Tag Archives: bay tables

Chicken and Orzo Salad

9 May

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I hope everyone is enjoying their Me Made May so far. I will have an outfit compilation post for you soon. But in the meantime, here’s a delicious, fresh pasta salad for you, perfect for a Mothers’ Day brunch.

This recipe is another favorite from the Junior League of Mobile’s Bay Tables cookbook (click here for other Bay Tables favorites). I made this salad most recently for a friend’s son’s first birthday party. According to my friend, it was a hit. I find it best when made the day before so the flavors have a chance to marry. But it’s also good eaten right away 🙂

 

Chicken and Orzo Salad

Yield: 20 servings

1 chicken cut into pieces (you can ask the butcher to do this for you)
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
1 cup olive oil
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil
1 pound orzo
2 cups slivered toasted almonds
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1 cup chopped celery
1 pound cherry tomatoes, cut into halves
Salt and pepper to taste
1 package crumbled feta cheese, optional

Boil chicken in a large stockpot, seasoning as desired. Cook until done. Remove chicken from stock and set aside to cool. Reserve stock for cooking pasta. Once chicken is cool, chop or shred into bite-size pieces.

Combine mustard, vinegar, oil, sugar, 1 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper, and basil in a bowl and mix well.

Cook the orzo in the reserved stock according to package directions until firm and tender. Drain, then let stand until cool. Toss with 1/3 of vinaigrette.

Toss the chicken with 1/2 of the remaining vinaigrette. Add the orzo, almonds, red and green pepper, celery, and tomatoes. Add the remaining vinaigrette and toss to mix well. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Cover and refrigerate until well chilled. Serve cold.

Crumbled feta cheese can be added to the chilled salad before serving, if desired.

 

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Spinach Salad Blues

31 May

I’m sorry this photo doesn’t do the salad justice. There were 3 starving women at my house for girls’ night and they were about to attack when I decided to stop and take pictures of our food.

Is anyone else excited that blueberries are coming into season? This salad is one of my favorite ways to use the fresh berries and everyone I introduce to it always raves. If you know me and you glance at the ingredient list, you may be surprised that I like this salad. I am a devoted, card-carrying blue cheese hater. I have tried for years to like the pungent stuff but it just isn’t happening. If I unknowingly order something laced with it, not only can I taste it right away, but I will give my food away to keep from having to eat it. Being hungry is better than eating blue cheese 🙂

I’m telling you all that to encourage any other like-minded blue cheese nay-sayers to give this salad a chance. There is something about the combination of the flavors in the vinaigrette, nuts, and greens that melds with the blue cheese and makes it way less offensive. I would dare say not even offensive at all. Actually, this salad is quite delicious and is a regular on our table. So if you are thinking about subbing out the blue cheese with something else, try it at least once as written. You won’t be disappointed.

This recipe comes from the out-of-print Bay Tables: Savor the Abundance by the Junior League of Mobile. If you can get your hands on a copy of this book, you will love it. I haven’t been disappointed yet and I will try to share some of my other favorites as I make them.

Spinach Salad Blues
Yield: 6 servings

1 shallot, peeled
1 1/2 pints fresh blueberries
1 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons sugar
1/3 cup raspberry vinegar
1 cup vegetable oil
2 bunches spinach leaves, trimmed and washed
2/3 cup crumbled blue cheese
1/2 cup chopped toasted pecans

Combine the shallot, 1/2 pint of blueberries, salt, sugar, vinegar, and oil in a blender and blend well. Combine the spinach, remaining berries, blue cheese, and pecans in a large salad bowl and toss to mix well. Add the desired amount of blueberry vinaigrette (you will probably have more than enough) just before serving and toss until well coated.

I couldn’t resist — I was having fun with some new features on my photo editing software. And this is a glimpse of the new blender I got recently.