Beef and Pear Salad with honey mustard dressing

Pear and Steak Salad with honey mustard dressing -- A Pinch of Joy

Pear and Steak Salad with honey mustard dressing -- A Pinch of Joy

Sometimes we look at a recipe, like Pear and Beef Salad with Honey Mustard Dressing, and think “I can’t use that.  It serves four and I am cooking for two.”  Or  “This is too spicy for my family”.  Or even, “this combination is weird!” – which usually actually means “ I’ve not had this before”.  Don’t turn the page or click away too soon however!  You’ll miss some good eatin’, if you do!   Instead think of ways you can make it fit your situation and tastebuds.

I cook for three people, two with pretty big appetites.  To make this fit my family, I use only half of some of the salad ingredients, but I leave the amount of meat and the dressing the same.  One third of a bag of baby greens each is just about right for our appetites.  Dried cranberries are high carb so we only need a few for color.  The cheese provides additional protein so I usually use the full amount and the same with the walnuts, which are also healthy.  I don’t eat a lot of meat at any one time, so by the time I take my palm sized piece (about 4 ounces), the guys have about a pound of steak to divide between them.  That makes them really happy. (Although I can and do buy smaller steaks, too.)    I am wimpy when it comes to tart or spicy flavors so I usually opt for no dressing or a light raspberry vinagerette or even a creamy yogurt dressing.  The guys LOVE this mustard dressing drizzled across the meat and over the salad.  Everybody gets a balanced meal with flavors they like and will leave the table full and happy.  It can pay to be adventurous and flexible!

And as for combinations that seem weird – I couldn’t quite imagine hearty beef with delicate spring greens and pears.  It really helps to watch the temperature of the meat as it grills so it does not overcook and become tough.   The tender beef  plays off the greens and pears in a perfect combination!  Makes a great summer meal by itself.  Add a crusty roll, if you like. Adapt the recipe,  if you need. Go ahead, make this.   Betcha like it!

Original recipe from Dinner is Solved at HyVee.

Beef and Pear Salad with honey mustard dressing
 
Prep time
Total time
 
The tender beef plays off the delicate greens and pears in a perfect combination with a zip of mustard!
Author:
Recipe type: Salad
Serves: 4 servings
Ingredients
  • 1 ½ pound sirloin steak
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 5 ounce bags baby salad greens
  • 2 medium pears, cored and thinly sliced
  • ¼ cup dried cranberries
  • ½ cup chopped walnuts
  • ½ cup feta cheese crumbles
Honey Mustard Dressing
  • ½ cup prepared honey mustard
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1 ½ teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon white wine vinegar
  • Pinch of salt
Instructions
  1. Sprinkle pepper over sirloin and grill over medium heat for about 10 minutes, turning after five minutes until medium done. OR use a countertop grill. Medium doneness is achieved at 160 degrees.
  2. In small bowl, whisk dressing ingredients together and set aside.
  3. Divide salad greens among 4 serving plates. Top with pears, nuts, cranberries and cheese.
  4. When steak is done, let it rest a couple of minutes before slicing across the grain in thin slices.
  5. Drizzle with dressing.

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Aloha Pineapple and Ham Pasta Salad

Aloha Pineapple and Ham Pasta Salad -- A Pinch of Joy

Aloha Pineapple and Ham Pasta Salad -- A Pinch of Joy

Pineapple and Ham – an unexpected twist to pasta salad.  The pineapple makes a great addition without shouting, “hey, there’s pineapple in this dish”.  It plays together very nicely with all the other ingredients.    Using aloha in the name bows to the idea of playing nicely with others.  Mainlanders think of aloha as meaning “hello” and “goodbye”  — and it does serve as a greeting.  However, “aloha”  also encompasses love, mercy, compassion and the joyful sharing of a positive attitude.  Kind of like this pasta salad, it’s more than it appears.

This is also a versatile recipe.   The original calls for red pepper which is certainly a colorful addition.  However, you can substitute any sweet pepper you have available.  Or use cubed chicken instead of diced ham.  You can also add a half a cup of diced cucumber, frozen green peas, cubed cheddar cheese – any or all.  Although if you add them all, you might also want to increase the amount of sour cream to half a cup and add another can of pineapple and its juice.   I like to make a big pasta salad and use it for several meals.  Some of the above ingredients can be added on day 2 or 3 for a little variety, with an extra bit of sour cream or mayonnaise, if needed.  It is also not necessary to have exact amounts of mustard and honey.  You can eyeball the measurements into the dressing mixture, squeezing carefully and come very close to the amount needed without have to scrape honey or mustard out of the measuring spoon.  Nor do you have to wash said spoons.  Sometimes when you are elbow deep in multiple recipes,  that’s an important consideration!  And that reminder in the recipe to boil pasta in SALTED water — yeah, that’s for me.  You too, if you need it.  🙂

Aloha Pineapple and Ham Pasta Salad
 
Prep time
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Pineapple and Ham – an unexpected twist to pasta salad.
Author:
Recipe type: Pasta Salad
Serves: 8 serving
Ingredients
  • 8 ounce pasta ( approx. 2 ½ cups)
  • 8 ounce can pineapple tidbits, drained
  • 1 red pepper diced
  • 2 cups ham, diced
  • 1 green onion, thinly sliced
Dressing
  • ½ cup mayonnaise
  • ⅓ cup sour cream
  • 1 tablespoon dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
Instructions
  1. Cook pasta in salted water according to package directions for al dente. Do not overcook.
  2. Dice red pepper. (can substitute any sweet pepper)
  3. Dice ham into small pieces and thinly slice onion.
  4. Mix mayonnaise, sour cream, mustard, honey, garlic powder and pineapple juice in medium sized bowl to make dressing.
  5. Add vegetables and ham to dressing.
  6. Drain pasta, rinse with cold water and cool. Stir into vegetable and dressing mixture.
  7. Cover and refrigerate two to three hours before serving.

I’m so glad you stopped by today!   Be sure to follow A Pinch of Joy so you don’t miss a thing!   Subscribe by email  on the sidebar  or follow on Facebook, RSS feed, bloglovin’  twitter  or   pinterest    If you found this helpful or inspiring please share below!  I’d love to have you along on this journey!

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Crunchy Pea Salad

Crunchy Pea Salad with creamy ranch dressing and bacon -- A Pinch of Joy

Crunchy Pea Salad with creamy ranch dressing and bacon -- A Pinch of Joy

We like the crisp crunch of cauliflower.   Add celery and peas and ranch dressing, a bit of tangy onion and crispy bacon — a quick and easy, delicious and colorful Crunchy Pea Salad.

You can thaw the peas in the fridge ahead of time. Or not. (I usually don’t.) Break or cut the cauliflower into bite size pieces. I like the looks of the little florets in the salad, but sometimes a knife is needed to keep the pieces small enough to eat easily. Crisp the bacon yourself and crumble. Or use about 3 tablespoons of genuine crumbled bacon off the shelf to save time. Add cashews, just slightly chopped for a bit of texture and taste to “fancy” it up, if desired. I don’t usually keep cashews on hand because they disappear long before they can go into a recipe. (oh, that tiny bit of salt on my hand — yep, it’s me!)  Mix everything together ahead of time, at least an hour, so the flavors have time to properly meld.   (But I have put it on the table shortly after mixing and it disappeared quickly!) Leftovers will keep for a day in the refrigerator. However,  the only times we’ve done that is when I’ve sneaked out a portion before serving to pack for work lunch.   Straightforward and simple to make. Enjoy!!

Crunchy Pea Salad
 
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Crunchy peas,celery and cauliflower with creamy ranch dressing accented with a bit of onion and bacon make a great and healthy vegetable salad!
Author:
Recipe type: Vegetable Salad
Serves: 6 servings
Ingredients
  • 1 10 ounce package frozen peas
  • 1 cup cauliflower, in small bite sized pieces
  • 1 cup celery, diced
  • ¼ cup green onion, thinly sliced
  • ½ cup sour cream
  • 1 cup ranch salad dressing
  • Optional: ¾ cup lightly chopped cashews
  • Optional: 4 slices bacon, crisped and crumbled
Instructions
  1. Brown bacon if using, cool and crumble.
  2. Mix peas, celery, cauliflower and onion in medium bowl.
  3. Stir ranch dressing and sour cream together in small bowl and pour over vegetables.
  4. Add cashews and/or bacon, if using.
  5. Stir everything together. Chill one to two hours before serving.

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