A Perfect Meal

March 30, 2010 at 4:25 pm | Posted in Salads, Soup | 26 Comments
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In my humble opinion a perfect meal, anytime of year is a luscious salad, a well-flavored delicious soup and a chunk of crusty bread. 

Here’s the latest trio I served up.

Creamy Olive Soup.  This is a delicious and elegant soup and with white wine, both black and pimento-stuffed olives, light cream, is a knockout anytime of year. This can be served as a first course, or add some chicken to make a heartier entrée. You’ll find the recipe below.

Orange, Avocado Spinach Salad.  How is this for a blend of flavors and textures: lush fresh spinach, juicy oranges, smooth creamy avocado, green onion, garlic with the tang of vinegar and sweet orange juice. Anyone interested?  A lot of salads come out of my kitchen and this is one of my favorite recipes ever. You’ll find my personal salad rules and the recipe below.

Costco has some of my favorite little chewy yummy baquettes. They come in a bag of six and I always grab a sack for the freezer.

Let’s talk about salads.  My rules for pampering those beautiful greens into deliciousness are simple.

  • Use the best ingredients
  • A thorough washing.
  • A thorough drying (moisture dilutes dressings).
  • A large salad bowl to make vigorous tossing easy.
  • Garlic, crushed, and rubbed around your serving bowl before anything else is added.  Some say peel the garlic clove and rub over inside of bowl then discard garlic. Don’t be a wimp, add the whole crushed clove.
  • Chilled salad plates from the freezer always make a salad taste better.
  • Tossing the greens in oil before applying and tossing with dressing.  This seals the leaves’ own moisture, flavor and will keep it looking fresh and crisp.
  • Try always to make your own dressings. Why not? Easy, delicious and better tasting.

So with all that said, let’s make that salad.

Orange, Avocado and Spinach Salad

6 cups fresh spinach, washed and dried

Shake in a jar:

  • 1/2 cup fresh orange juice
  • 3 T. red wine vinegar (I used white balsamic raspberry vinegar this time)
  • 1 T. lemon juice
  • 1 T. sugar or honey (warm honey so it will blend easily)
  • 1/2 t. soy sauce
  • 1 t. grated orange rind
  • Several good grinds of fresh black pepper

Set aside

In your serving bowl, squeeze 1 clove garlic through a garlic press. Rub the garlic around the bowl. Pour in 1/2 cup peanut oil. Add the spinach and toss to coat.  Working quickly add:

  • 1 – 2 oranges, peeled and sectioned
  • 1 ripe avocado, peeled and sliced
  • 2 green onions, sliced with green tops included

Shake the contents of the jar vigorously, pour over the salad, toss a couple of times and divide onto chilled plates. Serve immediately.

Creamy Olive Soup

In a saucepan melt 4 T. butter

Saute 1/4 cup each finely diced onion, carrot and celery

When vegetables have softened sprinkle them with 5 T. unbleached white flour

Gradually whisk in 4 C. chicken stock

Stir vigorously with the whisk as you raise the heat to medium to prevent lumps. When stock is smooth and slightly thick, transfer from skillet to your soup pot. Add 1 C. white wine.

Simmer for 20 minutes then stir in 1 1/2 C. half and half.

Lower heat, do not allow soup to boil.

Add 1/2 C. cooked white rice

1/4 C. each sliced large black and pimento-stuffed green olives.

1/4 C. frozen peas

2 C. cooked chicken breast which has been cut into bite sized pieces.

Heat through, taste and adjust seasonings. Sprinkle in some white pepper and salt if needed.


Enough for two meals, I changed it up a bit for leftovers and made it a triple olive soup with a sprinkle of sliced green olives stuffed with jalapenos. 

And with enough dressing left, same salad without the fruit, simply topped with sunflower seeds. Delicious.

This soup is heading to paradise, as I’m sending it to Deb over at Kahakai Kitchen for her Sunday Souper feature.  You can visit her HERE.


Soup, Salad and Bread.

It’s What’s For Dinner.



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  1. That is an awfully good choice for a meal!

    • Thanks BD, as always thanks for stopping by and the comment.

  2. That is a delicious looking meal and I’m especially intrigued with the soup. To make it a perfect meal though, I think you need a little pork BBQ to go between those bread slices :-).

    • Ya know, I knew there was a reason that I hang out with you! You always know how to add that special touch to any meal! 🙂

  3. That all looks great but the soup is the thing that is REALLY calling to me! 10 times yum! Alexis will love this one too.

    • Let me know if you give it a try and what you think. It’s really pretty easy to make. Thanks Chris

  4. You know, I’ve never heard of olive soup before. But I adore olives. So basically. This may be what has been missing all my life.

    • I’m an olive fan myself. Always a jar in the fridge and a can in the pantry and a visit to Whole Foods is never complete without a trip to their olive bar.

  5. I’ve never had olive soup… and this sounds really wonderful! This goes to the top of the ‘try now’ list!

    • I’m pretty sure you’ll like it. Let me know. Thanks for stopping by Liz

  6. I’m with you – soup and/or salad with bread = PERFECT! Girl, that salad dressing sounds delicious! I never think to use orange as my citrus, but I will do this soon. The olive soup sounds great, too – always love wine in a recipe! 😛

    • I really like wine in soups. As the saying goes, “I love cooking with wine and sometimes I even put it in the food”

  7. Looks like the perfect dinner to me! 😉 I am loving that olive soup–so different and looks so good. Let me know if you want to have them in the Souper Sunday round-up this week.

    • Thanks for the reminder Deb, it’s on it’s way to paradise.

  8. I’m all about that soup.

    • I’m a soup freak-o Are you back in town already????

  9. This is a wonderful meal! I’ve never had olive soup and it’s time to try it. Looks so comforting.

  10. With the coming of spring salads are a big part of our menu; often the only part and this salad look perfect.

    A big thanks for the dressing too and I’m with you…why pay for inferior products at the grocery when a blend of ingredients on hand makes for such a superior, fresh result!

    • re: dressings

      And so easy.

      Thanks for stopping by Barb

  11. I adore salads anytime of year as well. Each season offers a new fruit or vegetable to vary your salads. That citrus dressing looks wonderful!

    • Thank you Christine, very well said. Thanks for stopping by and the comment.

  12. What a great looking soup! I’ve never heard of an olive soup, but your photos are making me drool!!

    • Thank you Barbara. It’s really a nice soup. Let me know if you give it a try and thanks for stopping by.

  13. Everything spinach catches my eye right now because I have quite a crop of little spinich leaves coming up in raised bed 1. Since husband won’t touch the stuff, it’s all mine. Now what shall I do with it all?

    • oh man, wish I had a crop of little spinach leaves. I’m wanting a raised garden in the back yard. Hopefully this year.

  14. […] One Year Ago: Creamed Olive Soup and Salad […]

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