Quick Fixes For Springtime

IN THE KITCHEN

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Spring officially arrives this week. What does that mean in terms of cooking? Well, with spring cleaning and wanting to get outside, it's time to start looking at some quick fixes.

The first quick fix that comes to mind for me: salads.

One on my list for the coming week uses already baked teriyaki chicken, but chicken marinated in teriyaki sauce and baked will work too.

Teriyaki Chicken Salad

Romaine lettuce

Baked teriyaki chicken breasts

Walnuts or pecans

Feta cheese

Raspberry vinaigrette

Other salad favorites (carrots, celery, cucumbers, etc.)

Tear lettuce into serving size pieces. Chop chicken into bite sizes. Mix ingredients and dress with vinaigrette.

Enjoy with crusty bread and your favorite beverage -- perhaps that first batch of sun tea for 2003.

Maximilian's Salad

1 large head of lettuce or 8 cups mixed salad greens

1 medium Bermuda onion, sliced

1 clove garlic, peeled

1 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon sugar

1/2 teaspoon paprika

1/2 cup olive oil

1/4 cup lemon juice

(1) 3-ounce, package Roquefort cheese, crumbled

Tortillas

Clean lettuce, discarding brown or damaged leaves. Wash well, drain and shake dry. Tear in bite-size pieces, combine with onion in large salad bowl.

Sprinkle garlic clove with salt; mash with blade of knife. Combine garlic, salt, sugar, paprika, oil and lemon juice in blender jar, whirl until blended. Pour over salad, toss. Sprinkle with cheese, serve with toasted tortillas.

Ham and Pineapple Salad

1/2 cup shell or other small pasta

3 tablespoons mayonnaise

1 green pepper, seeded, chopped

Salt and pepper

4 large slices cooked ham

Lettuce

4 pineapple rings

2 tomatoes

Cook pasta in boiling salted water 10 minutes; drain well. While still warm, add mayonnaise, green pepper and seasoning, set aside until well chilled.

Place spoonful of mixture on one half of each ham slice, fold other half over to cover. Arrange on a bed of lettuce, place pineapple ring on each ham slice and garnish with tomato wedges.

Swiss Ham Salad

3/4 pound cooked ham, cut into thick slices, diced

3/4 pound Gruyere cheese, diced

6 tablespoons olive oil

2 tablespoons white wine vinegar

Salt

Freshly ground black pepper

Romaine lettuce or curly endive

Finely chopped parsley or fresh herbs

Combine ham and cheese in bowl. Make dressing with oil, vinegar, salt and pepper. Pour over ham and cheese; toss lightly. Refrigerate, allowing to marinate for about an hour.

Arrange lettuce in salad bowl. Pile ham and cheese in center, sprinkle with parsley.

Turkish Cucumber Salad

6 ounces baked ham, diced

2 large cucumbers, diced

Dressing

1 cup plain yogurt

1 teaspoon prepared mustard

Dash of nutmeg

Pinch of sugar

Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Small bunch watercress, chopped

1 or 2 fresh mint leaves, minced

2 tablespoons chopped chives of scallions

Garnish

Watercress

Parsley leaves

Combine ham and cucumbers. Prepare dressing by stirring together all ingredients. Fold ham and cucumbers into dressing. Serve salad at once, garnished with watercress and parsley.

An alternative: combine ham and cucumbers; prepare dressing; top ham mix with dressing; garnish and serve.

Avocado and Chicken Salad

3 ripe avocados

2 tablespoons orange juice

1 cup diced, cooked chicken

1 or 2 stalks celery, diced

3 oranges

1/4 cup mayonnaise

Pinch of paprika

Salt to taste

1 tablespoon chopped pimento

Salad greens

Peel avocados; remove stones; scoop out some flesh. Brush avocados with orange juice. Cut scooped-out flesh into small pieces; place in bowl with chicken and celery.

Peel and section two oranges; remove seeds and white pith. Cut into small pieces and add to chicken mixture.

Combine mayonnaise with paprika. Add salt; blend with chicken. Fill avocado halves; sprinkle with pimento. Serve on bed of salad greens; garnish with sections of remaining orange.

Chicken Salad with Bacon

1 small head of iceberg lettuce

1 small red sweet pepper, cut into strips

1 cucumber, thickly sliced

1 cup small whole mushrooms

2 cups coarsely chopped chicken

2 hard-boiled eggs, quartered

4 slices crisp-fried bacon, halved

2 tablespoons wine vinegar

6 tablespoons salad oil

Salt to taste

1/4 cup mashed Roquefort cheese

Tear lettuce into large pieces; place in salad bowl. Add pepper, cucumber, mushrooms and chicken, toss lightly. Top with eggs and bacon. Combine vinegar, oil, salt and cheese, blend thoroughly and serve with salad.

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