French Lentil Salad with Feta, Cranberries, and Pecans

I have added this to my favorite lentil dishes. I recently bought French green lentils that had a recipe on the back of the package. I altered the list of ingredients to exchange pecans for the requested walnuts. We have access to wonderful local pecans, fresh at this time of year, so I enjoy using them in many dishes. We enjoy this with crackers or crusty bread for a light lunch.

French Lentil Salad with Cranberries, Feta, and Pecans

1 cup green lentils, picked through and rinsed well

2 cups water

1/4 cup red onion, diced

1/2 cup crumbled Feta cheese

1/2 cup dried cranberries

1/2 cup pecans, chopped or left in halves

For Dressing:

1 clove garlic, minced

2 teaspoons honey

2 teaspoons Dijo mustard

2 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar

1/3 cup olive oil

1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

Put lentils and water in a heavy saucepan, bring to boil then reduce heat to simmer until lentils are just tender, about 20 minutes.  Stir occasionally. Do not overcook. Drain and return to pot to cool. While lentils are cooling, whisk dressing ingredients together. Slowly drizzle over lentils, add salt and pepper, and toss with diced onion. Top with cranberries, feta, and pecans.  Serve as is in a small bowl, or on a plate of torn greens.

 

 

 

 

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Asparagus, Parmesan and Red Onion Salad with Red Wine Vinaigrette

With the approach of summertime, gatherings on the porch, and grilling, I like serving a variety of vegetable salads. This one is perfect with grilled meats and chicken. It keeps several days covered and refrigerated.  This is my version of a recipe Anne Burrell features on the Food Network.  It is good with fresh Lemon Vinaigrette as well.

Asparagus, Parmesan, and Red Onion Salad with Red Wine Vinaigrette

1 bunch pencil-size asparagus

1 small red onion,  diced

1 cup shaved parmesan flakes

1/2 cup red wine vinegar

Extra-virgin olive oil

Sea salt

Rinse and trim asparagus stalk ends by bending and snapping off where the stalk naturally wants to break. Cut asparagus stalks, including the tips into very thin slices, crosswise and place in a bowl. Add red onion and shaved Parmesan and toss to combine. Dress with vinegar, olive oil, and salt and toss again to coat vegetables with dressing.The vinegar will tenderize the asparagus. Cover and refrigerate for at least an hour before serving to allow vegetables to marinate.

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Kale with Cherries and Apple

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Even though our garden beds are newly planted, we have lovely winter greens that have begun to thrive in recent cooler weather.  Kale is a favorite, so we planted both red and green ruffled kale as well as Cavallo Negra, or Tuscan Kale.  For a side with baked chicken this week, I sauteed kale leaves, chopped apple, and dried tart cherries. Delicious! For this skillet, I only cut 3 large kale leaves!

Kale with Cherries and Apple

1 Tablespoon olive oil

Kale leaves, stems stripped, and chopped

1 Honey Crisp apple, coarsely chopped

1/2 cup dried tart cherries

salt and pepper

balsamic vinegar

Heat 1 Tablespoon olive oil in iron skillet.  Add kale tossed with apples, and cherries, and saute until kale is wilted.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper and a splash of balsamic vinegar.

 

Thai Chicken Salad with Lime and Ginger Vinaigrette

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In the heat and humidity of August days, salad suppers are a simple, nutritious and delicious welcome.  The added benefit is no cooking to heat up the kitchen if you use a rotisserie chicken to top this family favorite.  Every time I make this salad I wonder why I don’t do it more often. Most of the ingredients are ones we keep as pantry and frig staples.

There are dozens of similar recipes in cookbooks and online. Some are called Vietnamese, some are called Thai. Most list fish sauce as an ingredient and since we lived in Southeast Asia, I know this is a traditional seasoning.  But we prefer to omit it in most dishes.  The greens can be a combination of almost anything you wish. If you are cooking for several people, increase the amounts and it is beautiful served on a large platter with ingredients layered separately to toss before serving. When I make it for two, I create the salads right on the serving plates.

Thai Chicken Salad with Lime and Ginger Vinaigrette

2  cups shredded or chopped chicken (I use rotisserie chicken!)

4 cups coarsely chopped Romaine lettuce or Napa Cabbage

1 sweet red pepper, chopped

1 small red onion

1 small cucumber, sliced thin

3 carrots, grated

!/2 cup roasted peanuts (more if you like)

 

For Lime and Ginger Vinaigrette

Juice of 2 large limes

3 Tablespoons olive oil

1 clove garlic, minced

1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

2 Tablespoons finely chopped crystallized ginger (I use Penzey’s)

1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes

honey to taste

whisk together and drizzle over salad before serving

Layer greens, chopped vegetables, and chicken.  Sprinkle peanuts and dressing on top before serving.

 

 

 

 

 
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Hot Cranberry Apple Salad

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Our church Thanksgiving dinner is tonight. Turkeys and pans of dressing are volunteered for and prepared ahead of time, but those attending (it is one of our congregations favorite functions all year) bring salads, vegetables, and desserts.  I am bringing 2 salads.  One is Caprese in a bowl using the last of the season’s basil leaves along with c herry tomatoes and tiny mozarella balls. The other salad is a hot salad, one of our favorite dishes this time of year.  I first found a similar recipe in a church cookbook given to us by friends from that church many years ago.  It can be found with many variations online, but this is my old, tried and true way to make it.

Hot Cranberry Apple Salad

21/2 c.whole washed cranberries
3 c. chopped apples, no need to peel
1 c. sugar
1 c. quick oats
1/2 c. light brown sugar
1/2 c. chopped pecans
1/2 stick butter
In an 8X10 inch baking pan,.mix together apples, cranberries, and sugar mixture of oats, brown sugar, and nuts over top. Cut pats of butter to dot over all. Bake 1 hour at 325 degrees. Serve warm.

 

Chicken, Mandarin, and Pecan Salad with Creamy Lemon Dressing

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We make a rotisserie chicken stretch into several meals at our house, and I am always trying new ways to use the “rest of the story” when I remove all the chicken bits from the bone. If time permits,  I also cook the bones and strain the broth to use in other ways. But I always pull the meat away, shredding or chopping as I go. Most of the time I have 3 two cup portions to use or freeze. This salad was a perfect lunch, using 2 cups of leftover shredded rotisserie chicken.  This makes 2 generous servings for a lunch entrée.

Chicken, Mandarin, and Pecan Salad

2 cups chopped Romaine lettuce

2 cups shredded cooked chicken

1  hard-boiled egg, peeled and sliced

3 green onions, sliced

1/2 cup chopped pecans

8-10 canned  mandarin orange slices

 

Creamy Lemon Dressing:

1/3 cup mayonnaise

1 Tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

freshly ground black pepper

Combine all salad ingredients except oranges and toss. Drizzle with Creamy Lemon Dressing, then scatter mandarin slices on top.

Tomato, Cucumber, Onion and Mint Salad

IMG_3224We like to have delicious light lunches that are not sandwiches and don’t have to include meat, cheese, or bread.  Recently I saw a similar version of this salad  that Paula Deen recommended. It is a refreshing departure from one based on lettuce or other greens. It is too late in the season for our garden to provide the tomatoes and cucumbers, but we have more than enough mint and parsley!  This works well with a triangle of pita bread, or as a side if we use it for dinner with grilled meats or fish. Try this with chopped basil and some mozarella balls for an entirely different but tasty salad..

Tomato, Cucumber,, Onion, and Mint Salad

2 Roma tomatoes, chopped

2 cucumbers, peeled and chopped

1/2 red onion, sliced thin

1/4 cup (or more to taste) fresh mint leaves, chopped

1/4 cup white wine vinegar

1/4 cup olive oil

1 Tablespoon chopped Parsley

salt and pepper to taste

Combine tomato, cucumber, onion, and mint in salad bowl.  In liquid measuring cup, whisk together oil, vinegar, parsley, salt, and pepper.  Pour over vegetables and mint and toss. Refrigerate at least an hour before serving.

Pasta Caprese

IMG_2752A combination of two of our favorite summer salads, Pasta Caprese is perfect for Sunday lunch after church, for taking to a potluck, or as a side to serve with grilled meats or fish. We make a wide variety of pasta salads using ingredients that are in the pantry or frig. An all time favorite is Caprese made with fresh garden tomatoes, basil, and a slice of whole milk Mozarella. For this bowl of combined flavors, I use canned tomatoes and grated Mozarella, but you could also chop fresh tomatoes and/or use little Mozarella balls to make it even better. This recipe makes a large amount. Can be made ahead.

Caprese Pasta Salad

1 pound tube pasta such as penne or gemelli

1 28 ounce can or box of diced tomatoes, drained (reserve liquid for later use)

2 cups shredded mozarella

fresh basil leaves , shredded (I used a large bunch, but add this to taste)

sea salt and pepper,

1 cup balsamic vinaigrette

Cook pasta to package directions, al dente. Drain past, add to large bowl, and add drained tomatoes, shredded basil, grated cheese, salt and pepper to taste. Toss and add balsamic vinaigrette

Eetch

IMG_2552Eetch (pronounced Yeetch) is a traditional Armenian side dish made from Bulgar wheat. It is similar to tabbouleh but much thicker and grainier, and not as tart. Its color is derived from tomato paste and tomato sauce. It is a great way to use summer vegetables, another take on salads, and you can add as much spice as you wish.  I think the next batch I make I will omit cayenne pepper, but add some chopped jalapeno!  OK, I know that is not traditional, but we could call that Texas Eetch!

Eetch – Armenian Bulgur Salad

1 medium onion, chopped

1 green pepper, chopped

1/2 cup olive oil

1 Tablespoon tomato paste ( I buy tubes of tomato paste rather than cans, so easy to use small amounts)

1 8 oz. can tomato sauce

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

1 cup water (just measure by rinsing the tomato sauce can)

1 1/2 cups Bulgar

chopped parsley

juice of 1 lemon or more to taste, optional

a pinch of cayenne pepper ( to taste, and optional)

Heat olive oil in large sauce pan. Add onion, green pepper, 1 T tomato paste and salt, Cook over medium heat about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Add tomato sauce, water, and when back to boiling, stir in bulgur, mixing well.  Cover, remove from heat and   let stand.  Fluff and stir in parsley plus lemon juice and cayenne if using.  Serve warm, at room temperature, or cold.   This is beautiful served on a Romaine lettuce leaf with a sprinkle of chopped fresh tonatoes and green onions, but also works well as a side dish or  a stuffing for peppers.

Mary Ann’s Tuna Salad

IMG_2517 Sometimes I forget that something I have made and eaten for as long as I can remember is considered a “family favorite” recipe. I think that is why no one ever wrote down Grandma Terrell’s tea cake or cornbread recipe, or Daddy’s recipe for homemade rolls.They were made so often that they were learned by heart and hands but now, generations later, the recipes would be treasured, knowing that we were doing it just like they did..

Tuna salad is like that for me. When I was a little girl, I loved our famiy’s tuna sandwiches. They were a staple when teenage friends gathered at our house.  I still make it just like Mother did with 2 slight alterations:  I use white albacore tuna packed in water, not the Chicken of the Sea packed in oil that Mother always used, and I use a lighter version of mayonnaise. Neither of these products was available all those years ago!  I have eaten many variations of tuna salad in different places. I know I can add onions if I want, or chopped pecans. Or celery and fresh dill. I know it does not have to have boiled eggs and apples. But as a family favorite, here is the way I make it.

Mary Ann’s Tuna Salad

2/ 7 oz. can’s white albacore tuna packed in water.  (Costco’s version is very good.)

2 boiled eggs, peeled and chopped

1 large apple, peeled and chopped

1/3 cup dill relish, or 1/3 cup whole pickles, chopped fine

1/2 cup Mayonnaise  (I prefer Hellman’s Mayo with Olive oil)

Drain tuna and add to bowl along with eggs, apple, relish and mayonnaise.

Season with salt and pepper if desired.  Mix and spread on bread slices or served on a lettuce cup.

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