Thursday, June 18, 2009

Favorite Summer Salads

These are some of our favorite summer salads! The last several times I've made them, I've gotten asked if I could share the recipe, so I thought I'd post them here- enjoy! These were not originally my own, but I have altered them quite a bit and the directions here are the versions I usually make :)

Best Ever Pasta Salad
1 (16 ounce) package dry penne pasta
2 large cucumbers, peeled and sliced, then half again
1 can large olives
1 package bacon
1 1/2 cups mayonnaise
1 (8 ounce) container sour cream
1 Tablespoon dried dill weed
2 Tablespoons Italian seasoning
2 Tablespoons lemon pepper

Boil penne pasta 8 to 10 minutes or until done as you like; drain. At same time, cook bacon until crispy and then crumble or cut into small pieces.
Combine mayo and sour cream, then add combination to pasta until well coated. Add seasonings, mix well. Add cucumbers, olives and crumbled bacon. Serve as is or chill for a bit. Note: If you're traveling with this, save the cucumbers to add at the last minute- they get softer than we personally prefer after the second day or so.

Yummy Strawberry Spinach Salad
1 bag spinach, small leaves with stems
3 cups sliced strawberries

1/2 thinly sliced red onion
1/2 cup raisins (optional)
1 bag sliced almonds
1/2 cup white sugar
1/3 cube butter or margarine

1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
1/2 cup white sugar
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1 tablespoon poppy seeds

Set oven to moderate broil. Toast sliced almonds by laying in a single layer on a cookie sheet. Place them in the oven and watch close- they burn fast! When lightly toasted, cool slightly and pour into gallon size ziploc bag. Melt 1/3 cube butter and pour over almonds in the bag. Add 1/2 cup sugar to bag and toss together until coated.
Toss spinach leaves, sliced strawberries, sliced onions and raisins (if using) in a large bowl.
Dressing: Whisk or shake together all ingredients. Pour over the salad mix and toss to coat. Add almonds last as topping, mix lightly.

Note: This salad does not keep as a leftover when mixed all together. If you want to make it last longer, add dressing to each individual serving instead :)


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