When one of my lovely girlfriends visited me awhile back, I made this salad for lunch. It’s quite easy, and the combination of cantaloupe, avocado, prosciutto, and pine nuts is amazing. Gone, gone, gone!

6 cups baby spinach

1 lb grilled chicken tenderloins, sliced thin and chilled

4 cups diced cantaloupe

2 avocados, diced

4 oz prosciutto, chopped

1/4 cup diced red onion (optional)

2 oz pine nuts

Dressing suggestion: Ken’s Steakhouse Lite Raspberry Walnut Vinaigrette (yes, I’m recommending it again)

1) Prepare each salad as follows: spread spinach on plate and top with chicken, cantaloupe, avocado, prosciutto, red onion, and pine nuts; serve with dressing of your choice

Now wasn’t that easy?

Servings: 4

NOTE: This is a “repeat” recipe featured on my original “Kitchen Novelist” blog 07/05/12–the one that disappeared into a black hole (which is the reason WordPress and I met up).


I recently came into possession of (yes, another way of saying I dished out dollarsa fabulous cookbook: Steak With Friends: At Home With Rick Tramonto. A cruise through its pages yielded a recipe for “Chicago-Style Garbage Salad,” and I had to give it a read through. Inspired by Rick’s variety of ingredients, I concocted my own version, renamed it something more appealing, and served it to family and friends. We had leftovers (that was one humongous salad bowl), but everyone went back for seconds. The only negative comment–if it can be called that–was when Senior said it was “too green.” But then, he does like his protein.

NOTE: Take a deep breath before perusing the list of ingredients–but, trust me, the salad that lands on your plate is worth all the chopping, slicing, dicing, and mincing.

4 cups iceberg lettuce, chopped

3 cups romaine lettuce, chopped

3 cups baby spinach

3/4 cup radishes, thinly sliced

1-1/2 cups cucumber, peeled and diced

1-1/2 cups roasted red peppers, chopped (I used ready-roasted in a jar)

1-1/2 cups celery, diced

1-1/2 cups tomatoes, diced

1-1/2 cups green onions, sliced thin

4 oz provolone cheese, sliced thin and chopped

4 oz sharp cheddar cheese, sliced thin and chopped

3 hard-boiled eggs, cooled and chopped

1-1/2 cups deli-roasted chicken, chopped

1-1/2 cups salami, sliced thin and chopped

1-1/2 cups garbanzo beans (I used canned)

1/2 cup shelled edamame

1/2 cup pepperoncini, sliced thin

1-1/2 cups croutons (I used Texas Toast Brand: Asiago Cheese)

2 tbsp parsley, minced

1) Here’s the easy part. Now that you’ve exhausted your cutting board, assemble your salad as follows: In humongous bowl, layer salad in order of ingredients listed (or however you like) and serve with your favorite dressing

Servings: easily 8 dinner-sized portions


There’s just something about a wedge salad. The only difficulty is that, due to the shape, it can be difficult to achieve a pretty presentation. So, as pictured, I make an additional cut three-quarters of the way down the center of each wedge to form a cradle for the toppings. Pretty! And then there’s the taste…

1 large head iceberg lettuce, cored and quartered into wedges

1/2 large red onion, sliced thin

1 large tomato, chopped

1 15 oz can green lima beans, drained and rinsed

1/2 cup chopped sun-dried tomatoes

2-5 oz cans albacore tuna in water, drained

4 eggs, hard-boiled, peeled, and chopped

1 tsp parsley, minced

1) Place wedge on plate and over the top scatter: red onion, tomato, butter beans, sun-dried tomatoes, tuna, eggs, and parsley

2) Serve with dressing of your choice (highly recommend blue cheese)

Servings: 4 dinner-sized portions


This salad was a snap to make–and delicious! The only thing I would change is that, rather than use Mediterranean Herb feta cheese, I would stick with good old regular feta (reduced fat). My guys and I gobbled our salads down and all that remained was a bit of dressing.

8 cups romaine lettuce, torn

1-1/2 cup grape tomatoes, quartered then halved

1-1/4 cups fresh green beans, cut into 1/2″ pieces

1/2 cup feta cheese

1 avocado, diced

12 oz medium-sized shrimp (cooked, deveined, and tailless)

1 tbsp parsley

1) Divide lettuce between 4 plates; top each salad as follows: tomatoes, green beans, feta, avocado, shrimp, and parsley

2) Serve with dressing of your choice (we used our favorite, Ken’s Steakhouse Raspberry Walnut Vinaigrette)

Serves: 4


Here’s a salad (and bacon) twist on hot wings at your favorite restaurant. Rather than a side of carrots, celery, and ranch dressing, it’s all in here–and then some. An enthusiast “Yeah!” from each of my guys 🙂


6 oz turkey bacon, fried and cut into 1/4″ pieces

4 cups deli-roasted chicken, chopped

1-1/4 cup Buffalo Sauce (Frank’s brand is good)

8 cups chopped iceberg lettuce

2-1/2 cups coarsely chopped carrots (I used petite carrots)

2-1/2 cups celery, sliced thin

1-1/2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese, divided

1 cup croutons (I use Texas Toast brand)

1/4 cup ranch dressing

1) Place bacon and chicken in large ziploc bag; pour buffalo sauce over bacon and chicken; shake and refrigerate

2) To large salad bowl, add: lettuce, carrots, celery, and 1 cup mozzarella cheese (reserving 1/2 cup); toss to combine

3) Arrange bacon-chicken mixture on top of salad; scatter 1/2 cup reserved mozzarella cheese and croutons on top; stream ranch dressing over salad

4) When ready to serve, toss to combine; serve with extra ranch–or blue cheese–dressing

Serves: 6 dinner-sized potions


Ooh, warm weather coming, and that means lighter, cooler meals. This Albacore Chickpea Spinach Salad fits the bill. And it’s so easy to put together. I did get thumbs up from my guys, but I’m the real fan here. Yum!



2-7 oz cans Albacore tuna packed in water, drained

1-14 oz can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed

3 green onions, sliced thin

3 Roma tomatoes, diced small

1 ripe avocado, peeled, pitted, and diced small

1 cucumber, peeled and diced small

2 tbsp parsley, chopped

3 tbsp olive oil

juice from 1/2 lemon

1/2 tsp sea salt

1/4 tsp black pepper

4 cups fresh baby spinach

1) Gently mix all ingredients, except spinach, in a large bowl

2) Divide spinach between 4 plates; top with tuna-chickpea mixture; and enjoy!

Servings: 4



This warm salmon salad is a wonderful way to transition from warm weather food to cold weather food. The combination of Arborio rice, salmon, pine nuts, and raisins is over-the-top delicious. Enjoy!

Salmon-Pine Nut-Raisin Rice Salad

2 tbsp butter

1-1/4 cup Arborio rice

1/2 tsp sea salt

2-3/4 cups water

3 tbsp olive oil, divided

2 tbsp fresh lemon juice

4 green onions, sliced thin

1/3 cup pine nuts

1/3 cup golden raisins

2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley

1 lb fresh salmon

1) Melt butter in large skillet over medium-high heat; add rice and sea salt and cook, stirring often, 3-4 minutes until lightly toasted; reduce heat to low, add 2-3/4 cups water, and cook 18-20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until just tender; remove from heat, cover with lid, and set aside

2) Meanwhile, to medium-size bowl add: 2 tbsp olive oil (reserving 1 tbsp), lemon juice, green onions, pine nuts, golden raisins, and parsley; mix well and set aside

3) To large skillet over medium-high heat, add reserved 1 tbsp olive oil; add salmon to skillet and cook 3-4 minutes each side until just cooked through; remove from heat, transfer to bowl, and flake with a fork

4) Divide cooked rice between 4 plates; top with flaked salmon, and scatter with green onion-pine nut-raisin mixture; serve immediately–we are talking yum!

Servings: 4


We’re definitely moving toward cold weather food here in Tennessee, but that doesn’t mean we have to abstain from the occasional cool, crispy salad (served alongside a bowl of soup). Though chill rain was falling outside, this Strawberry-Feta-Pine Nut Salad hit the spot and my guys left the table full and happy. Give it a try!

Strawberry-Feta-Pine Nut Salad

8 cups chopped romaine lettuce

2 cups quartered strawberries, stems removed

1 Granny Smith apple, cored and sliced thin

4 oz block feta cheese, cut into triangles (about 1/4″ thick)

1/2 cup chopped pecans

2 green onions, sliced thin

2 tbsp pine nuts

1 tbsp chopped fresh parsley

Dressing (Ken’s Raspberry Walnut Vinaigrette is a good choice)

1) Divide romaine lettuce between four plates; top with strawberries, apple, feta cheese, pecans, green onions, pine nuts, and parsley; serve with dressing of your choice (Now wasn’t that easy?)

Servings: 4


Junior Too was in the mood for tuna salad, so the two of us teamed up in the kitchen and added pear, Craisins, and pecans to cans of Albacore tuna. Since he isn’t keen on Dijon mustard, we left that out of his portion. However, with or without Dijon, the result is a hearty yet refreshing salad–and no leftovers for lunch tomorrow. Sad…

Pear-Craisin-Pecan Tuna Salad

1/2 cup light mayonnaise

2 tbsp Dijon mustard

1 tbsp fresh lemon juice

1/2 tsp sea salt

1/4 tsp ground black pepper

2 pears, peeled, cored, and diced small

1/2 cup celery, chopped

1/4 cup Craisins

1/4 cup chopped pecans

2 tbsp chopped parsley

4-7 oz cans Albacore Tuna, drained

4 cups baby spinach

Optional dressing (Raspberry Walnut Vinaigrette is a lovely addition)

1) To large bowl, add mayonnaise, Dijon mustard, lemon juice, salt, and pepper and mix well

2) Stir pear, celery, Craisins, pecans, and parsley into mayonnaise mixture

3) Gently stir tuna into mayonnaise-pear mixture

4) Divide spinach between four plates and top each serving with tuna mixture; serve with or without dressing and enjoy

Servings: 4 hearty dinner-sized portions


This recipe was inspired by Bacon Nation’s “Bacon-Wrapped Asparagus With Mixed Greens.” Though I’m sure it’s meant to be more of a side salad than a meal, I adapted it and served it as an entree. Granted, my guys still left the table a bit hungry, but they were otherwise satisfied. Hey, room for dessert! P/S: Mine got the blue cheese treatment–even better 🙂

Bacon Wrapped Asparagus Salad

8 slices bacon

32-40 thin asparagus spears

1 tbsp olive oil

6 cups fresh baby spinach

4 eggs, boiled (to your preference), peeled, halved, and chilled

1 cup croutons (I used Asiago Texas Toast)

1/2 cup feta cheese (or blue–definitely blue!)

1) Divide asparagus spears into 8 bundles; wrap each bundle with one slice of bacon

2) Heat olive oil in large skillet over medium; add bundled asparagus spears (bacon leading edge side down) and cook 7-8 minutes, gently turning every minute or so until asparagus is lightly cooked through and bacon is crisped on all sides; remove from heat, transfer to paper towel-lined plate, and let cool 5 minutes

3) Assemble each of 4 salads as follows: spinach, topped with 2 bacon-wrapped asparagus bundles and 2 egg halves, croutons, and feta (or blue) cheese; serve!

Servings: 4