Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Shake It Up

I love walking through a kitchen store with all its gadgets. I've bought—and then discarded—so many kitchen doodads over the years. Most of the time I decided that just the basic items worked best. If you have decent knife skills, you don't need 7 different specialty choppers.

But every now and then you find a "keeper." This little salad dressing bottle is one of the good finds. You can easily make salad dressing without an official bottle, but this just makes is quick and easy to mix and then it's easy to store.

If you keep up with the news, you know that food manufacturers have struggled a bit as of late as people move away from processed foods. Good for us. I just read a list of processed foods you should stop using. Here in my kitchen, we have replaced nearly all of the overprocessed foods. But I'm guessing that if you are like me, the one thing we still keep on hand is bottled salad dressing. It's easy to use and it has a long shelf life. But it's really quick to make your own dressings.

I grew up with the homemade Thousand Island dressing that was just mayonnaise and ketchup and a splash of vinegar mixed together and maybe some salad cubes stirred in when Mother got fancy. It was delicious.

These days my tastes have moved toward lighter dressings. My personal favorite is balsamic vinaigrette.  On my handy-dandy bottle are five different recipes and I just pour in the ingredients up to the level markings and then shake. If you don't have this bottle, you can measure into a small jar. 


3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons canola oil
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh basil (or about 1 tsp. of dried basil)
pinch of garlic
sale & pepper to taste

Measure into a small jar with a lid. Screw lid on tightly and shake vigorously until ingredients are mixed. Store in refrigerator for up to a week.

You might enjoy the Balsamic dressing with this salad. It's a favorite of ours.


3/4 lb. flank steak
salt & pepper
1 or 2 heads romaine, chopped
2 cups red cabbage chopped
1 (15-oz can canellini beans (or other white beans) drained & rinsed
1/2 cup chopped roasted red peppers
1/4 cup chopped parsley
Italian dressing (we used the balsamic vinaigrette)

Season flank steak with sale & pepper. Grill 3 to 5 minutes on each side. Let rest a few minutes, then cut thin, diagonal slices across the grain and cut into bite-size pieces.

In a large bowl, mix steak, romaine, cabbage, beans, peppers and parsley and toss with dressing. (We added feta cheese.)


  1. I have never even thought of putting steak in a salad, but why not. Sounds great! I also like to make my own light dressing, but I don't have such a handy shaker. Yours is very nice!

    1. I've had the salad dressing bottle for years. And can't remember where I found it!


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