Lakeside Lunching

One bowl fits all when your fridge is stocked with these three fresh, flexible salad bases
80
A cold green bean salad is always popular. You can add different toppings, depending on what you and your guests like.
A cold green bean salad is always popular. You can add different toppings, depending on what you and your guests like. – Sekerkedi via iStock

It’s summer in Michigan, and family, guests, and friends who drop by your rental cottage or waterfront home will be spending golden getaway hours exploring, boating, swimming, biking, relaxing — and eating. Although everyone may come together for an evening meal, lunchtime can be a self-serve breeze with just a little planning and prep (and the convenience of some quality, single-serve culinary products). These creative offerings will keep perfectly for the best part of a week, and they’ll deliciously suit each person’s schedule and food preferences.

The three recipes that follow are simple. Each begins with a cooked-then-cooled base: one is brown rice, one is fresh green beans, and one is elbow macaroni. The three dishes can offer limitless variety, and all are delicious with the same dressing.

As a former restaurant owner and lover of good food, I find that for these salads, most of the preparation lies in shopping for the nonperishable ingredients that will allow each person to personalize their lunch to make an easy, fresh, nutritious, and really tasty one-bowl meal. This trio is sure to help keep you out of the kitchen come family-and-friend time, and offers a change from everyday lunchtime sandwiches.

The recipes don’t require exact ingredient measurements, especially for the optional add-in items. The add-in ingredient selections and their quantities will vary depending on the tastes of your guests and family, and will mostly be pre-packaged (easier for you!) so lunchers can choose and add them as desired.


Green Beans Almondine

Serves about 10

Ingredients

(4) 12-ounce bags of washed and ready-to-use
green beans in microwavable packaging

(1) 10-ounce bag of slivered almonds

Optional add-ins:

Several 2.6-ounce packets of wild, skinless,
boneless pink salmon

A package(s) of pre-cooked chicken breast strips
or medallions

Dried cranberries or cherries

Jarred roasted red pepper strips

Goat cheese or crumbled feta


Tips for Success

Cook the green beans for the least amount of time the directions suggest, and then immediately rinse them in very cold water.


Prep

Cook the beans according to your choice of microwave or stovetop directions. Drain and rinse.

Add slivered almonds. Cool in refrigerator. Arrange the add-ins in containers that can easily be removed from the refrigerator, so people can choose the ingredients they would like to add. Provide microwavable dishes for those who prefer to enjoy their salad warm or hot.

And Top it Off …

With a drizzle of olive oil and/or balsamic vinegar, or your favorite bottled Italian dressing 

Let’s Eat!

This dish is vibrant, fresh, and so nutritious! Even with nothing extra added, it’s a lunch that will make you feel deliciously satisfied.


Rice is nice, especially when you add anything from celery and parsley to chick peas or other veggies.
Rice is nice, especially when you add anything from celery and parsley to chick peas or other veggies. – Haoliang via iStock

Brown Rice with Parsley and Diced Celery

Serves about 10

Ingredients

(3) cups of brown rice

Light olive oil for sautéing the celery 

(2) ribs of celery, diced

(4) tablespoons fresh parsley or
(2) tablespoons dried parsley

Optional add-ins:

Chopped walnuts or sliced almonds

Pineapple tidbits

Dried cranberries or cherries

Pre-cooked chicken breast strips or medallions

Chick peas

Small can(s) or individual-serving container(s) of green peas

Finely chopped onion


Tip for Success

Sauté the diced celery very quickly in a little light olive oil to bring out its flavor but maintain its crunch.


Prep

Cook the rice according to package directions, and then cool
it in the refrigerator.

When cooled, gently stir in the celery and parsley. Store and arrange the add-in ingredients for easy reach and use, providing microwavable bowls for those who prefer this dish warm or hot.

Let’s Eat!

There’s something very comforting about rice — hot or cold — and whether you’re craving sweet or savory, this dish and its simple additions can easily satisfy.


Macaroni salad is perhaps the most versatile of all side dishes and is a great choice come summer. Onion, pimientos, peppers — you name it — can be added to the recipe.
Macaroni salad is perhaps the most versatile of all side dishes and is a great choice come summer. Onion, pimientos, peppers — you name it — can be added to the recipe. – Amarita via iStock

Confetti Macaroni Salad

Serves about 8

Ingredients

(1) 16-ounce box of elbow macaroni

(1) rib of celery, diced

(1) large carrot, peeled and chopped small

(1/4) cup finely-chopped red onion

(1/4) cup rinsed, drained pimientos or small-diced red pepper (optional)

Optional add-ins:

Several 2.6-ounce packets of chunk light tuna

Pre-cooked chicken breast, diced or cut small

Shredded cheddar or Mexican-blend cheese

Chopped, hard-boiled eggs (pre-cooked eggs available in most markets)

Small can(s) or individual-serving container(s) of green peas

Italian dressing of your choice


Tip for Success

Cool the pasta completely before adding in any ingredients.


Prep

Cook the box of pasta according to package directions. Cool in refrigerator. When cool, gently stir in the carrot, celery, red onion, and pimiento or red peppers. Add Italian dressing to taste and mix gently. Refrigerate. Store and arrange the add-in ingredients for easy reach and use, and let the salad personalization begin!

Let’s Eat!

Let’s face it: Everyone loves pasta, and the fun of confetti. With the colorful bits of veggies and chosen add-ins, this lunch is flavorful and festive.



THE LIST

*Take this handy collection of ingredients with you to the store for three great salads.

Note: Quantities and amounts of the “optional add-in ingredients” are according to your household’s tastes and preferences.

❑ Four 12-ounce microwavable packages
of fresh green beans
❑ Celery (three ribs needed)
❑ Bunch of fresh parsley
❑ One red onion
❑ Carrots (one large needed)
❑ One red pepper
❑ Dried cranberries or cherries
❑ Chopped walnuts
❑ Sliced and/or slivered almonds
❑ Pre-cooked chicken breast strips or medallions
❑ Shredded cheddar or Mexican-blend cheese
❑ Crumbled feta or goat cheese
❑ Pre-cooked, hard-boiled eggs
❑ Three bottles of prepared Italian vinaigrette dressing
❑ Light olive oil
❑ Balsamic vinegar
❑ 2.6-ounce packets of chunk light tuna
❑ 2.6-ounce packets of wild, skinless,
boneless pink salmon
❑ Brown rice (three cups needed)
❑ One 16-ounce box of elbow macaroni
❑ Small jar of diced pimientos
❑ Jar of roasted red pepper strips
❑ Small can(s) or single-serving containers of green peas
❑ Chick peas
❑ Pineapple tidbits



 

Facebook Comments