Monday, August 24, 2009

monday meal planning

Well the weather in New York looks like it's going to be pretty close to fabulous this week which means smiles all over this girl's face. The humidity and all the freaking rain was starting to wear at us all. But alas, a break in the weather makes this Monday a little bit more bearable.

Or perhaps that could be because I took the day off. Ehh, minor detail.

As the summer comes to a close (cue the anxiety attack) I thought it'd be nice to continue these ode to summer dishes while we still can swing it. And summer tends to translate to Mediterranean food for me. But, don't you worry. I won't shove my tzatziki in your face again (at least this week) and instead, let's head over to Tuscany, shall we?

Now, I never thought I'd be able to make the switch from my good old Mor-Mor's tuna fish salad made with Hellman's Mayo, celery, green apple, and dill (so perfect I'll never be over it) to a mayo-less salad but the thing is it's just not that great to be eating all that mayo all the time. It really does make a huge difference by simply dressing the tuna with a simple vinaigrette instead. The layers of flavor end up being so much more diverse and interesting and you don't have to feel any more of those silly little pangs of guilt while chowing down on it for lunch.

So back to our flight to Tuscany. You can be all fancy schmancy and buy Italian tuna which is packed in olive oil or just use a can of regular tuna packed in water. I tend to lean towards the water option for both health and financial reasons but either will certainly suffice. Throw in some canned canellini beans that have been rinsed, along with finely chopped rosemary, red onion, lemon zest, a splash of vinegar (balsamic, white balsamic) and some olive oil, salt and pepper. Gently combine all of the ingredients and you've got a fab salad to eat on top of baby greens or stuffed inside a whole wheat pita. The beans give it great texture and an added protein boost and their creaminess will make you forget any of the bad stuff you think you're missing. I promise. Give it a try.

If you use two cans of tuna, and one can of beans, this salad should give you at least three lunches worth of food. And c'mon. Canned tuna and beans? Doesn't get much less expensive.

A brown rice salad would also be a great option for dinner and lunches combined. Cook up a small pot of brown rice and when cooked and cooled toss in halved cherry tomatoes, onion, parsley, and crumbled goat cheese (the list of veggies could go on and on here). Stir it on up, season with salt and pepper and enjoy that nutty yet fresh combination of flavors. A grilled chicken sausage served alongside would be even better as a dinner time option.

Now. Off to the market we go.

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