GUEST BLOGGER: MELANIE JEWKES
Many of us are experiencing the hot-hot-hot heat of Summertime! I want to shout “hallelujah” from the rooftops for this season...until the awful heat falls upon me and I THEN want to melt away to winter again. During this time, I avoid turning on my oven at all costs and am always looking for no-cook meal options, like green salads and sandwiches. Thankfully there is a huge variety of each beyond PB&J and chef salad.
One thing I’ve learned is the flavor and sauce of salads and sandwiches can make a huge difference in the appeal. I used to stock up on store-bought, bottled salad dressings and sauces, but I now try to make them more often to decrease the amount of added salt and sugar (take a look at those nutrition labels--those dressings are usually loaded!). I’ve learned that making dressings can also be a great money-saving option. I also like that I can make enough for the salad I’m eating and not have to store a bottle in my fridge for months and months.
One of my go-to favorite options is a simple Red Wine Vinegar Dressing. A little bit goes a long way and only costs about $1.30 for the whole recipe.
Red Wine Vinegar Dressing
¼ cup red wine vinegar
½ cup extra virgin olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced (optional)
1 tsp Dijon or spicy mustard (optional) or 1 tsp Italian seasoning (optional)
Freshly cracked salt and pepper, to taste
*for a sweet version, add 1 tsp sugar
Use immediately or store in refrigerator.
I usually pair this with a spinach salad that includes:
Vinaigrette's are quick and easy to make when you have a few ingredients on hand (olive oil, red or white wine vinegar and seasonings). You can also make them creamy by adding in plain or Greek yogurt.
Here is another dressing that is versatile for green salads, pita-stuffings, grain bowls and pasta salads:
Simple Salad Dressing
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon maple syrup or honey.
Save some money on dressings by making your own! Try the two in this post, search cookbooks and recipe websites, or make your own.
For more low cost meal options see the Utah State University Extension Food $ense Nutrition Education Program.
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