A Jumble of Salads Because it's a Stravaganza!!
I have no time, but wanted to post quickly on a couple things that I've been meaning to share.
Salads! I know I've been posting everything but salads lately, but that doesn't mean I haven't been eating them left and right! Okay well at least 2 times a week for dinner and 5 days a week for lunch. Although I have not tried any of the AMAZING submissions we've received for the Salad Stravaganza yet, I have finally got out to buy the ingredients and will be experimenting starting today. Yay!
This first salad I want to share is the best grilled chicken salad you will ever eat! As long as you over-look my horribly lit pictures and try it. ;) It's a simple salad.. your basic greens.. and yes, I'm an iceberg lover.. even though there are definitely many more lettuces out there that have more flavor, I usually buy iceberg. Do you see now how badly I need salad help?? hehe But the crunchiness of the iceberg lettuce works nicely with this recipe.
So all you do is, marinate your chicken breast - I do this simply with Wishbone Robusto Italian salad dressing. I swear by this stuff. Although I can't stand it as a salad dressing, for marinating chicken it's wonderful. I marinate for at least 30 minutes if I'm in a rush, but usually at least 8 hours. I either grill the chicken or pan sear it until it's nicely browned, being careful not to over-cook it. Cut it into bite sized chunks and throw into a salad made of iceberg lettuce, sliced cukes, grape tomatoes, diced bell peppers, black olives, and small diced pancetta - cooked until crispy. I prefer pancetta in this salad as it's not as potent as your basic bacon. DO NOT GET ME WRONG. There is nothing better than bacon!!!! But, for me, in this salad, I prefer the dressing and the chicken to be the main flavors with the pancetta adding a nice crunch and background hit of heavenly porkiness. heee!
'kay so you've got all your components in a big giant bowl.. I am now sharing with you my most favorite and pretty much only dressing I eat.. where there is nothing spectacular about the ingredients, I firmly believe it's all in the shake and the salt. I sprinkle garlic salt on the salad.. just when you think you've got enough, go ahead and give it one more little sprinkle (nope the salad doesn't turn out salty). And then in some kind of vessel, I use the cruet that you can buy with Kraft's Good Seasons packet dressing (I sometimes use the packets in a shrimp marinade, I'll have to blog about that one day, eh?). I fill the cruet up past the line for the vinegar (about an 1/8 of inch over) with balsamic vinegar. Then I fill the rest of the bottle with canola oil. I'm not a huge fan of olive oil and balsamic as a salad dressing. I prefer the lighter canola oil on my salads, and the olive oil in my cooking. Anyhoo.. once it's filled, I pop the cap on and I shake the mo'fo until I've got an emulsion - and then I shake some more. I have no idea if I'm adding anything to the emulsion by shaking it longer than necessary.. I just like prancing around my kitchen while shaking it. :P Once you're emulsified, pour a generous amount over your salad.
Wait there's more shaking involved!!!
I put a tight fitting lid on my bowl of chicken salad (or plastic wrap secured with a rubber band) and I shake, shake, shake.. shake, shake, shake, shake my salad.. shake my salad.. I know!!! Am I a freak of nature when it comes to my salad dressing, or what??? But I'm telling you - it comes out perfect each and every time.. SO GOOD!! Ohhh and if you use this method for just veggies without lettuce and let it sit for an hour or two, or even over night - heavenly when you finally dive in. I do this with bell peppers a lot - slice 'em up, shake 'em up with the dressing and just let them sit, with maybe an extra shake every once in a while for good measure - then we snack on them later. SO GOOD. SO FAKKIN GOOD.
But Wait! There's more!!!
As an added bonus, if you really get into your shaking abilities, you'll burn off the pancetta before you even eat it! How's that for a bonus?? :D
The second salad, is basically the same dressing - although the components are different. This one is made with our first harvest of the leaf lettuce we are growing in our garden - squeeeeeeeeee! We may not have 'maters yet (Sher :P ) but we've got lots of lettuce and it's fab. I just threw on some cukes and grape tomatoes, gave it a shake with my balsamic and oil dressing and shaved some Parmigiano Reggiano over top.. heavenly.
Finally.. potato salad. My mom's potato salad, to be specific. Quickly (as if, like I could be quick and to the point in my posts.. har!) boil potatoes with their skins on and take them out the very second they are fork tender.. let cool. Peel and dice - throw into big bowl. Dice some white onion - as much as you prefer. Dice some bell peppers, black olives, green olives, celery, and boiled egg - all amounts are what you feel is right for you. Give it a quick mix in the bowl with the potatoes. Now find some vessel again - the cruet won't work here, you need something bigger. Add 3-4 TBS. of Hellmann's mayo or Kraft or whatever, but NO MIRACLE WHIP (or as I like to call it, Miracle Sh*t), add 2 good squirts of either Dijon or plain yellow mustard, add a good sprinkling of celery salt, spanish paprika, onion and garlic powders and black pepper. Now, drizzle in eh? 1/4 c. - 1/3 c. milk - be careful on the milk, you don't want your dressing to be too thin - and you can always add more if it's too thick. Now, put the lid on your vessel and.. you know what to do, ladies and gents.. SHAKE SHAKE SHAKE - SHAKE SHAKE SHAKE - SHAKE YOUR POTATO SALAD DRESSING - SHAKE YOUR POTATO SALAD DRESSING!! Please feel free to frolic in your kitchen while shaking. It adds to the flavor.
I just realized that's a crappy picture because you can't see all the good stuff in it.. but trust me there was good stuff in it. :D
Pour your freshly shaken dressing over your potato salad and give a good mix, but be gentle so you don't mash your potatoes.. cover tightly and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.. longer if you can - over night is best.. The ONLY potato salad I'll eat. =)
I'm also linking to past salads I've made as they all need re-introducing.. each one is sooooo fakkin' good.. Such as:
- My Summer Tortellini Salad - Mmmmmmm
- A savory Broccoli-slaw
- My Dad's favorite Fish Salad
- A low cal/low fat Mango Rice Salad with Grilled Shrimp
And finally - a quick fruit salad - which I haven't made in a while for some STOOPID reason, but will post pictures when I do.. take your favorite melons and cut into bite sized chunks, add your favorite type of grapes, maybe some mandarin oranges, strawberries and other types of berries are excellent as well. Give 'em a light toss.. now in some kind of vessel (methinks you know where I'm going with this) combine (whisking is allowed here, but you don't burn as many calories in whisking as you do in SHAKE SHAKE SHAKING your booties!!) 2 TBS. honey with 2 tsp. freshly grated ginger and 3/4 c. citrus juice - I've tried them all and they all work wonderfully, but orange is my favorite - Pour over your fruit, give quick, gentle mix and let macerate for a couple hours. You can do this in the fridge or on the counter top, depending on if you prefer your fruit salad to be cold or room temp (I usually go room temp) - mow down.. is fabulous. =)
And lastly, I attended what I guess is becoming my yearly Women In The Outdoors (since I'm all about the linkage today) event with my friends again last week. Although I was not as awestruck as I was that first time, I did have fun and I kicked 14 out of 20 clay pigeon's arses. WOOO!
Okay well I'm sorry I squished all these delectible salads into one very long and not so quick post - but, as I'm sure some of you can relate to, summer blogging isn't as easy as winter blogging... that sunshine, fresh air and my pooches are what I crave, so my PC is getting the cold shoulder more often than not. =(
Nigel is being sneaky here.. this is when he looks away from you but keeps walking very... slowly... towards you and then POUNCE! He'll try to tackle your knees. We call it stalking - it's hilarious. =)
How can you resist that face and that schnozz?? Chloe likes to play ball. And after a 20 minute game of catch the ball and bring it back, she likes to play ball again. Then after that she likes to play ball AGAIN. It's kind of never ending. :D