Apple Salad with Apple Cinnamon Vinaigrette

Apple Salad with Apple Cinnamon Vinaigrette

My daughter, Tricia, has the most amazing landlords, ever. It’s as if my little grandsons have three sets of grandparents: my husband and I, my son in-law’s parents, and the landlords (Shannon and Rusty). While my daughter and her family were down in Arizona visiting her in-laws over Thanksgiving, Shannon and Rusty decorated the outside of Tricia’s house with Christmas lights. They even put an inflatable Santa on the roof. Everything is on a timer and within minutes of Tricia, Tim, and the boys arriving home from Arizona last Sunday night, the lights came on and Santa inflated. The boys were absolutely ecstatic! But what kid wouldn’t be ecstatic?

Lights are one of my very favorite things about Christmas. They make everything sparkly and magical. And speaking Continue Reading

Tuscan Bean Salad

Tuscan Bean Salad

While searching for salads recently, I not only came across the idea for the Antipasto Salad, I also found a delicious recipe for Tuscan Bean Salad on the same Taste of Home website. Curiously, however, I also found a nearly identical recipe on Raley’s grocery store web site. Both the Taste of Home submitter and Raley’s grocery stores are in California. Hmmm…curious. I wonder which came first, and to whom I should give credit for the recipe.

The internet can be a tricky place for recipes and pictures. It’s a pleasure to find that most bloggers are very honest about giving credit for any recipes and photos on their blogs that may not be their own creation. It’s a code of ethics that keeps us all safe and in each others good graces. 🙂 Some of my own recipes and photos have been used on other sites and most of the bloggers have been gracious enough to give appropriate credit. However, once in a while I will come across a blogger who is patently unscrupulous and evidently without conscience when it comes to “borrowing” another blogger’s intellectual property. Tsk, tsk, tsk; somebody needs a spanking.

Hmmm…obviously I need some dessert and would you believe that I don’t have a single, solitary desserty thingy in the house? I had better do something about that. Then again, now that I think about it, my house is full to overflowing with fresh fruits and vegetables and it would be a much better plan to address those first. Hey! I could make banana muffins and zucchini bread! That would be addressing fruits and vegetables, right?

Tuscan Bean Salad 172

Alrighty then, now that I’ve settled that issue, let’s turn our attention to this Tuscan Bean Salad. Isn’t it interesting how one word can change one’s whole mental concept about a food? If I had said that this was a bean salad, you’d probably have moved on quickly to something more interesting. However, using the word “Tuscan” in front of ‘bean salad’ makes you want to stay around and find out more about this salad. Good for you! You have a sophisticated, inquiring mind!

The base for this salad is cannelini beans, a white bean similar to a kidney bean. I have mentioned in other beany posts how much I enjoy beans. This is an enjoyable way to incorporate beans into your diet, particularly for the summer. The flavor is rather mild, which would complement oh, say, hamburgers or slow cooker Pulled Pork Barbecue Sandwiches OR Italian Beef Sandwiches. Yum! Plus, this is a very easy salad to make, perfect for a lazy busy day.

By way of an FYI, here’s some food for thought. I’m thinking that quinoa would be an excellent substitution for the beans. That quinoa stuff is really fascinating.

Tuscan Bean Salad

Recipe Sources: Raley's and Taste of Home

Ingredients

  • 2 cans (15 ounces each) white kidney or cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 jar (6.5 ounces) marinated artichoke hearts, undrained
  • 1 cup roasted sweet red peppers, cut into 1-inch strips
  • 3/4 cup sliced ripe olives
  • 1/2 cup chopped red onion
  • 1/4 cup oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, thinly sliced

Instructions

  1. In a large bowl, combine the beans, artichoke hearts, roasted red peppers, olives, onion, sun-dried tomatoes, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt, and pepper.
  2. Cover bowl and refrigerate salad for about 30 minutes or more.
  3. When ready to serve, stir in the basil. Because of the moisture content, it is best to serve this salad with a slotted spoon.
http://tsgcookin.com/2012/08/tuscan-bean-salad/

Tuscan Bean Salad 178

Antipasto Salad

Antipasto Salad

Gosh, when I get on a roll with a certain kind of food, I just keep on going. Right now, it’s Italian-ish things, as you will see in this post and the next one and maybe even the one after that.

This is one of those kinds of salads that I end up asking myself, “Why didn’t I think of that?” It contains, among a host of other stellar ingredients, giardiniera. In case you are not familiar with giardiniera, it is a sometimes spicy pickled combination of cauliflower, carrots, celery, peppers, and onions and often has a heat factor to it. It can generally be found with other pickled products in the grocery store.

Antipasto Salad

Giardiniera is not a new item, but I have never thought to add it to a salad. When I have had it in the past, it has generally stood alone as a small side dish or condiment; a momentary distraction from the main meal. In this salad the flavor of the giardiniera vegetables weaves in and out among the other salad ingredients. I used giardiniera brine in the salad dressing and it brings a really great flavor to the salad as a whole.

I found the original recipe at Taste of Home, but have adapted it quite a bit. It’s possible that I have made so many adaptations that I could call it my own recipe, but I carry a HUGE guilt factor around with me all the time. Mostly, it’s that giardiniera thing that keeps me from calling this my very own recipe. I didn’t think of that one all by myself.

Antipasto Salad

I’m sure you have some more summertime picnics or gatherings in your near future and this would be a great addition to your food lineup. There’s no mayo, so it can stand up to some outdoor heat. In keeping with an antipasto theme, toss on some croutons for a textural crunch. I had actually bought a bag of croutons for this particular salad and then forgot to use them. The recipe does make a big bowl of salad and because of the meats in the salad, I think that it can be used as a main course salad. Just add some rolls or crusty bread or even a sandwich and you are good to go.

Please NOTE: By way of education on the word “antipasto”, I would like to offer the following. In Italian, the word “anti” means “before”. Pasto or pasti means “meal”. Therefore, antipasto simply means “before the meal”. In Italy, an antipasto platter is served as a sort of appetizer or prelude to the main portion of the meal. It generally consists of meats, cheeses, olives, and pickled vegetables. Sometimes fruit is also served. Small portions are customary; it’s not meant to fill you up. The partaking of the antipasto portion of the meal is a time for guests and family to mingle and talk around the table. For a wonderful article on antipasto, visit this Delallo site.

Antipasto Salad

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Antipasto Salad

Recipe adapted by Terri @ that's some good cookin'. Original recipe source: Taste of Home

Ingredients

    For the Salad
  • 8 ounces (weight) medium shell-shaped pasta or pasta shape of your choice, cooked al dente in salted water
  • 1 jar(16 ounces) giardiniera (it generally comes in regular and spicy hot)
  • 1/4 pound diced pepperoni (purchased from the deli and sliced 1/4-inch thick, then cubed at home)
  • 1/4 pound diced provolone cheese (purchased from the deli and sliced 1/4 thick, then cubed at home)
  • 1/4 pound diced salami (I purchased a small, whole salami from the lunch meat area of my grocery store. At home I sliced it a scant 1/4-inch thick and then diced it.)
  • 1 cup sliced kalamata olives
  • 1 cup (small dice) purple onions
  • 1/2 cup marinated artichoke hearts, (any tough parts removed) sliced into bite-sized pieces
  • 12 yellow cherry tomatoes, halved or quartered
  • 12 red cherry tomatoes, halved or quartered
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh basil
  • 1 head Romaine lettuce, chopped
  • Dressing for Antipasto Salad
  • 3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup reserved giardiniera brine or white wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/4 cup Terri's Garlic Bread Seasoning or dry garlic bread seasoning of choice
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional if you like a little heat)

Instructions

    For the Salad
  1. Drain the giardiniera, reserving 1/2 cup of brine. Some of the pieces in the gardiniera may need to be cut into smaller, bite-sized pieces, particularly the cauliflower.
  2. In a large bowl, toss together all ingredients EXCEPT the Romaine lettuce. Set aside.
  3. Make the dressing and pour over the salad ingredients in the large bowl. Toss together well. Cover bowl and refrigerate for 30 minutes - 1 hour to allow flavors to blend.
  4. Just before serving, toss salad with the romaine lettuce.
  5. For the Antipasto Salad Dressing
  6. In a jar with a tight fitting lid, shake all of the dressing ingredients together.
  7. Pour over salad per above instructions.
http://tsgcookin.com/2012/08/antipasto-salad/

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Antipasto Salad
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Antipasto Salad
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Antipasto Salad
This is so delicious, and look how pretty it is! Remember to add the lettuce just before serving.

This recipe has been shared at the following linky parties:

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You may also like:

Pasta Salad with Sun Dried Tomato Dressing
Pasta Salad with Sun Dried Tomato Dressing
Lentil, Quinoa and Orzo Salad
Lentil, Quinoa and Orzo Salad
German Potato Salad
German Potato Salad
 

Rockin’ Ranch Salad Dressing and a Give Away

Rockin Ranch Salad Dressing

This is really quite exciting, at least for me! Welcome to my first give away!

Please note: This give away is now closed.

OXO sent me a fun Salad Dressing Shaker to try out for myself and another one to share with one of you. I am sweetening the pot, so to speak, by including an OXO Salad Spinner and an OXO Swivel Peeler. Although the salad dressing shaker is new to me, I have been using OXO’s Salad Spinner and Swivel Peeler for several years and they are two of my favorite pieces of kitchen equipment. Now I can add the Salad Dressing Shaker to the party.

About the Shaker, OXO says “Making a quick dressing is a cinch with the OXO Good Grips Salad Dressing Shaker. The watertight Shaker offers a clean, neat and convenient way to mix, serve and store dressings, sauces and marinades. The top unscrews to reveal a wide opening ideal for adding a range of ingredients like oil, vinegar, mayonnaise, mustard, garlic, onions and spices. The Shaker is made of a BPA-free, break-resistant and dishwasher safe material. Once ingredients are added, screw the top on and shake to quickly mix dressings with no spills. The top lever flips back for pouring and forward to seal. Use the airtight Shaker to store leftover dressing and sauce right inside the fridge.”

Rules
  • Open to residents of the United States or Canada only.
  • Leave a comment in the comment section of this post and tell me your favorite salad dressing.
  • Only 1 comment allowed per person. Anonymous entries are not eligible.
  • Leave a valid email address so that I can notify you if you win. You will have 48 hours to reply or a new winner will be chosen.
  • The winner will be chosen through random.org.
  • The give away will remain open until midnight, Mountain Standard Time, on Friday July 27, 2012. The winner will be announced here on Saturday, July 28, 2012. 

I am a salad person, plain and simple. I like all different types of salads, with no single salad being my absolute favorite. In my opinion, salad dressing is central to a good salad, even if the dressing is simply oil and vinegar. Sometimes I like to sit down with a big bowl of plain ol’ tossed salad, dressed only with olive oil, balsamic vinegar and a sprinkling of salt. That’s some mighty fine eating.

Rockin Ranch Salad Dressing

Realistically I think that salads are all about the dressing anyway, such as with blue cheese or ranch. These are my two most favorite creamy dressings. I truly believe that often a salad is merely an accompaniment for the salad dressing. Am I right or am I right?

In the post, Perfect Breadsticks with Buttery Garlic Seasoning, I introduced you to my copy cat version of my favorite garlic bread seasoning. Inspired by a dressing recipe on the back of the name brand bottle, I tried the garlic bread seasoning in a buttermilk and mayonnaise-based salad dressing.

Boy was I surprised by the flavor! So good! Plus, I think that I inadvertently cracked the code on Hidden Valley Ranch dressing. I almost feel guilty, as if I am breaking a trade secret. Now, if only I could crack the secret code on Olive Garden dressing, life would be nigh unto perfect.

So, while I continue to work on that bit of life’s perfection until the wee hours of the morning, here’s some opportunities for you to put your life on the perfection train platform. As Mary Murphy of “So You Think You Can Dance” fame would excitedly say at ear shattering decibels and pitches that I wish were outside of the human hearing range, “Wooohooooooo!”

  1. To have a chance at winning the great salad make-over kit by OXO, leave me a comment telling me your favorite salad dressing.
  2. Make your favorite tossed salad and some of this Rockin’ Ranch Salad Dressing.
  3. Do a good deed for someone without thought of notice or reward. It will put a warm glow in your heart.

Rockin’ Ranch Salad Dressing

Yield: Makes 1 1/4 cups dressing

Recipe by Terri @ that's some good cookin'

Ingredients

    For the Garlic Bread Seasoning/Ranch Dressing Mix
  • 3 tablespoons dry, grated Parmesan/Romano cheese blend ( like the kind in the green bottle )
  • 2 tablespoons dry granulated garlic
  • 2 teaspoons dry parsley flakes, crushed
  • 1 teaspoon salt ( I used sea salt )
  • 1/2 teaspoon dry basil, crushed
  • 1/2 teaspoon granulated onion
  • 1/4 teaspoon dry oregano, crushed
  • For the Dressing
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise ( I used low fat )
  • 2 teaspoons garlic bread seasoning/ranch dressing mix ( recipe above )
  • 1/4 teaspoon seasoning salt ( I used Johnny's brand seasoning salt. )

Instructions

    For the Garlic Bread Seasoning/Ranch Dressing Mix:
  1. Mix all ingredients together well. Store remainder in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
  2. For the dressing:
  3. In a bowl, jar with a lid, or salad dressing shaker, blend together well the buttermilk and mayonnaise.
  4. Add the garlic bread seasoning and seasoning salt; whisk or shake until ingredients are well blended.
  5. Allow to stand in refrigerator for at least 30 minutes for flavors to meld well.
http://tsgcookin.com/2012/07/rockin-ranch-salad-dressing-and-give/

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Rockin Ranch Salad Dressing
The setup.
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Rockin Ranch Salad Dressing
 Pour the buttermilk into your chosen container. The OXO Salad Dressing Shaker has easy to see standard measurements on the side.
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Rockin Ranch Salad Dressing
 Add the mayo.
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Rockin Ranch Salad Dressing
 Helpful hint: In a measured container, add the liquid ingredient(s) first, then add the mayo. You don’t have to measure the mayonnaise separately; simply add it to the container until the liquid ingredients have been displaced to the correct amount. Oh no! It’s math! Easy peasy math, though. Example: This recipe calls for 3/4 cup buttermilk and 1/2 cup mayonnaise. 3/4 cup + 1/2 cup = 1 1/4 cups. So, pour in the buttermilk and then just add the mayo until the buttermilk reaches the 1 1/4 cup mark. Like I said–easy.
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Rockin Ranch Salad Dressing
 Now shake up the buttermilk and mayo until smooth. I was surprised at how well the lever at the top of the bottle sealed. However, be sure to put your finger over the lever to make certain that everything stays in place while you are shaking the bottle. Ignore this picture of me NOT putting my finger over the lever. When I was shaking the ingredients for real, I definitely kept my finger over the lever. I do have to confess, though, when I was putting this container through its paces, I tested the quality of the seal while shaking the bottle without holding the lever in place. Guess what? It held very well.
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Rockin Ranch Salad Dressing
Rockin Ranch Salad Dressing
 Remove the lid and add the seasoning salt and my soon-to-be-uber-famous garlic bread/salad dressing mix.
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Rockin Ranch Salad Dressing
 Screw the lid back on the shaker and, well, shake.  See? I have my finger over the leaver in this picture. I’m so smart.
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Rockin Ranch Salad Dressing
Here it is, the finished product. The only warning I need to give you is regarding that magic leaver at the top. The seal is so strong that it actually contributes to creating a vacuum in the bottle. When the leaver is pulled back for the first time after the dressing is shaken, the pressure within the bottle causes some of the dressing spurt out. To help reduce the splatter, allow the dressing to sit for a moment or two before pulling back the leaver. Another option is to unscrew the lid a little and allow the pressure to release.
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Rockin Ranch Salad Dressing
Make your favorite salad. I put together a fun chef’s salad for dinner. It included iceberg and romaine lettuce; a favorite cheese; radishes; sliced mushrooms; cucumber slices; diced celery; tomato wedges; boiled eggs, sliced; honey ham–several slices stacked, then rolled together and sliced crosswise; and quartered rounds of pre-sliced salami.
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Rockin Ranch Salad Dressing
Now top everything with that ridiculously good dressing and you’ll have yourself a very fine summertime meal.
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Rockin Ranch Salad Dressing

Lentil, Quinoa, and Orzo Salad

When a five year old says, “This is my favorite thing! I want more”, then it’s a sure bet that you have a winner on your hands. Then again, in all fairness, I need to tell you that this particular five year old does not like my homemade cookies. It may have something to do with the fact that his mother (my daughter, Tricia) is a chef, so his tastes have been trained in a slightly different direction–the kind of direction where food is sold at $300 a plate.

It’s amusing to watch a five year old and a two year old munching away on duck and scallops and filet mignon, offering their own personal critiques on the quality of the ingredients and the nuances of the flavors. They do it in their own language skill set, the five year old (Gavin) being the most verbose of the two boys. Kade (2) just plows through everything, pushing whatever he doesn’t like to one side of his plate and the rest in his mouth. If Kade is especially fond of something, he will hoard his own portions and steal extras off of his parent’s plates. Gavin is more civilized, he just asks for seconds.

On this salad, Gavin even asked for thirds, eating it like a man possessed. I’m on Gavin’s side, I went after thirds, too.

I have a confession, this was my first experience with cooking quinoa. Now I see what all the fuss is about. I wasn’t sure what to expect at first; I’m one of those people who is a little leery of new foods. With quinoa, I liked the texture, somewhat chewy with some of the grains giving a bit of a ‘pop’ as they are chewed. The flavor is mild and somewhat nutty. The most interesting thing for me was that I kept wanting more and more of it, unadorned except for the light saltiness it had picked up from the cooking water. Mixed with the salad ingredients and the dressing, I was more than content to keep eating this salad off and on throughout the day.

I just have to make an interjection right now…the plumbers are here!!!!!!!!!!! Today, in a few more minutes I will have running water in my kitchen for the first time in nearly a month! Soon, very, very soon, my new kitchen will be up and running. Imagine me doing a happy dance right now. No more doing dishes bent over a large bucket in the bathtub! Wahooooooo!



Okay, I’m under control again.

Although there are three different elements that need to be cooked for this salad (lentils, quinoa, and orzo) they can be cooked in the same pot. Start out cooking the lentils and the quinoa together for ten minutes, then add the orzo for the final 15 minutes. Drain and rinse when finished and you are good to go with adding the remainder of the ingredients for a really lovely summer salad.

Lentil, Quinoa, and Orzo Salad

Recipe by Terri @ that's some good cookin'

Ingredients

    Salad
  • 6 cups water
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup uncooked French green lentils, rinsed
  • 1/2 cup uncooked quinoa (I used 1/4 cup red and 1/4 cup white pre-rinsed quinoa)
  • 1/4 cup orzo pasta
  • 2 plum tomatoes, seeded and diced
  • 2 small European cucumbers, unpeeled and diced
  • 1 small red, yellow, or orange pepper, small diced
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro, loose packed
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • Dressing
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (about 1 lemon)
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil (not olive oil--the flavor is too strong)
  • 1/4 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
  • salt, to taste

Instructions

    For the Salad:
  1. In a 3 quart pot, bring the water and salt to a boil. Add the quinoa and french green lentils.
  2. Cook for ten minutes, then add the orzo. Stir well, then cook for another 15 minutes until the orzo is al dente. Do not over-cook. The lentils will be slightly firm, which is perfect for this salad.
  3. Pour into a fine mesh colander and rinse under cool water. Drain well.
  4. Put the quinoa, lentils, and orzo in a large bowl. Add the tomatoes, cucumbers, pepper, cilantro, and parsley and mix lightly.
  5. For the dressing.
  6. In a small bowl, whisk together the rice vinegar, fresh lemon juice, vegetable oil, cumin, and cinnamon. Pour over salad and toss well. Taste and adjust for flavoring with salt.
  7. Cover salad and refrigerate for at least one hour, longer is better. Can be stored for two days under refrigeration.
http://tsgcookin.com/2012/06/lentil-quinoa-and-orzo-salad/

 

Look at THIS!!!!!!!!!!! I have running water in the kitchen at last!!!!!!!!

….which means that I can make and and eat more things like this without having to run back and forth to use water in other parts of the house! I am just feeling so happy and grateful right now.

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