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Salads

Salads

Basil Pistachio Salad Dressing

Looking for a new salad dressing?

How is your summer going? Ours is going by pretty fast. Daughter/family home for visit for Memorial day weekend, then the next weekend son from Austin came with family/friends, then next weekend daughter back for class reunion, then next weekend picked up two of the grandsons from Austin and this weekend they will swing back through The Woodlands on their way back from beach trip. They have been my guinea pigs for the past few weeks with a few new recipes I’ve been wanting to try out on someone.

Summer is the perfect season for any kind of fresh, crisp, green or pasta salad and who isn’t looking for something healthy and light for lunch/dinner. Add some roasted or grilled chicken or seafood to this salad and you have a very light, not filling dinner.

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Salads

Couscous Salad with Strawberry, Avocado and Lime Vinaigrette

Israeli couscous!

So, we’re going to Israel in October and I’m wondering how much couscous I will be eating; I’m sure it will be the Israeli variety, or I hope so anyway. I know I will be eating a lot of hummus; good thing I love the stuff. Especially love my version with white beans. Never had falafel and I guess that will be on the menu too. The only thing I have been warned not to try is “Jesus fish” and I’m kind of picky about the kinds of fish I like so I will NOT try that; I’ll let HUB try it and he can tell me how bad it is.

Back to the subject of this post — couscous. I’m not sure when couscous came on my food radar but maybe somewhere in the last 8 years or so.  I always thought it was a grain I guess because the small variety looks like it could be a grain. But couscous isn’t a grain at all it is a pasta. I’m not fond of the small variety of couscous; too many little pieces and it just doesn’t show up that well in a salad and mine tends to mush together. 

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Salads

Pasta Salad with Asparagus and Shrimp

Who says a pasta salad can’t be fun.

I picked up this interesting package of pasta on my Sante Fe trip last September and I’m just now getting around to doing something with it. The pasta is called Organic Leftovers Colored. All kinds of interesting shapes from Castles to bow ties, tubes, wheels, Viking helmets and shields. I knew this was going to be a fun pasta to eat. Here is one from Amazon that even looks prettier than the one I bought.

I really like all the different shapes in one package. When my sister and I were kids we use to eat Campbels Alphabet Soup. We would pick though it and try to spell out things with the pasta letters. Maybe I’ll pick through this pasta and pull out all the castles, horses and wine glasses and set up a little Games of Thrones Salad.

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Salads

Strawberry Spinach Salad

Why have I never posted this recipe?

I don’t know why I’ve never posted this recipe. I guess I thought that maybe everyone has already tried it. I’ve been making this salad for over 20 years and the recipe came from Stop and Smell the Rosemary cookbook which came out in 1996.

This is the perfect summer salad made with fresh baby spinach, some fresh out of the patch sweet strawberries, fresh dill and toasted almonds or pistachios. The dressing has a bit of sugar in it for just the right amount of sweetness to go with the other ingredients. A little crispy bacon bits on top would be a great addition but not part of the original recipe.

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Salads/ Side dish

Green Pea Pasta with Vegetables

Green and gluten-free!

While in Hot Springs a couple of months ago going to the horse races I found this gluten-free green pea pasta at one of the shops down town and since my son and family were visiting the next week I wanted something new gluten free to make for my daughter-in-law.

I purchased a red lentil pasta and this green pea pasta. My first thought was a pea pasta salad with green peas and some other green ingredients. I just happened to have one potato so I cut it into small cubes and boiled and added to the pasta salad.

There are so many gluten-free pasta out there now and once you add all your other ingredients you would never know it was GF. I was never a fan of gluten-free recipes (especially sweets/pastries) when they were starting to appear all over the internet. Seems like they were all made from just almond flour and to me everything tasted like almonds. I like all the new blends of flours and especially the pastas made with vegetables like this green pea pasta. This one comes from Abruzzo, Italy and you can buy it here or find it in a specialty shop.

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Salads

Sensation Salad with Avocado

Sensational salad!

I first had a sensation salad with my friend, Janice, at Magnolia Cafe in St. Francisville, LA. My first thought was boy is this a simple salad — lettuce and dressing and some cheese. Simple is good sometimes when you want a salad to go with say, pizza and don’t want to fuss about a lot of ingredients.

From my search, I found almost all recipes were the same. Most recipes tore up the greens but what I remembered about my sensation(al) salad was that the lettuce was kind of shredded like you would for tacos but maybe not as thin. Of course, I just had to mess with the original and I thought that some fresh avocado would be great with the salad and the dressing and of course the pizza that we were doing on our Kamodo Joe smoker. Ok, so I couldn’t quit thinking of what else to add to this salad. With all this shredded iceberg lettuce that is traditional, why not add another shade of green by adding some shredded romaine; and why stop there? I threw in some good blue cheese with the Romano. And, next time I might throw in some tomato and fried bacon bits. Maybe that wouldn’t still be called a Sensation Salad but it would taste SENSATIONAL!

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Salads

Cucumber Zucchini and Pineapple Salad

Healthy spiralized noodles.

I don’t know if spiralizers are as popular as the Instant Pot or Air Fryers but mine as been in my pantry a little too long without being used. So, if you have one and it’s been neglected, get it out and try this recipe.

This recipe can be made with or without the oil. It’s not that much oil if you decide to use it and won’t wreck your diet for sure.

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Salads

Chicken Salad For The New Year

Start the year with a healthy salad.

About now everyone is probably thinking “how can I take off those extra pounds I put on over the holidays”. I put on .6 of a lb. xmas week but probably did more damage New Years than that and I will be saying “yikes” how did I gain that much just letting go for a few days. Well, whatever the numbers say, I’ll deal with it because putting those extra pounds on was quite fun and who wants to past up fun times with friends and family.

So, this recipe idea started with a segment on the Today show New Years day with how to make extra meals from a grilled chicken. I changed the recipe so much that I decided to rename it. I swapped the carrot with tomato, added avocado and changed the walnuts to pistachios. I also decided to do a quick pickle on the broccoli stems instead of cooking them and when it was all put together I decided to add a little dried cranberries for color and their recipe morphed into a new recipe.

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Salads

Spicy Green Bean and Cucumber Salad

Hello Betty. Long time no see.

Where would I be today without you Betty? Betty who you say; Betty Crocker of course.

I grew up watching my mother cook and living next d00r to our grandparents I also saw my grandmother cook up a lot of new dishes, some good, some not so good. Especially during the holidays there were always new recipes. I remember the strawberry shortcake made with Twinkies for a summer dessert – good, but the thought of Twinkies now makes me shutter. Watching my mother cook breakfast, lunch and “supper” for us, I’m sure, gave me the desire to learn to cook and experiment with different foods. My dad was always experimenting with things like making his own bar-b-q sauce, or canning fish to make fish cakes and experimented with hushpuppies until he settled on a recipe that he used from then on.

So, back to dear old Betty and I wonder how old she is these days. Does she have wrinkles, grey hair? Has she put on a ton of weight from eating all her recipes over the years. I guess we will never know.

Betty Crocker was one of the first cookbooks I bought as a newlywed and I still have it although it is stuck away upstairs along with most of my other cookbooks since now with a flick of a few keys a person can have hundreds of recipes to choose from; sorry Betty you were replaced.

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Salads

Pumpkin Salad with Goat Cheese with Maple Vinaigrette

So Thanksgiving is over, that doesn’t mean you still can’t make this salad.

Didn’t Thanksgiving come and go in a wink of the eye? And all those little grandsons have gone home.

I had so many pumpkin things I wanted to share this year that I couldn’t fit them in before Thanksgiving. So if you can still get those little pie pumpkins, grab one and make this salad. If you can’t or don’t want to do a pumpkin recipe in December or for Christmas, substitute butternut squash for the pumpkin pieces.

Hopefully you aren’t like me and only think certain things should be cooked in certain months. I really need to get that out of my head – that stuffing/dressing can only be made in November. That is the only time I make dressing. Even though I might freeze leftover dressing, it really never gets eaten because it seems to just not fit in March when I’m cleaning out my freezer and find a dish of my Thanksgiving stuffing that was so delicious back on the day smothered with giblet gravy with some mashed potatoes and saurekraut sitting beside it. Now that has my mouth watering and me wanting some dressing. Maybe I could stuff pork chops with stuffing, that doesn’t sound very Thanksgivingly but would use up that dressing you may have popped in the freezer.

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Entree/ Salads

Shrimp and Avocado Salad

Love at first site!

My sister, her daughter-in-law, her 2 grandsons and son and two of our grandsons from Austin came to visit and even though I’ve had a couple of months to plan my menus I get down to the wire on what I want to have for the week — burgers (✓), BBQ (✓), teppanyaki steak on my new grill top bought for outdoor kitchen (✓), homemade pizza on our Kamoto Jo smoker (✓), and maybe some mussels for lunch one day (✓ didn’t get around to) and cook those in a new contraption we have for the grill (a basket you can either fry in, steam in or boil in and it will be perfect for mussels. (Will do the mussels another time this summer.)

I needed just one more dinner and when I was browsing Pinch of Yum’s blog this shrimp avocado bowl just jumped off the computer and I immediately knew what I was going to add to the mix — some oranges, some roasted walnuts, toasted sesame seeds and some cilantro and green onions for garnish. The miso dressing was so good on this salad.

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Salads

Crunchy Napa Cabbage Salad

Slaw or Salad?

Slaw or salad? We’ve had that discussion before (or I’ve had with myself). I’ve always thought of cabbage as a slaw or coleslaw before but on the other hand I always put some finely shredded red cabbage into salads to add more color. This salad will make a great side dish for any summer gathering.

I came across this salad at aspicyperspective.com webpage when I was looking at her Lemon Chicken recipe I’ll be making in a couple of days. I’m not sure if I will use the coconut flour (I have it) or not. Recently I tried a Chicken and Red Peppers (that’s 50% chicken and about as much broken dried chili peppers) and the chicken was coated with potato flour and I wasn’t crazy over the results of that type of flour. So, what I may do is try one small piece of chicken in the coconut flour and one in regular all-purpose flour before I tell you what to use. When it comes to fried chicken, you can’t beat just regular flour.

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