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
 
Prep time
Total time
 
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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Grilled Chicken and Strawberry Salad with red wine vinegar dressing

Grilled chicken and strawberry salad -- A Pinch of Joy

Grilled chicken and strawberry salad -- A Pinch of Joy
Grilled Chicken and Strawberry Salad is a springtime hit with berries fresh from the garden and fresh salad greens. Of course, you can make it any time of year with berries and greens from the grocery. Use your favorite salad greens. Leaf lettuce or Bibb lettuce from the garden, spring green mix, iceberg pieces, spinach, romaine. Or a mixture of any mild flavored green. Add a handful of chopped kale to each plate, if you like. Generally, a serving of salad is about one cup (pressed down) of fresh greens. Or, the number of servings in a 16 ounce bag of greens is often listed as six. This recipe will make 6 side salads or three generous dinner salads. The dinner salads are the choice at our house.

The dressing is the star of the show. And I don’t eat dressing on my salads!!! I’ll have ranch on the side occasionally, dipping my fork in the dressing before spearing a bite and that’s it! But this tangy, sweet, oniony concoction is delightful! I think you’ll really like it, too!

Grilled Chicken and Strawberry Salad with red wine vinegar dressing
 
Author:
Recipe type: salad
Serves: 6 servings
Ingredients
Dressing
  • ⅓ cup red wine vinegar
  • ⅓ cup plus one tablespoon sugar
  • 1 cup olive oil
  • ½ onion, minced
  • 1 teaspoon ground mustard
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper
Salad
  • 1 pound chicken breast, tenders, cutlets or fillets
  • ½ cup pecans, toasted if desired
  • 6 cups your favorite salad greens (or 16 ounces)
  • 1 cup fresh sliced strawberries
Instructions
  1. Grill chicken about 6 minutes on each side or until juices run clear. Remove from heat to cool.
  2. While chicken is grilling, prepare dressing. In blender combine olive oil, onion, mustard, salt and pepper. Process about 10 seconds to thoroughly mix seasonings and onion. Add red wine vinegar and pulse two to three times to mix in. Add one half the sugar and process 5 seconds. Add last half of sugar and process for 10 seconds or until sugar is thoroughly dissolved.
  3. Slice strawberries and set aside.
  4. If desired, toast pecans by heating over medium high heat until fragrant, about 6-8 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.
  5. Arrange salad greens on serving plate. Slice grilled chicken. Add chicken, strawberries and pecans to each serving plate.
  6. Drizzle with dressing to serve.


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Maple Glazed Baby Carrots

Maple Glazed Baby Carrots -- A Pinch of Joy

Maple Glazed Baby Carrots -- A Pinch of Joy

They are really good, my sister Vee said, when telling me about the glazed carrots she’d made. That was a couple of years ago and I’ve had the recipe in my “let’s try this” stack ever since. Last time we visited her family, she made Maple Glazed Carrots with Pecans. And she was right – again! They are good! But let’s just keep that between us okay – she doesn’t need to go gettin’ the big head!*

I’ve gotten lazy and grab a package of frozen vegetables to microwave instead of cooking the real deal. This recipe starts with baby carrots – no need to peel and slice. Put a cup or so of water in a medium pan, add carrots, cover and bring to boil. Steam/boil until carrots are crisp tender when pierced with a fork. That only takes about 15 minutes. So easy, it was not worth the fussin’ on my part –. The glaze is simple.   The predominate flavor is the maple as the dressing just enhances it without competing or changing it. Glaze the carrots, add nuts and you have an impressive dish. That is really, really good.

*I worked for a season in a children’s program with an elderly volunteer who was a gifted teacher. She could explain complex things so simply anyone could get it, keep the room organized and things moving. But she did not believe in praising children because, she said, they would get the “big head”. I think we all need to hear appreciation. Vee, here is yours! And thanks for sharing!

Maple Glazed Baby Carrots
 
An impressive dish for holidays and guests -- or just the family. Impressive and delicious!
Serves: 8 servings
Ingredients
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 pounds baby carrots
  • ¼ cup light catalina dressing
  • ¼ cup maple flavored syrup
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • ½ cup coarsely chopped pecans
Instructions
  1. Put water in medium pan, add carrots and cover. Cook 12 –14 minutes or until tender, then drain.
  2. Mix dressing and syrup, stirring frequently, until glaze is thickened.
  3. Add carrots and butter. Stir until butter is melted and carrots are covered with glaze.
  4. Add pecans and stir to distribute.
Nutrition Information
Serving size: ½ cup

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