As I’ve mentioned before, we’ve been enjoying, as Jim calls them, fruit and nut salads a lot recently. They’re a great weeknight meal, and it’s great how widely the flavors can vary depending on the green/fruit/nut/dressing/cheese combination you go with. I made this one on Friday to go along with a seafood gratin I was serving for dinner, and was told that this interpretation of the European Salad from Pistachio Health was Jim’s favorite. Go me! J


Ingredients:

Dressing:

  • 1/3 cup Orange Juice
  • 3 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 2 Tbsp Balsamic Vinegar, I use white
  • 1 tsp Dijon Mustard
  • 1 clove Garlic, minced
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Pistachios:

  • 1 Egg White
  • ¼ Sugar
  • 1 cup Pistachios

Salad:

  • 6 to 8 cups Salad Greens
  • 1 large Granny Smith Apple, chopped
  • ½ cup Craisins
  • ½ cup Blue Cheese, crumbled

Directions:

Dressing:

  1. Whisk together all dressing ingredients and drizzle desired amount over salad.

Pistachios:

  1. Preheat oven to 375. In a small bowl, whisk together egg white and sugar. Fold in 1 cup whole Sunkist Pistachio Kernels.
  2. Spread pistachios in a single layer on lightly greased baking sheet. Bake 15 minutes, stirring halfway through baking time or until sugar looks bubbly.
  3. Loosen pistachios and let cool for 10 minutes. Store in airtight container until ready to use.

Salad:

  1. In large bowl, toss half the candied pistachios with the salad greens, ¾ of the apples, craisins, and cheese. Arrange onto salad plates; sprinkle with remaining apples, craisins, blue cheese and candied pistachios.

Meg’s Harvest Salad

October 7, 2010

This recipe is quite famous. Well, famous within our family. My cousin Megan, who is a fairly well-known equestrian and owner of Vintage View Farms in Mequon (plug, plug), came up with this delicious mix, and we started to request it so often that she finally wrote it down for us. I hadn’t had it in a while, but when Jim recently requested, “One of those fruit and nut salads you’ve been making lately” for dinner, this mix of nuts, cheese, and cranberries popped into my head.

This was just as yummy as I remember, maybe even more so, as I’ve developed a love for blue cheeses that I didn’t have 5 years ago. I made only slight changes such as using white balsamic and toasting the nuts to bring out their flavor. Make a batch of the dressing, and keep it in the refrigerator for this and any other salad you can whip up, as the flavors are quite versatile.

Ingredients:

Dressing:

  • ¼ cup Balsamic Vinegar, I prefer white
  • ½ cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 2 Tbsp Honey
  • 2 Tbsp Sesame Seeds
  • 2 Tbsp Chives, finely minced
  • ½ tsp Salt
  • ½ tsp Pepper, freshly ground
  • 1 tsp Lime Juice, fresh

Salad:

  • ¼ cup Pine Nuts
  • ¼ cup Walnuts, chopped
  • ¼ cup Sunflower Seeds
  • ½ cup Gorgonzola, crumbled
  • ½ cup Dried Cranberries
  • ¼ cup Parmesan Cheese, shredded
  • 1 to 2 heads Romaine, washed and torn
  • 2 to 4 cups Lettuce Mix: your choice of escarole, green leaf, red leaf and/or parsley, etc.

Directions:

Dressing:

  1. Add all ingredients into a lidded jar. Seal tightly and shake until combined and slightly thickened.

Salad:

  1. In a dry skillet, lightly toast the pine nuts and walnuts. Add in bowl with dressing and all other ingredients except for lettuce. Let sit for up to 1 hour to allow the flavors to meld.
  2. To serve, place lettuce in a large serving bowl and top with dressing mixture. Toss and enjoy.    

     

Dressing: Servings – 12 / WW Points – 3 pts per serving per 2 Tbsp serving

Salad: Servings – 8 / WW Points – 4 pts

Bacon-Watercress Salad

September 24, 2010

As soon as I opened my latest issue of Food Network Magazine, I was excited to try this recipe. It worked out great, as I have a ton of fancy cheeses leftover from my sister-in-law’s baby shower, and I need to use it up before they go bad. The only change I made was to use canned mandarin oranges rather than segmenting fresh whole oranges, as, to be honest with you, I was just too lazy to worry about segmenting oranges when I have canned ones in the house. Yes, even I like short cuts. With that slight change, this turned out to be a very quick weeknight dinner, even when you add in the time it took to whip up some corn muffins to go along side.


Ingredients:

  • 6 slices Thick-cut Bacon
  • 1 clove Garlic, coarsely chopped
  • Kosher salt
  • 2 Tbsp Red Wine Vinegar
  • Black Pepper, freshly ground
  • 1/3 cup Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 medium Bunch Watercress, tough stems removed
  • 1 cup Fresh Parsley Leaves
  • 1 small head Escarole, outer leaves removed, torn
  • 1 can Mandarin Oranges, drained
  • 1/3 cup Toasted Hazelnuts, roughly chopped
  • 1/3 cup Dried Dates, roughly chopped
  • 1/3 cup Blue Cheese, crumbled

Directions:

  1. Cook the bacon in a large skillet over medium-high heat until crisp, 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate to drain.
  2. Put the garlic on a cutting board and sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon salt, then mash into a paste with the flat side of a large knife.
  3. Whisk the vinegar and garlic paste in a large bowl and season with salt and pepper, then whisk in the olive oil.
  4. Add the watercress, parsley and escarole and toss to coat. Just before serving, add in the crumbled bacon, oranges, hazelnuts, dates and blue cheese.

When I saw this recipe from Erin’s Food Files, I was immediately intrigued by the idea of a raw zucchini dish. Don’t get me wrong, I love zucchini, but I always enjoy it cooked, so the idea of eating it in its raw state quite frankly freaked me out a little. I was excited to give it a try though, and I’m so glad that I did.

The zucchini and yellow squash are sliced very thin, and the salt and olive oil breaks them down ever so slightly, so you really forget that they’re raw. The tomatoes and basil give a great flavor, and start to meld into the dish, and start to taste like a bright sauce. This was a great compliment to the Chicken Piccata I served it with, and would make a great addition to any meal, especially those that feature heavier and richer items.


Ingredients:

  • 2 zucchini squash, shaved thinly lengthwise with a vegetable peeler
  • 2 yellow summer squash, shaved thinly lengthwise with a vegetable peeler
  • Sea salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
  • 5 oil-packed sundried tomatoes, drained and thinly sliced
  • 1/2 shallot, finely chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped basil
  • 1 teaspoon finely chopped oregano

Directions:

  1. In a large bowl, gently toss together all ingredients.
  2. Transfer to a platter and serve immediately, though it’s just as delicious the next day, so don’t be scared of left overs.

 

Servings – 6

WW Points – 1 pt per serving

Tabbouleh

August 12, 2010

Fun to say and good to eat. Seriously. Say it 5 times fast.

You smiled.

Now, think of all of the great things backed into the salad, and all of the fat, calories, and processed items that aren’t.

You smiled again, didn’t you?

We really liked this recipe from Cate’s World Kitchen, which is good, as it will be my lunch for a few days. The only thing that we didn’t care for, but I still left in the recipe below, was the mint. Just didn’t care for it. I’m not a big fan of mint in any form other than ice creams and desserts, but I know from the popularity of the mojito, that I am in the minority, so if you like it, keep it in, if not, no worries, it will still be a great dish.


Ingredients:

  • 1 ½ cup Bulgur
  • 2 cups Water
  • ½ cup Lemon Juice
  • 3 Cloves Garlic, finely minced
  • 4 Scallions, chopped
  • 15 fresh mint leaves, optional, chopped
  • 1 cup Fresh Parsley, chopped
  • 3 Roma Tomatoes, seeded and diced

Directions:

  1. Bring the water to a boil in a medium saucepan. As soon as it boils, remove it from the heat and stir in the bulgur. Let stand covered for 30 minutes.
  2. Fluff the bulgur with a fork, then transfer to a bowl and stir in remaining ingredients. Chill 20-30 minutes before serving.

 

Servings – 8

WW Points – 1 pt per ¾ cup

Uh, Jaime … you’re title is messed up, you wrote salad twice …

Yup that’s right, I did, and it’s not a mistake either. It’s a pasta salad salad. A pasta salad with a heaping helping of greens. Or a salad with some pasta in it, whichever you prefer. I played with the idea of this last week as a way to get in some extra protein and whole grains into my salad without adding too many points. It was love at first bite. This is a slightly Italian version with tomatoes and basil. It’s a great light lunch.

Ingredients:

  • 28 grams Whole Wheat Pasta
  • 2 Tbsp Balsamic Vinegar
  • 2 tsp Olive Oil, I use the oil the tomatoes are packed in
  • 12 grams Sundried Tomatoes, chopped
  • 50 grams Baby Spinach
  • 75 grams Salad Greens
  • 50 grams Red Pepper, chopped
  • 55 grams, about 8, Grape Tomatoes, halved
  • 30 grams, about 8, Black Olives, halved
  • 2 to 3 Basil Leaves, chopped
  • Kosher Salt
  • Black Pepper

Directions:

  1. Cook pasta according to package directions.
  2. While the pasta cooks, whisk vinegar and oil together.
  3. Toss all ingredients together and season with salt and pepper to taste.

 

Servings – 1

WW Points – 7 pts


 

Macaroni Salad

August 3, 2010

When I was planning the menu for Jim’s 30th birthday party, he had just a few requests: Buffalo Chicken Dip, Yellow Cupcakes with White Frosting, and Macaroni Salad. The first two were things I had made before, but, since I didn’t really care for macaroni salad, I had to go on a search for a good recipe. When I stumbled upon this recipe on The Parsley Thief, I was happy to see that there were elements of actual flavor within the recipe rather than something that produced a bland and over mayonnaised concoction that I was used to seeing.

This was a total hit. Not only did I like, but I received a lot of compliments, and requests for the recipe, from our guests … including the guest of honor. Since I don’t see Jim letting go of his love for this salad, I’m happy to have found a recipe we can both love.


Ingredients:

  • 1 lb. Elbow Macaroni, or curly pasta
  • ½ Small Red Onion, minced
  • 1 Celery Stalk, minced
  • ¼ cup Fresh Parsley, minced
  • 1 Tbsp Lemon Juice
  • 1 Tbsp Dijon Mustard
  • ¼ tsp Garlic Powder
  • ½ tsp Chili Powder
  • 1 ½ cups Mayonnaise
  • Black Pepper, freshly ground
  • Kosher Salt

Directions:

  1. Cook the macaroni in a large pot of salted water, until 1 minute less than al dente. Drain & rinse under cold water. Set aside.
  2. In a mixing bowl, combine the red onion, celery, parsley, lemon juice, mustard, garlic powder & cayenne.
  3. Add the macaroni & stir to combine. Let the mixture sit for a few minutes, for the flavors to meld.
  4. Add the mayonnaise, stir well and season with salt & pepper to taste.
  5. Serve immediately, or refrigerate for up to 2 days.

Summer Corn & Orzo Salad

August 3, 2010

This is a recipe my mom has been making for years. Light, fresh, and delicious. It’s a great summer side salad for a picnic, BBQ, or just to go alongside some grilled chicken or shrimp.


Ingredients:

  • 5 cups Corn, fresh or frozen thawed
  • 16 oz Orzo
  • 1 cup Greek black olives, pitted & halved (black olives work here too)
  • 2 Red Pepper, chopped
  • ½ cup Fresh Basil, coarsely chopped
  • ½ cup Fresh Parsley, coarsely chopped
  • ¼ cup Olive Oil
  • ¼ cup White Wine Vinegar
  • Salt, to taste
  • Pepper, to taste

Directions:

  1. Cook and drain orzo according to package directions.
  2. Add all other ingredients.
  3. Serve cold or at room temperature.

Cape Cod Chopped Salad

February 15, 2010

While looking for a salad to compliment my Valentine’s Dinner Party menu, I came across this recipe from Ina Garten’s
Back to Basics. Salty bacon, peppery arugula, crunchy apples and walnuts, savory blue cheese, and sweet cranberries all tossed in a tangy citrus dressing, what’s not to love? Well, when it came time to pull everything together, I decided that there was too much going on to make the bacon, so I skipped it. Nobody noticed, and when I asked Jim he said that the bacon would have been overkill. Seriously, MY husband said something was better WITHOUT the addition of bacon. People, this is a man who ordered an extra side of bacon to go with his bacon waffle. He loves his bacon! I have to agree though, so I have amended the original recipe to omit the bacon that I think would be good if you would like to put it in, but it totally delicious without it.

This was great as the salad for our dinner, but would be delicious on its own, or with grilled chicken marinated in some of the dressing, for lunch.

Ingredients:

Dressing:

  • 3 Tbsp Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 1 tsp Orange Zest, grated
  • 2 Tbsp Orange Juice, freshly squeezed
  • 2 ½ tsp Dijon Mustard
  • 2 Tbsp Maple Syrup
  • Kosher salt
  • ½ tsp Black Pepper, freshly ground
  • 2/3 cup Olive Oil

Salad:

  • 8 oz Baby Arugula
  • 1 large Granny Smith apple, diced
  • ½ cup Walnuts, toasted and coarsely chopped
  • ½ cup Dried Cranberries
  • 6 oz Blue Cheese, such as Roquefort, crumbled

Directions:

Dressing:

  1. For the dressing, whisk together the vinegar, orange zest, orange juice, mustard, maple syrup, 1 ½ tsp salt, and the pepper in a bowl.
  2. Slowly whisk in the olive oil.

Salad:

  1. In a large bowl, toss together the arugula, apple, walnuts, cranberries, and blue cheese.
  2. Toss the salad with just enough dressing to moisten. Sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon salt and toss well. Serve immediately.
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