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Fuji Apple Salad Recipe by Leah

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Panera Bread® sells a fabulous Fuji Apple Salad with seasoned chicken breast, crispy apple chips, and an AMAZING apple vinaigrette.  It is sooo good!  I love the combination of crunch with the saltiness of the chicken and nuts, all topped off with the sweet tangy dressing.  When I saw the grocery store selling Panera’s® dressing I may have squealed in delight. I grabbed two bottles just in case it was a one-time thing.  When I got home my thriftiness crept in.  “I can make that.  I love that salad.  What have I been waiting for?”  I tried a few times and have ended up with an apple vinaigrette I love.

My salad is slightly different than Panera’s®.  They use chicken, but I usually leave it out and serve this as a side.  They use apple chips and I use thinly sliced apples.  They use toasted pecans and I use candied.  Either way, this salad is a winner.

 

 

 

 

Fuji Apple Salad

yield: 6 servings

 

INGREDIENTS

dressing

2 Tbsp apple juice concentrate

1 tsp Dijon mustard

1 Tbsp white balsamic vinegar

1/4 tsp salt

1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper

1/4 cup Canola oil

salad

12 cups mixed greens

2 chilled fuji apples, cored and thinly sliced

1/2 cup crumbled Gorgonzola

1/2 medium red onion, quartered and sliced

1 cup grape tomatoes

1/2 cup candied pecans

PREPARATION

  1. Blend all dressing ingredients together and set aside.  You’ll have more dressing than you need.
  2. In a large bowl, gently toss greens with dressing.
  3. Divide among plates and top with remaining ingredients.

Craisins Salad Recipe by Leah

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I learned how to cook from cookbooks.  My mom was a good cook, but when I was a teen she began to get sick and didn’t have much energy to devote to cooking, so our meals became very simple.  We’d typically have a meat and steamed veggies with an occasional Kraft Macaroni and Cheese™ or Hamburger Helper™ thrown in.  What can I say?  I’m a child of the 80’s.  🙂  Towards the end of high school my mom was really too ill to cook, so the responsibilities came to us, her children.  I would heat up the meat and steam the veggies just as she told me to, and then, in time, my interest began to grow.  I started looking in cookbooks and finding things that looked fun to prepare.  Through natural curiosity I began to introduce new foods and new ways of cooking to the family.  I have to be honest, they weren’t always well received, but learning a new skill can be a bumpy road and sometimes things just didn’t taste that good.

One thing I learned early on is that I LOVE salads.  It took some time but I slowly won my parents and siblings over to my “rabbit food”.  This salad is one from my early days of cookbook learning and it has stood the test of time with the dressing being one of my absolute favorites.

 

 

Craisins Salad

INGREDIENTS

Salad

1 head red leaf lettuce

1 head green leaf lettuce

1 head iceberg lettuce

1 (8 oz) package shredded Mozzarella cheese

1 (8 oz) package shredded Parmesan cheese

1 lb bacon, cooked and crumbled

1 (8 oz) package craisins

1 cup sliced almonds, toasted

Dressing

1/2 cup red wine vinegar

1 cup sugar

1/2 onion, chopped

1 1/2 tsp salt

2 tsp mustard

1 cup canola oil

PREPARATION

Salad

Tear red and green leaf lettuce into pieces.  Shred iceberg lettuce.  Toss together with other ingredients just before serving.  Pass dressing over salad.

Dressing

In a blender mix all ingredients, except oil.  Add oil and blend again.

Blueberry and Feta Salad Recipe by Leah

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My friend, Stephanie, is a caterer and serves this salad frequently.  I only recently had the opportunity to try it and I immediately fell in love.  It’s light, simple, and tasty.

 

 

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Blueberry and Feta Salad

 

INGREDIENTS

dressing

2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar

2 Tbsp honey

dash of ground thyme

1/3 cup olive oil

salt and pepper, to taste

salad

almonds

olive oil

kosher salt

butter lettuce, chopped

blueberries

crumbled feta

PREPARATION

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.  Chop almonds, toss in olive oil and kosher salt, and roast for 7-8 minutes.  Set aside.
  2. Blend dressing ingredients together.
  3. Toss the butter lettuce in the dressing.  Top with almonds, blueberries, and crumbled feta.

Mexican Caesar Salad Recipe by Leah

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While Crunchy Bean Tacos and Sweet Corn Tomalito are delicious, they don’t make a meal all on their own.  They need some veggies!  So here is the Mexican Caesar Salad we love to eat.

 

 

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Mexican Caesar Salad

INGREDIENTS

dressing

1/2 cup mayonnaise

1/2 tsp chopped garlic

1/4 cup chopped cilantro

1/4 cup chopped green onion

1/2 tsp salt

1 tsp black pepper

1/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice

1 Tbsp Dijon mustard

1/4 cup queso fresco

salad

1 large head romaine lettuce

tortilla strips

3 julienned roasted red peppers, stemmed, peeled, and seeded

4 oz queso fresco

4 cilantro sprigs*

 

PREPARATION

dressing

Combine 2 Tbsp of the mayonnaise and the remaining ingredients in a blender or food processor.  Blend until mixed.  Transfer to a mixing bowl.  Whisk in the remaining mayonnaise, blending well.  Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.

salad

Trim the lettuce leaves.  Cut into 1/4-inch pieces, and then wash and dry them thoroughly.  In a large mixing bowl toss with tortilla strips and dressing.  Top with bell peppers, cheese, and cilantro*.  Serve immediately.

*Georgia’s Nerdy Note: If you are unable to eat cilantro, you can swap parsley for it.  Some people have the same genes, OR6A2, which cause cilantro to taste like soap due to picking up other scents that those without the gene set detect.  Parsley is an easy swap, so you don’t miss out!

Cherry Apple Gorgonzola Salad Recipe by Leah

Cherry Apple Gorgonzola Salad

 

Though I’ve only been posting recipes here a short time you probably can tell that we are salad lovers.  They are my go to lunch and my go to veggie side with a meal.  Obviously with a salad you need fresh and tasty greens but that’s only part of it.  The greens provide the most nutrients but they’re also just the base.  To make a salad truly delicious they need to be topped with all kinds of goodies: something savory, something sweet, something crunchy, and don’t forget the cheese!  This is a salad with a combination of all those things and a mild and sweet dressing to boot.

 

Cherry Apple Gorgonzola Salad

 

INGREDIENTS

salad

6 oz bag of spring mix salad

romaine head, chopped

4 strips of bacon, cooked and crumbled

1/2 cup dried cherries

large granny smith apple, chopped

1/2 cup candied pecans

5 oz gorgonzola cheese crumbles

sweet balsamic vinaigrette

1/4 cup balsamic vinegar

1/2 cup vegetable oil

1 clove garlic, minced

1/3 cup granulated sugar

1/8 tsp ground mustard

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp fresh ground black pepper

 

PREPARATION

sweet balsamic vinaigrette

Whisk or blend all dressing ingredients together until the oil and sugar are blended.

salad

In your serving bowl toss together spring mix, romaine, and some of the dressing.  Top with remaining ingredients and pass the dressing along with the salad.

 

 

 

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Balsamic Peach Salad Recipe by Leah

Balsamic Peach Salad

 

Those aren’t marshmallows.  As each person came to the table I had to answer the same question. “Why are marshmallows on the salad?”  They’re not marshmallows, they’re mozzarella balls!  I have to admit though; they do look like marshmallows.

 

Marshmallows aside, there is a lot of good stuff in this salad.  This recipe comes from the blog Half Baked Harvest.  She is the queen of salads and bowls, and as salads make a frequent appearance in our home I find myself seeking inspiration from her often.

 

I wanted to share this one with you because while delicious it’s one of the few that I’ve made changes to.  I felt for our family it’s better suited to some simplifications.  For the original recipe check out her blog.

 

Balsamic Peach Basil Chicken Salad with Crispy Prosciutto

 

Yield: 6 servings

 

INGREDIENTS

salad

4 ripe peaches, quartered

1/2 cup balsamic vinegar

1 Tbsp honey

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 1 pound)

3 oz thinly sliced prosciutto

1 Tbsp olive oil

2 Tbsp freshly chopped basil

1 tsp dried oregano

kosher salt and freshly cracked pepper

8 cups baby spinach and romaine

1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved

6 oz fresh mozzarella or burrata cheese, torn (I used mozzarella balls because I already had them on hand)

1/3 cup pepitas (roasted pumpkin seeds)

balsamic vinaigrette

1/4 cup olive oil

1/4 cup balsamic vinegar

2 Tbsp fresh chopped basil

2 tsp dijon mustard

kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

 

PREPARATION

salad

  1. Add peaches to a bowl and toss with balsamic vinegar and honey.
  2. In a separate bowl add the chicken, olive oil, basil, oregano, salt and pepper.
  3. Preheat your grill* to medium high and brush the grates with oil.
  4. Remove the peaches from the balsamic mix and grill for 2-3 minutes or until ight char marks appear, flip and grill another 2-3 minutes.  Remove from the grill and reserve any remaining balsamic mix for the vinaigrette.
  5. To the grill add the chicken and prosciutto to grill for 5-8 minutes per side or until the chicken is cooked through and the prosciutto is crisp.  Remove from the grill and let rest 5-10 minutes.  Thinly slice the chicken and crumble the prosciutto.
  6. In a large salad bowl, combine the spinach, romaine and tomatoes.  Top with grilled peaches, chicken, mozzarella, and pepitos.  Serve alongside the balsamic vinaigrette.

balsamic vinaigrette

Grab any remaining balsamic mix from when you tossed it with the peaches.  To that add the olive oil, 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar, basil, mustard, salt and pepper.  Taste, and adjust seasonings to your liking.

 

*Or roast chicken and peaches about 25 minutes on a sheetpan at 400 degrees F.  Add prosciutto during the last 5 minutes of cooking.

 

 

If you look closely you’ll notice that there are some things in the picture that aren’t listed in the recipe.  A few of the changes I made after having taken the picture.  I have made the salad since then, but foolishly forgot to take another picture.  Besides, I couldn’t miss the opportunity to trick someone else into thinking I put marshmallows in a salad. ☺

 

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Taco Salad Recipe

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Taco Salad

 

My sweet 10 year old desperately wanted to make dinner for me on my birthday.  Hmmm.  What can I ask her to make that is both tasty enough to give her confidence from her efforts and requires minimal cooking experience?  This is the recipe I pulled out for her.  She did have to ask my husband a couple questions, like how to know when the meat was done, but overall she did wonderfully and gave us all a delicious meal.  She even asked to take some of the leftovers to school for lunch the next day.  That’s what I call a success!

 

Taco Salad

 

Yield: 6-8 servings

 

INGREDIENTS

1 lb ground beef

1 packet taco seasoning

1/3 cup water

1 large head romaine lettuce

15 oz can kidney beans, drained and rinsed

2 cups crushed Nacho Cheese Doritos

1 pint grape tomatoes, halved

1 cup chopped green onions

1 avocado, sliced

3.8 oz can black olives, drained

1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Bolthouse Salsa Ranch Dressing (or your favorite salsa with a little ranch mixed in)

 

PREPARATION

  1. Cook the ground beef in a large skillet over medium heat.  Brown the meat and break into small pieces with a wooden spoon.  Stir in the taco seasoing and 1/3 cup water.   Simmer until the water is absorbed, then remove from heat.
  2. Chop the lettuce and place in a large serving bowl.  Pile the taco meat and beans over the top.
  3. Add the crushed Doritos, tomatoes, green onions, avocado slices, olives and cheese.  Top the salad with Salsa Ranch Dressing.

 

 

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