Well Dined

5Aug/132

Kanikama Salad

Well Dined | Kanikama Salad

Kanikama is the imitation crab meat you find in cheap sushi rolls.  It is made from white fish (pollock usually) that is formed and colored to look like crab.  Sounds gross, but is actually pretty tasty - and way cheaper than real crab.  Kanikama salad is a pretty typical way to prepare imitation crab outside of sushi rolls.  It usually involves kanikama, shredded vegetables, and mango in a light mayonnaise based dressing and is sometimes topped with tobiko.

My version is kanikama and mango over lettuce, served with avocado (I meant to get tobiko, too, but I forgot!)  This is really light and refreshing, and a little bit sweet - perfect for summer.  It's important to realize that Japanese mayo is different from American - it is lighter, thinner, and made with rice wine vinegar.  For my dressing, I bought Yum Yum sauce thinking it would be good as is (it's a mayonnaise based sauce that they use at Hibachi grill restaurants).  But when I tried it out, it was a bit too sweet and bland.  So I added a splash each of rice wine vinegar, soy sauce, mirin, and toasted sesame oil (easy on that last one, it is very strong).

I don't really have a recipe - it's more of a play with seasonings til you like it kind of thing.  You could add in julienned carrots, cucumber, even summer squash.  You could dice the avocado and fold it in with the mango (which I did on subsequent days).  You could toss the lettuce in the dressing as well, instead of setting the dressed kanikama on top.  There are lots of ways that you can make this your own.  Leave a comment telling me how you like your kanikama salad!

Well Dined | Kanikama Salad

17Jul/130

Mexican Style Quinoa Salad

Well Dined | Mexican Style Quinoa Salad

This vegetarian/vegan meal that I made with Melissa of Smells Like Brownies is perfect for summer.  It is light and fresh (but still filling), takes advantage of summer produce, and is packed with protein.

Well Dined | Mexican Style Quinoa Salad

All you have to do is combine the ingredients - corn, tomato, avocado, bell pepper, scallions, jalapeno, black beans, cooked quinoa.

Well Dined | Mexican Style Quinoa Salad

Then toss with a dressing of lime, olive oil, honey, and cumin.

Well Dined | Mexican Style Quinoa Salad

Top with some fresh cilantro (or parsley if you, like me, are not a fan) and your perfect summer lunch awaits!  You can serve it warm, cold, or room temp - doesn't matter.  The ingredient list is also totally flexible, go with whatever ratio of quinoa to veg you like, take out the stuff you don't like, add in something you do, make it yours.

14May/130

Grilled Halloumi & Quinoa Salad

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Halloumi is a salty, dense Greek cheese that is super amazing when grilled.  My friend Melissa, from Smells Like Brownies, is a big fan so she was pretty excited when I showed her this recipe.  Hearty quinoa mixed with lettuce and veggies and topped with warm cheese - delish!

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We didn't end up having the cucumbers the original recipe called for, so we used tomatoes instead and they were great.  I do really like cucumbers, though, so I would say to use both.  The more veg, the better, right?  The dressing includes red wine vinegar, olive oil, lemon juice, parsley, mint, and scallion - yum!

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We also discovered (by oiling one side and not the other of an electric grill) that the cheese gets better grill marks when the grill is not oiled.  Don't worry, though, it won't stick!

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This is a very satisfying (and light!) vegetarian lunch that is sure to make even meat eaters happy.

11Mar/132

Light Pumpkin Cream Cheese Loaf

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We are finally getting into some Spring weather here but I am way behind on my posts, so I'm sorry if the cold weather stuff drags on a bit!  I actually made this Pumpkin Cream Cheese Loaf all the way back in October - yikes!  Put it uses canned pumpkin, so you can make it whenever that is available.  I found this recipe through Pinterest which advertized only 500 calories for a WHOLE LOAF!(!!!)  Oh-em-gee!  Can it be true?  Delicious and healthy?  The unicorn of pumpkin loafs?!  EDIT - Well, no in short - it is not.  It actually has more than 1000 calories per loaf and it doesn't taste that great.  But I will leave it on here in case someone has a use for it.  EDIT

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Okay, I wouldn't really call it healthy.  It's low calorie and low fat due to the use of low-fat cream cheese, egg whites vs whole eggs, and applesauce vs oil.  And it uses half fake sugar and half real sugar, but I'd still call that a sugary snack.

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As for deliciousness?  I'd call it okay.  You can definitely taste the fake sugar and it isn't as dense and luxurious as the real thing, but it's a pretty good substitute.  So all-in-all I'm going to call this decent but not amazeballs.

13Nov/122

Skinny Pina Colada Cupcakes

In my ever-continuing quest to find healthier foods, I stumbled across this recipe.  Cupcakes, that are diet-friendly, in my favorite tropical flavor combo, made with only 5 ingredients!  Yeah - these are awesome.

For the cake part, you only need 2 ingredients (only 2!) - cake mix and canned crushed pineapple.  That's it!  The pineapple takes the place of the eggs and oil making these super low-fat.

26Sep/120

Weeknight Salmon

Here's a fun and easy salmon dish for when you are pressed for time - Crispy Salmon with Creamy Basil Pasta.

Brush salmon with coconut oil, season with salt and pepper, and broil for 5 min per side on a rack.  Serve on top of whole wheat spaghetti with a creamy basil sauce.

For a lighter side (I paired it with my Panko Salmon), make "noodles" out of zucchini in a yogurt sauce.

To make the zucchini noodles, use a julienne peeler or mandoline to make thin strips.  Toss with salt and allow the water to drain out.

Then toss with a creamy lemon-chive dressing made with Greek yogurt.

22Sep/120

Roasted Tomato Pasta

A few weeks ago I posted about doing a roasted tomato pasta, but forgot to take a picture of the finished product!  So when I saw these gorgeous local tomatoes at the market, I wanted to make it again.

So - toss with salt, pepper, olive oil and roast at 400 for 20 minutes or until they are bursting and caramelizing.  I roasted mine ahead of time and stored them in the fridge until I needed them.

Then you just toss the hot tomatoes (I reheated mine when I was ready for them) with hot pasta and they will turn into a chunky sauce.  Top with fresh basil and adjust for salt and pepper.  That's it!  Gorgeous, fresh, fast, and easy.

12Sep/120

Sour Cream Chicken Enchiladas Take 2

A while back, I posted a super tasty enchilada recipe.  Now that I am practicing healthier eating habits, I wanted to revamp that recipe to be lighter.  I used whole wheat tortillas, fat free sour cream, fat free soup, and reduced fat cheese and they tasted just as great as the original!

Before I get into the  main part of the recipe, I want to talk about a basic technique that I use all the time.  A lot of my recipes call for "cooked, shredded chicken".  You could acquire that in a number of different ways (and in fact, shredding a rotisserie chicken is one of the easiest) but I want to show you my favorite method.  I like to poach big batches of chicken at a time (especially when I see a bulk pack on sale), shred it, and freeze it so that I always have some on hand.

To do this, place boneless skinless chicken in the bottom of a large pot.  Toss a quartered onion, carrots (no need to peel), celery, garlic, peppercorns, a bay leaf, and herbs over the top.  I like to use thyme and this year I grew some myself!  Cover with water (just the chicken, the veg can be floating), bring to a boil, then quickly reduce the heat to low so that the water is barely at a simmer. Partially cover and gently simmer for 10 minutes. Then turn off the heat completely, and allow chicken to sit in the hot water for another 15-20 minutes.  Doing it this way prevents is from being overcooked and keeps it moist and tender.

4Sep/120

Shaved Market Vegetable Salad

I was so inspired by this shaved vegetable salad at Simon in Las Vegas that the first thing I wanted to do when I got home was to make my own version.

So I went and bought the vegetables I wanted to use - carrots, celery, beets, fennel, and asparagus.

Then I sliced them up using the slicing blade on my food processor (a mandoline would also work) and tossed them with high quality olive oil, lime juice, and sea salt.

I actually stored the vegetables like that in the fridge and throughout the week or so that they lasted I would take out what I needed and add it to raw kale massaged with olive oil (which takes some of the bitterness out) along with watercress, grapes, pepitas, and fresh mozzarella for a delicious summer salad.

It is so healthy and fresh and keeping the vegetables raw means that you are getting the full nutritional value from them, plus they keep you super full.  But this seriously tastes so good that you will not even be thinking about how healthy it is.

24Aug/120

Summer Seafood

I don't normally cook a lot of seafood other than my usual seared salmon, but in the summer I do get cravings for it.  The reason is unknown - maybe because it is light and refreshing, maybe because I wish I was at the beach.  Either way, I have a couple of light and healthy Summer seafood recipes to share with you.

These shrimp tacos are filled out with a slaw of cabbage, corn, fresh squeezed orange and lime juice, and a dab of sour cream.  A great balance between warm tortillas, hot shrimp fresh out of the pan, and cool, crunchy slaw - they are healthy, filling, and super tasty.

This next recipe combines two superfoods into one awesome meal for Salmon Burgers with Tangy Avocado Sauce.