Mandy's Marvelous Meals

Recipes, tips, tricks, and my journey into cooking fabulous food!

To Grill or Not to Grill? At Least We’ll Still Have Our Salad!


To grill or not to grill?? That is the question…

The sun has been fighting to come out most of the day and has finally succeeded! Gloomy, rainy weather is finally over…or is it? I really want to make dinner on the grill, but there is now a chance of thunderstorms! I just can’t win…and after a week of crappy weather I’m ready for it to end!

No matter, whatever delicious creation I come up with it will be accompanied by Caesar Salad. Yesterday’s post was for my Slimmed Down version of caesar dressing, so today I thought I’d share the original version for those of you who are not so concerned about calories. Like most things I make, I have to make two versions….regular and slimmed down. Regular for Hubby (who can eat anything he wants and still maintain a slim physique) and Slimmed Down for me, of course. I do try to trick him once in a while, but he can usually tell right away that something is just not quite the same as he is used to. I ran out of the regular caesar dressing one night so I gave him mine and he said it was good but he didn’t like how thin it was. Go figure!

This recipe is not exactly a traditional caesar recipe, as it doesn’t have egg or anchovies, like authentic caesar dressing. Here comes one of my weird quirks…I know I’ve had “authentic” caesar dressing a few times at a few higher end restaurants and thought it was delish! However, since I am the one making it….I would not be able to eat it knowing that there is raw egg and anchovie substance in it! Ick!! But not to worry…this recipe tastes just as great!!!

When you make this, I’d recommend using all fresh ingredients (i.e. fresh lemons, oranges, garlic, and parmesan cheese). However, if you’re in  a hurry or don’t have that stuff on hand it tastes good with the bottled version (lemon juice, orange juice, grated parmesan) of all of those things….I’ve made it both ways when I didn’t have the stuff on hand and although the fresh version was better, the other way was really good too.

Caesar Salad Dressing

3 tbsp. lemon juice

1 tbsp. orange juice

4 cloves garlic

1 tbsp. dijon mustard

1 tbsp. mayonnaise

1 tbsp. red wine vinegar

1/4 tsp. salt or to taste

1/8 tsp. freshly ground black pepper, or to taste

1/2 cup olive oil

1/4 cup parmesan cheese, grated

  1. In a blender or food processor, combine the first eight ingredients. This will only take a few seconds until everything is blended well.
  2. With the blender still running on low, add the olive oil in a thin stream until emulsified.
  3. Add the grated cheese and blend for a few more seconds to incorporate.
  4. Store unused dressing in the refrigerator for up to 1 to 2 weeks.
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Slimmed Down Caesar Salad Dressing


Wednesday was my Week 9 weigh-in with a loss of .5 pounds. Happy to see that I lost this week after last week’s stand-still. I’m still moving at a snail’s pace, but I am ok with that…as long as I keep losing that’s all that really matters.

Remember last week how I went on to preach about how I can feel my bad habits and lifestyle changing (much to my own amazement!)? Well here is another example…the other day I ran to the grocery store for a few random items that we were out of and ended up with a huge basketful of mostly all fresh veggies! I was in total shock when I noticed this as I placed everything on the belt at the checkout.

I never go to the grocery store and only get the one or two things I need…I always end up buying  extra things…things like snacks, candy, cupcakes, chips, etc. This time, I didn’t even give those things a second thought but was compelled to go a little overboard in the produce section! The best part about this was that I genuinely just thought “oh that looks good.” Not, “I guess I’ll get some broccoli and force myself to eat it because it is healthy.” The next best part…I wasn’t even thinking about the goodies that I was bombarded with throughout the store (you know those bright & colorful displays of cookies, cakes & donuts?!).

Now some of you may be thinking, “so what? I always stock up on produce.” But for a junk food junkie like me this is amazing! I feel so proud…this is such a big accomplishment. So for those of you who can relate…don’t give up! Just keep working to break those bad habits and before you know it you’ll be over-spending in the produce section instead of the bakery!!

So to commemorate this special event…here is my recipe for Grilled Chicken Caesar Salad. This is probably my favorite kind of salad….but as I’m sure those of you who are watching what you eat know…Caesar dressing is loaded with fat (especially the “creamy” version)! So to make the dressing a little healthier I’ve altered my usual Caesar dressing by decreasing the oil and adding chicken stock to make it go a little bit further. The chicken stock does make the dressing a bit more runny than regular dressings, but if you add the dressing to the salad and shake it up in a container with a lid, you’ll never even notice that it’s thin…you’ll just taste the great flavor. You can pretty much make your Caesar salad however you like but I’m including how I make the whole thing. I’ve only included the Weight Watchers Points Plus for the salad dressing, though. If you follow WW I’m sure you can figure out the points value based on the amount of chicken you use along with any other ingredients you may add.

Grilled Chicken Caesar Salad with Slimmed Down Caesar Dressing

2 oz. grilled or baked boneless, skinless chicken breast, seasoned with salt, pepper & garlic powder

4 cups chopped romaine lettuce

2 tbsp. grated parmesan cheese

4 Fat Free Caesar-style croutons

2 tbsp. “Slimmed Down Caesar Dressing”

  1. Chop or slice grilled chicken breast.
  2. In a large bowl with a lid add the lettuce, cheese, and chicken.
  3. Add dressing and place lid on bowl. Shake to coat.
  4. Place salad on a serving plate and top with croutons.

Dressing: (Makes 6 servings; 1 serving = 2 tbsp. Weight Watchers Points Plus = 2)

3 tbsp. lemon juice

1 tbsp. orange juice

4 cloves garlic

1 tbsp. Dijon mustard

1 tbsp reduced fat mayonnaise

1 tbsp. red wine vinegar

½ cup chicken stock

2 tbsp. olive oil

¼ cup grated parmesan cheese

  1. Combine all ingredients, except for the olive oil and parmesan cheese, in a food processor or blender. Blend until well combined.
  2. While the blender is running on low, slowly pour in the olive oil to emulsify.
  3. Add the parmesan cheese and run for a few more seconds to incorporate the cheese.
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