Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Summer Salads Series ~ 1

With summer officially here, I am looking for ways to simplify my life in the kitchen without compromising taste, variety or nutritional value. In this series I will share some of the foods I pull together for my family in the hope that you, too, will find them a resource to help you through the season.

When I cook, I eyeball my ingredients and add condiments to taste. I will attempt to give proportions as precisely as I can,but bear in mind that these are just estimates and that you can adjust them to fit your family's needs.

Legume Salad

I would not have thought of this combination of legumes had JR and I not run quickly to the store one day. There, they were sampling a variety of different foods, and one of them was a dish similar to the one below. JR seemed to like it. "More," she said. I thought she was just dilly dallying so I told her I would make her more at home. And so I did. I did not have all the ingredients on hand, so I improvised and hoped she would eat it just the same. Surprisingly, JR ate one spoonful after the next and enjoyed each bite. This dish will certainly remain on my go to list.

  • cooked lentils, about a cup
  • cooked hummous (garbanzo beans), around a cup
  • cooked navy beans, also about a cup
  • diced sweet onion, to taste (I used about half cup)
  • juice of one lemon
  • olive oil
  • salt
Mix all the above ingredients in a bowl. Serve at room temperature.

Orzo Salad

I, like a lot people, am a big fan of pasta. If you open my cupboard you will find it in different shapes, sizes, and composition. I have the usual wheat spaghetti of course, but then I have all the "others." I have garlic basil linguine, multi grain penne, corn elbow pasta, toddler-friendly tubular pasta, and whole wheat alphabet, just to name a few. But, this time I decided on orzo. Although, it takes a little longer to cook than my preferred go to angel hair, it is more versatile in salads. And, it is easier for JR to eat; with a spoon rather than a fork. So, this is what I made.
  • dried orzo, 1/2 a cup
  • steamed asparagus, about 12 stalks
  • corn, from 2 cooked cobs
  • olive oil
  • shredded mozzarella, about 1/4 cup
  • salt
Mix all the ingredients with cooked orzo. Serve at room temperature.

* cook's note: (1) with frozen shrimp being so versatile and easy to prepare, you can add it to either of the above.
                       (2) you can substitute any of the vegetables in the orzo salad to match what you have on hand. Broccoli, green peas, edamame, or mushrooms are some suggestions.

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