Posted in Easy, Salads, Vegetables

Southwest Corn Salad

Original Post 2011: Here’s a great summer BBQ side to try this holiday weekend.  It’s easy, quick & delicious.

Southwest Corn Salad

Serves 10

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time:  5 – 10 minutes

Refrigerate: 1 to 2 hours or overnight

Estimated Values per Serving:

Calories: 130                        Fat: 4 grams


6 slices turkey or center cut (low fat) bacon

3 cups corn kernels

1 can (15.5 ounces) black beans – rinsed and drained

½ cup minced red onion

½ cup red or green bell peppers

1 can (4 ounces) chopped green chili peppers

¼ cup fresh cilantro – finely chopped

¼ cup canola oil

2 tablespoons lime juice

Few drops of Tabasco (optional)


  1. Heat a skillet on medium high heat, coat with cooking spray and fry bacon for 5 – 7 minutes until browned.  Remove from heat and cool on paper towels.
  2. Crumble cooled bacon.
  3. In a small pot, boil ¼ cup water and add corn.  Cook until tender for about 5 minutes.  Rinse, drain and cool.
  4. In a large mixing bowl, combine corn, black beans, onions, bell peppers, chili peppers, cilantro  and bacon.
  5. In a small bowl, whisk together the oil, lime juice and Tabasco.  Pour on top of corn mixture and toss well.
  6. Cover and refrigerate for 1 to 2 hours.
Posted in Easy, Salads, Vegetables

Easy Italian Pasta Salad

Original Post September 2010: We had a family BBQ over the weekend and with our crazy schedule, I had to make a menu that takes minimal effort.  The night before I threw this together and it worked out really well.  Instead of trying to come up with a homemade salad dressing, I figured it’s easier to buy the salad dressing and just “jazz” it up a little with fresh basil & garlic.

If there are some ingredients that do not appeal to you, feel free to substitute.  Here are some ideas:

– grated parmesan instead of mozzerella

– Minced onion instead of garlic

– Chopped celery

– chopped tomatoes

Have fun with it because that’s what it’s all about…

Easy Italian Pasta Salad

Serves 16

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 8 minutes

Refrigerator: 2 hours


8 ounces pasta

8 ounces Italian ham

1 can artichoke hearts – rinsed and drained

8 ounces roasted red peppers – drained and rinsed

¼ cup pitted calamata olives

1 cup low fat Italian salad dressing

2 cloves garlic – minced

½ cup low fat grated mozzarella cheese

¼ cup fresh basil – chopped


  1. Bring a large pot of water up to a boil and add pasta.  Cook according to package directions then drain and rinse under cold water until the pasta is cool to the touch.
  2. While the pasta is cooking, chop the ham, artichoke hearts, red peppers and olives and spoon into a large mixing bowl.
  3. Add pasta, salad dressing, garlic and cheese.  Toss all ingredients together and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
  4. Right before serving, chop fresh basil and toss.
Posted in Pork, Rub, Salads, Sauces, Season, Slow Cook, Spices, Vegetables

Pulled Pork with Amercian Style Coleslaw

Every year this weekend kicks off the holiday BBQ season.  To get ready, I am experimenting with some classic menus that won’t make you feel guilty.  Tonight we had pulled pork and coleslaw sandwiches.

One of the reasons I love serving this to company is because it is better if made a day or two before the BBQ.  The coleslaw should be made at least 24 hour in advance and kept cold until ready to serve.  The longer it sits in the refrigerator, the better it gets.  The pulled pork can definitely be made the day before and heated up and served in a crock pot.  So if you are looking for hassle free cooking the day of your party, this is a great menu.

The family loved it (even if it was 60 degrees and cloudy) and was asking for seconds.


American Style Coleslaw

Pulled Pork with Amercian Style Coleslaw

Serves 8

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Refrigerate overnight

Estimated Values per Serving:

Calories: 55                           Fat: 2 grams


½ cup low fat mayonnaise

¼ cup skim milk

2 tablespoons sugar

2 tablespoons white vinegar

½ teaspoon pepper

½ teaspoon onion powder

1 teaspoon celery seed

¼ teaspoon salt

1 scallion – chopped

4 cups shredded cabbage

1 cup shredded carrot


  1. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together mayonnaise, milk, sugar, vinegar, pepper, onion powder, celery seed, and salt.
  2. Add shredded cabbage, carrot and scallion and toss.
  3. Refrigerate overnight or for several days and serve cold.

Pulled Pork

Serves 8

Pre heat oven 250o

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Bake Time: 4 – 5 hours

Cook time: 30 minutes

Estimated Values per Serving:

Calories: 200                        Fat: 5 grams

Pork Loin Rub Ingredients:

2 pounds boneless pork loin

1 teaspoon finely ground black pepper

2 teaspoons ground oregano

1 tablespoon paprika

1 teaspoon onion powder

1 teaspoon thyme

¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper


  1. Trim any excess fat from pork and set aside.
  2. To make the rub, combine all the ingredients. Rub over the surface of the pork loin to coat.
  3. Place pork in baking pan and cover with aluminum foil.  Cook pork for about 4 – 5 hours.
  4. Cool pork until you are able to handle it then shred the meat.

BBQ Sauce Ingredients:

1 cup strong coffee

1 jar (12 ounces) chili sauce

2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

2 tablespoons molasses

½ teaspoon liquid smoke

¼ cup white vinegar

1 teaspoon garlic powder

2 tablespoons chili powder

2 – 3 dashes pepper sauce (optional)


  1. Combine all ingredients in large saucepan and bring to a simmer on medium low heat.  Reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes.
  2. Add sauce to shredded pork and mix well.  Serve hot.
Posted in Rice, Salads, Vegetables

Summertime Vegetable Rice Salad

Summertime Vegetable Rice Salad

Summertime Vegetable Rice Salad

Serves 8

Prep time: 15 minutes

Cook time: 30 – 45 minutes

Refrigerator time: 2 hours or overnight

Estimated Values per Serving:

Calories: 110                        Fat: 2 grams                          Points: 2


4 cups vegetables broth

2 cups long grain rice (white or brown)

1 large tomato – seeded and chopped

1 large cucumber – peeled, seeded and chopped

2 scallions – chopped

½ cup celery – chopped

1 teaspoon garlic powder

¼ teaspoon coriander

¼ teaspoon dried dill

½ teaspoon chervil

1 tablespoon olive oil


  1. Boil broth and add rice.  Cook as per the package directions.
  2. While rice is cooking, combine tomatoes, cucumbers, scallions, celery, garlic powder, coriander, dill and chervil and toss gently. 
  3. Add cooked rice and olive oil.  Toss into vegetable mixture and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.  Serve chilled.
Posted in Roasted, Salads, Side Dishes

Warm Roasted Potato and Caramelized Onion Salad with Goat Cheese Dressing

Warm Potato and Caramilized Onion Salad

Serves 10

Preheat oven 450o

Prep time: 10 minutes

Cook time: 30 minutes

Estimated Values per Serving

Calories: 210                        Fat: 4  grams                         Points: 3


4 pounds potatoes – cut into 1-inch pieces

1 teaspoon salt

1 ½ pounds sweet onions – cut into 1/4 –inch thick slices

  1. Line a large baking pan with foil then generously spray with cooking spray.  Add potatoes in a single layer and sprinkle with salt.
  2. Roast potatoes for about 40 minutes until tender and browned, stirring occasionally.  Remove from oven and cool to room temperature.
  3. Heat a large skillet on medium low heat, spray with cooking spray and add onions.  Cover and slow cook for about 20 – 25 minutes, stirring frequently, until onions are soft and caramel colored.
  4. In a large serving bowl, combine potatoes and onions.  Prepare goat cheese dressing (recipe below).

Goat Cheese Dressing Ingredients:

¾ cup fat free sour cream

5 ounces crumbled goat cheese

2 teaspoons prepared horseradish

1 tablespoon low fat real bacon bits


  1. In a small bowl, combine all ingredients.
  2. Add pepper to taste.
  3. Pour on potatoes salad and gently toss.
Posted in Pasta dish, Vegetables

Company for the week…

Italian Pasta and Bean Salad

Our friends from Texas are visiting us for the week and should be arriving soon.  I planned a simple dinner for them since I know they will probably be tired from traveling all day.  So tonight, I am making pork loin cooked on the BBQ, Caesar’s salad and Italian pasta salad. 

Enjoy summer with friends.

Italian Pasta and Bean Salad

Serves 12

Pre p Time: 15 minutes

Cook time: 8 minutes

Estimates Values per serving:

Calories = 220                                              Fat = 3 grams


1 (12-ounce) box of pasta

½ cup low fat mayonnaise

2 tablespoons lemon juice

1 tablespoon sugar

1 teaspoon anchovy paste

2 cloves garlic – minced

½ teaspoon paprika

¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes

1 (14-ounce) can of artichoke hearts – rinsed, drained and coarsely chopped

1 (15.5-ounce) can of chick peas – rinsed and drained

1 (15.5-ounce) can of red kidney beans– rinsed and drained

½ cup low fat shredded mozzarella cheese

¼ cup grated parmesan cheese

8 ounces cherry tomatoes – cut in half

Pepper to season


  1. Boil a large pot of water and add macaroni.  Cook about 8 minutes until done and drain water.
  2. While pasta is cooking, whisk together mayonnaise, lemon juice, sugar, anchovy paste, garlic, paprika and red pepper flakes in a large bowl. 
  3. Add pasta, artichoke hearts, chick peas, kidney beans, cheeses and tomatoes and gently toss together.  Add pepper to season.
  4. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour and serve cold.
Posted in Salads, Side Dishes


I did not cook dinner tonight but had some leftover turkey breast from the night before and am posting a recipe from the turkey salad I made the other day from leftovers.  This is an easy and basic recipe but I love it because it always work with chicken or turkey and my family always compliments me on it.

Turkey salad

Serves 4

Prep time: 10 minutes

Dressing Ingredients:

1 cup low calorie mayonnaise

1 teaspoon seasoned salt

½ teaspoon celery seed

2 tablespoons vinegar

1 tablespoon sugar (or 1 packet 0 calorie sweetener)

Pepper to taste

Salad ingredients:

2 scallions – green parts only chopped

2 ribs celery – chopped

1 – 1 ½ pound boneless turkey breast meat – cooked and cut into 1-inch pieces


  1. In a small mixing bowl, mix together mayonnaise, seasoned salt, celery seed, vinegar and sugar.   Taste dressing and add pepper to your preference.
  2. Combine scallions, celery and turkey and pour dressing on top.  Toss lightly and refrigerate until ready to eat.