Tag Archives: light

Mexican White Bean Tuna Salad

Those who know me well, know that I’m not a huge fan of mayonnaise.  Like, at all.  I’m not going to be annoying and not eat a sandwich when a friend makes one for me (who am I kidding…that never happens), but mayo is a huge reason I never opt for the tuna salad at most places.  *and yes, I cook with it when necessary, just not in abundance. 

Now THIS!!! THIS I can do!!  It has a bit of tang, a bit of heat, a real freshness and zero of that creamy mayo!  Sold!!!  It’s a much lighter take on the traditional version that you can still eat between sliced bread, a pita or a tortilla..or simply eat it on its own as the ‘salad’ that it is!

The Starting Lineup

  • 2 packets/cans tuna, drained
  • 1 can great northern beans, drained AND rinsed
  • 1/2-1 calabacita (Mexican squash), halved lengthwise and sliced 1/4″
  • 1/4 cup red onion, diced
  • 1 jalapeño, seeds & pith removed, finely chopped
  • 1/8 cup cilantro, rough chop 
  • 1/8 cup green onion, sliced
  • 1/2 tsp cumin, to taste
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • Extra virgin olive oil, drizzle (1 Tbsp/ optional)
  • Kosher salt & ground pepper, to taste 

This really can’t be any easier…per usual, prep all of the veggies and protein. 

Next, in a large bowl, combine ALL of the above ingredients and toss together.  Yeah…super easy, right??  *you can cover and refridgerate or eat right away!  

I like to serve ours with sliced and seasoned tomatoes, lemon and lime wedges, pita bread or tortillas….and maybe a margarita or two.  Enjoy!!!

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Bbq Chicken Cobb Salad

A Cobb Salad is one of the most ordered salads in our great country…I LOVE them!  However, in true Carly fashion, I wanted to give it a Texas twist with an extra punch of flavor! 

This is a great summertime dinner dish that doesn’t heat the home up and can be made in under 30 minutes!  The BBQ sauce doesn’t overwhelm when mixed with the ranch dressing, only compliments, and you get a extra great crunch from the tortilla chip topping!

*You can shred a rotisserie chicken in a pinch!

The Starting Lineup

  • 2 cups cooked chicken, chopped
  • 3 hard boiled eggs, sliced
  • 4-6 strips crispy bacon, crumbled
  • 1 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 1 bag mixed greens
  • 3 Roma tomatoes, diced
  • 1 bell pepper, chopped
  • 2 avocados, sliced
  • 1/4 red onion, diced
  • 1/4 green onion, diced
  • 1 jalapeńo, thin sliced
  • 1 can black olives
  • 1 cup ranch dressing 
  • 1 cup bbq sauce, divided 
  • 1 cup tortilla chips/or strips 
  • Kosher salt and pepper, to taste
     

Here we go!  First, in a bowl or mason jar combine the 1 cup of ranch dressing with 1/2 cup of bbq sauce.  Add in a pinch of salt & pepper and give a good whisk/shake and then refridgerate until the salad is complete. 

 

Next, simply rinse the produce and start the chopping and dicing of the vegetables and chicken! 

In a large bowl, add the cooked, chopped chicken along with the remaining 1/2 cup bbq sauce and toss together. 

  Finally, combine all of the ingredients into the bowl, drizzle with the Bbq Ranch dressing your made earlier and top with the crunchy tortilla strips/chips! 

  

Grilled Lemon-Dill Chicken w/ Greek Chopped Salad

I’ve loved the bright fresh flavors of Greek food far before the recipes infiltrated Pinterest or The Pita Jungle restaurant took off.  Crunchy vegetables, saltiness from the kalamata olives and feta and the brightness of lemon juice are my guilty pleasure.  Well wait, maybe guilty isn’t the correct word, because you never feel too heavy after eating this cool and fresh meal!  Besides the health benefits  of this recipe, I love how fast it all comes together! So it’s great for a weekday dinner or a quick meal to enjoy grilling and eating by the pool on a hot day…

The Starting Lineup

Chicken

  • 4-6 thin cut chicken breasts
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 Tbsp dill, fresh (or 1 tsp dried)
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • Juice of 1-2 lemons, plus zest
  • 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt & pepper, to taste  *I used lemon-pepper, because I had it on hand

Salad

  • 1 15oz can garbanzo beans, rinsed
  • 2 cucumbers, seeds removed and sliced
  • 4 to 6 Roma tomatoes, chopped (or cherry tomatoes halved)
  • 1/2 red onion, sliced
  • 1/2 cup kalamata olives
  • 1/2 cup feta cheese, crumbled or cubed
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • Kosher salt & pepper, to taste   

Beginning with the chicken, we’ll get the marinade ready.  In a small bowl simply combine the garlic/garlic powder, dill, lemon juice and zest, evoo and salt & pepper, whisk together.  In a large ziplock bag add in the chicken breasts and pour in the marinade.  Seal, place on a dish (to avoid spillage) and let marinate in the refridgerator for 1 hour.  *Do not let marinate too long, as the acid from the lemon juice can change the texture of the chicken. 

   On to the salad!  Prep your veggies by rinsing, chopping and dicing *For the cucumber, slice in half length-wise and take a spoon to gently scoop out the seeds/center.  This will also help to eliminate the salad from getting too soggy.  Also, drain the can of garbanzo beans and rinse/pat dry. 

   In a large bowl, combine the garbanzo beans, cucumbers, tomatoes, red onion and kalamata olives.  In a smaller bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, evoo, oregano, salt and pepper.  Pour the dressing over the vegetables and sprinkle on the feta cheese.  Give a gentle toss, cover and refridgerate while you cook the chicken. 

 Now here you can either start up your outdoor grill or use a grill pan indoors.  *Heck, I dont care if you decide to bake the chicken.  Do what makes you happy.  Remove the chicken from the refridgerator and place on your heated grill/medium-high heat grill pan.  Grill the chicken for about 3-4 minutes on each side and let rest for 5 minutes. 

   On a large family-style serving dish, pour on your Greek salad and layer the grilled, sliced chicken over top.  Enjoy!! 

 

Baja Avocados

Summer is here!  Especially for my friends and family in Arizona..118 degrees this weekend?? Eek!  Given the brutally hot temps, who wants to start up their stove or oven?  I sure the heck wouldn’t!

So growing up, we always had a traditional shrimp cocktail at our holiday parties and I ate every bit…Then I got older and discovered “Mexican shrimp cocktail”. Wow!  Just wow!  The spice, the tang, the freshness!  I just can’t ever seem to go back to my childhood favorite of the traditional variety anymore.  We kind of broke-up.

Now flash forward to today…my hubby and I wanted a light dinner and being a self-described ‘Mexican food guru’ I knew just what to concoct!  Serve alongside a light rice or beans and you have a full and healthy meal!  *Heck, you can eat with crispy corn chips or just a spoon and straw for that matter!  I’m not one to judge in these instances.

So this quick, easy, ‘no cook’ meal fits the bill!  It doesn’t hurt a swimsuit body either 😉

*Pico de gallo is simply a mix of diced tomatoes, onion, jalapeño, cilantro, lime juice and salt.  I know, I know…it’s ridiculously easy to make and 99.9% of the time I make my own, but in a pinch of time you can by premade from the produce section.  I just doctored up mine up for more flavor and heat!  I promise it won’t happen again 😉 

The Starting Lineup

  • 3+ large avocados (I.e. Haas)
  • 1 Lb large shrimp, cooked and tails off
  • 1 cup Clamato juice
  • 1 cup pico de gallo*
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • A couple dashes of Mexican hot sauce (I.e. Tapatío)
  • Pinch of pepper 

We’ll begin by halving the avocados and carefully scooping out most of the avocado flesh, cut into 1″ chunks.  *You’ll want to keep a thin line of flesh against the skin to help it hold together and not fall apart on you. Keep the skins!

 Next, in a large bowl add together the avocado chunks, cooked shrimp, Clamato juice, pico de gallo, like juice, salt, cumin, pepper and hot sauce.  Gently mix together.  *You can cover and place in fridge for 30-60 minutes to meld flavors and chill OR serve immediately.

 Now you simply take a few spoonfuls and fill the hollowed out avocado skin.  Serve alongside a scoop of lime-cilantro rice for a light, summertime meal!  Enjoy!

Roasted Poblano Mac n’ Crema

This is the bomb!! (Do people still say that anymore?….ehh, I don’t even care). This pasta salad is my mexican spin on the classic backyard bbq staple and it’s a lot better!  It’s light, but still creamy and has just a bit of heat without overpowering.  Plus, let’s not forget that roasted flavor from the poblano peppers and cumin!  

However, the best part about this dish is that it’s equally delicious served either warm or cold!  Truth!  We’ll often eat the side dish warm on the first night I prepare it and serve the leftovers cold (if there are any) the next day!

*This can be made with gluten-free noodles if desired.

*I prefer to keep the seeds in my jalapeno or serrano pepper, as this makes a large batch, but to each their own.

*I prefer to use the traditional macaroni noodle here, but any short noodle can work in a pinch..as you can see from my rotini below.  Oops! 😉

The Starting Lineup

  • 16oz elbow noodles (any short noodle can work)
  • 3 poblano peppers
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 jalapeño, minced (or a serrano for more heat)
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 cup+ Mexican crema 
  • Olive oil
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp red chili flake
  • 1 tsp Mexican oregano
  • Kosher salt & pepper (pinch of each) 

   

 
We’ll start by roasting our poblano peppers for this yummy side dish!  You can do this 1 of two ways…either A. Cook the poblanos directly over a gas flame till charred on all sides or B. Place on a baking sheet under your broiler (turning as needed) to blacken.  Onced they’re charred you can place in a bowl covered with plastic wrap to steam for about 10 minutes…*When ready, remove the blackened skin, seeds and stems.  Dice the poblanos up! 

   While the poblano peppers are steaming, go ahead and bring a large stock pot filled with salted water to a boil.  Once the water is boiling, cook the noodles to package directions, drain and set aside. 

In a large pot over medium-high heat, add in 2 Tbsps of oil and sauté the chopped onions for 3-4 minutes.  Next add in the roasted poblanos, minced jalapeño (or serrano) followed by the garlic, cumin, chili flake, oregano, salt and pepper.  Turn the heat down to low (or remove pot completely from stove top) and stir in the noodles and Crema. 

     Serve as a side at your next shin-dig and reap in the compliments!  Again, this can be served warm OR cold.  It’s that dang good!

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