The essential summer side dish,
lovely filling lunch,
or hearty snack.
It just seems to call out “Summer” in a cheery, ringing voice each time it is set on the table, doesnt it?
We eat a lot of salads here at the Welcoming House because we have such large gardens, and because there is nothing better than a summer salad for a meal on a hot, humid day.
I decided for Meal Plan Monday this week I would share with you two of our favorite summer combinations around here at the Welcoming House, and let you choose which one you wanted to make first at home…that is, once you clean the drool off your keyboard, or phone.
Â Â Now I know in many parts of the country the term ‘salad’ is used to mean something that starts with leafy greens and then has additions on to it. It is only here, in Minnesota, that salad takes on a whole different life in the craziest creations of a housewife’s imaginations. I mean, who would think to make a couple boxes of Jello, throw in everything but the kitchen sink (pineapple, carrot sticks marshmallows, and apple pieces come to mind), cool it in a dish and call it salad….unless you are from Minnesota?
Â Â Yep. you never know what you are gonna get, and so, for too many years now since moving here from Colorado, I am careful to try to remember to talk in Minnesotan and get the low down on what they mean by “salad”.
Â I dont like surprises in my foods.
Â Â I am blessed that I have three beautfiul daughters who love salad, and just about any greens. My little ones are not allowed beyond the garden fence right now because the immediately think they are Nebuchanezzer and begin to graze their way through the garden, eating veggies and weeds alike. I actually had to stop one from trying to eat the Calendula yesterday….she looked like a donkey with half the flower hanging out of her mouth.
Â Â Thankfully though, when those type of items are put in front of them at dinner time, they dig right in and eat as much as their little tummies can hold…and my other two desperados here at the Welcoming House, the Big Kid and the Handy Hubby, are great salad eaters.
So I hope you will find our 3 favorite salads to your liking, and something worthy of adding to your main meal plan binders. Let me know what you think!
Our very first favorite is our Apple Chicken Salad.
- Start with a bed of fresh greens–here we started with loose leaf lettuce right from the garden, mixed with the Mesculun Mix we are growing out there too.
- I use shredded chicken from one of my home canned pintsÂ (although you can use chicken from the store if you want, of course), and layer the shreds over the lettuce. We use about one cup of shredded chicken for five people.
- Next, take a couple of crisp sweet/tart apples, such as a Braeburn, wash and dice up into smaller pieces over the lettuce. I plan on half an apple per person, unless it is the main dish for dinner, then allow more than that and add some sort of bread, sandwich or soup along with it.
- The next part of the salad is Cubed cheese, and our favorite to add to this salad is sharp cheddar as it pairs well with the apple. For a salad to serve five people, it will require about half a block of cheese.
- Add on about 1/2 cup of raisins (or craisins, if you found a good sale), another 1/2 cup of sunflower seeds, and 1/2 cup of shredded carrots, and you will have a meal to remember.
Â Â We make sure to set the table with everyone’s favorite salad dressings, and toppings, and next thing you know, everyone is digging in! The sweetness of the apples, carrots, and raisins, the protein in the chicken and nuts, all make the appeal of this salad big with kids and adults alike.
Our second favorite salad meal is one we call the Club Sandwich Salad, and as the name sounds, it is basically a broken down club sandwich made into a salad.
- Start with a bed of fresh greens, here we used spinach and lettuce combined to make the base since when we make sandwiches at home different ones prefer different things.
- Next take one package each of turkey, and ham sandwich meat (we tend to buy only the ones that are on sale and have really thinly sliced meat in it), and cut it into strips. This immediately gets layered over the lettuce so that it is well mixed up.
- the next step is to cut up two tomatoes (remember this is for 5 people, 6 servings, so if you have a smaller or larger family, please adjust as needed) in nice thin slices, and layer over the top of the meat.
- onion rings, cucumber slices and shredded carrots come next, each a new layer upon the other. For the onion, I use half of a medium sized onion, cut into the thinnest rings I can make, two larger cucumbers, and 3 medium sized carrots, washed, peeled and then shredded.
- After all of those layers have been made, I then add about 1 cup shredded cheese to the top of the salad, for this one we prefer Colby or White Cheddar shreds
- And finally to top off the salad, I will take 1-2 slices of fresh soft bread per person, and cut it into strips, which are then placed on top of each person’s salad to garnish. If you prefer the crispy bread effect, without going all the way to croutons, you can toss the strips with a little olive oil and some crushed oregano/basil, and put on a cookie sheet under the broiler for 2 minutes, stirring a couple times. Also, if anyone wants one, we also have hard-boiled, sliced eggs to top the salad.
- The salad dressing that I make for this salad is 1 cup mayo mixed with 1/3 cup milk, a tsp of brown sugar, a tsp of mustard, a couple shakes of the tabasco sauce bottle, and garlic salt and pepper to taste. That is placed in a jar on the table for anyone to use along with their salad.
Â Â Â With one of my very favorite holidays only two days away, I wanted you to know the rest of the week will be dedicated to ideas all celebrating the birth and life of our Great Nation! I am proud of her, proud of those who have fought for her and for the freedoms we enjoy daily here in the amazing United States of America. Please be sure to check back tomorrow for lots of wonderful ideas on how to celebrate Independence Day with your family and friends, including foods, fun, and lots of nostalgic reminders of why we love our country so much!!
Many Blessings to you and yours,