Cantaloupe Tomato Salad with Herb Dressing

I am always striving to create unusual salads and this is one combination you might not think about putting together.  The sweet cantaloupe combined with vine-ripened tomatoes and a hit of red onion, topped with a citrus honey herb dressing is the perfect salad to serve along side grilled chicken, fish or shellfish.   A crumble topping of feta sets this salad apart from all others.  A feast for the eyes and your taste buds!

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Cantaloupe Tomato Salad with Herb Citrus Dressing

Servings 8

Ingredients

  • 1 cantaloupe
  • 4 large tomatoes
  • 1/4 red onion, diced
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 3 tablespoons cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1/3 cup Italian parsley, minced
  • 2 tablespoons fresh basil, minced
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 2 teaspoons fresh mint, minced
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup crumbled Feta cheese

Instructions

  1. Cut cantaloupe, remove seeds, cut away rind and slice into thin slices.  Dice onion, and thinly slice tomatoes.  Layer in a salad bowl.  Combine dressing ingredients; lemon juice, cider vinegar, parsley, basil, salt, pepper, mustard, and mint in a container that you can seal and shake.  Add the olive oil and vigorously shake until well combined.  Pour over cantaloupe mixture, refrigerate for one hour.  Top with crumbled Feta, serve.

 

 

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Lobster, Potato and Fresh Corn Salad

If you are feeling the heat, these last days of summer, it’s time to serve a cold salad.  Lobster, Potato and Fresh Corn Salad is the perfect main dish salad.  This combination of lobster, corn and potatoes is a match made in heaven!   I tossed it all together with a vinaigrette, fresh tarragon and a hint of cream.  Fresh tarragon is essential in this recipe and easy to find in the herb section of your grocery or any farmers market.  A spectacular combination that I think you will agree is the perfect salad.  I served this with warm Focaccia Bread, olive oil for dipping the bread and a great chilled bottled of white wine – YUM!

Lobster, Potato salad

Lobster, Potato and Fresh Corn Salad
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Ingredients
  1. 16oz. small potatoes ( I used small purple potatoes for color)
  2. 3 ears of corn, cut from the cob
  3. 1/2 cup olive oil
  4. 3 1/2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
  5. 2 shallots, minced
  6. 2 tablespoons heavy cream
  7. 1 pound lobster meat, cut into one inch pieces
  8. 1/3 cup chopped fresh tarragon
  9. salt and pepper
Instructions
  1. Early in the day - Cut potatoes in half and place in a saucepan, cover with water, bring to a boil and cook approx. 10 - 14 minutes until tender. Drain. Toss potatoes with 1/3 cup olive oil, 1 1/2 tablespoons rice vinegar, 1/2 of the minced shallots and salt and pepper, to taste. Set aside.
  2. Cut corn from the cob, blanch in boiling water for 30 seconds, drain.
  3. After the potatoes and corn have cooled, refrigerate. Steam lobster, cool and refrigerate.
  4. Assemble the salad approx. 30 minutes prior to serving. In a medium bowl, toss potatoes, corn and lobster. Combine remaining olive oil and rice vinegar, cream, remaining shallot, cream, tarragon and salt and pepper, to taste. Pour over salad ingredients and gently toss, spoon into a lettuce lined plate. Serves 4
Notes
  1. How to steam lobster tails - In a medium saucepan add one inch of water, place a steamer basket in the pan, cover and heat to boiling. Add the lobster tails, cover and steam for 8 minutes, remove and cool.
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Brussel Sprout Apple Salad

If you like Waldorf Salad and brussel sprouts, I think you will really like this salad.  I took the two and melded them together to create this delicious salad.  I prepared the brussel sprouts and while they were cooking, mixed the remaining ingredients in my salad bowl.  Blended the warm brussel sprouts, remaining salad ingredients and dressing in my salad bowl.  Tossed completely and served.  A wonderful combination of hot and cold all topped with a creamy dressing.

Brussel Sprout Apple Salad

Brussel Sprout Apple Salad
Serves 4
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Ingredients
  1. 12 oz. brussel sprouts, thinly sliced
  2. 1 tablespoon each of olive oil and butter
  3. 1 apple, diced
  4. 1 stalk of celery, diced
  5. 1/3 cup walnuts, chopped
  6. 1/3 cup dried tart cherries or dried cranberries
  7. Dressing
  8. 5 tablespoons half and half
  9. 3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  10. 1 1/2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  11. 1/4 teaspoon sugar
Instructions
  1. In a large sauce pan, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil and 1 tablespoon of butter. Add brussel sprouts and stir frequently until they begin to lightly brown. While the brussel sprouts are cooking, combine the remaining salad ingredients in a bowl. Mix the dressing ingredients together. Continue to cook the brussel spouts just until parts begin to brown and they are crisp tender. Toss the brussel sprouts with the remaining salad ingredients. Top with dressing and toss. Serve.
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Whole Wheat Orzo Salad

Pasta salads are one of our favorites during the warm spring and summer days.  Easy to prepare early in the day and great to serve with your favorite grilled meat, fish, or chicken.  I use the marinade from the marinated artichokes as the dressing, I also love to use feta cheese that is infused with pepper.  It just adds the perfect piquancy to this salad.

orzo salad 2

 

Whole Wheat Orzo Salad
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Ingredients
  1. 1 cup whole wheat orzo, cooked
  2. 1 jar marinated artichokes, drained, marinade reserved
  3. 1 cup sliced cherry tomatoes
  4. 1 zucchini, shredded
  5. 1 carrot, shredded
  6. 1/2 cup kalamata olives, sliced
  7. 1/2 cup feta cheese, crumbled (I use feta with pepper)
  8. Salt and pepper, to taste ( I omit the pepper when using feta with pepper)
Instructions
  1. Cook orzo according to package directions. Drain and place in a mixing bowl. While hot, toss with 3 tablespoons of reserved marinade from artichokes. Let cool, if preferred, add additional marinade to desired amount of dressing. Add remaining ingredients, toss. Refrigerate until serving. Remove from refrigerator 30 minutes prior to serving. Add additional feta when serving, if desired.
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Warm Caprese Salad

I literally turned up the heat on this favorite dish.  I heated the tomatoes until they were hot and sizzling and then poured them over the fresh mozzarella.  This dish dances in your mouth, peppery arugula, melting mozzarella and warm tomatoes.  I can’t think of anything better to serve on a beautiful spring day.  Perfect with grilled meats, fish or along side a juicy hamburger.

warm caprese salad

Warm Caprese Salad
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Ingredients
  1. Arugula
  2. 12 oz. fresh mozzarella
  3. 1 pint cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
  4. 4 tablespoons fresh basil, chopped
  5. Salt and pepper to taste
  6. Olive oil
  7. Balsamic vinegar
Instructions
  1. Line a salad plate or bowl with arugula. Top with sliced fresh mozzarella. Heat a small saucepan over medium high heat. Add 2 - 3 tablespoons olive oil. When hot, toss in the tomatoes. Cook tomatoes until they are hot and sizzling, stir frequently. Salt and pepper tomatoes to taste. Stir in 1/2 of the chopped basil. Pour hot tomato mixture over mozzarella. Drizzle with balsamic vinegar and top with remaining basil.
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Heirloom Tomato Salad

I think I have mentioned before that I am a true lover of tomatoes and I could eat them every day.  Well, for a tomato lover there is no better time in the year than in the summer when heirloom tomatoes are abundant at the local farmers markets.  The flavor of fresh-off the vine tomatoes cannot be beat.  I decided to make an heirloom salad to serve along side flat iron steaks that we were serving this past weekend.  I combined the tomato mixture early in the day and added the toasted bread cubes about 1 hour prior to serving.  The bread absorbed the wonderful juices from the mixture – it was a great combination and is easy to prepare and can be made ahead.  My kind of entertaining!

To grill fantastic flat iron steaks, simply brush with olive oil, salt and pepper.  Grill over medium high heat 5 minutes per side for medium rare.  Remove from grill and let rest for 5 minutes prior to serving.  After they rested, I topped the steaks with a combination of 2 cups of large chopped Italian parsley tossed with olive oil and lemon juice.   I added salt and pepper and then shaved parmesan cheese over the top of the parsley combination – delicious.

 heirloom tomato salad

Heirloom Tomato Salad
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Ingredients
  1. 3 large heirloom tomatoes
  2. 1/2 cup olive oil, plus 3 tablespoons
  3. 1/3 cup red wine vinegar
  4. 1/4 cup capers
  5. 1/4 cup kalamata olives, sliced
  6. 1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, chopped
  7. 1/2 loaf of unsliced bread, cubed - approx. 4 cups
  8. Salt and pepper, to taste
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400, cut bread into 1 inch cubes. Toss bread cubes with 3 tablespoons olive oil. Place on baking sheet and salt and pepper. Place in oven and bake 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until cubes are toasted. Remove and set aside.
  2. Peel tomatoes. Bring a sauce pan full of water to a rolling boil. Cut an X in the bottom of each tomato, place in boiling water for 10 seconds, remove and submerge in ice water. Remove and place on cutting board, peel tomatoes and cut into cubes, place in large salad bowl.
  3. Add the following to the tomatoes - capers, kalamata olives, basil and salt and pepper. You can prepare this a few hours prior to serving. Add red wine vinegar and remaining olive oil. Toss and cover. Keep at room temperature.
  4. One hour prior to serving, stir the bread cubes into the tomato mixture. Stir every 15 minutes so the bread can absorb the juices from the tomatoes.
  5. Serve
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Watermelon Salad

I will never forget a watermelon salad I had a few years ago.  Sweet, crunchy, tart, and just outstanding.  I saw a very ripe watermelon and decided it was time to try to recreate the salad that I still remember.  I do remember the crunch was from jicama.  When looking for jicama in the produce section it is a round and bulbous root vegetable that grows on vines.  It is grown in the warm climates of Central America, the Caribbean, the Andes Mountain regions, and Southern Asia. The texture is close to an apple; it is crisp, white, and has solid flesh. Wash them just as you would a potato, slice off the top and bottom and peel.  It is very good cold, however, it can also be cooked. A favorite Mexican recipe is chilled jicama slices sprinkled with chili powder, salt, and lime juice.

watermelon salad

Watermelon Salad
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Ingredients
  1. Cubed ripe watermelon
  2. Jicama, thinly sliced or cubed
  3. Feta cheese
  4. Toasted almonds
  5. Salad greens
  6. Lemon Vinaigrette
  7. Fresh mint, for garnish
Instructions
  1. For each salad
  2. Salad greens of your choice
  3. 6-8 cubes of watermelon
  4. 1/3 cup sliced or diced jicama
  5. 1 tablespoon feta cheese, crumbled
  6. 1 tablespoon lemon vinaigrette
  7. Dusting of toasted almonds
  8. Garnish with fresh mint
Notes
  1. Lemon Vinaigrette
  2. 1/4 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
  3. 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  4. 1 teaspoon sugar
  5. Salt and pepper, to taste
  6. Mix well
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Mandarin Spinach Salad

I am always trying new and different salads to serve.  Many times I make a salad once and start trying new combinations.  This salad is one that I have made over and over.  It is perfect with grilled meats, poultry or fish.  Add grilled chicken and you have a main dish salad.  Easy to prepare with easy to find ingredients – my idea of a winning recipe.

 

 Mandarin spinach salad

 

Mandarin Spinach Salad
Serves 4
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Ingredients
  1. Fresh baby spinach
  2. 9 fresh mushrooms
  3. 4 slices cooked bacon, crumbled
  4. 1 11 oz. can mandarin oranges, drained
  5. 1 large ripe avocado, sliced
  6. Dressing
  7. 1/2 cup olive oil
  8. 1/4 cup cider vinegar
  9. 1/4 cup sugar
  10. 1/2 teaspoon salt
  11. 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  12. 1/4 teaspoon dry mustard
  13. 1/8 teaspoon pepper
  14. 1/2 cup red onion, finely diced
Instructions
  1. Combine the dressing ingredients and shake thoroughly. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
  2. Toss the salad ingredients with the amount of dressing you prefer, just prior to serving.
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Quick and Easy Taco Salads

I am a fan of a great taco salad.  Years ago, you would have found me using a dried package of taco seasoning and adding it to ground beef to make the salad.  Over the years, I have tried to cook everything organic and with the least amount of additives (farm to table),  just like our moms did.  Restaurants lead you to believe they are on to something new – however, I don’t know about you but my mom always cooked everything fresh and from scratch.  I remember thinking how great it would be to have a sandwich on purchased bread, since I grew up only eating homemade bread.  Now, I am thrilled that I was raised by a cook, baker and chef.  You know the tale, shop the outside perimeter of the store and not the center aisles so you avoid those items that are loaded with ingredients that are best to stay away from.  Well, back to my taco salad.  For this salad I used ground turkey and seasoned the meat with one cup of organic salsa.  Delicious, easy and quick.  You can add any variation of complements to your salad, I love adding the blue corn chips.

Quick and Easy Taco Salads

Quick and Easy Taco Salads
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Ingredients
  1. 1 pound ground turkey
  2. 1 medium onion, chopped
  3. 2 tablespoons olive oil
  4. 1 cup salsa
  5. 1/2 cup water
  6. Lettuce
  7. Black beans
  8. Tomato, diced
  9. Avocado, diced
  10. Shredded cheese
  11. Sour Cream
  12. JalapeƱos
  13. Tortilla chips
Instructions
  1. Heat a large sauce pan over medium high heat. Add olive oil and onion, cook until onion is transparent, 5 - 8 minutes. Add turkey, reduce heat to medium and cook until meat is no longer pink, stir frequently to break meat into small pieces. Add salsa and water, reduce heat to low, cover and cook 8 minutes.
  2. Layer desired salad ingredients in large bowls, top with turkey mixture. Serve with your favorite tortilla chips.
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Vegetable Rice Salad with Garlic Herb Dressing

I am always trying new salads.  What inspired this salad was my trip to the grocery and finding gourney cheese with garlic and herbs  (Boursin)  on sale.  I took that as a challenge to come up with a salad that would incorporate this cheese.  Since it is a creamy cheese, I thought about a salad dressing.  I also had asparagus, zucchini and Peppedew peppers in my refrigerator.  I think the term ‘necessity is the mother of invention’  applies to this recipe.  The results were outstanding – a new rice salad to add to my salad list. 

 vegetable rice salad 3

 

Vegetable Rice Salad with Garlic Herb Dressing
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Ingredients
  1. 3 cups cooked rice, cooled
  2. Asparagus, cut and blanched
  3. 1 medium zucchini, chopped
  4. 5 Peppedew peppers, diced
  5. 1/4 cup toasted almonds
  6. Salt and pepper, to taste
  7. Dressing
  8. 1 5.2 ounce gourney cheese with garlic and herbs (Boursin)
  9. 2 tablespoons mascarpone cheese
  10. Juice of one lemon
  11. 1/4 cup milk
  12. 1/2 cup olive oil
Instructions
  1. Combine cooked rice, asparagus, zucchini, and Peppedew peppers in a large bowl. Combine dressing ingredients, pour over rice mixture. Add salt and pepper, to taste. Stir well to combine. Refrigerate. Top with toasted almonds prior to serving.
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