July 1, 2010 at 8:49 a.m.

Salad recipes for your July 4th picnic

Salad recipes for your July 4th picnic
Salad recipes for your July 4th picnic

It's salad season! Yes, I know you can eat salads any time of the year. It's just that in the winter months some of the fruit and veggies just don't taste the same as those grown locally in the summer or fall. Right? So, how about some colorful salads to add to your picnic or back yard gathering on the 4th of July.

TORTELLINI, BROCCOLI AND BACON SALAD

2 bags (19 oz. each) frozen cheese-filled tortellini

4 c. broccoli flowerets

2 c. cherry tomatoes, cut in half

2 T. snipped fresh chives

1 c. reduced-fat coleslaw dressing

1 lb. bacon, dried crisp, drained on paper towel and crumbled

2 T. sunflower seeds

Cook and drain tortellini as directed on package. Rinse with ice water until cold; drain. Mix tortellini with next 4 ingredients in a large (4 qt.) bowl. Cover and refrigerate at least 1 hour to blend flavors.

Just before serving, stir in bacon. Sprinkle with nuts. Makes 9 servings (1-1/2 c. each). Some tips: use thinly sliced green onions in place of chives, small cherry tomatoes can be left whole instead of cut in half. Or use small whole grape tomatoes.

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GARDEN PATCH SAUTE

1 T. olive or canola oil

1 medium zucchini, cut into 1/4-inch slices (1 c.)

1 medium yellow summer squash, cut into 1/4-inch slices

1 c. fresh sliced mushrooms

1 c. grape tomatoes or cherry tomatoes cut in half

2 T. snipped chives

1/2 t. garlic salt

Heat oil in a 10-inch skillet over medium-high heat. Fry zucchini, yellow squash and mushrooms in oil 4-5 minutes, stirring often, until veggies are crisp-tender. Stir in tomatoes; sprinkle veggies with chives and garlic salt. Cook 2-3 minutes, stirring often, just until tomatoes begin to soften.

Makes 6 servings. (1/2 cup each)

Some tips: Fresh basil, oregano or marjoram may be substituted for chives. Grilled chicken would go nicely with this colorful hot veggie salad. All of the veggies and chives may be cut up the day before the party and kept covered in the fridge.

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TROPICAL FRUIT AND SPINACH SALAD

4 c. bite-size pieces baby spinach leaves

1-1/2 c. sliced strawberries

1 large Mango, peeled and sliced in 1/2 - inch wedges, cut in half

2 kiwi fruit, peeled and sliced about 1/2 -inch thick, cut in half

1/2 to 3/4 c. cashews

1/2 c. raspberry vinaigrette or creamy poppy seed dressing

Divide spinach among 4 salad plates. Arrange fruit on spinach. Sprinkle with nuts. Drizzle with bottled raspberry vinaigrette or poppy seed dressing.

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CREAMY POPPY SEED DRESSING

3/4 c. mayo or salad dressing

1/3 c. sugar

2 T. cider vinegar

2 t. poppy seed

Mix all ingredients in small bowl with wire whisk. Refrigerate until ready to use.

Makes about 1 c. dressing

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CALIFORNIA-STYLE

POTATO SALAD

6 medium red potatoes, cooked with skins on until tender 20-25 minutes, drained

1-1/2 c. salad dressing or mayo

1 T. white vinegar

1 T. prepared mustard

1 t. salt

1/4 t. pepper

2 avocados, peeled and chopped

2 medium tomatoes, chopped (about 1-1/2 c.)

2-8-inch ribs of celery diced (about 1 c.)

1 medium onion, diced (about 1/2 c.)

1-4 oz. can chopped green chilies, drained

Remove skins from potatoes; cut into cubes (about 6 cups). Combine salad dressing with next 4 ingredients in a 4-qt. bowl. Fold in potatoes and rest of ingredients. Cover and refrigerate 4 hour or until chilled.

Makes 10 servings.

TFD: It is better to look ahead and prepare than look back and regret.

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