Greg and I both love a simple wedge salad. The dressing is the star of the show on a wedge. If the dressing is not spectacular, then the salad isn’t worth eating, am I right? Who would have ever thought that an iceberg lettuce wedge topped with thick, chunky, blue cheese dressing, some crumbled bacon, and tomato could be such a delight!
In the past, I have given up flavor to go down a dress size. I like food though, and a healthy lifestyle just never lasts because I began to feel deprived. Greg and I both fall into the modern-day foodie category, and bland is not what we crave.
As I begin to discover new recipes I am also revamping some of my old favorites. One of my first recipe remakes was blue cheese dressing, and I am ecstatic with the results! It turns out that I do not have to give up my favorite dressing! Although it’s not quite as creamy as my full-fat version, the flavor is every bit as good and completely satisfying!
It thrills me to know I can have good food and try to be healthier too. Believe it or not, just by making a few changes the scales are already moving in the right direction!
Lighter Blue Cheese Dressing
- 2 tbsp. white vinegar
- 1 medium garlic clove
- ½ tsp. sugar
- pinch salt
- pinch freshly ground black pepper
- ½ c. Plain, low-fat Greek yogurt
- ¼ c. light Olive Oil Mayonnaise
- ¼ c. light sour cream
- ½ cup blue cheese, crumbled
- In the bowl of a food processor mix vinegar, garlic clove, sugar, salt, pepper, yogurt, mayonnaise, and sour cream until smooth. Add the blue cheese and pulse a few times to blend slightly while still leaving it somewhat chunky.
- Makes 6 - ¼ c. servings
- Each serving = 4 WW Freestyle Points
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
- 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
- In a large bowl pour boiling water over Jello and sugar, mix to dissolve.
- Zest oranges and add to Jello mixture.
- 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.
- Stir in pineapple, ground cranberries, apple, and pecans. Mix well and refrigerate.
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
- 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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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!
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
- 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
- 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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.