{Good Eats} Salad Dressing 101

I’m addicted to making salads ever since returning from my Dole Adventure! I’m still on such a high from all that we learned about Dole as a company, their farmers and their produce.  So much so that they thought they should film my craziness…. (DONT LAUGH, that means you too, Honey!)

Continue reading “{Good Eats} Salad Dressing 101”

favorite salad ~ crunchy romaine toss

I love this salad.

For those that know me in person, you know this is HUGE to say.  I’m just not a big salad eater.  I really wish I was, but it’s just not my thing…{bizarre too since I have one sister who is a vegetarian and the other who CRAVES veggie sandwiches like I do pizza…}

But me?

Yeah, I’m all about meat, cheese, potatoes…..yep, that stuff.

Kinda wish I craved  salad every now and then.

So when I find a salad recipe that makes my skirt twirl, it’s bound to be good.  It just needs good “stuff”.  A good dressing, and/or good things in it.  Otherwise it’s just all a bowl of paper to me.


This salad will make you twirl ’til you’re dizzy.  It’s super simple, very few ingredients, and a great mix of salt and sweet.  The dressing is so dang good I just keep it in a mason jar to enjoy all week.  It’s not the healthiest dressing, but a little goes a long way, so enjoy the treat.

On Tuesday this week I did my once every 3 months venture over to the AWESOME Whole Foods Market by our house.  Grabbed a couple DELICIOUS smoked chicken quarters (let me say that again ~ DELICIOUS), and whipped up this salad for dinner….

Throw some walnuts, crushed ramon noodles, and butter in a pan (did I say butter? Yep, there is BUTTER) in this…

While that’s getting all tasty on the stove top, I mix up the dressing….

Go back and check those super tasty buttery morsels.  They are probably done about now, so turn them off to cool.

Give some attention to the chicken you picked up at the market this AM.  I used smoked chicken breasts because it just sounded good.  Obviously this salad can go with anything.

Dump the now cooled buttery goodness into a bowl with lettuce (yes I use the packaged spring mixes, variety helps me…), chopped broccoli, and green onions.

Save the crunchies you don’t use in a container in the fridge for the next day.

Pour on a little dressing and toss it up (remember, a little dressing goes a long way…)

Yum, yum, yum!

Hubs asked for his chicken cold on the side

I shredded mine and tossed it in (the kids ate chicken taken from both of our pieces with some fruit & mac and cheese ravioli)


It’s good.

We had the leftovers the next night.  Hubs grilled a flank steak, and then I mixed together the same spring mix, the crunchy buttery bits, cucumber, feta, leftover whole wheat pasta, and the dressing. Honestly, you could add anything with this dressing and those crunchies, the world just ends up perfect when you do.

Yum all over again!

Click this for the recipe and make this soon.  Take it to a potluck. Your friends will love ya (and your skirts will twirl!)

(Haaaa, just noticed the name says “romaine toss”, I normally use spring mixes…. just sayin’).

goat cheese & strawberry salad

Yep, it’s going to be a 3 post Friday.  I don’t think I’ve ever posted 3 things in 1 day, BUT, if you had eaten what I’ve eaten today…

Which means A LOT.

Like WAY TOO much.

As in COULDN’T STOP MYSELF because it was all so good….

You might post 3 times too!

(I also know that when I fly home tomorrow, Hubs is going on a little guys trip, leaving me with a “girls weekend” except I will be the only one over the age of TWO.  I’m guessing this wont leave much time for posts.  Today may need to hold ya over until Tuesday morning!)


Back to YUMMY-VILLE! (before I return to Loonyville…)

Fabulous summer salad option.  Looks pretty, tastes refreshing, lots of bang in presentation and flavor.  Most certainly worthy for a summer BBQ.  (You know, for me to promote a salad, when I rarely eat them, means it HAS to be good! Seriously? LOOK AT IT!)

Goat Cheese and Strawberry Salad


4 ounces goat cheese, crumbled
8 ounces strawberries, quartered
4 ounces cashews
1 pound baby romaine or buttered lettuce, washed and chopped
¼ cup Yuzu dressing (lemon or lime work, too)
1 tablespoon honey, or agave
1 teaspoon Dijon
½ cup olive oil
Salt and pepper


1.      Mix Yuzu with honey and Dijon, whisk in olive oil gradually until all gone.
2.      Assemble lettuce on platter, dress with strawberries, cashews, pour dressing over salad finish with cheese. Add salt and pepper.

Thanks again Thermador and Chef Kyle!

Want more tasty recipes??  How about Tomato Jam? Or Buttermilk Syrup??  You really have no idea until you try them!!

Flat Belly Diet ~ Penne Pasta Salad

From the Flat Belly Diet Family Cookbook

4 Servings (2 Cups Each) / 424 Calories / MUFA: Pesto Sauce


6 ounces multigrain penne pasta
2 cups broccoli florets
12 ounces precooked skinless, boneless chicken breast cut into 1/2″ pieces
1 cup grape tomatoes, halved
1/2 cup pesto sauce
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper


  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil.  Add the pasta and cook according to package directions.  Add the broccoli to the pot for the last 2 minutes of cooking.  Drain the pasta and the broccoli, rinse under cold water and drain again.  Transfer to a large bowl.
  2. Add the chicken, tomatoes, pesto, oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper and toss well.

Romaine with Oranges & Pecans

This just looked like a nice refreshing, complimenting salad. And since I’m not a huge salad lover, I like to find salads that either of an especially good dressing, or else lots of interesting ingredients.  This recipe comes from The Best of Bridge Series that I love.  The book in particular is, “The Best of The Best and More“.  We’re trying it this week, I’ll let you know what I think!

Romaine with Oranges & Pecans:
Serves 6-8


2 heads of Romaine Lettuce torn into bite size peices (I’m using Speing Mix)
1 cup Pecans, toasted (I’m sure it would be yummy with Sesame Honey Cashews from Trader Joe’s too….)
2 oranges, peeled and sliced


1/4 cup vinegar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup sugar
1 t salt
1/2 small red onion, chopped
1 t dry mustard
2 T water

Place lettuce, pecans and oranges in a salad bowl.  Combine dressing ingredients in blender.  Blend until well mixed.  Make ahead and refrigerate until ready to toss salad. Use extra dressing as a dip for fresh fruit.

chile~lime crab salad with tomato and avocado

Chile-Lime Crab Salad with Tomato and Avocado
Sue Zemanick / Food and Wine

This dip is AMAZING!!!!  I have never made it myself, but have been the happy to eat guest MANY times!  My Genius-Sister-in-Law has a knack for finding great recipes in magazines and this one is beyond a winner.  It is honestly the MOST gobbled up appetizer at every event she makes it for.  I dont even like seafood that much and I cold eat this by the truck load!  You can make it as one large dip, but she also makes it and serves in smaller plastic shot glasses with pita chips and a small fork.  Super cute, colorful and tasty!

(Image: Anna Williams / Food & Wine)

“The mix of fresh crab, avocado and juicy heirloom tomatoes here is a classic combination. But Sue Zemanick makes it seem new by tossing the salad with a vibrant, spicy dressing spiked with jalapeño.”



5 tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 1/2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 tablespoon very finely chopped jalapeño
1 tablespoon chopped cilantro, plus cilantro leaves for garnish
1/2 tablespoon honey
1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 pound lump crabmeat, picked over
1 1/2 Hass avocados, diced ( 1/2 inch)
1/3 cup minced red onion
1 large heirloom tomato, cut into four 1/2-inch-thick slices
Tortilla chips, for serving


  1. In a small bowl, combine the lime juice with the olive oil, vegetable oil,  jalapeño, chopped cilantro, honey and garlic. Season the dressing with salt  and pepper.
  2. In a small bowl, toss the crab with 3 tablespoons of the dressing and  season with salt and pepper. In a medium bowl, gently toss the avocado with  the red onion and 2 tablespoons of the dressing; season with salt and pepper.
  3. Place a tomato slice on each plate and season with salt. Top with the  avocado and the crab and garnish with the cilantro. Drizzle the remaining  dressing on top and serve with tortilla chips.

This is how Genius-Sister-in-Law likes to serve on a tray with ice!  So cute!

warm new potato and spring mix salad

I found this recipe back in college.  Super simple.  The recipe actually calls for watercress, but I prefer more of a salad and have always used a spring mix or arugula.  Great to serve along side meat dishes as it gives you a carb and salad all in one!  And I like to serve it year round.

warm potato and spring mix salad
from “What to Have for Dinner


12 small red potatoes, scrubbed
3 Tbls olive oil
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground pepper
2 tsp fresh lemon juice
1 tsp sherry vinegar
1 bunch watercress, tough stems removed (I substitute spring mix, arugula, Boston bibb – anything green and leafy works!)


  1. Heat oven to 375 degrees.  Arrange potatoes in a roating pan and add 1 Tbls olive oil, 1/2 tsp salt, and 1/4 tsp pepper.  Roll potatoes to coat.
  2. Roast until potatoes are tender, about 40 minutes.  Remove from oven and let stand until cool enough to handle.
  3. Meanwhile, whisk together lemon juice, vinegar, remaining 2 Tbls olive oil, and remaining 1/2 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp pepper in a medium bowl; set aside.
  4. Break each warm potato in half and place in a serving bowl.  Add the vinaigrette and toss to coat. Add watercress (or whatever you’ve chosen), lemon zest, toss and serve immediately.

BBQ chicken salad

There is no secret to this BBQ chicken salad…I just throw it together. And for some reason we all like it!


Romain lettuce OR Spring Mix
2 skinless, boneless chicken breasts
medium onion, cut into quarters and separated
BBQ sauce
corn kernals
avocado, diced
tomato, diced
smoked gouda, small cubes OR blue cheese crumbles
bacon bits
red onion, diced (optional)
dressing of preference – Hubby likes ranch (if we are being “good” then Girrard’s light Champage Dressing)


1.  Place chicken breasts in baking dish, an scatter onion.  Dizzle all with olive oil.  Cover chicken with BBQ sauce.  Bake for 35-40 minutes at 375 degrees.

2. Meanwhile add remaining ingredients, except dressing, to salad bowl.

3. When chicken is done, cut up and toss in with the salad.  Add the dressing and serve.

taco salad

Everyone has a different way to make taco salad.  I’ve had it more ways than I can count and I personally love them all!  This is how we have adapted it in our house and it is always devoured – even by Addie (except the lettuce)!  My husband grew up on this, expect that he says they had “special taco meat” which I later found out was pot roast!  Anything will work :-)

Serves 4


1 lb ground meat (we use ground turkey from Costco)
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese (I use the pre-shredded Mex mix from Costco)
1 snack bag of Fritos (I buy these in snack packs b/c a large bag goes stale before we need it again and a snack bag is just right!)
2 x Avocado, diced
Iceberg or Romain lettuce (I prefer Romain, Hubby likes Iceberg) cut into strips
Taco Seasoning (you can buy a packet at the store, I have a large bottle from Costco as we use it a lot and like to add a little extra for extra kick)


  1. Brown the meat and follow the directions on the taco seasoning packet.
  2. While meat is simmering, add lettuce, avocado, cheese and Fritos to a salad bowl.
  3. Add meat and salsa (to your liking), toss and serve.

You can also make a couple of cheese quesadillas and divide the triangle wedges between everyone to serve along side.

Family Favorite!

The Peach Tree – David’s Favorite Chicken Soup

LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this chicken soup!  It is from the The Peach Tree Tea Room Cookbook from the Peach Tree in Fredericksburg, Texas.  Super yummy, kind of like white chicken gravy.  It freezes really well too.  My dear friends mom likes to add egg noodles to it as well, and I love the addition!  Though I find if you freeze the soup, it’s better to add the noodles after you defrost it or it gets a little thick.


1/3 cup butter
3/4 cup flour
6 1/2 cups chicken broth, divided
1 1/2 cups warm, evaporated milk
1 3/4 to 2 cups finely diced cooked chicken (I uses Costco Rotisserie Chicken, chopped in cuisinart)
1/4 teaspon white pepper
salt to taste
(I add cooked egg noodles)
optional garnish: chopped parsley & paprika


1. Melt butter; add flour and cook over low heat until well blended.

2. Slowly add 2 1/2 cups chicken  broth, constantly stirring with whisk until blended.

3. Cook slowly, stirring frequently, until thick.  Add remaining 4 cups of the chicken broth, the warm evaportated milk, chicken and white pepper.  Heat just to boiling.

4. Taste for salt.

5. Add egg noodles if using and garnish.

Serves 8 – 10