This one’s a hodge-podgey post featuring several, not really related dishes. I’ve tried to group recipes together as best I can, but these are a mixed bunch. You’ll see. One is a family recipe, one is something The Sister came up with after tasting someone else’s dish, and the last is about the glories of roasting vegetables.
We’ve always called this Wilted Salad, but the recipe card that’s written up has it as Dutch Salad. My mom says that my grandmother named it that, because it’s apparently a Dutch dish? I have no idea, but I do know that it’s really good and really easy to make.
- 1/2 C sugar
- 2 Tbs vinegar
- Cooked bacon, chopped
- Fresh spinach
Set freshly washed spinach and bacon pieces in a bowl. In a skillet over medium heat, whisk to combine the sugar and vinegar. When combined, drizzle over the bacon and spinach.
- The original recipe calls for lettuce. I’ve had this made with iceberg lettuce, though I’m not sure that’s what the recipe really intended. We always choose spinach, though I suppose a nice, dark leafy green lettuce would be fine.
- The original recipe also calls for hard-boiled egg slices. The Sister and I detest hard-boiled eggs, so we never use them. But if you do, feel free to add that.
- I have seen this as a menu item somewhere, but can’t recall where. They called it Salad with Hot Bacon Dressing. It really is a hot bacon dressing. It’s this pleasantly sweet-tangy rich flavour of everything combined.
- The recipe doesn’t state how much bacon or lettuce, but the dressing measurements will cover 4 – 6 salads. It’s best to pour the dressing over individual salad bowls, instead of making one big salad to dole out. Also, it’s best to not use too much dressing or it will drown the salad and won’t be very good. Perhaps 1 – 2 Tbs of dressing?
- Feel free to add to this basic and simple salad, though do try the original at some point. Fresh button mushrooms, red onions, walnuts, radishes, caramelized onions, and green apples I think would all do lovely with this salad, but you can fancy it up however you wish.
The Sisters’ Deelux Chicken Salad
In my family, chicken salad was always some conglomerate of mayonnaise, questionable chicken pieces (could be just dark meat, I don’t know), chopped celery, chopped eggs, perhaps sweet pickle relish. It was certainly nothing to write home about, and nothing I wanted near my mouth. Then The Sister created this new chicken salad before this chicken salad was everywhere, from some eatery which has since closed down. That sounds bad, they didn’t close because of the chicken salad, it’s really, really swell!
- 2 C white chicken meat, shredded
- 1/4 C mayonnaise
- 1/4 – 1/2 C sour cream
- Red grapes, sliced in half
- 1/4 C pecans, chopped
- Salt, to taste
- Lemon juice, to taste
- 1 – 2 Tbs Poppy seeds
Mix all ingredients together well, adjust to taste, and refrigerate in air tight container.
- Though there technically is a recipe for this, it’s always a taste choice. Mix things together, taste to see if it needs more of this or that. You might find it’s too mayonnaisey for your taste, just add a tad more sour cream. If it’s too sour creamy, add a tad more of mayonnaise. The lemon juice is essential and helps make this salad less rich and dense. You don’t want it to taste like lemons, just one small lemon wedge or a few squirts of bottled lemon; but again, to taste.
- This can be eaten as is, but it is also absolutely divine served on croissant. You do not have to spring for real French bakery croissant, just croissants you like from your local grocery store. Never Cressents “croissant” rolls. Also, other fancy breads work well like ciabatta, French bread, or pita bread. If using sliced bread, it’s better if it’s on something hardier than simple white bread, and it’s lovely if it’s toasted first.
- We always use canned chicken. One large can of the breast and rib meat. You can use fresh cooked chicken though.
- I would suggest eating this as is and then playing around with it if you enjoy the basic flavours. You could add in celery, if that’s your thing, or experiment with different fruits or nuts. I think tart green apples would be really good in this, along with the grapes, but for this you could omit the lemon juice. I admit that we don’t play around much with recipes that we know and love, though writing out these blog posts inspires me to experiment!
- *I tried to find a close enough photo to show for representation. This is a good approximation of the overall consistency, only yours will have grapes, poppy seeds, and no celery. Apparently everyone loves celery out there.
Roasted Cabbage Steaks
I was an extremely picky vegetable eater. That is, until The Sister prepared something which was roasted. Unlike boiled or steamed, the roasted vegetables were glorious. I started trying more and more of them in this fashion. Now I’m eating vegetables I wouldn’t have normally been eating. Cabbage is one of those. I never liked it boiled or raw as in coleslaw, but roasted? It’s phenomenal!
- 1 head of cabbage, sliced into 1/4 – 1/2″ slices
- 3 Tbs (or more) of olive oil
- Salt, to taste
- Pepper, to taste
Lay cabbage steaks on a baking sheet. Brush, or drizzle, olive oil on the tops and season with salt and pepper to taste. Bake at 400 degrees for 35 – 40 minutes, or until tender.
- You may wish to either spray olive oil on the baking sheet or rub olive oil on the backside of the steaks.
- This basic method can be used for any vegetable. If it’s a smaller, more manageable vegetable, I’ll generally just stir a little oil and salt with them in a bowl before transferring to a baking sheet or dish.
- I’ve tried single veggies or combinations of the following in this simple manner: carrots, red potatoes, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, okra, zucchini, squash, tomatoes, corn, red onions, white onions, sweet onions, garlic cloves (whole or sliced)etc.
- I’ve also tried fancier versions with roasting onions, garlic, and potatoes together and adding fresh rosemary, then adding in slices of cooked sausage.
- Also, I was never a fan of cooked broccoli or any form of okra unless it was in gumbo or fried in cornmeal. Both are so unbelievably excellent when roasted.
- Fancy this up and experiment how ever you wish. Also if you’re short on ideas, there is certainly no shortage of roasted vegetable recipes online, including Pinterest, which is where I found both of the recipes I’m featuring today.
Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Balsamic Vinegar and Honey
This is the recipe that made me adore Brussels Sprouts. After this, I made them in the simple olive oil and salt method. Both are really great. In fact, either version of this, as well as the roasted broccoli are good cold. At least to me.
- 1 1/2 lbs sprouts, halved
- 1/2 tsp pepper
- 2 Tbs balsamic vinegar
- 3 Tbs olive oil
- 3/4 tsp salt
- 2 tsp honey
Line a baking sheet in tin foil*. In a bowl, toss sprouts with 2 Tbs of oil, the salt, and the pepper. Bake at 425 degrees for 20 minutes. Once finished cooking, transfer sprouts back to the bowl and toss with 1 Tbs oil, the vinegar, and the honey.
- *I never line the baking sheet with foil.
- I can’t express how delicious these are.
I always see recipes with varied measurement abbreviations. I always use the standard form, but if you are not familiar with that, it is as follows.
- C = cup(s)
- Tbs = tablespoon
- tsp = teaspoon
- lb(s) = pound(s)