Archive | Salads/Salad Dressings

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Easy French Salad Dressing

Easy French Dressing ~ It's made from a few common kitchen ingredients and is 100 times better than bottled.

Although I don’t always like a sweet dressing on my salad, every once in a while I want a one that’s different from the usual salad dressings I use like this super delicious Homemade Ranch Dressing.  It might sound kind of weird, but I sometimes like French Salad Dressing on taco salad.  If you like French Dressing, give this recipe a try.  It’s so much better that bottled store-bought.

Easy French Dressing

Yield: about 1-3/4 cups

Easy French Dressing

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon dried minced onion
  • 1 teaspoon paprika, sweet or smoked

Directions

  1. Combine all of the ingredients in a container with a tight-fitting lid.
  2. Shake well until completely mixed up.
  3. Chill at least 1 hour before serving.
  4. Store, tightly covered, in the refrigerator for up to 2 months.
http://www.abrightandbeautifullife.com/easy-french-salad-dressing/

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BBQ Ranch Chicken Chop Salad

BBQ Ranch Chicken Chop Salad

This super flavorful, nutritious BBQ Ranch Chicken Chop Salad is my new favorite.  It’s chock-full of ingredients I love and it’s refreshingly delicious for the hot summer days ahead.  Put all of the prepared toppings out and family members can create their own salad they way they like.  Win, Win!

I’ve included my Ranch dressing recipe, which I originally posted {here} and my favorite BBQ sauce recipe. Feel free to use bottled dressing and sauce, but homemade is about a million times tastier.  You’ll need to plan ahead, though, because the BBQ sauce takes a little over an hour to prepare ~ the ingredients need time to simmer so the flavors develop and the Ranch dressing is best made about half an hour before it’s used so the flavors have time to blend.

 

BBQ Ranch Chicken Chop Salad

Yield: 4-6 servings

BBQ Ranch Chicken Chop Salad

Ingredients

    Salad
  • 4-5 chicken breasts
  • Kosher salt and pepper, to taste
  • 12 cups Romaine lettuce, chopped
  • 2-3 tomatoes, diced
  • 1-1/2 cups frozen corn, thawed
  • 1-1/2 cups canned black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1/2 cup red onion, diced
  • 1/2 cup Monterey Jack cheese, shredded
  • 1 cup Cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 1/2 cup Ranch dressing {recipe follows}
  • 1/2 cup BBQ sauce {recipe follows}, or your favorite
  • 1/2 cup crumbled tortilla chips
  • Ranch Dressing
  • 2/3 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 2 tablespoons white vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon dried parsley
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon canola oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried dill
  • The Best BBQ Sauce
  • 2 cups ketchup
  • 2 cups tomato sauce
  • 1-1/4 cups brown sugar
  • 1-1/4 cups red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 cup molasses
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 4 teaspoons hickory flavored liquid smoke
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon celery seed
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon coarsely ground pepper

Directions

    Ranch Dressing
  1. In a bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise and sour cream.
  2. Add the milk and whisk.
  3. Add the remaining ingredients and whisk well.
  4. Pour into a pint-size jar and cover with a tight fitting lid.
  5. Refrigerate at least 30 minutes for the flavors to blend.
  6. BBQ Sauce
  7. In a large saucepan over medium heat, mix together all of the wet ingredients.
  8. Add in the seasonings.
  9. Bring to a boil then reduce the heat to low and simmer for 1 hour {at least 20 minutes}, stirring occasionally. The sauce will thicken as it simmers, then even more as it cools.
  10. For the Salad
  11. Season the chicken breasts with salt and pepper then either grill the chicken or cook in a medium skillet in 2-3 tablespoons oil over medium-high heat.
  12. Cool the chicken then chop into bite-sized pieces.
  13. Assemble the salad in a large bowl or let everyone make their own on their own plate: lettuce, topped with chicken, and the other ingredients.
  14. Drizzle the top of the salad with Ranch dressing and BBQ sauce, then gently toss to combine.
  15. Top with crumbled tortilla chips.

Notes

The Ranch dressing makes about 2 cups. // The BBQ Sauce makes about 7 cups. After the sauce cools I divide it into ziplock bags {1/2 cup each bag} and store them in the freezer so I can just pull a bag out when I want some BBQ sauce. {The BBQ sauce does not freeze solidly but will last for several months in the freezer.}

http://www.abrightandbeautifullife.com/bbq-ranch-chicken-chop-salad/

Enjoy your delicious salad!

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Crunchy Coleslaw

Crunchy ColeslawThis crunchy coleslaw is my new favorite cabbage salad.  In fact, I have two bags of pre-cut coleslaw mix in my refrigerator right now just so I can make this salad at any given moment.  It has the necessary characteristics that make it a great cabbage salad ~ good crunch and lots of flavor.  Plus it’s so quick and easy to throw together.  Although I never eat raman noodles as a soup out of the package, I have a few salad recipes and a couple of soup recipes that I’ve loved them in.  Give this recipe a try and see if it becomes one of your new favorites.

Crunchy Coleslaw

Crunchy Coleslaw

Ingredients

  • 1 bag pre-cut coleslaw mix
  • 4 green onions, sliced
  • 1 package chicken flavored Ramen noodles
  • 1/2 cup sliced almonds
  • 2 tablespoons sesame seeds, optional
  • 1/3 cup canola oil
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper

Directions

  1. In a large bowl add the oil, honey, salt, pepper, and the seasoning packet from the Ramen noodles; mix well using a whisk.
  2. Add in the coleslaw mix, green onions, almonds, sesame seeds, and the noodles from the soup (broken up). Mix until combined.
  3. Serve. This can be chilled for an hour or so before serving.

Notes

The original recipe calls for: 3 tablespoons sugar but I like it better with honey // 3 tablespoons of vinegar but I like it better without it // and toasting the almonds and sesame seeds but I like it better without toasting.

http://www.abrightandbeautifullife.com/crunchy-coleslaw/

Adapted from a recipe on The Sisters’ Cafe.

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BBQ Macaroni Salad

BBQ Macaroni Salad

Do you love macaroni salad?  What about BBQ?  This macaroni salad is a delicious blend of the two.

There’s plenty of warm summer weather left to make and enjoy this light summer salad.

We’ve been making it for about two years now and every time we still comment on it’s deliciousness.  Macaroni noodles tossed with crunchy veggies and kielbasa and then coated with a creamy, well-seasoned, tangy sauce make this a perfect summer meal.  We really like this salad with the turkey kielbasa but you could make it without the meat or you could substitute it with other kinds of meat like ham.

The recipe serves 8-10 and a couple of times I decided to only make half the recipe so we wouldn’t have so much to eat but the salad keeps well in the refrigerator for a few days and we love the leftovers so now I just go ahead and make the full recipe and we snack on it over 3-4 days.

BBQ Macaroni Salad

Yield: Serves 8-10

BBQ Macaroni Salad

Ingredients

  • 8-12 ounces turkey kielbasa, diced
  • 1 teaspoon canola oil
  • 1 pound elbow macaroni
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 red bell pepper, seeded and finely chopped
  • 1 celery rib, finely chopped
  • 4 green onions, thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon hot sauce {I use Frank's Red Hot}
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
  • pinch of cayenne pepper
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/2 cup BBQ sauce
  • salt and pepper

Directions

  1. In a large nonstick skillet, heat canola oil over medium heat until shimmering.
  2. Add the chopped turkey kielbasa and cook until browned, about 5 minutes. Set aside.
  3. In a large pot, bring 4 quarts of water to a boil. Add salt and the macaroni and cook until nearly tender.
  4. Drain the pasta in a colander and rinse with cold water until cool, and then drain again.
  5. Transfer the moist pasta to a large bowl.
  6. Stir in the kielbasa, bell pepper, celery, green onions, vinegar, hot sauce, chili powder, garlic powder, and cayenne pepper.
  7. Let the pasta sit for about 5 minutes to absorb the flavors.
  8. Combine the mayonnaise and barbecue sauce together in a bowl and then add it to the salad.
  9. Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve.
http://www.abrightandbeautifullife.com/bbq-macaroni-salad/

I found this recipe here, which was slightly modified from The Cook’s Country Cookbook.

This recipe was featured on:
The Mandatory Mooch

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Marinated Caprese Salad

 

IMG_7833-002

Is there anything better than fresh tomatoes, cheese, and basil tossed with a garlic/olive oil dressing?  This marinated caprese {pronounced Cah-Prehz-Hee} salad is a perfectly light, refreshing summer meal or side dish and honestly, I could eat it all day long and be content.  I found this particular salad recipe here.

Marinated Caprese Salad

Marinated Caprese Salad

Ingredients

  • 6-8 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese, diced into bite-sized pieces
  • 4-5 roma tomatoes {or other tomato}, diced
  • 8-10 fresh basil leaves, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon dry mustard
  • generous dash fresh ground black pepper
  • 1/3 cup olive oil

Directions

  1. Combine the vinegar, garlic, salt, dry mustard, and pepper in a small bowl or blender {I use my small electric food processor}. Add the oil in a slow, steady drizzle, whisking or blending until the oil is thoroughly emulsified and combined.
  2. In a wide, shallow dish, combine the tomatoes, cheese, and basil. Pour the dressing over the ingredients and toss to combine.
  3. Let the salad marinate, covered, in the refrigerator for 30 minutes to 3 hours.
  4. Serve the salad with slices of baguette {sourdough or regular}.

Notes

When we first eat this salad we scoop it onto the bread. If there are any leftovers we cube the bread and mix it in with the salad when we're ready to serve it.

http://www.abrightandbeautifullife.com/marinated-caprese-salad/

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Chinese Chicken Salad

Chinese Chicken Salad

I love Chinese Chicken Salad, especially in the summer.  It’s light and flavorful, refreshing and nutritious.  I have a few different versions that I make ~ this particular recipe comes from {here}, which I slightly altered.  This salad is quick to prepare and is visually appealing with its assortment of colorful veggies, and the dressing boasts yummy flavors of hoisin sauce and freshly grated ginger.  In fact, I’m snacking on leftovers as I write up this review.  Give it a try this summer and see if it becomes one of your favorite summer salads.

Chinese Chicken Salad

Yield: Serves 6

Chinese Chicken Salad

Ingredients

    Dressing
  • 1/3 cup rice vinegar
  • 1/4 cup hoisin sauce
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1-1/2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon grated or minced fresh ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
  • Salad
  • 1-1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts, trimmed
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 teaspoon canola oil
  • 1 head green cabbage, cored and sliced thinly
  • 4-6 carrots {depending on their size}, peeled and shredded
  • 1/2 large red bell pepper, stemmed, seeded, and cut into 1/4 inch thick strips {I use 2 sweet mini peppers, cleane them out, cut them in half, and then slice them about 1/8 inch thick.}
  • 1-2 cups bean sprouts
  • 2 green onions, sliced thinly on the bias
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh cilantro
  • 1-2 cups chow mein noodles {the crunchy ones}

Directions

    For the Dressing
  1. Whisk the vinegar, hoisin sauce, canola oil, soy sauce, ginger, and sesame oil together in a small bowl and set aside.
  2. For the Salad
  3. Heat the canola oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the salt and pepper.
  4. Pat the chicken breasts dry with paper towels and carefully place them in the skillet and cook until well-browned on the first side, 6-8 minutes. Turn the chicken over, cover, and cook until the thickest part of the breasts are cooked through, about 5-7 minutes longer.
  5. Transfer the chicken to a carving board and let it rest until it's cool enough to handle, chop or shred into bite-sized pieces.
  6. To Assemble the Salad:
  7. In a large bowl, toss the chicken, cabbage, carrots, red bell pepper, sprouts, green onions, and cilantro together.
  8. Whisk the dressing to recombine and pour over the salad. Toss to coat.
  9. Sprinkle with the chow mein noodles, and serve.
http://www.abrightandbeautifullife.com/chinese-chicken-salad/

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Mexican Chicken Salad

 

Mexican Chicken Salad 9

 

Mexican Chicken Salad is one of my very favorite salads, especially when the weather is warm.  It is so light and refreshing and filling.  It has a relish made with chicken, beans, corn, and tomatoes tossed with a tasty cumin-honey dressing and then mixed in with lots of lettuce and topped off with cheese and tortilla strips {or crumbled chips} and sour cream.  Recipe from {here}.

Serves 6 to 8 as a main dish

Ingredients:

For the Dressing:

1/4 cup white vinegar
1/4 cup honey
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper

For the salad:

2 tablespoons olive oil
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch cubes
1 clove garlic, minced
1 cup frozen {thawed} corn
1 cup ripe tomatoes, chopped
1 15-ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed
2 green onions, chopped
1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
2 cups shredded Monterey Jack {or cheddar} cheese
Lettuce
Tortilla strips or crushed tortilla chips
Sour Cream
Salsa, if desired

Directions:

For the Dressing:

1. In a small jar or container with a lid, combine vinegar, honey, cumin, salt, and pepper.  Shake vigorously until well mixed.  Set aside.

For the Salad:

1. Heat oil in a large skillet.
2. Sprinkle the chicken cubes with the garlic.  Add to the skillet and cook the chicken until no longer pink in the center.  {About 5 minutes}

Mexican Chicken Salad 3-a

3. Place the chicken, corn, tomatoes, beans, green onions, and red pepper in a large bowl and stir to combine.
4. Add honey dressing and toss until well coated.
5. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour.  {Sometimes I don’t make this early enough to refrigerate and it’s just fine.  But I do refrigerate the leftover mixture and it keeps well for several days.}

Mexican Chicken Salad 8-a

6. When ready to serve, either break up lettuce and place it on individual plates {that’s what I do} or place it in a large bowl.
7. Top with the chicken salad relish and any other toppings desired.  {Or mix the chicken salad relish in with the lettuce and serve it from a large bowl and then individually add desired toppings.}
8. Eat and enjoy!

Mexican Chicken Salad 7-aLet me know if this salad becomes one of your favorites.

This recipe was featured on:
Nap Time Creations
Family Food and Travel

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Ranch Dressing

 

Homemade Ranch Dressing

Some things just taste better with ranch dressing ~ dipping {fresh veggies, chips, crackers, buffalo wings, and fried chicken}, on pizza {Ranch Chicken Pizza}, spooned over cheesy scrambled eggs {my son, Alex, and his wife, Amanda, actually do this}, and of course drizzled over green salads.  This homemade dressing is at least a gazillion times better than the bottled brands at the grocery store, and it uses everyday kitchen ingredients, has no weird preservatives, and goes together in a snap.  I slightly modified the recipe out of {this cookbook}, which is one of my favorites.

*makes about 2 cups

Ingredients:

2/3 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup milk
2 tablespoons white vinegar
1 teaspoon dried parsley
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon canola oil
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon dried dill

Directions:

1. In a bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise and sour cream.
2. Add the milk and whisk.
3. Add the remaining ingredients and whisk well.
4. Pour into a pint-size jar and cover with a tight fitting lid.
5. Refrigerate at least 30 minutes for the flavors to blend.

Salad with Ranch Dressing

 

This recipe was featured on:
Home Maid Simple
A Pinch of Joy

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