Low Carb Ranch Pasta Salad (THM S)

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This pasta salad is a quick and easy side dish to make ahead for lunch or dinner – perfect for those busy weeknights!

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If you’ve ever been to a Ruby Tuesdays, you very likely know the pasta salad I’m talking about. Creamy, crunchy, and a little salty from the ham and Ranch.

Growing up in Woodstock, Georgia (which was very small then) Ruby Tuesdays was one of the only sit-down restaurants in our area. When my parents felt like treating us to a dinner out, we usually went there or our favorite Mexican food joint.

My mother loves to tell stories about what a veggie lover I’ve always been (apparently, I used to ask for a breakfast of carrots, celery, and ranch – who’d have guessed?!). So naturally I gravitated toward the salad bar and piled it high. The pasta salad became one of my favorites very quickly.

I haven’t been to Ruby Tuesdays in forever! The last memory I have of going there, I was pregnant with my daughter (which was 5 years ago). So, you can understand my excitement when I found this pasta salad EVEN BETTER than the one at the favored restaurant chain.

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It’s a fantastic use of leftover ham, veggies sitting in the fridge, or those last few Tablespoons of Ranch at the bottom of your jar.

My kids were digging this pasta salad too, even the veggies (that they normally shy away from).

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This salad is creamy, delightfully crunchy, and FRESH. Just look at all those flecks of fresh herbs from the homemade Ranch dressing – gorgeous!

Ranch Pasta Salad (THM S)

  • Servings: 6-8
  • Time: 10 minutes
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Print


Credit: Erin Murray, My Fling with Food

Ingredients

  • 8oz Dreamfields Pasta (any short cut variety, I used elbows), cooked (makes about 2 cups cooked pasta)
  • 1 1/2 c finely diced ham
  • 1/3 c frozen peas (don’t worry about thawing or cooking, they thaw very quickly)
  • 1/2 green bell pepper, finely diced
  • 2 Tbsp mayonnaise
  • 2-3 heaping Tbsp Homemade Ranch Dressing
  • salt and pepper

Directions

  1. Combine all ingredients in a large bowl. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour, and add more mayo and/or ranch if the salad gets too dry.
  2. Store refrigerated for up to 2 weeks.

Salmon Niçoise Salad (THM Deep S)

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Here is a quick and easy rollover dinner or lunch for that fabulous leftover roasted salmon from my Salmon en Papillote.

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Niçoise salad is usually characterized by tuna, green beans, potatoes, olives, and boiled eggs.

I swapped tuna for my gorgeous leftover salmon. In order to keep this light, and THM approved, I removed the potatoes entirely. However, if you would like some light carb action, you can top it with up to 1/4 cup white beans. I would choose a great northern variety or cannelini, but it’s up to you. I also swapped the olives for capers, which I think go better with salmon (it almost reminds me of lox and bagels!).

Since you’re using leftovers for this salad, the only thing you need to cook is a couple of boiled eggs. And I have an awesome tip for you on how to get perfectly yellow boiled eggs every time!

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I was watching “Brunch at Bobby’s” on Food Network the other day, and he was making boiled eggs using a tip I had never heard before.

Lay the eggs into a pot of cold water, and set it over high heat uncovered on the stovetop. When the water is almost boiling (not rumbling, but almost there), turn the heat completely OFF, put a lid on, and leave the pot on the hot eye for 14 minutes.

After 14 minutes, drain the hot water and turn it into an ice bath by adding a few handfuls of ice cubes and running cold water over the top. Let them sit for about 8-10 minutes, then peel away! You’ll have perfectly yellow yolks in your boiled eggs every time.

After the eggs are cooked, simply combine all the salad ingredients in a large bowl and dress with your favorite vinaigrette. I used a simple vinaigrette of 1/2 lemon, juiced, about 1 1/2 Tbsp EVOO, salt and pepper. Easy, fast, and fresh!

Balsamic vinaigrette would also be a good alternative to use here.

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That is one beautiful, fresh, and flavorful lunch or dinner! This meal would pack well for on-the-go, or as a make-ahead. It’s the perfect protein-packed lunch or dinner.

Salmon Niçoise Salad (THM Deep S)

  • Servings: Single
  • Time: 10 minutes
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Print


Credit: Erin Murray, My Fling with Food

Ingredients

  • 1 leftover salmon filet from Salmon en Papillote
  • Mixed salad greens
  • cherry tomatoes, halved
  • cucumbers, diced
  • frozen green beans, thawed
  • 1 Tbsp capers or chopped pitted olives
  • 1 small radish, thinly sliced
  • 1 boiled egg, sliced
  • 1/4 c white beans, any variety, optional
  • For the Dressing:
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 2-3 Tbsp EVOO
  • salt and pepper

Directions

  1. Combine all ingredients for the salad in a medium-sized bowl.
  2. Drizzle the dressing over the top and toss to combine. Serve immediately or store the dressing for later.

Turkey & Waffles (THM E)

Turkey and waffles is a fairly recent addition to our post-Thanksgiving turkey recycling program. To be honest, I had no clue this was even a “thing” until a few years ago. My father-in-law introduced me to the wonder that is sweet potato waffles.

For some reason, my family was never as “creative” with holiday leftovers. We definitely had them, but it was primarily eating the same leftovers until they were gone. There wasn’t any real transformation of ingredients, so it was a totally new concept to put a spin on leftovers and make them new again.

And really when you think about it turkey has so many possibilities, right?

*In my best Bubba voice* Turkey and waffles, turkey enchiladas, turkey soup, turkey cacciatore, turkey sandwiches…

You catch my drift.

Savory shredded turkey mixed with leftover gravy stacked atop a crispy, cinnamon-spiced waffle. Sounds amazing, right? Well, it is! Utilizing leftovers makes this meal prep a complete breeze, since you simply heat the shredded turkey in the leftover gravy and only have to make the waffles.

This is a lovely, light but filling E meal. The waffle itself is an E (using oats and sweet potato), and I used white turkey breast meat mixed with leftover FP shallot gravy from the night before.

Many people have sweet potatoes as part of their Thanksgiving feast. If that’s the case for you, make sure they are E-meal approved and you can use some of those leftovers in your waffle batter. It’s also just as easy to quickly steam a potato in the microwave and mash it.

Sweet Potato Waffles (THM E)

  • Servings: 4 waffles*
  • Time: 10 minutes
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Print


Credit: Erin Murray, My Fling with Food

Ingredients

  • 1 c old fashioned rolled oats
  • 1 c egg whites (from a carton or fresh)
  • 1 c unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 c mashed sweet potato
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp Truvia, or Gentle Sweet
  • 1-1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon*
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • coconut oil spray

Directions

  1. Place all ingredients into a high-powered blender or food processor, and blend well until oatmeal is finely ground.
  2. Spoon the batter into a sprayed and heated waffle iron. Cook according to manufacturer’s directions and serve immediately.
  3. *NOTES: This recipe makes 4 round-sized waffles. If you have a larger square waffle iron, you may want to double the recipe. I love the taste of cinnamon, and used closer to 1 1/2 tsp (and a leftover, unseasoned baked potato) in this recipe. If you’re using pre-seasoned leftover potatoes, go shy on the cinnamon if needed.