Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Lighten up already!

Photo: John Autry; Styling: Cindy Barr
(Cookinglight.com)
Today I'm struggling to hang onto my sanity. The weather forecast is for the possibility of snow in the lowlands--perhaps at the 500-ft level. THAT'S ME!! It's almost May 1 for goodness sake, and we're still talking about snow??!!

OK, let's take a deep-cleansing breath and focus on the future, on Spring, on hope. Some day we will have Spring, and if not warmer weather, at least warmer rain. Who knows, we might even some day have a Summer. So in search of a positive spin on life, let's move away from heavy soups and stews and pastas and lighten up our moods (and waistlines) with lighter, Spring-like foods.

A few weeks ago I asked for feedback on what kinds of foods you would like to see featured in this blog. One comment was "low-fat or low-calorie please". I started out in that direction, and then quickly veered off-course. I apologize. May we start over?

The May 2011 issue of Cooking Light contains a recipe for "Spanish Rice Salad". I read the recipe, and although it sounded good, I thought it could be improved upon a bit. So, I'll give you the original recipe as published, and then my changes.

Spanish Rice Salad (as published by Cooking Light magazine)
Dressing:
1 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon chopped fresh oregano
1 small garlic clove, minced

Salad:
1/2 cup uncooked medium-grain rice
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
3/4 cup canned chickpeas (garbanzo beans), rinsed and drained
1/4 cup finely chopped red onion
1/4 cup diced piquillo peppers or roasted red bell peppers
1 1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

1. Combine first 5 ingredients in a small bowl, stirring well with a whisk. Set aside.

2. Place rice in a large bowl; stir in salt and black pepper. Add dressing, artichokes, chickpeas, and remaining ingredients to rice mixture; stir well. Serve warm or at room temperature.

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Spanish Rice Salad (Carb Diva version)
1 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil


1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon chopped fresh oregano
1 small garlic clove, minced

Salad:
1 1/2 cup cups cooked brown rice (I use pre-cooked bags from the freezer case)
1 can artichoke hearts, rinsed and drained  
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
1 15.5 oz. can chickpeas (garbanzo beans), rinsed and drained
1/4 cup finely chopped red onion
1/4 cup diced roasted red bell peppers
1 1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

1. Combine first 5 ingredients in a small bowl, stirring well with a whisk. Set aside.

2. Cook rice according to package directions.

3. Transfer rice to a large bowl; stir in salt and black pepper. Add dressing, artichokes, chickpeas, and remaining ingredients to rice mixture; stir well. Serve warm or at room temperature.

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