Showing posts with label salad dressing. Show all posts
Showing posts with label salad dressing. Show all posts

4/14/14

Orzo Salad with Fresh Lemon and Chive Dressing





I love Orzo pasta salads. There are so many combination possibilities with Orzo.  In my latest Orzo creation, I chose veggies that I love and paired them with a fresh lemon and chive dressing to feature the flavors of Spring.
I'll be making this for our family Easter dinner next Sunday. Total time to make this salad, less than 30 minutes. If you're looking for something fresh, simple and a little out of the ordinary, it's staring you in the face.
Not me, the salad.




Orzo Salad with Asparagus, Tomatoes and Fresh Lemon-Chive Dressing
A Bountiful Kitchen
print recipe

for salad:
1 lb orzo
1 lb fresh asparagus
1 lb grape or cherry tomatoes
1 cup chopped chives, divided (part for dressing, part for garnish)
1 lemon rind, grated fine, using a microplane grater
sliced lemon, for garnish

for dressing:
1 cup canola oil
1/2 cup cider vinegar
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper


Cook the orzo according to package directions, set aside. This may be done up to three days before serving salad.
Wash and snap off the tough ends of the asparagus. Cut into one inch pieces on the diagonal. Place about 1/2 cup of water in a small saucepan. Put the asparagus in the pan, heat until water boils. Cover and cook for one minute. Remove from heat. Asparagus should be bright green. Drain off hot water and pour cool water into the pan. Drain again and place asparagus in the bowl with the cooked orzo. Cut the tomatoes in half and add to the bowl with the orzo and asparagus. Add one half cup of the chopped chives and the grated lemon rind.
In a large measuring cup, Mix all of the dressing ingredients with a whisk,  or place in a blender, or use an immersion blender and pulse until ingredients are blended well.
When ready to assemble, toss all of the salad ingredients. Pour about 3/4 cup of the dressing over the salad. Toss. Let the salad sit a bit before placing in serving bowl or platter.  Just before serving, toss with additional dressing if needed. Garnish with the remaining 1/2 cup of chives and lemon slices.
Serves 12 as a side dish

Tips:
-Try to assemble and serve the salad on the same day. The pasta may be cooked ahead, but the asparagus is best when tossed with the dressing on the same day.
-You will have leftover dressing. Don't be tempted to drown the salad in dressing. Use the leftover dressing on a green salad, or chopped avocado and tomatoes. This dressing would also make a great marinade for grilled chicken.

3/14/14

Springtime Salad with White Chocolate Pecan Croutons and Harmon's $250 Gift Card Giveaway!




I'm in love.
With a grocery store.


Last week, I was invited to a blogger event at Harmon's City Creek in downtown Salt Lake City. We were treated to a cooking class taught by Aaron, chef and director of the cooking school in the Harmon's City Creek location.



Aaron taught us how to make a creamy asparagus risotto with topped with duck bacon.  Oh my. We were also served a pork tenderloin, cooked using the Sous Vide method.  The tenderloin was served with a balsamic reduction, wilted baby kale, shaved white asparagus and a piece of french cut purple potato.  Absolutely delicious.
Harmon's cooking school  offers a variety of cooking classes at three locations, covering a wide range of classes, individual tailored small group classes and even private parties.



Harmon's is a home grown business, started by Jake and Irene Harmon on the corner of 330 South and Main in SLC.  Harmon's humble beginning in 1932 has grown to 16 stores and over 3,000 associates. Their focus on customer service and fresh, quality products has made Harmon's, in my opinion, the best of the best in Utah.


Original Harmons Market Spot








What started at The Market Spot over 80 years ago has flourished under family ownership. Do you wonder why some businesses fold overnight, while others have long term staying power? After spending the afternoon at Harmon's I can tell you why they have not only survived, but thrived.  Customers are #1 at Harmon's.
Bob Harmon (grandson of Jake and Irene) spent over three hours with us, in the cooking class, and then gave us a department-by-department tour of his store. Bob shared his enthusiasm for everything in the store from the house-made guac to the cookies in the bakery.




It tastes as good as it looks.
















I knew Harmon's had the best in-store bakery in the state, but didn't know each and every one of their cookie, cakes and pastries are baked in house.  Everything, right down to the frosting on the cookies are made in-store, with fresh ingredients. That sugar cookie pictured above was one buttery piece of heaven. I may have eaten two of the four I brought home.


Man can live by bread alone. 

The artisan breads are phenomenal. If you love bread like I do, Harmon's is the grocery store for you. Not only do they sell whole loaves, but half loaves and single slices of bread. Oh, happy day!
Sometimes, I sneak in and get a couple of slices of my favorite breads, including sugared challah and a bowl of soup to take home for lunch.  This is the White Chocolate Pecan artisan bread, it's making a guest appearance in my salad today :)

Harmon's famous White Chocolate Pecan Bread












The produce is local when available, and always the highest quality. I recently purchased a 4 lb bag of Harmon's oranges from Brandt Farms in Reedley, CA. The oranges are packed for Harmon's and shipped immediately, which guarantees the freshest product for Harmon's customers.



  I compared a Harmon's orange to one from a warehouse store I had at home, and the Harmon's orange won the sweetness and juiciness test hands down.



Bob's Kabobs


Are you tired of reading about my love affair with Harmon's?  Don't answer that question.
Last chapter.
Meat.
Harmon's is the only grocery in the state to offer only Prime and Choice beef, the two highes grades on the USDA grading scale. Hormones? You won't find them in any of the meats or poultry sold in Harmon's meat cases. A while back I was looking for Italian sausage without additives. Could not find it.
Anywhere.
Except Harmon's.
I purchase a few kabobs for a quick dinner last week. Threw them under the broiler, (because I was too much of a sissy to go outside and grill in the snow). Outstanding.  Even the leftovers were tender, juicy and full of flavor. The quality? = to that of a high end steak house, with a much smaller price tag, $4 for a 8 oz kabob.




Have you worked up an appetite after reading my epistle on Harmon's??
I've got a special dish for you. With Spring approaching I decided to use a few fresh ingredients I found on my most recent trip to  (you guessed it)  Harmon's.  One vegetable in particular, white asparagus, was especially interesting to me. Chef Aaron served it raw and thinly sliced with our lunch.  You can steam it, or serve it raw.  I love it both ways.  It adds a nice white healthy splash to the salad instead of somewhat predictable white grated cheese.


The frosting on the cake (or salad) in this case, are the sugared croutons. They are made from the White Chocolate Pecan Artisan bread found at Harmon's bakery.  They take the place of the commonly used sugared nuts in a sweet and savory salad. I know they're going to be your new favorite. Try this out for your next gathering. It's the perfect salad for your upcoming Easter brunch or the wedding shower you're hosting. Fresh, simple and unique.





If you've been thinking about checking out Harmon's enter this giveaway using the rafflecopter code below. You could win $250 to spend on your next visit to Harmon's!
Good luck :)





you may want to slurp up any leftovers...



Springtime Salad with White Chocolate Pecan Croutons and Fresh Strawberry Dressing
A Bountiful Kitchen
print recipe

croutons:
3 thick slices (3/4 inch thick) White Chocolate Pecan Bread (about 4 cups)*
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons sugar, divided
coarse salt

dressing:
1/4 cup cider vinegar
1/2 canola oil
1 cup fresh strawberries, washed and cut in half
3-4 tablespoons honey or sugar, to taste
dash salt
pepper to taste

salad:
8-12 oz mixed greens, spinach, baby kale, etc.
3 green onions, sliced
4-5 asparagus spears, tough ends snapped off, sliced thin* (optional) or green asparagus may be used
16 oz sliced strawberries (1 cup to be used for dressing)
2 cups fresh blackberries or blueberries

prepare croutons:
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place rack on top third of oven . Cut bread into cubes. Use all parts of bread, do not remove crust. Place bread cubes on cookie sheet or jelly roll pan. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with one tablespoon of sugar. Sprinkle with coarse sea salt. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until golden browned. Remove from oven and let cool.

Prepare salad dressing:
Place all ingredients in blender, blend until smooth. Set in refrigerator until ready to serve salad.
May be made a day ahead. Stir before serving.

Prepare salad:
Place all greens on a platter or in a salad bowl. Arrange fruits and vegetables on top of the greens.  Refrigerate until ready to serve. Place the croutons on the salad just before serving.  Serve with fresh strawberry dressing.
Serves 8-10 as a side salad

Tips:
-If this bread is not available, you may substitute any type of bread to make the sweet croutons. i suggest using  raisin bread or other artisan bread.
-The white asparagus may be steamed lightly, then cooled quickly in a ice water bath. Place the asparagus in between paper towels to remove excess water and sprinkle lightly with salt. The asparagus
may also be served raw. Wash well and drain, slice thin on an angle.




1/16/14

Spinach, Chicken and Bowtie Pasta Salad for 100





Salad for 100, anyone?
Last summer, I made this salad three times, in two months, for groups of 100 or more.
Spinach, Chicken and Bowtie Pasta Salad is one of my all-time favorite pasta salad recipes. Here's why:  It sits well at a gathering (no mayo in the dressing). Perfect for weddings, funerals, missionary farewells and homecomings, Girl's Camp, family reunions, church parties and school events.  It's easy to make in large quantities.  Even though it looks summery it can be made year-round. AND last, but not least, everyone loves it.
The original 12-15 serving recipe is posted here . I've had oodles of requests over the years for a large quantity recipe, so I decided it would be best to re-post the recipe with directions to feed 100.
Make sure to read my tips short story (below the recipe) for all of the info you'll ever need (or want) to make pasta salad for the masses.
Happy salad making, my friends.



Got Chicken?

First three layers. 

Starting to look like something I'm interested in eating...

This was taken at Girl's Camp. I think we served 300 with these salads.
It was like the loaves and fishes. Kind of. 




Spinach, Chicken and Bowtie Pasta Salad for 100
A Bountiful Kitchen, adapted from Favorites cookbook
print recipe

Pasta:
5 lbs Bowtie pasta

Salad dressing:
2 2/3 cups vegetable or canola oil
1 1/3 cups Veri Veri Teriyaki Sauce, shaken
2 2/3 cups cider vinegar
1 1/3 cups granulated sugar
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons pepper

Salad ingredients (veggies and fruit) :
4 Costco tubs of Spinach ( 1 lb each)
8- 8 oz cans water chestnuts, drained and chopped into matchstick pieces
6 bunches green onions, chopped
48 oz - (1 large bag) Craisins 
12 cans mandarin oranges, drained well
2 cups sesame seeds, toasted
48 oz honey roasted peanuts or cashews

15 lbs chicken breasts, marinated (ingredients below), cooked, cooled and sliced

Teriyaki marinade for chicken:
6 cups soy sauce
2 cups sugar
1 Tablespoon or about 4 cloves garlic, crushed or chopped
1 Tablespoon pepper

Mix teriyaki marinade for chicken. 
Marinate chicken overnight, or at least 6 hours. Place the chicken in Ziplock bags and mix the marinade in a bowl, then pour into the bags over the chicken. The chicken may be taken directly from the freezer and set in the refrigerator in marinade for up to two days before cooking. 
After the chicken is marinated, place the drained chicken on baking sheets and broil the chicken for about 7-10 minutes (about 2-3 inches from element), or bake at 350 for about 45  minutes or until chicken is no longer pink in the middle.  Cool completely, trim off any fat and cut into slices. Set in refrigerator until ready to assemble salad. The chicken may be cooked up to three days before serving salad.
Discard any leftover marinade, DO NOT use the marinade in the salad dressing. 

Cook the pasta al dente, according to package directions. Drain, rinse quickly with cold water and toss with a tablespoon olive or canola oil  or a little of the Veri Teriyaki sauce and place in refrigerator in covered containers (I use gallon Ziplock bags) until ready to assemble salad. May be cooked up to three days before serving.

Blend the salad dressing ingredients together using large bowl or blender. Mix well. Keep refrigerated until ready to use.

Assembly:
May be done early in the day, or the day before serving.
Using two large containers, layer the ingredients to the salad in the following order (see photos)
Pasta, chicken, spinach, chopped water chestnuts, chopped green onions and Craisins. Make sure the water chestnuts are drained well.
Cover and refrigerate.
When ready to serve, add the following to the top of salad:
Drained mandarin oranges, toasted sesame seeds, honey roasted peanuts.
Mix the prepared salad dressing well, pour about 2 cups onto each container of salad, tossing gently so the mandarin oranges do not break apart. Add more salad dressing, sparingly, as needed.
Serve individually onto plates, or in a salad bowl.
Sprinkle with additional sesame seeds and nuts if desired.

Tips:
-This salad may be prepared in advance. When I'm making salads in large quantities, I usually start the day (or two) ahead with any of the steps that can be done early. Read this recipe carefully for instruction on make ahead.
-If you are serving this with a main dish, say at a barbecue, you may leave out the chicken. Or half the chicken (and marinade).
-This salad is a hearty serving of a main dish salad. It will yield 100 generous lunch size portions of salad. If served with a roll and dessert, it should satisfy most appetites. If you are serving the salad on a buffet, with other salads or sides, this should serve up to 150 as a side dish. 
-For the chicken, I buy Costco 10 lb bags of frozen- boneless, skinless chicken breasts. Usually the Tyson or Foster Farms brands. They are generally trimmed of most fat so the prep work is minimal regarding trimming the chicken. I use the chicken right out of the freezer, no thawing needed.
If you are trying to cut costs, use less chicken. This recipe may be adjusted to serve 100 with 10 lbs of chicken (instead of 15). Cut the teriyaki marinade for the chicken in half as well.
-Teriyaki Sauce for dressing on the salad- I like  Soy-Vay "Veri Veri Teriyaki"  for this recipe. It is highly concentrated, so you will use less than when using another brand. It can usually be purchased at most grocery stores and Walmart or Costco. I've also seen it online at Amazon.  Make sure to shake the bottle before using.
- Purchase Honey Roasted Planters Peanuts at Walmart in large size containers compared to the containers sold at the grocery, they are quite a bit less expensive. I love this recipe made with honey roasted cashews, but they cost quite a bit more than peanuts, so I usually stick with peanuts when making a large quantity.
-Less is more with regard to salad dressing. Use less dressing than you think you need initially. Let it sit for a few minutes and see how much has soaked into the pasta, and how much has settled to the bottom of the serving bowl. Add more dressing if needed. I rarely use all of the dressing.
-Purchase sesame seeds in bulk at the grocery in the health food aisle or in the Asian section of the grocery. The cost is significantly less than if purchased in the spice section.
-Toss the peanuts and the sesame seeds last onto the salad to preserve the crunch of the nuts.

11/21/13

Harvest Salad with Buttermilk Sage Dressing



Tuesday night I made a salad for a creative group of crafters and bloggers who attended
"Spark Your Holidays Soiree" put on by Margie Romney -Aslett (Justagirl) and hosted by Jamie Soucy.  I didn't stay for the festivities, but heard the ladies who attended had a fabulous time! I was amazed at Jamie's  gorgeous fully decorated Christmas house and the work Margie put into assembling craft kits. It was all so festive, that I may have to sign up next time they have an event and try my hand at creating outside of the kitchen...



I wanted to share a salad that was savory and a reflection of the season. I started with greens and decided on three main ingredients for toppings: roasted butternut squash, pomegranates and avocados. Keeping the dressing harvest-style, I topped the salad with pumpkin seeds and made a basic buttermilk dressing and added fresh sage. It was simple, fresh and a bit out of the ordinary.
This dish is perfect for your holiday table, not your mother's ho-hum green salad, and also a change from the fruit-candied nut-cheese salad we see at  almost every holiday gathering.
One week till Thanksgiving!
So excited.




Harvest Salad with Buttermilk Sage Dressing 
A Bountiful Kitchen
print recipe

Salad:
8-10 cups Romaine Lettuce, chopped
8-10 cups spinach (preferably baby spinach)
3 cups butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1 inch cubes
1 ripe and slightly firm avocado
1 large pomegranate, seeded or about 1 - 1 1/2 cups of seeds
1/2 cup pumpkin seeds (green type, roasted, salted)

Buttermilk Sage Dressing:
1 cup buttermilk
1 cup mayo ( light is ok, but regular is better)
5-7 fresh sage leaves, chopped
1 clove garlic
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper

Place all ingredients in blender and blend until smooth or place ingredients in container and shake or use an immersion blender. The dressing will keep for a week refrigerated.

To assemble salad:
About 1 hour before assembling salad-
Preheat oven to 450 convection, or 500 bake. Move rack to middle of oven.
Place butternut squash on a baking sheet. Sprinkle with coarse salt and pepper. Drizzle with about 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil. Roast just until squash begins to turn color and get a nice brown edge. This usually takes about 15 minutes on convection or 20 in a regular bake setting. Watch closely so it does not burn.
Remove from oven and let cool completely.
Place greens on a  large platter or  bowl.
Top with cooled roasted squash, chunked avocado and sprinkle with pomegranate seeds.
When ready to serve, sprinkle generously with pumpkin seeds.
Serve with dressing on the side.
Serves about 20+ as a side dish.

Tips:
-I doubled this salad for a group of 50-60 women. I used 3 heads of Costco regular (not mini) Romaine heads, 1/2 box of baby organic Spinach and 1 container of pre-cut butternut squash. I also used about 1 1/2 containers of pre-seeded pom seeds also purchased at Costco.
-For buttermilk dressings, I like to purchase Winder Dairy buttermilk. It is a bit thicker than other brands and whips up nicely in dressings. My second choice is Meadow Gold. Both brands found in Utah.

5/28/13

BBQ Chicken Salad with Creamy BBQ Cilantro Lime Dressing





Memorial Day weekend kicks off the start to Summer. Summer. Summer.
It's been a long Spring here in Utah. One of those keep 4 blankets,boots,hat,gloves,scarf and portable heater at all times in your car for the baseball game seasons. So glad it is finally warming up.
Summer means salads. I've been looking for an excuse to try out this recipe I Pinned a while back.
Verdict? Loved it. My new favorite.
I think there is a similar salad at CPK? This salad comes from the blog Erin's Food Files. She adapted the recipe from Mel at Mel's Kitchen Cafe, but added her own twist, by throwing in some roasted sweet potatoes and succotash (a dish consisting of corn and any type of beans cooked together).
Hello Summer. So glad you're almost here.





BBQ Chicken Salad with Creamy BBQ Cilantro Lime Dressing
Adapted from Erins Food Files and Mel's Kitchen

Chicken* early in the day, or day before prepare chicken in marinade:
4 chicken breast halves, any fat trimmed off
3/4 cup of barbecue sauce to marinate chicken

Salad:
1 large head romaine
12 cups lettuce Spring Mix or Spinach (about 1/2 of a Costco box of Spring Mix)
2 sweet potatoes, baked or grilled on bbq  just until soft
olive oil for brushing on sweet potatoes

Succotash:
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
juice of 2 limes
1-2 cloves of garlic, minced
2 teaspoons cumin
2 teaspoons chili powder
2-15 oz cans black beans, drained & rinsed ( I like S&W brand regular or organic)
3 cups corn, frozen
1 teaspoon each sea salt & pepper

Dressing:
1 1/3 cup mayonnaise, light or regular, I used light Best Foods
2/3 cup buttermilk, sour cream, or nonfat greek yogurt, I used light sour cream
1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
4 tablespoons lime juice
1 tablespoon white vinegar
1 garlic clove, finely minced
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
few generous dashes fresh ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 cup BBQ sauce (you may use either home made or bottled) and additional for drizzling on salad
2-3 tablespoons milk, if needed for thinning dressing

The day before serving salad or early in the day:

Chicken:
Marinate chicken in BBQ sauce at least 6 hours. I like to use a large Ziplock bag. After marinating, preheat grill, and cook chicken until done.  Barbecue the chicken on low heat for about 8-9 minutes per side, depending on thickness of meat. Remove from heat, check for doneness. If cooked through, let rest for about 5-10 minutes. Slice after cooled.

Succotash:
Combine first 5 ingredients in a small bowl and whisk to combine. Add beans & corn, season with salt & pepper. Store in refrigerator until ready to use.

Dressing:
Combine all the ingredients together and whisk (or shake, if using a jar) vigorously to combine. I used a blender and pulsed the ingredients.

Assembly:
Place lettuce on platter or large bowl. Layer on top of lettuce with black bean & corn succotash, sweet potatoes, and chicken. Drizzle with additional BBQ sauce, followed by the Creamy BBQ Cilantro Lime Dressing.

Tips:
-Great dish for make-ahead. I made the entire salad the night before and bagged all of the ingredients separately. Then in the afternoon, took to a luncheon and assembled it in just a few minutes.
-You may use any combo of ingredients for the succotash. It would be delicious with red or yellow peppers, chopped onion (red, yellow or white) or tomatoes. I added  small grape tomatoes and loved the color and flavor.
-This serves about 20 as a side dish, and is easily halved.
-I like to make my own bbq sauce (recipe found here), but didn't have any on hand, so I used 'Sweet Baby Rays" bottled sauce in this dressing, and for the marinade.
-For the sweet potatoes, I wrapped the potatoes in foil and grilled them on my bbq (350 degrees) for about an hour. After they were softened, I cut them into about 3/4 inch slices, brushed both sides with olive oil and grilled them just until they were cooked a bit more and had grill marks on the outside of the potatoes.
You can eliminate the step of wrapping in foil and baking the potatoes. Simply place the peeled, sliced potato onto a greased baking sheet and bake or broil until softened. Or grill pieces on the bbq grill.
After the potatoes are cooked, gently chop.
-If you are a cheese lover, grate some cheese on top - Monterrey Jack would work well. I don't think this salad needs cheese, there are lots of flavors in the salad, and with the creamy dressing, I think cheese is a little overkill. Just my two cents :)

5/6/13

Cape Cod Chopped Salad and promises








Promises, promises. I know. I told you days ago I would post two more salads and an appetizer for your Mother's Day menu, which is THIS WEEK. It's been a little hectic around here.

For one, Stephen returned home from his mission to Puebla in March. That deserves its own post (later). Here's a little glimpse of the "most wonderful day, ever" .





That was the most anticipated hug, ever. Two years is a long time.



And then, there is/was baseball, baseball, and more baseball. 





My cute mom came to visit...



Cuddling with my favorite 6 month old grand baby. 



Brookie graduated from the U. Two college graduates. Check. 



All good stuff. Just not a lot of blogging time.
Alrightly. The Mother's Day Menu 2013:
Salad number one. Loved this recipe. All of the main ingredients are my favorites alone, but this combo is one of those "match made in heaven" deals. Creamy Roquefort cheese, soft butter lettuce, toasted sweetened walnuts, dried cranberries, a crunchy apple, and bacon.
Your mom is going to love this.




Cape Cod Salad
adapted from Barefoot Contessa
print recipe

8 ounces thick-cut bacon
12 ounces baby arugula, or butter lettuce
1 large apple, I like Gala or Granny Smith, skin on, sliced thin
1 cup toasted walnut halves, 1 tablespoons sugar if desired
1/2 cup dried cranberries
6 ounces blue cheese, such as Roquefort, crumbled
Dressing:
3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon grated orange zest
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed orange juice
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
Kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2/3 cup olive oil

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Place walnut halves on lined baking sheet. Bake for about 10 minutes or until fragrant. If desired, sprinkle with about 1 tablespoon of sugar right after removing from oven. 

Remove bacon from package, keeping bacon in one slab, lay on cutting board and slice into 1 inch thick slices. Fry in non stick pan over medium high heat, separating pieces as you cook. When bacon is cooked and crispy , remove from heat. Remove bacon from pan with slotted spoon onto a paper towel lined plate. Set aside.

For the dressing, whisk together the vinegar, orange zest, orange juice, mustard, maple syrup, 1 teaspoon salt, and the pepper in a bowl. Slowly whisk in the olive oil.

In a large bowl, toss together the greens, apple, walnuts, cranberries, bacon and blue cheese.

When ready to serve, toss all salad ingredients with just enough dressing to lightly coat leaves of lettuce. 

Toss the salad with just enough dressing to moisten. Serve immediately.

Serves approximately  6 as a side salad.

3/31/13

Strawberry Spinach Pasta Salad with Fresh Lemon Vinaigrette







Here's a recipe for a fresh and simple salad, perfect for brunch. I served this at a gathering last week and it was a hit. Inspired by one of my favorite salads at Plates and Palates in Btown. They serve something similar, without the pasta. It's a great make-ahead salad if you are looking for a recipe you can throw together just before serving.
Happy Easter weekend!






Strawberry Spinach Pasta Salad with Fresh Lemon Vinaigrette
A Bountiful Kitchen
print recipe

3 chicken breast halves, cooked and chopped about 3-4 cups total
3/4 pound pasta, cooked according to package directions any shape
bottled poppy seed dressing, optional (such as Brianna's brand)
1 quart fresh strawberries, washed, sliced and drained*
green onions, chopped, optional
8-12 cups fresh spinach or a mixture of spinach and greens, washed and dried
1 cup dried cherries or Craisins
1 cup salted cashews

Fresh Lemon Vinaigrette:
1 cup canola oil
1/2 cup white balsamic or cider vinegar 
1 fresh lemon, juiced, about 1/3 cup
1 1/2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1 clove garlic, minced
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt


The night before or early in the day before serving:
Cook the chicken breasts, trim off any fat, chop and set aside. I like the chicken to be in 1/2 inch chunks.
Cook the pasta and drain. Let cool. If desired, pour about 1 cup poppy seed dressing over pasta and store in fridge until ready to assemble salad.
Prepare the strawberries and layer in a pan, such as a 9x13 cake pan, to prevent the berries from bleeding onto each other or the salad. This method will insure the berries are completely dry before assembling the salad.
Chop green onions, set aside.
Make the dressing:
Whisk all dressing ingredients together in a blender or in a bowl using an immersion blender or whisk. Set in fridge until ready to use. When ready to assemble, whisk again, just before pouring.
To assemble salad:
Place spinach in bowl or platter, or assemble on individual plates. Layer the following on top of greens:
Pasta (you may toss with additional poppy seed dressing if the pasta has soaked up most of the dressing),  chicken, strawberries, green onions and dressing. Top with cashews and dried cherries.

Tips:
-*Making sure the strawberries are washed, sliced and drained is essential. If the strawberries are not drained, they will bleed onto the chicken and pasta, giving off the appearance of red chicken or pasta with red or pink spots. Trust me :o
-I made this recipe up without any cheese, but if would be yummy with a little blue, Gorgonzola or goat cheese sprinkled on top.
-If you would like the dressing to be thicker, add about 1/4 cup of mayo (light or regular) to the recipe.
-You may also substitute honey for the sugar in the dressing recipe.


1/10/13

Balsamic Dressing and the Mystery of Ranch Dressing on Pizza




Homemade Balsamic. A thing of beauty. 


If you are the type who prefers anything BUT Ranch dressing on your salad, I think it's safe to say you'll love this recipe.
Not that there's anything wrong with Ranch. 
Just as long as it's not from a bottle. 
And it's no where near the top of my pizza. 
What is up with that? If you are reading this and you are not from the Beehive State, you probably had to re-read that sentence. True story. People in Utah LOVE to smother their pizza with Ranch dressing. I'm not sure why or how this started. It's one of those Utah phenomenons. I'm trying to picture people out to dinner (somewhere back in the mid 80's), ordering up pizza, looking at the Ranch dressing on the table and thinking, "Gee, wouldn't this delicious, cheesy pizza be so much better drenched in Ranch Dressing??!!" 
Speechless. 
Well, not really speechless, just not able to follow that thought process. Hmmm.

Homemade Balsamic dressing? Takes about 2 minutes to make, and goes with almost everything.
Chicken, Fish, Beef.
Pizza.
Ok, maybe not on top of pizza.


Balsamic Dressing
Food.com
print recipe

4 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
2 teaspoons brown sugar
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

Mix together all ingredients except olive oil in a blender or bowl.
When all ingredients are incorporated, add olive oil and blend well.
This dressing keeps in the refrigerator for one month.

Tips:
-I made this dressing for a large gathering recently and needed enough dressing to feed about 75 people. We tossed the salad with the dressing, and there was plenty of leftover dressing.
On the Food.com website there is a cool little tool showing the amount of servings in the recipe. You can place your cursor over the up or down arrow and increase or decrease the serving sizes. Once you hit enter, the recipe will update the amount of ingredients you need.

Balsamic for a crowd:

1 1/2 cup balsamic
3/4 cup red wine vinegar
3/4 cup Dijon mustard
1/4 cup brown sugar
12 cloves garlic
2 tablespoons salt
1 tablespoon pepper
3 cups olive oil

Mix together as recipe states above. 

1/9/13

Bleu Cheese Dressing




Have you ever made your own Bleu Cheese dressing? Once you make this, you'll never, ever want to eat bottled again.
Just sayin.

Bleu Cheese Dressing
Davidlebovitz.com
print recipe

*Note David Lebovitz is a brilliant chef who has authored several cookbooks and lives in Paris. He blogs under his name David Lebovitz.

4 ounces blue cheese, crumbled
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
a few turns freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon finely chopped chives
1/4 cup sour cream, regular or lowfat
1/4 cup buttermilk
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice or white wine vinegar
a few drops of red wine vinegar

In a medium bowl, mash the blue cheese with the salt and pepper with the back of a fork until the pieces of cheese are finely broken up.
Stir in the chives, sour cream, buttermilk, and lemon juice or wine vinegar until well mixed.
Add a few drops of red wine vinegar. Taste, and adjust any of the seasonings to your liking and if the dressing too thick, add a bit more buttermilk.
Makes 1 cup, about four servings

Tips: (from David)

-If you can’t get buttermilk, mix one part milk (whole or lowfat) with one part plain yogurt (regular or lowfat) to approximate the taste. Any kind of blue cheese, domestic or imported, should work well.

-The touch of red wine vinegar gives the dressing a little extra acidity, and if you don’t mind the faint pink color, you can use that in place of the lemon juice or white wine vinegar. I like chunks of cheese in the dressing but if you want it smooth, feel free to run it through the blender or food processor.

from me:
Bleu or Blue? What's the difference?
from the source of all knowledge (not Facebook, Wiki):

Bleu is the traditional French word, where the "fromage bleu" was invented. Blue is English. In American stores it can be spelled either way, though many bleu cheeses are imported from Canada or France. If it's from a local dairy, you'll probably be buying blue cheese.



1/7/13

Poppyseed Dressing




One of my resolutions for 2013. Cook more.
Ok, for reals.
You know what's so great about making your own salad dressing?
You can pronounce all of the ingredients.
I'm posting three recipes this week I tried recently. Loved all three: Poppyseed, Bleu Cheese and Creamy Balsamic. Each one takes about 5 minutes or less to throw together. So simple.
Want to feel accomplished in 2013? Forget about your resolutions; make your own salad dressing. People will praise you. Your lettuce will thank you. You'll feel like a new person.
Serious.
Home made dressing.
Its that good.


Poppyseed Dressing
adapted from Allrecipes.com

1/3 cup white sugar
1/2 cup cider vinegar
1/4 cup mayo, light or regular (optional)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground dry mustard
1 teaspoon grated onion (white, yellow or sweet onion)
1 cup vegetable or canola oil
1 tablespoon poppy seeds

In a blender or food processor, combine sugar, vinegar, salt, mustard and onion and process for 30 seconds.
With blender or food processor on high, gradually add oil in a slow, steady stream.
Stir in poppy seeds.

Tips:
-If you don't have a blender or food processor, you can make this in a large bowl using a whisk or a hand mixer. 
-You may make the dressing without the mayo and add it after all of the other ingredients if you prefer. If the dressing is not as creamy as you would like, or too tart, add the mayo.
-Keeps for weeks in the refrigerator.

9/20/12

Cobb Salad with Creamy French Dressing






Don't you love a good Cobb Salad? Cobb Salad usually consists of a combo of bacon, chicken, avocado, tomatoes, green onion, eggs and cheese on top of a bed of greens. I love the way it looks with the toppings lined up in neat rows.  Why is this appealing to me?
I like to make Cobb Salad without chicken, because I usually serve it with a main dish. Traditionally it is served with French or Roquefort dressing. I made three dressings last month: French, Roquefort, and Balsamic. All keepers.  I'll post the Roquefort and Balsamic soon, so you can whip some up on your own.
I know you want to make your own dressing.
Yes. You do.






Cobb Salad with  Creamy French Dressing
A Bountiful Kitchen
print recipe

1 lb bacon, cooked crisp, drained, cooled and chopped
6 eggs, hard boiled, cooled and chopped
Green, washed, dried and chopped about 12-15 cups or two large heads of lettuce
4 medium tomatoes or grape tomatoes, chopped
1 medium red onion, chopped
3-4 avocados, chopped (still fairly firm)
two cucumbers, seeds removed and chopped
2-3 chicken breast halves, cooked and chopped (optional)
Roquefort cheese or other grated cheese (optional)
green onions, chopped, (optional)

Place the greens in a large bowl. Layer all desired ingredients in rows on top of the greens.  Chill thoroughly and serve with home made dressings.
Serves about 25 as a side dish.


French Dressing

4 tablespoons sugar
6 tablespoons cider vinegar
1 tablespoon paprika
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
1 clove garlic, crushed (optional)
1/4 teaspoon  red pepper
1 1/2 cups vegetable, canola or olive oil

Place all ingredients in blender or bowl and blend on medium or using beaters or immersion blender for about 2-3 minutes. Mixture will thicken. Cover and store in fridge for up to three weeks. Stir before serving.
Makes about 2 2/3 cups or twenty-two 2 tablespoon servings.

Tips:
-Make sure to wash and dry the greens and toppings thoroughly. You don't want water in the bottom of the bowl.
-I like to use either Romaine or a combo of Romaine and other greens. Although Cobb Salad is traditionally made with Iceberg lettuce, I think it looks better when made with a dark lettuce. And it's better for you :)
-If at all possible, serve this with a home made dressing. Trust me, you will be glad you took the extra two minutes to make your own.