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.
James has been traveling for work quite a bit lately so I’ve been doing a lot of cooking for just me and Max. Normally that means I take a break from the kitchen and make things like hot dogs and poutines. But something has gotten into me lately and I’m finding myself wanting to make real dinners even when my hubby’s gone. But, since I’ve got both kids by myself I like to keep it simple and quick.
Recipes like this one are what help me keep it healthy when it’s just me and the kids. It comes together so quick it doesn’t even enter your mind that there might be something simpler to make. This coming from a girl who microwaves ham and cheese quesadillas on a regular basis for lunch. Because who wants to go through all of the work to preheat a pan? (Sad I know, but I honestly don’t mind them this way. These Chicken, Bacon and Black Bean Quesadillas on the other hand are far to special to make in the microwave.)
I’m very lucky because Max is not a picky eater. But, you can always tell when he REALLY likes something because he eats just as much as me (sometimes more). Pizza, waffles and spaghetti are a few of the items on that list and these wraps just joined them.
I love the way the sauce coats the chicken and thickens up a bit once it hits the hot pan. Makes my lips smack together just thinking about it. Although, if you want to pack this in a picnic lunch I would advise simply stirring the salsa and ranch together and using it as a dressing to drizzle over the wraps before rolling up. You could skip the whole cooking process altogether by using cooled leftover chicken as well. Either way it’s super quick and super tasty.
Chicken Salsa Ranch Wraps
- 1 pound chicken breasts, cut into strips
- salt and pepper, to taste
- shredded cheese, lettuce and sliced red bell peppers, to serve
- Heat a skillet over medium high heat. Add a small amount of oil to the pan, add chicken and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally until cooked through. Stir in salsa and ranch. Cook until bubbly.
- To serve: Place a tortilla on a plate. Top with chicken mixture, shredded cheese, lettuce and red pepper. Roll up and serve.
Adapted from Kraft.
When I was pregnant with my son I had major cravings for Mexican food and citrus fruits. The citrus fruits made sense as I must have been needing the vitamin C, but I have no idea what brought on the Mexican cravings. At least I wasn’t craving chalk as I’ve heard some women (particularly teachers) do. :) Ah, the unexplained occurrences that occur in a woman’s body when she is pregnant. Since then my love for everything Tex Mex has not really waned, the problem is I can only handle the spice so much. My body craves what it cannot handle. This Southwestern Ranch Dressing is a good proxy for me because it has all those mexican flavours without too much heat. Not only that, but it gets me eating veggies which always seem to have trouble finding their way onto my plate.
This is better then any Southwestern Dressing I have tried. The bottled stuff just doesn’t cut it for me and I am always left disappointed. The flavours in this dressing were exactly as always I imagined it should be. The smokiness from the cumin and a little spice from the jalapeno and hot pepper sauce add such a wonderful warmth and depth of flavour that is distinctly Tex Mex, while the dill, parsley and garlic powder make it undesputably a ranch dressing. I have made this often since discovering the recipe and will continue to, as it has replaced the old “boring” ranch dressing in my house.
What is your all time favourite dressing that helps give the veggies a shove onto your plate?
Southwestern Ranch Dressing
adapted from RecipeZaar
- 1/2 cup mayo
- 1/2 cup sour cream
- 2 Tbsp. milk
- 1 Tbsp. white vinegar
- 2 tsp. canned jalapeno, minced
- 1/4 tsp. onion powder
- 1/2 tsp. dried parsley
- 1/4 tsp. hot pepper sauce
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- 1/4 tsp. paprika
- 1/2 tsp. dried dill weed
- 1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper
- 1/2 tsp. cumin
- 1/4 tsp. garlic powder
- 1/4 tsp. black pepper
- Whisk all ingredients together in a bowl until well blended.
- Refrigerate at least 4 hours before serving so that the flavours can meld.
Makes: 1 cup
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