Summer Salads

home remodeling tid-bits

by Kathy Hester

When your renovating you need some easy dinners to make to keep you going. Warm weather is the perfect time to brighten up your salad repertoire with a few new ideas.

Try adding leftover meats from your bbq last night. If they were not overcooked, they will be easy to slice and fan over a simple green salad. Think international and put warm chili over some iceberg with fresh tomatoes and cilantro. Toss some leftover chicken with shredded nappa cabbage and toss in a spicy peanut coconut dressing. Serve it on a square dinnerware plate to add to the decoration. Don't leave out the vegetarians and add some tequila and lime to a can of drained black beans. It's perfect served over arugula with some shredded white Mexican cheese.

Don't overlook grains when you are making a main dish salad. Mix some dried fruit and nuts in with some jasmine rice and dress with a fresh basil orange juice dressing. Dress up a plain bulgar tabbouleh by garnishing the dinnerware plate with a beds of parsley salad dressed with lemon. Then deconstruct the rest into separate little piles around the plate.

Pasta salads are easy to make in advance. Chop up whatever is fresh in your garden or the farmers market. Add in fresh minced herbs and chopped sweet onions. Toss in a simple mixture of olive oil with citrus juice and a little white wine. Don't forget cous cous. It's actually a pasta and not a grain as you might think. It's a great grain substitute though and takes much less time to cook than barley or rice.

Experiment with making your own dressing. Try different vinegars, juices, and oils. Add extras like minced sun-dried tomatoes, kalmata olives or roasted garlic. You are sure to come up with one that all your guests will love.

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