Thai Black Rice Salad

DSC_8439 copyI love all the variety Kevin offers at Closet Cooking and this Thai salad is no exception!  Trying foods I never previously knew existed (who knew there were so many kinds of rice??) is exciting and fun and gives the kids something to complain about.  Honestly, both girls ate and somewhat enjoyed this but Jet, who’s five, was displeased with the dish the minute it was put in front of him.  I had to coax him to eat the entire meal…but he did eat it and though he won’t admit it, I think he did like it.  Sort of.

I thought it was a nice mix of chewy texture from the rice, a salty twist with the cashews (YUM!) and offered a sweet finish from the mango.  I think I’ll make this again in the summer … I’ll be adding more mint next time since I couldn’t taste it at all and I was most excited about that tiny green ingredient!

1 cup Thai black rice
1 red pepper, diced
3 mangos, peeled, stoned and diced
3 green onions, sliced
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
1/4 cup mint, chopped
1/2 cup cashews

1 lime (juice and zest)
1 teaspoon sugar
2 tablespoons soy sauce

1. Cook the rice (2 cups water for 1 cup of rice – combine in a saucepan, bring to boil, cover, simmer 45-50 minutes)
2. Mix the black rice, red pepper, mango, green onions, cilantro & mint in a large bowl.
3. Mix the fish sauce, lime juice and zest, palm sugar and birds eye chili in a small bowl.
4. Toss the salad in the dressing.  Serve with cashews sprinkled over top.



DSC_6508 copyAdapted from:  Bread & Honey (Love this site)

Ok, seriously? I was like, ‘Uh I’m not gonna eat this without dressing.  No. Way.’  But then I tried it and it was without a doubt the best tostada stuff.  Ever.  Don’t argue with me.  And it was WITHOUT all the fattening dressing!


  • Crunchy corn tortillas
  • 3 avocados, diced
  • 1 small white onion, diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 can whole pinto beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 cucumber, diced1 lime, sliced in half (seeds removed)
  • Bag of Spring Salad Mix


  1. Heat beans through in a small skillet.  Remove beans and set aside.
  2. In same skillet toss onions & red peppers in for 2-3 minutes on med-high heat to warm through and brown slightly.  Remove from heat and set aside.
  3. Place tortillas on a plate and pile high with lots of the Spring Mix.  Generously squeeze and sprinkle lime juice over lettuce then proceed to top with all the other healthy fixins!  Good stuff!

Strawberries & Orange Spinach Salad

Spinach & Strawberry Salad

Ok I’m just going to be honest, here m’kay?  None of the kids would eat this the first time I made it because they didn’t like the dressing.  I loved it, but as we all know, if the kids won’t eat it, it’s gotta be modified.  So?  I left off the dressing this time and let them choose a dressing from the store.  Lame.  BUT they ate every last bite of the salad and they chose a vinaigrette instead of RANCH so I was happy, they were happy and their bowls were empty!  Another option would be to use a Honey Red Wine Vinaigrette – to DIE FOR good!

  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup distilled balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tablespoons sesame seeds
  • 1 tablespoon poppy seeds


  • 4 Clementine/Cuties mini oranges, peeled and separated into segments
  • 10 ounces bagged spinach
  • 16 oz. fresh strawberries – cleaned, hulled and sliced
  • 1/4 cup slivered almonds

1.  In a medium bowl, whisk together the sesame seeds, poppy seeds, sugar, olive oil, vinegar, paprika and Worcestershire sauce.  Cover, and chill for one hour.
2.  In a large bowl, combine the spinach, strawberries, oranges and almonds. Pour dressing over salad, and toss. Refrigerate 10 to 15 minutes before serving.

Creamy Grape Salad

Creamy Grape SaladA Maynard original made fresh with a new picture!  This one was found at Recipezaar and suggested by a friend.  It’s a popular & easy summer dessert-salad.  It could also serve well during the holidays with it’s festive green and red colors!

  • 2 lbs. green seedless grapes
  • 2 lbs. red seedless grapes
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Topping Ingredients
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1 cup crushed pecans
  1. Wash and stem grapes. Set aside.
  2. Mix sour cream, cream cheese, white sugar and vanilla until well blended.
  3. Stir grapes into mixture, and pour in large serving bowl.
  4. Chill until ready to serve.
  5. Mix brown sugar and pecans in small skillet. Cook on medium heat, stirring frequently, until sugar begins to caramelize.
  6. Remove from heat and let cool. Sprinkle on top of grapes just before serving.

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Spicy Cucumber Salad

Taken from For the Love of Cooking. 

Spicy Cucumber Salad

4 cucumbers, peeled, halved lengthwise and seeds removed
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup seasoned rice vinegar
1/2 cup of water
3 tbsp sugar
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper
2 tbsp minced red onion
1 tbsp chopped dry roasted peanuts

Peel the cucumbers then cut in half lengthwise. Take a small spoon and scoop out all the seeds from the cucumber. Cut into bite size pieces and put into a medium bowl.  Sprinkle with salt and toss well. Combine vinegar, water, sugar, and pepper in a small saucepan; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cook until reduced to 1/3 cut (about 10 minutes). Remove vinegar reduction from heat; cool. Stir in onion. Combine cucumbers and vinegar deduction in a medium bowl; toss well & sprinkle with peanuts (which I forgot to add before taking this picture).


I wasn’t sure if this would be too spicy for the kids with the red pepper but it was just enough to taste without adding too much heat.

Cranberry Spinach Salad

Cranberry Spinach Salad

  • 1 cup slivered almonds, toasted
  • 1 pound spinach, rinsed & dried
  • 1 cup dried cranberries
  • 2 tablespoons sesame seeds, toasted
  • 1 can mandarin oranges, well drained & cut in halves
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 2 teaspoons finely minced onion
  • 1/4 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/4 cup white wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup olive oil


  1. In a medium saucepan cook and stir almonds over medium heat until lightly browned, stirring frequently to prevent burning. Remove from heat, and let cool. Repeat with sesame seeds.
  2. Add spinach, cranberries, oranges, and cooled almonds to a large bowl.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together the sesame seeds, sugar, onion, paprika, white wine vinegar, cider vinegar, and olive oil.
  4. Pour dressing over spinach mixture just before serving; toss to coat evenly.

Smashed Potato Salad

Earlier this year we were at a The Homestead in Midway Utah. This is a great resort area. They have such yummy food! They served a potato salad that was different from any that I had eaten before. I have searched and searched and tried several recipes and I FINALLY found one that was a ringer.

Smashed Potato Salad
2 lb. red potatoes, quartered
2 Tbsp. butter or margarine
½ cup chopped red onions
½ cup chopped celery
½ cup Mayonnaise
¼ cup milk
3 Tbsp. Grey Poupon Hearty Spicy Brown Mustard
2 hard-cooked eggs, chopped

Cook potatoes in boiling water in large saucepan on medium-low heat 20 min. or until tender; drain. Mash potatoes lightly with hand masher. (A few potato chunks may remain.) Stir in remaining ingredients.

Serve warm. Or cover and refrigerate to serve chilled.
Makes 6 servings, 1 cup each.

Chicken Salad Wraps

Whilst on a quest to make my children’s school lunches more interesting, I decided to give this a go. It wound up being a big hit, and I make it with regularity now!

What you need:
1 can Tyson chicken
3 TBLS mayo
1/2 of a green apple, diced
handful of green or red grapes, sliced

What you do:
Mix the above ingrediants together. I wrap them in white flour tortillas and serve them with a side of baby carrots, grapes, cheddar Goldfish and juice. Easy and delicious!

Also, I’ve put this on whole wheat bread, too, with favorable results 🙂

Cookie Monster Salad

Cookie Monster Salad

1 Small Pkg instant pudding
1 Pint of Buttermilk
1 med tub of Cool Whip

Mix that all together and then add:

1 Can or Pineapple & 1 can of Mandarine Oranges
and 1 pkg of fudge striped cookies crumbled