Balsamic Chicken and Mac Salad

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I took a “classic” macaroni salad recipe and made a few changes to turn it into a chicken and macaroni salad, suitable for a meal.  The white balsamic vinegar gives this dish a different flavor from the usual versions – I like it a lot.

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BALSAMIC CHICKEN AND MAC SALAD


2 cups uncooked elbow macaroni
1/2 cup mayonnaise
2 Tblsp. white balsamic vinegar
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp. yellow mustard
3/4 tsp. salt
1 tsp. minced garlic
1 tsp. celery seed
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
2 Tbsp. dried minced onions
1 Tblsp. chopped pimiento
1 cup shredded cooked chicken

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.  Add the macaroni and cook until tender, 8-9 minutes.  Rinse under cold water and drain.  Dry the pasta as much as possible, blotting with a paper towel.  Set aside.

In a large bowl, mix together the mayonnaise, vinegar, sugar, mustard, salt, garlic, celery seed, black pepper, minced onions and pimiento.   Stir in the drained macaroni.  Add the chicken breast.

Cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours before serving, preferably overnight.

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Kelli’s Strawberry Jam and Watermelon Jelly

Kelli at The Domestically Impaired Guide to the Retro Kitchen Arts has some great recipes, including two that I recently tried.  Her Strawberry, Balsamic Vinegar and Black Pepper Jam has become our favorite and I just made a second batch.  The only changes I made to the recipe were to use dark balsamic vinegar and reduce the pepper to 1/2 teaspoon.   The balsamic vinegar gives this jam a deep, rich flavor.

Her Watermelon, Mango and Black Pepper Jelly is completely different from anything I’ve tried.  This calls for Mango Rum which I had never tasted but was able to find in my local wine shop.  Here again, I reduced the pepper to 1/2 teaspoon because I wanted to use it as a spread for toast, biscuits, etc.  In each case, I used freshly grated pepper and there is no taste of it at all – it just enhances the natural flavor of the jam and jelly.

I had to sample some of each on a toasted homemade roll for my breakfast this morning.

Simply delicious!

On Kelli’s blog, note that she has some canning recipe books for sale to use on the Kindle.  If you don’t have a Kindle (or have a Nook like I do), the book can be read on your computer.

Low in Calories – High in Flavor

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My youngest daughter is a busy stay-at-home mom who always finds time to get together with me on Fridays for lunch.  I try to make meals that are tasty, quick and easy, and reduced in fat and calories.  Here is the meal we had this week.

This dish is reduced in fat and calories and is a good choice when trying to lose a few pounds, but just by making the servings larger, you get a really good flavorful meal for anybody at the table.   This is my meal of choice after having Marinated Pork Tenderloin for Sunday dinner (see recipe here).

PORK TENDERLOIN WITH ARTICHOKE HEARTS


  • 1 cup dry pasta
  • 1 oz. pine nuts
  • 1 tsp. olive oil
  • 8 oz. pork tenderloin slices, marinated and grilled, cubed
  • 1/2 cup red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 cup thinly sliced mushrooms
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tsp. dried oregano leaves
  • 1/2 cup marinated artichoke hearts, drained and cut in pieces
  • 1/4 cup feta cheese, crumbled

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In a large pot of boiling, salted water, cook pasta 9-11 minutes until tender.  Drain, do not rinse.

While pasta is cooking, in a large non-stick skillet over medium-low heat, toast pine nuts until golden brown (watch them – they burn easily) and transfer to a small bowl.

In the same skillet, heat olive oil, add red pepper, mushrooms and garlic.  Cook, stirring frequently for 4-5 minutes until tender.  Remove vegetables from skillet and set aside.

Add broth, vinegar and oregano to same skillet, bring to a boil.  Cook 4-5 minutes until liquid is reduced about half.  Return vegetables to skillet, add artichokes and grilled pork.  Simmer on low heat until most of the liquid has been absorbed.

Serve immediately with a sprinkling of feta cheese and toasted pine nuts.

Yield:  5 servings

I’ve been making this dish about 10 years, adapted from one on Weight Watchers Light & Tasty software.

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Nutrition count based on 5 servings per Diet Power software:  251 calories, 10.7 g fat, 10 mg cholesterol, 306 mg sodium, 151 mg potassium, 21.5 g carbohydrate, 1.27 g dietary fiber, 2.6 g sugars, 5.9 g protein

Weight Watchers:  5 points 


I got the idea for dessert from several recipes on the All Recipes web site.  I made the cake from an angel food cake mix and baked it in three 7-3/4″ loaf pans.  I used one loaf for this recipe and wrapped and froze the remaining loaves for another time.  Of course, you can also use a bakery or store-bought cake.

Make the dessert the night before serving so the flavors can blend together well.

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TOFFEE ANGEL FOOD DESSERT


  • One package angel food cake mix (Betty Crocker)
  • 1 cup whipped topping, thawed (Cool Whip Lite)
  • 1/4 cup Heath Milk Chocolate Toffee Bits

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F

Prepare cake according to package directions.  Pour into three ungreased 7-3/4″ loaf pans.   Bake at 350 degrees F for approximately 30 minutes for the 7-3/4″ size.  Leave cakes in pans and set pans on sides on a rack until cakes are cool.  Remove cakes from pans.

Take one cake and divide into 12 slices.

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Place a slice of cake in each of 6 dessert dishes.

Mix together Cool Whip and toffee bits.  Take half of this mixture and spoon about one tablespoon onto each of the 6 cake slices.  Place another slice of cake on top of the Cool Whip mixture and divide the remaining portion of mixture to spoon on top of second cake layer in each dish.

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Wrap dishes and refrigerate overnight.

Yield:  6 servings 


The dessert looks a little messy, but it sure is good.

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Nutrition based on the above ingredients and 6 servings per Diet Power software:  173 calories, 4.67 g fat, 3 mg cholesterol, 247 mg sodium, 26.7 mg potassium, 31.3 g carbohydrate, 0 dietary fiber, 21.3 g sugars, 2 g protein.

Weight Watchers:  5 PointsPlus

This was a very tasty and satisfying lunch.