Yummy Salad Dressings

I am loving making my own salad dressings.  No more mystery ingredients buried in a list that’s a mile long.  I  make a batch or two of homemade mayo each week, then use that as a base for dressings.  If you choose to use prepared mayo, buy one made with olive oil and that has the shortest ingredient list.

It really takes no time at all to whip them up and they taste so much better than your grocery-store stand-by.  Plus, you don’t want to ruin that yummy, healthy salad by dumping chemicals, preservatives and highly processed food substances on it.  Nope…..you sure don’t!

Creamy Italian (based on a recipe from Well Fed)

1/2 cup mayo (preferably homemade)

1/4 tsp Italian seasoning blend

1 tsp minced garlic

1 tbsp apple cider vinegar

salt and pepper to taste

Place all ingredients in a jar, screw cap on tightly and shake.  Enjoy within a week a so.

Ranch (based on a recipe from Well Fed)

1/2 cup mayo (preferably homemade)

1 tsp minced garlic

1/4 tsp paprika

1 tbsp dried parsley

1 tbsp dried chives

1 tsp lemon juice

salt and pepper to taste

Place all ingredients in a jar, screw cap on tightly and shake.  Enjoy within a week or so.

Chipotle Lime

1 cup mayo (preferably homemade)

2 tbsp lime juice

1-2 tsp adobo sauce from canned chipotle peppers in adobo

Place all ingredients in a jar, screw the cap on tightly and shake.  Enjoy within a week or so.  I use this on fish, cole slaw, fish tacos, and taco salad.  Super yummy…..but watch out for the adobo sauce.  Always best to start with a little so you can add more heat later.  If it gets to spicy, add a bit more mayo to tone it down.


1/4 cup balsamic vinegar

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

1-2 tsp minced garlic

1-2 tsp spicy brown or Dijon mustard (optional)

salt and pepper to taste

Place all ingredients in a jar, screw the cap on tightly and shake.  You could also add about a tablespoon of honey or sugar to make it slightly sweeter.


Scrambled Eggs with Kale and Onions

An easy version of scrambled eggs…..the kale adds a nice texture to the eggs and onions sautéed in bacon grease are always good!

2 eggs, whisked well

1-2 tbsp bacon grease

1/2 cup chopped kale

1/4 cup chopped onion

Heat the bacon grease in a small skillet over medium heat.  Add the onions and kale and saute 3-5 minutes, or until soft and onions are just browning.

Add the eggs and cook to desired consistency.

Salt and pepper to taste.

If you don’t have bacon grease, substitute coconut oil.  Butter works well, too, if you aren’t avoiding dairy.

This is just enough for myself….adjust amounts accordingly if you’re cooking for your family.

Shredded Brussels Sprouts

I found this recipe in “Quick and Easy Meals: by Mark Sisson and Jennifer Meier…..a great resource for those eating a primal or paleo diet.

My kids will tolerate roasted Brussels sprouts, but they all agreed that these were better.  The best comment was that they were less “brussels sprout-y” this way.  While I love them roasted, these were a nice change and I gladly make them for my kids.

1 lb Brussels sprouts, shredded in food processor

1/4 to 1/2 cup olive oil

Warm olive oil in large skillet over medium-high heat.  Add Brussels sprouts and cook until softened and lightly browned, about 10 minutes.  You might need to add more oil as they cook…..go slowly, adding just enough to keep them from sticking to the pan.  Salt and pepper to taste before serving.

I found that they browned better for me if I cooked them in batches….the browned, crispy bits add some good texture to the dish.  A friend suggested adding some chopped, cooked bacon to them which also sounds divine.  I think cooking them in bacon grease might be something I try as well.


Oven-cooked Bacon

I love bacon.  Love, love, love it.

I also love my glass cook-top.  Love, love, love it.

However, I hate cleaning splattered bacon grease from my glass cook-top.  Hate it with a capital H.

Sooo, I make bacon in the oven.  Yay!

I line a rimmed baking sheet with foil, line up the bacon, and bake at 350 for 10-15 minutes.  I know some people bake at a higher temperature, but I have a tendency to burn bacon, so a lower temp is best for me.

And I always reserve the bacon grease in a mason jar in my fridge.  When I turn the oven on I set the jar on the counter to warm up a bit (fresh, hot bacon grease + cold jar of bacon grease = cracked jar and slimy mess).

While my bacon drains on a paper-towel-lined plate,  I let the grease cool a few minutes before folding up the foil to funnel it into the jar.

Now I always have bacon grease on hand for scrambled eggs, sautéed spinach or shredded Brussels sprouts, or any other dish that could use a smoky, bacon-y flavor.


Sauteed Spinach

Sautéed spinach was never my favorite, until I made this.  It actually started out as a filling for a rolled-up cube steak recipe.  The filling was great….the rolled cube steak?  Not so much.  So I made a few adjustments and now this makes a regular appearance on our kitchen table.

4-5 strips bacon

1/2 to 1 cup onion, chopped

1 clove garlic, minced

1/2 to 1 cup celery, chopped

1/2 to 1 cup mushrooms, chopped

2 cups fresh spinach, chopped

1/8 tsp celery salt

Cook the bacon, either in the oven or in a large skillet on the stove.  Reserve a few tablespoons of the bacon grease.   Set bacon aside and chop when cooled.

Heat about 2 tbsp of bacon grease in a large skillet over medium heat.  Saute onion 3-5 minutes, then add garlic, celery, mushrooms, spinach and celery salt.  Stir well and saute until spinach is wilted.

Add chopped bacon and salt and pepper to taste.

The beauty of this side dish is that you can add/subtract ingredients as you like.  Omit the mushrooms or add some leeks.  I usually leave out the celery (my husband isn’t a fan) but I always use the celery salt….it gives it a nice flavor.  If you don’t have any bacon, start with some reserved bacon grease from a previous day, or simply use olive oil.

Menu Monday: 1/30/12

I skipped last week’s menu planning…..a weekend trip threw me off a bit, both on my planning and my Paleo challenge.  But….my weekend away in California was well-worth it!

So here’s this week’s plan:

Monday:  Cod (not sure how I’ll prepare it yet, but I’m guessing under the broiler) with sautéed brussels sprouts

Tuesday:  Pork Tenderloin with cauliflower rice and a big salad

Wednesday:  Pot Roast (in my new Le Creuset!!!!)

Thursday:  Avery’s Birthday Dinner….she gets to pick the restaurant for dinner

Friday:  Chili (in the crock pot all evening as we come and go from basketball practices and games)


I’ll get back with some recipe links soon….


Menu Monday: 1/16/12

Last week’s menu worked out well for us, though we did switch around a few of the days.  That’s the beauty of planning my menu in advance and shopping for all the necessary ingredients:  I have everything I need for each meal, so I can switch things around if I need/want to.

Monday:  Chili

Tuesday:  Chicken Gruyère

Wednesday:  Balsamic Pork Chops

Thursday:  Shepherd’s Pie

Chicken Gruyère  is a repeat from last week….my Tuesday got away from me last week so we skipped it.  My kids LOVE chicken Gruyère, so it’s back on the menu for this week.

I didn’t make plans for the weekend because I’ll be out of town (at my high school reunion-20 years-eek!).  My husband will be on his own with the kiddos….he’s great about cooking for the kids so I’ll leave him some options and let him decide what he wants to do.