I’ve written before about my cooking phases, but I’m also very conscious of going through phases in salad dressing. When I was growing up, Momcat and I would notice new dressings in the condiments aisle of the grocery store and we would try them out. I remember when ranch dressing made its way onto the scene, usurping many a bottle of Thousand Island not only in our house, but across the land as well. We also tried a tomato dressing that featured sun-dried tomatoes in a vinaigrette-style based – I’d love to find it again, or recreate it, the flavor was so good. When Paul Newman started making his own dressing, we were on it and many a meal at the Moxie kitchen table included that blue-eyed devil staring at us from a bottle of his finest vinaigrette.
About five or six years ago, I was inspired by a former friend to start making my own salad dressings. She would make these incredible salads full of fresh veggies, beans, and other delectables, but instead of serving them with a store-bought dressing, she would mix up olive oil with vinegar, different herbs and spices, and add some ingredients I wouldn’t have thought to add to a homemade dressing.
Over the years I’ve adapted this recipe for my own purposes, and every batch turns out differently, but the following recipe is a good place to start if you are new to DIY salad dressing. Add or remove ingredients as you see fit.
Moxie’s DIY Vinaigrette Dressing
6 T olive oil
4 T rice wine vinegar (balsamic vinegar or red wine vinegar is also good)
1/2 T honey
1/2 T spicy brown mustard
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 T fresh thyme
1 T water
145 calories per 2 T serving
Mix all ingredients together using a whisk or hand-held electric beater. Store in a jar with a tight lid or a cruet.
This week’s hot tip is actually a recipe that I’ve had for many years. It was a Pillsbury Bake-Off winner back in the ’70s – Momcat used to make it occasionally for me and Pops, but used a vegetarian chicken substitute instead (still very tasty). Out of all the dishes I’ve cooked for Joe in the 6 months we’ve been together, this is his favorite.
Savory Chicken Crescent Squares
3 oz cream cheese, softened
2 T margarine, melted
2 C chicken, cooked and cubed
1/4 tsp salt or Season-All
1/8 tsp pepper
1 ½ tsp milk*
1 T chopped onion or chives
1 T chopped pimiento
8 oz can Pillsbury crescent rolls
3/4 C seasoned bread crumbs OR crushed seasoned croutons
1 T margarine, melted (optional)
Combine cream cheese, 2 T margarine, chicken, salt, pepper, onion, pimiento, and milk. Mix well. Separate can of crescent rolls into 4 rectangles, sealing perforations, on a cookie sheet or flat baking pan. Spoon 1/4 to ½ cup of chicken mixture onto each rectangle. Pull corners to center and seal, or fold sides over to make a small square. Brush tops of squares with 1 T melted margarine and sprinkle bread crumbs/croutons on top.
Oven Temp = 350°
Baking Time = 20 – 25 minutes, or until golden brown
Serves = 4
*You can eliminate the milk all together, as it makes the mixture very runny.
- Use real cream cheese–lowfat or fat-free cream cheese will make the mixture too watery.
- The bread crumbs or crushed croutons can be brushed on without using any additional margarine.
- To make this vegetarian, use 1 can Worthington Fri-Chik instead of chicken. You can also try chickpeas (I haven’t done this yet but I bet it would be really good), seitan, or seasoned tofu.
- Try different fillings! Possibilities include chili with cheddar cheese, spinach with ricotta or feta cheese, pepperoni and mushrooms with mozzarella…man, now I’m hungry.