Creamy Grape Salad

Last night we had family over for my daughter’s birthday. The food was so yummy and I have some recipes to share with you per quite a few requests. I made teriyaki beef and chicken skewers (will post that recipe later), corn on the cob, this Creamy Grape Salad, Funfetti cupcakes with vanilla buttercream frosting, and butterscotch cheesecake. My grandma made her Italian style pasta salad that everyone loves (will post this recipe as well), and my mom made a green salad with strawberries and fresh steamed golden beets (my daughter loves fresh beets). I’m posting this recipe first because my best friend wants to make this for her family BBQ today. Miss, I hope they love it as much as we did! This is so easy to make and soooo delicious! I made it earlier in the day, put it in the fridge till I was ready to serve it. Right before I was ready to serve it I sprinkled the brown sugar and chopped pecans over the top. I have to say I actually contemplated not putting the chopped pecans on, I was worried that some wouldn’t like the nuts. I am so glad that I put them on though, It really added to the dish and gave it a little texture. No one complained and even if they didn’t like nuts it was only sprinkled over the top so they could easily get some without. So here it is Creamy Grape Salad, (I got the recipe from Taste of Home).

The ingredients are:

  • 1 package (8 oz.) cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cup (8 oz.) sour cream
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 pounds seedless red grapes
  • 2 pounds seedless green grapes
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons chopped pecans
  1. In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese, sour cream, sugar and vanilla until blended. Add grapes and toss to coat.
  2. Transfer to a serving bowl. Cover and refrigerate until serving. Sprinkle with brown sugar and pecans just before serving.

Yield: 21-24 servings

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Artichoke and Tomato Panzanella

My Aunt Johnnie brought this Artichoke and Tomato Panzanella salad over to one of our family dinners and we all loved it! I had never tried Panzanella salad before but had been curious about it for a while now. I thought that the bread would get soggy and yucky and that didn’t appeal to me at all. The bread in this salad was delicious and even though it absorbed some of the flavors it still stayed crisp arround the edges. The bread with the fresh tomatoes, artichokes and olives was wonderful! Aunt Johnnie adapted the recipe from one of Giada De Laurentis’.

The ingredients are:

  • 3 cups 1-1/2 inch-cubed Ciabatta bread
  • 2 cans artichoke hearts in water (it looks like halves or quarters)
  • 2/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, plus more for seasoning
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more for seasoning
  • 3 large red tomatoes, cut into wedges (about 2 pounds)
  • 1 cup pitted black olives, halved
  • 1/2 cup manzanilla olives, halved
  • 3/4 cup chopped fresh basil leaves (about 1 bunch)
  • 1/4 cup white wine vinegar
  1. Place a grill pan over medium-high heat or preheat a gas or charcoal grill. Drizzle the bread with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Grill the bread until golden brown at the edges, about 6 minutes total, turning every 2 to 3 minutes. Remove the bread from the grill and transfer to a large bowl.
  2. Add the tomatoes, artichoke hearts, olives and basil to the bowl and toss to combine. In a small bowl, stir together the olive oil, white wine vinegar, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Drizzle the dressing over the salad. Toss to combine and serve immediately.

Romaine salad with crispy prosciutto and homemade garlic croutons

I know I post a lot of sweets on my blog (my weakness for sure), but we do eat healthy foods as well. Like everything else in life there has to be balance, right? I do like to bake and make rich foods, but we also eat a lot of stir fry, fish, fruits and veggies. My kids get some kind of fresh fruit in their lunch and some type of fresh veggie with dinner every day. We also love salads and could eat them daily, my daughter even prefers a salad for her school lunch over a sandwich. I’m going to post a couple of salads that I have made recently for you. The first one is a Romaine salad with crispy prosciutto and homemade garlic croutons. I adapted the recipe from one in an Everyday Food magazine.

The ingredients are:

  • 1 loaf of fresh bread with garlic, (I get mine from Costco), cut into chunks
  • 3 Tablespoons olive oil
  • coarse salt and ground pepper, to taste
  • 9 slices prosciutto
  • 3 romaine hearts, chopped
  • 1 can garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
  • 3 scallions, thinly sliced
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Arrange bread pieces on a rimmed baking sheet, toss with oil and season with salt and pepper. Lay prosciutto on another baking sheet. Bake until both are golden brown, 8-10 minutes.
  2. In a large bowl add romaine, croutons, prosciutto (crumbled), beans, and scallions and toss to combine.

I served this salad with a simple red-wine vinaigrette, (red-wine vinegar, olive oil, salt and pepper to taste). This recipe makes a big salad you could cut this in half or even in a third.