Archive for Salads

Kale Caesar Salad with Polenta Croutons

Kale Caesar Salad with Polenta Croutons

We all know that kale is the latest rage and is now considered a “superfood”. The first place I ever had a kale salad was at Houston’s. A friend of mine who doesn’t typically eat “leafy greens” said it was fantastic and recommended it to me. She wasn’t kidding! Ever since then, I have typically ordered a kale salad when I have gone out to eat. I was at Marlow’s Tavern recently and ordered their kale caesar salad with grilled chicken. It was outstanding! It came with chopped boiled eggs. Interesting twist, I thought. A few days later, I was eating with some friends at Garrisons. I ordered their caesar salad and it came with delicious polenta croutons. My brain went into overdrive and I decided to try to combine the concepts of these three salads into one. What I came up with is pretty awesome, if I do say so myself!

Level of Difficulty: Easy
Time Required: Prep Time – 5 min; Cook Time – 45  min. plus an hour to cool


For the salad:

kale ( I use the mix from Costco)

hard boiled eggs, chopped

Caesar dressing (I use Girard’s Light Caesar)

Shredded parmesan


Tomato, chopped

For the Polenta:

3 c. water

1 1/2 c. yellow cornmeal

1 1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper

2 tsp. salt

2. tsp. olive oil

1/8 tsp. fresh cracked pepper

1/3 c. shredded parmesan

Preparing Kale Caesar Salad with Polenta Croutons:

Before you make the salad, you need to make the polenta. Here’s how: Put water in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and pour in the cornmeal, stirring constantly. Simmer, stirring often until thickened, about 6-8 minutes. Remove from heat. Stir in the cayenne pepper, salt, olive oil and pepper. Spray an 8×8 baking pan with non-stick cooking spray. Pour the polenta into the pan and spread it evenly. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese. Let cool. (After it is no longer warm to the touch, I put it in the refrigerator from about 15 minutes).

Polenta Croutons

Preheat oven to 450 Degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Remove polenta from refrigerator and cut into small squares. Place the squares on the parchment paper and bake for 20 minutes. Using tongs, flip the polenta and bake for an additional 15 minutes, or until polenta is crisp and evenly brown on all sides. 

Polenta Croutons

Once the polenta croutons are ready, grab a bowl and put in desired amounts of kale, eggs, and dressing. Mix well and plate the salad. Add tomato, avocado, cheese and croutons!

Kale Caesar Salad with Polenta Croutons

Important Tips:

Make sure your polenta is really cool before cutting and baking it. 

Meal Ideas:

Add a piece of grilled chicken if you’re wanting to add some protein!


Israeli Couscous Salad with Feta

Israeli Couscous Salad with Feta is a cross between tabouli, pasta and traditional couscous. It has all the yumminess of any traditional Middle Eastern cuisine…feta, olives, tomatoes, chickpeas….my mouth is watering just thinking about it! It really is very easy to make. It’s more of an “assembly” dish than it is a “cooking” dish, although the couscous does have to be cooked! 

Level of Difficulty: Easy
Time Required: Prep Time – 15 min; Cook Time – 15 min.


2 cups Israeli Couscous

4 cups Chicken Broth (substituting water is not an option with this)

cherry tomatoes, halved

Kalamata olives, halved,

feta cheese, crumbled


fresh mint, chopped

Fresh lemon juice

Salt and Pepper

Preparing Israeli Couscous Salad with Feta:

Bring chicken broth to a boil and add the couscous. Cook for about 6-7 minutes or until soft. Drain and put in large mixing bowl to let cool. Add desired amounts of remaining ingredients.(Please make sure that your couscous is cool enough before adding the feta, otherwise it will start to melt a bit). Add fresh lemon juice, salt and pepper to taste. Mix well and serve!

Israeli Couscous Salad with Feta

Meal Ideas:

I served this with Mediterranean Bread Salad and Grilled Chicken with Tzatiki Sauce. 

Got Leftovers?:

This is fantastic as a leftover! You can eat it cold or hot. So versatile!

We seriously need to talk geography!! Israeli Couscous for Greek week!  I know Israel and Greece are ‘close’ to each other….but it’s GREEK week! ~Melissa

You knew what you were getting yourself into when you said, “Hey…let’s do a blog together!” ~Denise

Rolling on the floor laughing out loud…..yes, yes I did! ~Melissa

Mediterranean Bread Salad

This Mediterranean Bread Salad is just about the most perfect salad for me. I grew up on Mediterranean food and absolutely love just about anything that has feta cheese or kalamata olives. Add a piece a grilled chicken to this and it’s a whole meal!

Level of Difficulty: Easy
Time Required: Prep Time – 20 min; Marinate/Mix Time: 30 – 60 minutes


 For the salad:

Romaine Lettuce

Chick Peas

Red onion, sliced


Feta Cheese

Kalamata Olives

Cucumbers, Sliced

Stacy Pita Chips, Naked Flavor

For the Dressing:

Juice of 3 lemons

1/4 c. olive oil

1 tsp. Dijon mustard

3 cloves garlic, crushed

1 T. fresh mint, finely chopped

1 T. fresh oregano, finely chopped

Salt and Pepper to taste 

Preparing Mediterranean Bread Salad:

Prepare the dressing by whisking all ingredients together. Let sit for at least 30 minutes in the refrigerator. Put all salad ingredients together in a bowl EXCEPT for the feta cheese. Let sit for about 15-20 minutes. Add the feta right before you are ready to serve. 

Mediterranean Bread SaladImportant Tips:

Make sure you let the flavors of the dressing come together before putting it on the lettuce. 

Are you going to get disowned from the family for sharing that salad dressing recipe? ~Melissa

No…because it’s not the family secret recipe. It’s my own adaptation…thank you very much! -Denise

Kale Salad with Apples and Feta

kale salad with poppy seed dressing

My husband and I attended a show called Capitol Steps at the Rialto Theater here in Atlanta. That was side-splitting funny!! Regardless of your political affiliation, there is lots to laugh about.

Anyway, there was a reception prior to the event and they served this delicious kale salad with apples and blue cheese. It got me to thinking because I love the kale salad at Houston’s Restaurant, which I make my version of at home, but this was different and so I decided to recreate it at home with some minor tweaks. Delicious, healthy, yumminess!!

Level of Difficulty: Easy
Time Required: Prep Time – 15min; Rest Time – 30 min

Ingredients for 4:

1 bunch of flat leaf kale

6 oz broccoli slaw (sold in 12 oz packages in most produce sections of the grocery store)

6 oz poppy seed dressing (no-fat)(I used one from Panera Bread in the refrigerated section of my grocery store)

3 oz feta cheese, crumbled

1/2 granny smith apple

How to make kale salad with apples and feta:

kale salad with poppy seed dressing

Cut the stems out of the kale. If you don’t know how or want an idea, you can check this post out. The example is for collards but it’s the same.

Once you’ve removed the stems, stack a few of the leaves, roll them up together like a cigar and then slice into thin strips (called a chiffonade). This will help the salad be more tender, thus chewable.

Add about 1/2 of a bag of broccoli slaw. I find this in the produce section with pre-packaged cole slaws and broccoli. It is julienned broccoli and carrots and adds great texture and flavor to the salad.

Take half of an apple (I used granny smith but another crisp apple would work), slice it thinly and then dice it. Toss it in.

Toss the salad with the dressing and let rest for a bit while you make the rest of dinner or enjoy a glass of wine (or two). When ready to serve, toss in the feta. I had this with blue cheese which was great also but not everyone loves blue cheese.

Important Tips:

I think letting it rest a bit was good because the dressing helped soften the kale a bit.

Got Leftovers?:

I never save leftover salad but since this was almost like a cole slaw, I decided to save it. It was delicious for lunch the next day.


My family as a whole does not have the sophisticated palate that Melissa’s does. This would be a salad for one at my house! -Denise


Blah, blah, blah! I’ve seen your family eat salad, tomatoes, your awesome Sensation Salad. Give them credit! If not, well, then you get leftovers. At least your not stuck with all the purple potatoes! ~Melissa

Salad with Blue Cheese, Craisins, Toasted Pecans and Champagne Vinaigrette

I made this salad with blue cheese, craisins, toasted pecans and champagne vinaigrette several years ago and it was a huge hit. I love serving it at the holidays because it adds so much color to the plate!

Level of Difficulty: Easy

Time Required: Prep Time – 10 min

Ingredients (Add desired amounts of each based on guests):

Mixed greens



Blue Cheese (You can substitute feta cheese and it’s just as yummy)

Girard’s Champagne Vinaigrette

Preparing Salad with Blue Cheese, Craisins, Toasted Pecans and Champagne Vinaigrette:

Spray a small skillet with nonstick cooking spray (optional). Heat over medium low heat. Add pecans and toast them, stirring often, for about 5 minutes. Keep a close eye so they don’t burn. Transfer to a small bowl to let them cool.

Place lettuce in a serving bowl. Add craisins to the lettuce, followed by the cheese and cooled pecan halves. Add dressing and toss! 

Salad with blue cheese, craisins, toasted pecans and champagne vinaigrette

Caesar Salad with Sauteed Shrimp

My daughter loves Caesar salad with sautéed shrimp. Last week, we had a very hectic weeknight schedule and I didn’t have a lot of time to spend in the kitchen cooking, so salad was for dinner! I had some leftover grilled chicken that I used for my son’s salad and treated my daughter to some shrimp! It makes for a very easy and relatively healthy dinner. Note: Melissa laughed at me when I told her about putting this on the blog. I know it’s easy and basic, but sometimes it’s these types of meals that people tend to overlook!!

Level of Difficulty: Easy
Time Required: Prep Time – 5 min.; Cook Time – 10 min.


Romaine lettuce

shredded parmesan cheese

Caesar dressing (we use Girard’s Light Cesar)(Melissa likes the Bolthouse Farms made with yogurt)

Croutons (if desired)

6-8 shrimp per person (peeled and deveined)

2-3 T. olive oil

3-4 cloves crushed garlic

salt and pepper to taste

How to make Caesar salad with Sauteed Shrimp:

Heat the olive oil and garlic over medium heat. Add the shrimp and sauté approximately 5 minutes per side. Add salt and pepper to taste. Meanwhile, add the desired amount of lettuce into a bowl and toss with your favorite dressing (tossing ahead of time is key!). Put on your plate. Sprinkle with cheese and top with croutons. Add the shrimp and dig in!

Cesar Salad with Sauteed Shrimp

For the record, I chuckled because of Denise bragging about a salad being a 15 minute meal, not because of the concept!! Love ya Denise!! – Melissa


Leftover Steak Salad


I had leftover steak from my BBQ Tri tip and decided to make a yummy salad with the leftovers. Now, there is no recipe needed for a good salad. Just look in your fridge and see what you have. On this occasion, I found:

2 ears of corn I had cooked the night before

Tomatoes – which I salted in advance

Pickled banana peppers

Feta cheese

Snow peas, I just prepared these and cut up raw

leftover salad

I made a quick balsamic vinaigrette (equal drizzles of olive oil and balsamic, salt, pepper, garlic powder, oregano)

what to do with leftovers

Tossed, topped with the sliced steak and served.

This would work with any leftover meat of course but leftover steak salad is my favorite!