Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Salads, Dressings and How to Mix Ingredients for Best Taste plus Recipes to Get You Started

Are you tired of the same old salads, lettuce, tomato, maybe a cucumber? Let’s shake it up a little and start exploring new combinations for robust and scrumptious salads. First let’s take a look at different ingredients to include, it’s good to include different textures and tastes in your salad:

• something juicy and something crunchy
• something sweet and something savory

The Chicken, Avocado and Mandarin Salad recipe below has a nice mix of taste and texture with the celery and red pepper providing crunch and the mandarin orange giving a juicy burst of sweetness. This list is only a start of the many foods you can add to salads for appetizers or main-courses. Have fun with it and try different things. I have some recipes for salads and homemade dressings for you to try; they are good starters to expand your salad horizons.











Bibb Lettuce





Boston Lettuce


Rice Noodles

















Romaine Lettuce


Ok, so you have picked your ingredients for your salad, a few things:

  • Refrigerate your plates; it keeps the salad crisp and fresh.
  • Don’t dress until you are ready to serve, the salad gets soggy.
  • Try to use lighter dressings for delicate greens so the dressing doesn’t overpower the ingredients.
  • When using pastas in salads, cook al dente as the pasta absorbs moisture from the vegetables and if it is cooked too long, the pasta will become mushy.

Let me know what delicious combinations you discover, the options are endless.

On to the food!
Enjoy the recipes for Sweet and Tangy Salad Dressing (tastes like French dressing), Tomato Salad - a yummy appetizer and the Chicken, Avocado and Mandarin Salad, our main-course.

Sweet and Tangy Salad Dressing

¼ cup honey
1 teaspoon celery seed
1 tablespoon Kosher salt
1 teaspoon dry mustard
¼ teaspoon garlic powder
¼ cup ketchup
¼ cup white wine vinegar
1 cup canola oil

Combine honey, celery seed, Kosher salt, dry mustard, garlic powder, ketchup and white wine vinegar.
Add canola oil slowly with an electric beater.

Tomato Salad
My father-in-law, Walt, loves to call dibs on this salad, best in August when fresh, local tomatoes are available.

Serves 4

4 ripe tomatoes
5 tablespoons canola oil
2 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
¼ teaspoon Kosher salt
ground black pepper to taste
2 teaspoons dried basil
2 clove garlic, minced
2 small onions, finely chopped

Slice tomatoes ¼ inch thick.
In salad bowl, combine oil, balsamic vinegar, Kosher salt, ground black pepper, basil and garlic. Whisk the dressing until thoroughly mixed.
Add tomatoes and onions and toss together gently.
Serve chilled.

Chicken, Avocado and Mandarin Salad
I love making this salad for company, everyone loves it!

Serves 4

3 chicken breasts
1½ tablespoon Italian flat leaf parsley, minced
2 tablespoons honey
¼ cup of canola oil
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
½ teaspoon Kosher salt
small pinch ground pepper
small pinch garlic powder

1 head romaine lettuce, cut into bite-sized shreds
2 stalks of celery cut on angle
½ of a red pepper, chopped
1 Can of Mandarin oranges, drained
1 avocado, cut into ½” squares

In a large sauté pan over medium high heat, add canola oil.
Lightly season chicken with Kosher salt and ground black pepper and add to pan.
Cook thoroughly on both sides until breast reaches internal temperature of 165°F or until the juices run clear, set aside to cool.
Combine Italian flat leaf parsley, honey, canola oil, white wine vinegar, Kosher salt, ground pepper and garlic powder in a blender and blend for 30 seconds.
Add lettuce, celery, red pepper to bowl.
Top with Mandarin oranges, avocado and chicken breast, cut into strips.
Pour dressing lightly over salad, reserve a little, mix and add remaining dressing to taste.

Next Blog: Preparing for Thanksgiving…

1 comment:

Joanna said...

that tomato salad looks great. we were blessed with an abundant tomato garden this year, so i always need new recipes. thanks!!