Category Archives: Salads

Caesar Salad Dressing

In the MOM’s  Club I’m in, we do lots of potlucks.  It sometimes gets hard to think of something new to bring, often I just end up doing pigs in a blanket or something, things that the kids will eat too.  But frankly, the kids rarely eat anyway, they are too busy playing.  So when my friend Tiffani hosted the April potluck, I decided to bring one of her favorites, caesar salad!

This was really easy to make, though I did make some adaptations to the recipe I followed.  I added one egg yolk, a splash of milk and some parmesan cheese.  Just because it isn’t Caesar without it!  It came out really good.  I do have one piece of advice.  If you do use the anchovies, you will not use them all.  Just throw the rest away, do not try to make another batch of dressing days later.  Trust me.  ;)  But everyone seemed to really like it and asked if I would post the recipe, so here ya go, ladies!

Caesar Salad

Caesar Salad Dressing
Recipe adapted from The Food Network

Ingredients:
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
1 tbsp vinegar
2 tbsp mayonnaise
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 tsp salt
fresh ground black pepper
juice of 1/2 lemon
4 anchovy fillets
1/4 cup parmesan cheese
1 egg yolk
1/4 cup milk

Method:

Place all ingredients in a food processor and pulse until finely puree’d.  Pour into a tupperware and keep cold.  When making a salad, place romaine lettuce, parmesan cheese, croutons and some dressing in a ziploc bag and shake until  well mixed.  You can also add chicken to make it a meal.

Warm Pasta Salad with Shrimp

This recipe is another recipe from the MOMS Club Biggest Loser Brunch potluck.  My friend Marci brought it and it was so unusual, but so delicious!  I saved a taste for my hubby and he loved it and said I needed to get that recipe.  Marci emailed the recipe and I made it that same night!

I actually had a lot of the ingredients on hand, so it ended up being a really inexpensive dish to make.  I only used a half pound of shrimp, cut in half and to compensate, I used the whole can of rinsed and drained cannellini beans.  Plus, I didn’t want to end up wasting half a can, what else was I going to do with it?  I’ve never been the greatest fan of whole wheat pasta, but I used it anyway, I bought the Ronzoni brand whole wheat, and it was actually very good.  The recipe below will be without my adaptations though.  I hope you enjoy it as much as we did!

Warm Pasta Salad with Shrimp

Warm Pasta Salad with Shrimp
Recipe from Marci G., originally from Cooking Light

Ingredients:
1 pkg whole wheat pasta, cooked per package directions
1.5 tbsp Dijon mustard
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 tsp minced fresh garlic
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp fresh ground black pepper
12 oz. medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
1.5 cups chopped fresh spinach
1 cup canned cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
1/4 cup minced red onion
2 tbsp capers

Instructions:

  • In a small bowl, combine the mustard, lemon juice and garlic, whisking to combine.  Slowly add the oil, whisking to incorporate, then add in the salt and pepper.
  • Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium heat, add the shrimp and cook through.  Add in the spinach, beans, red onions and capers and toss, cooking until the spinach wilts.  Add the pasta and juice mixture, stirring to coat evenly.  Serve

4 servings, 487 calories each

Warm Pasta Salad with Shrimp

Chinese Cabbage Salad

Normally for New Years Day we have black-eyed pea soup and egg rolls.  But this year our family Christmas get together was postponed to New Years Day, so I knew I wasn’t going to want to come home and start making egg rolls.  What goes better with soup than salad?  I remembered having a cabbage salad with ramen noodles in it and my husband LOVED it.  A quick Google search brought me to the recipe and it was a winner!

It was so quick and easy to make, I advise letting it sit on the counter for a little while to let the flavors blend together.  It was not as good refrigerated, the ramen kind of got soft.  If you’re making this ahead of time, I’d keep the ramen out until you’re ready to serve it.

Chinese Cabbage Salad
Recipe adapted from allrecipes.com

Ingredients:
2 tbsp toasted sesame seeds
1.5 tbsp rice vinegar
1/2 tsp sesame oil
2 tbsp white granulated sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/3 cup olive oil
1 tbsp soy sauce
4 cups cabbage coleslaw mix with shredded carrots in it
1 pkg ramen noodles, crushed (I used creamy chicken, the oriental would probably be good!)
slivered almonds

Instructions:

  • In a small bowl, mix together the vinegar, sesame oil, soy sauce, salt, pepper, sugar, olive oil and ramen seasoning packet.
  • In a large bowl, mix the cabbage slaw mix and crushed ramen noodles.  Toss with the dressing and coat well.  Top with the toasted sesame seeds and toss well.  Taste for seasonings and adjust as needed.
  • Serve topped with slivered almonds, if desired.

Chinese Cabbage Salad

Creamy Jalapeno Ranch Dressing

We’re kind of salad snobs at our house.  We much prefer homemade croutons and dressing over the store-bought variety.  Store-bought croutons are gross, they are hard as rocks!  But this isn’t about croutons.
No.  It’s about dressing.  Creamy jalapeno ranch dressing, to be exact.  This stuff is excellent, it’s one of those things that you could probably put on anything and make it taste better!  It’s great on salads, with things like tacos or taquitos, or even just as a dip for some tortilla chips.  It only lasts a couple of days at our house, so if you’re wanting to try it you better make it yourself!

Creamy Jalapeno Ranch Dressing

 Creamy Jalapeno Ranch Dressing
Recipe from Confections of a Foodie Bride

Ingredients:
3/4 cup mayo
3/4 cup sour cream
juice of half a lime
2 tbsp green onions
1 handful of cilantro
1-2 jalapenos, seeded and stems removed (use two if you want it extra-spicy)
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp fresh ground pepper
1 clove garlic
1/4-1/2 cup buttermilk (use less if using as a dip, more for a dressing)

Method:
Place all ingredients in a food processor.  Pulse until smooth and well mixed.  Pour into an air-tight container and store in the refrigerator.

Salad with Creamy Jalapeno Ranch Dressing

 

Avocados with Warm Bacon Parsley Vinaigrette

A few posts ago I mentioned my tremendous love for avocados.  I really can’t say enough about this wonderful food and I think that people who don’t like them must be aliens visiting from another planet. ;-P  I had a few avocados left from the enchilada recipe (I bought a huge bag from Sams – theirs are always amazing) and I knew just what their fate would be.

A while back I spotted this recipe for avocados topped with a bacon dressing.  Come on.  Add bacon to ANYTHING and it’s going to be great, but avocados?  Super great.  This recipe didn’t disappoint.  I had a serving ready for my husband when he came home from work and he loved it.  I loved it.  You can’t not love it.  Try it.

Avocados with Warm Bacon Parsley Vinaigrette
Recipe from Elizabeth’s Edible, originally from Sunset, April 2009

Ingredients:
1/3 lb. thin sliced bacon
2 avocados, peeled, pitted and cut into quarters
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 tsp sugar
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
2 tbsp fresh chopped parsley

Method:
Fry the bacon in a pan over medium heat.  When crisp, set side.  Toss out all but 2 tbsp of the bacon grease, then add the garlic, lemon juice and sugar and let that cook for a minute or two, until garlic softens (stirring often).  Season with salt and pepper, add in the parsley and crumble in the bacon.  Mix well.

Divide the avocado slices on plates and drizzle bacon dressing over them.  Serve immediately.

Avocados with Warm Bacon Parsley Vinaigrette

Spring Salad with Crispy Goat Cheese Medallions

We’ve been eating black-eyed pea soup for DAYS and were starting to get a little tired of it, but there was just a little left so I thought I’d make something to go with it.  Our wonderful friend Anthony dropped off some beautiful avocados at our house so I thought I’d make a salad.

While procrastinating to go to the supermarket, I was surfing the internet and saw this recipe for goat cheese medallions.  Goat cheese is one of my favorite things, in any form (you know I love it when it has its own tag int he categories!)!  I decided this would go great on my salad I was making and I was sure right!  The only thing I will do differently next time is use a flavored goat cheese, maybe a garlic and herb one.  Just something to give it more flavor.  But this was a WONDERFUL salad and so easy to do!

Spring Salad with Crispy Goat Cheese Medallions
Recipe from:  Good Thymes & Good Food

Ingredients:
1 log goat cheese
panko bread crumbs
1 egg, beaten
oil for frying
Salad toppings:  I used spring salad mix with avocado, mushrooms, sunflower seeds and balsamic vinaigrette dressing.

Method:
Slice the goat cheese into little rounds.  Heat oil in a nonstick skillet, just enough to cover the bottom.  Set out one bowl of the beaten egg and one bowl of panko bread crumbs.  Dip the medallions into the egg then into the bread crumbs and fry about 2-3 minutes on each side, flipping very gently.  Set aside on paper towels when done then place them in your salad with whatever other toppings you like!

Spring Salad with Crispy Goat Cheese Medallions

Sensation Salad

Sensation salad is one of my favorites and you never see the dressing being sold.  At the honey-do shower for my husband (when we were engaged) someone in the family brought a sensation salad and my husband just went nuts over it.  He talked about that salad for DAYS.  I made sure to get the recipe and honestly I forgot about it.  Until Now. 

We needed something to go with the jambalaya being served at my daughter’s birthday party so I thought a salad would be great.  This dressing comes together in minutes and it makes A TON!  It’s the perfect light dressing for a hot summer’s day.  I served mine with peppers and olives on the side for whoever wanted some.

Sensation Salad
Recipe from:  Diane Hebert

Ingredients:
1 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 cup Crisco vegetable oil
5 tbsp lemon juice (fresh squeezed)
3 tbsp white vinegar
4 pods garlic, crushed, or 2 tsp bottled
1.5 tsp salt
Fresh parsley
grated parmesan cheese

Method:
Make dressing (will keep several weeks in the refrigerator).

Wash, tear and dry lettuce (use salad spinner).  Put lettuce and parsley in a Ziploc bag until ready to use.

When ready to serve, sprinkle generously with cheese and add a small amount of dressing at a time, tossing to coat.  You don’t want it coated too heavily!  Mix well.

This dressing can season 4-5 heads of lettuce.

Sensation Salad

Homemade Ranch Dressing

These days we’ve gotten so used to having convenience foods that we forget how delicious the homemade stuff really is.  And often, it really isn’t very hard or expensive to make.  Case in point – ranch dressing.  I’m honestly not the biggest fan of bottled dressings because they always have a strange taste to me.  I feel like a snob when I go to a restaurant and ask if their dressing is made in-house, but homemade dressings are just fantastic!

I’ve been wanting some good ranch dressing so I decided to just make it.  It used just stuff I had around the house so it actually didn’t cost me anything to make, plus it made a pretty large jar of it.  I was out of buttermilk so I made my own, and you can to by simply mixing 1 cup of milk with 1 tbsp vinegar, then let sit for about five minutes before adding to whatever you are doing.  Easy peasy!  So next time you’re fixing dinner, give your family a break from all of the preservatives and do something from scratch!

Homemade Ranch Dressing
Recipe from:  Confections of a Foodie Bride

Ingredients:
3/4 cup mayo (light works fine)
3/4 cup sour cream (light works fine)
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp lemon juice (I used 1/2 a lemon)
1 cup buttermilk
1 small bunch chives, chopped
1 small handful fresh parsley, chopped
1 clove garlic, chopped
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp white pepper

Method:
Combine all ingredients in a food processor and pulse until smooth.  Refrigerate.

Jar of Homemade Ranch Dressing

Ranch dressing on a salad

Roasted Beet Salad

I’ve been seeing beets pop up a lot on different cooking blogs, and it sparked my interest.  Beets have always been the vegetable I would NOT eat.  Gross, right?  But have you noticed that sometimes, as you get older your tastes change?  Happened with brussels sprouts….could happen with beets.  I wanted to find out.

Luckily, my husband does like beets so if it turned out I didn’t like them, he could eat them.  Nothing would go to waste.  I perused some recipes to see what I wanted to do and ended up with a combo between blogs Elly Says Opa and Bakin’ and Eggs.

I have to say, I now really REALLY like them!  I don’t know if it was just how I fixed them but it was great.  I think it would have been better with goat cheese, but the supermarket was out.  Yeah, that’s like a sin in my book.  So I’d recommend using goat cheese if it’s available to you.  Also, I forgot that I bought chopped walnuts, so they’re not in the picture but we did put them in the salad later and it was fantastic.  Gave it the perfect crunch that it needed.  Two (red) thumbs up!!  (I suggest wearing gloves to peel them, if you don’t want red hands!)

Roasted Beet Salad
Inspired by Elly Says Opa! and Bakin’ and Eggs

Ingredients:
3 fresh beets with the greens attached, washed
olive oil
salt & pepper
1 onion, sliced
1 tbsp butter
1/2 navel orange, divided into wedges with the whites removed
1/8 cup balsamic vinegar
1/8 cup olive oil
1 tsp brown sugar
orange zest
chopped walnuts for topping
feta cheese (or goat cheese!!) for topping

Method:

Preheat oven to 400.

Cut the tops and the point off of each beet and place each individual beet on it’s own square of foil.  Drizzle each one with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Wrap tightly with the foil and roast in the oven for an hour to 90 minutes, depending on the size of the beets.  Remove and allow to cool before peeling (you may want gloves for that part).  Dice the beets and place in a bowl.

While the beets are roasting, remove the greens from their stalks.  Bring a small pot of water to a boil and add the greens, boiling for 2 minutes.  Drain and rinse under cold water.  Add to the bowl with the beets. 

In that same (empty) small pot that you cooked the greens in, heat 1 tsp olive oil and the butter over medium heat.  Cook the onions (salting lightly) until golden and soft.  Add to the bowl with the beets.  Add the oranges as well.

In a small bowl, whisk together the balsamic vinegar, 1/8 cup olive oil, brown sugar and orange zest.  Drizzle over the beet mixture and toss.  Allow to sit for a little while for the flavors to come together.  Serve topped with walnuts and feta or goat cheese (goat cheese would be awesome!).

Roasted Beet Salad

Strawberry and Walnut Salad with Dijon Vinaigrette

The weather is warming up and strawberries are becoming plentiful!  Unfortunately, I didn’t have any good home grown ones to play with, but I did hit a good deal at the supermarket.  I decided to use them in a few recipes, one being a salad.  A nice light salad with fruit just screams springtime to me!  This one would be perfect for a bbq!

Strawberry and Walnut Salad with Dijon Vinaigrette

Ingredients:
mixed green salad/baby spinach, washed and spun dry
goat cheese crumbles
walnuts
red/purple onions
1/3 cup red wine vinegar
2/3 cup olive oil
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
honey
1-2 tbsp brown sugar (to taste)

For the dressing, mix the red wine vinegar, mustard and olive oil together.  It’s easy to put it in a jar and just shake it.  Add honey and brown sugar until it suits your taste.

Prepare your salad using the remaining ingredients.  Drizzle lightly with the dressing.

Strawberry & Walnut Salad with Dijon Vinaigrette