Email Newsletter

Email Newsletter
Join our Illinois Valley Living email list.
Things

Spring into salads

For the hearty eater or the weight conscious, salads can be a meal or a side dish — both sure to please

A salad can be the perfect meal or accompaniment for those watching their calorie intake, or they can pack a punch with items like cream cheese, pasta, bacon and more — that might cause those calories to add up quickly. Either way, spring seems the perfect season to try out some new salads, and with Easter on the horizon, a salad will surely compliment your holiday meal.

Spring Pea Salad with Dill

2 1/2 cups peas (thawed if frozen or fresh)

2 tablespoons finely chopped onion

1 teaspoon mayonnaise

2 tablespoons dill weed (if using fresh — roughly chopped)

1/4 teaspoon lemon zest

2 to 3 tablespoons shaved Parmesan cheese

1/4 teaspoon olive oil

Salt to taste

Fry or bake bacon until it is crisp. Chop in small pieces and set aside. In lightly boiling water, blanch peas until tender. Drain thoroughly and place in a mixing bowl. Add onions, dill, lemon zest, cheese, bacon mayonnaise and oil. Mix well. Season with salt and pepper to taste. If peas are not very sweet, you can add a pinch or two of sugar. You can also add additional mayonnaise and oil, as you desire. Refrigerate covered.

Strawberry Chicken Salad

1 quart strawberries

1 head Romaine lettuce

1 rotisserie chicken from the deli

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 bag candied pecans

Sliced almonds

Raspberry or strawberry vinaigrette dressing

Clean, hull and slice strawberries. Set aside. Remove white breast meat only from the chicken. Remove skin and any bones. Cut meat in small slices or chunks and saute in olive oil until warmed and lightly browned.

Clean and chop lettuce and place in one large or individual serving bowls. Top with chicken, strawberries, candied pecans and almonds. Top with dressing just before serving.

Classic Panzanella Salad

2 1/2 pounds cherry or grape tomatoes, cut in half

2 teaspoons salt

1 pound of ciabatta or sourdough bread, cut into 1-1/2 inch cubes

I small package fresh mozzarella balls

10 tablespoons olive oil, divided

2 teaspoons minced garlic

1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard

2 tablespoons white or red wine vinegar

1/2 cup packed basil leaves, chopped

Pepper

Place tomatoes in a strainer and sprinkle with 2 teaspoons salt. Toss to coat. Drain for about 15 minutes, tossing occasionally. Put a bowl under the strainer to catch tomato juice.

Preheat oven to 350. In a large bowl, toss bread cubes with 2 tablespoons olive oil. Transfer to baking sheet and bake until they are crisp, but not too brown — about 15 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool.

Place tomatoes with the juice in a bowl. Add onion, garlic, mustard and vinegar. Whisking constantly drizzle in the remaining olive oil. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Add bread, mozzarella and basil to the bowl. Toss to coat. Season with more salt and pepper if necessary. Let stand about 30 minutes before serving, tossing occasionally until all the dressing is absorbed by the bread.

Simple Pasta Salad

3 cups cooked and drained rotini pasta

6 slices of smoked white turkey breast, chopped

2 cups broccoli florets

1 cup mozzarella cheese

1/2 cup sliced red onions

1/2 cup chopped red peppers

1/2 cup chopped or sliced black olives

1/2 teaspoon pepper

3/4 to 1 cup Italian dressing

Combine all ingredients except the dressing in a large bowl. Add dressing and mix lightly. Refrigerate several hours before serving.

Green Bean, New Potato and Ham Salad

3 pounds new potatoes, peeled, cooked and halved

1 pound fresh green beans, trimmed, halved and cooked

2 cups ham cubes

4 green onions, chopped

3/4 cup Miracle Whip or mayonnaise

1/3 cup Grey Poupon hearty Spicy Brown Mustard

2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

After potatoes and beans have cooled, place in a large bowl. Add ham and onions. Mix together remaining ingredients until well blended and pour over potatoes/beans/ham/onions. Toss lightly.

Easy Creamy Loaded Baked Potato Salad

2 pounds red potatoes, cooked, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes

1/3 cup mayonnaise

1/3 cup sour cream

2 teaspoons ranch dip, dressing and recipe mix

1/4 cup whole milk

1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

1 cup bacon bits

1 cup diced green onions

Once potatoes are cool and cut, whisk together mayonnaise, sour cream, dressing mix and milk. Add cheese, bacon bits, green onions. Stir. Add the potatoes to the dressing mix and stir gently.

Apple Pecan Arugula Salad

Salad

1/2 cup pecans

7 ounces arugula

2 small apples (I tart and 1 sweet), peeled, quartered, cored and thinly sliced lengthwise

1/4 red onion, thinly sliced

3 tablespoons dried cranberries.

Dressing

1 large lemon, juiced (about 3 tablespoons)

1 tablespoon maple syrup

3 tablespoons olive oil

Pinch of salt and pepper

Toast pecans in a 350 oven until deep golden brown. Set aside. Add all salad ingredients (except pecans) to a large bowl. Mix dressing ingredients in a jar and shake until combined. Add pecans to salad and top with dressing. Toss to combine and serve immediately. If you don’t plan on eating the entire salad, plate and dress salad on individual plates. Store unused salad and dressing separately in refrigerator.

Orange Gelatin Pretzel Salad

2 cups crushed pretzels

3 teaspoons, plus 3/4 cup sugar, divided

3/4 cup butter, melted

2 packages orange Jell-O (3 ounces each)

2 cups boiling water

1 11-ounce can mandarin oranges, drained

2 8-ounce cans crushed pineapple, drained

1 8-ounce package cream cheese, softened

2 cups whipped topping, plus additional for garnish

In a small bowl, combine pretzels and 3 teaspoons sugar. Stir in butter. Press into an ungreased 13-by-9-inch baking dish. Bake for 10 minutes at 350, Cool.

In a large bowl, dissolve Jell-O in boiling water. Add pineapple and oranges. Chill until partially set, about 30 minutes.

Beat cream cheese and remaining sugar. Fold in whipped topping. Spread mixture over crust. Spoon Jell-O mixture over cream cheese layer. Cover and refrigerate for 2 to 4 hours or until firm. Cut into squares and garnish with additional whipped topping.

Cherry Cola Salad

1 6-ounce package cherry Jell-O

1 1/2 cups boiling water

1 1/2 cups carbonated cola

1 21-ounce can cherry pie filling

Whipped topping

Dissolve Jell-O in water. Add cola and pie filling. Mix well. Pour into an 8-inch square baking dish. Refrigerate until firm. Garnish with whipped topping.

Loading more