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Pickled Vegetable Salad

A salad of pickled cucumbers, daikon radish, and carrots | mjskitchen.com

 

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 | mjskitchen.com

 

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 | mjskitchen.com

 

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 | mjskitchen.com

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.com @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. mjskitchen.com

 

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. mjskitchen.com

 

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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Antipasto Style Hors d’oeuvres

An easy antipasto can be made using a lot of what you already have in the pantry and refrigerator. mjskitchen.com

 

The other day I was going through the first recipe book that I started back in the 80’s and found this recipe for an antipasto type hors d’oeuvre.  I remembered making it all of the time for dinner parties and summer backyard parties and it was always a big hit; therefore, I decided to bring it back.  These Antipasto Style Hors d’oeuvres can be served as an antipasto (the first course of a formal meal) or as hors d’oeuvres for a stand-up party.  It has a lot of delicious little bites that can be enjoyed by meat eaters, vegetarians and even vegans.  Just keep the meat and the cheese out of the marinated vegetables and off to the side or even on another plate. That way every one can enjoy them.

What makes this dish special is the dressing. It’s pack with herb deliciousness!  If you have tarragon vinegar, this is a great use for it.  At the house that we lived in during the 80’s I had an tarragon bed with plants 4 feet tall!  Needless to say, I made A LOT of herb vinegar. Hopefully, I’ll be able to make some this summer if my tarragon does well.  If you don’t have tarragon vinegar, white wine vinegar is a nice substitute.
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Orange and Cabbage Slaw

A quick and easy slaw made with oranges, cabbage and a simple vinaigrette mjskitchen.com

 

Quality citrus is abundant right now, so time for another delightful citrus salad.  In previous years I have brought you a Sweet and Spicy Citrus Salad and a Citrus Salad with Toasted Seeds and Maple Dressing. This year I’m serving up this Cabbage and Orange Slaw, a easy little salad that can be thrown together in about 15 minutes and served as a side to just about any entree’. It’s especially good with spicy dishes.  We’ve been eating it as a side to Red Chile Chicken Tamales and Red Chile Enchiladas.  The oranges serve as a sweet, cooling mechanism for the spicy chile.  It works much better than the standard New Mexico side of lettuce and tomatoes.

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