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Chicken-Penne Salad with Green Beans Fresh and cool for summer, this makes a perfect packed lunch or light dinner with lots of vegetables, a light fresh herb dressing, and shredded chicken. 2 cups uncooked penne (tube-shaped) pasta
2 cups (1-inch) cut green beans (about 1/2 pound)
2 cups shredded cooked chicken breast
1/2 cup vertically sliced red onion
2 tbs. chopped fresh basil or oregano
1 1/2 tsp chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 (7-ounce) bottle roasted red bell pepper, drained and cut into thin strips
2 tbs extra-virgin olive oil
2 tbs red wine vinegar
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp minced garlic
1/2 tsp black pepper

Cook pasta in boiling water 7 minutes. Add green beans; cook 4 minutes. Drain and rinse with cold water; drain.
Combine pasta mixture, chicken, onion, basil, parsley, and bell pepper in a large bowl, tossing gently to combine.
Combine oil and remaining ingredients in a small bowl, stirring with a whisk. Drizzle over pasta mixture; toss gently to coat.

Original recipe
BLT Salad (Bacon, Lentil, and Tomato) Crispy bacon and fresh tomatoes made healthy in a lentil salad with balsamic dressing and fresh thyme. Perfect for summer lunches. Yay for not having to turn the oven on! 4 pieces bacon, preferably thick slices
2 cups green or black lentils
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme (or fresh)
1 pound small tomatoes

Slice the bacon into strips. In a medium skillet cook the bacon pieces until crisp, then reserve. Save a tsp or so of the bacon drippings for the dressing. Meanwhile cook the lentils about 15 – 20 minutes, or until tender.

Carefully add the balsamic vinegar, salt and thyme to the bacon drippings, adding a tablespoon or so of olive oil. Whisk the dressing, making sure to loosen any bits stuck to the pan. Remove from the heat and reserve.

Drain the cooked lentils and place into a large bowl. Pour the hot dressing over the hot lentils, and mix well. Let the lentils cool to room temperature.

Halve or quarter the tomatoes, depending on the size. Once the lentils are cooled, stir in the reserved bacon and the tomatoes. Serve immediately or refrigerate until ready to eat.

Original recipe
Sumi Salad This sweet and salty coleslaw is a classic Cummings family favorite. Made with bagged coleslaw mix, it is really easy to throw together and makes a perfect side dish to teriyaki chicken. 1 large cabbage, chopped or one bag of coleslaw mix
3-4 green onions, chopped
1/4 c. sliced almonds, toasted
1/4 c. sunflower seeds, salted and toasted
1 packages ramen noodles - crumbled with no mix
Dressing:
2 T. sugar
1/4 c. rice vinegar
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
2 T. vegetable oil (you can add a tsp of sesame oil if desired)

Crush noodles in package before opening. Mix cabbage, noodles, onions and nuts in large bowl. Pour dressing on top and toss well.

From: Cummings Family
Green salad with Dates, Smoked Almonds, and Goat Cheese This salad has a lot of ingredients, but it is well worth the work. Smoked almonds and chopped dates add strong smoky/salty/sweet flavors to the crunchy lettuce, cabbage, and celery mix. Beans, chickpeas, and shredded precooked chicken provide protein, and crumbled goat cheese acts as a creamy accent. A simple red wine vinaigrette is included in the recipe, but feel free to improvise - just about any vinaigrette will do. Made ahead of time on Sunday, it makes for a easy, healthy work lunch and will last for nearly a week properly stored in the fridge. For a vegetarian version, just omit the chicken. Salad:

1 head romaine lettuce, shredded
1 head leaf lettuce, shredded
1/2 small head red cabbage, shredded very fine
3-4 stalks celery, chopped

Toppings:

Cooked chicken, shredded
1/2 cup dried dates, pitted and chopped in quarters
1/2 cup smoked salted almonds, roughly chopped
1 12-ounce can chickpeas and/or 1 12-ounce can kidney beans, rinsed and well drained
4 ounces goat cheese crumbled
Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper
Optional: 6 shallots OR 1/2 red onion, finely chopped
Avocado

Dressing:

1/4 c. red wine vinegar
2 Tbs. mustard
1/2 Tbs. honey or fruit jam
1 tsp garlic powder
2 Tbs. olive oil


To make ahead: Mix the salad ingredients (washed and thoroughly dried) together. Store in large plastic containers lined with paper towels. Top with the finely chopped shallots or red onion, dates, almonds, and legumes.

Per serving: Toss with the goat cheese, top with chicken and/or avocado, and season to taste with salt and pepper. Add dressing to taste

Whisk the jam/honey, mustard, and seasoning together. Add vinegar, stir well, and slowly add oil while whisking until emulsified.

Original Recipe

Arugula and Tomato Salad with Balsamic dressing Perfect for summer tomato season, this salad is a strong mix of flavors - tangy balsamic vinegar, peppery fresh arugula, and sweet ripe tomatoes. Crumble in some cheese to bring it all together and serve with grilled meat for a full meal. Salad:
arugula
fresh tomatoes, chopped or halved if small
optional: crumbled mozzarella, feta or goat cheese
Dressing:
1/2 cup tomato juice
1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
2 T maple syrup
1 tablespoon minced fresh rosemary or basil
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1-2 garlic cloves, minced
2 1/2 tablespoons extravirgin olive oil

Combine all ingredients except oil, stirring well. Gradually add oil, stirring constantly with a whisk until well combined.
Note: Refrigerate dressing in an airtight container for up to five days; stir well before using.
Original recipe
kale_slaw_with_peanut_dressing.jpgKale is one of my new favorite vegetables, thanks in no small part to more frequent visits to farmer's markets and recipes like this pasta. This recipe is a lighter, salad-like approach where the greens are just wilted, then tossed with red bell pepper and carrots in a slightly sweet peanut dressing. Excellent when served with grilled meat.

1 large bunches curly or lacinato kale, about 2 pounds
1 red bell peppers, cleaned and cut into fine strips
1 large carrot, peeled
1/4 + 2 tbs cup roasted, salted peanuts, divided
2 tbs vegetable oil
3 tablespoons cider vinegar
1 tablespoon packed light-brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
Pinch red pepper flakes (optional)

Fold each leaf of kale in half lengthwise and slice out the center rib. Discard ribs. Roll a stack of the leaves up and slice in half lengthwise, then crosswise into very fine ribbons. Wash and rinse thoroughly in a salad spinner.Heat a little oil in a pan, and add the kale. Cook, stirring frequently, until kale is wilted but still not soft.

Toss the kale with the sliced bell peppers. Slice the carrot very thin. Toss with the kale, red pepper, and 2 tbs of the peanuts.

In a chopper or small food processor, briefly puree the remaining 1/4 cup peanuts, oil, vinegar, sugar, salt and pepper flakes. Pulse it just a few times; the peanuts should be partially pureed, but with some nibs and nubs still left in the dressing. (The texture difference between the whole peanuts, ground peanuts, and pureed peanuts in the sauce is one of the things that makes this slaw so wonderful.)

Toss the dressing with the slaw and let it sit for at least a few minutes before serving.

Original recipe


chickenmilanese_sm.jpgPan-fried breaded chicken topped with a salad of arugula, corn, tiny potatoes, and cherry tomatoes in a light lemon honey vinaigrette. One of my absolute favorite summer dishes, with a very pretty presentation.

For the salad:
5 to 6 fingerling potatoes
1 ear corn
1 1/2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
2 large handfuls of baby lettuce or arugula (or a mix), washed and dried
optional: 3/4 cup sliced hearts of palm
juice of 1 lemon
4 tablespoons white wine vinegar
1 teaspoon dijon mustard
1/4 cup olive oil
2-3 tablespoons honey
salt and pepper
2 ounces ricotta salata or fresh mozzarella, cubed
For the chicken:
4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts, pounded thin (about 1/4 inch)
salt and pepper
1/4 cup olive oil
2 eggs, beaten
1 1/2 cups fresh breadcrumbs
juice of 1/2 lemon
For the salad:
Bring a small pot of water to boil. Have a bowl of ice water off to the side. Add the fingerling potatoes to the pot and cook for 8 to 10 minutes, until one can be sliced in half easily. Remove the potatoes from the pot with a slotted spoon and put in the ice bath until cool. Remove, pat dry, and slice into 1/4-inch rounds.

Cook the ear of corn, in its husk, in the microwave- on high for 3 minutes. Remove, allow to cool for 5 to 10 minutes, then shuck. Cut the kernels off the cob and add to a bowl with the potatoes, tomatoes, lettuces, and hearts of palm. (note: can use canned or frozen corn)

Make the vinaigrette. Combine the lemon juice, vinegar, and mustard in a bowl and whisk to combine. Season with salt and pepper. Slowly stream in the olive oil while whisking vigorously. Add honey to taste. Set aside until the chicken is cooked (you'll dress the salad and use the ricotta salata when you plate the food).

For the chicken:
Season the chicken breasts generously with salt and pepper. Heat the oil in a very large (14-inch) skillet over high heat. Pour the beaten eggs into a shallow pie plate. Pile the breadcrumbs onto a plate or in another pie plate and season with salt and pepper (mix the salt and pepper in with your fingers).

Working with one chicken breast at a time, dip it into the eggs, then allow the excess to drip off. Place it in the breadcrumbs and coat on both sides, then gently lay the chicken breast into the pan. Repeat with remaining chicken breasts. Cook the chicken for about 4 minutes on each side, flipping carefully with tongs, until the breadcrumbs are a deep golden color and crispy. Remove the chicken from the pan, set on a plate, and squeeze the lemon juice over them.

To serve, toss the salad with the vinaigrette. Place one chicken breast on each plate and top with the salad. Crumble the ricotta salata on top of each salad and season with salt and pepper.

Original recipe
cornbreadsalad_sm.jpgA great filling salad with three types of greens and a creamy buttermilk lime dressing with a hint of honey. Cornbread croutons add crunch and a southern flair.

Cornbread, cut into 1-inch cubes
Lettuce
Arugula
Spinach
Tomatoes, chopped
Buttermilk-Lime Dressing (below)

Preheat oven to 250°. Scatter the corn bread in a single layer on a half-sheet pan and bake until the pieces are lightly toasted, about 7 minutes.

Place lettuce, greens, 3 cups of toasted corn bread and tomatoes to a large bowl and toss to combine. Drizzle with buttermilk dressing, season with salt and pepper, and toss again. Serve immediately.

Buttermilk-Lime Dressing

3/4 cups buttermilk
5 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice (1 1/2 limes)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1/2-1 tablespoon honey
1/4 cup finely minced fresh basil or cilantro
1/4 cup finely minced fresh flat-leaf parsley
1/4 cup finely minced green onions
1/2 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste

Whisk all of the ingredients together in a small bowl until combined. Can covered tightly and stored in the fridge up to two days.

Original recipe


peach_salad_sm.jpgA simple oil-free salad that relies on juicy summer peaches. Great with some grilled or sauteed chicken on top.

Lettuce or spinach
1 peach, chopped
red wine vinegar
honey
salt and pepper
toasted almonds, pecans, or walnuts
shredded cheese (something like feta or Parmesan)

Put the chopped peach in a bowl, drizzle with red wine vinegar and honey to taste (about a 1-1 ratio worked well for me). Toss and allow to sit a few minutes while the peach juices get combined into the dressing. Add lettuce or spinach, toss well. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, grated cheese, and toasted nuts to taste.

cherry_salad.jpgThis is a nice non-dessert way to use ripe summer cherries. Crushed cherries and balsamic vinegar combine to make a nice, light dressing for peppery arugula and crusty olive oil croutons. Like most salad recipes, the measurements are approximate.

A few pieces of rustic bread, preferably a day old
olive oil
1/2 pound cherries, halved and pitted
1/8 tsp pressed or crushed garlic
balsamic vinegar
salt
black pepper
arugula
crumbled strong white cheese (feta, goat cheese, Parmesan, or other)
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Trim crust from bread, and discard the crust.  Tear the bread into rough, bite-size pieces (you should have about 4 cups, total). Dump the bread onto a rimmed baking sheet, and drizzle (or spray) it with olive oil.  Toss to coat and sprinkle with salt (and garlic powder if not using fresh garlic). Bake until crispy and golden in spots, shaking the pan once, 5 to 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, put about one-third of the cherries in a large bowl and mash them lightly with a fork to release their juices. Add 2 tsp balsamic vinegar and mix. Add 1 tsp. olive oil and a pinch or two of salt and mix again. Add a few handfuls of arugula and toss. Taste, and adjust the vinegar, oil and salt as needed. Sprinkle with a tsp. of sugar if it needs more sweetness.
When the bread is nicely toasted, turn it into a bowl. While it is still hot, add the crushed garlic and toss well.  Set the bowl aside to cool for a minute or two, add to the salad, and toss. Finish with a generous amount of crumbled cheese and a few grinds of the pepper mill, and serve.

Original recipe

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