Thursday, July 31, 2008

Couscous Salad

Couscous Salad

2 Tbsp Dijon Mustard
¼ Cup Red Wine Vinegar
½ tsp Sugar
¼ Cup Olive Oil
Salt to Taste
Pepper to Taste

2 Cups Cooked Couscous
½ Red Pepper, chopped
½ Cup Edamame (shelled)
½ Cup Craisins
¼ Cup Red Onion, chopped

Combine Mustard, Vinegar and Sugar in a small bowl. While whisking, slowly add the Olive Oil to combine. Add Salt and Pepper to taste.

Cook Couscous according to directions on package.

Combine remaining ingredients and add to Couscous.

Add vinaigrette to taste.

Couscous is made from Semolina wheat and coated with wheat flour. If you’ve never cooked with it before, I cannot emphasize how easy it is! Boil water, remove from heat, add the couscous, let sit for 5 minutes and you’re done! You can find it at your local grocery store near the rice.

If you’re feeling more adventurous, substitute Quinoa for the Couscous. Quinoa is a grain chock full o protein and amino acids. It tends to be on the bitter side so make sure you soak it for a bit before you cook it. You can find Quinoa at specialty grocery stores.

Also, don’t panic with the Edamame! Your local grocer will have it in the freezer section. You can also buy it fresh in the organic section but it’s a bit pricey.

PS This salad is also fantastic served cold!

Monday, July 7, 2008

Midwestern Heaven

Back from my trip from Ohio where I basically ate my way into a stupor. A giant, mayonnaise filled stupor.

This first meal is the perfect example. As my sister and I were gorging ourselves on this creamy Mac n Cheese, my grandmother informed us that the main ingredients (besides the Mac, of course) were cream of mushroom soup and (you guessed it!) mayonnaise. Oh, and it was topped with the french onions you get from a can (think green bean casserole). And yes, I went back for seconds. And I had it cold for lunch the next day!

Midwestern Mac n Cheese
2 cups Macaroni, uncooked
1 can Cream of Mushroom Soup
1/2 can Milk
1 cup Mayonnaise
1/2 lb. Colby Cheese, shredded
1 Tbsp Onion, chopped
1 can French Onions

Preheat oven to 350F
Cook Macaroni according to package.
Combine with remaining ingredients except French Onions.
Place into a greased 9x13 pan.
Bake for 30 minutes. Remove from oven and add French Onions on top.
Bake for additional 15 minutes.

The other main item of this plate is a traditional Kate's Kitchen recipe. As in from my childhood. As in I have the recipe memorized. As in we've had it at both Thanksgiving and Christmas for as long as I can remember. And yes, it involves mayo.

"The Corn Salad"
2 Can Niblets Corn
6 Eggs, hard boiled, cooled and chopped
1 Tbsp Onion, chopped
1 Cup Mayonnaise
1 tsp Lemon Juice
1/2 tsp Chili Powder
1/4 tsp Cumin
1/8 tsp Nutmeg
Salt to Taste
2 medium Avocados, chopped

Combine Corn, Eggs and Onion.
In a separate bowl, combine the remaining ingredients except Salt and Avocados.
Combine Corn and Mayonnaise mixture. Salt to taste.
Just before service add Avocados.

I onced asked my sister what food she would pick if she had to eat the same thing everyday for the rest of her life. Her answer: The Corn Salad. The subtleness of the Chili Powder and Cumin give it just a bit of zip while the Avocado brings out the creaminess.

I have to add this last one simply for the novelty:

Looks like a beautiful salad, right? And it is, just take out the greens and add crumbled corn bread. I'm not kidding! I don't have the exact recipe, but envision a seven layer dip. Just layer corn bread, red peppers, chedder cheese, scallions and tomatoes. Top it with Ranch dressing and crumbled bacon and voila! Total yumminess. I'm almost embarassed to admit how much I liked this dish...but I really love how it is outside the box!

I had a fantastic vacation with the family! And, for the record, started the diet this morning!

PS I also ate this entire cone! (Yep, Orange Sherbet and Vanilla Soft Serve!)