Light Italian Dressing

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Our spring has not been that wonderful here in Maine. It’s been filled mostly with cold, rainy days. I know summer is coming though and we’ll most likely go from cold to blazing hot in a blink of an eye. I’m sure I’ll complain about the heat, but I am looking forward to days of fresh produce from our garden, eating outside, and enjoying meals from the grill. One of my daughter’s favorite things to do is eat lunch outside on the deck. She loves having a picnic and usually our spring days are filled with lots of picnics. Not this spring though. We’ve only done it once, sadly. Anytime it is nice out though we head outside and start shifting from our heavy, cold weather meals to light, fresh meals. We’ve craving the sun and warmth just like the plants outside. I whipped up this dressing last week when it was warm and it felt so nice to have a fresh salad with this on it. Of course the next day it was back to being cold, but I had that memory and I continued to eat my salads with this dressing to spite Mother Nature.

This is a great alternative to your standard Italian dressings you may be making or buying. You can’t taste the “lightness,” it takes just like any other Italian dressing, but you also aren’t getting those fake ingredients from the bottle “light’ dressings. You also probably have all, if not most, of these ingredients on hand anyways! So, dress you garden salad, pasta salad, or marinate your chicken in it this summer and know that it’s light, fresh, and a little healthier for you!

Light Italian Dressing

Ingredients

  • 1 medium tomato, halved
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 Tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tsp dijon mustard
  • Pinch of sugar
  • 2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 small clove garlic, minced
  • 1/8 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/8 tsp dried basil
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • Freshly ground pepper to taste

Rub the cut sides of the tomato along the coarse holes of a grater into a bowl; discard skins.

Whisk in remaining ingredients and pepper to taste.

Store in an airtight container for up to 1 week. Shake well before using.

Yields 1 cup

Nutritional Information

Per serving (2 tablespoons): 38 Calories, 4g Fat, 0mg Cholesterol, 92mg Sodium, 1g Carbohydrate, 0g Fiber, 0g Protein

Source: Food Network Magazine May 2011

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If you’ve been around this blog for a while, you will know that I love using wonton wrappers for traditional and nontraditional recipes. What you may find odd though, is I’ve never made wontons or dumplings with them. They aren’t just missing from the blog, they were missing from my life. I always order them when we go out for Chinese food, but it’s one item I hadn’t made at home. Recently, I decided to change that and have been playing around with different recipes. This recipe has been one we’ve gone back to a few times, although I tweak it each time. For us, the ginger is slightly too much, but I know others may love it so I wanted to stick with the original and later on I’ll post variations that I’ve come up with.

Potstickers or dumplings are great because you can make a large batch and freeze them for later. Simply freeze the raw dumplings on a baking sheet and then store in an airtight bag for up to 3 months. When you are ready to eat, simply cook from frozen. They are also great because you can eat them easily with one hand which, for me these days, is vital. My daughter loves them since they are a “fun” food to eat as well and you can even sneak all sorts of foods they may not realize they like yet inside!

 

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Pork & Chive Pot Stickers

Ingredients

  • 1/4 lb ground pork
  • 1 Tbsp minced chives
  • 1 1/2 tsp soy sauce
  • 1 1/2 tsp dry sherry
  • 1 tsp minced peeled fresh ginger
  • 1/2 tsp sesame oil
  • 1/2 tsp cornstartch
  • 20 wonton wrappers
  • 1 Tbsp vegetable oil
  • Soy-Ginger Dipping Sauce (see below)

In a bowl, combine pork, chives, soy sauce, sherry, ginger, sesame oil, cornstarch, and 1 tablespoon water.

Place a heaping teaspoon of pork mixture in center of wonton wrapper. Lightly wet edge of wrapper, fold over, and press to seal. Repeat to form remaining dumplings.

In two batches, cook dumplings in a large pot of boiling water until cooked through, 4 minutes; transfer to a plate with a slotted spoon. In a large nonstick pan, heat vegetable oil over medium-high. In two batches, cook until browned, about 1 1/2 minutes per side. Serve with dipping sauce.

Yields 20 dumplings, Serves 4

Nutritional Information

Per serving; 200 Calories, 8.3g Fat, 9.1g Protein, 22.2g Carbohydrates, 1.3g Fiber

Soy-Ginger Dipping Sauce

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup light-sodium soy sauce
  • 3 Tbsp rice vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp minced peeled fresh ginger
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 1/4 tsp sesame oil

In a bowl, stir together all ingredients.

Yields 1/2 cup

Nutritional Information

Per 2 tablespoons; 25 Calories, 0.3g Fat, 1.4g Protein, 4.9g Carbohydrate, 0g Fiber.

Source: Martha Stewart Living, February 2010

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I’ve been racking my brains lately with cooking dinner. I need something fast, that everyone likes, and it would be awesome if it was remotely healthy. I will be the first to admit that fast and everyone’s choice comes before nutrition lately. With the warmer weather I’ve been thinking of short sleeves and this post-baby lady isn’t happy. I also feel sluggish from all of the carbohydrates we’ve been eating. Bring on the spring and summer flavors, please!

In order to pass these meals by though, it has been taking a lot of convincing. Just when I pretty much have my husband’s approval on anything I make these days, my pre-schooler is starting to buck the system. I have to go through a whole routine to insure that she will try and like something. I list each individual ingredient out to her and show her that she likes them all. Then I convince her that it is, in fact, okay to eat these ingredients mixed up. They don’t have to live segregated on the plate. It’s OK, I promise. If all else fails, we have a chart next to the table where she earns a start for every new food she tries. Ten stars equals an ice cream cone, yeah we’ve resorted to bribery here!

This is another one of those great pasta recipes that are quick to throw together, use some things you already have in your kitchen, but offer a fresh taste to your normal, heavy pasta dish. Adults and kids will love it! Don’t have pancetta? Dice up some bacon instead! Want to omit the white wine? Go ahead! The original recipe utilitizes this as a side dish, but I went ahead and used a box of pasta and a little bit more peas and pancetta and called it a meal.

Farfalle with Peas, Pancetta, and Lemon

Ingredients

  • 12 oz uncooked farfalle or mini bowties
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 2 oz diced pancetta
  • 2 minced garlic cloves
  • 3 Tbsp dry white wine
  • 1 Tbsp butter
  • 1/2 tsp lemon rind
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper

Cook pasta according to package directions, adding frozen peas during last 2 minutes of cooking; drain.

Sauté pancetta 3 minutes. Add minced garlic and cook 30 seconds. Add wine and cook 30 seconds. Add pasta mixture, butter, lemon rind, salt, and pepper; toss.

Nutritional Information

Adapted slightly from Cooking Light, May 2014

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The first summer I moved to Maine my husband and I did a lot of grilling. He used to buy these amazing marinated steak tips and he’d make these delicious potatoes. I finally started marinating my own steak tips because it was a lot cheaper and I took over making the potatoes.These are so easy to make and are a nice change of pace to the normal BBQ sides. You get a nice, filling potato side, but spice things up a bit for the summer months.

For time and ease, I dice the potatoes, but if he makes them he thinly slices them, so whichever way you prefer! If you slice the potatoes thin, you can cook until softened rather than golden brown if you don’t want that little bit of crisp to the potatoes.

Montreal Seasoned New Potatoes

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 lbs red new potatoes, 1″ diced
  • 2 tsp Smart Balance Cooking Oil
  • 1 1/2 tsp Montreal Steak seasoning
  • 2 1/2 Tbsp Smart Balance Light Buttery Spread

Pre-heat grill to medium-high, about 375 F.

In a large bowl, toss diced potatoes and oil to coat. Sprinkle in the seasoning and toss to evenly mix.

On a large sheet of aluminum foil, add potatoes. Dab small amounts of the butter spread on top of the potatoes. Wrap the potatoes in the foil to create a packet. Cook for 30 minutes or until golden brown.

Yields 5 cups

Source: The Way to His Heart