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Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Super Simple Side Salads

Sliced papaya and kiwi fruit with a garnish of fresh mint make a very pretty side salad for a nice dinner.

No dressing required, but you could drizzle the Creamy Citrus Dressing over it if you wanted to.
Another pretty but simple fruit salad:  fresh mango, strawberries and kiwi fruit – cut and arranged in a white bowl.

Lettuce, tomato, grated cheese and a drizzle of dressing looks colorful too, as well as being easy.  (Leftover taco toppings make this a breeze.)

And, the easiest side “salad”?  A bowl of canned fruit, of course. :-)

In a pretty, contrasting bowl it looks very attractive.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Fresh Green Bean Salad

This is a refreshing, delicious salad for a hot summer day.  If you have garden fresh beans, so much the better!  I don’t have measurements.  I don’t think we ever used any.  We just made it with however much was available.  It is easily adjusted for special diets too.
Fresh Green Bean Salad
Fresh green beans
Tomatoes, chopped or sliced
Whit onion (optional), diced
Crumbled Feta cheese, or cheese of your choice
Italian salad dressing, or vinegar and oil dressing of your choice

Parboil or steam beans just till tender crisp.  Remove from heat and drain immediately and rinse in cool water.  Refrigerate till ready to make salad.  Arrange beans around the edge of a large plate or small platter.  Place tomatoes in center.  Sprinkle with onions and cheese.  Pour salad dressing over the top.  Serve.
Note: You could substitute green or red onions or chives for the white onions.  Also, if you have fresh basil or oregano, it would be a nice addition snipped and sprinkled on top.
Make this recipe dairy free by leaving out the cheese.  Make it gluten free by using gluten free dressing and cheese.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Salad Dressing – Creamy Citrus Dressing

Due to health issues and concerns we try to avoid a lot of things in our diet.  It is necessary that we avoid MSG (monosodium glutamate), which is in many store bought salad dressings.  We also make a point of avoiding high fructose corn syrup, which also appears in many store bought foods.  My mom made a lot of homemade dressings when we were growing up (probably because they are cheaper), so it wasn’t a big challenge to us to make all our dressings at home when these things became an issue. 
I enjoy inventing my own dressings.  They may well be repeats of other people’s efforts, but that isn’t surprising since there are so many thousands of recipes available on the internet now! :-)  I hope to post some of my recipes for salad dressing here this summer since summer is a the time of year for fresh fruits and veggies.  Enjoy!
Creamy Citrus Dressing
1/2 C. sour cream
1 C. mayonnaise
Buttermilk or yogurt if needed to thin
2 Tbl. toasted sesame seeds
Sugar or natural sweetener to taste
1-2 Tbl. lemon or lime juice (fresh is best)
2 Tbl. orange juice
1/2 tsp. ginger paste

Mix all ingredients till smooth.
This dressing is especially good on lettuce salads with fruit in them – think strawberries, blueberries, cantaloupe, etc.  It might also be good on a fresh fruit salad.
You can sprinkle the sesame seeds on top if you prefer.  It is prettier this way. :-)

Friday, June 3, 2011

Caramelized Pecans

I found this recipe on the internet and then made my own adjustments to it.  It was a hit with my family!
1 Tbl. butter
1 heaping Tbl. brown sugar
1 tsp. white sugar
3/4 C. pecans
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
A pinch of salt
Pre-measure all ingredients.  You will need to add the sugars, nuts, etc. quickly before the butter browns.
Melt butter in a skillet over medium heat.  Add sugar, cinnamon and nuts and increase heat to medium-high.  Stir constantly until sugar loses its grainy appearance – about 5 minutes.  Pour nuts onto sheet of aluminum foil and let cool about 15 minutes.  Store in an airtight container.
These nuts are very good added to a salad of lettuce and fresh strawberries with a sweet-sour dressing!