Real Food for Real Life

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Easy salads for busy days...

 Image courtesy of the New York Times (online edition)
 Warm weather means salad several times a week, and I don't mean the simple chopped romaine that we eat several times a week, year round, but salads made with just about anything, salads as main courses,salad, salad, salad.  Last year I posted a New York Times article by Mark Bittman that gave ideas for 101 simple salads for the season, and I am reposting that here.  Give this a look and I am sure you will be filled with inspiration.

Last week Bittman had an article about the loser lettuces romaine and iceberg.  As I said above, we eat romaine weekly, but iceberg we have rarely (it is all I ever had as a salad green growing up).  The wedge of iceberg with bleu cheese dressing did look good, however, so we had that as a side salad a few days ago.  The iceberg was a nice crispy contrast to the creamy richness of the bleu cheese, and we certainly have this again.  Just top a cold wedge of iceberg with a good quality dressing, homemade or purchased, and sprinkle with additional bleu cheese crumbles and a few grindings from the pepper mill.

Monday night I really wanted fried chicken, but this is not something I make, not liking the whole "frying" aspect of it.  My compromise is the fried chicken from the Kroger deli, which the whole family enjoys, hot or cold (great for picnics).  And, at $5.99 for 8 pieces, it is a bargain in my eyes for not having to fry it myself.  To go with the chicken I just threw together a simple macaroni salad, but not the limp,  mayo drenched macaroni salad of my youth, but a lightly dressed one full of crunchy veg.  This one is no more complicated than elbow macaroni cooked al dente, diced bell pepper (I used orange), diced red onion, and frozen peas (don't bother to thaw them).  Toss these together with just enough of your favorite ranch dressing to lightly coat, and again, the quality of the dressing is important.  I had added some sliced ripe olives, but they added nothing to the salad, so I won't use them again, although some crumbled crispy bacon would have been really good.  Since there is no mayo in this salad, it would be perfect for a picnic (along with that cold fried chicken :)

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