Greek Yogurt Ranch Dressing

Greek Yogurt Ranch Dressing || Mimi's Fit Foods

This is for all of you Ranch Dressing lovers!  I recently made this to go on our taco salads.  I usually make my Ranch Dressing with cottage cheese (you can check that out here), but this is a good alternative . . . especially if you’re looking for more of the “right” consistency.   

I throw everything in a Mason Jar and shake it up.  It turns out beautifully!  Make sure you use the Ranch Dressing packet (not the Dip packet).  

This is a GREAT alternative to making the typical Ranch Dressing with full-fat sour cream and buttermilk.  It can be used for everything you love to use Ranch Dressing with (salad, veggies, snacks, etc.).

Greek Yogurt Ranch Dressing | Mimi's Fit Foods

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Lime Kissed Fruit Salad

Lime Kissed Fruit Sald | Mimi's Fit Foods

With it being summer and having all this lovely fruit in season, fruit salads are all the craze!  I absolutely love eating fresh fruit in the summer and find that it makes a delicious, light, and beautiful side dish to almost any meal.  That being said, this has become my most favorite way to serve it as of late!  

This fruit salad is oh-so-simple, takes very little time, and seriously takes that fresh fruit up a gazillion notches to SUPER awesome!  I’ve been toting this fruit salad to family and friend BBQ’s all summer long and every. single. time. I am asked how to make it because everyone is drooling over every bite.  

I’ve found that the fruit options are endless.  I typically make it with whatever fruit I have on hand or with whatever fruit I am in the mood for.  Being summer . . . there is usually melon and strawberries in it for sure.  Then, I add others.  You can change things up to your liking.  

One little note that I must mention is that you should not “dress” this salad until it is time to eat it.  It only lasts a couple of hours before going “mushy” and gets all juicy.  (I mean, the mushy and juicy fruit is still to-die-for, but you know . . . not the most optimal to serve.)

All I’m saying is that if you want to be praised for your little-to-no-effort salad, this is it folks!  Make it for your next BBQ.  Or, if you don’t have a BBQ, make it for yourself.  You’ll be in heaven!  And, keep it in mind for the fall/winter months too because it’s even delicious with canned fruit.  No kidding!

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Quinoa Tabouli

Quinoa Tabouli | Mimi's Fit Foods

I must admit.  I’m not a pro when it comes to knowing much about Middle Eastern cuisine.  However, I have had Tabouli (or Tabbouleh) before and LOVED it.  It is traditionally made with bulgur wheat.  That being said, I ran across this version with quinoa instead of bulgur and knew I would love the simple exchange.  It’s still a healthy grain, yet I tend to have quinoa on hand much more often than bulgur.

Tabouli is naturally healthy.  There is nothing found in this salad that isn’t clean.  It’s PACKED with flavor because it’s made with gobs of fresh herbs (mint and parsley to be exact). It’s seasoned beautifully with a dressing made primarily of olive oil and freshly squeezed lemon juice.

The great thing about this little salad is it is quite versatile.  You can eat it as is, you can add chicken to it, you can made a vegetarian wrap out of it, etc. In fact, stay tuned because I have a post coming up where I actually stuff this yummy Tabouli in a wrap/gyro.  It’s so good!

Quinoa Tabouli
Adapted from Nutritious Eats

1 cup dry quinoa, rinsed, drained & cooked to package instructions
2 cups chopped cherry or grape tomatoes (about 1 pint)
1 1/2 cups chopped cucumbers
1/2 cup chopped onion (can substitute green onions)
1 cup fresh mint leaves, finely chopped
2 cups fresh Italian parsley, finely chopped

Dressing:
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/3 scant cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (about 2-3 lemons)
1 garlic clove, grated
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon Koser salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper

Combine quinoa and water in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer, cover and cook for 10-15 minutes or until all water is absorbed. Transfer to a large bowl to cool while you prep other ingredients.

Add chopped tomatoes, cucumbers, onions and fresh herbs to cooked, cooled quinoa.

In a small bowl, whisk together ingredients for dressing. Pour over quinoa salad and toss to combine. Refrigerate for a couple hours to chill slightly. Serve room temperature or cold.

Serves 10.

Nutritional Information (Per Serving)
Calories:  124
Protein:  2.8g
Carbs:  16.4g
Fat:  5.5g (0.6g = Sat.)
Fiber:  1.6g
Sugars:  3g

Chicken Salad Sandwiches With Avocado (Mayo-Less)

Chicken Salad With Avocado | Mimi's Fit Foods

It’s St. Patrick’s Day, so I just had to post another something green.  While this is great for St. Patrick’s Day, it’s really great for any day so you need to add it to your lists right now.  🙂

This is great because it is a chicken salad sandwich, but it’s using avocado instead of mayo.  Brilliant!  We get all the healthy benefits from using an avocado and we’re getting those good fats instead of the bad ones.  The avocado also offers a nice creamy texture and loads on the flavor (thanks to those good, healthy fats).  The egg also helps to boast the flavor while the dried cranberries balance things out with a hint of sweetness.  If desired, you can totally add chopped cashews to your sandwich to catch that traditional crunch you get from chicken salad.  I decided to omit them to save calories, but I’m sure they would be super delicious!

For someone who loves chicken salad sandwiches, I’m pretty darn happy with this version!

Chicken Salad Sandwiches With Avocado (Mayo-Less)
Adapted from The Skinny Fork

5 ounces chicken breast, cooked & shredded
1 medium hass avocado, mashed
1 large egg, hardboiled and diced
1 tablespoon dried cranberries
salt & pepper to taste
whole wheat bread (100 calories, per slice)

Combine all ingredients in a small bowl and fold gently to combine.  Divide in half and make two sandwiches.  (I make half sandwiches, using only one slice of bread.  And, in my case, I actually make three sandwiches out of this recipe.  Two bigger ones for me and the hubby, and a small one for the babe.)

Serves 2 (Generously).

Nutritional Information (Per Sandwich using 100 calories for bread)
Calories:  383
Protein:  24.9g
Carbs:  26.1g
Fat:  19.2g (1.3g = Sat.)
Fiber:  5.6g
Sugars:  8g

Fresh Green Bean Salad With Balsamic Dressing

Fresh Green Bean Salad with Balsamic Dressing - Mimi's Fit Foods

Okay.  Let’s get back to fall.  In reality, this dish is perfect year-round, but I’m sharing it this week because I think it would make a fabulous side dish at Thanksgiving.  I’m always looking for healthy side dishes for the holidays and since green beans seem to make an appearance at most Thanksgiving dinner tables, I thought I would share a very YUMMY (and healthy) way to make them this year.

This green bean salad is to-die-for.  Yes, I’m serious.  You’re probably thinking that there’s no way that green beans would ever be considered to-die-for, but guess what!?  You’re totally wrong because I found this recipe and it completely qualifies!  I made a fancy dinner to go alongside these babies and the green beans totally won my hubby over.  Hands down, he said this salad was the best part of the meal.  And, he doesn’t even really like green beans!  So, that’s saying something HUGE!

The green beans are cooked so they are crisp-tender, then placed in an ice bath to stop them from cooking (which also keeps their color a nice, vibrant green) and cools them down.  They are mixed with the grape tomatoes and then drizzled with a simple balsamic dressing.  Just before serving, feta cheese is mixed throughout.  The result . . . delicious, crisp-tender green beans that want you going back for more and more and more and . . . well, you get the idea!  It’s just so good and fresh and flavorful!

Besides being down-right delicious, the salad is pretty too!  I think it is totally worthy for holiday meals and it’s also WAY easy to throw together for any weeknight meal too.  Thus, it’s a recipe to keep in your back pocket.  Right!?

A couple of tips for the beans.  I bought mine at Costco and they were of the best quality.  You can usually find them in your local grocery store (produce section) too.  When cooking the beans, you want to cook them to the tenderness you prefer.  However, you don’t want to let them over-cook or they’ll be mushy and not so awesome.  I prefer mine slightly on the crisp side, so I cooked mine for about 7 minutes.  I wouldn’t cook yours longer than 10.  And, don’t forget to have your ice bath ready because you’ll need to transfer them right to the ice bath after cooking.

Now start planning to make the best green bean recipe you’ve tried in years (or in forever!).

Fresh Green Bean Salad with Balsamic Dressing2 - Mimi's Fit Foods

Fresh Green Bean Salad With Balsamic Dressing
Adapted from Mel’s Kitchen Cafe

1 pound fresh green beans, ends trimmed if desired
1 cup cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
pepper, to taste
2 ounces reduced fat feta cheese

Bring a medium pot of water to a boil.  Add 1/2 teaspoon salt.  Cook green beans until tender, 5-10 minutes.

While they cook, prepare a large bowl with an ice water bath.  Immediately drain the beans into a colander and place the drained beans in the ice water for a few minutes to stop the cooking.  (This will keep them bright green and perfectly tender.)

Drain the beans and pat them dry.  Toss them in a bowl with the tomatoes.

For the dressing, whisk together the olive oil, lemon juice, vinegar, salt, garlic powder, and pepper.  Pour the mixture over the green beans and toss to coat.  Cover the bowl and chill for at least an hour or up to 3 hours before ready to serve.

Stir in the feta cheese right before serving.  Serve chilled or at room temperature.

Serves 4.

Nutritional Information (Per Serving = 1/4 the Recipe)
Calories:  135.6
Protein:  2.5g
Carbs:  4g
Fat:  8.8g (2g = Sat.)
Fiber:  4g
Sugars:  2.8g

Spinach and Grape Pasta Salad

Spinach and Grape Pasta Salad - Mimi's Fit Foods

I was introduced to this salad about one year ago.  Thanks to my friend Valerie (Thanks Valerie!), it has now become one of my most favorite pasta salads.  It’s so tasty!  All the veggies help to make this filling, there is just the right amount of pasta, the peas make it taste so fresh (and springy), and the grapes and dressing offer a little sweetness. Everything comes together so well and, for me, it’s the perfect pasta salad for spring!

You can TOTALLY add chicken to this salad if you want to make it a main course.  Valerie said she prefers to cook her chicken with McCormick’s Zesty Herb Marinate (dry package) when she puts the chicken in this salad.  I usually make it as a side dish (and have taken it to several pot-luck functions and have had many compliments), but I’ve tried the salad with the chicken and it’s deeeelish!

I hope you plan to add this to your spring/summer menus because it’s yummy and fresh!

Spinach and Grape Pasta Salad
Adapted from my friend, Valerie

For the Salad:
3 cups spinach, roughly chopped (or torn)
2 cups Veggie Pasta, dry (I used Wacky Mac)
2 celery stalks, chopped
1 cup grapes
1 cup frozen peas, defrosted
2 tomatoes, chopped
2 green onions, chopped

For the Dressing:
1/4 cup canola oil
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoons white vinegar
1 tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon onion powder

Cook pasta according to package directions (for al dente).  Drain and rinse with cold water.  Add pasta to other salad ingredients in a large bowl.

In a separate bowl, combine all the dressing ingredients and whisk until combined (I like to whisk until the sugar is mostly dissolved).

Toss salad with dressing shortly before serving.

Serves 10.

Nutritional Information (Per Serving = Approx. 1 Cup)
Calories:  124.6
Protein:  3g
Carbs:  16.3g
Fat:  5.9g
Fiber:  1.6g
Sugars:  4.8g

Thai Peanut and Chicken Salad

Thai Peanut and Chicken Salad - Mimi's Fit Foods

You guys!  This is such a delicious salad!  Surprisingly enough, I’m not a HUGE salad lover when it comes to the main dish (I do however, love them on on the side . . . weird, I know).  The salad has to be unique enough, filling enough, and tasty enough to ever count for the main attraction.  Well, this one fits the bill!

It has fresh greens that include romaine and nappa cabbage, a fabulous array of fresh vegetables, and noodles.  Yeah, noodles!  Man, they are so good in this salad.  All of the textures mixed together are magical.  And, don’t even get me started on the salad dressing.  It is sooooooo awesome!  I love peanut flavored stuff, and this was NO exception.  The dressing is made primarily with peanut butter and then a bunch of Thai flavors get mixed in which gives the dressing a nice zing and powers up the flavors.  I’m not going to lie; when I’m on maintenance I totally add more than 1 tablespoon of the dressing to my salad because I could probably drink the stuff.  The cashews on top really help to finish the salad off.  (Unfortunately the cashews didn’t make it in the photo.  Oops!)

I am seriously in love with this salad!  When I made it I doubled everything (salad ingredients and dressing) so I could eat leftovers for my lunch for days.  I mean, cutting up the veggies takes the most time so I just dedicated one lunch time to cut everything up.  This meant that the following days included NO preparation and all I had to do was put my salad on a plate and drizzle on the dressing.  The veggies and greens stay good for days so in my humble opinion it was SO WORTH THE TIME!

Make this TODAY for your lunch!  You won’t regret it.  Well, unless you’re allergic to nuts.  But, that’s the only reason I can ever imagine why someone wouldn’t fall in love with this salad.

Thai Peanut and Chicken Salad - Mimi's Fit Foods

Thai Peanut Salad
Adapted from Studio 5 and the Unconventional Kitchen

Salad Ingredients:
4 ounce whole wheat pasta
(spaghetti, angel hair, linguine, or brown rice noodles all work great)
3 cups romaine, chopped
3 cups nappa cabbage, chopped
2 cups thinly sliced purple cabbage
1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
1 medium carrot, cut in little matchsticks
1 medium cucumber, halved and sliced
3 green onions
12 ounces cooked chicken breast, chopped
1/4 cup cashews, chopped (or cashew pieces)

Dressing Ingredients:
1/4 cup peanut butter, natural no hydrogenated oils and sugar added
1/2 lime, juiced and zested
1 teaspoons sesame oil
1 1/2 tablespoons seasoned rice wine vinegar
1 tablespoons soy sauce, reduced sodium (or Lite)
1 1/2 tablespoons honey
1 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
1 1/2 teaspoons fresh ginger, minced
1/4 cup roughly chopped cilantro (stems and all)
1/8 teaspoon sea salt
1-2 teaspoons Sriracha chili sauce (depends on your spice tolerance)
1 tablespoons water

For the Salad:
Cook noodles according to package directions (be sure to add salt to your boiling water, which should be included in package directions). 

While you are waiting for your noodles to cook, chop all of your veggies. 

When the noodles are done run cold water over them. When the noodles are cool, drain. Toss all of the salad ingredients together and serve with Thai Peanut Salad Dressing.

For the Dressing:
Put all of the ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. 

If you want the dressing spicier add more Sriracha, if you aren’t into spice, start out with 1 teaspoon and add to taste from there.  The dressing makes approximately 3/4 cup (or 12 tablespoons).

Serves 4.

Nutritional Information (Per Serving = 1/4 the Salad Recipe – No Dressing)
Calories:  245.7
Protein:  23.5g
Carbs:  33.1g
Fat:  5.3g (0.5g = Sat.)
Fiber:  7.2g
Sugars:  4.2g

Nutritional Information – Dressing Only (Per Serving = 1 Tablespoon)
Calories:  47.7
Protein:  1.4g
Carbs:  3.4g
Fat:  3g (0.5g = Sat)
Fiber:  0.3g
Sugars:  2.4g

Nutritional Information (Per Serving = 1/4 the Salad Recipe plus 1 Tablespoon Dressing)
Calories:  293.4
Protein:  24.9g
Carbs:  36.5g
Fat:  8.3g (1g = Sat.)
Fiber:  7.6g
Sugars:  6.6g