Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Pasta - Potato Salad

We had recently been to one of our favourite restaurants in Framingham, Ruby Tuesday. Both of us love the salad bar in Ruby Tuesday. That alone is enough to fill your stomach halfway before your main course arrives. You can have unlimited amount of salad from the salad bar and hence I always make sure to make frequent trips towards the salad bar :) . I love the pine nuts, and the pasta salad, and potato salad.

Salads have been my favourite since my childhood, I used to love having raw cabbage leaf, carrot, tomato, onion and green chilli combo along with curd. Also I was the only one in my house who used to love having raw sprouted green moong. My mother was happy as well as quiet amused and surprised to see me hogging those sprouted green moong which she used to sometimes purposely make just for me :) After few years she used to make a simple salad with sprouted green moong, minced onion, tomatoes, green chilli, coriander and bit of salt and lemon juice. I loved it.


Coming to Potato salad, I don't remember where I first had it, but I remember where I first saw it. It was in my office cafeteria in India. I am proud to say that our office cafeteria was one of the best. They had a very good menu. I had seen egg salad, potato salad, pancakes, everything for the first time over there. I was not so fond of Mayo that time . I didn't like it that time. Things change when you come to US though :) . I was determined to make this at home as I had tasted this in several restaurants (especially Ruby Tuesday) and had become a great fan. I wanted to keep it light and towards the healthier side. Hence this is what I did:

Ingredients:

Pasta (whole wheat variety)- 2 cups of pasta cooked according to package instructions. I used the Rottini variety.

Potatoes (I used the red skin variety) : 2 medium sized, boiled until just done so that it doesn't lose shape while slicing into medium segments.

Frozen spinach : 1 cup, which is to be thawed before using

Frozen green peas (optional): 1/2 cup, thawed before using

Canned Tuna in water (optional) : 1 can

Minced Garlic: 2 tablespoons

Low-fat seasoned Mayonnaise: Refer my post for the recipe

Soy Sauce - 1 teaspoon or as per your taste

Seasoning:

Dry Basil Leaves
Oregano powder
Minced Coriander leaves
Lots of freshly cracked pepper





Method:

In a deep bottom vessel on medium high heat, add thawed spinach, canned tuna (along with the water), and garlic. Saute them on medium-low fire until everything is cooked. There is no need to add any oil for sauteing the above spinach and tuna mixture as the water from the tuna helps the cooking process. [as far as the Tuna goes, Chunk light tuna in water is one of the lightest canned variety fish]

Season the already sliced potatoes with a little pinch of salt and lots of freshly cracked pepper, dry basil leaves, and a little oregano. Add these seasoned potato, pasta and mix well until everything is well combined. Switch off the fire and transfer to a serving dish. Add the Mayonnaise combine well again. Add a generous amount of seasoning ( I add lots of cracked pepper as there is no other source of heat in this salad and I like my salad a little spicy. Freshly cracked pepper gives a whole lot of flavour to this salad. ) Serve it immediately or refrigerate it and serve cold along with low-calorie saltines/crackers and some vegetable sticks.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Low-fat seasoned Mayonnaise


As I wrote in my previous post, I am trying to follow a low-fat cooking diet. I have this book I got recently from library called Low-Fat Cooking for good health by Gloria Rose which I follow for some of her low-fat recipes. One such recipe I made from the book was Low-Fat Mayonnaise, which is referred to as "Our" Mayonnaise in this book :) Its really easy and I used it as a dressing in other recipes. Here is the recipe which I modified by omitting certain ingredients and adding different herbs and seasoning.



This recipe calls for refrigerating overnight, hence this is a make ahead recipe.

Ingredients:

---------------

4 tablespoons low-fat Cottage Cheese
1 egg white (preferably use fresh eggs)
2 tablespoons vinegar
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon Dijon-style mustard
3/4 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon minced garlic
Bit of coriander leaves
Dry Basil powder (optional)



Method:

1. Place all ingredients in a blender/food processor and process until smooth, and creamy.
2. Transfer contents to a glass bowl and refrigerate overnight.
3. Can be used as a salad dressing or as a dip.
Lasts for 2-3 days.

luv
Roopa

Friday, January 16, 2009

Stir fry mixed vegetable peanut noodles


Happy New Year to everybody !! I know I am a bit late , but better late than never. This year I made a resolution to eat healthy (as most of the people I see on weight loss ads on TV) :)) . Let me see how much I can control my cravings. I followed one diet, learned few good things and few not so good things about that diet. I have a book purchased on low-fat cooking andthat's something I look forward to everyday these days.


Recently we bought some Imitation Egg Noodles for the first time. Both me and V are great fans of Maggi Noodles, and every time we do our Indian grocery , V makes sure he buys at least 3 Maggi packets. This time we did our Indian grocery in a Chinese store (have to say, they sell it much cheaper than the Indian stores). They had all sorts of Asian spices and condiments. In the Thailand Isle (yes they had Korean, Thai, Philippines, Japanese, and Indian (have to say most of their customers were Indian ;-) ] we found this imitation Egg noodles for just 99 cents. We thought of trying this out.


I am very fond of Chinese food (not like a daily basis), especially their delicious Soup and spicy dishes like Kung Pao , and Lo Mein. I love Kung Pao mainly because of the spicy and tasty peanuts they put. It adds a nice crunch to the whole dish. Lo Mein is another of my favorite dish. I decided to make a vegetarian version of Lo Mein (Indian style). I sliced and diced one Red Bell Pepper , Onion, Carrots, Mushroom, a little tofu. Slit 5-6 green chillies, mashed some garlic and grated fresh ginger.

Cooked the noodles in lots of water with a 2 tablespoons olive oil and a little salt, until soft and done and drained. Then I added 3-4 tablespoons olive oil to a hot wok, spread the oil to coat the entire wok. Added the peanuts, green chillies , garlic, and ginger, reduced flame to medium, stir fried until chillies become a bit pale. Then I added the rest of the vegetables, diced tomatoes, and salt and stir fried until everything cooked, added tofu , spices (1/2 teaspoon of coriander powder, chilly powder), 2 tablespoons of soy sauce, 1/4 teaspoon sugar. Stir fried and mixed everything until cooked. Lowered the fire to medium-low. Added the noodles, mixed well with the rest of the ingredients. Stir fried Noodles ready.

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