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Blue Cheese, Lettuce, and Tomato Grilled Pizza

2 Mar


It was 80 degrees today (on March 2!) and it put me in the mood to grill something.  This is a recipe I probably would never have tried had I not tasted it first.  Leah spotted this recipe a few months ago and made it for the family.  She has an eye for good recipes and she was right about this one.  Though at first glance it might not sound good, it is absolutely delicious. Today, I gave it a try.  It was really easy to prepare and everybody in the family loved it!  It’s a wonderful combination of crispy grilled pizza dough. fresh crunchy greens and a simple balsamic vinaigrette that blends together perfectly.  It really is a surprise when you taste it.

The ingredients below can easily be adjusted for more or less.

Pizza dough -homemade or purchased (I made my own dough, my recipe is in the Grilled Pizza blog entry)  I fed 6 people and made two recipes of dough.  If you purchase,  1 lb. of dough will make about 3 personal sized pizzas.  The following ingredients will make enough for 6 pizzas:

1/2 box grape tomatoes, cut in half

1/4 red onion, thinly sliced

2 cloves garlic, finely minced

2 Tablespoons good olive oil

2 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar (do not use a different vinegar, balsamic is crucial for this recipe)

salt and pepper to taste

1 cup crumbled blue cheese

1 cup or so shredded mozzarella

1 bag hearts of Romaine (or chop 3 Romaine heads)

real crumbled bacon bits, (optional)

additional olive oil for brushing dough right before grilling

Directions:

Make enough pizza dough to get the number of servings you need.  I made two recipes of my grilled pizza dough(in a previous blog entry) because I was cooking for 6 people.  Each recipe will yield 3 crusts.  While dough is rising, begin to prepare the salad ingredients.  Mix tomatoes, minced garlic and sliced red onion in a large bowl.  Add two Tablespoons balsamic vinegar and 2 Tablespoons good olive oil, and salt and freshly ground pepper to taste.

Once dough has risen, divide each recipe into three equal pieces.

Roll each piece into a circle.  Don’t even try to make it a perfect circle, your dough circles won’t be perfect, but that adds to the homemade charm!  Once you have all the dough rolled into individual size pizza rounds, layer them on a baking sheet with parchment paper between the layers (don’t use wax paper, it’ll stick).

While you are preparing the dough, go ahead and start the charcoal for the grill.  Once the grill is hot, brush the top of each round with olive oil and place the  oiled side down on the grill rack.

Brush olive oil on the top side and grill for 1-2 minutes.  Watch carefully, they cook very quickly.

When the first side is done, flip it over and sprinkle lightly with mozzarella and blue cheese.  Don’t go too heavy on the cheese, just a light sprinkling is perfect.  You don’t want it smothered with gooey cheese.

The cheese won’t have time to totally melt and smooth out, but it will get soft. Cook the second side for about the same amount of time (1-2 minutes).  You can check the doneness by lifting the pizza up with tongs to see if it is good and  brown.  Watch it closely because it can burn.

It really helps to have two people manning the grill because it moves very quickly.  You are placing, flipping, sprinkling, removing and starting all over again.  We especially enjoy this on nice warm days like today so that everyone can be outside and get in on the action.  We used two grills and had all 6 pizzas done in a fairly short period of time.

Once the pizza is done, stir the Romaine into the tomato vinaigrette mixture and toss to combine.

Immediately top the hot pizza slices with a pile of the salad mixture. Sprinkle with bacon bits if you like.

Enjoy!

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Tabbouleh

9 Jun

This is a relatively new dish in our household.  I’d not even heard of tabbouleh until I tasted it at a dinner party about 2 years ago.  It is one of our summer-time favorites.  It is an odd combination of ingredients, but they all work well together. I love the texture of the bulgur wheat and it just makes you feel healthy to eat it!   It’s so fresh and tasty and makes a great summer time meal.

Ingredients:

1 cup bulgur wheat (I’ve been able to find it at Kroger)

1 1/2 cups boiling water

1/4 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice (about 2 lemons)

1/4 cup olive oil

1 1/2 teaspoons Kosher salt

4 green onions, sliced

fresh mint leaves, chopped (about 1/4 cup or so)

fresh flat leaf parsley, chopped (about 1/4 cup or so)

1 cucumber, diced

1/2 carton cherry or grape tomatoes, sliced in half

4 oz. box of crumbled feta cheese

black pepper to taste

Measure the bulgur wheat into a large bowl and pour in the boiling water.

Add the fresh lemon juice, olive oil, and salt.  Stir to combine, then let it sit at room temperature for one hour.  After the one hour is up, begin to add the other ingredients.

Slice the green onions, peel and dice the cucumber and slice the cherry tomatoes in half.  Add this to the bulgur wheat mixture in the bowl.

Chop the fresh mint and flat-leaf parsley and add to the bowl.  Add feta cheese and freshly ground black pepper to taste.

Combine well and refrigerate until ready to serve.  Tabbouleh is typically served as a filling for pita bread (and really makes a great sandwich) or just serve it as a salad.  Either way, it’s really good!

Frozen Fruit Salad

10 Jan

It may seem odd to be adding this recipe during this time of the year.  It’s around 20 degrees outside with a forecast of snow as I write this, but though this is  a great warm weather recipe, we enjoy it year round.  It is very refreshing on a hot summer day, but just as enjoyable mid-winter.  I’ve made 3 or 4 batches of this just since Christmas!  Our favorite way to enjoy this is as a bed-time snack or tv snack.  It’s very healthy, and I don’t add the sugar that the original recipe calls for.  We don’t miss the sugar at all, but you can certainly add it if you like.  It’s a tv snack that lasts a long time because you can’t eat it quickly.  You eat it slowly in bits and pieces as it melts.  It can be made and placed in a large bowl, frozen and served that way, or you can do as I do and freeze it in individual plastic cups. 

Ingredients:

1 – 29 oz. can sliced peaches, drained and mashed (I use the ones in juice, not heavy syrup for a healthier version)

1 – 12 oz. can frozen orange juice, thawed

6 bananas, sliced

1 – 20 oz. can crushed pineapple (in 100% juice, not heavy syrup for healthier version)

1 – 10 oz. jar red maraschino cherries, drained (for healthier version, I also rinse them to remove extra sugar)

1 cup sugar (optional, I leave it out for the healthier version we prefer)

2 cups water

Drain peaches and place in a large bowl.  Use a potato masher or something similar to mash them into small bits.

Pour thawed orange juice over mashed peaches then add sliced bananas, cherries, and pineapple.

If using the sugar, add it now.  Finish by adding 2 cups of water and stirring well to combine.

Once combined, I prefer to dish it into small individual plastic cups with lids to freeze.  You can also freeze in one large batch in one bowl.  If so, you’ll need to set the bowl out at room temperature for at least an hour before serving so that it can thaw enough to serve.  Chop it up and mix.  It’ll be a frosty, slushy consistency. If using the individual cups, place them on a cookie sheet to fill.  Out our house, we have to carefully portion out the cherries since that’s everyone’s favorite part.  You can get about two cherries into each individual plastic cup if using a 10 oz. jar of cherries.  But some cups may get three cherries!  We call these the prize cups!

Leave just enough room to fit the lids on.  Once they’re all filled, place the lids on top and place the whole cookie sheet of cups in the freezer until they’re frozen solid.

One recipe will yield about 17 individual cups (4 oz. size) of frozen fruit salad.

Chicken Salad

25 Oct

This is a simple recipe but oh so good!  We typically serve this chicken salad on croissants or crackers, or even just a big scoop on a bed of mixed greens.  I had some chicken that I needed to cook over the weekend and was able to make this chicken salad plus a pot of chicken noodle soup.  This is good any time of the year.

Ingredients:

3 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cooked in lightly salted water (or more to make a larger batch). You can also make this by cooking a whole chicken then skinning and deboning.  A purchased rotisserie chicken is just as good too if you are in a big hurry.  Just skin, debone and chop meat into bite-sized pieces.

1 stalk celery, finely chopped

1/2 cup pecan halves, toasted

1/2 cup seedless grapes, sliced in half

1/3 cup  Miracle Whip (I use the light version but regular is fine)

pinch of nutmeg

salt and pepper to taste 

Toast pecans in a 350 degree oven for 5-6 minutes.  Don’t skip this step, it makes a huge difference in flavor!  Set aside while preparing other ingredients.

Cook chicken in water to cover.  I like to add Better than Bouillon, (chicken flavored) for added flavor especially when using skinless chicken.  When chicken is done, let it cool enough to handle and chop into bite sized pieces.  Chop celery and slice grapes.

Stir all ingredients together in a bowl to mix.  Serve immediately or refrigerate until serving time.

Greek Shrimp Orzo Salad

24 Oct

This is a new recipe that I just tried and it was a hit (at least with the guys).  The girls in our family won’t eat shrimp, except for me and I love it!  It’s easy to stir this together and makes a great side dish or even a meal in itself.  I bought precooked frozen shrimp, in the extra large size for this salad.  If you have to buy it with the tails on (as I did), the tails are very easy to remove once the shrimp is thawed.

Ingredients:

12 0z package (approx.) frozen precooked extra large shrimp peeled and deveined with tails off, thawed

1 package crumbled traditional feta cheese (approx. 6 oz.)

1 cup cherry or grape tomatoes, halved

1 small can Kalamata olives, drained

2 green onions, sliced

3 Tablespoon fresh dill or 1 Tbls. dried dill (fresh is always preferable if available)

3 Tablespoon olive oil

3 Tablespoon lemon juice

1 1/2 Tablespoon red wine vinegar

1 clove garlic, finely minced

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

1 cup uncooked orzo (rice shaped pasta) or other very small pasta

Cook orzo in salted water according to directions on package.  Test often for doneness so as not to overcook.  Orzo cooks fairly quickly.  You don’t want mushy pasta for this.  Rinse in cold water to stop cooking, drain, and place in mixing bowl large enough to hold other ingredients as well.

Add olive oil to pasta and toss to coat.  Add feta, olives, tomatoes, green onions and garlic.

Add shrimp, salt, pepper, dill, lemon juice, vinegar and stir all together until well mixed.

Refrigerate until well chilled and serve.  Delicious!

Old Fashioned Potato Salad

27 Jul

I never liked potato salad until I was an adult, but my kids love it.  This is another simple basic recipe.  No cook-out would be complete without a big bowl of potato salad.

8 cups diced Red Potatoes – red potatoes lend the best texture for potato salad

1 small to medium finely diced onion

2 boiled eggs, peeled and diced

2 Tablespoons sweet pickle relish

1 Tablespoon yellow mustard

1 cup Miracle Whip (I use the light version, but regular is fine too)

Cook potatoes in salted water to cover just until done.  Don’t overcook, you don’t want them to be mushy. (Anna is my expert potato taster for doneness)

Drain and put in a bowl to cool til they’re warm but not hot.  When potatoes have cooled down, add the rest of the ingredients and mix to combine.

Refrigerate  until thoroughly chilled and sprinkle with paprika right before serving.