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Category Archives: Salads/Dressings

Creamy Balsamic Dressing

With my one New Years Resolution this year to be to try to make all my dressing homemade I have tried  many new recipes.  I have made creamy balsamic dressing twice now.  It is a great alternative to a heavy creamy dressing but still is satisfying in flavor.

I didn’t have any Morton’s Nature Seasoning on hand.  Google came in handy and provided me with a recipe in which I prepared a little container of it.  Not only is this seasoning great in the dressing but I add it to multiple recipes.  Mr.Picky is especially fond of this seasoning.

Creamy Balsamic Dressing:Creamy Balsamic Dressing

  • 4 cloves garlic, grated or crushed
  • 3 Tbs mayonnaise or greek plain yogurt
  • 2 Tbs lemon juice
  • 1 Tbs Dijon mustard
  • 1 Tbs sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 2 tsp Morton’s Nature Seasoning
  • 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 cup olive or grape seed oil

Whisk together garlic, mayo, lemon juice, mustard, sugar, salt, and nature seasoning.

Add in vinegar and whisk until combined well.  While continuing to whisk slowly add in oil and whisk until smooth.

Keep in the refrigerator and a mason jar, enjoy this healthy option on your favorite salad.

Morton’s Nature Seasoning:

  • 1/3 cup salt
  • 1/4 cup black ground pepper
  • 1/4 cup garlic powder
  • 1/4 cup onion powder
  • 2 1/2 Tbs sugar
  • 1 Tbs dried parsley
  • 2 tsp celery seed

Combine all of the following in a container with an air tight lid.

Wheat Berry Salad with Feta

When flipping through  my new cookbook (new to me I picked it up from a garage sale)Family Circle Annual Recipes 2011.   I came across Wheat Berry Salad.  I knew it would be perfect as a lunch salad.  I love feta and it had crunchy bites of apple and celery, which paired perfectly with the sweet and tangy dried cranberries.  All of these ingredients are some of my favorites.

I just needed to buy some wheat berries.  I know my mom has prepared these but I can’t remember if I had or not.  The directions were clear and it turned out great.  Just prepare yourself by soaking the berries the night before.

Wheat Berry Salad with FetaWheat Berry Salad with Feta:

  • 1 cup wheat berries
  • 1 gala apples, cored and finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup dried cherries, cranberries, or golden raisins
  • 1 rib celery, finely chopped
  • 2 green onions, chopped
  • 1/2 cup feta cheese, crumbled
  • 1/3 cup cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp honey mustard
  • 1-2 tsp honey
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 3 Tbs olive oil

In a large bowl place wheat berries and cover with water so by at least 2 inches.  Allow to sit at room temperature overnight.

Drain wheat berries and transfer to a  medium sauce pan.  Add 3 1/2  cups water and bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer for about 45 minutes.  Add a little more water as needed while cooking.

Drain and cool to room temperature, meanwhile combine apples, dried fruit, celery, green onions, and feta in a large bowl.

Whisk together in a small bowl vinegar, honey mustard, honey, salt, and pepper.  While whisking add in oil in a thin stream.

Add wheat berries and dressing to the apple mixture and toss to coat the salad.


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Roasted Beet and Orange Salad

A while back Mr.Picky had a grand idea to do the Sambazon Purifying Cleanse.  This really surprised me and I actually had never did a cleanse before.  It was hard the first day because of the fact that I could not have caffeine.  But it was only for three days and was very energizing in the end.

The meal suggestions were actually not all that different from how I eat day-to-day.  This was one of the lunch meals and was actually very filling.  Mr.Picky even enjoyed it, although he is quite fond of beets.  I can’t believe one of his favorite vegetables are actually a nutritious one.

Roasted Beet and Orange Salad

Roasted Beet and Orange Salad:

This recipe makes two large lunch portions.

  • 1 medium beet, scrubbed
  • 2 1/2 Tbs olive oil, divided
  • 1 orange, segmented
  • 1 cup baby spinach, cut into slivers
  • 2 tsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tsp caraway seed
  • salt

Roasted Beet and Orange SaladPreheat oven to 400 degrees.  Place beet in a roasting pan and drizzle with 1 Tbs of oil.  Roast 45 minutes.

Cool beet to room temperature, peel and cut into bite size pieces.

Place beets, orange, and spinach in a large bowl.

Whisk together in a small bowl vinegar, seeds, oil, and salt.

Toss salad with dressing, and divide for two.

Aunt Debbie’s Cantaloupe Salsa

Fruit with a bite is the perfect way to describe Aunt Debbie’s Cantaloupe Salsa.  Sometimes I skip the chips and eat it straight out of the bowl with a fork.  My Aunt Debbie married into the family and we warmed up quickly when she brought her famous salsa to a family get together.

Not only is this salsa super healthy, it is also flavorful and versatile.  Aunt Debbie said it is great on top of fish or chicken, she tops the chicken and fish with salsa covers and bakes.  I am going to have to make some to try this out.

Aunt Debbie's Cantaloupe Salsa

Cantaloupe Salsa:

  • 1 ripe cantaloupe seeded, peeled and diced into small bits
  • 2 bunches green onions, chopped
  • 2 -3 sweet bell peppers seeded and finely chopped any color—I like the red ones best
  • 2 large bunches of fresh cilantro—use just the tops and mince finely
  • Juice of 4 limes, you can add some zest if you need more lime flavor
  • 1 tablespoon of fresh ginger—you can use pre-minced if you don’t have fresh
  • 1 or 2 seeded jalapeño peppers,finely chopped
  • Optional—1-2 cloves of minced garlic

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl, best if the flavors are able to develop for an hour or two in the fridge.

This is a really forgiving recipe. Aunt Debbie has stretched the recipe for another meal by adding chopped apples, mango, peaches, or even tomatoes and sweet corn.

Italian Beans and Potatoes, Hot or Cold!

Italian Green Beans and PotatoesA while back my Grandma sent me home with a container of green beans and red potatoes prepared out of the garden.  That night for dinner I served it cold as a side and the kids went crazy.  Never before has my daughter even cared for green beans.  I am sure it is just because Grandma made it.  I told Grandma they were great and I needed a recipe to share.

She called a while later with four ingredients and I was amazed, it tastes so much better than this simple recipe.  We ate it both hot and cold.  At one point we ate it with meatballs and tomato sauce poured on top.  What a great healthy versatile dish.  Thanks Grandma.

Italian Green Beans and Potatoes:

  • 2 parts fresh green beans, trimmed and cut into bite size pieces
  • 1 part red potato, cubed into bite size pieces
  • 1-2 Tbs olive oil
  • 2-3 cloves garlic,crushed
  • salt to taste

Steam beans until tender crisp and steam potatoes until fork tender in a separate pot.

Meanwhile in a bowl that has a fitted lid combine garlic and oil.  When vegetables are ready toss into bowl and season with salt to taste.  Replace lid on bowl and shake until evenly combined.

Serve warm or cold.

 

Basil Pesto Recipe

I used to think I disliked pesto.  Which really makes no sense because basil is my favorite herb, parmigiano-Reggiano is one of my favorite cheeses, and I use olive oil for everything.  I think it is the pine nuts which have never done anything for me.  After making my own pesto it was better than I remembered.

I just lessened the amount of pine nuts which was good because I only had about a cup on hand.  I also made a thicker pesto which olive could be added as needed.

After using half the pesto I put the rest in the freezer for a later date.  There are lots of great recipes calling for pesto out there.  Since the basil is in full swing in the garden I might as well make a few jars to store in the freezer.

 

Basil Pesto:Basil Pesto

  • 2 – 3 cups basil
  • 1 cup pine nuts
  • 1/2 – 1 cup olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 cup parmigiano-reggiano
  • lemon juice to taste

In a food processor combine all besides cheese and oil, process until combined.

Slowly add in olive oil until desired thickness is reached.

Add parmigiano-reggiano and either stir in by hand or pulse a few times.

Cover with plastic pressed against pesto and then sealed.  The less air reaching the pesto the less browning will occur.

Antipasto Pasta Salad with a Zesty Dressing

Antipasto Pasta Salad

My grandmother passed me a container of some of the best dressed pasta salad I had eaten in a long time.  She had gotten the recipe out of a magazine.  I will make the salad dressing from now on as a zesty Italian dressing.  The salad can contain any or all of the following ingredients.  What vegetables your family will eat will work and just leave the meat out to make it vegetarian.

Antipasto Pasta Salad with a Zesty Dressing:

  • 1 pound pasta, cooked
  • green peppers
  • tomatoes
  • garbanzo beans
  • salami, chopped or cubed
  • pepperoni, mini or chopped
  • cheese (provolone, cheddar, mozzarella,or Monterey jack),cubed or shredded
  • olives
  • artichoke hearts
  • broccoli,blanched
  • zucchini
  • cucumbers
  • grapes
  • avocado

Dressing:

  • 1/2 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 Tbs dried oregano
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 3/4 cup olive oil

 

Combine any combination of salad ingredients in a large bowl.  Chopping all vegetables to bite size pieces or smaller.

In a jar whisk together all dressing ingredients but olive oil.  Once sugar is dissolved slowly whisk in olive oil.  Place lid on jar and give it a good shake.

Top salad with 1/2 of dressing and add more as needed.

Spicy Orange and Sweet Potato Salad

I took a gamble and stepped out of the box on Spicy Orange and Sweet Potato Salad.  I am a huge fan of sweet potatoes.  I prefer them any day to a regular white potato.

I tested this salad out at the birthday party for the kids.  Every summer event there is the same old  variation of potato salad which I do love but  I can’t help but mix things up.  This salad was a big hit and turned out great.  Thank you Rachel Ray, this recipe was published in the Everyday with Rachael Ray magazine June 2013 issue.

I doubled the recipe for the large crowd but probably could have kept it the same.  I guess not everyone has the love I have for sweet potatoes.  Or maybe I just always over-estimate how much a crowd will eat, but I suppose that is better than underestimating.  When hosting I always fear I will run out of food.

Spicy Orange and Sweet Potato Salad

Spicy Orange and Sweet Potato Salad:

  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 2 lbs. boiled sweet potatoes, cooked until tender and cubed
  • zest and juice of 1 orange
  • 1 Tbs chipotle in adobe sauce, chopped
  • 1 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 2 Tbs cilantro, chopped
  • 3/4 cup mayonnaise
  • more cilantro for sprinkling

Peel and cube cooked potatoes and place in a large bowl.

Whisk together zest and juice of orange, chipotle pepper, and cumin.  Pour over potatoes and toss to coat, allow to sit for about five minutes.

Meanwhile stir together mayo and cilantro.  Now combine it all and season with salt and pepper.

Garnish with a bit more cilantro.  Yummy!

Spicy Orange and Sweet Potato Salad

Mad Hatter Salad

Mad Hatter Salad

I am renaming this salad to stuff your face, only because you can’t stop eating more.  My mother brought Mad Hatter Salad Recipe – Allrecipes.com to a family gathering and I am hooked.  The only problem is that it makes a ton, so you have to make it for larger gatherings.

Lucky for me we are hosting a birthday and I get to make a bunch of my favorite food.  I did let the kids pick out their favorites as well, it is their birthdays after all.  Many people went up for seconds at the party.  Even though the leftovers were soggy I ate them all up the next day for breakfast.

I have changed the original only slightly, but in a healthier direction.  I did not notice a taste difference, I just reduced the butter amount and changed-up the directions a bit.

Mad Hatter Salad:

  • 1 head of cabbage, shredded
  • 1 head of broccoli florets, cut up
  • 8 green onions, chopped

Crunchy Mix:

  • 2 packages of chicken or oriental top ramen
  • 1 cup slivered almond, optional or served on the side
  • 1 cup sunflower seeds
  • 1/4 cup butter

Dressing:

  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup oil (grape seed, canola, vegetable, etc.)
  • 1 tsp soy sauce

Combine cabbage, broccoli, and green onions in a  large bowl.

Meanwhile melt butter in a pan and toasted almonds, sunflower seeds, and ramen noodles with one package on seasoning.  If you are keeping the almonds separate I just leave them in a bowl at the side and skip toasting them.

While in a jar combine the dressing ingredients and the other package of seasoning mix, and shake what your mama gave you.

Keep the greens, the crunchy mix, and the dressing separate until just before serving.  Then just toss until coated to serve.Mad Hatter Salad

Zesty Grilled Chicken Salad

I got this recipe out of one of my favorite cookbooks from a local author Frances A. Gillette.  Although all of her cookbooks are wonderful, Zesty Grilled Chicken Salad came out of Romancing the West.

This salad is great on a summer night, and is really a one dish meal.  You have protein and lots of greens, so please enjoy.

Zesty Grilled Chicken Salad

Zesty Grilled Chicken Salad:

 

Salad:

  • 1-2 grilled chicken breast
  • 2 Romaine lettuce hearts, chopped
  • 1 cucumber, seeded and sliced
  • 1 pint of cherry tomatoes, cut in halves
  • 3/4 cup of black olives, cut in halves
  • 3/4 cup feta cheese, crumbled
  • Salt and Pepper

Dressing:

  • 1/2 cup feta cheese
  • 3 Tbs plain yogurt or sour cream
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1 garlic clove, grated
  • 3 Tbs red wine vinegar
  • 4-6 Tbs olive oil
  • 1/2 red onion, thinly sliced

 

The original directions say to use grilled chicken breasts.  We have found, we love roasted red pepper salad dressing to marinate chicken for about 1-4 hours.  We then use the BBQ or indoor grill to grill it until done.  Always allow chicken to rest 10-15 minutes before slicing.

Using a blender or immersion blender, blend 1/2 cup of feta cheese and remaining dressing ingredients until smooth.  Stir in onion and allow to sit in the fridge.  I blend it all in a wide mouth jar, add my onion, throw a lid on it.

Toss all salad ingredients with dressing.

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