salad

Peach Chef Salad

Peach Chef Salad

When you think about cooking with peaches, don’t limit yourself to desserts and jam. Peaches can pair well with savory dishes, too. I often use peaches for glazes and sauces for meats.

In this dish, I paired peaches with traditional chef salad ingredients. I tossed the peaches in a homemade honey French dressing, then spooned them over the salad. The result was wonderful- and a great lunch or dinner option for hot weather.

You can top the salad with cheese, meats or both. I like to add some nuts, too. I made it for lunch yesterday and topped the salad with sharp cheddar cheese and bacon. I really liked the combination of the sweet fruit with the smoky bacon. Use what you like- and what you have on hand.

A chef salad is a great way to use up that leftover grilled chicken or that open package of cheese. Add extra veggies, too, if you like. It also makes a wonderful meal when you don’t want to cook. Lovely, cool  meal for a hot day.

 

 

Peach Chef Salad

Honey French Dressing:
1/3 c. honey
1/4 c. white wine vinegar or cider vinegar
1 t. paprika
1 t. dry mustard
1/4 t. salt
1/2 c. olive oil

3 cups chopped peaches

Salad:

6 c. torn salad greens
12 oz. cooked chicken, turkey, ham etc, cut into strips
1 c. cubed cheese

1/2 c. cashews, optional

To make the dressing, in blender, combine first five ingredients and start running machine on high. Add oil in a slow stream until mixture becomes thickened. Pour into bowl and stir in peaches and chill, several hours if you can. When ready to serve arrange greens on one large platter or on smaller salad plates. Arrange meat and cheese on platter or plates. Spoon over the peach/dressing mixture, add cashews, then serve. Serves 4-6.

Salad topped with bacon and cheese

Citrus and Honey Dressing

Citrus and Honey Dressing on Fresh Greens

Even in cold weather, I often crave a fresh green salad. This dressing is perfect for one of my winter salads. Winter is citrus season, so lemons and oranges are abundant. The taste of the citrus in this recipe, really brightens up the greens. The honey adds just the right balance of sweetness.

I have basil under grow lights- so I have the fresh basil, too. If you can’t find fresh basil at the store- dried can be used.

The recipe is useful as more than just a salad dressing. You can use it as a glaze on meats, or even as a dipping sauce. The combination of juices, zest, honey and fresh basil works on fruit salads, too.

I prefer homemade dressings for my salads. They are easy to make, and I get to control what goes in them. This one is great to have on hand in the fridge. Just shake it up and it’s ready to serve.

 

 

Citrus Honey Dressing

1/4 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons orange juice
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 t. lemon zest
½ teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon honey
2 T. chopped fresh basil- 2 t. dried basil could be used
1 T. white wine vinegar

In a jar with a lid, mix the olive oil, orange juice, lemon juice, lemon zest, salt, honey, basil, and vinegar. Seal and shake well. Chill 2 hours in the refrigerator. Strain basil before serving. Use on green salad or with chicken, fruit or seafood salads. Can also be brushed on chicken, meat or seafood as a glaze.

Apple and Cabbage Slaw

Apple and Cabbage Slaw

How fun to have a couple of unseasonably warm days in October. I know this won’t last, but it has given me a chance to get some work done outside.

Normally, this time of year, I am thinking about soups and fresh baked bread. But I thought I would use some of my Autumn produce in a salad instead. Apples are in season and cabbage is abundant at my local market. It seemed just natural to pair them up.

I love cole slaw. I think I could eat it everyday. I often make slaw with a creamy, mayo based dressing sometimes. Other times, I prefer a vinegar type dressing. For this slaw I went really simple. Just vinegar, a little honey and celery seeds, along with salt and pepper. Then I added thin strips of crisp, fresh apples to the shredded cabbage. The apples added a wonderful crunch and sweetness to the dish.  So simple and so good. Almost any apple will work in this recipe. I prefer super crisp, slightly tart apples, but use what you like. Here is the recipe.

 

 

 

Apple and Cabbage Slaw

6-8 c. shredded cabbage

2 large apples, cored, unpeeled, cut into thin strips

1/2 c. cider vinegar

2 T. honey

1 t. celery seed

salt and pepper to taste

Combine cabbage and apples in a medium bowl. Combine remaining ingredients in a small bowl and stir until well mixed. Pour over the cabbage mixture and toss to coat evenly. Salad can be eaten right away or chilled for a couple of hours.

Shrimp and Bacon Spinach Salad

Shrimp and Bacon Spinach Salad

When I was a kid, my mom used to make a wilted salad. She would toss spinach with a hot dressing and then top the salad with hard cooked eggs and croutons. The dressing was made with some of the bacon fat, since there was always bacon in the salad, too.  That was the inspiration for this salad.

I had planned to make a tossed salad with some fresh spinach, but something told me to go in another direction. Since I already had bacon and shrimp, I decided to just put them all together. With just a few extra ingredients tossed in, I ended up with a really good dinner. Sort of like those wilted salads my mom used to make.

I didn’t have a lot of time, so the fact that it was ready in about 15 minutes was nice, too. I put the pasta on to cook when I started cooking the bacon to save even more time.

Shrimp and Bacon Spinach Salad

3-4 slices bacon, cut into 1-inch pieces
2 shallots- or 1 small onion- chopped fine
2 cloves minced garlic
8 oz. fresh spinach
8 oz. raw shrimp, shelled and deveined
¼ c. sherry
¼ c. chopped parsley
½ t. grated ginger
½ t. red pepper flakes
Salt and pepper to taste
2 cups cooked pasta

 

Cook bacon in skillet until almost cooked. Add the shallots and cook until shallots are just turning brown. Add garlic and cook 1 minute longer. Add spinach and cook, stirring often, until spinach is wilted down. Add shrimp and continue cooking until shrimp are just barely cooked. Add sherry and seasonings and cook 2 minutes more. Toss with hot pasta and serve. Serves 2.
Note: You can add some fresh Parmesan cheese when serving, if you like.

Pickled Rainbow Carrot Salad

Pickled “Rainbow”Carrot Salad

This was one of those dishes where it came out great, but was not what I had planned in the beginning. Let me explain.

I had picked up some beautiful rainbow carrots at a local market. They come in colors ranging from yellow to purplish red. I wanted to make something special with them, highlighting their vibrant colors. I liked the idea of a kind of pickled carrot. Made up the recipe as I went along. I knew the flavors would go well with the rest of the dinner that was planned.

The carrot salad worked out so well. Great flavors- but there was a problem.

I had used a red wine vinegar and by the time everything was done cooking, the color of the carrots had changed. They all looked, well, like regular carrots. No one knew the difference, except me. I felt bad that I had cooked all the color out of the rainbow carrots, but the flavor was good. I guess, in the end, that is what really matters.

So here is the recipe. Feel free to use what ever color carrots you like- it won’t matter in the end!!

 

Pickled Rainbow Carrot Salad

 

2 medium onions, peeled and sliced

3-4 cloves garlic, peeled

1 c. vinegar- red wine or cider vinegar preferred

1 c. water

1 ½ lbs. carrots, peeled and sliced

1 sweet pepper, seeded and chopped

2 small tomatoes, seeded and chopped

½ c. sugar

1/4 c. chopped fresh parsley

2 t. salt, or to taste

Fresh ground pepper to taste

1 t. ground ginger

Hot sauce to taste

1 bay leaf

 

In saucepan, combine onions and garlic with the water and vinegar and bring to a boil. Prepare other veggies while onions simmer for 10 minutes. Add remaining ingredients and simmer, covered about 20 minutes.  Adjust seasonings. Let salad cool down, then store in fridge until ready to serve. Best served the next day. Remove bay leaf and garlic cloves before serving.

Rainbow Carrots

Rainbow Carrots

 

 

Four Fresh Tomato Salads

Marinated Tomato Salad

Tomato season is too short around here. I can never get enough of what my mom called “real tomatoes”. The first few tomatoes never make it in the house. Warm from the sun, they are too tempting. I just pick them right off the plant and eat them.

Then, I start to think about preserving some for after the season is over. So I start drying and canning tomatoes.

Sometimes, in the excitement of canning and dehydrating tomatoes, I find I haven’t remembered to eat enough of them. So anxious to get as many as possible put away for winter, I have denied  myself the pleasure of  fresh, juicy, vine-ripened tomatoes.

Well, not this year. I have been having tomatoes with my eggs for breakfast, creamy tomato soup for lunch and plenty of tomato sandwiches and salads. I thought I would share a few of my favorite tomato salad recipes with you.

They are pretty simple. I think that is how it should be. When you have something as close to perfection as a ripe tomato, little more is needed.

 

Marinated Tomato Salad

 

3 large tomatoes, cut in wedges, or 2 pints cherry tomatoes, halved
1 T. olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
2-3 basil leaves, cut into thin strips
2 T. balsamic vinegar
salt and pepper to taste

Combine ingredients and serve at room temperature. Serves 4-6.

Tomato and Feta Salad

3 tablespoons crumbled feta cheese
12 cherry tomatoes, thinly sliced
1/2 sweet onion, diced
1 tablespoon olive oil -I used a lemon infused olive oil
1 tablespoon lemon juice
Salt and pepper to taste

In a bowl, mix the feta cheese, cherry tomatoes, onion, olive oil, and lemon juice. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately. Serves 2.

Warm Pasta Salad

 

1 lb. Plum tomatoes, chopped

1 medium sweet onion, chopped

4 oz. Fresh mushrooms, sliced

2 cloves garlic, minced

¼ c. fresh parsley, chopped

1 T. dried basil or 1/4 c. chopped fresh basil

1 T. capers, optional

1 t. dried oregano

½ c. olive oil

¼ c. red wine vinegar

3 T. balsamic vinegar

Dash of hot red pepper flakes

Salt to taste

1 lb. Uncooked pasta

 

Combine all ingredients, except pasta and chill overnight. Cook pasta, drain and toss with tomato mixture. Mixture should be served right away . Serves 6.

 

BLT Salad

 

6-8 slices bacon

2 slices rye bread

2 slices Swiss cheese

5 c. torn up lettuce or mixed greens

3 T. olive oil

2 T. apple cider vinegar

1 T. balsamic vinegar

Salt and fresh ground pepper

2-3 tomatoes, diced

 

Cook bacon until crisp. Remove from pan, drain and crumble. Remove most of the bacon grease from the pan. Make a sandwich with the rye bread and the Swiss cheese. Toast in the skillet over medium heat until golden brown and cheese is melted. Set aside. Place lettuce in bowl and toss with the oil to coat the leaves. Toss with the vinegars and season with salt and pepper to taste. Add the tomatoes and the bacon and toss. Cut the sandwich into cubes and place on the top of the salad. Serves 2.

Note: you can make two sandwiches if you want more bread and cheese in the salad.

Tomato Feta Salad

Tomato Feta Salad

Warm Pasta Salad

Warm Pasta Salad

BLT Salad

BLT Salad

Very Blueberry Chef Salad

Blueberry Chef Salad

I have really been craving salads lately. I think it is the heat. Sometimes, just having a tossed salad to start dinner is enough. Other times- I want dinner to be the salad.

This is one of those salads that is a meal all on its own. Made with plenty of blueberries, it is one of my favorites. The dressing is a creamy honey French dressing which pairs beautifully with the berries.

I topped mine off with cashews, but you could add croutons if you prefer.

 

Blueberry Chef Salad

Dressing:

1/3 c. honey

1/4 c. white wine vinegar or cider vinegar

1 t. paprika

1 t. dry mustard

1/4 t. salt

1/2 c. olive oil

3 cups blueberries

Salad:

6 c. torn salad greens

12 oz. cooked chicken, turkey, ham etc, cut into strips

1 c. cubed cheese

1/2 c. cashews

 

In blender, combine first five ingredients and start running machine on high. Add oil in a slow stream until mixture becomes thickened. Pour into bowl and stir in berries and chill, several hours if you can. When ready to serve arrange greens on one large platter or on smaller salad plates. Arrange meat and cheese on platter or plates. Spoon over the dressing and cashews then serve. Serves 4-6.

Peachy Chef Salad

Peachy Chef Salad

When you think about cooking with peaches, don’t limit yourself to desserts and jam. Peaches can pair well with savory dishes, too. I often use peaches for glazes and sauces for meats.

In this dish, I paired peaches with traditional chef salad ingredients. I tossed the peaches in a homemade honey French dressing, then spooned them over the salad. The result was wonderful- and a great lunch or dinner option for hot weather.

You can top the salad with cheese, meats or both. I like to add some nuts, too. I made it for lunch today and topped the salad with sharp cheddar cheese and bacon. I really liked the combination of the sweet fruit with the smoky bacon. Use what you like- and what you have on hand. A chef salad is a great way to use up that leftover grilled chicken or that open package of cheese. Add extra veggies, too, if you like.

 

 

Peachy Chef Salad

Honey French Dressing:
1/3 c. honey
1/4 c. white wine vinegar or cider vinegar
1 t. paprika
1 t. dry mustard
1/4 t. salt
1/2 c. olive oil

3 cups chopped peaches

Salad:

6 c. torn salad greens
12 oz. cooked chicken, turkey, ham etc, cut into strips
1 c. cubed cheese

1/2 c. cashews, optional

To make the dressing, in blender, combine first five ingredients and start running machine on high. Add oil in a slow stream until mixture becomes thickened. Pour into bowl and stir in peaches and chill, several hours if you can. When ready to serve arrange greens on one large platter or on smaller salad plates. Arrange meat and cheese on platter or plates. Spoon over the peach/dressing mixture, add cashews, then serve. Serves 4-6.

 

Peachy Chef Salad with Cheese and Bacon

Peachy Chef Salad with Cheese and Bacon

Fresh Spring Salad

Spring Salad

I learned at an early age to appreciate a good salad. My mother really knew how to make a salad. Her prepping a tossed salad was a ritual I observed often as a kid.

My mother was a big believer in a tossed salad. She wasn’t fond of salad where the dressing was just poured over the top.

She also was a firm believer that most people over dressed their greens. She said when you tossed a salad properly, there should not be a puddle of dressing in the bottom of the bowl. She was right.

Mom also liked to serve salad on its own, not with the rest of the meal. She said that way you really enjoyed your salad. We always ate salad before the rest of the meal. I still prefer to do that.

When I was making this salad for dinner the other night, it made me remember the first time I bought her a one pound box of Spring greens. She was not a fan of iceberg lettuce and used assorted greens in her salads, along with other veggies. I knew she would love the mix of greens.

The problem was, as she told me later, that she couldn’t empty the box. She said every time she grabbed a handful of greens out to make a salad, the rest would just expand. She said she had made several salads and the box didn’t appear any emptier.

So here is the salad I made the other night. Just the perfect starter for any Spring dinner.

 

Spring Salad

4 c. Spring mix  greens

6 asparagus spears

4 oz. sugar snap pea pods

1 carrot- shredded finely

3 broccoli stems, shredded finely

1/2 c. diced sweet onion

fresh parsley, chopped

olive oil

balsamic vinegar

salt and fresh ground pepper

4 oz. feta cheese crumbles

Wash and spin dry the greens and place in salad bowl. Trim tough ends off asparagus and steam 4 minutes. Place in cold water to stop cooking and cut into 1-inch pieces. Add to greens. Add remaining vegetables to salad bowl. Drizzle with oil- not too much- and then toss. Add salt and pepper to taste and drizzle with balsamic vinegar. Toss again. Serve in individual bowls and add cheese to taste. Serves 3-4.

 

Sweet Potato Salad

Sweet Potato Salad

Sweet Potato Salad

Since the Labor Day weekend is almost here I thought I would post one of my favorite salad recipes. The sweet potato salad is always a hit. It goes so well with grilled foods, too. I always make a double batch – it goes fast. The tricky part is not to overcook the sweet potatoes. They cook fast.  Keep an eye on them and get the potatoes into cold water to stop the cooking once they are tender.

 

 

 

 

Sweet Potato Salad

 3 large sweet potatoes

2 c. corn kernels, fresh off the cob preferred but frozen is O.K.

2 ribs celery, sliced

1 sweet onion, diced

1 c. sweet pepper, seeded and chopped

2-3 T. fresh parsley

1/3 c.  oil

1 t. Dijon mustard

3 T. apple cider vinegar

1 T. lemon juice

1 clove garlic, minced

Salt and pepper to taste

½ c. cashews

In medium saucepan boil or steam potatoes until tender, about 20-25  minutes. Remove with slotted spoon and place in a large bowl of ice water. Add corn to saucepan and cook until just tender about 2-3 minutes. Drain corn and add to ice water with the potatoes. Once the vegetables have cooled down drain them and peel and cut the potatoes into bite-sized pieces. Place potatoes and corn in a mixing bowl with remaining vegetables. Combine remaining ingredients, except cashews,  in a jar with a tight-fitting lid and shake well before pouring over the sweet potato mixture. Toss to blend and chill until ready to serve.  Add cashews just before serving. Serves 6.