Cucumber Ricotta Salad with Mango Curry Granola

Cucumber Ricotta Salad with Mango Curry GranolaThere’s somethin’ about spring that’s motivating. I don’t know if it’s the sight of  trees budding, the warmth of  sun on my face, or the liberating feeling  of running  bare legged, but it brings out the best in me. This week, I have completed ‘the task’ I’ve been dodging for over seven months.   I am happy to report reorganizing my study is like a breathe of fresh air…

organizing my workspace   In addition to some obligatory spring cleaning, I ‘ve also been busy with one of my favorite spring activies,  transitioning menus to reflect the  fresh flavors of spring and summer.  It started with  Mango Curry Granola and the third  smart way to eat this delicious and nutritious fruit, nut and oat combination:  use it as an ingredient in other foods to easily and consitently  keep the granola portion size in check. There’s no limit to the foods that pair with granola for  high impact flavor. Today it’s  the topping on a cool cucumber salad (which btw can also top 2 slices of bread for an easy vegetarian sandwich). This is the salad that’s the perfect afternoon snack, providing some simple and complex carbohydrates, protein, and produce.  Here ‘s how simple it is to make: Spoon ricotta cheese onto a plate. Toss sliced cucumber with lemon juice and arrange on top of ricotta cheese.  Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with a tablespoon of granola. Detailed recipe below.

How is spring motivating you?

Cucumber & Ricotta Salad with Mango Curry GranolaCucumber Ricotta Salad with Mango Curry Granola

by Diane Boyd

Ingredients (serves 4)

  • 1 English cucumber, thinnly sliced into rounds
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoon olive oil+ more for drizzleing
  • Maldon sea salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 cups low fat ricotta cheese

for the Mango Curry Granola

  • 1/2 cup old fashioned oats
  • 2 tablespoons quinoa, rinsed
  • 1/4 cup peanuts
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened flaked coconut
  • 1 egg white
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon lime juice
  • 1Tablespoon honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground curry
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 teaspoon lime zest
  • 1/3 cup chopped dried mango

Instructions

for the Mango Curry Granola

1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees F.

2. Place ingredients oats through red pepper flakes in a small bowl and stir to combine.

3. Pour onto a foil or parchment paper lined baking sheet and bake for 20 to 30 minute or until golden, stirring every 10 minutes.

4. Allow to cool. Add lime zest and dried mango.

to assemble salad

1. In a small bowl toss cucumber, with lemon juic and olive oil.

2. In a small bowl whisk ricotta until smooth and season with salt and pepper.

3. Spoon ricotta onto plates and top with cucumber. Sprinkle some of the granola on the cucumbers and garnish with a drizzle of olive oil and several tablespoons of granola. Serve right away.

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Chicken Satay with Coconut and Mango Jasmine Rice

 

It only takes a few key ingredients added to rice to maximize flavor and leave a lasting impression. ~ by Diane Boyd, MBA, RD, LDN

Chicken Satay with Coconut and Mango Jasmine Rice

Disclosure:  By posting this recipe I am entering a recipe contest sponsored by USA Rice Federation and I am eligible to win prizes associated with the contest. I was not compensated for my time.

March is a special month. It’s the month my colleagues and I get a little crazy… no I’m not talking March madness, I’m talking National Nutrition Month. Whoot! Whoot! Our theme this year incorporates food and behavior

Bite into a healthy lifestyle.

 Here’s my first suggestion for an improved lifestyle:

Think U.S.- Grown Rice!

Yep, that’s it. No need to make this complicated.  Rice is  nutritious, sustainable, safe, locally-grown, and GMO-free! ( Look for the “Grown in the USA Rice” label on packaging.) Rice is also gluten free and the least allergenic of all grains, making it a great option for individuals with gluten sensitivity  or intolerance.  It’s  so  versatile and  pairs well with the foods we all need to be eating more of: fruits, vegetables and lean protein. I’m  smitten with the  nutty taste of brown rice (especially in my  Brown Rice and Pumpkin Risotto).  Studies link whole grains, such as brown rice, to a reduced incidence of cardiovascular disease, diabetes and even some cancers. The rest of my family prefers white enriched rice (in dishes like my Copycat Ginger-Seasame Braised Chicken Meatballs). Here’s the good news: brown rice and white enriched rice are a desirable part of a healthy diet! Both are naturally low in sodium, cholesterol free, trans fat free, and contain only a trace of fat.

If I still haven’t convinced you to think U.S.- grown rice,  let me ask you this, ….  “faster is better, right?”  So for a fast, casual meal, use rice as the base and top with lean protein such as: chicken, fish and/or seafood, lean beef, eggs, low fat cheese, or beans (for a high quality plant based protein).   Today I’m using jasmine rice (my daughter’s favorite variety) to start the foundation of a meal that takes 30 minutes to prep and cook (not including marinating the chicken).  My inspiration for this dish came when I purchased some dried mango on my weekly trip to  Trader Joe’s. Here are the ingredients I used to  make the coconut and mango jasmine rice my family is still raving about…

ingredients for Coconut and Mango Jasmine Rice

 Dried mango gives the rice a little sweetness. Peanuts and coconut add a satisfying crunch.  Topping it off with chicken satay complements the tastes and results in a meal  that’s packed with protein, affordable, flavorful, and  worthy of a special occasion. Now that’s a real slam dunk!

IMG_1404Be sure to see the links at the bottom of my post for more ways to think U.S.-grown rice during National Nutrition Month and beyond.

Chicken Satay with Coconut and Mango Jasmine RiceChicken Satay with Coconut & Mango Jasmine Rice (serves 4)

by Diane Boyd

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup peanut butter
  • 1/3 cup lite coconut milk
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 5 tablespoons lime juice (2-3 limes)
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 1/2 pounds chicken tenders
  • 2 green onions, thinly sliced
  • Supplies: bambo skewers

for the coconut & mango jasmine rice

  • 2 1/2 cups water
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 3/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 1/2 cups uncooked U.S.-Grown Jasmine Rice
  • 1/3 cup chopped dried mango
  • 1/4 cup chopped salted peanuts
  • 1 teaspoon lime zest
  • 1/4 cup toasted coconut flakes*

Instructions

1. Soak bambo skewers in water while prepping ingredients.

2. Add ingredients peanut butter through garlic into a food processor or blender and process until smooth. Reserve 3/4 of sauce for serving and use remainder to marinate chicken tenders for about 2 hours.

3. Preheat grill to medium high.

4. Thread  chicken onto skewers .

5. When grill is hot, (400 degrees F) place chicken on grill rack and grill 6-8 minutes per side or until chicken is beautifully charred.  Garnish chicken with green onion.

for the jasmine rice

1. In a medium saucepan, bring water, olive oil and salt to a boil. Stir in jasmine rice; return to boil, stirring once. Reduce heat; simmer, covered, 15 minutes or until water is absorbed and rice is tender.

2. Stir in dried mango, peanuts, and lime zest. Sprinkle with toasted coconut.

Serve chicken over a mound of rice with remaining peanut sauce on the side.

* TO TOAST COCONUT:  Spread coconut flakes onto a baking sheet and bake at 350 degrees F for 5 to 10 minutes or until golden brown, stirring often.

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