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Test Kitchen: Spruce up salads for New Year's resolution

By Jessica Rodrigo
Dec. 25, 2013 at 6:25 a.m.

It's time to declare resolutions for 2014. To help all of us resolve to lose some weight - or at least eat healthier - I've brightened up the typical salad with ham, bleu cheese and apples. Cheese and ham may not be the healthiest additions to a salad, but the more exciting you make your salad, the more often you're likely to eat it.

Apple, ham and bleu cheese salad

Makes 1 salad

• 2 cups spinach, chopped

• 1 cup romaine lettuce, chopped

• 1/4 cup radicchio, chopped

• 1/4

• 1/2 cup apple, sliced

• 1 tbsp. bleu cheese, crumbled

• 2-3 slices of sandwich ham, shredded

• 2 tbsp. sunflower seeds

• 2 tbsp. dressing of choice

Throw ingredients in a to-go container or a big bowl, and you're ready to go.

OTHER VARIATIONS:

Bleu cheese and bacon crumbles

Strawberries and chicken

Pears and green onions

Cranberries and shredded turkey

Can't make it? Go get it.

Roberts Eatery and Bakeshop

• ADDRESS: 1504 N Laurent St, Victoria

• PHONE: 361-576-0036

• WHEN: 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Monday; 11 a.m.-2 p.m. and 5-9 p.m. Tuesday-Friday; 5-9 p.m. Saturday

It's that time of year - time to declare resolutions to eat healthy and lose the extra weight gained from the holidays.

And for me, my resolution to lose a few extra pounds came sooner than 2014. I've been watching what I eat and drink and have kept from snacking after 9 p.m. It's easy to reach for a snack when deadline comes around, so cutting back on the snacking is probably helping me avoid a few extra calories.

As of late, I've replaced most of my lunches with hearty salads, and the trick there is varying the salad fixingsto keep it interesting. I have a four bottles of dressing I alternate between, and that is big help when lunch comes around. I've also been prepping my veggies ahead of time so that when I get home for lunch, I can just toss it in a bowl with dressing and chow.

I buy spinach by the bundles, a heart of romaine and a head of radicchio for color - we do eat with our eyes before we eat with our mouths. This will make up your base.

Toss it into a big gallon ziplock bag with a dry paper towel after rinsing, and you're set to serve when needed. Also, if you soak your veggies in water with a splash of white vinegar, it'll help your salad last a little longer after everything has been chopped. The same trick works for fruits - especially strawberries.

Once you're prepped, you can add whatever you're in the mood for - cheese, meat, fruit, etc.

I still had bleu cheese leftover from the paninis last week, so I've been crumbling it and tossing it into my salads. Apples partner well with bleu cheese (see also the panini recipe) and a peeler makes a quick solution for slicing carrots. Both also add a little bit of sweetness against the bitterness of the greens.

Don't forget the protein, either. Fresh edamame, garbanzo beans, sunflower seeds or peanuts are a good way to add more substance. You can also opt for some shredded sandwich meat or some leftover bacon from breakfast - in moderation, of course.

Share your tips with me, together we can lose a few pounds. Send a message to jrodrigo@vicad.com or tweet @EatsEatsEats. I'm always hungry.

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