Summer Salads

I’ve been gone from sittingdownfordinner for a while now. I’ve had sick kids, I’ve been traveling, it’s cold. Oops…when I started this post it was cold. Now it’s hot. I can use any excuse possible but the truth is that I have been struggling with finding time for Sittingdownfordinner. But I recently decided that I have a handful of “friends” who might find inspiration from my posts. They just might find a meal that is interesting to their family or friends. So at that – I am back.  I may not be Pioneer Woman or Martha Stewart, but I sure like to cook and feed my kids. So here we go.

Todays post is my top favorite recipes from this summer. Despite the fact that I have a million cookbooks (or so my husband would exaggerate)- I still go online often to find a quick recipe. Here are some of my favorites. I have provided the link to epicurious and I have also added a few notes on each recipe on what I did differently!

1. Orzo with pesto and summer vegetables

I bet if you make this recipe true to form it’s delightful as a full main course meal. I have made it as a side salad for burgers and brats. I omitted the shrimp and tomatoes. I added 2 extra tablespoons of pesto and an extra tablespoon of lime juice. And I used mini mozzeralla balls – boccaccini. My kids love them and they are easy to add. Adjust salt and pepper and add a dash of red pepper flakes if you wish.

2. Beets and Caramelized Onions and Feta

This salad is not a stand alone salad but is delicious as a side dish. My kids adore beets. They weren’t that excited about having their beets with onions and feta. So I made their beets just plain with some salt and we enjoyed the salad. Beets are tough – you either love ’em or hate ’em. My only rule is that you try ’em.

For this recipe I used fresh beets instead of the canned beets as suggested in the recipe. To prepare beets- cut off the top and bottom of the beets. To cook faster you can cut them in half. Add beets to a salted pot of water. Bring to a boil. Cook the beets until they are easily pierced with a fork about 25-30 minutes (depending on the size of the beets). To remove the skin – take a paper towel and wipe the beets with the towel. The skin will peel off into your hands. Slice and salt lightly and serve. When making the caramelized onions – add 1 tbsp. of sherry vinegar or 1 tsp of sherry cooking wine to the onions when they are starting to brown. Cook for about 10 more minutes after you add the sherry.

3. Creamy Potato Salad with Lemon and Fresh Herbs

I didn’t alter this recipe at all. It was light and fresh and delicious. Served nicely with brats and baked beans for a real summer cookout. This salad would also work nicely with grilled salmon and a side of asparagus.

4. Black bean summer quinoa salad

I have already adapted this salad and put it on my blog. It’s great and I am re-sharing it!



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