Dragonfly Home Recipes

Recipes, Photography, Musings

Category: Salads (page 2 of 4)

Mineral-Rich Salad

Treat your body to an infusion of nutrients.  This quick salad is rich in vitamins and minerals, with dark leafy greens, dried apricots, walnuts, and roasted pumpkin seeds, topped off with a homemade orange zest vinaigrette.  The recipe for this salad is so simple, it’s not as much of a recipe as it is a remembrance of how easy it can be to make a really good salad that’s really good for us.  Sometimes all we need is a  nudge in a certain direction, or a simple reminder, and we have a really delicious salad in front of us that came mostly from foods we have in our own pantry.

mineral salad day 3 4If you live in a northern climate like I do, spring takes her sweet time to truly settle in, and winter does not give up without a few fights.  We are in such a situation right now, where it is cold, gray, and wet.  The only indication that it really is springtime is that the birds are singing loudly and beautifully, and the crocuses are proudly carrying on, despite the cold rain.  And I am really grateful for that!  However, during this time of year, I often feel depleted of energy and nutrients. The longing for spring and all that it brings is strong, yet we are not quite there yet.

DSC_0612So to remedy the situation, I have been eating this salad for lunch for the past few days, and it is really helping my energy level and my overall feeling of health.  Even if greens are not growing in my own garden yet, they are growing somewhere nearby, and fresh greens are appearing at the grocery store more and more as this month progresses.  And mandarin oranges have been on sale at the grocery store lately, so the orange zest salad dressing seemed like a good idea.  There are so many nutrients in leafy greens and they are so well known, that I don’t feel the need to list them all. The rest of the salad is from staples I like to keep on hand, and though I sometimes take them for granted, these ingredients are full of really good stuff.  Dried apricots are known for their potassium and iron content, walnuts for their omega 3s and vitamin E, and roasted pumpkin seeds for their zinc, manganese, and magnesium.  And that’s just mentioning a few of the minerals found in these foods.

mineral salad with pitcherFor me, it can be easy to get sidetracked and just graze on some pretzels and cheese for lunch, so eating this salad has been a boost to my nutrient intake, which helps my energy level and outlook on life.  The recipe below is for two servings–feel free to double it or whatever, depending on how many you are making.  And just a note–in my photos, the dried apricots look like bacon! (Not that bacon would be bad in this salad–it would probably taste really good!) They are actually organic dried apricots, so they aren’t the bright orange that some of the dried apricots are when they have preservatives to retain their color.

With the events going on in the world the past few days, we need all the energy and nutrients we can get to keep a hopeful attitude.  I usually don’t like to talk about politics or world affairs much in this blog, and I don’t want to say much, except that I am saddened by the events and words that are tearing people apart lately, and I hope that we can each do our small part to help try to put love and healing toward the hatred.  There is no easy answer, and I don’t pretend that there is, nor do I pretend to know the answer. I do know that I want to take care of the people I love, and if we all try to take care of one another, it will help.  Food is a way for me to do that.

On a much lighter note, even if the weather doesn’t feel like spring today, I did see 6 mallard ducks waddling down our road this morning.  I’m not sure where they were going, but I hope they got there safely.  And if you celebrate Easter, I hope you have a wonderful Easter weekend! If you don’t, I hope you have a wonderful weekend! I managed to get some photos of the crocuses when it was sunny a few days ago, and they look to me like rays of hope.striped crocuspurple crocuses

Mineral-Rich Salad

  • Servings: 2
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Ingredients:

For the salad:

  • a large handful of leafy greens, such as spinach, kale, or lettuces
  • a handful of dried apricots, chopped
  • a handful of walnuts, chopped
  • a handful of roasted pumpkin seeds
  • feta cheese, crumbled (optional)

For the dressing:

  • 1/2 teaspoon of orange zest
  • 1/4 teaspoon of Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon of white wine vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon of honey
  • 6 teaspoons of extra-virgin olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

For the dressing, first grate an orange peel for the orange zest (and eat the orange!).  In a glass jar, combine the orange zest, mustard, wine vinegar, and honey.  Add the olive oil, and shake or whisk till combined.  Add the salt and pepper to taste.

For the salad, arrange the greens on two plates.  Sprinkle on the desired amount of chopped apricots, walnuts, and pumpkin seeds.  Sprinkle on some feta cheese, if desired.  Pour the dressing over the salads.  If you like a lot of dressing on your salad, you may want to double the dressing recipe.  Enjoy!

Hot Chicken Salad

Serve this hot chicken salad on a bed of greens with a side of seasonal fruit for a special lunch or a light dinner.  Tender chicken is baked with chopped celery, slivered almonds, and sliced mushrooms, all in a tangy sauce of mayonnaise and lemon juice, topped with browned, crunchy potato chips.  It’s easy to make, yet it tastes like something special and delicious.

hot chicken salad with pink vaseThe recipe for this simple, yet elegant salad is from my grandmother:  a charming, elegant lady who had a beautiful life, yet faced many challenges and struggles with a sense of grace that I can only hope to someday cultivate.  According to my mother, my grandma often served this hot chicken salad at the bridal showers she hosted.  My mother’s extended family is very large, and grandma liked to have parties, so she had a great many bridal showers at her house over the years. I can remember eating this lovely chicken salad at her house as a young girl, sitting at a table with my cousins and giggling.

vegetables for hot chicken saladI had some extra cooked chicken that needed to be used the other day, and suddenly remembered this salad.  I’m so glad I made it, because not only does it taste delicious, it also gives me a chance to write a bit about my grandmother, and to share it here on the blog.  This recipe is a classic that does not go out of style (at least in my opinion!)

hot chicken salad against dark 5Today is special for another reason.  Today is my father’s birthday.  I started this blog a couple months short of two years ago, soon after my father passed away. I had been wanting to start a blog for awhile, so I finally did, in part to honor the memory of him.  He and I shared a passion for good food, photography, and writing.  By focusing on these things, I felt (and still feel) a connection with him.  I know he would enjoy it, and I also want to do justice to his camera that he gave to me when he knew his physical health was in question.  I treasure that camera, and my memories of him.

The sun is shining today, finally! It is so good to see bright sunshine–it seems we do not see enough of it here in Michigan in the winter time.  I have noticed that the days are getting longer, with mornings and evenings becoming gradually brighter.  We had a beautiful sunrise this morning, with the frost on the tree branches sparkling like jewels.

I hope you all have a great weekend! This post will be shared at Angie’s Fiesta Friday, co-hosted this week by Margy @ La Petite Casserole and Su @ Su’s Healthy Living.sparkling sunrise 2hot chicken salad with vase 1

Hot Chicken Salad

  • Servings: about 6-8
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Ingredients:

  • 2 cups of cooked chicken
  • 1 cup of mayonnaise
  • 2 cups of celery, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons of onion, finely sliced or grated
  • 2 tablespoons of lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup of mushrooms, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup of slivered almonds
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 1/2 cup of shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1 and 1/4 cup of crumbled potato chips

Directions:

Preheat your oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit.  Wash, chop, and slice the vegetables.  Shred the cooked chicken if it is not already shredded.  Mix the first eight ingredients together in a large bowl.  Transfer the mixture to a large casserole or baking dish.  Sprinkle the mixture with the shredded cheese and crumbled potato chips.  Bake in your 450-degree oven for about 20 minutes, or till chips are golden, cheese is melted, and the mixture is hot.  Place each serving on a bed of greens with seasonal fruit.  Enjoy!

Jewel-Toned Winter Salad

Deep, rich greens are balanced by bright and lively oranges, dried cranberries, and sliced almonds, topped with a subtly sweet-and-sour homemade vinaigrette.  This salad is simple, yet so very flavorful.

Perhaps you are like me right now, craving clean and healthy foods after over-indulging during the holidays.  I don’t regret any of the holiday over-indulgences, because they were part of spending time with family and friends, but January is a time for fresh starts and new beginnings.  A refreshing salad is a great way to recharge and energize.

winter salad 1I keep reading about winter greens at this time of year.  Hardy greens can survive the winter in milder regions, or in more extreme regions like mine, can grow during the winter in a greenhouse or another similar gardening apparatus.  Apparently, cold weather brings out the flavor of these hardy greens, such as kale, collards, chards, spinach, and others, and locally-grown varieties are available at markets or even in some grocery stores all winter long.  I’m really glad about this, because I have been craving greens for the last couple of weeks.  Recently, my daughter and I have been enjoying a gently fried egg on top of a bed of sautéed greens, and I have been making lots of salads.

winter salad with dressing 2This salad is a lunch favorite for me.  Not only does it use the deeply nutritious winter greens, but also vitamin-C-packed oranges.  We often get oranges as Christmas presents, and they are also wonderful this time of year.  The sweetness of the oranges balances the earthy, slight bitterness of the greens, making a really flavorful combination.  The vinaigrette goes great with this salad too, and since we have a lot of oranges right now, I used fresh-squeezed orange juice in the dressing.  Delicious!  And I love the jewel tones in this salad–the emerald, topaz, ruby and pearl colors.

winter salad with dressingThe days are now getting a little bit lighter and brighter, and I can sense a subtle shift in the light outside.  Everything looks a little brighter, and I am inspired to exercise more and de-clutter the house. (A really big, never-ending job!)  After a relatively mild December, we are now having some very cold days and nights–just in time to put the kids’ new flannel sheets on their beds.  We went up north after Christmas, and were able to go sledding and skiing, and the kids made s’mores with their cousins around an outdoor fire.  Ever since my sister-in-law introduced me to the word “hygge”, a Danish word and concept embodying a special type of coziness and togetherness in the cold and darkness, we have been trying to embrace winter and cultivate an appreciation for the aspects that make wintertime unique.  Food is often at the center of this coziness, so I am looking forward to getting back to my blogging space and also checking out what fellow bloggers have been doing.

I hope you all have a very happy new year! winter greens salad 7

Jewel-Toned Winter Salad

  • Servings: 2
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Ingredients:

For the salad:

  • a mixed bunch of hardy greens, such as spinach, kale, or chard
  • 2 small oranges, one for juicing and one for slicing
  • a handful of slivered almonds
  • a handful of dried cranberries (or dried cherries)
  • optional:  Feta cheese, crumbled

For the dressing:

  • 2 tablespoons of orange juice (fresh-squeezed is best, but prepared is fine too)
  • 1 tablespoon of white wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon of Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon of honey
  • 1/3 cup of good quality extra-virgin olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

Select a handful of greens–enough for 2 people.  Wash the greens and tear them into bite-sized pieces.  Peel the oranges.  Set one aside for the salad dressing. Separate the other orange into sections, and cut each section into bite-sized pieces. Place on top of the greens.  Sprinkle on the desired amount of slivered almonds and dried cranberries.

For the dressing, juice the remaining orange.  In a glass jar with a screw top, add the orange juice, white wine vinegar, mustard, honey, and olive oil.  Shake well.  Add salt and pepper to taste and shake again.  Pour the desired amount over the salad, and refrigerate the rest. Sprinkle with Feta cheese, if desired.  Serve as a side dish or with bread or crackers for a light, refreshing lunch.  Enjoy!

 

 

 

 

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