Creating and Serving Salads During Your Summer Dinner Party

We like to entertain guests during the summer months and I like to serve salads as our meals. I never know exactly what kind of salad accompaniments to prepare so I like to offer a little bit of everything. When you are preparing salads to serve at a dinner party, you always want to start out with the freshest ingredients possible, so don’t purchase them more than 1-2 days in advance.

Here are a few ideas of what you can serve so that your guests can create their own perfect salad.

Vegetables: broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, celery, cucumbers, garbanzo beans, green peppers, jalapeno peppers, loose-leaf and head lettuce, mushrooms, onions, radishes, red beets, red peppers, snow peas, spinach, tomatoes, zucchini

Meats and Fish: grilled chicken and fish, ham, turkey, pepperoni, salami, seafood

Miscellaneous: cottage cheese, hard-boiled eggs, alfalfa sprouts, green and black olives

Cheeses: American, blue cheese, cheddar, Swiss, Colby Jack, provolone

Toppings: bacon, croutons, crushed Chinese noodles, raisins, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, tofu

Dressings: French, Italian, Blue Cheese, Thousand Island, Ranch, Honey Mustard, Flavored Vinaigrettes

When it comes to serving your salad items, here are a few tips.

1. Serve the cold items in chilled bowls or serving plates.

2. Pat dry all vegetables with a clean dry cloth after rinsing/cleaning them.

3. Shred and chop all items into bite size pieces ahead of time and store in the refrigerator in proper airtight containers.

4. If combining your salad ingredients ahead of time (instead of using individual serving dishes), prepare them 1-2 hours before serving time.

5. Always serve a variety of dressings and vinaigrettes as everyone has different ‘likes’ and taste buds. All dressings should be well chilled before serving.

6. A properly set table will include a salad plate with fork. It is bad hostess etiquette …

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Healthy Camping Snack Alternatives

Let’s face it, camping in our nations great outdoors can leave you hungry. Since there is no refrigerator or microwave in most peoples tents, you need to plan for those times in between meals when you just absolutely have to get something in your stomach quickly. Hopefully the following ideas will help you to beat the in-between meal hunger attacks you will get on your next camping trip.

If you are craving protein than you are building muscles, and there is no better source than meat. This is when a flavorful piece of jerky comes in handy. Don’t like beef? Try turkey, venison, bison, duck, chicken or just about any other kind of meat you can think of. You can buy a dehydrator and make your own. This will save you a lot of money in the long run. Of course you can always just pick a package up at your local grocery store if you prefer. There are many popular brands to choose from.

No list of camping snacks would be complete without the all important old favorite, trail mix. Don’t just think nuts and raisins though. Choose from other dried fruits such as banana chips, dried apples, dates or any other dried fruit you prefer. Throw in some dried wasabi peas or soy nuts for a spicy crunch. Some pretzels or multi-grain croutons give it a nice flavor too. Add a few candies, such as M&M’s or Reeses Pieces to add a little sweetness. This helps to offer more appeal to the younger children with you. High Fiber dry cereal makes a great additive and most are vitamin enriched. Remember that grains provide energy for your muscles and your brain, and dried fruit provides vitamins and minerals for healthy hair, nails, skin, and your immune system. …

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