Sophisticated Savories

Sophisticated Savories

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Sweet Summertime…

"Skinny Caesar" with Kale, Spinach,
Hearts of Romaine
Well folks, it’s officially summer-time… swim suits, beaches, roof-top pools, sun-kissed tans and colors galore.  The produce during the summer is always seemingly abundant in fresh fruits and vegetables.  Rather than consuming heavy dishes composed of roasts, potatoes and grains, the shift in the summertime is often focused primarily on vibrant colors and lighter proteins.  In order to save money, I will typically purchase organic chicken breasts in bulk – then grill the breasts immediately, cut into portions and freeze the cooked chicken.  I prefer the grill for two reasons: first – I love the taste of the grill marks.  To me, nothing can fabricate the unique “burnt” taste… it is unique and able to stand alone.  Second, the need for additional oils and butter are not needed when grilling.  Granted, yes – brushing the grill with an oil is necessary in order to prevent whenever protein or vegetable from sticking, but considerably much less oil is required compared to sautéing or pan-frying. 

Chicken salad has always been a favorite when dining.  However, most are laden with mayonnaise and are stacked atop croissants.  A healthier option is provided:
Lowfat Curried Chicken Salad


Lowfat Curried Chicken Salad

2 Cups Grilled Chicken – cut into cubes (you can use leftovers or thaw chicken that was precooked on the grill) - can also substitute shrimp, scallops, crab, lobster, turkey
1 Cup. 0% Greek Yogurt – plain
1Tbsp. Curry Powder
½ tsp. Cayenne Pepper
1 stalk of celery - diced
½ Cup of Grapes – cut in half
Spinach/Romaine heart lettuce/ Kale
½ Lemon – juice
Slivered almonds/walnuts/cashews
¼ Red Bell Pepper – diced
Whole Wheat Pita Chips/Whole wheat baguette/9-grain bread – toasted

Lowfat Lobster Salad
In a large mixing bowl, combine the chicken, yogurt, curry powder, cayenne, grapes, celery, nuts and bell pepper.  Mix with a spoon, then squeeze a few drops of lemon juice to the salad.  Season with salt (to taste).  Refrigerate for 10 minutes (until chicken is cold).

Can either serve atop a bed of lettuce/spinach, or enjoy with whole wheat pita chips, baguette or 9-grain bread.  In order to provide a healthy “high tea” sandwich, cut the crusts away from the whole wheat bread and cut bread into 2in by 4in rectangles.  Layer the chicken salad in between the bread and add additional vegetables/gold leaf for decoration.  May also cut the baguette on a bias (diagonal cut) and toast the thin crostinis.  Then top with chicken salad, micro greens and gold leaf for an elegant, high tea sophistication. 

Lowfat Shrimp Salad
Gluten free option would be enjoyed by spooning the chicken salad atop a fresh bed of spinach/romaine heart lettuce/kale.  Rather than dousing the delicate leaves in dressing, simply drizzle lemon juice and lightly salt the vibrant greens.  The curry and yogurt from the salad provide dressing enough to compliment the salad.  If a dressing was to be added, it may over-power the curry from the chicken.

Not a fan of curry?  How about a Skinny Caesar Salad? 

Does that even exist?  Try using the tofu as the binding agent in the dressing.  It works, trust me.

Skinny Chicken Caesar Salad

½ c. Silken Soft Tofu
2 Tbsp Lemon Juice
1 Tbsp EVOO
2 tsp. Dijon Mustard (the wine in the mustard provides a nice sweetness)
1 tsp. minced garlic
½ tsp Cayenne Pepper
Salt to taste
1 ½ tsp. Red Wine Vinegar
"Skinny Caesar" with Shrimp and Parmesan Cheese 
1 tsp Worcestershire Sauce
3 Anchovies – minced and ground into paste (or ½ tsp. anchovy paste)
1 Tbsp Water
1 Tbsp Grated Parmesan Cheese
1 Cup Whole Wheat croutons – lightly toasted

In a blender combine the first 10 ingredients.  Add water to thin, as needed while mixture is blending.

Voila – there is your low-fat Caesar Dressing… sans the cholesterol since egg yolks are not needed in this recipe.  “Safer” to consume, as raw eggs are not included in this recipe either.  Not too shabby.

In a large bowl, combine spinach, romaine lettuce, cooked chicken breast, and as many diced vegetables as your little heart desires.  The more colors, the better.  Serve with dressing on the side.

Many lighter Caesar salad dressings use fat-free mayo.  Of course this is an option (may substitute fat-free mayo for tofu) – however, I prefer the tofu, as tofu contains more protein and calcium than mayo.  Proteins are essential in order to rebuild muscle. 

A few quick and healthy recipe ideas to kick start your summer, darhlings.

And now to work out… wiggle, wiggle, wiggle, yeah.

All my love from Dallas, y’all,

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