Saturday, July 28, 2012

Green Beans with Harissa

This is a great way to jazz up an otherwise quite ordinary vegetable. If you can't find harissa in your local market, you can make it at home using our recipe. (As an added bonus for those counting sodium, our version of harissa is salt-free).

3/4 lb green beans, stem ends removed
1 red, orange or yellow bell pepper, sliced into matchstick pieces
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
1 T harissa
1 T olive oil
1/2 t freshly ground pepper

Bring water to boil in a medium saucepan. Cook beans until bright green and crisp-tender (1-3 minutes). Drain beans and transfer to ice water to halt cooking, then drain and set aside.

Heat the oil in a large skillet, then cook pepper 1-2 minutes. Return beans to the pan and add the Harissa and garlic. Stir fry 2-3 minutes to reheat the beans and mix the ingredients. Season with black pepper. Serve immediately.

Serves 4 - minimal sodium content unless you use store-bought harissa. Check the label!

Spinach Salad with Strawberries and Sweet-Hot Lime Vinaigrette

One more bowl of awesomeness in this series of summer salads! We could eat this every night and not get tired of it.


1/4 c lime juice
zest from two limes
3 T sugar
1/4 t cayenne pepper
1/4 t black pepper
1 T canola oil

Mix all ingredients using a immersion blender until well blended (or shake in a sealed container to combine).


1 box baby spinach leaves, large stems removed
2 c strawberries, cut into bite-sized pieces
1 shallot, sliced thin
2 T fresh mint leaves
2 T pine nuts
Vinaigrette (see above)

Combine spinach, strawberries, mint and shallot in a large bowl and toss with dressing. Transfer to serving bowls and garnish with pine nuts.

(If you want this to be the main course, you may wish to add pan seared chicken as shown in the photo.)

Serves 2 (if main course) or  4 (if side salad). Sodium content is near zero unless you add chicken.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Citrus Salad with Honey-Lime Vinaigrette

Here is another delicious salad for those hot summer months. This one is light and refreshing, and is easily converted into a full meal by adding some pan seared chicken.


1 pkg Arugula
1 grapefruit
2 oranges, clementines or tangerines
1/2 c red onion, sliced
2 T fresh mint leaves
almond slivers, toasted
shaved parmesan cheese

Cut grapefruit in half, then cut peel and pith off outside with a sharp knife. Loosen the sections from one another, then remove seeds and outer layer from fruit. If using orange, repeat this process, or for clementines or tangerines, section the fruit and remove all pith and seeds. Combine first five ingredients in a large bowl and toss with dressing. Garnish with almonds and cheese. Top with cooked chicken if desired.


3 T freshly squeezed lime juice
1 T cider vinegar
2 t honey
1/4 t cayenne pepper
1 t lemon verbena leaves, minced
2 T olive oil

Place all ingredients in a glass bowl and mix with an immersion blender until emulsified.

Serves 4 - sodium content is low, but depends on how much parmesan cheese is used and if chicken is added

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Mesclun Salad with Chicken and Lemon Vinaigrette

What to do with a single leftover chicken breast? On this warm July evening, we decided to make a light and healthy dinner salad with it. Good call! This meal was both delicious and satisfying. As an added bonus, we didn't heat up the kitchen and cleanup was minimal.

For the dressing:

2 T lemon juice
1 T white wine vinegar
1 t Dijon mustard
tiny pinch of salt (~1/16 t if you insist on a measurement)
freshly ground black pepper to taste
dash of onion powder
1 T extra virgin olive oil

Place all ingredients in a small, deep container (a 2 c capacity glass measuring jar works very well) and mix with an immersion blender. Set aside. If you don't have an immersion blender, then add everything except the olive oil. Whisk the ingredients rapidly while you slowly add the oil. Stir vigorously until well blended.

For the salad:

1 chicken breast, sliced into two thin cutlets
5 oz box of mesclun salad mix
1 carrot, julienned
1/4 c dried cranberries
2 scallions, sliced thin
2 T pine nuts
2 T shaved parmesan cheese
freshly ground black pepper
Mrs. Dash original blend seasoning
1 T vegetable oil

Season the chicken cutlets with black pepper and Mrs. Dash. Cook in oil over medium high heat until outside is browned and inside is cooked through. Set aside to cool, then cut into bite sized pieces.

In a large bowl, combine the salad greens, carrots, cranberries, scallions and pine nuts. Pour dressing over salad and toss well to coat evenly. Transfer to serving bowl, then top with parmesan and chicken.

Serves 2
<250 mg sodium per serving

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Bourbon Barbecued Chicken For Two


 1/4 cup onion, minced
2t vegetable oil
1/2 cup diced tomato in sauce
2T molasses
1/4 cup bourbon
1t Worcestershire sauce
1t white vinegar
2T brown sugar
1T chipotle chile powder
2T honey

Sauté the onion in oil until softened. Add remaining ingredients, then simmer to reduce volume by about half, mashing any tomato chunks as you stir.

 Dry rub:

Combine the following in a small bowl -
     1T brown sugar
     1T chipotle chile powder
     1 t garlic powder
     1/2 t cayenne

 The Chicken:

 4 boneless thighs (use bone-in if grilling)

Apply dry rub and let sit at room temperature for about 15 minutes. Preheat broiler* (or grill). Broil (or grill) for about 2 minutes per side to sear, then baste with BBQ sauce and return to heat. Continue to alternate flipping and re-basting (less than one minute per side each time) until chicken is cooked through. Bone-in chicken will take a bit longer than boneless.

Serve immediately. We paired this with corn and cucumber salad for a delicious summer meal.

Makes two servings, <300 mg sodium per serving

*Broiling Tip: Line a half sheet pan or roasting pan with aluminum foil. Place non-stick cooling rack on top of foil. Arrange meat on rack allowing some space in between pieces. This keeps the meat from getting soggy and lets the edges get crispy.