Friday, August 5, 2011

Friday Favorites: Summer Salads

One of my favorite things about summer is getting to eat cool, fresh, yummy salads. I usually start with a bag of mixed greens and then build it from there. I honestly have never thought that my salads were anything special, but I often get comments about what a pretty salad I've made, or how delicious it looks. Well, I appreciate the compliments, but really, for me, it's gotta be easy or it doesn't get done in my kitchen (or in the other kitchen I frequent at work).

This salad is Tex-Mex, made with a bean salad that I love to make in the summertime (because it's easy and tasty). I put a pile of greens on the plate, add a half cup (or sometimes more) of the bean salad, grape tomatoes (another staple of a lot of my salads), and guacamole (usually storebought). I sometimes add shredded cheddar, too. It's good to have some tortilla chips on the side, because at the end, you need something to help you get the rest of the bean salad that is still on the plate. Yum!

You're just going to have to ignore the fact that this photo is turned the wrong way and try to focus on my culinary creativity (haha!).

This salad starts with mixed greens and the other ingredients are a *sliced mango (as much as you can slice a mango when all the juices are running down your arm), a pouch of salmon (like canned, but you don't have to drain it), and some goat cheese. I usually spritz this with some vinegarette dressing, but really, the juice of the mango does provide enough moisture to act as dressing. I love the mesh of flavors of the fruit, fish and cheese. And it makes me feel so "Food Network-y"!

I have also made variations of the above salad using tuna and a nectarine and feta cheese, and it is good, too. I think the key is that you just find ingredients that you like and experiment with what tastes good to you. Summer is a great time to have salads, since the ingredients are readily available, but really, these salads can be done any time of the year.

If you have any favorite salad combinations, I'd love to hear your ideas. Happy Friday!

Red and Black Bean Salad

1 can black beans
1 can red beans
1 can Fiesta Corn (has peppers added)
3 T. red wine vinegar
3 T. olive oil
1 t. cumin
1 t. garlic powder
1/2 t. salt
1/2 t. pepper

Drain the beans and corn and place in a bowl. In a separate bowl, mix vinegar, oil and spices. Pour over the bean/corn mixture and stir to coat. Can be served immediately, or refrigerate until ready to serve. This recipe is easily doubled and is also great as a filling for tacos/burritos or with chips as a heavy dip.

*I discovered a handy kitchen gadget that helps to get the pit out of a mango. It doesn't make the slices, but does make it easier to get as much of the mango fruit to then cut up and use in a recipe. The gadget costs about $12 and I've found them at several places that sell kitchen items, even Kroger.

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