Lemon Orzo Salad

Lemon Orzo Salad is a make ahead salad that is full of bright lemon flavor and is the perfect side dish when you’re grilling. It is meant to be served cold so you will have to plan ahead, but that just means you get to relax while the rest of the food is cooking!

The weather has been unusually mild, here in Arizona this year, and we have been soaking up every minute of it before the crazy summer temperatures hit. Great weather means that our grill has been working overtime. When the kids are outside playing and My Love is manning the grill, the last place I want to be is the kitchen.

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Kale Salad with Lemon Garlic Dressing

This Kale Salad with Lemon Garlic Dressing has been my favorite side dish for months. I just can’t get enough of it, which is great considering kale is so good for you! I literally make it every week and find any excuse to add it to our menu. There are only a handful of ingredients, it comes together in minutes and it can be prepped ahead of time, which makes it a great dish in my book! It pairs nicely with almost anything as a side dish but could also be served on it’s own as a filling lunch too.

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Cauliflower Puree

A couple weeks ago, I had this delicious cauliflower puree planned as a side dish for one of our meals.  But, when I went to make it, I realized that we had made a mistake on our grocery list so I didn’t have all the ingredients I needed.  I hate when that happens!

Rather than scrap the side dish and come up with something else, I decided to improvise and make my own version with ingredients I had on hand.  I started by cooking the cauliflower in chicken stock, instead of water, to add some savoriness to the dish.  I considered adding sour cream but went with goat cheese to balance the sweetness with some tartness.  And, of course, butter makes everything better, so I had to include some of that.  Lastly, I added some seasoning and gave it a whirl in my food processor and called it done.

With fingers crossed, I served my family my new version of cauliflower puree.

The verdict:  HUGE SUCCESS!  We all loved it!!

This cauliflower puree is super tasty without being overpowering, which makes it a great side dish for almost anything.  It’s also a great way to fill picky eaters with healthy nutrients!   Lovebug was so fooled by the flavor and texture she kept calling it mashed potatoes!  I will definitely be making this puree again!

 
Cauliflower Puree
Serves 4
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Cook Time
10 min
Cook Time
10 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 head cauliflower, stems trimmed and florets broken into medium pieces
  2. 1 1/2 cups chicken stock
  3. 2 tablespoons goat cheese
  4. 2 tablespoons butter
  5. 1/2 teaspoon salt
  6. 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  7. 1/3 teaspoon garlic powder
Instructions
  1. Place the the cauliflower florets and chicken stock in a medium saucepan, cover with a lid and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Allow the cauliflower to cook until tender, about 10 minutes.
  2. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the cauliflower to a food processor, adding 2-3 tablespoons of the cooking liquid, and mix until smooth.
  3. Add the goat cheese, butter, salt, pepper and garlic powder and mix until thoroughly combined, about 1 minute.
  4. Serve hot with main dish of your choice.
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Enjoy!

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A couple weeks ago, we were invited to attend a pool party / bbq at a friends house and they offered to make most of the food, but we wanted to bring something to share.  I was hoping to serve something nutritious and tasty but it had to be something that could sit out for an extended period of time too.

I decided that a chopped vegetable salad would be just the thing.  I grabbed some of Lovebugs favorite vegetables and cut them up so that they were all about the same small size.  I tossed them with a simple vinaigrette and we were good to go.
This salad is tasty, refreshing and has the perfect satisfying crunch!  It is full of vibrant colors and the small pieces are very kid friendly.  It is healthy and a perfect side dish for a hot summer day.  Plus, the salad can be made in advance so it is perfect for parties, picnics or bbq’s. 
This salad is terrific on its own but would make great meal if it was served on a bed of greens with some grilled chicken.   I absolutely love it and plan on making it often this summer! 
Chopped Vegetable Salad

Chopped Vegetable Salad

Ingredients:
1 cup chopped green beans
1 cup corn
1 cup chopped  carrots
1 English cucumber, chopped
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
1/2 cup chopped red bell pepper
1/2 cup chopped yellow bell pepper
1/4 cup chopped red onion


NOTE:  All vegetables should be chopped to about 1/4 inch in size.

Dressing:
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground garlic
1 tablespoons chopped parsley

Instructions:
1.  Blanch the green beans and corn in a pot of boiling water for about one minute.  Transfer them immediately to an ice bath for about 5 minutes to stop the cooking.  Spread the cooled corn and green beans on a kitchen towel to dry.
2.  Next, blanch the carrots in the pot of boiling water for about 4 minutes, transferring them immediately to an ice bath for about 5 minutes when done cooking.  Spread the cooled carrots on a kitchen towel to dry.
3. Place the green beans, corn and carrots in a large bowl.
4.  Add the cucumber, tomatoes, red and yellow bell peppers and red onion and stir to combine. Set aside.
5.  Pour the ingredients for the dressing into a small mason jar.  Shake to combine.
6.  Pour 3/4 of the dressing over the vegetables and toss to coat.  Add the remaining dressing, as needed.
7.  Keep refrigerated until ready to serve. *

* This salad can sit at room temperature for several hours but I recommend you keep it refrigerated because it is more refreshing that way.

Enjoy!

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We usually dress our dinner salads simply with just oil and vinegar.  But, when we have a hearty salad for dinner, like a Cobb or salad Nicoise, or if we have guests over I usually make this simple balsamic vinaigrette dressing.  It is tangy and creamy and full of delicious seasonings that give it a super tasty complex flavor.   I always have the ingredients on hand and the dressing pairs nicely with any vegetable and/or salad.  It really is the perfect all around dressing.  I just love it.

Homemade Balsamic Vinaigrette Dressing

Homemade Balsamic Vinaigrette

Ingredients:
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
1 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon mayonnaise
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

Instructions:
Pour all the ingredients in a mason jar, seal and shake vigorously.

– OR –

Mix all ingredients except the extra virgin olive oil in a blender until combined.  Then with the blender running, slowly add the extra virgin olive oil.

Use immediately or store in the refrigerator for up to a week.

Enjoy!

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