How to Make Homemade Low Calorie Salad Dressing

The best way to ruin a perfectly healthy salad is to dump highly caloric dressing over it.  Unfortunately, many people only enjoy fresh vegetables when they’re covered with creamy concoctions of bacon, cheese, and other high fat ingredients.

If your goal is to reduce daily caloric intake, making your own salad dressing is an easy way to both cut calories and to save money by using ingredients from your own refrigerator and pantry.  Following are a few low calorie dressings you can try with a variety of greens.

* Lime Cilantro Vinaigrette. Vinaigrette is always a less caloric option than creamier dressings.  To make this lime cilantro version, place in a blender or food processor the following: ¾ cup tomato juice, ½ cup cilantro sprigs, ¼ cup fresh lime juice, ½ teaspoon dried oregano, ¼ teaspoon salt, ¼ teaspoon ground cumin, and one small jalapeno pepper that has been halved and seeded.  Mix in blender or food processor until blended.  Cover and chill. 

* Garlic Basil Vinaigrette.  Combine the following in a blender: 1/3 cup low sodium chicken broth, 1 ½ tablespoons chopped fresh basil, one tablespoon extra virgin olive oil, one tablespoon fresh lemon juice, one tablespoon red wine vinegar, one teaspoon Dijon mustard, three halved garlic cloves, and freshly ground black pepper.  Process in blender until smooth.

* Orange Soy Vinaigrette.  Combine the following in a small bowl: ½ cup orange juice, ½ cup pineapple juice, one tablespoon minced fresh parsley, two tablespoons fresh lime juice, two tablespoons low sodium soy sauce, one tablespoon extra virgin olive oil, one tablespoon dark sesame oil, two teaspoons sugar, and one teaspoon lemon pepper.  Cover and chill.

* Creamy Tarragon Dressing.  Combine ¼ cup fat free mayonnaise, ¼ cup plain fat free yogurt, one tablespoon white wine vinegar, ¾ teaspoon Dijon mustard, and ½ teaspoon dried tarragon in a bowl.  Cover and chill.

* Creamy Cucumber Dressing. Combine the following in a bowl: one cup plain low fat yogurt, ½ cup chopped, seeded and peeled cucumber, ¼ cup light mayonnaise, two tablespoons chopped green onions, two tablespoons lemon juice, ¼ teaspoon salt, ¼ teaspoon dried dill, and 1/8 teaspoon black pepper.  Cover and chill.

* Blue Cheese Buttermilk Dressing.  Combine ½ cup low fat or non fat buttermilk, ½ cup plain fat free yogurt, three tablespoons white wine vinegar, one teaspoon sugar, ½ teaspoon salt, and ½ teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper in a bowl; whisk until blended.  Stir in ½ cup thinly sliced green onions and ½ cup (two ounces) crumbled blue cheese. 

It isn’t difficult to reduce calories on your dinner table with a plethora of low calorie homemade salad dressing recipes at your fingertips.

Source: The Complete Cooking Light Cookbook

Product Reviews Buffalo Trace Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey

My liquor cabinet probably suggests that I enjoy a wee dram o’ single malt of an evening, but I remain an equal-opportunity sipper: whisky or whiskey, depending on my mood. After all, Mom’s a Kentucky girl and, although her side of the family is more likely to drink whiskey from a Mason jar, I have a soft spot a sucker for good bourbon. I’ll happily take it neat if it’s a small-batch bourbon like Knob Creek or Basil Hayden, but I’m also fond of the occasional manhattan. I may refuse to mix the good stuff with anything, but I also refuse to drink rotgut (you know, plastic 1.75 liter bottles for $9.99). So my mixin’ whiskey (as opposed to my sippin’ whiskey) is generally a second-shelf bourbon like Maker’s Mark or Wild Turkey.

Lately, it’s been Buffalo Trace, a 90° (45% ABV) straight Kentucky bourbon that’s distilled near the capitol of the Bluegrass State, Frankfort (in, naturally, a dry county). I’d never heard of Buffalo Trace until recently, but the distillery has been in business for two centuries –- one reason they seem “new” is that the distillery changed its name from George T. Stagg to Buffalo Trace ten years ago. The distillery’s new name comes from a trace, or rough path, that great buffalo herds carved through the woods along the Kentucky River; a trail also used by westward-bound settlers in the 18th century. Instead of being rectangular, the bottle’s label duplicates the irregular shape of the trace and bears a finely-detailed drawing of a buffalo.

Whatever its history, the “new” distillery and its namesake brand have been collecting whiskey awards like small change ever since Buffalo Trace Kentucky Straight Bourbon was first released in 1999. Buffalo Trace is distilled with Indiana and Kentucky corn and Midwestern barley, and is bottled in small batches of 25-30 barrels (53 gallons per barrel). Geographic availability is limited, another reason why I wasn’t familiar with the brand. At about 20-24 $US for 750ml, its price is comparable to or slightly lower than that of Maker’s Mark.

TASTING NOTES:

*The Pour*  Buffalo Trace pours deep gold with the hint of copper that’s typical of straight bourbon whiskey. The color is reminiscent of the reddish hue of Black Hills Gold.

*The Nose*  Oak and vanilla are dominant; with a faint hint of brown sugar and a substantial alcohol “kick.”

*The Taste*  Relatively sweet, repeating the brown sugar aroma. Oaky notes linger; a mild, not serious, alcohol bite.

*The Finish*  Medium to long, smooth, and fairly dry; very faintly astringent.

Buffalo Trace is a classic Kentucky Bourbon that sits proudly on the second shelf. It doesn’t reach the smoothness or subtlety one would expect in a whiskey to be taken neat or with a little water, however it mixes quite well with good vermouth to make an evening’s manhattan.

Cornbread Salad Recipe

The first time I ever tried cornbread salad was when I was a young girl. Now, after searching frantically for a recipe that was similar to the one my cook used to use, I’ve decided on using my own variation, after struggling for a long time for a decent one, and experimenting time after time.

Cornbread salad is refreshing and delicious, and is simple enough that a novice like I could make it. It doesn’t take long either, nor does it require strange ingredients that you would have to go out and buy, unless you’re missing the cornbread.

INGREDIENTS (amounts can be estimated because they are not important in this dish)

Cornbread, either crumbled up or diced

2-3 medium-sized tomatoes, diced

½ of a green onion, diced

1 green pepper, diced

1 bag of shredded cheese

1 cup of mayonnaise

1 cup of sour cream

1 can of rinsed and drained black beans

Corn

Lettuce

INSTRUCTIONS

1. Obtain a glass dish, and layer the bottom with the cornbread, and make sure the entire bottom is covered. 

2. Add a layer of tomatoes, then a layer of black beans, sour cream, pepper, onion, lettuce, corn, cheese, and then the mayonnaise on the very top of the dish. Try to keep the layers even to ensure an elegant look. If there is extra of an ingredient, feel free to randomly add some in different layers; just try to make it look good.

3. Chill in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours, and serve cold.

Enjoy your cornbread salad on a summer day. There are also baked variations that can be eaten during Thanksgiving or the Christmas holidays, or really any occasion. Because I dislike bacon and am allergic to nuts, I decided not to include them in my recipe. However, feel free to experiment with your own rendition of this incredibly simple recipe, and start a family tradition of your own. 

The best Soup Recipes

Corn Chowder With Yucca Root and Cilantro
(serves 8)

Ingredients:

1 small yucca root, peeled, cored, diced and pre-cooked
8 cups of water
1 medium white onion, chopped
1 leek, cleaned and trimmed (watch out for sand, hidden between inner layers -if needed, take it apart and rinse each layer individually)
a few leaves of fresh sage, chopped up
2 or 3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
the fresh corn kernels scraped off of 4 large ears, rinsed clean of debris and corn silk (or you can use the same amount of super sweet frozen corn, about 8 to 12 oz.)
1/4 cup rolled oats (optional)
sea-salt to taste
black pepper to taste (optional)
chopped, fresh cilantro leaves for garnish

Procedure:

1) Peel, cut and boil the yucca in enough water to cover, about 3 cups, until soft enough that you can pierce it with a fork, or about 15 minutes. Let it rest in its cooking water and set aside.

2) In a soup pot large enough to hold the entire soup, saute together the chopped onion, leek and sage, in the olive oil, until the onions become translucent, about 1 to 2 minutes.

3) To the same pot add the corn kernels, oats, if using, cooked yucca with its cooking water, sea-salt and black pepper.

4) Add enough cold water to reach 8 cups in total, or about 5 more cups. Bring to a boil, lower the flame, partially cover your pot with a lid and let your soup simmer for about 20 minutes.

5) Remove and blend about 1 /3 of the soup (careful not to burn yourself) then return it to the pot. Stir the whole soup very well, then taste it, to make sure it is seasoned to your taste. If not, you can add a bit of sea-salt, black pepper or even a teaspoon of turbinado sugar or maple syrup.

6) Garnish with fresh Cilantro and serve immediately.

Recipes Easy French Onion Soup with Gruyere and Croutons

This classic French onion soup is both magnificently fragrant and delicious as either a starter or a wintry appetiser. Simple ingredients ensure this long lasting classic remains a favourite throughout the world. Adding croutons and gruyere cheese helps add complexity of flavour with differing taste sensations.

Fresh beef stock is the preferred choice as it adds to the colour and taste of onion and is a perfect accompaniment. Alternative stock may be used if you have no beef stock available. An additional glass of white wine or sherry may be added depending on preference.

Serves 4 – 6

750g of Onion (red onion gives a sweeter flavour) thinly chopped

45g butter

2 tbsp of flour

2 ltr of Fresh beef stock (or stock cubes)

1 glass of white wine or sherry

1 Baguette

170g of Gruyere cheese grated

1 clove garlic crushed

Salt and pepper

Melt the butter in the pan and add all of the chopped onion. Reduce the heat so the onions steep. This is integral to produce that real oniony taste and flavour. There is no need to be hasty in this process. The heat should be gently. Partially cover with your pan lid and allow the onions to reduce and turn golden and sticky ideally for at least 30-40 minutes.

Add the flour and mix well with the reduced onion juice and butter. Leave to cook for 2 – 3 minutes.

Add the white wine or sherry and stir through the mixture to prevent any lumps forming.

Now add the stock gently stirring to ensure an even mix into your soup.

Season the soup according to taste.

Leave on a very low heat as you prepare the toppings.

Prepare the croutons

Pre-heat your grill or oven

For the croutons an easy and delicious technique is to slice and toast your baguette. Rub the crushed garlic gently over the baguette to infuse the bread with a subtle hint of garlic and cover liberally with the gruyere cheese.

Ladle your soup into deep filled bowls and place your garlic and cheese topped crouton on top like rafts.

Place under your grill or in the oven and wait for the gruyere cheese to begin to melt and bubble.

Serve with a tasty white wine for the ultimate dining experience.

Variations

Simply add a sprig of fresh thyme and a few bay leaves along with the onions. This adds a slight herbal earthy after-taste to your soup.

Use parmesan for a lower fat content cheese.

For a vegetarian option replace the beef stock with a vegetable stock.

Fresh onion soup remains a classic and yet simple soup hiding a myriad of flavours within its simplistic ingredients. Whatever your occasion this soup will always be a winner.

Chicken and Egg Drop Soup

In soup pot combine the following ingredients and saute just long enough to mix the flavors (a couple of minutes)
2 Tbsp. light virgin olive oil
4 cloves garlic minced
1 Tbsp. finely chopped parsley
1 stalk celery diced fine
1/4 cup chopped onion (medium fine)
1/4 tsp. lemon pepper

Add:
1 cup cooked chicken breast or chicken meat diced
Stir to mix well and cook over medium heat for 2-3 min.
stirring constantly

Add:
4 cups (two #2 cans) Chicken broth or stock
Bring to a full boil and reduce to simmer

Combine together (for egg drop)
2 large eggs beaten to lemony
6 level Tbsp. all purpose flour
1/2 cup cold water
1/4 tsp. salt (or salt to taste)

Beat until smooth

Drop egg mixture by Tbsp. full into hot soup that is at full simmer (light boil) and continue to simmer until egg drop rises to the top, light and fluffy.
Remove from heat and serve immediately. I like this served with thick, crusty hunks of toasted garlic bread and a nice crispy green side salad.

Recipes Hamburger Soup

Hamburger soup is a favorite meal in my house, it’s quick and easy to make and when served with warm fresh bread it’s a hearty meal.

INGREDIENTS

1 pound fresh ground hamburger or turkey
6 cups of water (the meat and vegetables will produce a stock)
1/2 cup margarine
1 small onion sliced thin
4 celery stalks (diced)
1 cup of carrots (diced)
1 cups of corn
1 cup of peas
5 medium of potatoes (diced)

PREPARATION

In a large pan add water, hamburger, margarine and onion slices cook until hamburger is brown (about 20 minutes) then add all the vegetables and cook additional 15 minutes until the potatoes are tender. Serves 4

Chicken Noodle Soup

Chicken noodle soup has long been a favorite of many people. Homemade, it is an extremely good dish to serve and takes very little time to make a hot bowl of this crowd pleaser.

Traditionally, this soup calls for chicken back and neck pieces. However, you can use a whole chicken or buy a package of pre-cut chicken. You can also use only chicken wings if they are available for a fair price.

How much chicken you need depends on how much chicken that you want in your soup. Less is somewhat better but not mandatory. For the traditional noodle soup, you will want about two cups of cooked chicken. Four chicken backs and a neck or two will yield the two cups when de-boned. About six to eight chicken wings or four thighs will also make two cups of chicken.

~Sear Chicken~

Chicken pieces

Salt and Pepper

2 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil (optional)

If you prefer to leave the skin on the chicken, simply season and put it into a non-stick skillet and cook it. If you remove the skin, use some olive oil so that the chicken does not dry out while being browned. Sear and brown the chicken first and then place it in a 325 degree Fahrenheit oven to continue cooking and browning for about 10 minutes.

~Broth~

Sauté in the same skillet:

1 small yellow onion, peeled and chopped

2 ribs celery, trimmed and chopped

4 small carrots, peeled and chopped 

Remove the vegetables and put them into a soup pot with any chicken dripping and add 6 to 8 cups of water. After the chicken has cooled, the bones removed, and the chicken chopped, place it into the soup pot. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to simmer.

~Season the soup~

2 tsp poultry seasoning

Salt and Pepper to taste

Or

¼ tsp of each, white pepper, thyme, rosemary, sage, and marjoram

~Noodles~

Use about 12 ounces of uncooked noodles. Cook the noodles in another pot according to package instructions. It is better to do this than to put the noodles in the soup to cook. The noodles can use too much liquid. You do not want to add more liquid to your soup because it will dilute the flavor and cause your soup to taste bland.

If you are making your own noodles, you can cook them in another pot but you can also add seasonings that will make these noodles taste very good.

Once your noodles are cooked, add them to the soup pot and continue simmering for 20 minutes.

Note: To prepare a quicker soup, many people are using a rotisserie chicken from the delicatessen and adding 2 cans of chicken broth and six cups of water. This style makes a very flavorful soup and is very fast and convenient. Cut and cube 2 cups from the backside, legs, and thighs of a rotisserie chicken and save the breast for another meal.

If you are using the rotisserie chicken, you have de-boned it and placed it in your soup pot with the 2 cans of chicken broth and six cups of water. Bring it to a boil and reduce the heat to simmer. Decide on the spices needed for the rotisserie chicken as you might need to add some extra and you want to use the same seasoning used in cooking the chicken. Find these ingredients on the label.

Caution: Use two cans of chicken broth when using canned chicken. Cream of chicken soup dilutes and lacks quality flavor for chicken noodle soup.

Serve your soup with some crusty bread or hot biscuits and a side of roasted potatoes and some steamed snow peas. Pineapple upside down cake or lemon chess pie is good desserts to serve with this meal.

Soup for Curing Cold

This is a fantastic soup which my friends and family use when we are a bit under the weather. It is an ancient Chinese soup which is the ultimate ‘Chicken Soup’ that people tend to go for when they are are ill. It can be used for colds, the flu, fevers or simply if your body feels a bit dull and lifeless. It is difficult to give exact quantities for ingredients as this soup is usually made to taste. It is strong and delicious. 

Ingredients:

1kg of chicken thigh, with skin.

3 vegetable stock cubes.

2 large onions.

1 bulb of garlic.

4 birds eye chilies.

1 inch of fresh ginger.

Method:

1. Put the chicken pieces into a large stock pot with the stock cubes and 1 litre of water. Leave to cook on a medium heat. 

2. While the chicken cooks, chop the onions into thin slivers, crush the garlic, chop chillies and grate the fresh ginger.

3. When the chicken is cooked, remove from pot. Add ingredients except the ginger and leave to boil for around 20 minutes until onion is soft.

4. Remove all the meat from the chicken bones roughly. Add to the stock pot along with the ginger and leave to simmer for a further 10 minutes. 

That is it, a simple soup recipe that will refresh your insides and make you feel better no matter what the complaint is. You can add more water, chillies, ginger or garlic to taste but I would recommend taking it east on the chicken and onions. This soup is mainly about the thin and strong broth that is produced. When serving use a deep bowl and ladle some of the chicken and onions into the bowl along with a lot of the broth.

If serving as a whole meal you might like to serve chinese dumpling or won tons with it. I would probably buy these pre made but if you can make them yourself then that is great. There is often a lot of chicken left after we have finished with the soup. I usually store it in the fridge and serve it with noodles the next day. It is so succulent and full of flavour from cooking in the juices of the soup. 

Salads

The French are particularly keen on presentation and nutritional value of food. Carrot salad is a popular side dish served with meals, or as an entree. The research which has gone into finding the best recipe among French farmer’s wives is amazing. Some add secret ingredients to try and make their salad better than others they have tried, and the combination of recipes which have been developed in different regions varies considerably.

The value of carrots is that they provide a lot of the vitamins and nutrients that the body needs, and serving them in a manner which makes the salad a delicious food encourages the young to see carrots as a less boring food, and one which is deliciously presented and a popular side dish to many main meals. The recipe shown below is one which has been developed by the writer, bearing in mind the advice of her French neighbors and which has her own secret ingredient, making it unique and deliciously tempting.

Ingredients needed:

¼ tablespoon of Dijon mustard
2 squirts of lemon juice, (equivalent to a tablespoon)
2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
Half a pound of carrots
Pinch of salt and pepper
Chopped mint (just a pinch)
1 teaspoon of white wine 

Method

Preparation of carrots.

Peel the carrots and grate them using the course side of the grater. These should be relatively coarse in presentation.

Add the lemon juice to the carrots and stir. This stops the carrots from losing their color while the main sauce is prepared.

Preparation of sauce

Place ingredients, other than salt, pepper and mint into a bowl and whisk until they make a smooth paste. The olive oil gives a great consistency.

Add the sauce to the prepared carrots, and season.

The recipe is relatively easy for beginners and can be served in conjunction with other varied salads, and should be refrigerated until needed. Prepared in this manner, and kept cool, this makes a superb addition as a side dish to any meal, and the quantity described serves between 4 to 6 people. As a different dish, this can be served as an entree in a small delicate dish, on top of a bed of tuna, making it a substantial entree which will be enjoyed by all.

A tip for users of this recipe is to toss the salad just prior to serving, as this gives the salad a fresh coating of the sauce which may have sunk during the refrigeration process.