Cucumber Salad

Perfect deli-style salad. I also include this at my holiday table at Thanksgiving, Christmas, etc., as cucumbers are available year round. It’s great for leftovers. Plus, it makes a good-sized bowlful.

4 cucumbers, peeled and sliced very, very thin
6 very thin, full, slices of a medium red onion
1/2 cup white vinegar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp. chopped dill (or 2 Tbsp. fresh, chopped)
1/2 tsp. kosher salt

Place the prepared cucumbers into a med-large serving bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk to combine everything else; pour over cucumbers and mix very well. Cover with plastic and let marinate for several hours.

Chicken Salad

A delicious salad whereas the chicken is cut into nice little dice-chunks. Goes great on toasted whole wheat.

4-5 large boneless, skinless, cooked chicken breast halves
1 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
1 cup celery, small dice
1 tsp. dill (or 1 Tbsp. fresh)

3/4 cup mayonnaise (I only use Hellmann’s)
1/4 cup sour cream (or you can use all mayo)
1 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
1 tsp. kosher salt
1/4 tsp. ground white pepper
1/4 tsp. garlic powder

To cook the breasts:
Half fill a large pan with cold water. Add freshly cut celery leaves, if you have them, plus sprinkle in some salt – about a teaspoon and sprinkle in some pepper. Bring this to a boil then carefully add the chicken breasts. Lower the heat to medium-low and simmer until the chicken is cooked through. This takes about 20 minutes, depending on how thick the breasts are.

Drain the chicken in a colander and rinse it off with cool water. Place on a cutting board to cool off, then cut into (or grind) small dice. If you prefer larger chunks for the salad, then go right ahead. Place the cut-up chicken in a large bowl and sprinkle on the lemon juice and toss it well. Add the celery and dill and toss well again.

Meanwhile, make the dressing.
Whisk everything together in a small bowl then mix very thoroughly into the chicken salad.

Bread & Veggie Salad

You can use any kind of bread for this – Italian, French, cornbread, garlic, etc. buy new loaves or even make your own. In any case they all work great because you oven crisp them first. You don’t have to wait for fresh veggie season. Enjoy!

1 loaf of bread, cut into 1 inch chunks
1 red pepper, seeded & sliced into strips
1 green pepper, seeded & sliced into strips
3 Tbsp. chopped parsley (or 1 Tbps. dry)
1 peeled & sliced cucumber
2 big juicy tomatoes cut into chunks
1/2 small red onion, diced small

1 tsp. minced garlic (from the jar is fine)
Kosher salt & black pepper
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
3 Tbsp. white or rice vinegar
1/2 tsp. Dijon mustard
Preheat oven to 250 degrees while you prepare the veggies.

Spread the bread chunks out onto a pan and let dry out for about 45 minutes, until their real crispy.When bread is done, empty into a large bowl and add everything except the dressing, and toss well.

Whisk or shake up the ingredients and pour over; mix well again.

Lemony Potato Salad

A different twist on the usual mayonnaise based salad. Be sure to use only freshly squeezed lemon juice, not the stuff in the bottle.

About 6-8 good sized potatoes
1 tsp. onion powder
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice (about 2 lemons)
1 tsp. dill weed
1-2 tsp. sugar (taste)
1 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 tsp. ground black pepper

Peel (or, keep skins on if using the small, red potatoes) and dice potatoes into chunks about 1/2-inches then place in a large pot with cold water to cover. Bring to a boil, reduce to simmer and simmer about 12-15 minutes depending upon potatoes – check with a fork. Drain and place in a large bowl; sprinkle the onion powder over the potatoes and mix gently but well.

In a small bowl whisk together all the rest of the ingredients then pour over the potatoes, mix gently but well.

Ranch Dressing

My all time favorite dressing is ranch but store-bought has MSG in it and that’s a no-no in our house. Try my homemade version.

1 cup mayo
1 cup buttermilk
1 tsp. parsley flakes
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1/2 tsp. Accent Seasoned Salt- MSG free!
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 tsp. onion powder
1/8 tsp. (or a good pinch) of dried thyme

Place all these ingredients in a bowl and whisk until smooth & creamy. Cover and chill for at least 4 hours. Serve.

Tuna (or Chicken) Noodle Casserole

I had not eaten this for about 20 years when suddenly the urge came upon me to revisit an old family favorite. I don’t care for tuna anymore, so my sister Sandy helped me rework the recipe with  diced, cooked chicken and it worked just as well.

1/2 a bag (about 4 oz. uncooked ) of cooked egg noodles
1 small regular-sized can drained tuna (albacore) in water OR
1-2 cooked, diced chicken breast
1/2 a small can of drained sweet peas
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1/2 – 1 can milk (use one of the soup cans)
1 cup crushed crackers or potato chips

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and grease a 9 x 13 pan. Place everything up to the chips into a large bowl and mix well. Spread in the greased pan and bake for 30-40 minutes.

Another Coleslaw

This stuff is great!

1 – 2 bags of pre-shredded cabbage (or shred your own)
3 Tbsp. white vinegar
3 Tbsp. white sugar
1/2 cup mayonnaise (use Hellmann’s please!)
1 tsp. kosher salt
1/4 tsp. white pepper

Place cabbage in large bowl. Whisk all other ingredients together then pour over/mix into the cabbage – mix very well. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for several hours.

Carrot-Nut Salad

This is an unusual salad that strikes just the right balance between carrots & maple. You can even toss in a tablespoon or two of dried cranberries if you wish. Enjoy.

3-4 cups of shredded carrots
1/2 cup of raisins (regular or yellow)
1 cup celery in small dice
2 Tbsp. chopped pecans, walnut, or pistachios
1/2 cup mayo (I use only Hellmann’s) OR sour cream
1/4 cup good quality maple syrup

Into a large bowl, combine the carrots, raisins, celery and nuts. In a separate smaller bowl, whisk together the mayo & maple syrup. Add this to the carrot mixture and mix gently but thoroughly to combine. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 2 hours.

Ham & Apple Salad

A winning combination for a lunch or brunch. It uses up that leftover ham or pork roast wonderfully.

2 cups diced cooked ham or pork
2 cups of peeled, diced apple
1/2 cup diced celery
1/4 cup dill relish
1 Tbsp. minced/chopped onion
1 Tbsp. lemon juice (fresh is best)
1/2 cup mayo (I only use Hellman’s)
Sprinkling of ground pepper to taste
Kosher salt if needed – ham/pork is already salty
Salad greens and/or poached eggs

In a large bowl, mix all the ingredients; cover and chill at least 1 hour before serving. Serve this on a bed of salad greens. Sometimes we add a poached egg on top.

Kicked-Up Couscous

These are strange, tiny pasta dots. Either use the plain original couscous, or use a flavored one. Your couscous, your choice.

1 box of prepared couscous
1/2 small can chickpeas, drained
1 small jar roasted red peppers or pimentos, drained
1 small can black olives, drained
1/2 cup green olives, drained
1/2 cup of crumbled flavored feta – optional
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 juiced lemon
Kosher salt
Black pepper

Prepare the couscous according to package. then combine it with everything else – tossing with a fork works best. Chill & serve.