Category Archives: Side Dish

Lemony Potatoes

Lemony Potatoes is one of those quick side dishes that compliments any entree. I am the potato lover in the family so although I don’t prepare this dish often I enjoy making it in a pinch when I am lost for dinner ideas.

I like using fingerling potatoes in this recipe for a couple of reasons. One: fingerling potatoes have an interesting shape. They are small with a tubular shape and a thin skin so there is no need to remove the skin prior to cooking. Two: Fingerling potatoes are waxy which means they are lower in starch and calories compared to other types of potatoes. Starch, as we all should know, turns into sugar so eating a potato low in starch is a plus for me. Three: The flavor of fingerling potatoes is delightful. The Russian Banana fingerling potato is the one I usually cook because I can easily find them at the local grocer. These potatoes have a buttery and nutty taste. Who could ask for more? I could. These potatoes are also good in potato salad because they hold their shape when cooked.

Fun Fact: Russian Banana potatoes are nicknamed “salad potato”.

The best thing about my Lemony Potatoes side dish is that you can control the degree of lemony flavor. To make this a very lemony dish add more lemon juice or use a little less lemon juice (juice from ½ a lemon) if you only want a hint of lemon. Either way, pucker up because this is one delicious dish.

Lemony Potatoes

Ingredients:

1 small bag fingerling potatoes sliced in half

1 clove garlic minced

2 tbsp water

2 tbsp butter

1 tbsp salt

½ tbsp black pepper

1 tsp olive oil

1 tsp capers

1 tsp lemon zest

1 tsp fresh basil chopped

juice from 1 lemon

Melt butter and olive oil in a medium sized skillet over medium heat. Add garlic and stir around the skillet for 1 minute. Watch closely to make sure garlic does not burn. Add potatoes then season with salt and black pepper. Pour lemon juice over potatoes and add water. Sprinkle with lemon zest, basil and capers. Stir to mix. Let simmer until potatoes are fork tender.

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Kale and Sweet Potato Remix (Baby Girl’s Recipe)

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The holidays are over but I still have a story to tell about our last Thanksgiving celebration. My daughter-in-law came up with the idea of having the ladies make new dishes out of our holiday leftovers. Nat made a delicious pasta dish out of leftover steamed broccoli ( Nat’s Broccoli and Pasta Remix ) and my daughter made a tasty dish using leftover roasted sweet potatoes and fresh kale.

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Baby Girl’s Kale and Sweet Potato Remix was pretty impressive and quite simple to prepare. Leftovers are great. At least in my book. I think the seasonings blending together overnight make some dishes taste even better the next day. That was true for the sweet potatoes we used for the Kale and Sweet Potato Remix. Of course using all fresh ingredients is fine too. You don’t have to wait until you have leftovers to make this yummy dish. If you need a recipe for leftover kale or sweet potatoes this is a wonderful recipe to pull together.

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When Baby Girl thought of this recipe she decided to step it up a little by using two types of kale – red kale and curly green kale. I don’t remember ever seeing red kale in the grocery store or maybe I did see it but did not know it was kale. Anyway, the red kale was beautiful and had a sweeter and more delicate flavor than the curly green kale. The combination of the two types of kale created a nice balance between the slightly bitter and sweet flavors. Adding sweet potatoes only elevated the dish and made it blog worthy.

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Nice going kiddo! One more recipe to add to your repertoire and mine.

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Kale and Sweet Potato Remix

Ingredients:

4 cloves garlic chopped

3 lg sweet potatoes peeled and cubed

1 bunch Redbor kale clean and remove stems

1 bunch curly green kale clean and remove stems

½ jalapeno pepper seeded and diced (leave a few seeds for spice)

¾ cup white cooking wine

½ cup grated parmesan cheese

3 tbsp olive oil

1 tsp salt

½ tsp black pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Place cubed sweet potatoes on a greased cookie sheet. Drizzle olive oil over sweet potatoes. Sprinkle with jalapeno peppers, salt and pepper then toss to coat with olive oil. Place in oven and bake for 35 – 45 minutes until sweet potatoes are slightly browned and fork tender. Remove from oven and set aside.

Heat 2 tbsp olive oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. Add garlic and stir constantly for 1 minute to prevent garlic from burning. Pour in white cooking wine and stir for an additional 2 minutes.

Increase heat to medium high and add Redbor kale. Cook for 6 – 8 minutes until the kale is wilted. Add the remaining kale. Season with salt and black pepper then cook for 15 – 20 more minutes until tender. Stir occasionally. Reduce heat to medium and add sweet potatoes to the kale. Gently toss to mix kale and sweet potatoes. Transfer to a serving dish. Top with grated parmesan cheese.

Enjoy!

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Nat’s Broccoli and Pasta Remix

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During the holidays families often have to split time when their adult children are married. Our family is no different than any other family. Every year we share the kids with the in-laws. Last year my daughter-in-law came up with a great idea so that my hubby and I did not feel left out on Thanksgiving day since it was not our turn to host the family. Instead of having a big Thanksgiving celebration with all the kids and grand-kids, we had a big after Thanksgiving family leftovers celebration.

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All the ladies were charged with coming up with a dish using leftovers from Thanksgiving. Besides being able to spend time with my kids and mom I got a few new ideas to share on my blog. Nat created a tasty pasta dish from leftover steamed broccoli. This was a very simple dish but was packed with flavor from the garlic, white wine and parmesan cheese. I knew Nat’s Broccoli and Pasta Remix would be a good recipe for my blog when my youngest grandson jumped right in and gobbled up the pasta. Who could argue with a pasta connoisseur like little Ant?

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Thanks Nat for creating a new family tradition and a way to still share the holidays with our kids and grand-kids.

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Nat’s Broccoli and Pasta Remix

Ingredients:

1 box gemelli pasta

4 garlic cloves chopped

2 shallots diced

1 small onion diced

1 lemon

3 cups leftover steamed broccoli or 2 lg broccoli heads cut into florets

1 cup white wine

½ cup shredded parmesan cheese

4 tbsp olive oil

1 ½ tbsp salt

½ tbsp black pepper

½ tsp oregano

½ tsp thyme

Prepare pasta according to package then set aside in a large bowl. Reserve ½ cup pasta water.

Place 6 cups of water along with 1 tbsp of salt and bring to a boil. Blanch broccoli then drain. Place into a cold water bath to stop the broccoli from cooking. Reserve ½ cup of the broccoli water.

Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add onions and cook 3 – 5 minutes until onions begin to soften. Add shallots and cook for 1 minute then add garlic. Cook until vegetables begin to brown stirring constantly so that garlic does not burn. Pour in white wine and cook for 1 minute. Add broccoli to the pan season with salt and black pepper. Stir to mix then remove from heat.

Pour broccoli mixture to the pasta along with broccoli and pasta water. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese and gently toss together.

Optional: Red pepper flakes to add a little kick!

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Roasted Tomato Salad

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Fruits and vegetables all have a “season”.  Meaning, there are certain times of the year when fruits and vegetables are at their best and taste fantastic. Living on the east coast, I find tomatoes are at their best during the summer and early fall months. I grow a lot of different types of tomatoes in the summer and miss them when they are gone.

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Of course, just because the seasons change it does not mean you cannot get good tasting vegetables. However, you have to be careful because “out of season” vegetables like tomatoes can lack flavor and may not have a nice texture inside. Even tomatoes imported from warmer climates may not live up to east coast summer tomatoes. For that reason, I sometimes like to roast tomatoes to bring out their natural sweetness. Roasted Tomato Salad is wonderful because the roasted tomatoes add a nice kick of flavor to the salad.

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My Roasted Tomato Salad is nutritious and full of savory and slightly sweet flavors. Salads are a very personal dish because you can combine all of your favorite vegetables, fruits, nuts and meats. Or, you can keep it simple with only lettuce and roasted tomatoes.

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Roasted Tomato Salad

Ingredients:

2 bunches romaine lettuce chopped

6 -8 plum tomatoes cut into wedges

3 slices prosciutto chopped (optional)

½ red onion sliced thinly

¼ cup black olives

¼ cup shaved parmesan cheese

¼ cup Gazebo Room Greek Salad Dressing and Marinade

2 tbsp olive oil

1 tbsp oregano

1 tsp salt

1 black pepper

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Toss tomatoes with red onion slices and season with olive oil, salt, black pepper and oregano. Spray a rimmed cookie sheet with cooking spray and then spread tomatoes and onions on the cookie sheet. Roast for 30 – 45 minutes until browned and/or slightly charred (based on your preference). Let cool for 10 minutes.

Toss cooled roasted tomatoes with the remaining ingredients in a large bowl. Serve as a main dish or nice appetizer.

 

 

 

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Riced Cauliflower and Brussel Sprouts

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As she often does, my daughter turned me on to a new food I had never tried or heard of before. This time it was riced cauliflower. When she first told me about it I thought it was some kind of rice that had been processed out of dried cauliflower. So, when I asked one of the folks at Trader Joe’s if they had it riced cauliflower they said no based on my description. My daughter said it could be hard to find so I was not really surprised when Trader Joe’s looked but could not find it among the rice and pasta nor in the freezer section. Of course, when I told D about my trip to Trader Joe’s she put me on the right path and let me know that riced cauliflower isn’t really rice. Instead, the fresh cauliflower is “riced” and cut down to resemble rice. On my next trip to Trader Joe’s I found riced cauliflower in the fresh vegetable section.

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Cauliflower is plentiful in the warmer months and is great in salads and soups. I decided to create a different kind of recipe for my cauliflower by pairing it with brussel sprouts. Hence, my Riced Cauliflower and Brussel Sprouts recipe. If I do say so myself the dish was pretty tasty on the first try. One thing to remember when preparing cauliflower is to not overcook it. I learned the hard way just how mushy cauliflower can get if you cook it too long. Riced cauliflower cooks even quicker than cauliflower florets so this is definitely a quick and easy recipe to make.

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For my vegetarian friends this recipe is wonderful as both a side dish or a main course (just leave out the bacon). I had a nice sized bowl of Riced Cauliflower and Brussel Sprouts for lunch which was quite filling all by itself. The next time you are searching for a new cauliflower recipe take a chance on making Riced Cauliflower and Brussel Sprouts. I think you will be pleasantly surprised at how delicious it tastes.

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Riced Cauliflower and Brussel Sprouts

 Ingredients:

1 16 oz pkg of riced cauliflower

6 – 8 brussel sprouts sliced thin

2 shallots sliced thin

2 slices bacon cubed

½ tsp salt

½ tsp cracked black pepper

¼ tsp lemon zest

¼ tsp garlic powder

juice from ¼ of a lemon

Place bacon in a large non stick skillet over medium high heat. Brown bacon until crisp then drain on paper towels. Set aside.

Drain off all but 1 tbsp of bacon fat. Reduce heat to medium then add shallots and brussel sprouts. Cook until slightly softened. Add riced cauliflower and stir to mix. Sprinkle with bacon (reserve enough bacon to garnish dish). Cook cauliflower until tender but slightly al dente. Top with reserved bacon.

Bon Appetit!

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Broccoli and Cauliflower Salad

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Lately, I have been eating a lot of cauliflower which means I have to come up with different ways to fix it so that we don’t get bored with cauliflower. I really like broccoli salad so I thought I would add cauliflower and a few other ingredients to my standard recipe to create a new fresh salad.

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The spring and summer seasons call for light flavorful dishes. Cauliflower is big, pretty and plentiful during this time of year. As the seasons progress, cauliflower becomes less expensive so it usually ends up in my shopping cart.

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My biggest surprise after making my Broccoli and Cauliflower Salad was that my youngest son really liked it. He can be picky when it comes to eating raw vegetables so I was taken aback when he dipped his fork into the bowl and scooped out some of the salad. His reaction surprised me even more and I suddenly realized I may not have any Broccoli and Cauliflower Salad left to take to work for lunch. No worries. I would rather see T enjoy eating raw veggies than worry about lunch the next day. Besides, I quickly put aside a little salad in a container then put it way back in the frig before hubby and T could polish it off.

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This is one recipe I am sure I will be making all summer long. Bring on the BBQ!!! I have a dish I think everyone will love.

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Broccoli and Cauliflower Salad

 Ingredients:

1 large broccoli crown cut into small florets

1 large head of cauliflower cut into small florets

6 slices bacon fried and crumbled

1 cup carrots shredded

1 cup red cabbage shredded

½ cup sour cream

½ cup mayo

½ cup golden raisins

¼ cup Colby jack cheese shredded

½ tbsp seasoned salt

½ tsp cracked black pepper

½ tsp sugar

¼ tsp chopped parsley

Combine broccoli, cauliflower and raisins in a large bowl. In a medium bowl blend together sour cream, mayo and seasonings. Pour over veggies and gently mix to coat. Sprinkle with bacon (reserve a little bacon for garnish) and cheese then gently toss.

Chill 30 minutes. Serve chilled or at room temperature. Top with bacon crumbs before serving.

 

Combine broccoli, cauliflower and raisins in a large bowl. In a medium bowl blend together sour cream, mayo and seasonings. Pour over veggies and gently mix to coat. Sprinkle with bacon (reserve a little bacon for garnish) and cheese then gently toss.

Chill 30 minutes. Serve chilled or at room temperature. Top with bacon crumbs before serving.

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Apple Salad

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Refreshing is the word that kept springing from my mouth when I first tasted my Apple Salad dish and when I described it to my hubby and son. I have been thinking about light and refreshing dishes quite a bit lately since warmer weather has crept into my life. During warmer weather I don’t feel like making heavy or complicated meals. Summer is the time when I am looking for quick recipes and dishes that don’t make me tired or lazy after eating.

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My Apple Salad recipe is all the things I just mentioned. It is quick to make. It is light and refreshing. Plus, it does not make me feel heavy, bloated or lazy after eating it. On the contrary. I actually feel energized after eating this salad. Apple Salad is packed with protein from the delicious chopped walnuts and golden raisins and has vitamin C from the apples. Another plus is that the raisins contain antioxidants which helps our bodies to fight against cancer and heart disease. Also, the raisins add a hint of sweetness to counter the tartness of the apples.

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Bottom-line… Apple Salad is a low calorie, healthy dish that will leave you feeling refreshed and energetic. Just ask my son. He liked this salad so much that he had it for breakfast and as a snack. If my biggest critic loved my Apple Salad, I think you will too.

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Apple Salad

Ingredients:

2 large granny smith apples diced

2 large re crispy apples diced

1 8oz container marscapone cheese

½ cup golden raisins

½ cup chopped walnuts

¼ cup sour cream

4 tbsp milk

2 tbsp sugar

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 tsp orange zest

1 tsp ground cinnamon

¼ tsp ground nutmeg

juice from ½ of a lemon

Place apples in a large bowl and squeeze lemon juice over apples then toss. This will keep the apples from turning brown. Set asides.

In a deep bowl add marscapone cheese, sour cream, milk and sugar. Beat with a hand mixer until smooth. Add vanilla, nutmeg and cinnamon. Beat until seasonings are incorporated into mixture. Stir in orange zest. Pour mixture over apples then add walnuts and raisins. Gently mix until the apples are well coated along with the nuts and raisins. Serve chilled or at room temperature.

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Queso Fundido

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Tortillas are a staple in my kitchen.  Between making chicken burritos, breakfast burritos , tortilla chips and soft tacos as a quick meal I make sure I always have tortillas on hand.  I was searching for a new way to use tortillas when I just happen to come across a delicious looking Mexican dish that included tortillas.  I had never heard of Queso Fundido which means “melted cheese”.  I discovered that Queso Fundido is actually a very popular dish even in the states.

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In most areas Queso Fundido is made as an appetizer but my research showed some folks like to turn it into a sandwich.  Since I was new to making the recipe I thought I had better stick to making it an appetizer.  There were so many different recipes out in the cooking sphere I decided to find a basic recipe then add my own little twist.  The standard ingredients for any Queso Fundido is spicy sausage, tomatoes and cheese.  After that you can add whatever seasonings you like.  Chorizo is the sausage of choice in most recipes because of the level of heat and spice.  If you are not into spicy sausage, you can still make this dish but use a milder Italian sausage.  Nobody will care.  Use whatever makes you happy.  But if you want the Queso Fundido to be authenic, use the chorizo.

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Be prepared for this dish to disappear quickly.  If you have cheese lovers in your house, they will definitely love Queso Fundido.  Serve it up while it is hot and bubbly along with warm tortillas.  Talk about Yummy!

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Queso Fundido

Ingredients:

1 pkg ground chorizo or spicy Italian sausage

6 flour tortillas

1 jalapeno seeded and chopped

1 clove garlic chopped

2 plum tomatoes seeded and chopped

2 cups mozzarella or Mexican cheese

¼ cup diced onion or scallions

1 tbsp olive oil

1 tbsp cilantro chopped

1 tsp salt

½ tsp black pepper

¼ tsp ground cumin

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Heat olive oil in medium sized skillet. Brown chorizo until cooked and slightly crisp. Remove sausage from the pan and drain on paper towels. Add garlic, onions, jalapeno tomatoes and seasonings to the skillet. Stir to mix well. Reduce heat and cook for 3 – 5 minutes until veggies are soft. Add sausage to the mixture and stir to combine.

Spray a pie dish with cooking spray. Sprinkle ½ of the cheese in the bottom of the dish. Layer ½ of the chorizo and vegetable mixture over cheese. Sprinkle a little more cheese over the chorizo mixture then top with remaining cheese.

Bake for 20 – 25 minutes until cheese melts and dish is slightly browned and bubbly. Serve with warmed tortillas.

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Crispy Rice

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Whenever I prepare my Curried Fish dish I try to compliment it with a side dish that has a contrasting texture. I usually use cod when I make Curried Fish which is a very soft flaky fish. Sometimes I will pair the fish with crisp sauteed cabbage or I will prepare Crispy Rice which speaks for itself.

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A slight take on fried rice, my Crispy Rice reminds me of the kind of rice my mom used to make every time she had leftover perlo rice. I know you are saying to yourself “what the heck is perlo rice?”. Well, it is a southern dish my mom made by cooking rice in ham broth or chicken broth. Chicken and rice perlo is a very popular dish in the south but is found in slightly different versions across the world from Persia (pilau) to Turkey (pilav) to Spain (paella). Each country has adopted their own interpretation of this meat and rice dish. I have to be honest about my many attempts to make perlo rice. I have failed on most occasions. I have never been able to perfect perlo rice the way my mom does it. My attempts typically come out mushy (overcooked) or a little too al dente. I actually gave up on making perlo rice and just ask my mom to make it for me whenever I have a taste for it. One day I may try making perlo rice again but for now I am good with asking mom to make it.

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Back to my Crispy Rice. Like my mom I use leftover rice or I will make it early the same day I want to fix it and just refrigerate it for a couple of hours. The cold rice fries better than soft freshly cooked rice. In order to kick up the flavor in my Crispy Rice I add scallions, fresh spinach and crispy bacon. In my opinion, bacon makes most recipes taste great but cubed ham is also good in this dish so try whichever one you like best. I can almost guarantee that when you make Crispy Rice there will not be much leftover if any at all. This one will make the family clean their plates.

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Crispy Rice

Ingredients:

2 cups cold white rice

4 scallions sliced

4 slices crispy bacon chopped

½ bag baby leaf spinach

2 tbsp butter

1 tbsp olive oil

½ tsp cracked black pepper

cooking spray

Spray a large frying pan with cooking spray. Add butter and olive oil to frying pan and heat over medium high heat until butter is melted. Do not let butter burn. Add scallions to the pan and saute for 1 – 2 minutes. Add rice to the pan and break up with a spatula. Stir to coat rice with butter and olive oil. Let rice brown and stir every few minutes for 5 minutes. Reduce heat to medium. Add bacon and spinach to the pan. Season with black pepper. Stir until spinach begins to wilt. Remove from heat and cover for 2 minutes.

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Rainbow Salad

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Salad is one of those foods that my hubby and I can eat almost everyday for lunch, dinner or both. On most days when I cook I will add a salad as a start to our meal. Actually, I throw together a salad first thing when I get home to keep hubby out of the kitchen while I try to get dinner ready. Hubby always acts like he is starving when he gets home from work so I make a salad to keep him busy and then he won’t hover while I finish preparing dinner. Sneaky right? Yeah, but it works!

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Of course having a salad everyday can be a little boring if you just add the basics of iceberg lettuce, tomatoes and cucumbers. Personally, I don’t care too much for iceberg lettuce. There is no real nutritional value in iceberg lettuce because it is mostly water. I prefer other types of greens in my salads and I often mix them up just so my salads are not boring.

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Spring inspired me to make a Rainbow Salad because of the bright new colors of budding trees, daffodils and other vegetation I recently noticed waking up from a too long winter. I love the rich purple color of red cabbage. The pop of orange from shredded carrots and the pale green of Napa cabbage. Mixed together with a few other veggies, Rainbow Salad is a treat for your eyes and tasty to your mouth.

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Rainbow Salad

Ingredients:

2 Roma tomatoes cut into wedges

1 small Napa cabbage shredded

½ head red cabbage shredded

½ zucchini sliced

½ cup shredded carrots

¼ cup golden raisins

½ tsp basil

¼ tsp cilantro

Mix all ingredients in a large bowl. Top with your favorite salad dressing.

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