Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Lunch: Simple. Fresh. Healthy.

Lunch time.  Empty tank.  Open the fridge...Oooo what's this?

For a busy mom, opening the fridge and finding a healthy, satisfying, ready-made meal waiting is an instant mood-lifter.  Pasta salads are quick to whip up and eat for a couple of days.  An easy way to get in all major food groups too.

Today I made this pasta salad spur of the moment from what was in the fridge. A yummy combination of whole wheat penne, grilled chicken breast, toasted pine nuts, shredded mozzarella, baby spinach, shallots, garlic, champagne vinegar, olive oil, salt and pepper.

Simple. Fresh. Healthy.

Most likely you will have enough ingredients on hand to make a complete well-balanced salad.  Don't be afraid to experiment with flavors and measurements!  Let your taste buds guide you.  Here's a good starting point...

Mix any combo of the following in a large bowl:
pasta - whole wheat rotini, penne, bow tie
grain - Israeli couscous, wild rice, brown rice, quinoa 
beans - kidney, garbanzo, cannelli
meat - chicken breast, good canned tuna, bacon, turkey slices
nuts - toasted pine, walnut, almond
cheese - fresh mozzarella, parmesan, chevre, feta, sharp cheddar
veggies - spinach, arugula, avocado, sun-dried or fresh tomato, zucchini, edamame
fruit - dried apricot or cranberry, apple, strawberry, peach, plum

In smaller bowl mix a combo of the following and add to salad:
vinegar - champagne, red wine, white wine, balsamic, raspberry
olive oil

If your salad appears dry the second day just add a splash more of the vinaigrette or olive oil. 

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