(10 seconds each to read and are almost that quick to prepare)
By Lisa Messinger
Food and Cooking at Creators Syndicate
Spring is salad season. Restaurant menus, online pages, and cafe sidewalk chalkboards are often bursting with descriptions of conglomerations featuring seasonal bounties. Even more interesting entree salads make their entry this time of year.
When you want to emulate at home, whether traditional treats, like a chef or Cobb salad, or a one-of-a-kind spring special, consider stretching the salad to serve as a shortcut to other meals within the next few days. It's a delicious - and nutritious - way to save time.
Salads can be deceiving as quick meal solutions. The washing, chopping and sometimes cooking of a multitude of ingredients take time. Therefore, make double (without any added dressing), store in an airtight container refrigerated for up to two days and put that effort to use to save additional effort.
Following are some ideas for your twin salads. All ingredients are to taste.
Ideas like this also proves food preparation can be easy, nutritious, inexpensive, fun - and fast. The creative combinations are delicious proof that everyone has time for creating homemade specialties and, more importantly, the healthy family togetherness that goes along with it!
Another benefit: You effortlessly become a better cook, since these are virtually-can't-go-wrong combinations. They can't help but draw "wows" from family members and guests.
THEY WILL THANK THE CHEF
SALAD: Chef salad. Follow the instructions of your favorite recipe with your desired meats, vegetables and dressing (for salad only).
NEXT-DAY SHORTCUT: Combine light mayonnaise with Dijon mustard, a dash of balsamic vinaigrette dressing and diced sweet gherkins. Gently fold in stored salad ingredients. Serve as a sandwich between two slices of thick Hawaiian, challah or egg bread.
ADD SPRING TO YOUR OMELET
SALAD: Gently toss chopped cooked: asparagus, peas, corn, chunks of potatoes and shredded chicken with creamy Italian dressing (for salad only).
NEXT-DAY SHORTCUT: Just before finishing and folding a cooked omelet fill with Monterey Jack cheese and the stored salad ingredients and freshly ground black pepper.
SUPER FRESH SOUP
SALAD: Gently toss mixed spring greens, sliced green bell pepper, diced French green beans, cubed steamed tofu and Green Goddess dressing (for salad only).
NEXT-DAY SHORTCUT: Include cooking of wild rice in your favorite vegetable or chicken broth. Just before the soup is fully cooked, gently stir in stored salad ingredients until warmed through.
SMOOTH IDEA FOR SMOOTHIE
SALAD: Create a fruit plate with segments of tangerine, pink grapefruit, and sliced strawberries. Drizzle with a combination of fresh lemon and lime juices mixed with stevia and almond extract. Serve with a side of plain Greek yogurt for dipping (for salad only).
NEXT-DAY SHORTCUT: In a strong blender, place stored salad ingredients, small amount of orange juice, sliced almonds, chunks of banana, plain Greek yogurt and ice (to create desired smoothie thickness).
QUICK TIP OF THE WEEK: The STARZ series "Sweetbitter" debuted this spring. If you are watching in real time or binging on multiple episodes, you might feel even more in the know if you read the 2017 acclaimed book of the same name. It'by Stephanie Danler. Danler received rave reviews for her debut novel about Tess, a 22-year-old front of the house worker in New York's glitzy restaurant world. She's quickly introduced to the high-flying risky habits of those in the "chaotic, enchanting, punishing life she has chosen." When I was 17, I did the same in a Los Angeles suburb as a hostess at two non-swinging joints. I was just making a few dimes prior to attending college and learning to approach people to overcome my shyness (which worked). Little did I know until learning of Danler's bestselling account what I narrowly missed out on. It's not just chefs, apparently, that get caught up in the glam of restaurant life, but front of the house folks, too.
Lisa Messinger at Creators Syndicate is a first-place winner in food and nutrition writing from the Association of Food Journalists and the National Council Against Health Fraud and author of seven food books, including the best-selling The Tofu Book: The New American Cuisine with 150 Recipes (Avery/Penguin Putnam) and Turn Your Supermarket into a Health Food Store: The Brand-Name Guide to Shopping for a Better Diet (Pharos/Scripps Howard). She writes two nationally syndicated food and nutrition columns for Creators Syndicate and had been a longtime newspaper food and health section managing editor, as well as managing editor of Gayot/Gault Millau dining review company. Lisa traveled the globe writing about top chefs for Pulitzer Prize-winning Copley News Service and has written about health and nutrition for the Los Angeles Times Syndicate, Reader's Digest, Woman's World and Prevention Magazine Health Books. Permission granted for use on DrLaura.com.