Monday, July 4, 2011

Salad Options, more than just lettuce

You always need options for a holiday side dish that will draw some interest at the pic-nic! Salad is more than the traditional lettuce with ranch dressing or pasta with Italian dressing ... try something different today and get yourself noticed!

Cracker Salad
1 sleeve saltines, crushed (name them after who ever you are mad at when you crush them, makes you feel a little better when you are smashing them:), 3-4 chopped green onions, 2 chopped tomatoes, 1 c mayonnaise, 1 hard boiled egg, a couple of grinds of fresh peppercorns. Mix onions, tomatoes mayonnaise, egg and pepper. Toss in the crushed crackers and serve immediately. I made this for a pic-nic years ago and one guest still asks for this each time she comes over!

Greek Pasta Salad
3 c cooked shell pasta (I like the medium size shells), 1 pint of cherry tomatoes sliced in halves, 1 cucumber diced, 1 sweet pepper diced (I like yellow for extra color in your salad), 1/2 small red onion diced, 1/4 cup pitted olives sliced, 1 can of cannelloni beans (rinse and drain), 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese. Mix all together then make the dressing: 3Tbl extra virgin olive oil, 3Tbl red wine vinegar, 3Tbl lemon juice, 1tsp honey, 1tsp minced garlic, 1/2 tsp Dijon mustard, salt and pepper with a pinch of oregano. Whisk dressing together ten toss with pasta and veggies and serve.

Taco Salad
Kid's favorite! 1/2 bag of nacho flavored Doritos (crushed), 1 head of lettuce chopped, 1 pint cherry tomatoes halved, 1 bell pepper chopped, 1 bundle of green onions chopped, 2 c shredded cheddar cheese, 1 can kidney beans (rinsed and drained), *1 lb of ground beef (browned, drained and cooled). In a very large Tupperware box with a good fitting lid, toss all your ingredients together. I put the lid on and just tumble it about! Dress with 1/2 bottle of Catalina dressing. Let sit in the refrigerator for a couple of hours and this makes nice summer lunch. Serve with flour tortillas cut into wedges. You can lighten this recipe with baked chips, low fat cheese and the meat is optional.

Ramen Salad
1 bag of broccoli slaw mix, 2 packages of beef flavor ramen noodles, 2 small packages of sunflower seeds (about 1/4 c), 1/4 c sliced almonds. Crush noodles and mix with slaw mix, seeds and nuts. Dressing: 1c light olive oil, 1/3 c apple cider vinegar, 1/2c sugar, the two beef seasoning packets from the ramen, whisk all together and pour over slaw mix. Let salad chill in refrigerator for a hour then serve. Great for pic-nics as there is no mayonnaise in this recipe! The crunch of the noodles make this just fantastic!

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