• Thai Chicken Salad

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    This salad is really tasty and so easy to make, especially if you use a rotisserie chicken.  It’s a perfect summer dish.  The original recipe called for warm dressing, but since I’m not a fan of wilted lettuce, I let the dressing cool after cooking before adding it to the salad.

    The dressing would also be really good over rice noodles too.
    Recipe adapted from the April 2011 issue of Cooking Light.

    Ingredients:

    • 6 c. mixed lettuce
    • 2 c. shredded boneless rotisserie chicken breast
    • 2. c. fresh bean sprouts
    • 1 c. shredded carrots
    • 2/3 c. light coconut milk
    • 1 TBSP brown sugar
    • 2 TBSP creamy peanut butter
    • 1 TBSP fresh lime juice
    • 2 TBSP soy sauce
    • 1/8 tsp. (or to taste) ground red pepper
    • 2 TBSP peanuts, coarsely chopped
    • Lime wedges

    Directions:

    1. Combine first 4 ingredients in a bowl.
    2. Combine coconut milk and next 5 ingredients (through red pepper) in a small saucepan; bring to a boil.  Reduce heat, and simmer for 5 minutes, and let cool.
    3. Pour cooled coconut milk mixture over lettuce mixture.  Sprinkle with peanuts; serve with lime wedges.

    Thai Chicken Salad:

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  • The Bidens’ Pasta Caprese

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    I saw this pasta salad in the September 2010 issue of Food Network Magazine, and I knew I had to try it.  I’ve now made this quite a few times, and I’ve adapted the recipe to our liking.

    It is delicious, and I love the addition of the lemon zest.  It’s a great summer pasta salad, which would be perfect for a picnic or potluck.  We’ll definitely be making this one again.

    Ingredients:

    • 1/3 c. olive oil
    • 1/2 c. fresh lemon juice
    • 2-3 shallots, minced
    • 3 garlic cloves, pressed through a garlic presser
    • salt and pepper, to taste
    • 1 TBSP sugar
    • 2 lbs. grape tomatoes, halved
    • 1 lb. pasta of your choice (I used radiatore)
    • 12 oz. fresh mozzarella cheese, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
    • 1/2 c. basil, chopped
    • 1/4 c. mint, chopped
    • zest of 3 lemons

    Directions:

    1. Whisk the olive oil, lemon juice, shallots and garlic in a large bowl.  Season with salt and pepper.  Add sugar.  Add the tomatoes and gently toss.  Marinate at room temperature, about 15 minutes.
    2. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of slated water to a boil.  Add the pasta and cook as the label directs.  Drain in a colander and run under cold water to stop the cooking.
    3. Add the pasta and mozzarella to the tomato mixture and toss.  Stri in the basil, mint, and lemon zest, and season with salt and pepper.
    4. Refrigerate, tossing occasionally until serving.

    The Bidens’ Pasta Caprese:

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  • Cranberry Jello Salad

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    Jello salads and molded jello salads were all the rage in the 70′s and they still are for my family in the Pacific Northwest.  Most jello salads I don’t particularly care for, but I eat enough to be polite.  There is one exception.  My Great Aunt Arlene makes this wonderful raw cranberry jello salad every Thanksgiving.  It’s bright, cold, and refreshing, which is a nice contrast to the heavy hearty Thanksgiving meal.

    Since I’m not with my family for Thanksgiving this year, I emailed Aunt Arlene for the recipe and made it for my family.

    It didn’t disappoint.

    My son said “this is the best jello I’ve ever had.”  And he had 3 helpings!

    I think what makes this jello salad so delicious is that it has all fresh fruit…none of the canned stuff.

    Try it…you’ll really like it!

    Ingredients Option 1:

    • 1 c. raw cranberries
    • zest of 1 orange
    • orange segments and juice from 1 orange
    • 1/2 c. sugar (or Stevia)
    • 1 small box of sugar free raspberry jello
    • 1 1/2 c. boiling water
    • 1 apple, peeled, cored, and diced

    Ingredients Option 2:

    • 1 c. raw cranberries
    • zest of 1 orange
    • 6 oz. can of pineapple juice
    • 1/2 c. sugar (or Stevia)
    • 1 large box of sugar free raspberry jello
    • 1 1/2 c. boiling water
    • 1 apple, peeled, cored, and diced

    Directions for Option 1:

    1. Mix sugar, jello, and boiling water in a bowl; cool slightly.
    2. Combine the cranberries, orange zest, orange segments and orange juice in a food processor and pulse until all is ground into small pieces.
    3. Combine cranberry mixture, jello mixture, and apple pieces in a bowl.  Chill until set.

    Directions for Option 2:

    1. Mix sugar, jello, and boiling water in a bowl; cool slightly.
    2. Combine the cranberries, orange zest, and pineapple juice in a food processor and pulse until all is ground into small pieces.
    3. Combine cranberry mixture, jello mixture, and apple pieces in a bowl.  Chill until set.

    Cranberry Jello Salad:

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  • Rachel’s Famous Pasta Salad

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    This is a very easy and very tasty pasta salad…even -s and TT ate it up.  I think next time I’ll do without the cheddar and jack cheese and instead try feta for an extra punch.

    Adapted from a recipe by Rachel Griffith.

    Ingredients:

    • 2 bottles light Italian dressing
    • 1 lb. pasta of your choice
    • 1 pint grape tomatoes, halved
    • 1 large sized cucumber, chopped
    • 1 large green, red, orange, or yellow bell pepper
    • 4 oz. sharp cheddar cheese, cubed
    • 4 oz. pepper jack cheese, cubed
    • You could also add olives, artichoke hearts, feta instead of the other cheeses etc.

    Directions:

    • Cook pasta according to directions on the box.
    • Meanwhile chop veggies and cheese and put in a large bowl; then add one bottle of salad dressing.  Allow veggies and cheese to marinate.
    • When pasta is done, drain it and rinse it with cold water, then dump a bunch of ice cubes on the pasta to stop the cooking process and help it cool quickly.
    • Once pasta is completely cool, add to veggie mixture; toss to coat and refrigerate for at least a couple of hours.
    • Before serving, toss pasta salad, and add more dressing, if desired.

    Pasta Salad:

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  • Curry Rice Salad

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    This is a go to dish (albeit I haven’t made in a long time).  This recipe comes from my grandma Clark.  She makes it for brunches, baby showers, wedding showers, and all sorts of events.  This salad is a great way to use up leftover chicken or Turkey from Thanksgiving.  It’s also a great crowd dish because you can easily make a whole lot.

    It’s simple but tastes oh so yummy!

    Here’s my version of the Clark classic…enjoy!

    Ingredients:

    • 1 c. rice
    • 2 c. water
    • 1 TBSP curry powder (more or less to taste)
    • 1/2 tsp. salt (more or less to taste)
    • 1/4 c. onion, minced
    • 1 TBSP vinegar
    • 2 TBSP canola oil
    • 1 c. celery, chopped
    • 2 c. peas
    • 2 c. cooked chicken
    • 3/4 c. mayo
    • Lettuce or mixed greens
    • Other additions: sliced grapes, sliced water chestnuts, slivered almonds, or marinated artichoke hearts

    Directions:

    1. In a saucepan combine the uncooked rice, water, curry powder, and salt; cover and cook rice.  Once the rice is cooked add the vinegar and canola oil and stir.  Let the rice cool and then refrigerate for at least 3 hours (I usually do this step the night before).
    2. Now add the rice to a bigger bowl and add the celery, peas, chicken, and other other addins–my favorite is grapes.  Mix together and then add the mayo.  Taste and add salt, if necessary.
    3. Serve over lettuce or mixed greens.

    Curry Rice Salad:

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  • Mango Jicama Salsa

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    I’m always will to try a great new salsa to top chicken tacos or fish tacos.  This salsa is so summery and refreshing, and it went great as a topper for fish tacos.

    I saw a recipe for jicama salad in the March 2009 issue of Cooking Light, which was the initial inspiration of my mango jicama salsa.
    Ingredients:

    • 1/2 c. jicama, julienne-cut
    • 2-3 mangos, sliced or cubed
    • 1/2 of a small red onion, sliced
    • 1/2 of a red, orange, or yellow bell pepper, sliced
    • 1 to 2 jalapenos, chopped
    • 1 lime, juiced
    • 1 tsp. sugar (more or less depending on how ripe the mangos are)
    • 1/4 tsp. salt
    • 1/4 c. cilantro, chopped

    Directions:

    1. Combine all ingredients in a bowl.  Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary.
    2. Top your tacos, and enjoy.

    Mango Jicama Salsa:

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  • Mediterranean Cous Cous Salad

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    We had short ribs for dinner tonight, and I needed a quick side dish to go with it.  This salad came out so delicious, and I will definitely make this one again!

    Ingredients:

    • 1 c. whole wheat cous cous
    • 1 1/2 c. water
    • 2 TBSP olive oil
    • salt
    • 1 c. cherry tomatoes, halved
    • 1/2 c. English cucumber, chopped
    • 3 garlic cloves, minced
    • 1 /2 of an orange, yellow, red, or green bell pepper, chopped
    • 1/2 c. artichoke hearts
    • Juice of one lemon
    • 1/2 c. crumbled feta cheese
    • 1/4 c. fresh herbs, minced (I used mint and basil)

    Directions:

    1. In a covered saucepan, bring cous cous, water, olive oil, and salt to a boil; then turn off heat and keep on burner for 5 to 7 minutes.  After 7 or so minutes fluff cous cous with a fork.
    2. Meanwhile, combine tomatoes through lemon juice in a bowl; then add the cous cous, and toss to combine; then add the feta cheese and herbs and toss once again. Taste and correct seasoning, if necessary.

    Mediterranean Cous Cous Salad:

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  • Pasta Salad

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    My mother-in-law started makes a delicious pasta salad during the summertime, and this is my version.  It’s super tasty, and it works well as a main dish or a side dish.

    Ingredients:

    • 1/8 to 1/4 c. olive oil
    • 8 to 10 garlic cloves, minced
    • 2 c. cherry tomatoes, halved
    • salt
    • 1 lb. pasta
    • 1 lb. fresh mozzarella, cubed
    • 1/4 c. fresh basil, chiffonade
    • 1 c. quartered artichoke hearts

    Directions:

    1. Cook pasta according to package
    2. Put the tomatoes in a bowl and add some salt.
    3. Heat olive oil in a skillet; then add the garlic and cook for 3 minutes; then add the tomatoes and cook for another 5 minutes.
    4. Put pasta in a big bowl, add the tomatoes and garlic with the oil and toss to combine.  Then add the cheese, basil, and artichoke hearts and toss again.

    Pasta Salad:

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  • Asian Chicken Salad

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    This salad is delicious!  So refreshing, tasty, and filling.  The dressing is so flavorful, that it’s now our new favorite salad dressing.  Great salad for a warm summer day.

    Adapted from Prudence Pennywise.
    Ingredients:

    • 8 fresh won ton or 6 egg roll sheets
    • cooking spray
    • 8 c. chopped romaine lettuce
    • 2 c. chopped cooked chicken
    • 2 large oranges, peeled, or canned mandarin oranges
    • 2 large avocado, peeled, pitted and chopped
    • 2 c. sugar snap peas (either raw or blanched)
    • 1/2 c. chopped cilantro
    • 4 green onions, cut into 1 inch pieces
    • 1/3 c. roasted salted peanuts
    • 1 tablespoon sesame seeds

    Ginger Soy Dressing:

    • 4 TBSP rice vinegar
    • 4 TBSP sugar
    • 2 TBSP soy sauce
    • 1 TBSP grated fresh ginger
    • 2 TBSP canola oil
    • 1/2 tsp. black pepper
    • pinch of salt

    Directions:

    1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Coat won tons with spray and cut into strips. Bake on foil lined cookie sheet until crispy, turning once, about 8 minutes.
    2. In a large bowl, combine the lettuce, chicken, oranges, avocado, sugar snap peas, cilantro, scallions, peanuts, sesame seeds, and won ton strips.
    3. Combine dressing ingredients in a small bowl; then drizzle the salad with dressing and serve.

    Asian Chicken Salad:

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  • BBQ Chicken Sandwiches-Southern Style

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    Whenever I ate bbq sandwiches I always ate them Southern style…that is topped with cole slaw.  I didn’t know I loved my sandwiches bbq style until we lived in the south.

    I found a recipe over at picky palate that I knew I needed to try.  I changed up the slaw recipe to more my liking, but the whole dish is d’lish.

    It’s a great summer dinner, you can use leftover chicken, and it’s yummy the second day too.

    Make the slaw ahead of time and refrigerate for a few hours…it’s worth the wait!

    BBQ Sauce Ingredients:

    • 1 ½ c. ketchup
    • 3 TBSP Dijon Mustard
    • 4 TBSP worstershire sauce
    • 2 TBSP seasoned rice wine vinegar
    • 1 ½ TBSP lemon juice
    • 4 TBSP brown sugar
    • 1 tsp. fresh cracked black pepper
    • 1 tsp. honey
    • Pinch of salt
    • 4 cooked chicken breasts, shredded
    • Buns
    • Slaw, recipe below

    Directions:

    1. Combine ketchup through salt in a medium saucepan over medium low heat. Cook for 15 minutes, stirring often. Reduce heat to low and stir in shredded chicken. Let simmer.

    Cole Slaw Ingredients:

    • 16 oz bag of coleslaw mix
    • ½ c. mayonnaise
    • 2 TBSP sugar
    • 1 TBSP seasoned rice wine vinegar
    • 1 tsp. honey

    Directions:

    1. Place cabbage into a large bowl. Place mayonnaise, sugar, mustard and honey into a small bowl and mix together. Pour and stir into cabbage until combined.  Refrigerate for a few hours.

    Assembly:

    1. Take a bun, top with shredded chicken, then top with slaw.

    BBQ Chicken Sandwiches-Southern Style:

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