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Summer Bounty Salad

We have a new video for you! It is Summer Bounty Salad – a recipe that is easy, delicious, and perfect for this time of year. I do not want to spoil the video for you, so I am not going to tell you how to make this recipe. However, I suggest you go find your favorite summer vegetables and your favorite salad dressing because you are going to want them for this recipe.

Enjoy!

 

 

Justine Hoover

Justine Hoover

Justine Hoover is a Registered Dietitian and mom who loves to cook for her family.

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Chicken BLT Salads

Chicken BLT Salads Meal My parents are professional tomato growers. They started out small when I was young with about six plants. Now they have dozens of plants of many different varieties. Regardless of how many tomato plants they have, one thing remains the same – bacon, lettuce, and tomato (BLT) sandwiches. We feast on them along with any other fresh produce we can find (usually corn on the cob, green beans, and cucumbers).

Our recipe of the month for August is a spin on the traditional BLT sandwich – Chicken BLT Salads. Top fresh greens with cooked chicken and bacon and diced tomatoes. Then drizzle with your favorite salad dressing. I would even go a step further and add any other fresh produce you have. I think this salad would be great with carrots, corn cut from the cob, cucumbers, green beans, and onions. Give these salads a try while all this amazing produce is in season.

Enjoy!

 

 

 

Justine Hoover

Justine Hoover

Justine Hoover is a Registered Dietitian and mom who loves to cook for her family.

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Orange Dressing

Our May recipe of the month is sure to get you in the mood for spring produce if you are not already.   A salad of spring greens (spinach, leaf lettuce, or Swiss chard), chopped spring vegetables (broccoli or snow peas), and chopped spring fruit (strawberries or pineapple) tastes delicious with our homemade Orange Dressing.

Our homemade Orange Dressing is made of ingredients that are easily found in most kitchens.  This recipe needs only four ingredients – orange juice, vinegar, sugar, and oil.  Pour them into a container with a tight fitting lid and shake until the ingredients are combined.  Then use this tasty dressing to top a salad made with your favorite springtime produce.

Enjoy!

Orange Dressing with Fruit and Greens

Justine Hoover

Justine Hoover

Justine Hoover is a Registered Dietitian and mom who loves to cook for her family.

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Zesty Whole Grain Salad

zesty_whole_grain_saladwpToday I would like to introduce you to one of my favorite Spend Smart. Eat Smart recipes – Zesty Whole Grain Salad. A student shared the inspiration for this recipe with me, and, once I tasted it, I was hooked. I ate it for lunch nearly every day for weeks.

This salad makes a perfect lunch, and this is why:

  • It tastes great with the sweet and tangy homemade salad dressing.
  • The fiber, protein, and fat will fill you up and keep you full.
  • It is easy to pack into smaller containers for lunches on the go.
  • You get fruit, vegetables, protein, and whole grains in one bowl.
  • It simplifies lunch planning for the week because it makes a lot and it stores well in the refrigerator. So you and your family can eat it for three or four days.

Zesty Whole Grain Salad
zesty-whole-grain-salad-label-webServing Size: 6  |  Serves: 1 1/2 cups  |  Cost Per Serving: $1.43
Ingredients:

  • 2 cups cooked whole grain (brown rice, kamut™, quinoa)
  • 2 tablespoons oil (canola or vegetable)
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 apples, chopped
  • 1/2 cup chopped nuts (pecans, walnuts)
  • 1/2 cup dried fruit (cranberries, cherries, raisins)
  • 1 bunch kale or 10-ounce package spinach (about 6 cups), torn into bite-sized pieces

Instructions:

  1. Cook whole grain according to package directions. Cool.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together oil, vinegar, honey, salt, and pepper.
  3. Stir apples, nuts, dried fruit, and whole grain into dressing.
  4. Toss greens with other ingredients.

Tips:

  • Substitute 2 cups of chopped fruit (strawberries, grapes, oranges) for the apples.
  • Do not give honey and nuts to infants under one year of age.

Enjoy!

Justine Hoover

Justine Hoover

Justine Hoover is a Registered Dietitian and mom who loves to cook for her family.

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Build a Better Salad

WholeMealSaladHow many of you are like me and are trying to start some healthy habits in the new year? Whether you’re trying to save money or eat better, packing a healthy lunch can help you do both! Salad is a common go-to option for people trying to eat better, but not all salads are created equal. Here is a quick guide to simplify packing salads for lunch.

  1. Include protein in your salad. Choose proteins like a hard-boiled egg, beans, chicken or canned tuna. The protein will help you stay full throughout the afternoon. This is a great use for leftover ingredients from dinner.
  2. Be careful about your dressing choice. Salad dressing can be expensive and high in fat, calories and sodium. Keep dressing portions small (approximately 1 tablespoon). One way to save money and be certain about the ingredients in your dressing is to make your own. Let our video on homemade dressing or this helpful handout be your guide!
  3. Choose toppings you enjoy, but avoid common pitfalls. Many restaurant salads are topped with lots of high-calorie ingredients like bacon and cheese. It is ok to eat these tasty ingredients from time to time, but they can quickly turn your healthy homemade salad into a meal that is high in fat and calories. Instead, choose lots of veggies to top your salad. In the winter, choose those that taste good all year round like carrots, peppers, celery, green onions and even defrosted, frozen peas.
  4. Prepare your salads ahead of time. We all know what it is like to run out of time on busy mornings. Sturdy greens like spinach hold up well for a few days in the fridge. You can also chop your veggies like peppers, carrots, celery and onions ahead of time. I avoid watery veggies like cucumbers when I am prepping salads ahead because they tend to get a bit soggy after a day or so. Also, wait to put the dressing on your salad until right before you eat it.

If you would like some more ideas about healthy salads, check out the Whole Meal Salad recipe template on our website.

Here’s to a happy and healthy new year for all of our Spend Smart. Eat Smart. readers!

Christine Hradek

Christine Hradek

Christine Hradek is a State Nutrition Specialist with Iowa State University Extension and Outreach. She coordinates ISU’s programs which help families with low income make healthy choices with limited food budgets. Christine loves helping families learn to prepare healthy foods, have fun in the kitchen and save money. In her spare time, Christine enjoys cooking, entertaining and cheering on her favorite college football teams with her family and friends.

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Crisp Fruit Salad

Fresh Fruit SaladThis recipe is so easy it is almost embarrassing, but it tastes so good we had to include it. The dressing is what makes this a hit. Adding just a little mayonnaise to the yogurt really ups the flavor. The lemon juice prevents the apples and pears from turning dark.

Like most of our recipes you can vary this one to suit your family. Some ideas include:

• Use dried cranberries or cherries instead of raisins.
• Add 1/2 cup celery, chopped (about 1 stalk).
• Add 1/4 cup walnuts or almonds, chopped.
• For a main dish salad, add chicken chunks, canned tuna, or salmon.
• Try with lemon, plain, or plain Greek yogurt

Crisp Fruit Salad

Serving Size: 3/4 cup | Serves: 6 (makes about 4 1/2 cups) | Cost Per Serving: $.64

Ingredients:Fresh Fruit Crisp Label

  • 1 red apple
  • 1 pear
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1 cup seedless grapes, halved
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 1 container (6 ounces) low fat, sugar free vanilla yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons low fat mayonnaise-type salad dressing

Instructions: 

  1. Wash fruit under cool running water.
  2. Chop apple and pear (leave skin on). Add to large serving bowl and toss with lemon juice.
  3. Add grapes and raisins to bowl.
  4. Combine yogurt and salad dressing in a small bowl and spread over fruit.
  5. Stir to combine. Refrigerate. Best eaten the day it is prepared.

Peggy Signature

Christine Hradek

Christine Hradek

Christine Hradek is a State Nutrition Specialist with Iowa State University Extension and Outreach. She coordinates ISU’s programs which help families with low income make healthy choices with limited food budgets. Christine loves helping families learn to prepare healthy foods, have fun in the kitchen and save money. In her spare time, Christine enjoys cooking, entertaining and cheering on her favorite college football teams with her family and friends.

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Homemade Salad Dressing … Easy as 1, 2, 3

salad bowlHomemade salad dressing adds wonderful flavor to salads of all kinds – lettuce, fruit, and pasta salads. You can even add dressing to roasted veggies to add extra flavor. The thing I like best about homemade salad dressing is that it can be made quickly and easily by keeping some basic ingredients in your pantry – vinegar and oil plus whatever add-ins taste great to you, such as herbs, spices, mustard, fruit juice, sugar, salt, pepper.

Here are three easy steps to making a homemade salad dressing:

1.  Measure your ingredients. Measure into a screw top container or a mixing bowl. Start with three parts oil to one part acid (vinegar or citrus juice) and a small amount of seasoning – you can always add more acid and seasoning later.

  • If you are interested in some homemade salad dressing recipes, check out our homemade salad dressing video, our salad dressing handout, and this newsletter that has a helpful salad dressing chart.

2. Mix your ingredients. If using a screw top container, secure the lid tightly and shake until combined. If using a mixing bowl, mix ingredients together vigorously using a fork or whisk.

3. Eat your salad. Pour your dressing onto your salad and eat it up. Homemade salad dressing will make your vegetables, fruits, and whole grains taste great.

In addition to the ease of making homemade salad dressing, I like the cost. I use canola oil in my salad dressings, which makes the cost about half of a store-bought salad dressing.  Since citrus fruit has been cheap this winter, I have been saving even more money by using the juice from an orange in place of some of the vinegar. When I make my own dressing, I can try new things like this in small amounts without buying a whole bottle of premade dressing.

Look through your pantry and see what you have to make a homemade salad dressing today!

Justine

Christine Hradek

Christine Hradek

Christine Hradek is a State Nutrition Specialist with Iowa State University Extension and Outreach. She coordinates ISU’s programs which help families with low income make healthy choices with limited food budgets. Christine loves helping families learn to prepare healthy foods, have fun in the kitchen and save money. In her spare time, Christine enjoys cooking, entertaining and cheering on her favorite college football teams with her family and friends.

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Creamy Cauliflower Salad—Lots of Flavor, Few Calories

CreamyCauliflowerI have to admit I was skeptical when I first tried this recipe. I could not imagine cauliflower, apples, and lettuce together. Now I am a believer. The fresh, mild taste of the crunchy cauliflower, the sweet, tart flavor of the apple, and the ranch dressing are great together.

If you haven’t  chopped up a cauliflower before, you’ll be surprised how easy it is. Martha Stewart has a 45 second video on how to cut up cauliflower, which is very good.  Check out the rest of the 24 videos on vegetable prep as well. They are very well done and don’t’ have a lot of  ads.

This salad is great for an everyday meal, a picnic, or for company. You can make it several hours ahead of time and the leftovers are good, although the lettuce is a little wilted the next day.

To make the salad more special sometimes I add sunflower seeds or raisins, use red onions for color, as well as romaine lettuce for color and more nutrition.

Creamy Cauliflower Salad

Serving Size: 3/4 cup
Serves: 6

Cost Per Serving: $.61

Ingredients:
  • 2 cups cauliflower broken into florets (about 1/2 head)
  • 1/2 cup diced onion
  • 2 cups chopped lettuce (romaine works well)
  • 1 chopped red or green apple (Braeburn, Granny Smith)
  • 1/4 cup light ranch dressing

Instructions:
  1. Prepare the cauliflower by rinsing well in cold water just before using it. Snap off the outer leaves and discard.
  2. Use a sharp knife and cutting board to slice off stem and hollow out and remove core.
  3. Cut or break cauliflower into small pieces called florets.
  4. Toss cauliflower, onion, lettuce, and apples in a medium bowl.
  5. Stir in dressing.
  6. Cover. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
Substitutions/Additions:
  • Change this recipe by adding other foods such as sunflower seeds or raisins.
  • Use red onion to add more color.
Tips:
  • Can be made several hours in advance.
  • Great for a picnic. Keep it in the cooler until time to eat.

 

Peggy Signature

Summer Vegetables Ready for Delicious Eating

While I don’t like temperatures in the 90’s and high humidity, the vegetable plants in our garden seem very content especially if they get enough water.

Our garden is producing green beans, cucumbers, potatoes, onions, carrots, zucchini, yellow crookneck squash, peppers – green, banana and hot peppers plus basil, dill, and cilantro.  My sister Rhonda’s tomato crop looks the best it has in years.  We have already picked cherry and grape tomatoes.  Next week the large tomatoes and the heirloom varieties will be in full production.

Even with several families picking out of the garden I always find something I can serve for dinner.   Our feature recipe Summer Bounty Salad is super easy and you can use whatever vegetables you pick from your garden, buy at a farmers market or are on special at the grocery store.

I suspect that soon we will not be able to eat everything we pick.  Then we will be able to give friends, family, and seniors, who live in the same independent living apartment as my parents, our extra harvest.

If you have extra vegetables in your garden, consider donating them to a local food shelter where it will benefit members of the community.  If the local food pantry does not accept fresh produce, contact area churches to see if any have an established food donation program.

Summer Bounty Salad

Ingredients

  • 7 cups cut-up vegetables (zucchini, broccoli, carrots, radishes, green onions)
  • 1 pepper (green, red, or yellow), sliced (1 to 1 1/2 cups)
  • 2 tomatoes (red or yellow or mixed)
  • 2/3 cup light or fat-free dressing

Instructions

  1. Wash and prepare the vegetables (cut the carrots and zucchini in slices, slice or chop tomatoes make the broccoli and cauliflower in florets.) If you plan to make this ahead or keep for several days, seed the tomatoes or they get too juicy.
  2. Combine all vegetables and salad dressing in a bowl, stirring to coat vegetables with dressing. Cover and refrigerate 1 to 3 hours to blend favors. Store any leftovers in refrigerator and use within 3 days.

~ pointers from Peggy

It’s Too Hot To Cook!

Who wants to cook when it is this hot?  Not me. But, I still want to eat! Here are some ideas for quick, easy, inexpensive meals with links to my favorite SpendSmart.EatSmart. recipes.

Make Fruit A Meal

Vegetable Ideas

  • Summer Bounty Salad
  • Pasta Salad
  • Grill vegetables like onions, zucchini, peppers, eggplant, mushrooms and potatoes. Here’s how …
    • Just slice them 1/4 – 1/2-inch thick and marinate in whatever Italian salad dressing or vinaigrette you have on hand. (If you use potatoes you need to microwave them for a few minutes before you put them on the grill.)
    • Preheat the grill, then either use a grill basket or lay right on the oiled grate.
    • Grill over medium heat for 5-20 minutes depending on the vegetable. Sometimes I make skewers with chunks of beef or chicken, but I can make a meal of just vegetables.

Top Of The Stove Dishes – These dishes don’t take long to make, and when I am cooking, I make extra so I can just reheat them in the microwave.

No Cook Or Skillet Sandwiches

Dips To Eat With Baked Tortilla Chips

Salads  that are big enough for a meal

Finally, don’t forget your slow-cooker. You can plug it in anywhere and cook a roast or chicken and vegetables while you are at work.
jicama black bean diptuna melt sandwichsummer bounty salad

— pointers from Peggy