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I like having formula’s for basic meals ideas. It helps me to use up things that I have on hand without making a special trip to the store (the store is about 15 miles away) and helps to keep our food budget in check. I’ve posted before about my formula’s for muffins, casseroles, and stew. With the warmer weather, I thought I should post a very simple formula for main course salads.
My meat salad formula looks something like this:
Beef; cooked and cubed
Chicken; cooked and cubed
Turkey; cooked and cubed
Fresh salmon; cooked and flaked or Canned salmon
Apple; cut in small pieces
Thinly sliced or shredded carrots
Mung bean sprouts
Broccoli; cut in very small pieces
Any other veggie (or fruit) that sounds good to you; cut in bite size pieces
Mayonnaise (I’ve been making my own using this recipe but 1/3 cup coconut oil, 1/3 cup sesame oil and 1/3 cup olive oil. We love it.)
Sour Cream or Yogurt
Ranch or Buttermilk Dressing (or your favorite)
Combination of any of the above
Salt and Pepper
Minced garlic or garlic powder
Herb such as basil, oregano, dill, etc
Sweetener (Sucanat, honey, dehydrated cane sugar, etc)
Vinegar (apple cider or other favorite)
Combination of any of the above
Chopped or sliced crispy nuts
Cheese; shredded or in small chunks
Sweet pepper; cut in small pieces
Sliced green onions
Raisins, dried cranberries or other dried fruit/berry
Any item from the ‘Crunch’ selection
Sometimes I go really wild and add a second Treat
Stretcher– This one is optional. I utilize this only if I am short on the Meat component.
Grain such as cooked rice, barley, quinoa, etc.
Bean such as pinto, black, lentil, etc
Double up (triple if needed) on the crunch and/or treat
Measuring it out
I want to have about a cup of salad per adult size serving and since I am making a meat salad, I want that to be the bulk of it. I try to guesstimate a bit more than a 1/2 cup of meat (or combination with the Stretcher) per person. I figure about 1/3 cup of crunch per person and a couple of tablespoons of Treat. The sauce is added until it is, well, saucy enough. The amount of sauce you might like may be more or less than we like (we do like our salads on the saucy side). Seasoning is also done to your taste.
Putting it all together
I like to mix up the Meat (and Stretcher if using), Crunch, and Treat. Then add my Sauce and then my Seasoning(s). Of course, I then have to taste it to make sure it is perfect. If not, maybe more sauce or more (or different) seasoning. I often add a little honey or Sucanat to the salad and then counter act that sweetness with vinegar (apple cider). We like the slightly sweet and sour flavor. Tip: If I am using honey I pre-mix it with the sauce before adding into the salad. It combines better that way. I find it kind of fun to play with the flavors and hopefully end up with something slightly new and different.
We like our Meat Salads served on a bed of mixed greens. We sometimes drizzle a homemade salad dressing over the top (remember how I mentioned we like it saucy?).
We do have a few favorite combinations
• Chicken, apple, green onion, mayonnaise, curry, salt and pepper (see picture above)
• Beef, broccoli, raisins, bacon, mayonnaise, Sucanat, apple cider vinegar, salt and pepper
• Tuna, cucumber, green onion, buttermilk dressing, smidgen of mustard, salt, pepper, celery seed
• Beef, celery, avocado, mayonnaise, smidgen of mustard, salt, pepper, basil
The combinations are endless and only limited by your own personal taste preferences.
I should mention that I do not use this formula for my egg salad. I like only mayo and seasoning with my eggs. The Crunch and Treat do not work for me when mixed with eggs. You might like it though so you could always give it a try.
Do you have a Meat Salad formula or ingredient combination that you enjoy?