panzanella salad

The other night David and I settled down to a dinner of panzanella salad. I was inspired by smitten kitchen’s summer’s last hurrah panzanella. The home made vinaigrette she designed was delicious and so simple.  It will clearly become a dressing staple in our house.

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For the vinaigrette
1 teaspoon finely minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
3 tablespoons champagne vinegar
1/3 cup good olive oil
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

The salad itself is super easy. I followed smitten kitchen mostly.  But, really this salad could consist of anything in your crisper.  We added yellow and orange peppers, cucumber, tomatoes, basil, onion and grilled a chicken breast. We skipped the capers (David is not a fan of these), and we topped it off with some delicious smooth goat cheese. This would be a great salad to bring to a cook-out.  Filling from the homemade bread croutons and satisfying, it was a delicious recipe that smitten kitchen posted and that can be easily adapted.

mango cucumber salad

David has been outside this morning picking out the field of dandelions that plague our yard and pruning back the holly and juniper bushes.  Spring cleaning is up and running after a quick trip to Lowe’s to buy some pruning sheers, gardening bags, and gloves. While David enjoyed his zen-like garden work, I threw together a salad that reminds me so much of the Spring/Summer weather we are heading into.

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First you start by cleaning and de-stemming some watercress

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Peel, slice, and dice a mango

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Cube up some avocado and also cube up half of a cucumber and toss together in a large bowl

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Once all of your dicing and chopping is complete, it is time to mix up the dressing. Use 3 teaspoons of fish sauce, zest of 1 lime, juice of 1 lime,  1 teaspoon of brown sugar, 1 tablespoon of olive oil and 1 teaspoon of rice vinegar.  Combine in a bowl.

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Then drizzle dressing into salad right before serving, toss together, and enjoy a tropical treat.

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Summer Spinach & Berry Salad

Trying to add greens to one’s diet can be a difficult task.  Even though doing so brings so many beneficial nutrients to one’s body, it can still be hard to choose to eat those greens and not that bowl of macaroni and cheese.  Finally though, I have created a super easy and delicious salad that has me actually craving my fruits and veggies.  This salad has become a constant dinner item as the summer heat continues to discourage too much hot baking and sautéing in the kitchen


1/2 cup blueberries

1/2 cup chopped strawberries

bunch of baby spinach

some slices of red onion

some slices of avocado

handful of cherry tomatoes

(anything else you like in your salad…perhaps some goat cheese?)

Mix all of the ingredients above in a large bowl or serving plate. Add a dressing that compliments the sweetness of the berries but does not create an overly saccharine experience for one’s palette. I have been drizzling a little of Annie’s Lite Poppy Seed Dressing over the top.  Then sit back and enjoy a delicious, healthy meal that is satisfying with its many complex flavors.

The reward of throwing this together a few times each week has been watching David enjoy eating salad.  While David is not afraid of his veggies,yet he has never been a fan of salads and has often called them “condiment vegetables.”  Having a salad as the entire meal was never an option in our house.  Often I felt as though perhaps it was his fault that we did not eat as healthy as we should.  Clearly, if he did not eat salad then we had to make our poorer eating decisions of macaroni and cheese, steak and potatoes, and kielbasa. But, it is quite clear that my husband was not the accurate culprit.  Instead, we were not being creative and playful enough in the kitchen. Just because he did not like Romaine lettuce did not mean that all salads were off limits. Going into the grocery store, we began our experiment: one night of bibb lettuce, another of spring greens, another of kale, another of red leaf, and finally a night of spinach. As we played with our salads and tossed in a wild array of toppings, we found that we were having a whole lot of fun eating salad. Who said you cannot play with your food?