April 1, 2013

Spring Has Sprung...Salad Season Is Here!

Spring brings many new things.  New growth on trees and in thawing gardens.  New wildlife, eggs in nests and insects breaking through ground.  New outdoor family activities, new trails and parks to discover, and new sports teams to get acquainted with.  Spring seems to breathe life in everything around us, making us feel more alive every day.  And there's no better way to get into spring mode than with healthy eating!

Spending more time outdoors makes refueling your body even more important.  One way that my family loves refueling is by eating salads...lots and lots of salads.  We eat them throughout the week for school and work lunches, and we often serve up side salads with meals or BIG salads as the main meal during weeknight dinners and weekend lunches.

Lil-J scooting on a gorgeous spring day!
Big-A showing off his skateboarding skills!


I always think of complete meals when making salads.  Along with a selection of greens, I add a variety of vegetables and lean protein.  Our favourite protein sources are cold steak or chicken and boiled or poached eggs.  Using leftover meats and vegetables is one of the easiest ways to add extra ingredients to any salad.

A fresh dressing is an absolute must when building the perfect salad.  I always use olive oil as the base, with different vinegars or citrus juices to change the flavour.  At any grocery store you will find a huge selection of different salad dressing, but I like making it myself.

My most recent salad creation came to me on a busy Saturday afternoon.  We had a lot to do with very little time, and I decided to throw together a salad for lunch.  Using leftovers from Friday night's dinner and ripe, fresh produce, I made a delicious and nutritious salad that the entire family loved (well, everyone but Lil-J as he's not at all into salads!).

A mouth-watering salad creation ~ Southwestern Tangy Chicken Salad

Southwestern Tangy Chicken Salad
(makes 4 side dishes or 2 main dishes)

Salad Ingredients:
1 head of fresh romaine lettuce, washed and dried
1 handful of fresh baby spinach, washed and dried
1 ripe avocado, peeled and sliced
1 cooked chicken breast, chopped
1/2 cup cooked corn niblets

Tangy Dressing Ingredients:
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
5 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp grainy mustard
1 tsp yellow mustard
1 tbsp freshly grated parmesan cheese
pinch of ground black pepper

1. Add all salad ingredients to a large bowl.
2. Add all dressing ingredients to a small bowl, whisk together.
3. Pour dressing mixture over salad ingredients, toss to coat, serve.

It really doesn't get easier than that.  The salad was fresh tasting, light and very filling.  A perfect meal for a busy family on the go.  Big-A absolutely loved it, asking for seconds!

Most salads that I make are inspired by recipes that I've seen on my favourite Food Network shows or that I find in food magazines.  As an #LMDConnector, another source that I use for numerous recipes is the Life Made Delicious website.  By simply typing the word "salad" in the search field, you will find hundreds of recipes to choose from.  And you won't just find traditional salads on the site.  Salad wraps are great when you're on the go, or to change things up from the usual salad-in-a-bowl.  I LOVE cobb salad, and the Cobb Salad Wraps are easy to make and full of nutrients.  Check out the Life Made Delicious website to get salad inspired!

From the Life Made Delicious website ~ Cobb Salad Wraps

It's easier than you think to add delicious salads to your meal plan.  Get creative with ingredients that suit your family's taste.  Making simple changes to ingredients, changing the flavours of the dressing, and making sure to have fresh product on hand will guarantee you salad success each and every time!

I’m part of the Life Made Delicious blogger program and I receive special perks as part of my affiliation with this group. As with every post that I write, the opinions on this blog are my own.


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