Turning leftovers into a treat — a wonderful salmon salad

Don’t give up on your leftovers, find creative combos to get the most out of your cooking efforts.

Leading up to and including Thanksgiving, we had house guests for 10 days straight, which meant a lot of cooking, and a lot of leftovers.

Oddly enough, they left Sunday and then my wife left on a business trip Monday, so I’ve had the house, and the leftovers, to myself all week. I’ve eaten a lot of turkey, as you might guess. But we also had made salmon for some pre-Thanksgiving dinners, and there was a large amount of salad already made as well.

My wonderful salmon salad.
My wonderful salmon salad.

So Monday night, I combined the salad with the left-over salmon for a great salmon salad dinner. I heated the salmon with some added Mrs. Dash salt-free teriyaki sauce for added flavor. Then I topped the salad with it and added olive oil and balsamic vinegar for a great dinner treat.

Don’t give up on your leftovers, find creative combos to get the most out of your cooking efforts.
John

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Simple summer side dishes: tomatoes and beans from your garden

Simple and delicious, along with salt-free as these are, has been my flavor mantra since my angioplasty two years ago, both of these sides fit that mold perfectly.

I wrote recently about a Sunday dinner I created using chicken skewered on rosemary sprigs as a main dish.

To accompany that and a salmon I made for the same meal, I went with simple side dishes that included grilled zucchini, tomato slices with basil and olive oil, and green beans freshly picked from my garden and cooked in olive oil and spices.

A simple approach, fresh tomatoes, fresh basil and wonderful olive oil.
A simple approach, fresh tomatoes, fresh basil and wonderful olive oil.

The fresh beans were so flavorful, tasting them reminded me why I plant  a vegetable garden each summer. I went with olive oil on them this time but have also made beans with a a balsamic vinegar glaze that works quite well to add some sweetness to the dish. Continue reading “Simple summer side dishes: tomatoes and beans from your garden”

Rosemary chicken: a nice way to add flavor to chicken breast

Simply cut the chicken into bite-sized cubes, marinate with olive oil, lemon juice and what spices you like. I added rosemary, thyme, oregano and pepper, leaving out the salt the original recipe calls for.

Eating chicken breast can get boring fast given that white meat, while the lowest-fat part of the chicken, also is the driest. I tend to cook it covered with tomato sauce or some other ingredient to add some flavor to it.

Chicken rosemary skewers were wonderfully flavorful and easy to make.
Chicken rosemary skewers are wonderfully flavorful and easy to make.

So, searching for new recipes, I was interested in trying a recipe I saw in People magazine from TV personalities Bill and Guiliana for chicken skewered on sprigs of rosemary. It all tuned out well and seemed to be a hit with Sunday dinner guests recently. The only tricky part of the recipe is finding long rosemary branches. I bought a rosemary plant to get them since packaged rosemary in stores tends to be rather short sprigs. Continue reading “Rosemary chicken: a nice way to add flavor to chicken breast”

Nutrient-Dense Foods: prepare for this new food jargon

The next fad seems to be what are being called nutrient dense foods.

Food fads come and go in America as we all search for magic foods that will allow us to eat what we want while keeping us thin and healthy. Remember high-carb diets, low-carb diets, the protein craze (this one is still going on), and most recently functional foods — foods that supposedly serve a specific function like keeping us sharp for a busy day at school or the office?

The next fad seems to be what are being called nutrient dense foods. What that means exactly is, “naturally or inherently nutritious foods and beverages — ‘traditional foods rooted in folklore as beneficial and delicious,’ ” Melissa Abbott, senior director of culinary insights for The Hartman Group consumer research firm, says in article on MediaPost.

For me, pasta is a functional food, it makes me feel good. Thee days, I'm eating only multigrain pasta,
For me, pasta is a functional food, it makes me feel good. Thee days, I’m eating only multigrain pasta,
Continue reading “Nutrient-Dense Foods: prepare for this new food jargon”

Olive oil and restricted diets: which type is best for you?

In Italy, no restaurant offered any type of prepared dressing. Oil and vinegar were routinely placed on our tables instead. I wish American restaurants would copy that practice as well.

You’ve been told olive oil has good fats not the bad fats in everything else you once loved to eat but no longer can. So are all olive oils created equal?

I recently visited an olive oil processing plant in southern Italy while on a 10-day vacation with family there. The owner, the fourth generation of her family to run the place, explained to us that extra virgin olive oil is best when watching your cholesterol and diet overall.

some of the amazing olive oil we brought back from Italy.
some of the amazing olive oil we brought back from Italy.

We sampled a wonderful array of oils there. I have always loved olive oil. Tasting it in my ancestral homeland was even more special.

While I can’t eat plain Italian bread any longer, I can always buy some type of whole wheat bread to dip in my wonderful olive oil. And putting it on vegetables and fish adds a wonderful flavor.

I also use it exclusively on salads now, having walked away from any type of prepared – read high-fat, high-salt – dressings. Interestingly, in Italy no restaurant offered any type of prepared dressing. Oil and vinegar were routinely placed on our tables instead. I wish American restaurants would copy that practice as well.
John

Why should you use oil and vinegar?

Salad dressings are little food bombs full of bad things — sugar, salt and fat. No one on a restricted diet should be using them.

Salad dressings are little food bombs full of bad things — sugar, salt and fat. No one on a restricted diet should be using them. 

Carry your own olive oil for salads.
Carry your own olive oil for salads.

So what can you do to make a salad tastier? Try olive oil and vinegar. I grew up with that mixture on salads, thanks to my Italian roots. I didn’t try a salad dressing until I was eating in a college dorm. Continue reading “Why should you use oil and vinegar?”