Friday, October 22, 2010

Food For Thought

It has been yet another wild and woolly week!  And my kids are home again ... don't they ever go to school?!? :)  Between bringing food to MOPS, bringing food to school for conferences, preparing food for Norah's tea party and prepping dinner for her birthday party and baking a chocolate cake x2 ... I'm almost fooded out!  But, I wanted to share some yummy recipes with you anyway.  So, I will take a little break from Halloween costume construction to share this with you.  In light of the craziness of the week, I am posting this "Food For Thought" a day early, but I'm sure you won't mind too much.  :)

This week's food post is all about salads ... some of my favorites for their simplicity and flavor.  Enjoy!

Creamy Coleslaw
(This is an original creation ... sort of reminiscent of KFC, but different.)
1 head of cabbage
1 bunch of cilantro leaves, rinsed
Splash of vinegar
1/4 cup mayo
1 T. sugar
Salt & Pepper, to taste

Chopped and ready
The secret weapon!
Cut the cabbage into quarters.  Cut the core out of the cabbage and send the sections through your food processor (or chop it fine).  Put this in a large bowl (you will want enough room to add the remaining ingredients and still be able to mix it well.)  Chop the cilantro leaves and add that to the cabbage.  In a small bowl (I used my Pyrex measuring cup) add the vinegar, mayo and sugar.  Mix well.  You should have a watery mixture to add to the salad.  Add a bit more of each if it doesn't look like enough.  Pour this mixture over the cabbage.  Now to get a bit dirty. :)  Using your hands, scrunch the coleslaw and mix the sauce into it.  By using your hands you will gently bruise the cabbage and speed up the marinating process.  When well mixed, add a dash of salt and pepper and mix again.  Refrigerate the salad for a few hours and stir well before serving.  Yum!  We serve this with anything off the grill ... a cool and refreshing salad.

Fresh, Creamy Goodness

"Everything But the Kitchen Sink" Pasta Salad
(This is also an original creation ... and is a tad bit different every time I make it.)

16 oz pasta (rotini, elbows, fusilli ... you pick!)
3 T. vinegar
1/4 cup olive oil
Salt & Pepper, to taste
And ... whatever you want to toss in!
Here are some ideas:
Chopped tomatoes,
Chopped cucumbers,
Sliced olives,
Chopped green onions,
Chopped peppers,
Feta or Blue cheese,
Chopped kielbasa sausage,
Chopped avocado,
Shredded cheddar cheese,
Chopped sun dried tomatoes,
Chopped artichoke hearts,
You get the idea! :)

Prepare pasta according to the instructions on the box.  When the noodles are cooked, drain them in a colander and rinse with cool water.  Dump the drained and cooled noodles into a large bowl.  You will want to drizzle a little olive oil over the noodles and give them a quick stir so they don't stick together while you prepare the rest.  Choose the veggies/meat/cheese you want and add to the noodles (I scope out my pantry and add whatever sounds good!).  Mix the vinaigrette in a small bowl and then add to the noodles and veggies.  Give it a good stir and then let it chill and marinade in the refrigerator for a few hours.

I had three different pasta salads going together in my kitchen the other morning.  So my apologies to anyone who is one of our teachers, a MOPS attender and lives in my home ... your dinners have been a bit redundant! :)

Campanelle, Rotini & Rigatoni

Crispy Chicken Salad
(This is one of my favorites and was inspired by a Wendy's salad, actually!)

Easy ingredients ...
Romaine lettuce, rinsed and chopped
Breaded chicken, cooked (There is a Kroeger brand in the freezer section that we use.)
1 can of mandarine oranges, drained
1 cucumber, chopped
Green onions, chopped
Sugar snap peas, cut into thirds
Chow Mein noodles
Asian Salad Dressing
I also like feta cheese with this, but didn't have any on hand this week.
We served this with toasted pitas* on the side.

Fill salad bowls with the chopped lettuce and top with oranges, cucumber, peas and green onions.  After baking the breaded chicken according to the package instructions, let it cool and then chop it into bite-sized pieces.  Top the salads with chicken, noodles and drizzle with salad dressing.  I like this salad option because it's easy to transform it into an easy kids meal:  crispy chicken fingers, cucumber to dip, mandarin oranges for a treat and pita bread on the side.  Everybody is happy!

*To toast pitas, lay them in a single layer on a cookie sheet.  Drizzle a little olive oil on each one and brush with basting brush to make sure they are well coated.  Sprinkle them with a little coarse salt and then broil them until crispy.

Delicious salad!

One of the best parts about these salads is that they are not dependent on summer's fresh produce (although that does make them better!) and so you can enjoy these recipes even this Fall and Winter.  Add one to a casserole this week and freshen up your dinner!

1 comment:

  1. Yum, they all look good! I don't normally like cole slaw, but I like your's!
    Caleb calls that chicken, "furry" (it kind of is, not in a moldy way!) :-P


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