Broccoli Raisin Cashew Salad


Broccoli Raisin Cashew Salad
Author: 
Recipe type: Salad, Side
Prep time: 
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Yield: 6-12
 
This is a wonderful salad that surprises people who think they don’t like broccoli and excites people who already know they love it. It is a very simple, easy salad with just 5 ingredients and some seasoning to taste. The sweetness of the raisins makes this a salad that even children enjoy. Sometimes people add a little sugar to the mix, but I don’t find it necessary. If you like it especially sweet, increase the quantity of raisins you include. While this recipe may not make a convert of George H. Bush (who claimed to hate broccoli), you will find that this disappears quickly although it can be refrigerated for a day or two and remain crisp and delicious. Like any recipe, this one can be tweaked to your taste by using dried sweetened cranberries instead of raisins, sunflower seeds instead of cashew pieces, different onion types, or even some yogurt instead of mayonnaise. You can use some bacon bits to add a smoky, meaty flavor. This is my favorite version. I like to use the microwave oven to cook vegetables quickly without a lot of vitamin-robbing water; however, you can choose to steam the broccoli or even drop it into boiling water and remove it as soon as the color changes to bright green and then cool it. The broccoli should remain crisp after cooking, not soft as it might be if you were serving it as a hot vegetable side dish.
Ingredients
  • 2 pounds of broccoli crowns
  • 2 ounces of raisins
  • 4 ounces of roasted salted cashew pieces
  • 4 ounces of finely diced red onion
  • 10 tablespoons of mayonnaise (This salad can be vegan if you use a vegan mayonnaise.)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. Cut the broccoli crowns (including the stem parts) into small bite size pieces. Rinse them and drain them, leaving a little water clinging to the florets. Cook on high in a microwave-safe casserole dish (such as Corningware) or bowl for about 4 minutes or until crisp-tender. If you are using Corningware, you can submerge the bottom of your container in cold water to cool it quickly. If you are using something like Pyrex, transfer to a cool bowl.
  2. Add the raisins, cashew pieces, diced red onion, and mayonnaise to the broccoli. Mix gently until all of the ingredients are evenly dispersed. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper if you like.

 

Strata Lorraine


Strata Lorraine
Author: 
Recipe type: Entree, Main
Prep time: 
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Yield: 10 main dish servings
 
Strata is a fancy name for a casserole of bread, milk, eggs, cheese, and ingredients that flavor the custardy result, allowing you to make it in a different version every time. This is an excellent breakfast buffet item during the holidays because it can be assembled the night before, refrigerated and put in the oven about an hour before you intend to serve it. It is reminiscent of quiche, but without the high-calorie, time-intensive crust. It can easily be made in a quantity suitable for a large group. In this case, the well-known Quiche Lorraine was the inspiration for the dish. Reduced-fat Jarlsberg Swiss cheese, sautéed onions, and bacon are the basis for preparing this flavorful casserole. Some recipes call for layering the ingredients, which is why it got the name “strata”, but layering is not necessary. Once again, this is a base recipe that you can alter to your taste and the occasion. You can switch out the type of cheese you use, the type of bread you use, the meat you choose (or no meat), the vegetables you add, the seasoning, etc. You can make the dish richer by using full-fat cheese or half and half to replace the milk. I especially enjoy a vegetarian version made with sautéed mushrooms and blanched broccoli. A Mexican-inspired version that reminds me of chiles rellenos can be made with green chiles and a mixture of Jack and Cheddar cheeses, served topped with a spicy tomato sauce.
Ingredients
  • 1 large onion
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 pound loaf of bread (Butter-top wheat works well)
  • 1 pound Jarlesberg reduced-fat cheese
  • 1 cup bacon bits
  • 9 eggs
  • 3 cups milk
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter a 3 quart casserole dish, such as a Pyrex 9x13 pan. Cut the onion into 1/4 inch dice. Sauté in the butter over medium-low heat for about 15 minutes until the onion caramelizes and becomes golden and sweet. While the onion is cooking, dice the cheese into small pieces (or grate it if it is a single piece) and place in a large bowl. Cut the bread into 1/2 inch dice and add to the bowl. Add the bacon bits and black pepper. Add the sautéed onions. Mix to distribute the ingredients. Pour into the baking dish.
  2. Whisk the eggs in a medium bowl. Mix in the salt and the milk. Pour the liquid gently over the bread mixture and press the bread lightly into the dish to distribute the moisture evenly. At this point, you can cover the dish with plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator until the next day. Remove from the refrigerator and bake in a 350 degree F. oven until puffed and golden, about 50 minutes to 1 hour 10 minutes.

 

Tastes Like Summer Corn Salad

 

Tastes Like Summer Corn Salad
Author: 
Recipe type: Vegetable, Salad, Side
Prep time: 
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Yield: 10+
 
This recipe is adapted from Heidi Swanson and 101 Cookbooks. While Heidi considered this a summer salad, we have enjoyed it other times of year by using good quality, thawed frozen sweet corn as a substitute when fresh corn is not available. If you use frozen corn now, try this again with fresh corn when summer crops are super sweet. Regardless of which corn you use, the end product will be a sweet, crunchy, chewy salad with a light lemony vinaigrette, that you can serve cold or at room temperature. If you don’t have a shallot, you can use a small amount of another type of onion, but mellow it in the lemon juice before you proceed with the rest of the preparation. You can make the vinaigrette in a bowl or jar, but for picnic transport or do ahead, the jar works better.
Ingredients
  • 6 medium ears of corn or 3 cups of frozen sweet corn, thawed
  • 1/2 cup diced red bell pepper
  • 1 large shallot, minced
  • 1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 3/8 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons light oil (olive, canola, etc.)
  • 1/2 cup toasted pepitas (shelled Mexican pumpkin seeds)
  • 1/2 cup toasted sunflower seeds
  • 1 teaspoon Mexican oregano or substitute another herb
Instructions
  1. If you have toasted the pepitas or sunflower seeds yourself, put them aside to cool. If you are using fresh corn, remove the husks and silk and with the corn lying on your cutting board, use a sharp knife to cut the kernels from the cobs a row or two at a time as close to their base as you can. Doing only a couple of rows at a time maximizes getting as many full kernels as possible. Place the kernels in a medium bowl with the red bell pepper and shallot while you make the dressing.
  2. Combine the lemon juice, salt, sugar and oregano in a small bowl or jar and mix until the salt and sugar are dissolved. Gradually add the oil, whisking vigorously until the dressing comes together or shake in the jar. Taste, and adjust with more lemon juice, salt or sugar, if needed. This dressing should be on the sweet side, and not overly tangy and acidic.
  3. Just before serving, add the seeds to the bowl of corn along with the dressing. Toss well, getting everything well coated. You can garnish the salad with a little more oregano that you rub between your hands to sprinkle over the top.

Mean Woman Pasta

Mean Woman Pasta
Author: 
Recipe type: Salads, Vegetarian
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Yield: 12-16 sides
 
Here is another very versatile salad that is great for potlucks. It is best after it has marinated for a minimum of several hours, so it is a good salad to prepare the day before you plan to serve it, with no last minute effort other than a quick re-stir. If you are going to a party with a loved one, make sure you both eat some, as garlic has a strong role in this. As with other pasta salads, it can go a long way and is inexpensive, especially in the late summer when tomatoes are abundant. You can still make it at other times of the year using good quality canned, diced tomatoes, but there is nothing quite like the sweetness of a home-grown, ripe tomato. If you are planning to do some of the preparation with a food processor, I suggest dropping the garlic cloves into the running processor and when they are chopped, stop to add the tomatoes and pulse them to get small chunks of tomato. Resist the urge to set the processor to “on”, as that will give you tomato sauce. If you haven’t tasted a Kalamata olive, you should. Kalamata olives are the ones you also will find in a tasty Greek salad. I don’t recommend trying to substitute with other sliced black olives as they will not have the distinctive taste of the Kalamata which makes this salad so good.
Ingredients
  • 1 pound small pasta such as shells, elbows, bowties, etc.
  • 3 cups chopped tomatoes
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 24 kalamata olives, pitted and sliced
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, chopped coarsely
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 12 pepperoncini (pickled peppers)
  • 1/4 pound of feta cheese, crumbled (optional)
Instructions
  1. Cook the pasta according to the package directions and drain, but do not rinse. Combine the tomatoes, garlic, olives, basil, olive oil, and pepperoncini. Toss the pasta with the sauce and marinate for several hours or overnight. You could eat it immediately after preparation, but it will improve from letting the flavors meld and the garlic mellow a bit over time.

Cabbage Ramen Salad

Cabbage Ramen Salad
Author: 
Recipe type: Chicken, Salads, Tofu, Vegetarian
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Yield: 18
 
My family loves this salad. It is a great dish for taking to potlucks as you can feed a lot of people without spending a lot of money. I have doubled and even tripled the recipe for parties and it always seems to disappear. Cabbage is one of the superfoods that should have a bigger role in our diets. It is low in calories, high in fiber, and a good source of vitamins and minerals. It is a member of the cruciferous vegetable family which is associated with a reduced incidence of a number of cancers. You can buy coleslaw mix, but cutting your own cabbage will give you a fresher salad and save you money. If you are concerned about nut allergies, toasted sunflower seeds make a substitute for the almonds. If you are serving vegetarians, you can use Top Ramen brand Oriental flavor, which contains no animal products. To turn this into a full meal, add shredded roasted chicken or sautéed tofu cubes (dredge in corn starch to get them to brown well) to the salad. This makes 4 generous servings as an entrée.
Ingredients
  • 1 head of cabbage, grated or sliced thinly* You can use a mixture of green and red cabbage for variety. (2 - 2 1/2 lb. cabbage = ~9 cups)
  • 4 whole green onions (scallions), sliced into thin rings
  • 1 3-ounce package ramen noodles with chicken flavor seasoning packet
  • 1/4 - 1/2 cup of slivered almonds, toasted
  • 1/4 cup salad oil
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup vinegar (I use cider vinegar, but white vinegar is fine too.)
  • Black pepper
  • Cilantro leaves (optional)
Instructions
  1. I love almonds, so I use the larger quantity. Toast the almonds in the oven, microwave, or while stirring in a small heavy pan on the stovetop, but watch them carefully as they can burn easily. If you are using a 350 degree oven, it will take about 8 minutes and you can reduce the chance of the nuts burning by placing them on a silicone sheet such as Silpat. Set aside to cool.
  2. Crush the ramen noodles while they are in their original bag. A small mallet, hammer, or meat pounder used gently does a good job. It helps to put the ramen noodle bag in a larger plastic bag to avoid getting noodles all over the place if the bag breaks.
  3. For the dressing, dissolve the sugar and the chicken seasoning packet from the ramen noodles in the vinegar in a small jar. Add the salad oil and black pepper to taste and shake to mix.
  4. The cabbage and onions can be prepared the day before, mixed together and refrigerated in the serving bowl or a plastic bag. The almonds and noodles can be prepared the day before and mixed together and stored in a plastic bag at room temperature. The dressing can be made the day before and refrigerated in a small jar.
  5. Mix all the ingredients together shortly before serving. If you like cilantro, don’t forget to add it now. This salad will still taste good on the second day, but the cabbage and noodles will soften after storage with the dressing on them.
  6. *To slice cabbage, cut it in half through its core. Put the flat side down and cut in half once again through the core. Holding one of the quarters vertically, slice the tough core part out down the length of each quarter. Put one of the flat sides of the cabbage quarter on your cutting board, and make very thin slices across the wedge. Start making slices at the pointy end and continue making slices until you finish at the core end. Now you can use your knife to slice the pile three or four times across all the slices to make smaller pieces.

Tabouli

 

 

Tabouli
Author: 
Recipe type: Salads, Vegetarian
Prep time: 
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Yield: 16 servings
 
Middle Eastern food has become mainstream in some areas of the country. For me, a favorite Mediterranean meal includes tabouli, hummus (a dip made of garbanzo beans, garlic, tahini (sesame seed butter), lemon juice, and spices), falafel (garbanzo bean fritters made with parsley, cilantro, and spices) and pita or pocket bread. When making salads, there is tremendous flexibility in proportions for all of the ingredients so that you can create the salad that appeals to your tastes. Some versions of this Middle Eastern salad are predominantly bulgur wheat, the cracked, steamed whole wheat grains that have been dried and are reconstituted with boiling water. I like to use fine bulgur, sometimes called #1, but other grinds work well although they will require longer soaking to soften. Other versions of the salad are rich in herbs and this is one of those, using a large quantity of mint and flat leaf Italian parsley to produce a more intensely flavored salad. This recipe is a starting point for you to modify and make your own. Sometimes this salad is our whole meal with the addition of garbanzo beans, feta cheese, and Kalamata olives. Some people like the addition of a pepper sauce such as Tabasco. When I make a large batch of salad (and the following recipe makes 4 generous entrée salads or 16 side salad portions) I do not add salt to the salad bowl unless I am sure that we won’t have leftovers. I do not want salt drawing the water out of the herbs, cucumber, and tomatoes and leaving the salad watery. For the same reason, I use the feta cheese and Kalamata olives as a garnish. If you use salty items like cheese, olives, capers or anchovies with your salad, you may want to limit the salt that you use to season the salad. This recipe comes together quickly and easily if you use a food processor. You can get similar results by chopping and dicing ingredients with a good knife, but it will take much longer.
Ingredients
  • 1 1/2 cups dry bulgur wheat
  • 2 cups boiling water
  • Juice from 2 lemons
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 green onions, tops included
  • 1 large bunch fresh mint leaves (spearmint)
  • 2 large bunches fresh flat leaf parsley (Italian parsley)
  • 4 medium tomatoes
  • 1 pound of English or Persian cucumbers
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • Salt to taste
  • Pepper sauce such as Tabasco (optional)
  • Garbanzo beans (optional)
  • Kalamata olives (optional)
  • Feta cheese (optional)
Instructions
  1. Place bulgur wheat in a heat-proof bowl. Pour the boiling water over the wheat and mix to moisten all of the grains. Set aside to rehydrate the wheat while you work on the other ingredients. Slice the green onions and using the steel knife, pulse them in the food processor. Leave them in there as you pulse the first batch of herbs. Remove the spearmint leaves from their coarse stems. Cut the bottoms off the parsley bunches, discard and remove the leaves from the stems if the stems are very coarse. Pulse the herbs until they are finely chopped and transfer them to your salad bowl. Core and quarter the tomatoes and pulse until chopped and add to the salad bowl. Cut the cucumbers into large chunks and pulse until chopped and add them to the salad. If the wheat is softened and there is water remaining, drain the excess liquid. Pour the wheat into the salad bowl and add lemon juice, red wine vinegar, olive oil, black ground pepper, salt, and pepper sauce if you are using it. Mix, taste and adjust the seasoning. You can add more vinegar if you prefer your salad to be more acidic. Serve in bowls and garnish with desired condiments.