Sunday, July 27, 2008

Lunch: Mediterranean Salad

I was struck with a desire to do something this week that had mozzarella in it. So I did a little research and came upon this recipe for a Mediterranean Orzo Salad with mozzarella, cannellini beans, and all sorts of other good-for-you components, tossed together with a lovely dressing. I had to restrain myself from devouring the entire bowl so that I'd have enough for 4 servings to take to lunch this week.

Mediterranean Orzo Salad with Mozzarella and Cannellini Beans
(makes 4 - 5 servings)

1 cup orzo
1 1/4 cup grape tomatoes, halved
1 cucumber, peeled, halved and sliced
4 scallions, finely sliced
20 Kalamata olives, pitted and halved
10 - 15 mozzarella balls, quartered
1 jar (6.5 oz.) artichoke hearts, drained and halved
1 can (15 oz.) cannellini beans, rinsed and drained


1/4 cup lemon juice
1 tbsp. olive oil
1 tbsp. red wine (or sherry vinegar)
1 tbsp. parsley
1 tbsp. basil (I left this out and just used oil from the mozzarella balls that was loaded with basil instead)
1 tsp. dried marjoram
salt and pepper to taste

Prepare orzo by bring a pot of water to a boil. Add the orzo slowly, stir, and bring back to a boil. Cook for 10 minutes, drain, and cool.

In a large bowl, combine cucumber, tomato, scallions, olives, mozzarella, artichokes and cannellini. Combine, then add orzo once cooled. Prepare dressing and toss thoroughly to coat.


Cucumber $.99
Tomatoes $2.50 (I used about 3/4 of the package, so I have some for another meal)
Cannellini beans $.79
Mozzarella $5.99 (I used all but 5 balls, so I can use those in future salads or meals)
Scallions $.89
Lemon $.50
Parsley $.99
Orzo $7.99 (for a huge tub of it, I have enough now to make this recipe like 5 more times)

Total cost: $5.16

Monday, July 14, 2008

Lunch: Lentil Salad with Bell Pepper and Goat Cheese

Inspired to use up some dried lentils I've had on my shelf for quite a few months, I looked up some lentil salad recipes and put this together for lunch, adding some chicken so it will be as filled with protein as it is with fiber. It's quite tasty already and I think the ingredients will meld together nicely over the next few days in the fridge.

Lentil Salad with Bell Pepper and Goat Cheese
makes 3 - 4 servings


1 cup lentils, rinsed
1/2 carrot, fined diced
2 stalks celery, finely diced
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 chicken bouillon cube


1 red bell pepper, seeded and diced
1/2 red onion, diced
1 tomato, seeded and diced
4 thin chicken cutlets, cooked, cooled and cubed
3 oz. goat cheese


1 tbsp. olive oil
1 tbsp. sherry or red wine vinegar
1 tsp. dijon mustard
1 clove garlic, minced

In a pot, combine rinsed lentils, celery, carrot, garlic, bouillon cube and enough water to cover by about a 1/2 inch. Bring to a boil, then cover and simmer for 35 minutes. Check halfway and add more water to cover if necessary. Around 35 minutes, remove cover and continue simmering for about 10 minutes, til most of the water has evaporated. Cool and drain excess water through a sieve.

In a big bowl, combine remaining ingredients, add lentils and dressing and toss well. If you've got parsley on hand (I didn't), it would be a nice herb to add, along with freshly cracked black pepper and a dash of salt. Otherwise you could add a little oregano.


Red onion $.43
Dijon mustard $3.19
Red bell pepper $.46 (the girl at the supermarket accidentally rang it up as a red onion! Yay!)
Tomato $.86
Goat cheese $3.49
Chicken cutlets $2.90
Carrot $.76

Total: $12.09
Cost per lunch: $3.02

Nutritional Information: 364 calories per serving, 10g fat, 4g saturated, 46mg cholesterol, 552mg sodium, 37g carbohydrate, 14g dietary fiber, 7g sugars, 32g protein, 56% vitamin A, 83% vitamin C, 11% calcium, 36% iron. Also a very good source of vitamin K (48%), niacin (42%), vitamin B6 (39%), phosphorus (46%), manganese (47%), and folate (78%).

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Lunch: Mexican Chopped Salad with Honey Lime Vinaigrette

I made this salad last summer and I remember it being so delicious! So delicious in fact that I have been eagerly anticipating summer just so I could make it.

Mexican Chopped Salad with Honey Lime Vinaigrette
makes 4 servings
adapted from

Romaine lettuce (about 8 leaves)
2 chicken breasts
1 can (15.5 oz.) black beans, rinsed and well-drained
2 tomatoes, seeded and diced
3/4 cup canned corn
2 small radishes, thinly sliced
1 red bell pepper, diced
4 oz. feta cheese (the original recipe calls for fat-free, but I opt for the cheapest option at the supermarket which is full-fat)
1/2 red onion (the prettiest way to go, but I improvised and used up what I had in the fridge -- 1/4 white onion and 2 scallions)


2 limes (1/4 cup juice)
1 tbsp. olive oil
2 tbsp. honey
2 tbsp. fresh cilantro, chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
1 - 2 tsp. finely chopped jalapeño (I used a little less than half)

Cook chicken breast for about 10 minutes in a small amount of oil, until cooked through. Set aside and cool.

In a large bowl, mix all ingredients for salad except the lettuce and avocado. Mix a few times to bring the ingredients together. Prepare the dressing and pour about half over the salad mixture. Divide into containers for lunch. Chop the romaine and add on top of the divided salad mixture. Pour the remaining dressing equally over the four salads. Each day, add 1/4 of the avocado to the salad before eating.


Red bell pepper $2.79
Jalapeño pepper $.18
Romaine lettuce $2.15
Corn $1.69
Black beans $1.09
Cilantro $1.39
Feta cheese $2.60
Tomatoes $3.19 (for three)
Avocado $1.99
Chicken breast $5.39 (for two)

Total: $22.46
Cost per meal: $5.62

Nutritional info: 536 calories, 19g fat, 6g saturated, 98mg cholesterol, 52g carbohydrate, 14g fiber, 14g sugar, 43g protein, 86% vitamin A, 99% vitamin C, 22% calcium, 26% iron. Also a good source of vitamin K (101%), niacin (72%) and folate (65%).

Monday, July 7, 2008

Fried Rice

I made this last week for a dinner and two lunches, to use up some rice I'd cooked last week for fajitas.

Fried Rice
makes 3 servings
(you can easily adjust the ingredients to make more servings)
adapted from
Bowl Food

1 egg
approximately 1/2 tsp. butter
1 - 2 tbsp. olive oil
1/2 red bell pepper, thinly sliced into 1" strips
1/2 carrot, thinly sliced
1 stalk broccoli (I just used the florets)
2 handfuls snow peas, rinsed and trimmed (can substitute 1/2 cup frozen peas)
1 clove garlic, minced
.25 lb pork sausage
2 cups cold, cooked white rice
1/4 cup canned corn, rinsed
3 scallions, thinly sliced
2 - 3 tsp. sesame oil
2 tbsp. low-sodium soy sauce

In a small pan, coat a pan with a small amount of butter (less than 1/2 tsp.). Whisk egg in a bowl and add to the pan. Gently move pan to coat bottom with egg and let cook over medium heat until small bubbles appear. Flip the egg and cook through to the other side. Remove from heat and let cool on a plate.

Heat 1 tbsp. oil in wok or large frying pan. Add red bell pepper and carrot. Allow to cook for a minute, then add broccoli, snow peas and garlic. After a minute, add pork sausage. (I cooked the pork sausage whole until it browned on both sides, then removed, allowed to cool, sliced, and added back to the mixture.) Cook for about five minutes, add a small amount of oil, and add rice. Incorporate the rice well, breaking up any lumps the rice may have formed. After the rice has fried for about a minute, add the corn and scallions, mixing frequently.

Thinly slice the egg and add to the mixture. Toss well, add sesame oil and soy sauce, stir again and remove from heat. Allow a few minutes to let the mixture's flavours incorporate. And voilà. An American girl's version of Fried Rice.


Broccoli $2.29
Corn $.89
Snow Peas $2.58
Pork Sausage $2.28
Carrot $.78
Red Bell Pepper $1.56
Scallions $.89

Cost per meal: $3 I had a lot of the pricier ingredients on hand, including the sesame oil. I put the other half of sausage in the freezer, used 1/4 of the red bell pepper in a salad I took with me on a bus ride on Thursday, and used the remaining vegetable ingredients tonight in a stir fry with a bit of chicken and some whole wheat noodles. The other half of the stir fry is tomorrow's lunch. And the rest of the week's lunches will fall out of tomorrow's dinner.

So, for just an additional $1.69 for noodles and 2 chicken thighs (4 for $4.61, two are now in the freezer), that's 5 meals for just $3.50 each (not to mention some sausage and chicken in the freezer for future meals). Not bad!

Nutritional Information: 496 calories, 23g fat, 6g saturated fat, 20% sodium, 55g carbohydrate, 8g dietary fiber, 8g sugar, 20g protein, 96% vitamin A, 262% vitamin C, 12% calcium, 30% iron. Also a good source of Folate (59%) and Vitamin K (247%). (Note: I couldn't find soy sauce on Nutrition Data so this is an estimation and probably contains more sodium than these figures.)