Arugula, Cantaloupe and Avocado Salad with Spicy Lime Vinaigrette

July 24, 2011 at 9:52 am | Posted in Fruit, Salad Dressings, Salads | 44 Comments
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With soaring temperatures and our famous Rocky Ford Cantaloupe just hitting our markets does anything sound better than a fresh salad of fruit, greens, a citrus vinaigrette with a kick and topped with a creamy avocado? No way to describe this but simply delicious. You’ll notice I didn’t have any avocado on hand but did have some hearts of palm that made an impressive stand-in appearance.  Want to make it a main course?  Just add some shrimp that’s been cooked and cooled…like you’d prepare for shrimp cocktail. Thanks to Fresh and Foodie for posting this recipe.  Let’s take a look.

Arugula, cantaloupe and Avocado Salad with Spicy Lime Vinaigrette (adapted from Fresh and Foodie):
• 5 ounces arugula, washed and spun dry
• 2 cups cubed seedless watermelon (I used cantaloupe)
• 1 avocado, cubed
• 1/8 cup extra virgin olive oil
• The juice of 1 lime
• 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
• Salt and freshly ground pepper

1. In a large salad bowl, toss the arugula and watermelon. Set aside.
2. In a medium bowl, whisk together olive oil, lime juice, cayenne pepper and salt and pepper to taste. Add cubed avocado to the vinaigrette and toss very (very!) gently. This step prevents the avocado from browning in the salad.
3. Add vinaigrette and avocado to the salad bowl and lightly toss to combine. Top salad with freshly cracked pepper before serving.

Arugula, cantaloupe and Avocado Salad with Spicy Lime Vinaigrette…It’s What’s for a Dinner Salad.


Grilled Asparagus and Steak Salad with Hoisin Vinaigrette

July 1, 2011 at 6:07 am | Posted in Beef, Salads | 35 Comments
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During the summer months, I cannot get my fill of lean meats, greens and fresh homemade vinaigrettes.  Here’s another recipe for a flavorful dish with an exciting new dressing.  Don’t let the length of this recipe scare you away, this salad packs bright flavor with minimal fuss.

Grilled Asparagus and Steak Salad with Hoisin Vinaigrette (Another great find from Food and Wine Magazine)

Continue Reading Grilled Asparagus and Steak Salad with Hoisin Vinaigrette…

Linda’s Tree House Salad, David’s Grilled Lamb Chops and The Winery at Holy Cross Abbey

June 11, 2011 at 5:20 pm | Posted in Lamb, Salads | 28 Comments
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Pull up a chair and sit back and relax, we’ve got a lot to cover in this post.

From now on, I think I’m going to let our friends Linda and David be my recipe “finders”. Everything passed on from them has been outstanding. Let’s take a look at some great finds, compliments of our friends. This most recent story starts with David being asked to be a judge at a car show in Canon City, CO. They asked us to keep their dog, Sassy, for their overnight stay that Saturday. 

Continue Reading Linda’s Tree House Salad, David’s Grilled Lamb Chops and The Winery at Holy Cross Abbey…

Grilled Chicken Wilted Salad

April 16, 2011 at 1:02 pm | Posted in Chicken, Salads | 34 Comments
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During the week I try to plan lots of light-meal salads for dinner. They’re salads that contain lean meats, lots of greens and vegetables tossed into a single dish meal with a lively vinaigrette. Not only are they delicious and healthy, they also make way for weekends filled with cheeseburgers, Italian sausage laden pasta dishes, bacon and egg breakfasts and dare I mention…ice cream topped cinnamon bun bread.

This Grilled Chicken Wilted Salad is one of my favorites. It comes together in about 30 minutes and can practically be made one-handed without having to put down your after work/before dinner glass of wine.  The combination of flavors here are striking thanks to the warm dressing, Kalamata olives and rosemary dusted chicken tenders.  And with the techniques of tossing the chicken and onion in olive oil before cooking and finishing by steaming the whole dish covered with a plate, you end up with a nice texture and wonderful warm flavors. Let’s take a look:

Grilled Chicken Wilted Salad

  • 1 lb chicken tenderloin
  • 1 medium onion, halved lengthwise, cut into thin wedges (this might be the only time you’d have to set down your wine)
  • 3 Tbs olive oil
  • 1 Tbs snipped fresh rosemary or 1/2 tsp. dried rosemary, crushed
  • 3/4 tsp coarsely ground black pepper, 1/2 tsp salt, 1/4 cup cranberry or pomegranate juice
  • 2 Tbs red wine vinegar
  • 2 6-oz. pkg. baby spinach leaves
  • 1/4 cup sliced pitted Kalamata olives
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts or slivered almonds, toasted

Heat indoor electric grill or grill pan over medium heat.

In a bowl combine chicken and onions. Toss with two tablespoons of the olive oil, rosemary, and 1/4 teaspoon each pepper and salt.

Grill chicken and onions on grill rack or in grill pan for ten minutes, or until chicken is no longer pink, internal temperature reaches 170 degrees F, and onions are tender, turning once. 

Meanwhile, for dressing, in a saucepan combine juice; vinegar; and remaining olive oil, pepper and salt. Bring  juice mixture just to boiling; remove from heat. Place spinach, olives, pine nuts, chicken, and onions in an extra-large salad bowl; toss to combine. Pour warm dressing over salad mixture. Toss lightly. Cover salad with a large plate for one to two minutes or just until spinach is wilted. Remove plate. Serve immediately. Makes six servings.

Grilled Chicken Wilted Salad…It’s What’s for Dinner.

One Year Ago: Ranch Grilled Chicken Tacos

Linda’s Strawberry Spinach Salad Recipe

April 5, 2011 at 7:32 pm | Posted in Salads | 29 Comments
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With temperatures in the 80’s on Saturday and snow on Sunday,  it’s officially Springtime in the Rockies, which has inspired me to post this change of seasons, simple and fresh salad recipe. 

One of my favorites, it comes from my friend Linda.  This is the same Linda that brought us Linda’s Moist and Delicious Corn Bread recipe. I love the tangy dressing on this quick fix salad and it’s a staple all summer long, whether alongside a cheeseburger off the grill or a dish of pasta from the stove-top.  With an all-star line-up of ingredients of seasoned rice vinegar, Tabasco and sugar for the tangy tart vinaigrette combined with the fresh crunch of the crisp spinach, sweet plump strawberries and salty sunflower seeds, you’ve got one great combination of flavors. 

Let’s take a look.

Linda’s Spinach and Strawberry Salad:

2 Tbs seasoned rice vinegar
1/4 Cup olive oil
2 Tbs sugar
1 Tbs Tabasco sauce
2 Whole green onions — chopped
3 Tbs sunflower seeds
1 Pint strawberries — sliced
1 Bunch baby spinach — (12 oz)

1. Rinse spinach, add strawberries and sunflower seeds.  Add dressing.

Speaking of friends, look at this little gadget Cauleen gave me for Christmas. It makes whisking up a vinaigrette a breeze. Just add ingredients  and squeeze the handle which activates a stirrring spiral  inside the carafe and voila. It even comes with a little pouring spout for use at the table. Recipes for classic vinaigrettes are printed on the outside along with measurement lines for ingredients. L-O-V-E love this thing.

Linda’s Strawberry Spinach Salad…It’s What’s for Dinner.

One Year Ago: Shrimp and Grits

Mexican Dinner Menu: Mexican Christmas Eve Salad

December 27, 2010 at 12:52 pm | Posted in Mexican/Southwest, Salads | 42 Comments
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When researching salad recipes for my Mexican Christmas dinner, this colorful Christmas Eve Salad jumped out with festive enthusiasm in almost every search result.  Each recipe was a little different but the list of ingredients usually included lettuce, beets, oranges, bananas, jicima, pomegranate seeds, peanuts and even small hard candies.  A pinata in a bowl if you will. 

I really couldn’t find much of a history, or where this recipe originated,  just the reoccurring theme of beets and fruit, served in a glass bowl and is a traditional salad during the holidays in Mexico and in the Southwest. All in all, you couldn’t ask for a more eye-catching dish. With the glass bowl and layering of colorful ingredients,  it almost reminded me of an English trifle. It was promptly placed on my menu and all I had to do was pick through the array of ingredients and decide upon a creamy or vinaigrette dressing. Yes, there were as many versions of dressings as salad ingredients. I chose a creamy. Let’s take a look.

Mexican Christmas Eve Salad (my version):

  • 2 red beets, roasted peeled and sliced
  • 2 golden beets, roasted peeled and sliced
  • 1 small jicima, peeled and sliced
  • 1 navel orange, peeled and sliced
  • 1 head romaine lettuce, coarsely chopped
  • Seeds of one pomegranate
  • 1 handful chopped peanuts
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Layer all ingredients in a glass bowl lightly salting and peppering as you go.

I decided on a creamy dressing recipe that I found on one of my favorite blogs, Homesick Texan.

For the dressing:

1/4 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup sour cream (Mexican brand if you can find it)
1 tablespoon lime juice
1 tablespoon orange juice
1 canned chipotle chile, minced
Salt and black pepper to taste

The results:

  • A salad that you practically had to wear sunglasses to look at
  • A salad that was a little hard to dish up, I would chop next time instead of slice
  • A salad that was incredibly festive on my Mexican Feast table
  • The creamy dressing was absolutely delicious, especially using a Mexican style sour cream
  • A delightful concoction that has now found a place in my recipe database (minus the hard candies)

Mexican Christmas Eve Salad…It’s What’s for the Holidays.

Flashback To Old College Taco Salad Recipe

November 20, 2010 at 9:41 am | Posted in Mexican/Southwest, Salads | 40 Comments
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The last time I made this I was wearing bell bottom jeans which had been split at the hem to insert a flowered cloth panel to make them even more bell bottomed, a tie-dyed t-shirt that I dyed myself and Cat Stevens was playing in the background “Ooo baby baby it’s a wild world”.

A couple of weeks ago a message came through from Food Buzz offering coupons for Fresh Express salad mixes. Since I eat salads practically every day for lunch and buy Fresh Express salad mixes and salad kits often, I jumped on my first   “freebie” offering.  To receive the coupons you had to reply with what you were going to make out of Fresh Express packaged salad mixes and agree to blog about it. 

At this point, I experienced my first ever official flashback and this old Taco Salad recipe popped into my head.  

Between this recipe and boxed Kraft Macaroni and Cheese (which I swear has drugs in it to make it so good, hence the official flashback) this is what I lived on while receiving my higher education.

I’m assuming this recipe was on a Kraft Catalina dressing bottle, but however we found it, it was a staple.  I honestly haven’t made this in ages. I don’t have a recipe, it doesn’t appear in my official lifetime recipe data base, but I made it often enough in College that I thought I could whip it right up. 

Let’s take a look:

  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1/2 yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 package taco seasoning
  • 1/2 bottle (or so) of Catalina or French-style dressing
  • 1/2 C. water
  • 1 can chili beans, drained
  • 1 tomato, diced
  • grated sharp cheddar cheese
  • Frito chips

Brown hamburger and onion in fry pan.  Add taco seasoning, dressing and water and simmer until thick (about 15 – 20 minutes). Stir occasionally so it doesn’t stick. Drain beans and stir into the meat mixture after it’s thickened. Take a hand full of Fritos and lightly crush over the meat and bean mixture. Top with grated cheddar cheese.  Spoon up a serving in your Corelle bowls or plates, pour a glass of Annie Green Springs cherry wine and you’ve got dinner.  I can’t remember if any lettuce was originally involved and if it was, it was most certainly iceburg. Did we put chunks of iceburg lettuce and mix it into the hot beef/bean mixture???

As you can see, I couldn’t bear to buy Fritos, so built my salad on an organic tostada shell, spread with  beef/bean mixture, topped with handful of Salad Express Spring Lettuce Mix, chopped tomato and shredded cheese, and some chopped avocado. Served on my Fiestaware plates with a glass of Australian Shiraz it really tasted delicious.

So what were you eating, drinking and listening to in college?

Old College Taco Salad Recipe…It’s What’s For Dinner.

Roasted Pear with Blue Cheese Salad

October 1, 2010 at 1:47 pm | Posted in Salads | 33 Comments
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When our friends Kathy and Tom invited us to a dinner party and asked that I bring a salad, I knew I wanted to throw together something seasonal…a  salad that oozed Fall. Since we’ve had unseasonably hot temperatures, I wanted something that reminded us of falling leaves, crisp temperatures and sweater weather. Opening up my recipe database, my salad section didn’t fail me. This Ina recipe was just waiting to join the party.

My notes indicate that about two years ago I watched Ina make this on her show and promptly headed over to Food Network and copied  the recipe into my database.  Don’t know why I haven’t given it a try until now. 

The flavors are exquisite.  The sweet baked pear topped with the rich pungent port wine sauce, stuffed with blue cheese, a crunch of walnut  and a tart craisin, finished with lemon and olive oil, all nestled on a bed of peppery arugula make this a wonderful combination of flavors and a perfect fall salad. This recipe has been moved from my “Salads” chapter to my “Fabulous Finds”  in my cookbook database. Take a look:

Roasted Pears with Blue Cheese:

3 ripe but firm Anjou pears
Freshly squeezed lemon juice (3 lemons)
3 oz coarsely crumbled sharp blue cheese such as Stilton
1/4 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup walnut halves, toasted and chopped
1/2 cup apple cider
3 Tbs port
1/3 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
1/4 cup good olive oil
6 oz baby arugula
Kosher salt

1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

2. Peel the pears and slice them lengthwise into halves. With a small sharp paring knife and a melon baller, remove the core and seeds from each pear, leaving a round well for the filling. Trim a small slice away from the rounded sides of each pear half so that they will sit in the baking dish without wobbling. Toss the pears with some lemon juice to prevent them from turning brown. Arrange them, core side up, in a baking dish large enough to hold the pears snugly.

3. Gently toss the crumbled blue cheese, dried cranberries, and walnuts together in a small bowl. Divide the mixture among the pears, mounding it on top of the indentation.

4. In the same small bowl, combine the apple cider, port, and brown sugar, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Pour the mixture over and around the pears. Bake the pears, basting occasionally with the cider mixture, for 30 minutes, or until tender. Set aside until warm or at room temperature.

5. Just before serving, whisk together the olive oil, 1/4 cup of lemon juice, and 1/4 cup of the basting liquid in a large bowl. Divide the arugula among 6 plates and top each with a pear half. Drizzle each pear with some of the basting liquid, sprinkle with salt, and serve warm.

Servings: 6

Roasted Pear with Blue Cheese…

It’s What’s For a Fall Salad.

Topolobampo Envy

June 27, 2010 at 6:06 pm | Posted in Chicken, Mexican/Southwest, Salads | 20 Comments
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Son Sean and DIL Stacey had us over for a beautiful dinner on Father’s Day.  And I mean beautiful. Sean is a well-known artist whose creative flare is equally evident in the dishes he served up. Before we get to the food, why not take a look at his website so I can get that shameless proud parent plug out of the way.  🙂

But wait,  there’s one more piece of business I need to address before we talk about the food. And by the way, I’m pretty sure my fellow Rick Bayless groupie friend  Heather over at Girlichef  will throw almost as big a fit as I threw. 

I walked in the door to see a shiny brand spanking new copy of the Rick Bayless Mexican Everyday cookbook laying on the coffee table. “Oh good, we’re having Mexican” was my first thought. But then became suspicious and wondered why the cookbook wasn’t in the kitchen. Sure enough I opened it up to find THIS:

That’s right, autographed by the genius himself. I briefly went into a coma then eased into a stunned state until I could gather the facts. I swear some people have all the luck. 

Sean and Stacey had just returned from a trip to Chicago.  While they were there just happened by some iPhone reservation notification process got into Bayless’s restaurant Topolobampo for dinner.  Topolobampo is one of those places where you need reservations at least six months in advance…not 15 minutes. Not only did they get into the place, Bayless  just happened to be there and autographed the cookbook for them.  :::::sigh

By the way, they said the meal and service at Topolobampo was extremely memorable and fabulously delicious.

Here’s the Bayless-inspired meal Sean served us for Father’s Day.

I love a good simple guacamole but now Sean’s version is my new favorite.  His mixture was inspired from a couple of different restaurants and a couple of ideas of his own. Take a look:

Sean’s Guacamole

  • 2 ripe avocados
  • a sprinkle of cumin
  • 1 T. jalapeno pepper, seeded, deveined and finely chopped
  • a sprinkle of garlic powder
  • 1 T. orange juice
  • Red onion – diced
  • Tomato – diced
  • a squeeze of  lime juice

Top with pistachio nuts pieces and a dusting of El Guapo. You can also sprinkle on a bit of crumbled goat cheese. Serve with corn chips.

Sean used this great flavored seasoning which I will buy as soon as I can get my hands on some. I know where I can find it in Denver, but also found it on-line at this Mexican Pantry.


A beautiful tuna ceviche. Sushi-grade tuna with all the fixin’s.

The salad was a recipe straight out of  “Mexican Everyday”. A delicious, crisp jicima salad with lime cilantro dressing. 

The cool fresh salad was a perfect partner for the heat of the adobo chicken he served. A side of grilled pineapple and green beans with a spicy little chipotle chili gleaming in adobo sauce for decoration (or to eat if you’re brave). Beautiful. Sean coated the chicken with adobo sauce from a can of chipotle’s in adobo…

…grilled it on his new Char-broil infrared grill which seemed to work like a charm. The higher cooking temperatures from the grill sears the meat quicker, securing the juices for tender and delicious results.

And how about this dessert!  Grilled plantains with a side of cinnamon ice cream and fresh berries topped with walnuts. L-O-V-E-D this.

 Those kids can cook!

Bayless Inspired Dinner

It’s What’s For Father’s Day

Asian Chicken Salad with Wasabi Dressing

June 26, 2010 at 2:56 pm | Posted in Chicken, Light Meals, Salad Dressings, Salads | 26 Comments
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This is just a quick post with another great big little summer salad recipe. 

I’ve been out of town this week drenching myself in alpine tranquility, lazy mountain lake strolls, wildflower meadows and campfired evenings on our first trip of the season to the high country.

Knowing the trip was going to be another fatstravaganza food event, I took it easy before we left and whipped up this delicious summer salad.

Melissa Rubel over at Food and Wine does it again with this interesting combination of  flavors. And if you like wasabi, you’re going to love this double hit. This salad starts out soothing you with a fresh cool crunchy base of poached chicken, pear, cucumber and bean sprouts and then kicks your butt with a topping of wasabi peas and a creamy spicy wasabi dressing. Yum…eee.

Let’s take a look:

Asian Chicken Salad With Wasabi Dressing

  1. 4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves (1 3/4 pounds)
  2. 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  3. 1/4 cup rice vinegar
  4. 2 1/2 tablespoons wasabi powder (I’m not sure I actually used that much – you may want to start with 1 1/2 T. and taste test as you add a little more at a time)
  5. 1 1/2 teaspoons Asian sesame oil
  6. 1 1/2 tablespoons water
  7. Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  8. 2 heads Boston lettuce, torn into bite-size pieces (I had spinach that I needed to use)
  9. 1 large Asian pear—halved, cored and thinly sliced (I used a regular ol pear)
  10. 1/2 seedless cucumber, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced on the bias
  11. 2 scallions, white and green parts thinly sliced
  12. 1 cup mung bean sprouts
  13. 1/2 cup roasted wasabi peas, coarsely chopped


  1. In a large saucepan, cover the chicken breasts with water and bring to a gentle simmer. Cook over moderately low heat until the chicken is white throughout, about 12 minutes. Transfer the poached chicken breasts to a plate and let stand until cooled slightly, about 10 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, whisk the mayonnaise with the rice vinegar, wasabi powder, Asian sesame oil and 1 1/2 tablespoons of water and season with salt and pepper.
  3. In a large serving bowl, toss the lettuce with the Asian pear slices, cucumber, scallions, bean sprouts and 2/3 cup of the wasabi dressing. Slice the chicken breasts crosswise 1/4 inch thick and lay the slices on top of the salad. Spoon the remaining wasabi dressing over the chicken breasts, sprinkle with the chopped wasabi peas and serve at once.

Serves 4

Asian Chicken Salad with Wasabi Dressing..

It’s What’s For a Summer Dinner and Souper Sunday

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