Salads and Sauces

I’m back! And I’m eager to shared thoughts and ideas with you. Today I thought I’d start out with some helpful ideas about eating “in”. Living alone has posed interesting problems to solve, among them food preparation. I love to cook but cooking for one can be a challenge. Ed and I took turns cooking. We’d alternate weeks. It made meal planning and food preparation fun. The week that you were the chef, you shopped, cooked and cleaned up. That gave your spouse a chance to be a “guest” at home. For me, that made my weeks as chef fun – planning what to serve. And I loved my time as a guest. Not only did I get a break from the kitchen, I also enjoyed some yummy meals as Ed was a pretty good cook.

Now I have a new appreciation for the way we dealt with family meals. Now it’s all me – breakfast, lunch and dinner. So I’ve been exploring ways of preparing simple and healthy meals that provide variety but don’t take lots of time. If there is food in the refrigerator that is easy to serve up, I’ll go to it first. But it’s really easy to slack off and binge eat stuff that is not nearly as healthy.

Salads are a mainstay of my diet but they haven’t always been so. They take time and planning. I now try to keep a variety of veggies in the refrigerator at all times. My basics are lettuce mixes, zucchini, celery, onions and cabbage. I almost always have these available. And then depending on what’s in the market, I’ll add radishes, daikon, peppers, fennel, tomatoes. These vary from week to week. Other salad supplies include olive oil, a variety of salad dressings, olives, and pickles.

Every few days I’ll mix up a bowl of greens using my basic salad mix. I’ll dress them with olive oil and store them in the refrigerator. They are my salad base. I have salad for dinner almost every night. I’ll serve up a bowl of these greens and then add some extras from the weekly shop. I finish off the salad with a bottled dressing and most of the time, dinner is ready in less than 10 minutes.

I’ve shared this idea of prepping a salad base with friend, and like me, they are surprised to discover that the base will keep well for three days in the refrigerator. The lettuces don’t wilt because the oil keeps the moisture in the leaf as long as there is no salt on the leaves.

My favorite dressings include:
Trader Joe’s Feta
Trader Joes Goddess – with Tahini as the base
Trader Joes –
My own simple mustard viniagrette

These dressings also make wonderful sauces for roasted veggies, meats and fish. I use them regularly to amp up the flavor bland foods.

Sometimes I overdo it and have leftover salad. Rather than tossing it out, I use it the next day as a sandwich or burrito filling.