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Bacon, Lettuce, Artichoke Salad

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Bacon, Lettuce, Artichoke Salad

Posted on 23 February 2012 by noelskitchen

One of my favorite sandwiches is a BLT, which was what originally inspired this salad; but this has a little twist adding artichoke hearts, making it taste just as Yummy!

This quick salad came about when I realized I had no more tomatoes on hand in the fridge. Tomatoes never seem to last very long in our house so I should have realized we were out much sooner than later.  Having a variety of ingredients on hand, allows me to cook from the pantry in the event I’ve run out of an ingredient. Substituting the artichoke hearts I had on hand in the pantry, was a great addition to the salad and made it a bit more hearty.


  • 1 head Romaine lettuce
  • Homemade Croutons
  • 1/2 pound bacon, cooked and crumbled
  • 1 jar artichoke hearts in water, drained
  • sliced red or green onion (optional)
  • Buttermilk Dressing (recipe coming soon)

Top salad with all ingredients and toss gently.

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Tags: , Quick and Easy Bread Recipes, , Salad, Soup

Homemade Croutons

Posted on 21 February 2012 by noelskitchen

Not only does making homemade croutons allow you to utilize the ends of the loaves of bread, it also allows you to make delicious, fresh croutons to add to your salads and soups.

Home Made Croutons Are Easy To Make

With a little bit of oil and seasoning, you can have homemade bread crumbs in 5 to 7 minutes-it’s that easy!

Croutons in our house are like potato chips. They get gobbled up before they make it to the salad or topping of a meal. If I want them toi last longer, I simply cube the leftover bread, place in a zip-loc freezer bag and toss in the freezer. When I’m ready to use them, I pull out about a cup or two and toss with oilve oil and a bit of seasoning and bake.

If you have leftover regular sandwich bread or loaves of french bread, making homemade croutons only takes a few simple steps to make.  Simply cut the bread into cubes as shown below, then follow directions below and you’ll have tasty homemade croutons in no time.

 Homemade Croutons


  • Leftover bread or baquette, cut into cubes (white or wheat)
  • olive oil
  • kosher salt
  • fresh ground pepper
  • Optional: Parmesan cheese, dried herbs (basil, oregano, thyme, rosemary), garlic powder


  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  2. Toss bread cubes with olive oil, salt, pepper and seasonings (see above) on a baking sheet.
  3. Bake for 5 to 7 minutes until golden. Cool.

 Toss a few croutons on some Quick Minestrone Soup from my post earlier that I shared over the weekend for a great combination.

Homemade croutons, stored in a plastic container or a plastic bag, last up to two weeks unrefrigerated.


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Strawberry Spinach Salad with Grilled Chicken and Gorgonzola

Posted on 16 February 2012 by noelskitchen

Spinach Salad marinates in fresh strawberry balsamic vinegar before being topped with strawberry slices, grilled chicken, lemon zest and gorgonzola cheese, resulting in a flavorful and fresh salad.

On Valentine’s Day, I wanted to try something a little different approach to our family meal. I wanted something fresh tasting and healthy. Spinach doesn’t make it to our table a whole lot for reasons unknown really. I love a good spinach salad but always afraid the kids with give me that Ewww!!!! comment.

One way that I’ve found that works and the kids seem to really enjoy having fresh spinach  is to marinate it in the dressing for awhile before I serve it. In this way, the spinach gets a little bit of extra flavor at the last minute before serving, resulting in a very fresh and still crisp salad.

The addition of oranges, dried cranberries, and sunflower seeds lends texture and complexity at the same time as sweet, tart, and nutty goodness.

Strawberry Spinach Salad with Grilled Chicken and Gorgonzola

 Serves: 6


  • 1 Tablespoon balsmic vinegar
  • 6 strawberries hulled and sliced
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon tarragon
  • 1/4 teaspoon white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/4 cup sliced toasted almonds (optional)


  • 8-10 ounce bag fresh spinach leaves
  • 1/4 cup sliced red onion
  • 1/2 cup sliced strawberries
  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, grilled
  • crumbled Gorgonzola cheese


  • Create the dressing by adding balsamic vinegar, strawberries, salt, pepper, tarron, sugar and lemon zest to food processor or blender. Blend until well pureed.
  • While blending, slowly drizzle the olive oil into the dressing.
  • Place in a mason jar with lid and refrigerate until ready to use.
  • Prepare the salad: spinach, red onion, sliced strawberries. Drizzle some dressing over the top. Mix lightly. Add grilled chicken and Gorgonzola cheese. (I have an easy way to “grill” the chicken for those of you who don’t have an indoor or outdoor grill that I’ll write up in another post. It’s so easy!)
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Dante’s Loaded Potato Salad

Posted on 04 July 2011 by noelskitchen

During the summer, I like to include a lot of picnic and BBQ meals into my weekly summer meal plans. Potato salad is one that I make quite often, and it’s one of our son’s favorite recipes. The whole family loves potato salad but they are not very fond of mayonnaise. Since I started making my own Greek Yogurt, I was inspired to create this version of our son’s favorite potato salad for our 4th of July BBQ. Instead of using bacon, I added ham (lower in calories and healthier choice) and for a little bit of a tangy kick some ranch dressing.


Dante’s Loaded Potato Salad


2 pounds potatoes
3 celery stalks, chopped
1 small red onion, chopped
3/4 cup dill pickle, chopped
1 cup honey ham, chopped
1 cup Cheddar cheese, shredded
1 Tablespoon cumin
1 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 cup Greek yogurt
1/4 cup Ranch dressing
2 eggs, harboiled, peeled and chopped
Salt and Pepper to taste
Garnish with chopped parsley or chopped chives (optional)


  • In a large pot of salted water, boil the potatoes until tender (approximately 15 minutes.) Drain and cool.
  • In a large mixing bowl combine the cooled potatoes, the ham, celey, pickle, red onion, Greek yogurt, and cheese. Stir gently to combine. Add in seasonings. Season generously with salt and pepper.
  •  Chill before serving.
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Thousand Island Dressing

Posted on 20 June 2011 by noelskitchen

This dressing will keep for a week refrigerated. The flavors of this dressing will fully develop if made 24 hours before using.

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