatoes has 94 calories, 40 milligrams(mg) of sodium, 5.5 grams of fiber, 3.7 grams of protein, and 22 grams of carbohydrates.

I made a basic garden salsa with 1 pound of tomatoes, 6 ounces of chopped onion, and 1 ounce of peppers, which yielded 12 ounces of salsa. The nutritional value of 12 ounces of my salsa is as follows:

168 calories
46.5 mg of sodium
8.9 grams of fiber
5.9 grams of protein
38 grams of carbohydrates
0 grams of fat
0 grams of cholesterol

The Taylor Digital Nutrition Scale, which will weigh up to 8.8 pounds of food at a time, is available at many national retail chains; I bought mine at Targat a cost of $49.99 plus tax.

Disclosure: The author is in no way affiliated with Taylor Precision Products. The author purchased the product  reviewed in this blog.