Raspberry Feta Salad with Raspberry Balsamic Dressing

Raspberry Feta Salad
Now that summer has arrived and it’s finally getting warm, I am trying to keep the oven off as much as possible. That means lots of grilling and salads. We like to mix it up and create all kinds of unique salads so that we don’t get bored.
Raspberry Feta Salad
This salad is a little fancy and a lot delicious. Raspberries have been so delicious lately and they were super cheap at the grocery store recently so I may have bought 5 containers. In my house, that’s only about a 3 day supply but I managed to save 2 so that I could play around with a dressing and salad that would make them the star. But let me tell you, it was difficult keeping my children’s grubby little hands off of them. Look at this poor, undernourished girl begging by my photo set up for a raspberry and walnut.
Raspberry Feta Salad
Raspberry Feta Salad
She was so not happy when I moved her hand out of the shot.
Raspberry Feta Salad
Don’t you feel bad for her?
Raspberry Feta Salad
Just FYI, I let her have one. Anyway, now that I’m done being a mean mommy….
Raspberry Feta Salad
I used to think I didn’t like fruit in salad…until I actually tried it. Turns out it’s good. Funny how that works, huh? I love the combination of the sweetness of the raspberries and saltiness of the feta. And I always need a crunch in my salad so walnuts were the perfect addition.
Raspberry Feta Salad
I also marinated a couple of boneless chicken breasts in the dressing which resulted in incredibly moist chicken off the grill. The chicken combined with the salad made for a perfect summer meal.
Raspberry Feta Salad
Raspberry Feta Salad with Raspberry Balsamic Dressing

For the salad:
8 cups mixed greens
6 oz. raspberries
1/2 cup feta
1/2 cup walnuts, toasted and roughly chopped

For the dressing:
3/4 cup fresh raspberries
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup olive oil
1 tsp. raw honey
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper

1. Place all the dressing ingredients in a blender or food processor and blend until smooth. Place in an airtight container and refrigerate until ready.

2. In a large bowl add mixed greens. Top with raspberries, feta and walnuts then lightly toss. Drizzle with desired amount of dressing and serve.
Raspberry Feta Salad

Southwestern Chopped Salad with Blue Cheese Avocado Dressing

Southwestern Chopped Salad 1
I have another Mexican inspired recipe to share today in preparation for Cinco de Mayo tomorrow just in case you didn’t find something in yesterday’s taco post. We decided on these Loaded Carne Asada Tacos for our little celebration but if you want to make smarter decisions and keep it light, this Southwestern Chopped Salad is the way to go.
Southwestern Chopped Salad 2
Ever since receiving Seriously Delish for Christmas I have been dying to make the Blue Cheese Avocado Dressing. I’ve had it rolling around in my head for awhile and thought the cool, creamy avocado would pair really well with some smoky, spicy chipotle chicken.
Blue Cheese Avocado Dressing 2
Toss is some romaine, roasted corn, black beans, cilantro and even more avocado for a perfectly dreamy salad.
Southwestern Chopped Salad 3
I topped ours with crispy tortilla strips for some added texture. This salad was enjoyed by my entire family which is a huge feat. I couldn’t shovel it in Hannah’s mouth fast enough.
Blue Cheese Avocado Dressing 1
Southwestern Chopped Salad
serves 2

1 large romaine heart, washed and chopped
2 chipotle chicken breasts, cooked and diced
1 cup frozen corn
1/2 Tbsp. olive oil
Salt and pepper
1 cup black beans, drained and rinsed
1 avocado, diced
2 Tbsp. cilantro, finely minced
tortilla strips, for garnish
Blue Cheese Dressing, recipe follows

1. Preheat broiler. Place frozen corn on rimmed baking sheet and toss with olive oil, salt and pepper. Place under broiler and cook until some brown spots appear, stirring frequently. This should only take a couple minutes so keep a close eye on it. Remove from oven and scrape into a small bowl.

2. In a large bowl, combine romaine, chicken, corn, black beans, avocado and cilantro. Toss then add desired amount of blue cheese avocado dressing, tossing again. Serve with tortilla strips on top.

Blue Cheese Avocado Dressing
recipe slightly adapted from Seriously Delish

1 ripe avocado, pitted and diced
1 garlic clove, roughly minced
Juice from 1/2 lemon
6 Tbsp. low-fat buttermilk
1 Tbsp. mayo
1 Tbsp. sour cream
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
4-6 ounces bleu cheese crumbles (depending on taste)

Place avocado, garlic, lemon juice, buttermilk, mayo, sour cream, salt and pepper in food processor and blend until smooth. Gently stir in bleu cheese crumbles. Store in an airtight container and refrigerate.

*Disclaimer: the link above is an affiliate link which means if you click on the link and purchase, I get a small percentage from the sale.
Blue Cheese Avocado Dressing 3

Copycat Olive Garden Dressing

Olive Garden Dressing 3
Have any of you stripped and refinished furniture before? Any tips or tricks? It’s our big project this weekend and it seems like a bit of work but I’m super pumped about it.

We are tackling our dining room table and buffet which are both older than me. My parents bought it right before I was born and we got it as a hand me down after we were married and they bought a new table. The chairs were replaced by some fun Ikea chairs a few years ago when they started to fall apart but the table and buffet are still going strong. We thought about buying new but I kind of love the history behind them so we’re going with the freshen up approach. The table will be a creamy white and this green is going on the buffet. The green is definitely bolder in person and will be a fun pop of color. So excited.
Olive Garden Dressing 4
You know what else excites me? Olive Garden salad. And when I say salad, I mean the dressing it is swimming in. I’m pretty sure it’s my favorite thing about visiting the restaurant. And I have good news for you, this tastes just like it.
Olive Garden Dressing 1
I love it so much that I can think up just about any reason to make this. Oh, you stubbed your toe? Let me make Olive Garden salad, it will make you feel better. You spent all day inhaling fumes from the paint stripper and dust from the sander? Here, I have salad. You see where I’m going here?
Olive Garden Dressing 2
Copycat Olive Garden Dressing
recipe from Dear Beautiful You

1/3 cup white vinegar
4  1/2 Tbsp. water
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tsp. mayonnaise
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. granulated sugar
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. dried Italian seasoning
1 packet Good Seasons Italian salad dressing packet
1 tsp. grated Parmesan cheese
1/8 tsp. lemon juice

Combine all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Place in airtight jar and refrigerate. Dressing tastes best if made the night before.

Honey Lime Cilantro Vinaigrette

Honey Lime Cilantro Vinaigrette 1
This is officially my new favorite salad dressing and I’m pretty sure it will be my dressing of the summer. It’s incredibly vibrant and zingy….the perfect dressing to keep it light and bright for the upcoming swimsuit season.
Honey Lime Cilantro Vinaigrette 1
My favorite way to serve this dressing is over a salad of romaine, chipotle chicken, grilled corn, black beans and diced avocado. What’s even better is that now that I’m addicted to cilantro lime rice and make it almost once a week, I always have the needed ingredients on hand for this vinaigrette. Which means I pretty much always have this dressing in my fridge. Try it, you won’t regret it!

Honey Lime Cilantro Vinaigrette

1/4 cup fresh lime juice
2 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
1/4 tsp. kosher salt
1 Tbsp. honey
2 Tbsp. chopped cilantro
2/3 c olive oil

Combine all ingredients and shake. Remove from the refrigerator about 30 minutes before serving to allow the oil to come back to room temperature.

 

Asian Chicken Salad with Chili Lime and Peanut Dressings

Asian Chicken Salad 4
I have been wanting to make an Asian Chicken Salad for quite some time now and I keep seeing them pop up everywhere around the blogosphere. My absolute favorite version is from Granite City and it was my mission to recreate it and share it with you all.
Asian Chicken Salad 5
Please don’t be intimidated by the ingredient list…a lot of the ingredients are the same throughout the different elements and the dressings and marinade can be mixed up ahead of time.
Asian Chicken Salad 3
Although this wasn’t exactly like the restaurant version, it was still quite a light and delicious dinner on a hot night. I have to say the dressings are what made it for me. That sweet chili lime vinaigrette is sweet, a little spicy and has just the right amount of sesame. I could probably eat it with a spoon. The light drizzle of the peanut dressing gives a nutty depth that puts the salad over the edge for me. And I just can’t eat a salad without some kind of crunch on top so the wonton strips were a perfect addition.

Joel wasn’t a huge fan so it probably won’t be hitting the dinner table too often but it will be on frequent rotations for my weekday lunches.
Asian Chicken Salad 2
Asian Chicken Salad with Chili Lime and Peanut Dressings

For the Pineapple Chicken Marinade:
1 lime, zested and juiced
6 oz. can pineapple juice, or 1 cup
1/4 cup roughly chopped cilantro
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 chicken breasts

For the Salad:
1/2 head green cabbage, shredded
1/2 head iceberg lettuce, shredded
1 English cucumber, sliced into half moons
2-3 carrots, julienned or shredded
1 red pepper, small dice (I didn’t use but thought it would be a good addition)
1/4 cup cilantro, roughly chopped
Green onion, to taste
Wonton Strips

For the Chili Lime Dressing:
recipe adapted from Pinch of Yum
1/2 cup sweet chili garlic sauce
4 tablespoons honey
4 tablespoons sesame oil
3 tablespoons vinegar
4 tablespoons lime juice

For the Peanut Dressing:
recipe adapted from myrecipes.com
3 Tbsp. water
2 Tbsp. rice wine vinegar
1 Tbsp. green onion, chopped
2 Tbsp. peanut butter
1 Tbsp. low sodium soy sauce
1 tsp. fresh grated ginger
1 tsp. Sriracha
1 tsp. dark sesame oil
2 tsp. dry-roasted peanuts

1. For the chicken: Combine all marinade ingredients together in a ziplock bag and mix around to combine. Pound chicken to 1/2 inch thickness and marinate for 1-4 hours.

2. While the chicken is marinating, mix up the dressings. For the chili lime vinaigrette: combine all ingredients in a mason jar, seal tightly and shake until well combined. Refrigerate. For the peanut dressing: Combine first 8 ingredients in a blender and process until smooth. Add in peanut and blend for 10 seconds more. Place in bowl or jar and refrigerate until ready to use.

3. Preheat grill to medium heat and cook chicken until juices run clear. Meanwhile, put the salad together. In a large bowl, combine the cabbage, lettuce, cucumber, carrot, red pepper, cilantro and green onion. Mix to combine ingredients. Once chicken has been grilled, slice into bite size chunks and place on top of salad. Scatter with wonton strips and drizzle with a good amount of chili lime vinaigrette and a bit of the peanut dressing. Enjoy!
Asian Chicken Salad 1

Cobb Salad

Cobb Salad 2
Now that the summer heat has set in, I have been craving cool, crisp salad all the time. The only problem here is one of those boys I live with (the big one) doesn’t think salad is a meal.
Cobb Salad 3
In comes the Cobb Salad to prove him wrong because if you know me, you know I like to be right. I even have a magnet given to me by my mom’s best friend that states: “The Happy Couple: Mr. Right and Mrs. Always Right.” It’s a problem I have. But not really…life is just easier if things are done my way.
Cobb Salad 1
How could a salad covered in grilled corn, hard boiled eggs, bacon, chicken, avocado, cucumbers and cheese then drizzled with roasted garlic vinaigrette not be deemed a meal? Well, people…it was. I knew I would convince him (if he knew what was good for him). And there were no complaints from the dinner table. I call that a success!

Cobb Salad

1 romaine heart, chopped
1 head of butter lettuce, chopped
2 ears grilled corn
2 hard boiled eggs
1 avocado, sliced
4 strips bacon, cooked and crumbles
1 grilled chicken breast, cut into bite size pieces
1/2 english cucumber, sliced into half moons
1/4 cup bleu cheese, feta or gorgonzola
croutons 
Roasted garlic vinaigrette

Mix together the romaine and butter lettuce. Place chicken down the middle. In a line layer the avocado on one side and the cucumber on the other. Continue with the remaining items (except dressing). Serve individual portions being sure to get all the toppings. Drizzle with dressing and serve.

Roasted Garlic Vinaigrette

Roasted Garlic Vinaigrette 3
I made an amazing salad last night (which I will be sharing with you soon) and I needed the perfect dressing to go with it. I have to admit, I am normally a bottled salad dressing kind of girl but lately I have been making my own and it’s crazy how easy it is. Not only that, but it’s much healthier because you control exactly what goes in it which means no weird, funky processed junk that nobody can pronounce.
Roasted Garlic Vinaigrette 2
I was very intrigued when I came across this recipe and knew it had to be made pretty much immediately. When I saw that it called for 3 whole garlic bulbs, I was a bit concerned that it would be garlic overload but I was totally wrong. It lent a sweet, almost buttery flavor to the dressing and helped mellow out the zinginess of the vinegar. This dressing will definitely be a staple in our refrigerator from here on out.
Roasted Garlic Vinaigrette 1
Roasted Garlic Vinaigrette
recipe from Taste of Home
Yields 3/4 cup

3 whole garlic bulbs
1 teaspoon plus 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
3 tablespoons tarragon vinegar
2 tablespoons water
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1-1/2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper

1. Remove papery outer skin from garlic (do not peel or separate cloves). Cut tops off of garlic bulbs. Brush with 1 teaspoon oil. Wrap each bulb in heavy-duty foil. Bake at 425° for 30-35 minutes or until softened. Cool for 10-15 minutes.

2. Squeeze softened garlic into a blender. Add the vinegar, water, sugar, lemon juice, Italian seasoning, mustard, salt, pepper and remaining 2 Tbsp. olive oil; cover and process until smooth. Store in the refrigerator.