The Chef Next Door
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Can Nuke a Mean Dinner
You know how to go to the frozen foods section of your grocery store, buy a frozen prepared food item, and how to microwave the item until it is ready to eat. You provide a good meal for your family, but often wish you could use some of your cooking skills to prepare something from scratch that would not take a lot of time.

Here is an easy idea that is also healthy and delicious: salads. No, no, I don’t mean boring lettuce and tomato. I mean eye-popping, mouth-watering, salads.

And there are several great things you should know about salads:
  • They are quick – you can make one in 15 minutes.
  • They are easy – no stove-top or oven cooking.
  • They are healthy – you can eat fruit (tomato – yes, it is a fruit) vegetables and protein in one meal.
  • They are versatile – you can use chicken, beans, chopped veggies, cheese, nuts – there just is no limit.
  • They are economical – a head of lettuce can go a long way.

Jody’s favorite main course salad:

First, make the salad dressing. Use the recipe in the section Help Me Save Money.

Use two or three leaves of lettuce per person. You may not think that this is enough, but you will be adding other components to your salad.

As the salad dressing contains onion, you do not need to add more, unless you love onions as I do.

Place the lettuce on a flat tray or plate. Slice a tomato, and place on top of the lettuce. Slice some hearts of palm, and sprinkle these on top of the tomato. Throw in a few Kalamata olives. Crumble some feta cheese and sprinkle it on top. Now drizzle the tangy, creamy salad dressing on top. Tell me that this does not only smell good, but it looks fabulous! And such an important part of dining is the visual presentation.

  • Tip number one: limit your portions. The components are low in calorie, but the number of calories does add up.
  • Tip number two: limit the amount of salt and nuts you use in your salad.
  • Tip number three: limit the amount of components.
  • Tip number four: Make your own salad dressing.
  • Tip number five: Always wash your salad well (unless you buy it in a bag). There is nothing worse than getting a piece of sand between your teeth.

Easy, delicious, nutritious… and inexpensive. And you didn’t have to use a microwave!

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