Favorite Summer Salads….

I love to cook and since I hardly ever entertain anymore perhaps I can show you some of my favorite summer salads…before summer ends! I do try to keep well stocked in the summertime with fresh fruits and veggies. It is so easy to come up with a simple salad idea when the days are hot and cooking on a stove isn’t one of my favorite things to do. Also most of the salads I make are for one person to enjoy. My son hasn’t developed the love for salads that I have. I always hope that one day he will, just as my adult children have expanded their likes in food since growing up!

Flowers 018I like to start with the freshest ingredients. This year I invested in a basil plant so that I could have fresh basil all summer long. One of my all-time favorite quick and easy salads to make is what I call the Tomato & Mozzarella Salad. Here’s the recipe.

One ripe Roma tomato,  sliced, other tomatoes will do but I prefer the Roma  tomato for this salad
One-half round ball of fresh mozzarella
Fresh basil leaves
Olive Oil
Fresh ground pepper
Salad and flowers and my boy 032Slice the tomato and then slice the cheese. Place one slice of cheese on each tomato slice. Sprinkle with ground pepper and place a basil leaf or slice of a large basil leaf on top of each tomato/cheese slice. Arrange nicely on a plate and drizzle olive oil on the top. You can eat now, or you can serve on a slice of French bread. As you can see in the photo I placed this salad on a bed of lettuce and made it a meal.

A great variation on this salad is to use cherry tomatoes and the little pearl balls of fresh mozzarella, or cut small slices of the larger ball, then place on a skewer with fresh basil in between each layer of tomato-cheese. I have also used cherry tomatoes and the pearls of mozzarella mixed with my favorite lettuce and added fresh basil mixed into the salad then served it with my favorite salad dressing or no dressing at all. So many ways to fix this salad so don’t be afraid to think creatively and give it a try.

60th birthday 002Here’s another quick and easy salad that has become one of my favorites. I call it Fruit On A Bed! Here’s the recipe.
Choose your favorite lettuce, wash and chop into bite sizes…place on a plate as this is the bed, get it, a bed of lettuce!
Choose whatever fresh fruits you have and make sure to have at least three. As you can see, I choose cantaloupe, strawberries and fresh blueberries. Add the chopped pieces of fruit on top of the lettuce and you are ready to eat a lovely and simple salad. You could add nuts or coconut on top or your favorite fruity dressing, but I like mine just like it is in the photo. Yum!

The sky is the limit as to variations one can make with this salad. You could use lettuce, grapes, banana slices or watermelon. What about a combination of lettuce, apples, craisins or raisins and pears! I have taken the same theme and made many variations of wonderful easy-to-prepare salads. I hope you will give one of these a try.

Now for a meal-in-one salad. I call this one Apple & Chicken Salad. It’s a great way to used leftover cooked chicken. Here’s the recipe.May Flowers 001

One baked and cooled chicken breast, chopped into bite sized pieces
One apple, washed, cored, and sliced into bite sized pieces
One-third cup freshly washed blueberries or grapes, either are really nice with this salad
One-fourth cup, or a little less than one-fourth, chopped nuts…walnuts, almonds, pecans or whatever is your favorite
Mix in a bowl and add dressing made as follows:
Two or three tablespoons reduced calorie mayonnaise
One tablespoon fresh milk, or apple juice, or water
One teaspoon, more or less, ground cinnamon
A dollop of honey, just squirt some in the bowl
Mix in a small bowl with a whisk and taste. If you need more of anything add it now. Once you have the dressing to taste then pour over salad and mix all together. Now you can eat!

As you can see I am not a fussy cook when it comes to measurements in making a salad dressing. You can usually figure out if you have too much of one ingredient or not enough of another simply by tasting. It is pretty simple to add marshmallows or nuts to your favorite salad especially if there is too much dressing. Sometimes I will add fresh tarragon to the Apple Chicken salad rather than the cinnamon as I love the flavor of tarragon and it gives a nice variety to my taste buds. I also can easily double the salad by adding more apples and still have a nice salad if two or three are dining with me. This salad is so versatile and that is what I like about it!

However you make your salads, the point is to stop being a slave over the stove and get out and enjoy what is left of summer. Comment on this post if you want more recipes in future posts.

Until next time……Katherine

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