It’s July. It’s hot. It’s humid. Looking for a refreshing entree salad that is light, healthy and cools you down from the inside out? This is it. Fresh blueberries and oranges’ sweet flavors contrast tangy goat cheese, salty bacon and hearty walnuts.
And the dressing? Mmmm… fresh orange juice (not store-bought) blended with herbs and garlic, go with me here, adds the perfect amount of zesty, juicy, savory goodness drizzled over this beautiful meal rich in colors, tastes and textures.
I’m super excited about this salad and hope you enjoy it as much as we do! Stay cool out there!
Summer Citrus Salad
5oz Baby kale mix
1 bunch Green onions (a.k.a. scallions); chopped
4oz Fresh mushrooms; quartered
4oz Walnuts; chopped or halved
2 Avocados; diced
1c Bacon; cooked & crumbled
2 Fresh oranges; peeled & sliced or quartered
4oz Crumbled goat cheese
1c Fresh blueberries
Fresh Citrus Dressing
Fresh Citrus Dressing
1/3c Plain rice vinegar
1/3c Canola or vegetable oil
1/4c Granular sugar
1/2c Fresh-squeezed orange juice
2 cloves Garlic; minced
1t Herbs de Provence
Dressing – Add all dressing ingredients into a bottle or bowl with tight-fitting lid. Shake well to blend. Or, add ingredients to a food processor or blender and blend until thoroughly combined.
Salad – Layer salad in order of ingredient list beginning with kale and ending with blueberries on top. Drizzle dressing over salad upon serving.
This salad!!! Oh my! New family favorite. I love to cook using ingredients in their peak season and right now peaches are perfection. Mmmm! This salad is our only meal of the day…it’s that hearty and satisfying!
The base flavors of this salad are peaches, goat cheese, blueberries and basil. These flavors compliment each other with sweet, savory and tangy tastes.
Salad notes – I always try to add a hidden vegetable to bump the nutritional value and the hidden jem here are green beans. They don’t change the taste but add nutrition and pack a crunch.
Bacon and peaches play off of each other with salty & sweet flavors and give this extra layers of YUM!
Compote note – Leeks add a savory tang to the sweet peaches and sugar in the compote. Balance is key to a yummy dish.
Marinade note – I always use grapeseed oil when I can. It’s better for our hearts than other oils and can handle heat up to 500 degrees which makes it perfect for the grill to help keep proteins from sticking when flipping.
6 fresh peaches; peeled and sliced
1 leek; white part only finely sliced
4 -6 chicken breasts (# of pieces depends on # of servings)
4T balsamic vinegar
3T garlic powder (not garlic salt)
1T Herbs de Provence
4T grapeseed oil
Salt & pepper to taste (be a little generous with the salt)
1/2c balsamic vinegar
1/2c extra virgin olive oil
2 fresh peaches; peeled and Sliced
2T good white wine (preferably not “cooking wine”)
1T Herbs de Provence
10oz spring lettuce
5oz baby kale
1/2c fresh basil; finely chopped
2c fresh green beans; ends cut off and beans cut in thirds
1. Begin the peach compote. Place 6 sliced peaches and sugar in small saucepot and cooking on medium heat, stirring often so it doesn’t burn.
2. Once bubbling, turn down the heat to low and add sliced leeks. Simmer on low until sauce becomes translucent and compote is loose-jam consistency. It will take a good 20 minutes so start this step first.
3. While compote is reducing, prep chicken by rinsing the chicken then the trimming fat and cutting breasts in half lengthwise.
4. Add chicken halves to a gallon plastic bag and then add the marinade ingredients.
5. Massage the bag gently and thoroughly to coat the chicken pieces evenly. Set aside.
6. Now make the dressing by blending all dressing ingredients in a food processor or blender. Pour into a serving bottle and chill until ready to use.
7. Place cut green beans in a small pot with enough water to cover and boil for 5 minutes (set a timer!).
8. Immediately remove beans from heat and dunk them in an ice bath (a bowl with enough ice and cold water to cover the beans). This is called blanching. Boiling will slightly cook the beans, and the ice water bath shocks them so they stop cooking and keep their crunch and color. Keep them in the ice bath until ready to use.
9. Heat grill and place chicken halves on the grill. Cook thoroughly. (You can also bake the chicken in the oven or air bake for approx. 20 minutes @ 350 turning halfway through- in lieu of grilling.)
Time to assemble the salad…
10. Compote should be finished. Once it is thick, pour into a bowl and let cool on the counter while making the salad.
11. Keep checking on and turning the chicken, then remove from heat.
12. Assembling the salad – plate the ingredients per their list order beginning with lettuce and ending with avocado. (I always put the green items on the bottom so the colorful items pop on top.)
13. Drizzle dressing over top. (Leftover dressing makes a great marinade for chicken or pork – or more salads!)
14. Place two grilled chicken halves on top of each salad. Evenly spoon compote over all chicken pieces. Serve immediately.
I love the look of the classic wedge salad with tomatoes, bacon and blue cheese. Very swanky. Unfortunately, iceberg lettuce has practically zero nutrition. So I remade this salad into a much hearty, healthier version…and it’s addictive!
INGREDIENTS: Makes 6 entree-sized salads
1 pkg Center-cut bacon; cooked
1 Orange pepper; fresh (not frozen), sliced with seeds removed
1 Yellow pepper; fresh (not frozen), sliced with seeds removed
1/2 Red onion; peeled & sliced
4T Grapeseed (preferred), vegetable or Canola oil
1 + 1/2, 10oz boxes 50/50 lettuce & spinach
2 Crowns of fresh broccoli (crown = without the stalk, if there is stalk just cut it off); chopped
Cook bacon @ 325 degrees for about a half hour (flip bacon halfway through). Place cooked bacon on plate with paper towel so as to absorb extra grease. Set aside.
While bacon is cooking, saute orange & yellow peppers and red onion in 2T oil on med-high heat on stove until they just start to blacken. Set aside.
While bacon is still cooking, make the dressing – Combine dressing ingredients (except blue cheese) in a food processor or blender and blend thoroughly. Add blue cheese and mash together until well blended. Cover and refrigerate.
Prepare remaining vegetables according to their descriptions above (chop, slice, etc).
Using 6 large bowls, divide the lettuce into the bowls.
Divide the remaining vegetables equally and layer on the lettuce beds.
On med-high heat, cook the beef (salt and peppered) and 2T oil on stove until no longer raw or as you wish (it’s safest to cook meat completely through). It only takes a few minutes; do not overcook or the meat will be tough.
Optional – add a few splashes of red wine to the beef and cook for another minute or two.
If you can name the ingredients in a typical salad, then it’s time to change what’s in the bowl.
I was craving a new salad this week, and after concocting this one it is now one of my all-time favorites! It’s not a light, sweet summer salad. Although a chilled salad, the eclectic collection of tangy, tart and savory ingredients makes this winter salad perfect for cold weather or any time of year.
The smoky bacon pairs perfectly with sweet green peas. The crunch of walnuts plays off the soft quinoa. Tangy pickled onions and zesty blue cheese spice up the light tomatoes. The dressing has warm, layered flavors of balsamic vinegar, red wine and spicy brown mustard – and a little will go a long way. It adds just the right amount of zip without dominating the salad’s flavor. Add chicken for an entree salad, or omit it for a lighter side side.
If you’re looking for a salad to IMPRESS, this is it. Pull up a seat at the adult table and enjoy this awesome, healthy, hearty meal!
2, 5oz bags of mixed greens for 4 entree salads
3c of Brussel sprouts; raw chopped thin with stalk ends cut off
2 handfuls of petite peas; frozen
Quinoa; plain, cooked per bag directions with salt & pepper to taste; COOLED (about 1/2c cooked for each salad)
1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes; halved
Half-handful of green onions; chopped
2 handfuls of pickled onions – for recipe click HERE (I’ve tried several recipes and this one is by far my fav – and one batch will last a month!)
2 handfuls of walnuts (or pecans); chopped or pieces
2.5 oz blue cheese; crumbled
2 handfuls of bacon (I use the Kirklands precooked & crumbled and keep it in the freezer so I can use any amount and throw the bag back in the freezer for later.)
Chicken; Rotisserie cooked, pulled and chopped
1c Olive oil
5T Balsamic vinegar
4T Spicy brown mustard
3 Cloves fresh garlic; mined
1T Agave syrup
1T Red wine
1T Red wine vinegar
Pinch of salt
Salad: Divide ingredients into 4 bowls. Wrap each bowl with plastic wrap and store in fridge. Just before serving, take 1 bowl at a time and dump that bowl’s ingredients into a large mixing bowl and toss thoroughly. Add the tossed salads back into their respective serving bowls.
*The quinoa can be cooked the day or two before. Add the peas & bacon frozen, they will be thawed by the time you’re ready to serve the salad.
Dressing: Add all dressing ingredients to a food processor or blender and blend until thoroughly combined. Let dressing warm to at room temperature to avoid the olive oil from thickening once refrigerated. Blend dressing into the bowls when tossing. You will have dressing left over. Yay!!
I am SO excited to have our son home from college for Christmas break. With a full house, I wanted to have some homemade meals on hand, but didn’t want to spend a ton of time and energy in the kitchen with all of the other to-do’s on the list this time of year.
Inspired by a lack of time, I decided to make two very different dishes that have overlapping ingredients so I could reduce my work and shopping list.
These two recipes have similar ingredients, but different bases. With that, and switching out a few key ingredients, they have different tastes, textures, temperatures and mealtimes. So we’re getting a TwoFer… two recipes for one trip to the grocery store and one amount of time & effort. Yes!
TwoFer Crustless Quiche & Pasta Salad
1 1/2c milk
2c Taco Bell Ranch Monterey Jack shredded cheese
12oz sweet or white onion; chopped (I use frozen) OR fresh leeks; whites sliced thin; do not use the green stems (freeze them for soup stock)
3-4 slicing tomatoes; sliced thin (Roma, small beefsteak, etc)
16 oz Fusilli (corkscrew), penne OR farfalle (bowtie) pasta
1/2c pine nuts
1 bunch green onions; chopped
2 pints grape OR cherry tomatoes; whole
1T grapeseed or vegetable oil
1lb fresh mozzarella; cubed
5T lemon juice
5T white Balsamic vinegar
4T olive oil
2T sugar or agave
3 cloves garlic
2t dried or fresh basil
Salt & cracked pepper to taste
1 orange pepper; diced
2t grapeseed or vegetable
1 bag fresh baby spinach; chopped
1 1/2c bacon; cooked & crumbled (I buy mine from Costco)
16oz ham; sliced, butcher cut or “off the block” cut
Use two bowls, one for each recipe.
Preheat oven to 350.
Mix eggs, milk, cheese, 2t garlic, basil and salt & pepper.
Saute onion in 1t oil and slowly add to bowl to temper the egg mixture.
Saute orange pepper in 1t oil and add half of it to quiche.
Add half of the spinach, bacon and ham and blend well.
Pour into greased 10×10” casserole dish.
Slice tomatoes thin and place on top. Slightly press tomatoes into the quiche so the tomatoes stay soft.
Bake for 25-30 min until cooked through.
Cook pasta al dente (9-11min) in salted and oiled water (about 1T of vegetable oil).
While pasta is cooking, make the vinaigrette by combining all ingredients in a container with lid and shake well.
Drain pasta and pour into bowl and add vinaigrette while pasta is hot; mix well. Vinaigrette will absorb into the pasta as it cools.
Add 1t garlic, basil, salt & pepper. Mix well.
Add half of the orange pepper, spinach, bacon and ham.
Add pine nuts and green onions.
Saute grape tomatoes in oil until they blister and begin to pop. This greatly increases their flavor. Do not overcook. They should keep their shape as in the photo below.
Add tomatoes to pasta bowl and gently toss.
Add mozzarella and gently toss.
Cover and refrigerate until chilled.
Stir before serving.
** You can switch out ingredients based on preference, food allergies and what you have on hand.
Who doesn’t LOVE a BLT sandwich (or anything with bacon, frankly)? It’s one my all-time favorites. But, I’m trying to watch my bread intake so I can’t remember the last time I got to sink my teeth into one of these little beauties. 😦
Standing in the produce aisle the other day, I tried to think of a salad to go with the soup I was making for dinner. One of my family’s favorite salads is a Caesar salad, but that also means we have it fairly often. Spring-boarding from the Caesar, I took its elements and swapped them out for new ingredients and voila! The idea of a BLT in salad form was created right there between the bananas and broccoli.
It tastes exactly like a BLT sandwich! Seriously! Without the bread. 😉 It’s light and refreshing, and the sweet tomatoes compliment the salty bacon. The ranch dressing substitutes for the mayo perfectly. Just in time for spring and summer, this salad is a new favorite.
One of my teenagers said to me today that he literally dreamed about this salad after having it last night and that it was on his mind all day today at school. Who knew? Score!!!
It’s so easy it’s almost embarrassing. Here we go…
* 1 bag of Romaine lettuce (I mixed it with a bag of spring mix lettuce for a variety of color and texture)
* 1 pkg thick cut bacon
* 1 pint grape (or cherry) tomatoes; halved
* 1 bunch green onions; chopped
* 1 cucumber; diced
* 6oz of ranch salad dressing (we use Marzetti’s simply dressed ranch)
* croutons (optional)
Cook bacon in oven at 350 for about 30 minutes. Flip it over and cook another 10 or 15 depending on desired crispiness.
While bacon is cooking, toss remaining ingredients together in a large bowl (EXCEPT DRESSING!).
Once bacon is drained and cooled, chop it and add to bowl.
Right before serving, toss salad with dressing. Serve immediately.
Recently I visited Fresh Market, a high-end grocery store. They are known for their fresh products, including a delicious deli.
I purchased a small cup of their bacon & tomato pasta salad and liked it. However, I found it needed a few tweaks, so below is my version of their pasta salad.
The tweaks: Store-bought salads are mostly pasta (because it’s cheaper and goes farther). I prefer to increase the other ingredients to reduce bad carbs, increase good cards and increase protein. I also added a couple of ingredients that bring natural sweetness (peas) and a warm, nutty flavor (pine nuts) to this light dish. I also substituted white wine vinegar for balsamic vinegar because it gives just an extra spark of fruity bite that regular wine vinegar doesn’t offer.
We rarely use mayonnaise in our home and most times the jar expires before we can finish it. But, inching closer to summer, sometimes mayo adds a creamy texture to pasta salads that oils simply can’t do.
This dish is served up just in time for Easter brunch, a lazy Saturday (as in our family’s case today :)), lunchboxes for work or school, parties, or a savory snack. Enjoy!
Bacon & Tomato Pasta Salad
1# boxed pasta; cooked al dente, drained (any kind will work, we had rigatoni on hand)
2 pkgs thick-cut bacon; cooked & chopped
2c green onions; chopped (1 bunch)
1 1/2c celery (approx 4 stalks); chopped
2 pints grape tomatoes; cut in halves
1c pine nuts
2c frozen peas (use them straight out of the freezer)
1T + 1t white balsamic vinegar
3/4c – 1c mayo (for this recipe I used Duke’s regular mayo); measure to preference
Bake bacon in oven at 375 for about 30-45 minutes until done.
While bacon is baking, boil pasta (add salt to pot) for 12-14 minutes.
While both of those are rockin’ & rollin’ prepare remaining ingredients and put them in a large bowl.
Add cooked bacon.
While pasta is still slightly warm, mix into bowl.
Looking for a crowd-pleaser that won’t break your budget? This recipe isn’t rocket science, but it tastes out of this world (sorry, I couldn’t resist that one). Sometimes I want to bring a dish to an event that I absolutely know everyone will like, but after scouring cookbooks and the Internet it usually winds up costing a fortune! Not this time…
Who doesn’t like a baked potato with cheese, bacon and butter? Baked potato “bars” are good and all, but the foil-wrapped potatoes can get messy from trying to squeeze in the toppings. Plus, the toppings always look a little – well, tired. This way, you throw it all together, bake it and ta-da! You have a nice dish for your family or to take with you. Great for picnics, dinners, brunch or stay-home movie night. It is also good as a side dish when grilling – one less thing to tend to when family and friends are over.
It’s extra budget-friendly if you shop sales and get the cheese buy-one get-one free and bacon tends to regularly go on sale depending on the brand. The rest is nominal.
Loaded Baked Potato Casserole
8 Russet baking potatoes
1/2 stick salted butter
1/4c milk (we use 2%)
8oz sour cream (we use reduced fat)
1/2t black pepper (to taste)
1T salt (to taste)
1 pkg center-cut bacon
1 bunch green onions; diced
2c shredded cheddar cheese (Any favorite variety. I used Triple Cheese by Kraft (Vermont white cheddar, sharp cheddar & mild cheddar w/cream cheese added)
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place bacon on vented baking sheet and bake until done. Drain fat on paper towel.
Peel, halve and boil potatoes until a fork can easily go through them.
Drain and place potatoes in a mixing bowl.
Add butter, milk, sour cream, salt & pepper.
Mix with electric mixer on medium until creamy (no lumps).
Bacon should now be cooled. Using a large kitchen knife, dice bacon on cutting board into bits.
Blend in green onions and bacon with large spoon into the potato mixture.
Lightly grease a 9×13 baking dish.
Spoon potato mixer into the dish and spread evenly.
Top with cheeses and bake @ 350 about 15-20 minutes until cheese is melted and it is hot all the way through.
***This dish can be made a day ahead. Simply hold back the cheese, bake the potato mixture COVERED (to keep from drying out) until hot, then add the cheese and bake a few more minutes until it melts.
***For added flare as a dinner side dish, instead of using a baking dish, use individual crocks – fill, top with cheese & bake as directed.
This is what it looks like prior to adding the cheese.