The Salad Days of Summer

Today I hosted Cooking Club. The idea behind cooking club is simple: get a few like-minded Moms together, plan a menu, meet at a rotating house and cook together. At the end of the morning, you have dinner all prepared and have you spent a lovely morning hanging out with the girls.

Usually the Club makes an entire meal: protein, starch, veggie and sometimes desert. As summer is now upon us, I wanted to switch things up a bit. Today we made a weeks worth of salads and sides.

The first two receipes are tried and true, old standbys for me. I love them both. I hope the Cooking Club ladies and everyone else enjoys them.

Penny's Brown Rice Salad
(Note: I always switch up the veggies in this salad, but keep the rice/bean/dressing ratio the same)

2 C cooked beans (black, kidney, pinto, etc.)
3 C cooked brown rice
4 green onions, sliced
2 stalks celery
1 small red onion, diced
1 small zucchini, diced
1/4 C canola oil
1/4 C lime juice
1 T white vinegar
1 t chili powder
1 t cumin
1 t sugar
1/2 t salt
1/4 t black pepper

Gently mix the rice, beans and veggies in a bowl. In a seperate bowl, add the remaining ingredients and mix to combine. Pour dressing over salad and toss.

Couscous Salad with Feta and Artichokes
(Pictured above with the addition of tomato, chick peas and crushed pita chips )

1 1/2 C dry couscous, prepared according to package directions
1 can artichoke hearts, rinsed, drained and chopped
6 oz. crumbled feta cheese
1/3 C chopped fresh herbs (basil, parsley, dill -- whatever you have on hand)
juice of one lemon
1/2 C olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

Add couscous, artichokes, cheese and herbs to large bowl and toss to combine. In a seperate bowl, add lemon juice, olive oil and seasonings and mix. Combine salad and dressing and serve as is or with additions mentioned above (also excellent with chicken).

Grilled Marinated Zucchini

1 1/3 C olive oil
1/3 C red wine vinegar
3 cloves garlic
3/4 t Italian seasoning blend
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 C Parmesean cheese
3 zucchini, washed and sliced thin

Add all ingredients, except zucchini, to bowl and mix well to combine. Add zucchini to bowl or plastic bag and pour dressing over. Marinate in refregerator for at least one hour. Heat grill or broiler to high. Grill or broil for 3 - 5 minutes per side or until browned and tender. Serve as is or topped with additional cheese.

In addition to these recipes, we also made:

Homemade Bleu Cheese Dressing
Homemade Caeser Dressing


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