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Garden Fresh Salads

You can have a cool light salad for a side dish or make a Mexican salad as a main dish. These are a great way to get everyone to eat all their vegetables.  – Pat

MEXICAN GARDEN SALAD

1 pound ground beef

1 jar (16 oz.) thick and chunky salsa, divided

1/4 cup water

1 envelope taco seasoning mix

1 1/2 heads iceberg lettuce, torn

3 cups broccoli florets

1 small red onion, thinly sliced into rings

1 medium carrot, shredded

1 large tomato, chopped

1 can (4 oz.) chopped green chilies, drained

1/2 to 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

1 cup (8 oz.) sour cream

tortilla chips, optional

In a skillet, brown ground beef and drain. Add 1 cup salsa, water and taco seasoning; bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes; cool. In a 3-quart glass bowl, layer vegetables in order given. Top with chilies, beef mixture and cheese. Combine sour cream and remaining salsa. Serve with salad and tortilla chips.

TOMATO ASPARAGUS SALAD

1 pound fresh asparagus, trimmed

4 romaine leaves

4 cups torn romaine

1/3 cup fat-free Italian salad dressing

10 cherry tomatoes

2 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese

In a large saucepan, cook asparagus in boiling water for 5-6 minutes or until crisp-tender. Place in ice water to stop cooking. Line a 11x7x2-inch pan with romaine leaves. Top with torn romaine. Arrange asparagus over the romaine and top with tomatoes. Pour dressing over all. Sprinkle with cheese. Chill for 1 hour before serving.

TORTELLINI CAESAR SALAD

1 package (9 oz.) frozen cheese tortellini

1/2 cup mayonnaise

1/4 cup milk

1/4 cup plus 1/3 cup shredded parmesan cheese, divided

2 tablespoons lemon juice

2 garlic cloves, minced

8 cups torn romaine

1 cup seasoned croutons

halved cherry tomatoes, optional

Cook tortellini according to package directions. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine the mayonnaise, milk, 1/4 cup parmesan cheese, lemon juice and garlic; mix well. Drain tortellini and rinse in cold water. Place in a large bowl and add the romaine and remaining parmesan. Just before serving, drizzle with dressing and toss to coat. Top with croutons and tomatoes if desired.

DIJON SPINACH SALAD

8 cups torn fresh spinach

1 cup shredded red cabbage

1 cup thinly sliced cauliflowerets

1 cup thinly sliced red onion

1/2 cup sliced radishes

1/4 to 1/2 cup vegetable oil

1/4 cup cider or tarragon vinegar

2 tablespoons Dijon mustard

2 teaspoons sugar

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons sesame seeds, toasted

Combine the first five ingredients in a bowl. Combine the oil, vinegar, mustard, sugar and salt in a jar with a tight-fitting lid. Shake well. Pour over the salad and toss to coat. Sprinkle with sesame seeds. Serve immediately.

FRUITY GREEN SALAD

2/3 cup vegetable oil

1/3 cup lemon juice

1/4 cup sugar

2 teaspoons chopped green onions

3/4 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon poppy seeds

8 cups torn mixed salad greens

1 medium red apple, chopped

1 medium pear, chopped

1 cup chopped pecans, toasted

1 cup (4 oz.) shredded Swiss cheese

1/4 cup dried cranberries

In a jar with a tight fitting lid, combine the first six ingredients. Shake well. Combine the remaining ingredients in a large bowl. Drizzle with dressing and toss to coat. Serve immediately.

QUICK TIPS

• Chop big pieces of lettuce quickly and easily by zipping through them with a pizza cutter right in the salad bowl.

• Easily slice big-leafed herbs like basil and sage by stacking, rolling, and then slicing across into ribbons.

• If your grill’s got a little gunk on it and you can’t find the grill brush, crinkle up a big sheet of foil then rub it along the grates before lighting the grill.

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