Category Archives: Salads I Have Known and Loved

CREAMY Fire and Ice Salad, Plus My Veggies For The Week

Creamy and cool and perfect for summer!

Fire and Ice Salad often contains some sort of pepper (cayenne or jalapeno) to create fiery heat, and then combined that with super-crisp and thoroughly chilled cucumbers, tomatoes, and onions, to create a super-refreshing salad that both teases and cools the palate. I decided to take that concept, mix it up with the concept of a cucumber raita (a yoghurt and cucumber condiment/salad used to cool the palate in between hot curries) and make it my own!

Hence, I present…CREAMY Fire and Ice Salad!

I make my own preservative-free ranch dressing mix, and I used that as a base for the dressing, mixing it with sour cream, yoghurt, mayo, and a dash of lemon juice, for a refreshing salad that makes the perfect accompaniment to any summer meal.

This can easily be thrown together in 5 minutes, and then set in the fridge to chill until the rest of the dinner is ready. If you don’t want to make your own ranch dressing mix, you can definitely replace it with a store-bought package. You do you, boo!

 

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CREAMY FIRE & ICE SALAD

A deliciously cool and creamy salad, perfect to serve alongside BBQ during the summer months!

Servings 6 people

Ingredients

  • 3 tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 English cucumber, chopped
  • 1/2 red onion, finely chopped
  • 3 tbsp. ranch dressing mix
  • 1/2 c. sour cream
  • 1/2 c. yoghurt
  • 2 tbsp. mayo
  • 1 tbsp. lemon juice

Instructions

  1. Mix sour cream, lemon juice, mayo, yoghurt, and dressing mix together.

  2. Toss with chopped tomatoes, cucumbers, and red onion.

  3. Chill and serve!

I mentioned my veggies for the week in the title to this post. I tend to buy whatever is on sale and whatever looks especially good. I just finished my weekly shop, so this week’s veggies are sweet potatoes, cabbage, cucumbers, tomatoes, fresh spinach, and sweet peppers. I’m making Sweet Potato and Hummus soup, garnished with avocado and sour cream; Coleslaw, using my mum’s recipe (oil and vinegar based); Spinach Salad (IF the strawberries that I’m growing on my balcony ripen in time); and of course, today’s recipe, CREAMY Fire and Ice Salad. Given that I’m cooking for two but using family-sized recipes, I’ll have lots of delicious and nutrient-filled veggie dishes for the week!

Next Post: Probably something veggie-filled. Although I’m also craving some fruit. Watermelon smoothies, anyone? 

Linking Up at Meal Plan Monday, Clever Chicks Blog Hop, and Happiness is Homemade!

Best Ever Macaroni Salad, and…Eating for Two

Best ever macaroni salad!

I hosted a family BBQ this weekend, as it was a long weekend here in Canada (Victoria Day weekend, also known as May 2-4 weekend). One of my contributions was my Best Ever Macaroni Salad! It was a hit! This macaroni salad isn’t your sad buffet macaroni salad, but is a fresh version with no preservatives but a whole lotta flavour! A variety of spices give it flavour, and the secret ingredient, balsamic vinegar, gives it that umami taste that makes your mouth water in anticipation.

This is a very easy macaroni salad to throw together, and it gets better the longer it sits in the fridge. I have used fresh red and green peppers in the salad (for colour and crunch) and other times I’ve used dehydrated red and green peppers. The seasonings can of course be adjusted to your own taste. Make it your own!

Want to make some? Let’s get started!

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BEST EVER MACARONI SALAD

This easy pasta salad is great to bring to BBQs or family dinners. Easily thrown together from mostly pantry ingredients, you'll knock of everyone's socks with the great taste of this salad! 

Servings 4 people

Ingredients

  • 3 c. cooked macaroni
  • 1 c. mayonnaise
  • 1/4 tsp. nutritional yeast
  • 1/4 tsp. onion powder
  • 1 tsp. dried onion
  • 1/4 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp. smoked paprika
  • 1 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 c. chopped red & green peppers (or substitute 2 tbsp. chopped dried peppers)
  • 1 tsp. dried parsley
  • 1 tsp. mustard powder
  • 1 tbsp. chopped green onion (optional)
  • salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Mix all ingredients together, and let sit in fridge for at least two hours. Serve chilled! 

 

Oh, and guess what? The title to this post referenced it, but…I’m pregnant! Did you figure it out from my gender reveal cake post a few weeks ago? I wasn’t announcing it then, so I tried to imply that it was for someone else, but it was really about ma bebe. Because I’m having a little girl! Am so excited. My husband and I call bebe-to-be by a nickname, Baby Pina (baby pineapple), so I think that shall be her blog name. Baby Pina is expected in about 5 months, and let me tell you, I can really notice an increase in appetite (at least now that the all-day and all-night morning sickness has eased off a bit). I need to eat every few hours or else I get all vomity. Fun times. So, lots of protein-rich food it is! I made Easy Enchiladas yesterday, but used a heavy hand with the beans to up the protein, and plan to make yoghurt tomorrow to add into my favourite smoothies during the week. In other words, lots of healthy food!

Next Post: Something healthy but delicious, I think! Heavy on the delicious. I haven’t decided what to make yet, but am craving something creamy. And sweet. Maybe a custard cream cake? Not so healthy, but oh so delicious! 

Linking Up at Meal Plan Monday, Clever Chicks Blog Hop, and at Happiness is Homemade!

The Only Greek Salad Recipe You’ll Ever Need

Photo of my mother’s recipe card included. The hallmark of a good recipe are the stains on the recipe card!

And…I’m back! Where was I for the past month, when this blog was eerily silent? Well, I was actually off sick for three weeks. Too sick to work, so too sick to blog. I’ll tell more in an upcoming post, but for now I just want to talk about food! Specifically, this Greek Salad! It’s a recipe I got from my mom, and I’ve eaten 7 batches of this salad in the past month, and plan to make and eat three more this week. So, obviously, it’s a delicious recipe! And easy to make, because aside from a batch of blueberry pancakes that I made yesterday, it’s been the only thing I’ve cooked/made in the past month!!!

This super-Spring-like Greek Salad is easy to toss together, and can be made in less than 15 minutes. You could easily add some pasta to make a Greek Pasta salad, but personally, I love that it’s almost all vegetables (I’m counting tomatoes as a vegetable in this one instance). Mmm…my precious vegetablessssss!

Want to toss a batch together yourself? Let’s!

Greek Salad

  • 4 tomatoes
  • 1 English cucumber
  • 8 oz. Feta cheese (I often use the stuff in containers in the dairy section, but the best stuff is the super creamy version from a good deli counter)
  • 1/2 c. black olives
  • 1/3 c. oil (I use vegetable, but olive would be more authentic)
  • 2 tbsp. fresh lemon juice (fresh makes it SO much better)
  • 1/2 tsp. oregano
  • salt and pepper to taste

 Chop tomatoes and cucumbers. Add crumbled Feta cheese. Add remaining ingredients and toss to coat. Serve chilled! 

I remember eating bowls of this as a child, along with super-fresh crusty French or Italian bread (there was a very authentic Italian bakery close by). A delicious way to get in your vegetables!

As I said, you could easily add some pasta to this to stretch it or to add some heft to the meal, with the salad dressing coating the pasta. But truly, this is a great meal all on its own. I’ve recently been eating bowls of this at midnight, and it’s just as delicious as when served at lunch or dinner! (Perhaps even more delicious when it’s extra chilled and eaten in bed while resting on plumped pillows and watching TV. Being an adult is so much fun!)

Next Post: Chocolate Ice Milk? Blue Velvet Pancakes? Copycat Peach Yoplait? It all depends on what I’m craving!  

Linking Up at Meal Plan Monday! And again!

Salads I Have Known and Loved: Baked Falafel Croutons

So deliciously crunch!

Falafel are one of the few take-out foods that do not taste good reheated. They tend to dry out and become overly mealy when eaten the next day. So what to do when you’ve got leftover falafel sitting in your fridge? Make falafel croutons, obviously!

I tend to eat a lot of salads for health reasons, and I like to switch up the toppings to keep things interesting. I’m also always in search of ways to add vegetarian protein to my diet. And then last week the DH and I ordered takeout from a local Middle Eastern deli, and ended up with leftover falafel. I opened my fridge the next day and looked the head of lettuce sitting on the shelf. I looked at the stale falafel in its wrapper. A light bulb went off in my head, and bam! Falafel croutons were born!

Want to make some yourself? Let’s!

Baked Falafel Croutons

  • 2 falafel
  • 1 tbsp. vegetable oil
  • 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp. onion powder

Chop falafel into cubes. Toss with oil and seasonings. Bake in a 400 degree oven for 10 minutes, flipping them over after 5 minutes. And…you’re done!

That’s right, these croutons bake up in the time it takes to chop up your salad. I made them with purchased falafel, but they could easily be made with homemade falafel. Probably healthier that way, anyway. The two falafel will actually be enough for two salads. Unless you prefer to snack on the croutons like popcorn, which is actually not a bad idea.

As I was finishing up the salads (topped with my fave ranch dressing) the DH came into the kitchen and started nibbling away on the croutons. His reaction? “MMMM!” and then, “Why can’t you make crappy food?” I must have looked a bit taken aback, because he clarified:  “Why do you always make such delicious food? I’m going to gain weight!” A bit of an awkward compliment, but I’ll take it regardless! All of which is to say, falafel croutons are YUMMY!

Try making some yourself, and switch up the seasonings to suit yourself and/or your salad. Let me know what flavourings you think work best!

Next Post: Coconut Buttercream Frosting, probably the best coconut flavoured food to pass your lips this year. Seriously good stuff! Also seriously easy, which means I am all over it!  

Linking Up at Meal Plan Monday! And at Happiness is Homemade! Plus, at Full Plate Thursday!

The Purest Ranch Dressing You’ll Ever Make, & Foodie Accomplishment Awards

Plate o’ greens, drizzled with nectar o’ the (ranch) gods!

I generally eat a lot of salad, and while I do like salad, I need to switch up the dressings every now and then or my palate gets bored and craves carbs. I recently mixed up this Ultra-Pure Ranch Salad Dressing, and I love it so, so incredibly much!

What I really love about it, is that I know exactly what went into it — no preservatives, no commercial additives, no artificial colours or flavours, just pure herbs and dairy. Sounds too good to be true? It’s not!

I mixed up my own dry ranch mix using this recipe, made my own mayo using this recipe (WAY easier than you think), and used some of my own homemade yoghurt. The secret ingredient that makes this dressing so good? Buttermilk powder, which I bought at a local bulk store. That, and the lack of anything artificial, is what makes it so tasty! This is as pure a ranch dressing as ever came from a ranch. Or in my case, condo.

Let’s make some up!

Ultra-Pure Ranch Salad Dressing

  • 3 tbsp. dry ranch dressing mix (I used this recipe)
  • 1 c. homemade mayo (I used this recipe, but substituted the olive oil for vegetable oil, because it tastes better)
  • 1 c. homemade yoghurt

Mix the ingredients all together and serve over salad! Your loved ones (and your taste buds) will thank you!

Dip it, dip it good!

This dressing is so good just drizzled over plain lettuce, or even used as a loose dip. I can’t wait to pack it for work lunches so I can have that yummy fresh taste on my lunch break. And it’s all healthy! Doesn’t food taste even better when you know it’s good for you? Yum, yum, yum!

Sometimes I feel like there should be foodie accomplishment awards, like for when you make your first loaf of homemade bread, or as in this case, when you make a recipe out of ingredients that you’ve made yourself! If a foodie accomplishment award existed, what would you award it to yourself for? Let me know in the comments!

Next Post: Speaking of food that’s good for you, I came up with a recipe for a peanut butter & jam smoothie, that’s packed full of protein, fibre, and antioxidants, and tastes EXACTLY like a PB& J sandwich! Stay tuned!

Linking Up at Meal Plan Monday! And at Happiness is Homemade!