Fresh Cranberry Salad

For a Thanksgiving meal to be complete, cranberries are just as important as the turkey, in my opinion.  Aunt Ruby’s Fresh Cranberry Salad is one of my all-time favorites.  It was on the holiday table at most of our Bolton family Thanksgiving dinners when I was growing up.  
 
When I was old enough to be interested in the recipe, I pretty much had to take an oath that I would never share the recipe.  As it turns out my aunt had given it to my mother in confidence, and my mother made me promise, just as she once had, never to share it.  
 
Time has gone by, and my aunt passed several years ago.  I think I’m safe in sharing it now.  In fact, I think it would make her smile to know that I was sharing it with my readers now.  Preparing this recipe and many others passed down through the years is just one way to keep their memories close.
Our holiday dinner table seems to be missing a few more every year.  I miss each of them terribly, but the memories I have of our wonderful times together warms my heart year-round.  Give thanks for those you love most of all, and I wish you all a blessed Thanksgiving!
Fresh Cranberry Salad
 
Author:
 
Ingredients
  • 1 c. boiling water
  • 2 (3-oz.) boxes strawberry Jello
  • 1 c. granulated sugar
  • zest of 2 lg. oranges
  • 2 lg. oranges
  • 1 (20-oz.) can crushed pineapple in juice, undrained
  • 2 c. cranberries, ground in food processor or blender
  • 1 crisp, red apples, finely chopped
  • 1 c. pecans, finely chopped
Instructions
  1. In a large bowl pour boiling water over Jello and sugar, mix to dissolve.
  2. Zest oranges and add to Jello mixture.
  3. Place the oranges horizontally on the cutting board. Slice off both ends of the oranges. Stand the orange up on one of the cut ends. Cut the orange peel and pith off around the entire orange, from top to bottom, so the fruit is exposed. Hold the orange over a bowl to collect juice. Place your knife in between the segments of the oranges and cut each section away from the membranes, so no pith or membrane remains on the pieces of fruit. Squeeze all juice from remaining orange. Chop orange pieces finely and add to Jello mixture.
  4. Stir in pineapple, ground cranberries, apple, and pecans. Mix well and refrigerate.
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Greek Quinoa Layered Jar Salad

Greek Quinoa Layered Jar Salad

For someone that hates to be late to anything It seems I am always last to jump on the bandwagon when trying new ingredients in the kitchen. For the first time ever I have tried Quinoa!  I tried it in this layered Mason jar salad and now I am a huge fan!

Quinoa, pronounced (keen-wah), is considered to be a whole grain but it actually is not. It’s a seed and it’s gluten-free, cholesterol-free, high in protein, and provides 9 essential amino acids. It is thought to help stave off a number of diseases, reduces the frequency of migraines and reduces the risk of high blood pressure and heart attacks.

I love to keep these layered jar salads in the fridge for quick and easy lunches or those dinners when you have no time to cook. They generally start with the dressing in the bottom of the jar, followed by the hardier ingredients, keeping the lettuce near the top of the jar to keep the salad crisp. This salad will last 3 to 4 days stored in the refrigerator.

 

Greek Quinoa Layered Jar Salad
 
Author:
 
Ingredients
  • 4 quart Mason jars, with lids
  • 1 c. Quinoa
  • 2 c. vegetable broth
  • 1 tbsp. fresh chopped dill
  • ¼ c. diced red onion
  • 3 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 tbsp. red wine vinegar
  • ¼ tsp. dried oregano
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • ⅛ tsp. ground black pepper
  • ½ tsp. Dijon mustard
  • 1 c. grape tomatoes, halved
  • ½ hothouse cucumber, chopped
  • 1 bell pepper, chopped
  • ½ c kalamata olives, seeds removed and cut in half
  • 5 oz. feta cheese, cubed or crumbled
  • 1 head romaine lettuce
Instructions
  1. Combine rinsed Quinoa in a saucepan with 2 cups broth. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to a simmer for 15 minutes or until Quinoa has absorbed all of the broth.
  2. Turn off the heat and place a lid on the pot. Let Quinoa steam for 5 minutes before fluffing with a fork. Stir in chopped dill and red onion. Let cool.
  3. Whisk the olive oil, vinegar, oregano, salt, pepper, and Dijon until mixed well. Divide evenly between the 4 quart jars. Layer the veggies in the jar starting with the tomatoes, the bell pepper and cucumber.
  4. Divide the Quinoa among the jars, spooning it in. Top with feta and olives. At this point you can press down the ingredients slightly in the jar.
  5. Top off each salad with a handful of chopped lettuce. Store in the refrigerator for 3 to 4 days. Pour the contents into a bowl when you are ready to eat!

 

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Southwestern Black Bean Pasta Salad

 

Southwestern Black Bean Pasta Salad

I can remember when I was ten years old, wishing that I was thirteen. I wanted to be a teenager because I thought that was way cooler than being ten. Then like most, the next significant milestone was 16. I think I may have counted down the days until my birthday that year. I wanted a car but I did not get one.  It continued after that;  being impatient for graduation, first real job, wedding date, birth of a baby. Many other important dates that I looked forward to with anticipation that I now look back on with nostalgia.

Now, God willing, Greg and I will celebrate our thirtieth wedding anniversary in November. I look forward to celebrating that date because I am proud that he has been able to put up with me for this long! However, if life has taught me nothing else, it is to enjoy the moment. I’m still a planner, and I look forward to special days, but I am trying to place more emphasis on the here and the now than the tomorrows. After all, I’m not promised tomorrow. My very wise mother always told me, “don’t wish your life away.” Well, Mama, after fifty-three years I’ve started listening to you!

It’s a bit difficult to transition from serious to pasta salad, but here goes.  😂 My family enjoys anything with a little spice. We love anything with buffalo sauce, and we enjoy some Mexican and Southwestern food too! I recently tried this Southwestern Black Bean Pasta Salad, and my family went nuts. Even if you prefer your pasta salad with little other than pasta, this dressing is amazing! The lime juice and cilantro are the key ingredients in my opinion,  but leave the cilantro out if you don’t care for it.

Southwestern Black Bean Pasta Salad
 
Author:
 
Ingredients
  • ½ c. mayonnaise
  • 2 tbsp. freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 1½ tsp. chili powder
  • 1 tsp. ground cumin
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 12-oz. rotini pasta
  • 1 can (15 oz.) can whole kernel corn, drained
  • 1 can (15-oz.) can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 pint grape or cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 (4.5-oz.) can chopped green chiles, drained
  • ¼ c. chopped fresh cilantro
Instructions
  1. Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain, set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together mayonnaise, lime juice, chili powder, cumin, and salt.
  3. Add cooked and drained pasta, black beans, corn, tomatoes, chiles, and cilantro to the dressing and toss to coat.
  4. Refrigerate covered until ready to serve.

 

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Chicken Caprese Salad

Chicken Caprese Salad

 

It seems like we have had some pretty healthy years around our house. Some sniffles here and there, but mostly healthy, until this year! It has been our year to make up for lost time!

It all started when Wes came home sick. After that Greg and I both ended up with pneumonia, and I was sick well over three weeks. I do not wish that on anyone!

Thankfully, Savannah never got sick! After all, we needed someone to take care of us! When I finally had an appetite, Savannah made this Chicken Caprese Salad, and I am now obsessed with it! It may be the best salad I have ever had!

I have always loved the freshness of a Caprese salad, but I had never thought about using the same ingredients in a green salad. Everything about this salad is delicious, from the fresh mozzarella and fresh basil to this incredible balsamic dressing!

Chicken Caprese Salad
 
Author:
Serves: 4
 
Ingredients
  • Dressing:
  • ¼ c. balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tsp. brown sugar
  • 1 tsp. minced garlic
  • 1 tsp. dried basil
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • Salad:
  • 12 chicken tenders
  • 5 c. Romaine lettuce leaves, washed and dried
  • 1 c. cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
  • ½ c. mini fresh mozzarella balls
  • ¼ c fresh basil leaves, torn into pieces
  • Salt and black pepper, to season
Instructions
  1. Whisk vinegar, oli, brown sugar, garlic, dried basil and salt together to combine. Place uncooked chicken in a shallow dish; pour a small amount of dressing over chicken and toss around to coat. Reserve unused dressing for later.
  2. Heat grill or a small amount of oil in a pan over medium-high heat. Cook chicken until cooked through, set aside and allow to rest.
  3. Slice chicken into strips and prepare salad with lettuce, tomatoes, mozzarella and chicken. Top with fresh basil. Drizzle with reserved dressing; season with salt and pepper if desired. Serve.

 

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Waldorf Chicken Salad

Waldorf Chicken Salad

Since having a few rooms painted in the house, I have been on a quest to purge. It’s amazing just how long it takes. Getting rid of old, unused “stuff” is something that I have done with each move, but you would be amazed at the “stuff” I have kept. Some things make me just shake my head and wonder exactly what I thought I would do with it.

For the past week, I have been weeding out cookbooks! Oh my, I did not realize I had such a cookbook hoarding problem until all of them were in stacks on the floor surrounding me! Even then, I’m hesitant to get just trash them before I go through them page by page. It’s a sickness! A sickness that I’m trying to overcome because the feeling of freedom feels so much better than clutter!

I ran across this Waldorf Chicken Salad recipe in an old cookbook from New York. I am typically a very plain chicken salad kind of gal but thought I would give this recipe a try. It is a wonderful fresh summer salad that I loved! The combination is perfect with the crunch of the celery, the tartness of the apple, and the vinegar added a delicious depth of flavor.

Wine vinegar tends to be milder and less acidic than cider or white distilled vinegar, so they make a great addition to sauces, salad dressing, and marinades.

 

Waldorf Chicken Salad
 
Author:
Serves: 8 - 10
 
Ingredients
  • 4 Honeycrisp apples, diced (or other crisp, tart,and sweet apple)
  • Mayonnaise, to taste
  • White wine vinegar
  • 4 whole chicken breasts, cooked, and picked clean from bones, and chopped
  • 1 c. walnuts, coarsely chopped
  • ½ to 1 c. chopped celery
  • 1 tsp. poppy seeds
  • Leaf lettuce
Instructions
  1. In a large bowl combine enough white wine vinegar with the mayonnaise to create the consistency of salad dressing.
  2. Add the chopped apples, chicken, walnuts, celery and poppy seeds.
  3. Chill for a few hours before serving. Serve on leaf lettuce.

 

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