SUPER (EVERYTHING BUT THE KITCHEN SINK) SALAD

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

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AMAZING CRANBERRY-PECAN MIXED RICE

Obviously, I’m not as big on side dishes as I am on entrees and sweets, but this recipe is so good I have to pass it on. Although I used mixed rice this go around, wild rice is lovely too. Also, I did make it with chicken Rice-A-Roni once and it was delicious in its own right. Of course, that might have something to do with the cranberries, pecans, and roasted red peppers. It’s pretty hard to go wrong with a combination like that.

Amazing Cranberry Pecan Mixed Rice

2 cups mixed rice (I used Rice Selects’ Royal Blend brand containing Texmati, white, brown, wild, and red rice)

1 chicken bouillon cube

3/4 cup dried and sweetened cranberries (Craisins)

1/2 cup chopped pecans

3 scallions, sliced thin

1 large roasted red pepper, chopped fine (I used jarred and, in the past, opted for a mix of red and yellow that was not only tasty but very pretty)

3 tbsp olive oil

1/4 cup sherry cooking wine (or the non-cooking kind, AKA very drinkable)

1 tbsp + 1 tsp fresh-squeezed lemon juice

1/4 tsp sea salt

1/8 tsp ground black pepper

1) Prepare rice according to package directions, adding bouillon cube to water in which rice cooks

2) During the rice’s last 5 minutes of cooking, to large mixing bowl add: Craisins, pecans, scallions, roasted red pepper, olive oil, sherry cooking wine, lemon juice, salt, and pepper; mix well; stir in cooked rice; transfer to a lovely serving bowl and send out into the world 🙂

Servings: 8