Easy summer salad meals for busy homemakers and caregivers. Below are great helps to save time, money, and add nutrition and variety to summer meals. Be prepared for potlucks, family picnics and company dropping in. Unless you are prepared in advance, this could create more stress on your time and energy.
Consider a pasta salad as the main dish.
Fresh vegetables are readily available right now; however, unless you prepare ahead, many of them will go to waste before they are used up. For the recipe below and for many casserole dishes, finely chop your older veggies, spread out on a cookie sheet, freeze, then put in a container for later use in stews, casseroles, and even the salad below.
This simple recipe that will easily adjust for any hungry bunch. The options are endless — side dish? main dish? hot salad? cold? tart and tangy? sweet and chewy?
Be sure to read the suggestions below and adjust to your personal taste. You will add many ingredients to your list as you begin to think outside the box.
BASIC SUMMER SALAD RECIPE
Cook and drain 16oz package pasta. (regular or gluten-free pasta)
Add 2 – 3 cups fresh, finely chopped vegetables.
Stir in small bottle prepared dressing.
1. Pasta is more than macaroni or spaghetti-ho, hum! Try bowtie, shells or other shaped macaroni for variety or choose fettuccini or whole wheat pastas.
2. Think outside the box on vegetables; go beyond lettuce, celery, sweet onions, tomatoes and peppers. Purchase whatever is fresh at the market and chop finely. Larger vegetables like sugar peas, broccoli, or cauliflower can be slightly steamed and cooled before chopping. A few sliced olives will add flavor and color.
3. Make it a meal in itself. Add chopped, grilled chicken or cubed ham for a hearty dish. Summer sausage, cocktail wieners, bacon pieces, boiled eggs, cheese cubes or shredded cheese will provide variety and color. Consider small shrimp and a light cocktail dressing. If you are watching calories and fat content, blend in non-fat yogurt.
4.Choose a dressing to complement your foods. Zesty Italian is a good, colorful dressing enhancing most flavors. For a bolder change, try a little raspberry vinaigrette or poppy seed dressing. Don’t forget squirts of lemon or orange juice to tantalize the taste the taste buds.
5. Add dried fruits and nuts. Raisins, cranberries, slivered almonds, sunflower seeds all add texture and flavor to your salad.
5. Get creative with your families’ tastes. My husband does not like broccoli, cauliflower, etc. He will eat most any salad that has tomatoes in it; especially with fried or grilled chicken pieces on top. If I toss in small chunks of broccoli, cauliflower and other of his less favorite vegetables and smother them with tomatoes and chopped chicken, I have one happy camper!
Looking forward to hearing your variations.