Greek Salad (It is all about the dressing, really)

Greek Salad

Though nothing compares to my husband’s hometown restaurant Mr. Souvlaki’s Greek Salad in Tarpon Springs, FL—this is pretty fantastic.  Leave it to Ina to create such a delish dressing.  We heart Greek food!!

1 cucumber, peeled and chopped
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 yellow pepper, diced
1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
½ red onion, sliced in half rounds
½ pound feta, ½ inch diced or crumbled
½ cup calamata olives, pitted

For the vinaigrette:
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp. dried oregano
½ tsp. Dijon mustard
¼ cup red wine vinegar
1 tsp. kosher salt
½ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
½ cup good olive oil


Place the cucumber, tomatoes and red onion in a large bowl.

For the vinaigrette, whisk together the garlic, oregano, mustard, vinegar, salt and pepper in a small bowl.  Still whisking, slowly add the olive oil to make an emulsion.  Pour the vinaigrette over the vegetable.  Add the feta and olives and toss lightly.  Set aside for 30 minutes to allow the flavors to blend.  Serve at room temperature.

Recipe courtesy of Ina Garten via the Food Network


Texas Caviar Rice and Beans


Texas Caviar

Texas Caviar

Texas Caviar Rice and Beans

This is a no-cook recipe that is so light and flavorful.  I also shred lettuce to make mine more of a salad, so I do not need as much rice.


1 (15-oz.) can black-eyed peas, drained and rinsed (or pre-soak your own the night before)
1 (15-oz.) can black beans, drained and rinsed (or pre-soak your own the night before)
1/3 cup finely chopped roasted red bell peppers
¼ cup finely chopped poblano pepper
Texas Vinaigrette, divided
2 cups basmati rice
Ice-burg lettuce, shredded (optional)
1 ¼ cups halved grape tomatoes
1 cup shredded pepper jack cheese (or Monterey jack cheese to be less spicy)
¾ cup loosely packed fresh cilantro leaves
2/3 cup thinly sliced celery
1/3 cup thinly sliced green onions
Tortilla chips
Garnish: sliced pickled jalapeño peppers

Texas Vinaigrette

½ cup olive oil
¼ cup fresh lime juice
2 T. chopped fresh cilantro
1 garlic clove, minced
½ tsp. chili powder
½ tsp. ground cumin
1 T. hot sauce (optional)
Wisk all ingredients together and add salt and pepper to taste.
Makes about 1 cup.

Wisk all ingredients together and add salt and pepper to taste.


Stir together first 4 ingredients and ¼ cup Texas Vinaigrette in a microwave-safe glass bowl; let stand 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Microwave on HIGH 2 minutes or until thoroughly heated, stirring at 30-second intervals.

Cook rice according to package directions; fluff with a fork.  Divide bean mixture, lettuce, rice, tomatoes, and next 4 ingredients among individual plates.  Serve with tortilla chips and remaining vinaigrette.

*If you have never tried basmati rice you are in for a treat.  SO delicious.

Recipe courtesy of Southern Living July 2013 issue

Spinach and Strawberry Salad

Spinach, Strawberry and Goat Cheese Salad

One of my dearest friends Rachel used to come over with her little ones for play dates once a week and they would play and we would chit chat, drink coffee and eat lunch together.  Yep, we made a day out of it.  It was awesome.  Then our babies got bigger and started pre-school L  But, this is one of the lunches we had—Rachel brought it, and I’ve been addicted to this salad ever since.  I’ve been making the dressing with honey or agave nectar instead of sugar and it is still delish.  And I add goat cheese when I am deserving a treat.  It is great with or without it. (But, really, it’s better with it…yummmm…cheese…)  It is my go to salad.


Sliced strawberries
Chopped, toasted pecans
Goat cheese


1/4 c. canola or olive oil
2 T. balsamic vinegar
1 T. sugar or 1 T. honey
1/4 tsp. dried tarragon
1/8 tsp. onion powder
1/8 tsp. garlic powder
dash of dry mustard
Wisk all the ingredients together.


Prepare the spinach, strawberries and pecans and add to a large bowl.  Add the goat cheese and drizzle the dressing on and enjoy!

Recipe courtesy of Rachel Lynn

Pear Salad

Pear Salad

Probably one of our favorite salads—ever.


1 Dijon vinaigrette
2 T butter
1 cup chopped pecans
1 T sugar (I recently used about 1 T of honey and 1 T of agave nectar instead of sugar and it was just as delicious)
1/8 tsp. salt
Romaine, spinach, ice-burg or your favorite salad blend
3 ripe pears, cored and thinly sliced
1 cup crumbled blue cheese (gorgonzola is super yummy too)


 5 T olive oil
3 T finely chopped shallots or sweet onion
2 T white wine vinegar
1 T Dijon mustard
½ tsp. salt
¼ tsp. black pepper

Add ingredients into a sealed container and shake to combine.  Also, I usually double this dressing recipe.


Melt butter, add pecans, cook 4-5 minutes until toasted.  Sprinkle with sugar (or honey and agave nectar) and salt and cook 1 minute.  Transfer to a bowl to cool.  Add pears together with lettuce, toss and sprinkle with pecans and blue cheese.

Recipe courtesy of Susan Lombard