Central Valley Moms



Family Meals Matter: Salad days

If you can’t stand the heat, stay out of the kitchen! That’s food advice you’ll welcome when the mercury rises on the thermometer. Salads and other dishes that can be prepared with minimal cooking – especially if done in advance in the evening – can be a recipe for healthy eating even in hot weather.

Celebrate the salad days this week with a family meal of Zu-Canoes, Tandoori Chicken and Melon Ambrosia. Stay on salads all week long with recipes including Sesame Ginger Noodle Salad, Baja Bean Salad, Corn and Red Pepper Caesar Salad and Parmesan Penne Salad with Grilled Vegetables.

Register at www.MealsMatter.org to add these and other recipes to your personalized family meal plan and shopping list.

“Family Meals Matter” features registered dietitian-approved recipes from the thousands of user-contributed recipes available at the free family-nutrition and meal-planning website, www.MealsMatter.org, maintained by registered dietitian moms with Dairy Council of California.

SHOPPING LIST (Includes ingredients to make at least four servings of each Featured Family Meal recipe)


2 medium 2-inch-wide zucchini

One-half teaspoon salt, divided

One-half teaspoon freshly ground pepper, divided

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon white-wine vinegar

1 tablespoon shallot, minced

1 cup grape tomatoes, quartered

One-half cup diced mozzarella cheese, preferably fresh

One-quarter cup thinly sliced fresh basil


1 cup yogurt, plain, fat-free

One-half cup lemon juice

5 garlic cloves, crushed

2 tablespoons paprika

2 teaspoons cardamom, ground

1 teaspoon ginger, ground

1 teaspoon red pepper flakes (for a milder flavor, use one-half teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes and one-half teaspoon chopped roasted red pepper)

6 chicken breasts, boneless, skinless


1 cup watermelon balls or cubes

1 cup cantaloupe balls or cubes

1 cup honeydew balls or cubes

One-third cup lime juice

2 tablespoons sugar

2 tablespoons honey

One-quarter cup coconut, toasted, flaked

Fresh mint, optional




2 medium 2-inch-wide zucchini

One-half teaspoon salt, divided

One-half teaspoon freshly ground pepper, divided

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon white-wine vinegar

1 tablespoon minced shallot

1 cup quartered grape tomatoes

One-half cup diced mozzarella cheese, preferably fresh

One-quarter cup thinly sliced fresh basil


Trim both ends off zucchini; cut in half lengthwise. Cut a thin slice off the backs so each half sits flat. Scoop out the pulp, leaving a one-quarter inch shell. Finely chop the pulp; set aside.

Place the zucchini halves in a microwave-safe dish. Sprinkle with one-quarter teaspoon each salt and pepper. Cover and microwave on high until tender-crisp, 3 to 4 minutes. (Alternatively, steam in a steamer basket over 1 inch of boiling water in a large skillet or pot.)

Whisk oil, vinegar, shallot and the remaining one-quarter teaspoon each salt and pepper in a medium bowl. Add tomatoes, cheese, basil and the reserved zucchini pulp; toss to combine. Divide the filling among the zu-canoes.

Tandoori Chicken


1 cup plain nonfat yogurt

1/2 cup lemon juice

5 garlic cloves, crushed

2 tablespoon paprika

2 teaspoon ground cardamom

1 teaspoon ground ginger

1 teaspoon crushed hot red pepper flakes (for a milder flavor: 1/2 crushed red pepper flakes 1/2 chopped roasted red pepper)

6 skinless, boneless chicken breasts


Combine yogurt, lemon juice, garlic, paprika, cardamom, ginger and red pepper flakes in a blender. Process until smooth.

Cut slashes in chicken and place in a shallow casserole dish. Add half of the yogurt mixture, reserving the remainder. Cover and chill for about 15 minutes.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Spray another shallow baking dish with cooking spray. Remove and drain chicken. Discard yogurt mixture in dish. Place chicken in prepared dish. Brush chicken with reserved yogurt. Bake for 20 minutes or until juices run clear when meat is pierced.

Serve immediately.

Cook’s Notes: Leftovers are good in a casserole, chopped with rice and peas. Bake at 400 for 15 minutes.

Melon Ambrosia


1 cup watermelon balls or cubes

1 cup cantaloupe balls or cubes

1 cup honeydew balls or cubes

1/3 cup lime juice

2 tablespoons sugar

2 tablespoons honey

1/4 cup flaked coconut, toasted

Fresh mint, optional


In a bowl, combine melon balls. In another bowl, combine the lime juice, sugar and honey; pour over melon and toss to coat. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour. Sprinkle with coconut. Garnish with mint if desired.

Other Featured Recipes

Sesame Ginger Noodle Salad




3 tablespoons honey

3 tablespoons soy sauce

1/4 cup fresh lime juice

1 teaspoon dark sesame oil

1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger

1/8 tsp minced garlic


2 teaspoon canola or vegetable oil

2 baby bok choy, roughly chopped into 1″ cubes

Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

2 carrots, peeled and shredded

1 cup shredded daikon or seeded cucumber

2 tablespoons Chopped fresh cilantro

1 red bell pepper, cored, seeded and cut lengthwise into 1/8-inch thick slices (optional)

8 ounce cooked boneless, skinless chicken breast, sliced crosswise into \-inch thick strips

8 ounce package cellophane or wheat noodles, cooked, cooled under cold water and drained well

1 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds


To make vinaigrette: In a bowl whisk together honey, soy sauce, lime juice, sesame oil, cayenne, ginger and garlic. Refrigerate.

To make salad: In a large fry pan over high heat, warm oil until nearly smoking, add bok choy, and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned, 2-3 minutes. Transfer to a baking sheet and refrigerate 10 minutes. In a large mixing bowl, combine vinaigrette, carrots, daikon, cilantro, red pepper, chicken, bok choy and noodles. Toss to mix well and transfer to a serving bowl. Garnish with sesame seeds

Baja Bean Salad


1 (15 ounce) can Kidney beans, drained

1 (15 ounce) can Garbanzo beans, drained

1 cup Chopped tomatoes

3/4 cup Cucumber – peeled, seeded, and chopped

2 tbsp Diced onion

1 (6 ounce) container guacamole

1/2 cup Plain low-fat yogurt

1/4 tsp Salt

1/4 cup Low-fat milk

Shredded lettuce

Corn tortilla chips


1. In a large bowl, toss together kidney beans, garbanzo beans, tomatoes, cucumber, and onion.

2. In a small bowl, mix the guacamole, yogurt, and salt. If dressing seems thick, stir in a little milk. Stir into the bean mixture, and chill. Serve topped with the shredded lettuce and corn chips.

Corn and Red Pepper Caesar Salad


3 cups canned corn kernels, drained

1 red bell pepper, seeded and diced

1 medium-sized head romaine lettuce, leaves separated

4 large eggs

1 1/2 cup garlic croutons

2/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese

6 tablespoons olive oil

1 teaspoons minced garlic, or to taste

1/4 cup fresh lemon juice

1 teaspoons Dijon mustard

1 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

Salt and ground black pepper to taste


1. Cook eggs in rapidly boiling water for 7 to 10 min. Remove from heat and run under cold water until cool. Peel and set aside until serving time.

2. Trim off stem end of lettuce and rinse each leaf well. Dry thoroughly and break into bite-sized pieces. Place in salad bowl.

3. To make dressing, whisk together 1/3 cup Parmesan cheese with olive oil, garlic, lemon juice, mustard and salt and pepper. Set aside.

4. Add diced peppers and cooled corn to lettuce. Toss with croutons. Grate cooled eggs over top and toss with dressing. Garnish salad with remaining 1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese and serve.

Parmesan Penne Salad with Grilled Vegetables



1 (16-oz) box whole wheat penne

1 medium zucchini, sliced in half lengthwise.

2 red onion slices, 1/2 inch thick

1 each: red and yellow bell pepper; seeded and quartered.

2/3 cup sun-dried tomato pesto

1/2 cup Alessi white balsamic vinegar

1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil

11/2 teaspoon garlic salt

Freshly ground pepper to taste

1 cup shredded parmesan cheese

1/2 cup sliced fresh basil


Cook penne pasta in boiling salted water for 10 minutes or until al dente; drain, then rinse with cold water. Drain again and place in a large bowl. While pasta boils, cook vegetables in a lightly oiled grill over high heat for 3-5 minutes on each side or until crisp-tender and lightly charred; remove from grill and let cool. Cut into bite-sized strips and add to bowl with pasta. Stir together pesto, vinegar, oil and garlic salt. Pour over pasta and toss well to coat; season to taste with pepper. Stir in Parmesan cheese, then cover and refrigerate for at least one hour. Stir in basil just before serving.

For more healthy meal planning made simple, go to www.mealsmatter.org

2012, Dairy Council of California

See more at www.MealsMatter.org

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