1 c chopped bell peppers (I used yellow, orange & red)
1 small chopped jalapeño
1/2 c chopped celery
2 T capers
3-4 T chopped fresh herbs – I used parsley, cilantro & thyme
Boil pasta in 6 cups heavily salted water for twelve minutes. Place the Haricots Verts in a colander. When the pasta is cooked pour into the colander with the beans, draining the pasta while blanching the beans. Set aside to cool. Place the rest of the ingredients into a large bowl and stir to combine. Add the pasta and Haricots Verts to the bowl and combine. Pour the dressing (recipe below) over the mixture and stir to combine. Eat now or refrigerate for later.
3-4 T fresh lemon juice
1/2 c olive oil
2 t sugar
1 T dijon mustard
1/2 t garlic powder
red pepper flakes, salt and pepper to taste
I mixed this together in a Mason jar, shaking it vigorously before lightly dressing the salad.
Depending on what you have on hand, you could substitute ingredients for some of these:
basil, mint, oregano or chives
So go crazy and create your own combination- it’s all about having fun while making delicious, healthy foodright?
I’ve made versions of this salad over time, always with broccoli. Today knowing that I had both broccoli and cauliflower on hand, I decided to do a twist on my go-to recipe and share it with you.
Broccoli Cauliflower Salad
2 c broccoli florets
1 1/2 – 2 c cauliflower florets
1/2 c dried cranberries – add to 1/2 c very hot water for 1o minutes, drain
4 oz sharp cheddar, cut into small chunks
1/4 c chopped red onion
1/2 c pecans – chopped and lightly toasted
4-5 slices crisp bacon, chopped
1/2 c mayonnaise
1 T honey
1 T rice wine vinegar
1 t coarse ground black pepper
1 t dijon mustard
red pepper flake to taste (optional)
In a large bowl, combine the broccoli, cauliflower, cranberries, cheddar and red onion. Make the dressing by whisking together the mayonnaise, honey, vinegar, pepper, dijon and red pepper flakes. Dress the salad with the desired amount of dressing – you can always add more. Add the bacon and pecans, stir to blend. Chill for one hour and serve.
My lifelong BFF put together a Winter Solstice Meditation for a small group of women. We’ll start with a delicious dinner (she is an amazing cook) and I’ve offered to bring a salad. At least three of the women there are vegan and I wanted to honor that so that everyone can enjoy it. As I thought about the holidays, I shopped for ingredients that would be both delicious and look festive. This recipe is what I came up with…what do you think?
Festive Winter Fruit Salad
organic baby greens
shredded purple cabbage
thin sliced red onion
Toss the greens, spinach and cabbage together, place the endive around the edges. Top with the onion, then berries. Finish topping with the pomegranate seeds. Chill and serve. I’m bringing toasted walnut halves and Boars Head crumbled blue cheese – on the side – for those that want to add them.
This is the dressing I made for the salad…
1/2 c white strawberry & peach balsamic vinegar
1/3 c good extra virgin olive oil
sea salt & ground black pepper to taste
1 T dijon mustard
Place ingredients in a large mason jar, stir to blend and put top on tight. Shake vigorously to blend, allowing the mustard to emulsify.
On Election Day after many contentious and negativity filled months, I determined that tonight Spence and I would come home after casting our vote and enjoy a quiet dinner while sharing a great bottle of Proscecco. And the “Best of Earth, Wind and Fire” on the stereo…
When I saw Sashimi-grade Ahi Tuna at my favorite market, I devised a recipe after combing Pinteres; the result was outstanding. Here is the recipe, served with buttered garlic crostini and a spinach salad.
Sesame-Pepper Crusted Ahi Tuna
1 T sesame seeds
1 T whole peppercorns (I used a black/pink/green/white melange)
1/2 t sea salt
Place ingredients into a spice grinder or use a mortar and pestle.
2 ahi tuna steaks (about 1 lb)
Coat the tuna with the sesame-pepper mixture. Using a cast iron skillet, pour peanut oil onto a paper towel and wipe over the skillet surface. Turn the burner onto a medium high heat and then place the tuna into the skillet to sear for 1 1/2 minutes, turn and sear for another 1 – 1 1/2 minutes for rare tuna. Remove and serve.
The other night I threw a small dinner party. As I was putting together the menu, I thought – how about Wedge Salads? I’ve never made them, but love the crunchy, freshness of the lettuce with all the toppings – plus I’m a bit obsessed with blue cheese. If I may say so, this was a huge hit with my guests! You can certainly use a chunky blue cheese dressing from the store but this simple recipe takes less than 5 minutes to make and it’s worth the effort. For the Wedge Salad, I’ll tell you how I top it and you can decide how many you’re making at a time.
Easy Homemade Blue Cheese Dressing
1 c sour cream
1/2 c mayonnaise
3/4 c chunky blue cheese
1/2 t red wine vinegar
1/2 t lemon juice
sea salt & coarse ground cracked black pepper to taste
Place together in a bowl and stir together until mixed. It’s ready to serve and will be even better in 24 hours.
Iceberg lettuce – cut into wedges (I can get six wedges from a head of iceberg lettuce – remove the core)
chopped crispy bacon (I sprinkle pepper on my bacon before cooking it)
chopped fresh chives
blue cheese dressing
blue cheese crumbles to top
When I served this the other night, I neglected to take a picture. I placed six wedges on a vibrant green platter and then topped them. It was gorgeous and a showy way to present a Wedge Salad for a dinner party. Tonight, I made up two for Spence and I. Here’s what my wedge looks like.
If you are new to Spence’s Girl you may not be aware of my love of cooking. I come by it naturally as I’m from a family of wonderful cooks and grew up learning first by watching, then participating. One of my family mentors was my Grandpa Fox who retired in his 40’s and became passionate about cooking, taking over nearly 100% of their meals from shopping to preparation. I cherish those memories. I’ve been feeling nostalgic for recipes I grew up with lately and I hope you’ll want to try this one, my Grandpa’s cole slaw recipe. It’s light and refreshing on these dog days of summer and a change-up from the usual creamy cole slaw.
SUPER COLE SLAW
serves 12 Weight Watchers Smart Points 3
For the dressing:
1/2 t coarse ground black pepper
1 t dry mustard
2 t celery seed
4 T sugar
2 t salt
6 T salad oil
2/3 c vinegar
Mix well, pour over:
5-7 c chopped cabbage
2 T chopped red pepper (or pimento)
1/4 c chopped green pepper
1/4 c grated onion
While you could make this and serve it the same day, it is increasingly better with 24 hours (or longer) to marinate. And it’s a great dish for a potluck as it travels well. Enjoy!
I LOVE FIVE BEAN SALAD. So great to take to a potluck or picnic (no mayo), it’s a favorite of ours to have as our salad or veggie side with any number of meals year round. It makes a lot and only gets better each subsequent day. It keeps for up to two weeks in the fridge but never lasts that long! I use my mom’s recipe but tweak it in my own way to give it a bit more pizazz!
Five Bean Salad, my way
serves 15 Weight Watchers Smart Points 7
1 can garbanzo beans (or chickpeas as they’re also known)
1 can great northern or navy beans
1 can cut green beans
1 can dark red kidney beans
1 can wax beans
2 large shallots finely minced or red onion finely chopped (about 1/2 cup)
4-5 finely chopped peppadew peppers (these come in a jar) or substitute 1 tablespoon chopped pimento
1 teaspoon finely chopped jalapeños (first removing ribs and seeds) or green pepper if you can’t take the heat.
Drain and rinse beans and put into a large serving bowl. Add the shallots, peppadew peppers and jalapeño, stir taking care not to break the beans.
3/4 c red wine or champagne vinegar
3/4 c vegetable oil (canola or olive oil)
1/2 c sugar
1-2 teaspoons dijon mustard
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cracked pepper
sprinkle of red pepper flakes
Mix this together well – making sure that the sugar has “melted” into the marinade. Pour over the beans and stir together. Refrigerate. Stir every 30-60 minutes to further distribute the marinade. This is best made at least 8 hours prior to serving.