Sunday, January 22, 2012

Simple Salad Dressing

How many of you have fallen off the "wagon" since New Years?  I did really good for 2 weeks, then on week 3, I was traveling and eating out more than I would have liked to. Then last week, Greg got sent to the Puget Sound area to help restore power after the terrible snow/ice storm.  So here I am in Utah, alone and not wanting to cook for myself.  Salads are great when cooking for one, but have you ever noticed that salads always taste better when someone else makes them (a friend, a restaurant)? 

 Here's my secrets to a fabulous salad at home:
1. MAKE YOUR OWN DRESSING.  That bottled stuff is expensive, and full of stuff I can't even pronounce!  It's SO easy and economical. Recipe will follow!
2. YOU MUST TOSS THE SALAD!  Putting all the ingredients in a large bowl and tossing it with the dressing makes all the difference.  I'm not sure why.  Maybe it's because the dressing is even distributed, so you don't get one dry bite and one soggy bite, but tossing works wonders.
3. ADD EXTRAS.  My salads always include a fruit (fresh or dried)...Plus, nuts & cheese, or both.  The best cheese is crumbly cheese like feta, bleu, gorgonzola, etc.  If you let the cheese sit out at room temp before tossing the salad, it mixes in beautifully! Oh and don't forget the cracked pepper!
4.  If you are making a meal out of it, add something hearty so you are satisfied.  It's a challenge to feel full from rabbit food alone!
*Add protein like chicken, beans, fish, steak.
*Have with a bowl of soup.
*Have something crunchy and filling like whole grain crackers or garlic toast.

Here's what you need: **BONUS: it's most likely already in your pantry!
1/2 cup Red wine vinegar (balsamic, raspberry, apple cider would all work depending on the flavor you want)
1/2 cup Canola oil
1/4 cup Honey
2 tsp. Dijon Mustard
1/4 tsp. Pepper
1/2 tsp. Oregano (or Italian seasoning would work, too)

You also need a jar or other container with a tight fitting lid.  I've used recycled salad dressing bottles, mason jars, or old spaghetti jars.  I prefer glass best because it's microwave safe and I feel ok re-using it.

Put honey in your container and nuke it for 20-30 seconds until it liquifies.

Measure out your oil and vinegar.
On a side note, I use canola oil and not olive oil because it refrigerates better.  If you use olive oil, it will solidify in the fridge, canola does not.

Add oil/vinegar to jar.  Throw in the seasonings and mustard.


How cool is that?  It's completely unprocessed, no un-pronounable junk and cheap, too!
I love that this recipe has so few ingredients. It will last a couple months (or longer) in the fridge.

Plus, if you are one of those people who never uses up a bottle of dressing, then you can cut the recipe in half and just make a little bit at a time.  You will probably use this faster than store-bought dressing because it tastes so good!

Pour over your favorite salad!

Simple Salad Dressing

1/2 cup Red Wine Vinegar 
1/2 cup Canola Oil
1/4 cup Honey
2 tsp. Dijon Mustard
1/4 tsp. Pepper
1/2 tsp. Oregano

Place honey in microwave for 20-30 seconds to liquify.  Add warm honey and remaining ingredients in a container with a tight fitting lid and shake well.  Serve over salad.  Keeps in refrigerator for a couple months.