Monday, January 22, 2007

Some salad and dip recipes, and the dictionary game

I came across this salad recipe that sounded absolutely yummy.  My mom used to make warm spinach salad that I really loved.
Warm Chicken Salad with Oranges and Almonds
Source: Better Homes and Gardens
Makes 4 servings
2 medium oranges
6 cups torn romaine
1 medium red sweet pepper, cut into bite-size strips
1/2 of a small red onion, halved and thinly sliced
1/3 cup slivered or sliced almonds, toasted
1 pound skinless, boneless chicken breast strips for stir-frying or 1 pound skinless, boneless chicken breast halves, cut into thin bite-size strips
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/3 cup orange juice
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon Dijon-style mustard
Coarsely ground black pepper  
Peel oranges. Cut into 1/4-inch slices; quarter each orange slice. In a large salad bowl toss together orange slices, romaine, sweet pepper, onion, and almonds. Set aside.

Season chicken with salt and black pepper. In a large skillet heat oil. Cook and stir chicken in hot oil for 4 to 5 minutes or until no longer pink. Remove skillet from heat. Toss chicken with mixture in salad bowl. Divide salad among 4 dinner plates.
Stir orange juice and vinegar into the hot skillet, scraping up any brown bits in the skillet. Whisk in 1 tablespoon olive oil and the Dijon-style mustard. Serve salad with warm dressing. Season to taste with coarsely ground black pepper. Makes 4 servings.
So that got me to thinking about the salad that Mom made and I went and looked up some Spinach salad recipes.  The first one seems the easiest, the second one sounds the most like Mom's recipe (except sugar not splenda) and the last one just sounds really, really good.
Spinach salad

8 oz fresh spinach
small head romaine lettuce
2 tsp sugar
crumbled bacon
1/4 cup vinegar
2 tbsp water
1 tbsp bacon grease
1 tsp salt
1 tsp dill weed
1/2 tsp dry mustard
dash pepper
Wash greens and dry. Heat remaining ingredients to boiling, and pour over greens. serve immediately.

Warm Spinach Salad

1 7 oz bag baby spinach greens
1/2 c nonfat salad croutons
1/4 c white vinegar
1/4 c water
1/4 c Dijon mustard
5 slices turkey bacon
1/4 c chopped red onion
2 cloves garlic peeled and minced.
Place spinach greens in colander. Wash and remove stems, drain well. Place in serving bowl. Add croutons.
Blend vinegar, water, mustard and SPLENDA granular. Set aside.

Slice bacon into small, thin strips. Place in med saucepan and fry over med hi heat until crispy, about 3 to 4 minutes.

Add onion and garlic and cook over med-hi heat 1 to 2 minutes, stirring often.

Add vinegar mixture and simmer 1 to 2 minutes., Pour over spinach and croutons, Toss well. Serve immediately.

Spinach Salad with Chicken and Fruit

6 cups fresh spinach (8 ounces)
1/4 cup salad oil
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
3 tablespoons orange juice
1 tablespoon Dijon-style mustard
1/2 teaspoon poppy seeds
1 11-ounce can mandarin oranges, chilled and drained
1-1/2 cups cubed cooked chicken or turkey or two 5-ounce cans chunk-style chicken, drained and flaked
2 cups strawberry halves or cantaloupe cubes  
Rinse and tear spinach. Cover and store in refrigerator. For dressing, in a screw top jar combine oil, red wine vinegar, orange juice, mustard, and poppy seeds. Cover and shake well. Chill up to 24 hours.

When ready to serve, in a large salad bowl combine spinach, orange sections, chicken, and strawberries or cantaloupe. Shake dressing and drizzle over salad; toss to coat. Makes 4 to 6 main-dish servings.
I also thought I'd throw a few dip recipes out there for those of you who have a Super Bowl party coming up.
Fresh Onion Dip
Source: Better Homes and Gardens
1-1/2 cups chopped sweet onion (such as Vidalia or Walla Walla)
2 tablespoons margarine or butter
1 8-ounce carton dairy sour cream
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon ground red pepper
4 teaspoons snipped fresh chives
Milk (optional)
In a medium skillet cook onion in margarine or butter about 5 minutes or until tender. Cool.

In a blender container or food processor bowl combine cooked onion, sour cream, salt, black pepper, and red pepper. Cover and blend or process until nearly smooth.
Transfer to a small bowl. Stir in chives. Cover and chill 1 to 24 hours.
Before serving, stir in additional milk, a teaspoon at a time, if necessary, to make of dipping consistency. Serve with a variety of dippers, such as chips and sliced raw vegetables. Makes 1-1/2 cups.
Spinach Salad Dip
Source: Better Homes and Gardens
5 slices bacon
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cups sliced mushrooms
1 small onion, finely chopped (1/3 cup)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon Dijon-style mustard
1/4 teaspoon pepper
3 cups chopped spinach leaves
1 3-ounce package cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup dairy sour cream
2 tablespoons milk
Bagel chips or pita crisps  
Cook bacon in a large skillet until crisp. Drain bacon on paper towels; crumble four of the bacon slices and set aside. Crumble the remaining slice of bacon; cover and chill for garnish.

Remove drippings from pan. Add the olive oil to the pan. Add mushrooms, onion, and garlic. Cook over medium heat until mushrooms are tender. Stir in vinegar, mustard, and pepper. Stir in spinach; cook and stir for 30 seconds or until spinach is wilted. Add cream cheese, stirring until melted. Remove from heat. Stir in sour cream, the 2 tablespoons milk, and the four slices of crumbled bacon. Transfer to a serving bowl. Cover and chill for 4 to 36 hours.
To serve, stir dip. If necessary, stir in additional milk until mixture is of dipping consistency. Top with chilled bacon. Serve with bagel chips or pita crisps. Makes 32 1-tablespoon servings.
Hot Artichoke and Asiago Cheese Dip
Source: Better Homes and Gardens
Baked Pita Chips
1 8-ounce package cream cheese, softened
4 ounces Asiago or Parmesan cheese, finely shredded (1 cup)
2 cloves garlic
1 14-ounce can artichoke hearts, drained
1 cup bottled roasted red sweet peppers, drained
1 cup sliced fresh mushrooms
1/2 cup sliced green onion
Bottled roasted red sweet pepper strips (optional)
Fresh parsley leaves (optional)  
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Prepare and bake the Baked Pita Chips. Set aside.

In a food processor*, combine cream cheese, Asiago cheese, and garlic. Cover and process until mixture is combined. Add artichoke hearts, 1 cup roasted red peppers, mushrooms, and green onion. Cover and process with on/off turns until finely chopped. Transfer mixture to a 1-1/2-quart shallow baking dish or 9-inch glass pie plate, spreading mixture evenly in dish.
Cover and bake dip about 25 minutes or until heated through. (Or microwave, uncovered, on 70% power [medium-high] for 6 to8 minutes or until heated through, stirring the dip and turning the dish halfway through cooking time.)
Serve the warm dip with Baked Pita Chips. If desired, garnish with roasted red pepper strips and parsley leaves. Makes 12 servings.
Make-Ahead Tip: Prepare and bake the Baked Pita Chips as directed; transfer chips to wire racks to cool. Place in an airtight container. Store at room temperature for up to 1 week or freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw the chips, covered, at room temperature.
Mixer Directions: In a medium mixing bowl, beat cream cheese and Asiago cheese with an electric mixer on medium to high speed until combined. Finely chop garlic, artichoke hearts, 1 cup roasted red peppers, mushrooms, and green onion. Stir into cheese mixture. Transfer to baking dish and bake as directed.

Mexican Seven-Layer Dip
Source: Better Homes and Gardens
1 9-ounce can bean dip
1/4 cup picante or taco sauce
1 8-ounce container refrigerated guacamole
1 8-ounce carton dairy sour cream
1 cup shredded cheddar or taco cheese (4 ounces)
1/4 cup sliced green onion (2)
2 tablespoons sliced pitted ripe olives
2/3 cup chopped, seeded tomato (1 medium)
8 cups tortilla chips or crackers  
Combine bean dip and picante sauce; spread into a rectangle about 9-by 5-inches on a serving platter making a layer about 1?4 inch thick. Next carefully layer avocado dip and sour cream. Top with cheese, green onion, and olives. Cover and chill for 4 to 24 hours.

Before serving, sprinkle with chopped tomato. Serve with tortilla chips.
Makes 16 appetizer servings (1/4 cup dip and 1/2 cup chips)
It's been awhile since we've done this, so let's have a dictionary day.  Today's word is MAN
Main Entry: 1man
Function: noun
Pronunciation: 'man, in compounds "man or m&n
Inflected Form(s): plural
- one's own man : free from interference or control : INDEPENDENT
- to a man : without exception men/'men, in compounds "men or m&n/
Etymology: Middle English, from Old English man, mon human being, male human; akin to Old High German man human being, Sanskrit manu
1 a (1) : an individual human ; especially : an adult male human (2) : a man belonging to a particular category (as by birth, residence, membership, or occupation) -- usually used in combination <councilman> (3) : HUSBAND (4) : LOVER b : the human race : MANKIND c : a bipedal primate mammal (Homo sapiens) that is anatomically related to the great apes but distinguished especially by notable development of the brain with a resultant capacity for articulate speech and abstract reasoning, is usually considered to form a variable number of freely interbreeding races, and is the sole representative of a natural family (Hominidae) ; broadly : any living or extinct member of this family d (1) : one possessing in high degree the qualities considered distinctive of manhood (2) obsolete : the quality or state of being manly : MANLINESS e : FELLOW , CHAP f -- used interjectionally to express intensity of feeling <man, what a game>
2 a : INDIVIDUAL , PERSON <a man could get killed there> b : the individual who can fulfill or who has been chosen to fulfill one's requirements <she's your man>
3 a : a feudal tenant : VASSAL b : an adult male servant c plural : the working force as distinguished from the employer and usually the management
4 a : one of the distinctive objects moved by each player in various board games b : one of the players on a team
5 : an alumnus of or student at a college or university <a Bowdoin man>
6 Christian Science : the compound idea of infinite Spirit : the spiritual image and likeness of God : the full representation of Mind
7 often capitalized : POLICE <when I heard the siren, I knew it was the Man -- Amer. Speech>
8 often capitalized : the white establishment : white society <surprise that any black... should take on so about The Man -- Peter Goldman>
9 : one extremely fond of or devoted to something specified <strictly a vanilla ice cream man>
- man·less/'man-l&s/ adjective
- man·like/-"līk/ adjective
- as one man : with the agreement and consent of all : UNANIMOUSLY
- one's own man : free from interference or control : INDEPENDENT
- to a man : without exception
Personally, I think it takes much more to BE a Man than what they have time for in a dictionary.  To be a REAL man, you must have respect for others.  Before you can have respect for anyone else, I guess you have to have a certain degree of self-respect.  If you don't have any self-respect, it makes it awfully hard for anyone else to hold you with any respect, and if others can't respect you , you certainly don't respect anyone else.  Yep, I think it all revolves around respect.
For example, a REAL man doesn't have to hit or threaten his wife and children.  There would be no need to if he were truly a man who deserved their respect in the first place.  He wouldn't need to be in control of their every waking movement and feel the need to know their every thought.
A REAL man, wouldn't invade another families home, and begin yelling at someone else's wife when her husband isn't even home.  A REAL man would wait for her husband to come home and THEN try pulling that stunt!  Can ya'll even imagine what kind of a wee, little man would be to do something like that?!
He ESPECIALLY wouldn't do that in front of small children, especially ones that have already endured more than any child should, perhaps traumatizing them even more with such outrageous behavior.  If a REAL man had done something that idiotic, he would be man enough to call up and apologize for his behavior and lack of respect to ALL the people in the home at the time.  Especially, especially, especially if the mother of those precious children were standing there asking him not to yell like that in front of her kids.
A REAL man doesn't go around and spread lies and rumors about a man and his family behind their back.  A REAL man would have the cojones to go and say something directly to the other mans face.
I could go on and on, but I'm pretty sure you get the idea.  There is a distinctive difference between being a man (homo sapien or perhaps little more than an ape) and being a Man (one who respects and deserves respect). 
You'll notice the difference in the size of font that I used for man and Man, it is symbolic of the difference in the size of men.  I'm not referring to the physical size, any ape can be big, but the essence, quality or value of the individual is what makes a REAL Man bigger than the average, disrespectful, intelligence impaired, volatile, hairy ape. 
If some of you men happen to recognize yourself in today's Dictionary game, don't blame me.  The choice to be the kind of man you are lies within you, I don't have any control over your abilities as a man, or lack thereof.  Today's word of the day is in no way a reference to any "known" male.  It is just a general observation of some of the male species and life.
Have a pleasant day.

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