Summer Entree Salads

I don't have picture number one to share with you all today with this  post.  It's still very mild here but the sunshine just popped out for the first time this week.  I'm willing to bet it begins to warm up now!  Which puts me right back to the summer food dilemma.  How do I keep cool and provide good nourishment, too?

Here are the few ideas I've come across thus far.  I plan to keep looking and keep sharing all through these warmer days of the year so stay tuned.

One family favorite is something John brought to the household.  It's a Tuna Pasta Salad and my family loves it because it's full of flavor.   I start with cooked pasta, drained can tuna (two cans to a 13 ounce box of whole wheat pasta penne or bowties.   Then it's pretty much the usual kitchen vegetables: carrots, celery, bell peppers (I like green and red), and onions.  I sometimes add black and green pimento stuffed olives, too.   I mix a mayonnaise dressing with lemon pepper, salt, mustard.   I don't measure a thing with this salad except the box of pasta and the cans of tuna!  I just add in a super load of vegetables and enough mayonnaise dressing to moisten it all.   We generally eat this with saltine crackers.   I'd serve it in lettuce cups but the kids could have cared less.  I think it would be awesome in hollowed out tomatoes if you have them, but tomato soup also goes well with this meal.

This next is a sort of pasta salad as well, but it's so good and so easy.   I've taken it many times to church dinners and the bowl always comes home empty.   I make this sauce early in the day and let it sit on the counter macerating all day long.  To a pint jar add 1 1/2 cup diced fresh tomatoes, salt, pepper, fresh oregano and a bit of minced garlic.  (You could do basil instead of oregano).  Now add olive oil to the jar, about 1/2 cup. and let the whole thing sit on the counter.  I periodically walk by and shake the jar.  Toss this with slightly warm spaghetti and boccini or chunked fresh mozzarella.  This is especially good a nice crusty bread to absorb those juices and oils.

Looking around on Pinterest I saw variations on the pasta salad theme: provolone and pepperoni with an Italian dressing.   I found just loads of pasta salads there but the pizza one is the one that stands out in my memory at the moment.

We ate out today and I ordered one of my favorite summer salads.  It is hearty enough to qualify as a meal, full of good flavor and satisfying.   It's a  steak salad.   A grilled warm steak is sliced into strips and served over hearty greens with crumbles of blue cheese, finely diced fresh tomato and croutons.  One thing I love is that I can eat four cups of lettuce and tomato without worrying about carb counts.  A three ounce serving of steak is just enough to make the salad a meal.

Cobb salad and Chef Salad is pretty much the same in my opinion.  It's just in how you serve it, laid out in diagonals or tossed in a bowl.  Either way you're getting egg, meat, cheese and vegetables in with the lettuce.

A salad I ate a lot when I worked was to buy a bag of mixed greens, deli roasted chicken and then some type of fruit.  Pears were always nice, but apple, or peach will work too.  Slice the fruit into the lettuce, add chunks of roasted chicken and serve with a fruit vinaigrette.  Oh and berries could be used as well.  I think raspberries or strawberries both work  equally well.

Well nothing earth shaking here with recipes today but it's a start of something to think about, right?


Lana said...

My husband is not a fan of pasta salads so that is a no go here. I mentioned steak salad to him after Father's Day when we had some leftover and he made a face at me. I think that means no too. :) We often grill extra chicken to go on salads and sometimes I grab the Caesar kit at Aldi for 1.99 and we add that grilled chicken to make a meal. Taco salad is another favorite here and I freeze small portions of meat just for salad in the summer. We do nachos using Hormel chili with beans and nacho cheese sauce topped with fresh things like chopped tomatoes. I do not put the nachos in the oven so it is a cool thing to make quick. I have a chicken tortilla soup that we love that is a crock pot recipe. In the summer we make rice bowls with that soup over it and add cool things like salsa and sour cream and cheese. That is a great company meal for summer along with a big basket of tortilla chips and some cold Sangria.

Debby in KS said...

For us, pasta salads are mostly a go-with thing. Like with wraps. During the summer, I have several wraps I make like cashew chicken, tuna, turkey, buffalo chicken, etc. And the pasta salad will be a side. The one I do frequently is the rainbow rotini, diced cucumbers, tomatoes, celery, red peppers, & a bit of parsley tossed with a homemade dressing of oil & vinegar. It always tastes better the 2nd day.

We didn't eat pasta when I was a kid. I don't think I tasted Kraft Mac & Cheese until I moved to the dorms in college!! Or lasagna. Aside from green salads, I think the only cold salad we did was potato.

Terri Cheney said...

Good ideas! Thank you both for sharing.

Kay said...

My farmer works hard at a factory during the day and farms after that. He needs a hearty meal yet doesn't like alot when it's hot outside. Our summer time meals many times are Chef Salad; BLTs, Grilled Veggies & a protein (hot dog or burger, chicken, fish or hard-cooked eggs). For my work lunches (it is ACed there but very warm nonetheless), I pack cubes of cheese, red/orange pepper slices &/or carrots, tomatoes, cucumber and then some corn chips along with 2 water bottles. Every day. Enough protein to keep me satisfied and the carbs keep me going. The water is a must.
Finally, I made an Italian Pasta Salad similar to what you mentioned. Rotini pasta, string cheese sliced into rounds or small cubes of provolone or feta, turkey pepperoni, then whatever veggies I want. Usually peppers, tomatoes, cucumbers, zucchini, onion. And a nice homemade vinaigrette made with lots of oregano. If I'm going towards a more Greek salad, maybe a touch of lemon zest & olives.

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