I’m not a great salad person. I love salads, don’t get me wrong, but I seem to enjoy them more as a main dish because you can add things like grilled chicken and black beans. Most of the time they fall flat as a side dish for me since I seem to have absolutely no creativity when it comes to vegetables. (Fruity salads on the other hand don’t seem to be a problem.) One of my goals is to try to find more side-salads to add to my repertoire. So, if you know any good ones feel free to shout them out!
We’ve been making this salad since last year. It started out as just a cucumber and tomato salad since the guys love cucumber. Then we made a few more additions and turned it into a favourite. So much so that it’s pretty much the only salad we eat. And so far we haven’t gotten tired of it (that’s saying a lot).
I wasn’t sure what to call this salad. It’s pretty reminiscent of a greek salad but it tastes nothing like it since it’s coated in ranch dressing rather than a greek vinaigrette. It goes great with pretty much any main dish or grilled meat and it takes advantage of those plentiful summer cucumbers and tomatoes.
One thing I have learned is that the key to a tasty salad is seasoning the vegetables with salt and pepper before dressing. This seriously makes all the difference and I strongly encourage you to try it in all your savoury salads.
What’s your go-to salad at dinnertime?
Chunky Cucumber Salad
Feel free to adjust the amounts to your taste. I always just toss things in until it looks good, so this is an estimation of the amounts you use. Do what’s best for you.
1 english cucumber, quartered and chopped
1 heaping cup cherry tomatoes, halved
salt and pepper, to taste
1/4 cup (heaping) olives, sliced lengthwise
1/2 cup chopped feta
1 cup croutons
2 tablespoons ranch dressing
Place cucumbers and tomatoes in a medium-sized bowl. Season with salt and pepper.
Add olives, feta, croutons and dressing. Toss to coat. Serve immediately.
Feeding a crowd? To make this salad stretch further add a head of chopped romaine lettuce.
Nothing is more frustrating to me then wasting food. Whether it be because I burnt something, forgot about it in the back of my fridge, made something less then stellar, or simply bought too much of it. Whatever the case, I hate to throw away food.
One of those foods that seems to always go bad before it”s eaten in our house is bread. One of my largest hinderances to baking fresh bread is knowing that it will probably go stale before we are even halfway through it. And, since I don”t like anything to be a hinderance to me in the kitchen, I got to work figuring out ways to use it up without having to gag on the dryness.
Two of my favourite ways to use up those bread scraps are to make homemade croutons and breadcrumbs. Not only does it save us money, but since they are things that we use on a regular basis, it”s nice to know that they are much healthier being made at home. Not to mention extremely easy.
Below are instruction on how to make both croutons and breadcrumbs as well as recipes for Parmesan Garlic Croutons and Italian Breadcrumbs. Here are a few tips on how to go about it.
Do not use already stale bread. If you don”t like to eat stale sandwiches you won”t want to eat stale croutons either.
If you find yourself with lot”s of little scraps that don”t seem worth the effort to turn into something else, freeze them. Once you have a larger collection, pull them out and get to work.
If you do freeze your bread, this will probably mean you have a variety of breads stored away. The combination of breads will add a more complex flavour as well as some pizzaz to both the croutons and the breadcrumbs.
If there is any moisture in either the breadcrumbs or the croutons, they will not be able to store at room temperature without going mouldy. If you would like, you can store them in the freezer. If they regain any moisture, simply give them a short toast to perk them up.
To make croutons: cube some bread, toss it with oil and herbs, and bake at 375ºF until golden and crisp (15-20 min).
If you use only olive oil and no other perishable ingredients you can store these sealed at room temperature.
If you use butter in place of oil, or fresh herbs or garlic, you must store the croutons in the freezer.
In order to achieve the crispy breadcrumbs you purchase at the store, you will want your bread to be completely dried out and toasted. To do this, place slices of bread on a baking sheet, in a single layer, and bake at 300ºF for 10-15 min. until dry, flipping halfway through cooking time.
If your bread is already quite dry and you are only making a small amount you can rather toast it in the toaster until dry.
Once the bread is toasted, allow it to cool completely and then chop it roughly and place it in a food processor. Process until fine crumbs are created.
If you are not able to achieve fine crumbs then the bread still has too much moisture. Place the crumbs onto a baking sheet and bake again until completely dry.
Always allow to cool so that no moisture can build up, then process again until you are able to achieve the texture of crumbs that is desired.