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Make Salad Like the Pros

Salad makes a healthy family meal. Here are some of my favorite recipes.

I love a good salad!

Spring and summer are the perfect seasons for nice big salads. Throw some chicken, beef or beans in your mix and you’ve got all the food groups covered to make it a meal.

I do admit a salad always tastes better when someone else prepares it. I can never get my own salads to taste the same as one my sister might make or one I might buy at a restaurant. Therefore, I’m a huge fan of Saladworks and Panera Bread. There’s something about their dressings; they put bottled dressings to shame.

I enjoy all kinds of salads. The old-fashioned salads with lettuce, cucumbers, shredded carrots and croutons are great, but I also enjoy newer versions that include different types of lettuce, nuts, fruit and cheese. The combination of mixed greens, walnuts, grapes, cheese and balsamic vinegar is one of my favorites.

My sister-in-law makes a delicious broccoli salad, perfect for a big family picnic. We just had it for Easter dinner. Here’s the recipe if you’d like to try it at your next gathering. Broccoli is so good for you; I don’t know how this could be bad— even with the cheese and bacon.

Broccoli Salad

Mix together 6 cups of chopped broccoli, ½ pound of bacon, 1 medium red onion sliced and a package of shredded cheddar cheese. For dressing, mix ½ cup of Miracle Whip, 1 tablespoon of cider vinegar, and a half a cup of sugar. Mix well and refrigerate.

Another favorite salad of mine is super easy and has the perfect combination of sweet and sour to it. Please note, this is not my original recipe; I found it somewhere online or in a magazine, but like to make it. I sometimes add nuts or craisins to it, but the bones of the recipe are as follows:

Spinach and Strawberry Salad

In a large salad bowl, mix 8 cups of torn spinach; 1 can of mandarin oranges, drained; 1 cup of sliced strawberries; and 1 large red onion sliced. Heat up 1/4 cup red currant jelly and three tablespoons of red wine vinegar until smooth. Let cool and then pour on top of salad. Mix well and enjoy. Sometimes I add slivered almonds or chopped walnuts for some added crunch. 

Another salad recipe I like to make incorporates ramen noodles into the mix. You've got to love Oodles of Noodles. Yummy! Veggies and a bit of an Asian crunch makes for a light and tasty salad. Again, this is not a recipe I created; you can find similar recipes online and in magazines.

Ramen Noodle Salad

For the dressing, combine a packet of Italian Dressing Mix, ½ cup of sugar, and 2 tablespoons of soy sauce. Take two packs of Oodles of Noodles; crush the noodles up a bit and saute over medium heat with a little bit of butter and about a cup of slivered almonds until nice and toasty. I discard the soup mix, but you can keep it for something else if you’d like. In a large bowl, combine a bag of coleslaw and a bag of broccoli slaw. Add one diced red or white onion. Mix in your crunchy noodles and pour your dressing over the top and you have a savory salad to share with family and friends. Chicken is something that makes it a meal and meshes well with the Asian flavors.

A salad is a great way to provide a quick and healthy meal for you and your family. We often have salad night and I put all the mixings on the table so my family can make it however they want. The table overflows with different kinds of lettuce, hard-boiled eggs, chicken, beef, vegetables, sunflower seeds, cheese, pasta, croutons, fruit, raisins, craisins, nuts and anything else I can think of that can be put in a salad. It's fun and healthy.

Salad doesn’t have to be just an appetizer; it can be the main course and make your meal.

I do love a good salad. How about you?

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