Macaroni Salad

Macaroni Salad is a summer staple.  I am sure everyone has a family recipe or favorite recipe they make during the summer.  There are so many variations to this basic salad.  I even think that the term ‘macaroni’ has gone by the wayside in favor of pasta salad or other more intriguing names.  However, I think there is nothing better to accompany grilled foods that a wonderful macaroni salad.  I added my favorite pepper, Peppedews to this salad.  If you prefer a more mild flavor you can certainly use chopped pimentos in place of the Peppedews.   This is a best made early in the day or the day prior, so the wonderful flavors can meld together.  If desired, you can certainly add tuna, chicken, shrimp or crabmeat to the salad.

macaroni salad

 

Macaroni Salad
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Ingredients
  1. 1 1/2 cups small shell or elbow macaroni, cooked according to package directions
  2. 1 tablespoon olive oil
  3. 2 stalks of celery, diced
  4. 5 Peppedew peppers, chopped
  5. 2 hard boiled eggs chopped
  6. 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  7. 1 tablespoon celery seed
  8. 1 tablespoon sweet pickle relish
  9. 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  10. 1/2 cup sour cream
  11. Salt and pepper, to taste
Instructions
  1. Drain pasta and mix with olive oil. Chill. Add all of the remaining ingredients. Chill until serving.
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Chutney Chicken Salad

I just love making cold salads for dinner during these warm summer months.  They are easy to prepare and this salad can be made in advance, as a matter of fact, this salad is better when made early in the day.  The flavors blend after being refrigerated covered for 4 hours or overnight.  This is a great salad to serve with a glass of chilled white wine.  That is my type of summer dinner!

chutney chicken salad

 

Chutney Chicken Salad
Serves 6
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Ingredients
  1. 2 cooked chicken breasts, cut into 1 1/2 inch pieces
  2. 1 apple, diced
  3. 1 cup fresh pineapple, diced
  4. 1/2 cup dried cherries
  5. 3 tablespoons chutney
  6. 1 cup mayonnaise
  7. 1 teaspoon curry powder
  8. Salt to taste
  9. Chilled cantaloupe, halved, peeled and seeded
  10. 1 cup coarsely chopped nuts
  11. Lettuce for garnish
Instructions
  1. In a medium bowl, combine the chicken, apple, pineapple, cherries, chutney, mayonnaise, curry powder, and salt. Cover and refrigerated 4 hours or overnight.
  2. When serving, place the lettuce leaves on individual chilled plates, Cut the bottoms of each cantaloupe half and cut into thick rings. Mound the salad in the center of the cantaloupe, top with chopped nuts.
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Vegetable Pasta Salad with Lemon Dill Buttermilk Ranch Dressing (Vango Salad)

Years ago, when we lived in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, we had a favorite dive hang-out.  Yes, it was a true dive, but the food was delicious.  They made this pasta salad with fettuccine and a dill ranch dressing.  To this day, we still remember the salad and I think I this combination is very close to the original.  I have added the name Vango Salad since that was the restaurant that inspired this dish.  I hope you like it as much as we do.  It is a real throw back recipe for me.

Vegetable Pasta Salad

Vegetable Pasta Salad with Lemon Dill Buttermilk Ranch Dressing
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Ingredients
  1. 1/2 pound fettuccine, cooked according to package directions
  2. Assorted diced or shredded vegetables (zucchini, carrots, celery, peas, or any preferred combination)
  3. Lemon Dill Buttermilk Ranch Dressing
  4. 3/4 cup buttermilk
  5. 3 tablespoons sour cream
  6. 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
  7. 2 teaspoons chopped dill
  8. 1 teaspoon chopped chives
  9. 1 teaspoon grated lemon peel
  10. 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
Instructions
  1. Cook pasta according to package directions, drain. In a large mixing bowl, combine pasta and assorted vegetables. Combine all of the dressing ingredients in a jar and shake vigorously. Pour desired amount over salad ingredients. Mix well. Refrigerate. Just prior to serving, add a bit more dressing if salad appears dry.
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Pasta Salad with Artichokes and Tuna

This is the perfect salad for a picnic or dinner on the porch.  If you prefer, you can certainly substitute cold grilled tuna or shrimp for the canned tuna.  This would be the perfect salad to serve with a savory bread and a chilled white wine.  How many ways can you say marvelous!  That is what this salad is!

pasta salad with tuna and artichokes

Pasta Salad with Artichokes and Tuna
Serves 4
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Ingredients
  1. 4 ounces pasta, cooked according to package directions
  2. 6 oz. jar marinated artichokes, chopped
  3. 1 can tuna, drained and flaked
  4. 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  5. 1/2 cup shredded carrots
  6. 2 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese
  7. 3 tablespoons olive oil
  8. 1 tablespoon capers, drained
  9. 1 tablespoon chopped Italian parsley
  10. Salt and pepper, to taste
Instructions
  1. Cook pasta and drain. Toss with olive oil. Let cool. Toss with remaining ingredients until well combined. Chill.
Notes
  1. When serving, it is great with a drizzle of olive oil on top.
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Chopped Chicken Salad with Homemade Chips

One thing I learned years ago when living in Texas, was how to make fresh tortilla chips.  I still make these chips and they are a favorite.  I remember when our children were young and they could not wait to have these for dessert sprinkled with cinnamon and sugar. After flying home from a fun weekend in Atlanta, I thought that a chopped salad would be quick and easy on this warm spring day.  I combined orange juice and spices for a wonderful marinade for the chicken.  I would plan on one chicken breast per person.  The salad ingredients can easily be adjusted for a larger crowd.  The only dressing needed is a dollop of sour cream and salsa. Check back for more postings on my food findings in Atlanta this weekend, a great food town for inspiration.

chopped chicken salad

homemade chips

 

Chopped Chicken Salad with Homemade Chips
Serves 4
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Ingredients
  1. 1/2 cup orange juice
  2. 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  3. 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  4. 1/4 teaspoon paprika
  5. 1/4 teaspoon cumin
  6. 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  7. 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
  8. Chopped romaine
  9. Shredded carrots
  10. 1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
  11. Chopped tomato
  12. Chopped avocado
  13. Chopped green pepper
  14. Sliced jalapeños
  15. Sour cream
  16. Salsa
  17. Flour tortillas
  18. Canola oil
Instructions
  1. Combine orange juice and spices in a large zip top bag. Mix ingredients in bag. Add chicken and place in refrigerator for 1 - 2 hours. Rotate occasionally.
  2. Prepare salad ingredients and place in individual bowls.
  3. To grill the chicken, over medium high heat place chicken on grill and grill for approx. 20 minutes, turning twice. Chicken is done when it reaches 165 degrees. Remove from heat.
  4. Slice chicken and place on top of salad, add one dollop of sour cream and salsa. Serve with homemade tortilla chips.
Notes
  1. Homemade tortilla chips
  2. In the bottom of a large heavy skillet, put in enough canola oil to cover bottom and you should have approx.1/4 inch layer of oil in the skillet. Heat over medium high heat, watching carefully. Cut tortillas into 8 wedges. To determine if the oil is hot enough, with tongs, dip a tortilla in the oil and if the oil begins to bubble around the tortilla, the oil is hot enough. Carefully slide tortilla pieces into the hot oil, turn as soon as one side is slightly browning. Each batch of chips takes only about 10 - 12 seconds in the oil. Carefully remove chips from the oil and place on a paper towel lined sheet. Let cool slightly and serve.
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Steak Salad with Parmesan Vinaigrette

In my opinion, it is hard to beat a wonderful steak salad.  I wanted to create a salad that incorporated ingredients that would be found in your favorite steakhouse.  Spinach, mushrooms, tomatoes (I loved those large grilled tomatoes they serve), squash, avocado, steak and a vinaigrette.   I marinated the steak in our favorite marinade, grilled until medium rare, sliced and served on top of all of the salad ingredients.  I then drizzled the vinaigrette over the steak.  Let’s just say – steakhouse wonderful!

steak salad with parmesan vinaigrette

Steak Salad with Parmesan Vinaigrette
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Ingredients
  1. Marinated Grilled Flank Steak
  2. Flank steak - size depending on number serving
  3. Juice of one lemon
  4. 1/2 cup soy sauce
  5. 1/4 cup red wine
  6. 3 tablespoons canola oil
  7. 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  8. 1 large clove garlic, minced
  9. 2 tablespoons chopped chives
  10. 1 teaspoon black pepper
  11. Vinaigrette
  12. 2/3 cups vegetable oil
  13. 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  14. 2 tablespoons honey
  15. 1 clove garlic, minced
  16. Salt and pepper, to taste
  17. 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  18. 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  19. 1 teaspoon paprika
  20. 1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese
  21. Salad ingredients
  22. Mixed greens
  23. 8 oz. sliced mushrooms, sautéed in 2 tablespoons of butter
  24. 1 yellow squash, grated
  25. 2 large tomatoes, sliced
  26. 1 avocado, cubed
Instructions
  1. Combine marinade ingredients and marinate steak in large ziptop bag, 2 - 12 hours, prior to grilling.
  2. Just prior to serving, grill steak (approx. 9 minutes per side for medium rare) and slice on the diagonal into thin slices.
  3. Vinaigrette
  4. Combine all ingredients and refrigerate.
  5. To serve, combine salad ingredients in a large salad bowl, top with sliced steak and drizzle with dressing.
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BLT Chopped Salad with Roasted Corn and Avocado Cream

One of my favorite sandwiches is a BLT.  In my opinion bacon, lettuce, tomato and toasted bread make the most magnificent sandwich. Here is a deconstructed version with roasted corn and topped with an avocado cream dressing.  For that crusty bread, I added toasted baguette slices chopped as croutons.  This is the perfect main dish or side salad, perfect with grilled meats, poultry or fish.  If you are a fan of a wonderful BLT sandwich, this is a must try.

blt chopped salad

BLT Chopped Salad with Roasted Corn and Avocado Cream
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Ingredients
  1. Romaine lettuce, thinly sliced
  2. 2 tomatoes, cubed
  3. 2 pieces of applewood smoked bacon, cooked and crumbled
  4. 1 avocado
  5. 1/2 cup sour cream
  6. 2 teaspoons lime juice
  7. 1 tablespoon olive oil
  8. Salt and pepper, to taste
  9. 2 ears of corn
  10. 1 tablespoon of butter
  11. 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  12. Baguette slices,toasted or purchased crostini
Instructions
  1. In a food processor, combine avocado, sour cream, lime juice, olive oil and salt and pepper. Pulse to combine. This dressing can also be prepared by mashing the avocado, add remaining ingredients and whisk until smooth.
  2. Heat a heavy skillet over medium high heat and add 1 tablespoon of butter and 1 tablespoon of olive oil, roast corn on all sides until slightly charred. This will take 10 - 15 minutes. Cut corn off of cob.
  3. Combine salad ingredients, toss with dressing. Top with toasted bread slices, crumbled. Serves 4.
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Raspberry Romaine Salad

When I walked into the grocery store this morning,  I immediately saw the fruits that are bold in color and look beautiful after a long winter.  I picked up these jumbo raspberries and decided to add them to a salad.  This is a simple salad made with romaine, raspberries and chopped pecans.  I used white balsamic raspberry blush vinegar when I made the vinaigrette.  I think goat cheese would also be wonderful crumbled on top of the raspberries.

Raspberry Romaine Salad

Raspberry Romaine Salad
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Ingredients
  1. Vinaigrette
  2. 1/4 cup raspberry vinegar
  3. 2 tablespoons honey
  4. 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  5. 1/4 teaspoon lemon juice
  6. 1/2 teaspoon salt
  7. 1/4 cup canola oil
  8. 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  9. Assorted salad greens, my preference is romaine
  10. Raspberries
  11. Chopped pecans
  12. Goat Cheese (optional)
Instructions
  1. Combine vinaigrette ingredients. In a large bowl combine salad ingredients, drizzle desired amount of dressing over salad and toss gently. Serve.
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Spiced Pineapple, Blueberry and Blue Cheese Salad

This is such a great combination for a spring salad, since today is the first day of spring.  I have always loved spiced peaches, so I thought I would try making spiced pineapple.  The combination of the spiced pineapple with the blueberries and blue cheese is a winning trio.  If you would like to make a main meal salad, grilled chicken would be a wonderful addition.

Spiced Pineapple Salad

 

 

Spiced Pineapple, Blueberry and Blue Cheese Salad
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Ingredients
  1. 1 1/2 cup fresh pineapple chunks
  2. 1/8 teaspoon allspice
  3. 2 tablespoons vinegar
  4. 1/4 cup and 1 tablespoon pineapple juice, divided
  5. 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  6. 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  7. 1/4 cup sour cream
  8. Salad greens
  9. Blueberries
  10. Blue cheese
Instructions
  1. In a small saucepan combine the pineapple, 1/4 cup pineapple juice, vinegar and allspice. Bring to a boil, simmer 10 minutes. Add brown sugar. Combine remaining 1 tablespoon pineapple juice with the cornstarch. Add to the pineapple mixture, continue cooking and stir until thicken. Remove from heat. Refrigerate if you are making early in the day.
  2. When you are ready to serve. Remove pineapple from sauce. Add sour cream to sauce and whisk to combine to make the dressing for the salad.
  3. On individual plates, place salad greens, top with pineapple and blueberries. Drizzle dressing over and sprinkle with blue cheese crumbles. Serve. Makes 4 servings.
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Avocado Orange Salad with Poppy Seed Dressing

 This is a very light and refreshing salad.  Even though an unexpected combination, you will find that the flavors are spectacular together.  Use the dressing sparingly, you can always add more.  I find that drizzling the dressing over each plated salad makes a beautiful presentation.  You can also add grapefruit, blood orange slices or any other citrus combination you prefer.

Avocado Orange Salad

 

Avocado Orange Salad with Poppy Seed Dressing
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Ingredients
  1. Salad ingredients to include lettuce varieties, avocados and citrus slices.
  2. Poppy Seed Dressing
  3. 1/4 cup honey
  4. 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  5. 1 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  6. 2 tablespoons poppy seed
  7. 1/3 teaspoon salt
  8. 2/3 cup canola oil
Instructions
  1. Combine all dressing ingredients in a screw top container. Shake vigorously until the dressing thickens. Refrigerate. Shake well before using.
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