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Need Salad Recipe for Wive's Meeting

Hi CH's! I am newly married to a chaplain in the Air Force. This Thursday I will be attending my first meeting with the other chaplain's wives. It's very casual apparently, just five or six women, and all I know is that everyone brings a salad to accompany the chat. This has me a bit perplexed. I asked for clarification and all I got was that people have brought veggie salads, bean salads, fruit salads, jello salads, pasta salads basically anything goes. I want to take something that will please most palates, hopefully is relatively healthy, but also different from anything too standard. Any suggestions.

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  1. so many options to choose from. here are some of my go-to's:

    -salad greens, candied pecans, sliced strawberries, green onions, balsamic
    -cranberry and pecan wild rice salad
    -quinoa salad with roasted root vegetables
    -fruit salad of strawberries, blueberries, mandarins, bananas and grapes with french dressing (no not the spicy tomatoey stuff, but powdered sugar and a little milk)

    or how about a taco salad with tortilla strips, spicy chicken and black bean and corn salsa.

    1. I think you should do something that sorta represents you or what part of the country you are from -- and if it's really out there, that's ok too b/c you may introduce something yummy, but then again, i'm sure you're stressed enough about this ;)

      - baby spinach, feta, purple onions, cukes (vinaigrette dressing or my fave: yogurt based with lemon, garlic, a dash of olive oil, s&p)
      - pesto tortellini pasta salad w/olives, broccoli, tomatoes
      - orzo with baby spinach, feta, purple onions, cukes or tomatoes, basil, mozz cut small

      1. Here is a recent thread with some great ideas.

        My personal favorites are the broccoli slaw (which I gave the recipe) and also the Orzo Salad from Epicurious.


        1. Congratulations on your wedding. From your profile, I see that you are in Florida. If you can get some really good tomatoes now, I would suggest a caprese salad or bruschetta for something a little different. I never have leftovers with taco salad.
          I'm watching Ina as I type and if desserts are appropriate, she just pulled a yummy looking fudge brownie pie out of the oven. That would be a great ending for a salad luncheon.

          1. This is one of my standbys for events like this, a Tuscan tomato and bread salad. You can cheat by buying marinated fresh mozzarella balls from Costco.


            2 Replies
            1. re: chowser

              Speaking of Ina, I LOVE her roasted Shirmp & Orzo salad. You can find the recipe on Footnetwork.com.

            2. Here's one I often take to potlucks - that seems to please a variety of people:

              A sweet and crunchy salad

              - Place 2 packages of ramen noodles and soak in a bowl of warm water and for 15 minutes or until soft.
              - Whisk together ½ cup of vegetable oil, ½ cup of sugar, 1/3 cup of white vinegar and the seasoning packs from the noodles
              - Drain the noodles and combine in a large bowl with a bag of shredded coleslaw mix, 1 (11-oz) can of mandarin oranges (drained), a (8-oz) can of water chestnuts, a bunch of green onions (chopped), and ½ cup of sunflower seeds.
              - Pour dressing over salad and toss to coat evenly. Refrigerate for 2 to 4 hours. Add ½ cup of cashews before serving.

              5 Replies
              1. re: cackalackie

                cackalackie, I went to a party last summer and someone had brought this salad but the ramen noodles were still hard. YUCK! other wise the salad was very tasty!

                1. re: jesoda

                  There's another salad that uses them "hard", but they're broken up and toasted in a pan, along with chopped walnuts....

                  1. re: cackalackie

                    The recipe for my broccoli slaw uses "hard" noodles too. They are broken up into small pieces and they soften up when you put the dressing on. I like them a little crunchy. It doesn't taste at all like uncooked noodles.

                    1. re: valerie

                      I've hard the hard noodle version a few times and quite like it. In fact my friend has been promising me the recipe but so far has not come through. Anyone have a good recipe to share for this type of salad? It had an real asian flare to it - honey, soya sauce, sesame oil type flavours in the dressing.

                      1. re: millygirl

                        Here are two (1st one is most likely the one you are looking for but the 2nd one is very nice too):
                        Asian Slaw
                        1 pkg broccoli slaw, 1 bunch scallions, 1 c peanuts, 1/2 c sunflower seeds, 2 pk ramen soup (oriental flavor), 1/2 c peanut oil, 1/3 c sugar, 1/4 c apple cider vinegar.
                        In a lrg bowl, mix slaw, scallions, peanuts, seed and crushed ramen noodles. Dressing: mix oil, vinegar, sugar and the two flavor packs from ramen soup mix. Toss before serving.

                        #2 Asian Slaw
                        1 bag coleslaw mix, 1 can mandarin orange segmnts (drained), 1 small jicama (peled and cut into small cubes), 1/2 c peanuts, 1/2 c italian dressing, 2 Tbls peanut butter, 1 Tbls soy sauce.
                        Toss slaw, orange segments and jicama in lrg bowl, make dressing with dressing, peanut butter and soy sauce. Mix together and sprinkle with nuts.

              2. http://www.chow.com/recipes/11662


                If the other wives have been "in the service" for any length of time they should be open to all types of cuisine. These two usually go over well.

                1. Wild Rice and Apricot Salad (I got this originally from Bon Appetit, but couldn't find it on epicurious. Typed in the primary ingredients and found this link, which is precisely the same recipe, un-attributed apparently). I always make this with a mixture of wild and either white or brown rice; it's much prettier that way, and the wild rice adds just a nice crunch. This recipe is *always* a hit at pot lucks


                  1. I like Chinese Chicken Salad. For something like a potluck get-together I keep it simple and just use assorted crunchy lettuce (romaine/iceberg- can use a bag), some seasoned chicken breast chunks (can use a pre-cooked bag like Tyson does in the deli meat section), some green onion, cilantro if you like, and shredded or grated carrot for color. Dress with a commercial Chinese chick salad dressing or sesame ginger dressing or make your own. Top with either crushed dry roasted peanuts or the packaged fired chow mein noodles when you get there. Of course I am taking a loose definition of "veggie salad". If no meat allowed this still is tasty as a salad. If you can get seasoned bake tofu it makes a nice sub for the chicken if it has to be veggie, or even diced up veggie sausages.

                    1. This is an amazing salad. I can't get enough of it!


                      1. Try one of these:

                        Greek Orzo and Grilled Shrimp Salad with Mustard-Dill Vinaigrette

                        ¾ pound orzo, cooked al dente
                        1 large cucumber, seeded, quartered lengthwise, and sliced
                        3 green onions, thinly sliced
                        1 pint grape tomatoes, halved
                        ¼ cup chopped fresh dill, plus extra for garnish
                        ¼ cup white wine vinegar
                        3 Tablespoons Dijon mustard
                        ½ cup olive oil, plus additional for brushing shrimp
                        Salt and Freshly ground pepper
                        ¾ pound feta cheese, crumbled
                        16 medium shrimp, peeled and de-veined

                        Orzo, cucumber, green onions and tomatoes in a large bowl.
                        Place dill, vinegar and mustard in a blender and blend until smooth. With the motor running, slowly add the olive oil and blend until emulsified. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Pour the vinaigrette over the orzo mixture and stir well to combine.
                        Gently fold in the feta cheese.

                        Heat grill to high. Brush shrimp with oil and season with salt and peper. Grill for approximately 2 minutes per side or until just cooked through. Divide orzo among four plates and top with shrimp. Garnish with additional shrimp.

                        Notes: I use the English variety cucumber, which can be found near the “regular” cucumbers. It is usually wrapped in cellophane. This cucumber usually has a very small seed cavity and is “burpless”, unlike the other varieties.

                        You can make this a great summertime meal by replacing the medium shrimp with jumbo prawns (shell on). I usually marinate the prawns in orange juice, zest, white wine and some salt and pepper. You only need to marinate for as long as it takes to complete the orzo salad.
                        When the salad is prepared, grill the shrimp according to the directions above, making sure to brush with oil before grilling.

                        Aztec Salad

                        Prep time: 20 minutes Servings: 10


                        2 15 ounce cans black beans, drained and rinsed
                        ½ cup finely chopped red onion
                        1 green bell pepper, seeded and diced
                        1 red or yellow bell pepper, seeded and diced
                        2 cups corn kernels, canned, frozen or fresh
                        2 tomatoes, diced
                        ¾ cup chopped fresh cilantro
                        2 tablespoons seasoned rice vinegar
                        2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar or distilled vinegar
                        2 garlic cloves, pressed or finely minced
                        1 lemon or lime, juiced
                        2 teaspoons ground cumin
                        1 teaspoon coriander
                        ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper or a pinch of cayenne


                        In a large bowl, combine the rinsed beans with the red onion, bell peppers, corn tomatoes and cilantro. Whisk together the vinegars with the garlic, lemon or lime juice, cumin, coriander and red pepper flakes. Pour over the salad and toss gently to mix.

                        1. I'm not crazy about salad, so the ones that are standard in my repertoire are definitely stand-outs among the pack.

                          Fattoush: Romaine, cucumber, parsley, mint, tomatoes, sumac and crispy pita chips in a lemon vinaigrette. You can also add olives and/or feta.
                          Rocket salad: Arugula, cherry tomatoes, walnuts, blue cheese, bacon in a bacon-apple cider vinaigrette
                          Rocket salad II: Arugula, radicchio, endive, blue cheese, pecans with a dressing made from balsamic vinegar and ranch dressing mix.
                          Panzanella: Torn grilled Italian bread, cherry tomatoes, blanched green beans, canellini beans, mozarella, onions, garlic, basil in balsamic vinaigrette
                          Thai peanut salad: Spaghetti, sliced romaine, sliced celery, julienne carrots, napa cabbage, scallions, cilantro, mint, grilled chicken, limes, sesame seeds, crushed peanuts with Thai peanut sauce.

                          1. My latest find is very healthy (weight watchers) and I've adapted it by using shrimp and it's fantastic. The original recipe calls for chicken or turkey. Turkey Cole Slaw.

                            Just mix cole slaw mix with chopped tomatoes, turkey bacon and any other vegies you like (I love radishes or cukes in this) then either shredded chicken or turkey - OR MY FAVORITE - SHRIMP (that I sauteed with some zippy spices, cajun). The dressing is light mayo and dijon mustard, vinegar and some suger or splenda - then pour this over the salad and mix. I did corn bread on the side. It's really tasty.

                            1. orzo - cooked just before "done" - drained and rinsed.
                              olive oil
                              chopped ital parsley
                              pine nuts
                              feta crumbles
                              chopped sundried tomatoes
                              chopped black olives
                              lemon juice if you like

                              so delicious and very pretty

                              1. OP here!
                                Thanks for all of the GREAT suggestions. I did a test run of the orzo with everything and it was delicious and will definitely be added to the dinner rotation. Unfortunately I liked it so much, I ate quite a bit and really was not in the mood to make it so soon again for the meeting with the wives of the chaplains. I also have plans to make the broccoli slaw this weekend, and have this thread marked as there are so many recipes I want to try and I am a salad fiend.
                                For tonight I ended up making a variation on a really yummy salad from epicurious and it's healthy too! It has black beans, corn, hearts of palm, tomato, red onion, cilantro, coriander, cumin, EVOO, and lime juice. It's really yummy and texturally a treat. Hopefully everyone else will like it.

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: ArikaDawn

                                  ArikaDawn - glad you liked the orzo. it's my sister's favorite -- always asks me to make it...

                                2. Hi, Arika,
                                  I fell upon this sight because I love cooking, too, and then noticed your husband was a chaplain in the Air Force. My husband is in the process of becoming an Air Force chaplain and I was wondering how long the process takes. Thank you. Angie
                                  P.S. Being from Arizona, the salad you made for your luncheon sounds delicious!

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: maggie123

                                    Hey Angie! It is quite a process as i am sure you know. Four years for the BA, another four in seminary, getting endorsed etc. I would love to talk to you about it, but since it is extremely OT we'd better move it to a different forum. My email is ArikaShanks@comcast.net. Feel free to get in touch with me there or at www.myspace.com/arikadawn if you are on myspace. Be well!

                                  2. went to a bbq this weekeend and had the most delicious salad...basically grilled chicken breast slices, bow-tie pasta, pesto, feta, olives, cherry tomatoes (halved), green onions, and basil...really fresh and yummy.

                                    1. I love to bring panzanella to this sort of thing since most people have never had it before and it is not likely to overlap with what somebody else will bring. If your can get nice, ripe tomatoes, the chow.com recipe is great.

                                      1. Lordy, your post took me straight back, many years ago, to my first Navy Wife luncheon, potluck of course. I still shudder when I remember seeing something that I'd never seen before - lumpy neon mounds on a platter in shades of orange, pink, green, yellow that were just plain scary. When I braved a question, the proud creator told me that it was simplicity itself. "Honey, you buy as many cartons of cottage cheese as boxes of Jello, mix each and presto - salad!"

                                        Of course I had to try this and can report that until you've eaten sweet, gritty cottage cheese your life just ain't complete.

                                        Good luck at your luncheons. Anything that isn't neon & lumpy will be a hit.