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Brown Rice Salad with Lime Vinaigrette

A healthy salad with brown rice, a mix of peppers (sweet & spicy), nuts and herbs, tossed with a Lime Dressing. #grains #brownrice #salad #recipe @mjskitchen

This weekend we had a wonderful meatless meals that was totally unexpected. I had made this Brown Rice Salad with a Lime Vinaigrette and was planning on serving it with chicken.  Then Bobby walked in with a bunch of green tomatoes from our garden so I couldn’t I resist making a batch of fried green tomatoes. To heck with the chicken. What a great meal that this salad with the fried green tomatoes made!

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Watermelon Salad with Preserved Lemon

A cool and refreshing watermelon salad with preserved lemon, mint and olives @mjskitchen #watermelon #preserved #lemon


Several years ago when Bobby and I were spending a long weekend in Taos, New Mexico, we went to the El Meze Restaurant for dinner. We had a marvelous meal as we always do at the El Meze, but the shining star of the evening was a watermelon salad with preserved lemons.  It was SO good that we went back a couple days later, just so we could have it again.  This second time, I paid extra special attention to the ingredients and flavors because I knew I would want to be able to make this salad at home.

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Pickled Vegetable Salad

A salad of pickled cucumbers, daikon radish, and carrots |


I don’t know about where you live, but here in New Mexico we went from cool spring temperatures to the heat of the summer overnight.  This week the temperatures have been in the triple digits, a real challenge for our swamp cooler.  As a result, meal criteria is now “easy to make, at least one cold dish, and any cooking is on the grill”.  Last night’s meal met this criteria to a T:  grilled soy-ginger chicken and this Pickled Vegetable Salad – two very complementary dishes.

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Quick & Easy Meal Ideas

Quick & Easy Meal Ideas @MJ's Kitchen |


We all have the need for a variety of quick & easy (Q&E) meals to fall back on for those nights when we just don’t have the time or the energy to put together an elaborate or time-consuming meal.  However, because we still want to eat good food that tastes like we did put a lot of effort into it, our quick & easy meals need to be delicious.

Today I’m sharing some of my favorite meals and meal ideas that I’ve been using for many years. They all take less than 45 minutes from start to finish and most take less than 30 minutes. I’ve also included links to some Q&E meals that I have on my list to try. I hope you find a few that you too, can use to make your life a little easier.

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Asparagus with Orange and Kalamata

A simple asparagus with an orange and olive relish |


Asparagus with orange and kalamata is a light and delightful dish that I love making this time of year when there’s the overlap between good quality citrus and young shoots of fresh asparagus. This dish that can be served as a warm side or cold salad.  For a warm side steamed asparagus is immediately serve with the cold orange kalamata topping.  The contrast of the hot asparagus with the chilled orange is quite enjoyable.  For a cold salad the steamed asparagus and the orange kalamata topping are both chilled at least one hour or over night.  As a cold salad, this makes a mouth calming complement to a spicy entree.

This dish makes an excellent lunch or dinner salad as well as a dinner side for numerous entrees.

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Cara Cara Orange and Persimmon Salad

A simple salad of cara cara orange and persimmon |

Cara Cara oranges and Fuyu persimmon are my favorite winter fruits.  It was not until I had a flat of both sitting on the counter that I thought of putting them together in this simple salad.  If any two fruits below in the same bowl, it’s these two.  We have been eating this salad a couple of times a week since November.  By using different flavored sea salts, one can slightly alter the taste of the salad to best complement the meal and to provide a different finish.

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Lemon Garlic Asparagus

Asparagus Salad with a Preserved lemon Garlic Salad dressing @MJsKitchen


Asparagus – what a glorious vegetable!!  Of all the spring vegetables, I have to say it’s my favorite.  Last year, I shared Simply Asparagus,  which is just that – steamed asparagus tossed with a touch of fat and seasoned with salt, pepper and an herb.  This year, I’m sharing my Lemon Garlic Asparagus which makes a delicious cold salad, hot side, or party platter.  As with many asparagus recipes, you can whip this one up in less than 20 minutes.

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Green Chile Salad Dressing with an Apple Salad

Apple, celery, and radish salad with a Green chile dressing.


Before we talk about this Green Chile Salad Dressing and the Apple Salad, let’s talk about homemade salad dressing.  Salad dressings are the easiest things to make from scratch and dressings made at home are so much better than what you pay $5 a bottle for at the grocer, plus you can control what goes in them.  All you need in your pantry are a few different types of vinegars, a couple of good oils, some herbs and spices.  Other possible ingredients include mustard, mayonnaise, horseradish, buttermilk, yogurt, and my favorites – lemon and lime juice.  In Kitchen Notes you’ll find the “rules” I follow for making salad dressings.

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Apple, Carrot, and Pecan Slaw with Curry Dressing

Slaw with apples, cabbage, carrots, toasted pecans seasoned with masala spice.


Whenever I buy a head a cabbage, I can usually get 2 to 3 meals from it, making a head of cabbage a very economical little vegetable.  Last week’s cabbage was used for my Sausage with Cabbage and Onion and two different side salads, one of the salads being this Apple, Carrot, and Pecan Slaw with a light dressing seasoned with a curry spice blend.  It’s a nice side for a pork or chicken entree or alone as a light lunch.  It has just a few ingredients and comes together in less than 20 minutes.

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