What I Cooked Last Night

Sometimes I make up these crazy meals that turn out to be wonderful. When that happens, i think it is worth sharing. Occasionally something turns out to be a total disaster, then it is the story, rather than the recipe that is worth sharing. My kitchen creativity is best used on leftovers. I can work tasty magic with leftovers. Be sure to read the first post, "About My Cooking Style" which will help in following recipes when given, or to recreate meals from my prose.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Compound Salads

The challenge: Create a tasty supper, without going to the grocery store, that is healthful and relatively low in fat. No time to go shopping, husband has high cholesterol, not much "fresh" food in the house.. Solution: compound salads!

I put a batch of brown rice in the oven and some lentils on to simmer. Lentils are the fast food of the dried legume world, they cook up in a jiffy. I added fresh thyme, bay leaf, salt and pepper to the cooking water. Meanwhile, having thawed a bone-in chicken breast I found in the deep freeze, I set about poaching it in some water and wine with some carrots, savory and parsley. After everything cooked up, I let it cool down before proceeding.

The chicken was shredded up and mixed with 2 cups cooked rice. I added some finely diced bell pepper, celery and onion. I also diced up the carrots that had cooked with the chicken. I tossed that all together with 1 tablespoon of light mayo, added salt & pepper and voila! Chicken & Rice Salad!

The lentils were inspired by a recipe from The Light Recipe from the people at Cook's Illustrated. It called for sherry vinegar, I had balsamic. It called for Dijon mustard, I had hearty deli style. I did not even have the right kind of lentils, and yet I dared to proceed. I even substituted finely diced Vidalia onions for the scallions I was supposed to use. So once the mustard, vinegar and olive oil (I did have that) were whisked together, I added some herbs and the resulting dressing with the lentils, onions and half a jar of roasted red peppers chopped fine. There you have it, lentil salad. Despite the obvious differences between the dish and the recipe, it was delish.

I had some lovely tomatoes from the Farmer's Market that rounded out the meal nicely. I sliced them, misted them with olive oil, drizzled on some balsamic vinegar and sprinkled on some salt and pepper. It was an easy, yummy and cool way to finish off a hot, humid, Southern summer day. Bread and butter would have really made it perfect, but I am trying to lose some weight and my husband has that pesky cholesterol problem.

Try this dishes to bring to picnics, covered dish suppers and cook-outs. They are sure to be hits.


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