July 03, 2007

Summer Salad Salute

I like to eat salads..... just about any kind. I think a lot of men don't like salad, but Jay does, thank goodness. However, I didn't like salad when I was a kid, and I never thought I would be able to get my kids to eat it without an excessive amount of whining, complaining, pleading, forcing, gagging, and frustration. And since my children willingly eat all kinds of vegetables, I didn't bother preparing salads for my family. But I missed eat them. (Salads, I mean.)

Then one day (about 2 years ago) I learned that my friend's 3 young boys all eat salad. I felt guilty for never even trying. So, I started with just a few leaves of lettuce with my homemade dressing. I served it on a salad plate by itself, before the main course, so the kids were required to eat it before they would be served anything else. It was only 3 small pieces of lettuce, so it was really no big deal. The first time was a little scary for them, but they did well.

After a couple of weeks of eating their miniature "salad" for dinner every day, I increased the amount of lettuce and added other things.... spinach, tomatoes, cucumbers, olives, and croutons. The olives and croutons were easy.... they already liked those. The spinach was new, but they took to it right away. The tomatoes took a little longer, but we got there. The cucumbers were the hardest. I only have one who still complains about the cucumbers, though he eats them because he knows mom won't give in.

Within a few months, all three kids were eating a good-sized portion of salad, right on their plate with everything else. I only have to remind them to eat their salad first, and they do. It's been a more than a year now, and they all eat it willingly... sometimes they even ask for more! And it has made them more adventurous and willing to try new things.

The key is to find dressing that they like. Here is my kids' favorite.

1 c. canola oil
1/4 c. red wine vinegar
1/4 c. sour cream
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. dry mustard
2 T. sugar
2 tsp. dry parsley flakes
2 large cloves garlic, crushed
Course ground pepper, to taste

Combine and whisk until smooth. [This is also great for pasta salad.]

And some of our favorite salads.

Red leafy lettuce
Black olives
Red onion
Croutons (or chunks of crusty bread)
Creamy Garlic Vinaigrette

Bowtie or Penne Pasta
Snow Peas (in the pod, or just frozen peas)
Carrots, julienned
Black Olives
Sliced grilled chicken
Fresh grated parmesan cheese
Creamy Garlic Vinaigrette

Red or green leafy lettuce (a mix is good)
Green onions
Red onion
Sliced almonds
Chow Mein noodles
Slices of grilled chicken (optional)
Red Wine Vinaigrette

4 T. sugar
2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. pepper
1/4 c. olive oil
6 T. red wine vinegar
1-2 T. lemon juice

Leafy lettuce
Red Onion
Oranges, peeled and sliced
Strawberries, sliced
Candied Almonds or Pecans
Poppy Seed Dressing

1/3 c. apple cider vinegar
3/4 c. canola oil
3/4 T. poppy seeds
1/3 tsp. dry mustard
1/3 c. sugar
3/4 T. salt

Mix in blender.

1/2 c. sugar
1 c. almonds (sliced) or pecans (whole or pieces)
Put sugar in a small sauce pan over medium heat. Stir constantly until sugar starts to melt. Add nuts and continuing stirring until sugar turns translucent and coats nuts. Spread on cookie sheet to cool.

My kids also like Ceasar Salad, but that hardly counts. I don't make my own dressing; I buy Cardini's. (Romaine, croutons, fresh grated parmesan, and dressing)


  1. Here's one of my favorites. I want to try it with brown rice sometime. And I always like serving it on green leaf. I LOVE your recipes! Thanks Alice!

    Rice and Chicken Salad

    5 Cups of cooked and cubed chicken

    Marinate over night in:
    2 T salad oil
    2 T orange juice
    2 T vinegar
    ½- 1 T salt

    3 cups of cooked rice
    1 ½ cups of grapes
    1 ½ cups of celery
    1 can pineapple tidbits
    1 can mandarine oranges
    ¼ cup chopped green onions
    ¾ cup mayonnaise (or enough to moisten salad)
    ½ cup almonds

    mix all ingredients, add oranges last. Refrigerate and serve!

  2. Yummy! I love your recipes!
    We make your German Pancakes every Sunday now. They are too good.

  3. Just printed off these winners. Thanks!


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