Archive for the 'Salad' Category



Barbecue Chicken and Grape Salad

I have two dilemmas on the grocery front this week.  One, I have so many beers in my refrigerator right now (party leftovers!) that I barely have room for anything else. Two, I have significant quantities of strawberries and grapes that I need to use.  I was able to respect the space issue and make use of some of the grapes with today’s recipe: Barbecue Chicken and Grape Salad from the June 2002 issue of Cooking Light.  Luckily, I had both green and red grapes left over from the party, and I had all of the other ingredients on hand except for the chicken breast (minimal fridge space needed) and the red onion (pantry storage).

Here’s the recipe:

Barbecue Chicken and Grape Salad
Serves 4 (approximately 1 1/4 cups per serving)

Ingredients:
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon ancho chili powder
3/4 teaspoon salt, divided
1 pound skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
1 teaspoon olive oil
3/4 cup seedless green grapes, halved
3/4 cup seedless red grapes, halved
2/3 cup coarsely chopped celery
1/2 cup thinly sliced red onion
1/4 cup low-fat mayonnaise
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon fresh orange juice
1/4 cup coarsely chopped walnuts, toasted

Method:
Preheat oven to 350°.

Combine onion powder, paprika, chili powder, and 1/2 teaspoon salt; sprinkle over chicken.

Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the chicken, and sauté 2 minutes on each side or until browned. Wrap handle of skillet in foil; bake at 350° for 10 minutes or until done. Remove from pan; refrigerate until chilled. Chop into bite-sized pieces.

Combine 1/4 teaspoon salt, green grapes, and next 6 ingredients (green grapes through orange juice) in a large bowl. Add chopped chicken, and toss to coat. Sprinkle salad with walnuts.

Source: Cooking Light, June 2002

Barbecue Chicken and Grape Salad

This salad is soooooo good.  So good!  It’s super fresh tasting (the grapes), kicky (the red onion, paprika, and chili powder), and bright (the orange juice and vinegar).  The crunch of the toasted walnuts and the celery is fantastic as well.  I was initially a bit nervous about my chicken because my spices ended up blackening on the stove instead of browning, but the end result was flavorful, juicy meat.

Not that I advocate trickery, but I think this is one of those salads you could get away with serving to people who claim to hate mayonnaise.  There’s such a small quantity of it and it’s so diluted by the orange juice and the vinegar that you can’t even tell it’s in there.  Evil, I know.  What isn’t so evil is the nutritional value of the salad: only 7 Weight Watchers PointsPlus points per serving!

Anyway, I acknowledge that I made this today because I already had most of the ingredients, but I would absolutely go out of my way to get the ingredients in order to make this again.  It’s definitely going into the book club/casual lunch/barbecue buffet recipe cache.

Recipe link: Barbecue Chicken and Grape Salad

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Southwestern Two-Bean Salad

As promised, here’s the recipe for Southwestern Two-Bean Salad that completes my grilling menu from the other weekend.  I chose this salad to go with the Cilantro Honey-Lime Grilled Chicken and the Hill Country Coleslaw because it’s hearty, generally crowd-pleasing, and it contained the one ingredient that tied all three dishes together: cilantro.  Its fresh summer flavor would make it right at home on just about any picnic or barbecue buffet, though; I’ve served it with pulled pork sandwiches and burgers as well.

Southwestern Two-Bean Salad
Serves 12

Dressing ingredients:
1/2 cup white vinegar
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon dried oregano leaves
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

Salad ingredients:
2 cans (15 ounces each) pinto beans, drained and rinsed
1 can (15 ounces) black beans, drained and rinsed
1 can (15 1/4 ounces) whole kernel corn, drained
1 large red bell pepper, chopped
1/2 cup finely chopped red onion
2 fresh jalapeno peppers, seeded and finely chopped (1/4 – 1/3 cup)
1/4 cup snipped fresh cilantro

Method:
For the dressing, whisk together vinegar, oil, sugar, cumin, oregano, salt and black pepper in a small bowl.  Set aside.

For the salad, drain and rinse beans.  Place beans in a large bowl.  Drain corn. Chop bell pepper and add corn and bell pepper to beans.

Chop onion and jalapeno peppers.  Snip cilantro using kitchen shears (or chop it). Add onion, jalapeno peppers, cilantro, and dressing to bean mixture.  Mix gently. Cover and refrigerate 2 – 3 hours to allow flavors to blend.

Source: Pampered Chef’s Casual Cooking

Southwestern Two-Bean Salad

I just love this salad.  It’s light and fresh, and I like the way the tender texture of the beans contrasts with the crunch of the peppers and the corn.  Plus, it’s inexpensive to make, it keeps wonderfully, and it adapts well for a variety of menus. Give it a try!

TIPS:  Since it’s summer and fresh corn is readily available, I substituted fresh corn for the canned.  I cut the kernels off of two cobs, placed the corn in a colander, poured boiling water over it, and drained it before adding it to the salad.

Also, since my mom recently fell victim to “jalapeno eyes,” a note about working with jalapenos: After handling jalapenos, always (!) make sure you wash your hands (or wear gloves).  If you have jalapeno oil on your hands and you touch your skin (or heaven forbid, your eyes), it will burn.  I accidentally touched the corner of my mouth recently with jalapeno hands, and while it wasn’t excruciating, I could definitely feel the heat.  If you’re generally cautious about spicy food, though, don’t let this scare you out of using jalapenos in the salad.  Removing the seeds and membranes tones them down considerably.  I’m a bit of a wimp when it comes to spicy food, and I could barely taste them.

Curried Chicken Salad

Dr. O and I finally had our first picnic of the summer last week.  He loves – and I mean loves – ’80s music, so I thought it would be fun for us to check out That Eighties Band (music will play when the window opens – beware! 🙂 ) when they played a free outdoor concert at the Streets of Southglenn.  An outdoor concert definitely equals a picnic event, so I set to planning the perfect menu.

I decided to plan the meal around a recipe I’ve wanted to try for a long time: Ina Garten’s Curried Chicken Salad.  For sides, I went with extremely easy, portable treats: grapes, pepper strips with hummus, and homemade chocolate chip cookies. It was picnic perfection.  I enjoyed the chicken salad so much that I made it again on Monday, but this time I took pictures.  Here’s Ina’s recipe if you’d like to give it a try:

Curried Chicken Salad
Serves 6

Ingredients:
3 whole (6 split) chicken breasts, bone-in, skin-on
Olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 cups good mayonnaise (recommended: Hellman’s)
1/3 cup dry white wine
1/4 cup chutney (recommended: Major Grey’s)
3 tablespoons curry powder
1 cup medium-diced celery (2 large stalks)
1/4 cup chopped scallions, white and green parts (2 scallions)
1/4 cup raisins
1 cup whole roasted, salted cashews

Method:
Preheat the oven to 350°F.

Place the chicken breasts on a sheet pan and rub the skin with olive oil.  Sprinkle liberally with salt and pepper.  Roast for 35 to 40 minutes, until the chicken is just cooked.  Set aside until cool enough to handle.  Remove the meat from the bones, discard the skin, and dice the chicken into large bite-size pieces.

For the dressing, combine the mayonnaise, wine, chutney, curry powder, and 1 1/2 teaspoons salt in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade.  Process until smooth.

Combine the chicken with enough dressing to moisten well.  Add the celery, scallions, and raisins, and mix well.  Refrigerate for a few hours to allow the flavors to blend.  Add the cashews and serve at room temperature.

Source: Ina Garten/FoodNetwork.com

Curried Chicken Salad

If you like curry, this chicken salad is simply the best.  It’s creamy (mayo), crunchy (celery and cashews), sweet (raisins), and spicy (curry and scallions).  I could happily eat it at least once a week for the rest of my life, and it’s my new go-to summer recipe.  Yum, yum, yum!

In the interest of full disclosure, I did modify the recipe a bit the second time around since it has three small issues: One, the full-fat mayo and the olive oil are heavy on calories; two, you end up with far more dressing than you need if you make the recipe as written; three, there’s absolutely no need to dirty the food processor in order to make the dressing.  Here’s my lightened, easier version, which is still incredibly delicious:

Lighter Curried Chicken Salad
Adapted from Ina Garten’s Curried Chicken Salad
Makes four 1-cup servings

Ingredients:
1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breast
Kosher salt
3/4 cup light mayonnaise (recommended: Hellman’s Light)
3 tablespoons dry white wine
2 tablespoons chutney (recommended: Major Grey’s)
1 1/2 tablespoons curry powder
1/2 cup medium-diced celery
2 tablespoons chopped scallions, white and green parts (1 large scallion)
2 tablespoons raisins
1/4 cup whole roasted, salted cashews

Method:
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.  Add the chicken breast and boil for 20 minutes. Remove the chicken from the pot and set aside until cool enough to handle.  Chop the chicken into bite-size pieces.

For the dressing, combine the mayonnaise, wine, chutney, curry powder, and 3/4 teaspoon salt in a medium bowl.  Whisk to combine.

Combine the chicken and the dressing.  (You’ll use most, if not all of it.)  Add the celery, scallions, and raisins, and mix well.  Refrigerate for a few hours to allow the flavors to blend.  Top each serving with 1 tablespoon of cashews and serve at room temperature.

Spinach and Berries Salad with Dill

I’m pretty particular about my grocery shopping.  I usually plan a menu for the week, write a store list (divided by areas of the grocery store since I’m a bit crazy like that), and stick to it.  It’s good for the budget, and it I rarely throw anything away since I only buy what I plan to use.  During my last trip to Costco, though, I noticed a killer deal on blueberries and just couldn’t pass ’em up.  So this time I had to work backwards and figure out what to make from what I’d bought.

I have Colorado Colore (a Junior League cookbook) on loan from my local library and the cover recipe is this gorgeous salad that incorporates – drumroll, please – blueberries!  I knew it would be perfect with the leftover burgers I had in my freezer, so I put it on the menu.  Here’s the recipe if you’d like to try it:

Spinach and Berries Salad with Dill
Serves 8 to 10

Red Wine Vinaigrette Ingredients:
1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/4 cup sugar
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon dry mustard
1/4 teaspoon onion powder

Salad Ingredients:
1 cup slivered almonds
1 pound baby spinach leaves
1 pound baby butterhead lettuce
1 bunch green onions, chopped
1/2 pint fresh strawberries, sliced
1/2 pint fresh raspberries
1/2 pint fresh blueberries
1/4 cup chopped fresh dill weed

Method:
For the vinaigrette, combine the olive oil, vinegar, sugar, garlic, salt, pepper, dry mustard and onion powder in a jar (or airtight container) with a tight-fitting lid. Shake to mix.  Chill until serving time.

For the salad, spread the almonds on a baking sheet.  Toast at 350°F for 5 to 7 minutes or until golden brown, stirring after 3 to 4 minutes.  Let stand until cool. Toss the almonds, spinach, lettuce, green onions, strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, and dill weed in a large salad bowl.  Add the vinaigrette just before serving and toss to coat.

Source: Colorado Colore

Spinach and Berries Salad with Dill

(Those of you who are really paying attention might notice that my salad is missing raspberries.  I accidentally used all of my stash on some trifles earlier in the day, but I’ll be sure to include them next time.)

This salad is incredibly delicious!  There are so many different flavors, but they really work together: sweetness from the berries, a hint of heat from the scallions, smokiness from the almonds, the herbaceous quality of the dill.  I really loved the texture of the toasted almonds and the berries with the lettuce, and the dressing was pure tangy, garlicky goodness.  Mmmmm.  Add the fact that it’s visually stunning, and we have a winner.  I’m not ready to rank it above my favorite summer salad of all time, but it’s definitely going into summer recipe rotation.

A word of warning: This recipe makes a HUGE salad.  (Gigantic!  Enormous!)  I made a quarter recipe, and I swear we had enough salad for four people.  Good thing it was fantastic!

Tabbouleh Salad

Whether I’m having company or not, there’s just something in me that wants to do as much meal work as possible ahead of time.  If the work is done and the mess is already cleaned up, there’s little to do besides eat and relax when dinnertime rolls around, right?  That’s one of the reason I love tabbouleh as a dinner side…  It actually tastes better the longer it sits in the refrigerator (to a certain extent, of course!).  Plus, the cooking part is almost non-existant.  If you can chop vegetables and boil water, you have all the skills you need to throw this one together.

The original recipe makes 8 cups (!), which is way too much tabbouleh for just Dr. O and me, so I cut the recipe in half.

To start, I combined 3/4 cup of uncooked bulgur and 3/4 cup of boiling water in a large bowl.  I covered it tightly with plastic wrap and let it stand for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, I diced 3/4 cup of English cucumber and 1/2 cup of tomato and chopped 1/2 cup of fresh parsley and 2 tablespoons of scallions.  In a small bowl, I combined 2 tablespoons of fresh lemon juice, 1/2 tablespoon of extra-virgin olive oil, 1/4 teaspoon of coarse salt, 1/4 teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper, and 4 minced garlic cloves (from the jar, yes, I’m lazy).

When the bulgur’s 30 minutes were up, I stirred in the vegetables and lemon-oil mixture, covered the salad, and stashed it in the refrigerator.  I chilled mine for about 8 hours before serving it; make sure you give it at least an hour in the refrigerator to allow the flavors to blend.

Tabbouleh Salad

I can’t say this is my absolute favorite tabbouleh salad recipe (that would be Ina Garten’s, at least at this point) but this recipe has two things on hers: lots of garlic (love it!) and a much lower calorie count.  This recipe is originally from the October 2005 issue of Cooking Light, so I’m sure it’s meant to be a lighter alternative to traditional tabbouleh.  It’s definitely fresh, which makes it perfect for spring and summer; I just love the cucumber and tomato.  The slightly chewy, nutty bulgur adds a hearty element too.  In terms of flavor, I would make two small changes: I would increase the lemon juice (probably by 1 tablespoon for the half recipe) and I would increase the salt (by just a pinch).  As always, taste and adjust your seasonings before serving!

TIPS: I used Bob’s Red Mill bulgur to make the salad.  I was initially concerned about only letting the bulgur stand for 30 minutes because the package said 60 minutes. However, the package didn’t say anything about covering the bulgur while it stood. I think the act of covering it trapped that heat and moisture and sped up the process.

Recipe link: Tabbouleh Salad

White Bean-and-Tomato Salad

This all started with the second batch of slow cooker pork I’ve made in one week’s time.

See, I’m trying to come up with some solid taco meat that I can make ahead in the slow cooker for my fiesta next month.  Last week, I made Everyday Food‘s Spicy Pulled Pork, which is good enough that I’ll probably write it up soon.  It was way too saucy to be taco meat, though.  Yesterday, I made a batch of carnitas in my slow cooker using a recipe from AllRecipes.com.  The meat was really tender and moist, but it didn’t taste like much (despite a spice rub and a chicken broth bath). Needless to say, Dr. O and I have been eating massive quantities of Mexican-style pork, and it’s getting a bit old.

So tonight I’m deviating from the menu plan – rebel, rebel! – and spicing up the leftovers.  With a little barbecue sauce and a skillet, the carnitas will become pulled pork sandwiches.  I wanted some kind of barbecue-style salad to go on the side to round things out, and I just happened to have everything for Everyday Food‘s White Bean-and-Tomato Salad.  I hate to do too much work on leftovers night, so thankfully, the salad only took 5 minutes to throw together.

In a large bowl, I combined 1 (19-ounce) can of cannellini beans (rinsed and drained), 1 pint of quartered cherry tomatoes, 4 scallions (thinly sliced), 2 tablespoons of olive oil, and 1 tablespoon of fresh lemon juice.  The recipe says to season with salt and pepper but doesn’t specify quantities; I used about 1/2 teaspoon of coarse salt and 1/4 teaspoon of freshly ground pepper.  I tossed everything together and stashed it in the refrigerator until dinnertime.  (The salad can be made up to 1 day ahead.)  That’s it!

White Bean-and-Tomato Salad

Despite the use of canned beans, this salad tastes really fresh.  The acid from the tomatoes and the lemon juice really brightens things up, and the scallions add a bit of zip.  I love the texture play between the beans and the fresh tomatoes as well. This salad would be right at home on any barbecue buffet or in any picnic basket; I anticipate using this recipe over and over again this summer.

TIPS:  This is definitely one of those recipes that will be horribly bland if you don’t season it correctly.  Start with my recommended seasonings (or a bit less); you can always add more.  Always, always, always taste food and adjust seasonings to your liking before serving!  🙂

Update 4/18/10: I’ve found that seasonings typically fade a bit when I refrigerate salads, and this one was no exception.  After tasting it, I stirred in another pinch of salt before it hit the dinner table.

Recipe link: White Bean-and-Tomato Salad

Italian Chopped Salad

I know this is totally abnormal and not a very “foodie” thing to admit, but I’ve had a love-hate relationship with salad my whole life.  I just wasn’t a kid who enjoyed vegetables (regardless of how drenched they were in cheese sauce or Dorothy Lynch dressing), and lettuce was at the bottom of my list.  I can’t put my finger on the source of the dislike, except that maybe I came to equate “salad” with “iceberg lettuce.”  Iceberg lettuce has its place, but I think it’s better as an edible garnish on a plate of Mexican food than it is as a base for a great salad.

As an adult who now loves vegetables, my relationship with salad has improved.  Where I get into trouble now is that I just can’t think of it as a meal.  I’ve tried to have a salad with protein and dressing on the side as a restaurant meal when the healthy menu options are lacking, but an hour later, my body is wondering when the real meal is coming.  It’s just never satisfying enough.

I made a salad last night, though, that was incredibly delicious and filling: Italian Chopped Salad from the Colorado Classique cookbook.  (Side note: I love this cookbook so much that I bought it for my mom for Christmas.  We’re going to cook through it together!)  The salad is a terrific combination of hearty, flavorful ingredients like roasted red peppers, olives, tomatoes, sliced meats, cheese, and pine nuts.  The base is romaine (great crunch!) and it’s topped with homemade balsamic dressing.  I made the salad to go with a batch of Ina Garten’s Italian Wedding Soup, but I was so satiated after the salad that I hardly had room for the next course.  Give this one a try as a lunch or dinner salad, or serve smaller portions as a salad course.

Since the recipe isn’t available online, I’ve written it up below.  First, though, I’ll give you a list of my deviations:

  • I toasted the pine nuts for 5 minutes on a baking sheet at 350F instead of toasting them on the stove.
  • I’m not a huge fan of Gorgonzola cheese, so I used Fontina instead.
  • I didn’t use my food processor to make the dressing.  I just combined all the ingredients in an airtight container with a tight-fitting lid and shook the heck out of them.  If you use this method, be sure to shake the dressing well right before serving the salad since the ingredients will separate as they sit.

Full disclosure: I took this photo of the salad before I dressed it.  Nothing ruins a food photo faster than brown liquid!

Italian Chopped Salad

Italian Chopped Salad
Serves 6
Prep: Less than 30 minutes | Cook: 15 minutes

Ingredients:
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1/2 heaping teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1/4 cup olive oil

1/4 cup pine nuts
1 – 2 red bell peppers
1 pound finely julienned romaine lettuce and field greens
1/2 cup crumbled Gorgonzola cheese
1 cup red grape tomatoes, halved
1/2 cup pitted Kalamata olives, halved
1 tablespoon capers, drained
10 thin slices Soppressata hard salami, sliced in strips
10 thin slices prosciutto ham, sliced in strips

Method:
In a blender or food processor, blend vinegar, mustard, salt, and pepper until smooth.  With the motor running, slowly add oil and blend until smooth.  Set dressing aside.

To prepare salad, toast pine nuts in a pan until lightly browned; cool.  Char bell peppers over an open flame or under a broiler until blackened on all sides.  Transfer peppers to large bowl, cover tightly with plastic wrap, and let stand 15 minutes.  Peel and seed peppers and cut into strips to yield 1/2 cup.

Just before serving, toss pine nuts and roasted peppers with lettuce, cheese, tomatoes, olives, capers, salami, and ham in a large bowl.  Add dressing and toss to coat.

Source: Colorado Classique

TIPS: Go to the deli counter and have them slice some prosciutto for this recipe.  (Make sure you get the prosciutto di Parma if they have it.  It’s pricey by the pound, but you don’t need much and it’s totally worth it.)  I was in a hurry at the grocery store and decided to try the packaged stuff  for the first time.  It’s gross!




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