Archive for the ‘Salads’ Category

Italian Panzanella Salad

Difficulty: Moderate

This comes from Cook’s Country and I am making the difficulty moderate since you make your own croutons, don’t be tempted to use store bought! I made this for a BBQ and it was a nice change from the usual salad fare. Crisp bread croutons, basil pesto, creamy white beans and fresh tomatoes are wonderful! And it is easy and satisfying. It can serve as a side or a main dish with some grilled chicken. Yum.

2 cups 1-inch cubes Italian bread
1/2 cup olive oil
2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
1 (14-ounce) can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
1 medium cucumber , peeled, halved lengthwise, seeded, and cut into 1-inch pieces
1 medium shallot, minced
1/2 cup pesto
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
Table salt and ground black pepper
2 tablespoons thinly sliced fresh basil

Directions: Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat to 375 degrees. Toss bread cubes with 1/4 cup olive oil on rimmed baking sheet. Spread bread cubes on pan and bake until golden brown, 12 to 15 minutes, shaking pan halfway through to prevent bread from sticking. Remove from oven and cool completely. (Bread cubes can be stored in zipper-lock bag for one or two days.)

Meanwhile, mix tomatoes, beans, cucumber, and shallot in large bowl. Whisk pesto, vinegar, and remaining 1/4 cup oil together in small bowl, and season with salt and pepper to taste. Drizzle pesto dressing over vegetables, toss well, and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight.

Ten minutes before serving, add bread cubes to vegetables and toss well. Transfer to serving bowl and sprinkle basil on top. Serve.


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Luau Salad

Difficulty: Easy but a bit of prep work cutting veggies

I had this salad for the first time last month at Cheesecake Factory. Love at first bite! It has the perfect combination of textures. An abundance of crunchy, fresh veggies, crisp egg roll wrappers, sweet mango and the dressing tie it all together. I came home determined to recreate this amazing salad. I found a working copycat recipe online and tweaked the dressing. Phil was mighty impressed with this beauty as I presented his dinner to him. Needless to say we are both excited for lunch tomorrow!

6 cups mixed greens
3 chicken breasts, seasoned & grilled; sliced into thin strips
1 red bell pepper, sliced into thin strips
1 yellow bell pepper, sliced into thin strips
1 1/2 cups fresh green beans, blanched, cut into 3-inch pieces
1 cucumber, sliced into 1/2″ pieces, peel if you like
1 red onion, thinly sliced
1 carrot, peeled, sliced into 1-inch thin strips
3 green onions, chopped
1 fresh mango, peeled and diced

1 cup balsamic vinaigrette
1/4 cup rice vinegar
1/4 cup plum sauce or sweet & sour (found in Asian aisle)
1 teaspoon sesame oil (also in Asian aisle)

Vegetable Oil
8 egg roll wraps, fried crisp
4 TBS sweet and sour sauce or plum sauce
4 ounces macadamia nuts, toasted and chopped
1 tablespoon sesame seeds, toasted

Directions: Place the lettuce mix, chicken, bell peppers, green beans, cucumber slices, red onion, carrots, green onion and mango into a large mixing bowl. Whisk together the balsamic vinaigrette (your favorite choice), seasoned rice vinegar, plum sauce or sweet & sour sauce, and sesame oil. Drizzle the dressing into the bowl with the salad ingredients, and gently toss together.

Heat 1″ vegetable oil in large skillet over medium high heat, fry egg roll wraps until crisp and golden brown, 1-2 minutes per side. Drain on paper towel lined plate and repeat with remaining wraps. Brush a little sweet and sour sauce onto each crispy egg roll wrapper. Build the salad in each serving bowl with alternating layers of salad mixture, a crispy glazed egg roll wrapper, more salad mixture, another crispy glazed egg roll wrapper and then the remaining salad mixture. Sprinkle the macadamia nuts and sesame seeds all over each salad.

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Difficulty: Easy

This tasty EASY dish is from a fellow recipe blogger, Breakfast Lunch & Dinner but I have made some changes. It was really easy and totally satisfying, light but filling. The panko gives the chicken such a great crunch and the tangy honey mustard dressing gives your taste buds a wake-up.  If you don’t have panko just use breadcrumbs but I strongly recommend using panko, it is basically a Japanese breadcrumb and you can find it down the Asian aisle of your friendly neighborhood grocer, I found mine at Sprout’s because I happened to be there but I am sure you will find them anywhere.

When frying your chicken-yes frying- make sure your oil is hot, 375 degrees, use a thermometer or test the oil by throwing in a small piece and it should sizzle immediately. Don’t overcrowd your pan either, as this will lower the temperature.

Serves 4.

8 chicken tenders
1 egg, beaten
1 cup buttermilk
1 ½ tsp garlic powder
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper

1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup panko or seasoned breadcrumbs
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1 tsp baking powder
Zest of 1 lemon
1 tsp dried parsley

1 quart oil for frying

Place chicken strips into a large, resealable plastic bag. In a small bowl, mix the egg, buttermilk and garlic powder, salt and pepper. Pour mixture into bag with chicken. Seal, and refrigerate 2 to 4 hours but if you are in a pinch like I was last night, I put everything in a medium bowl, making sure the chicken was covered and let it sit for 30 minutes while I prepared everything else. In another large, resealable plastic bag, mix together the flour, bread crumbs, salt and baking powder. Remove chicken from refrigerator, and drain, discarding buttermilk mixture. Place chicken in flour mixture bag. Seal, and shake to coat. Heat oil in a large, heavy skillet to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C) Carefully place coated chicken in hot oil. Fry until golden brown and juices run clear. Drain on paper towels.

Honey Mustard Dressing:
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1+ Tbsp prepared Dijon mustard, or whatever you have
2+ Tbsp honey
Juice of ½ lemon
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 cup milk
S & P

In a small bowl, whisk together the all ingredients or place in sealed mason jar and shake it baby! Add more mustard and/or honey to your desired taste. Store covered in the refrigerator. Makes enough for 4 large salads.

Serve on bed of salad greens with cucumber, bits of bacon, cheddar and hard boiled egg if you wish. Make it according to your tastes! We did just egg and cucumber. If you are opposed to frying follow the directions for chicken tenders through breading, preheat your oven to 400 degrees, place on cooling rack over cookie sheet and spray with cooking spray. Bake 10 minutes on each side until cooked through and golden brown.

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Green Bean Salad

Difficulty: Easy

courtesy Ellie Krieger

1/2 pound green beans, trimmed
2 tablespoons chopped walnuts
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley leaves
2 tablespoons chopped red onion
2 teaspoons walnut oil or olive oil
1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
Salt and pepper

Bring a large pot of water with a steamer basket to a boil, add green beans and steam for about 4 minutes. Transfer to a serving bowl.Toast the walnuts in a small dry skillet over medium heat until they become fragrant, about 2 minutes, and then transfer them to a small bowl to cool. Add the parsley and onion to the walnuts and stir to combine.In another small bowl, whisk together the oil, vinegar and mustard. Toss the dressing with the green beans, top with the walnut mixture and season with salt and pepper. Serve warm or at room temperature.

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