Friday, July 22, 2011

Salad dressings that taste BETTER and are cheaper! YUM!

Summer is a GREAT time for salads…but buying salad dressings from the store can get expensive!  I, for one, get really frustrated at paying a large sum to “TRY” a salad dressing--to NOT ending up liking it.   So, for years I seemed to be stuck with Ranch or Italian dressing.  Don't get me wrong-- I like those dressings, but they get really old after a while.  (FYI:  I never bought the premade stuff---I have always used the seasoning packets.  Somehow they even tasted better to me than the store's premade bottled stuff!!)
In the past year, I entered a personal quest to FIND some salad dressings that I liked—particularly RECIPES that I could make at home…making as little or as much as I wanted.  So far, I have been very pleased with the results and thought I would share—making sure I give credit to those who wrote the recipes!  (of course!)

One of my favorite cookbooks is called Fabulous Freezer Meals, by Jenny Stanger.  In all honesty, her book is revolutionizing how I look at food preparation.  I am doing so much better at giving myself a night off of cooking—all while NOT going out to eat AND having a home cooked meal!   Anyway, in this book she has some “emergency substitutions” which lists Italian dressing.  One time when preparing a simple Chicken Alfredo, I discovered, mid-recipe, that I didn’t have an Italian seasoning packet on hand.  I didn’t want to run to the store—so I did her substitution.  Can I tell you I haven’t needed to buy another packet since.   It was SOOOO good. 

So here is Jenny Stanger's 1 Italian seasoning packet equivalent: 1 Tbsp. Parsley, 2 tsp. salt, 2 tsp. sugar, 1 tsp. minced garlic, 1 tsp. onion powder, ½ tsp. basil, ¼ tsp. red pepper flakes.

FYI: You can "pre-make" them just like the packets at the store using a small zip-lock baggie!

There have been many times that I have eaten someone else’s salad topped with Raspberry vinaigrette that I have loved.  However, I have never been able to find one I like in the store.  This is the recipe that I wanted to find the MOST.  I honestly don’t remember the website I got the original…but I feel ok sharing it because I tweaked the recipe to fit my tastes anyway.  So here is my FAVORITE salad dressing that goes with crasins, cubed grilled chicken, and mandarin oranges!    Raspberry Vinaigrette: 2 Tbsp. red wine vinegar, 3 Tbsp. sugar, ¼ c. canola oil, ¼ c. water, ½ tsp. dry mustard, ½ tsp. salt , ½ c. strawberry jam (or substitute with blackberry, raspberry or boysenberry jam)

 As of last April, I have been watching a website called and I can’t say enough about their homemade salad dressings!!  They are ridiculously easy to pull off.  Not to mention tasty!   My favorite so far: Lemon Poppy Seed (which has been renamed as lemonade poppy at our home).   Although, we have also tried her Honey Red Wine Vinaigrette and Cilantro-Lime Vinaigrette.  They were very good.  My rule of thumb with ALL of her vinaigrettes: HALF the oil and substitute water—I found them to be a bit oily for my taste.  (FYI: I like using the Cilantro-Lime one for marinating fish for fish tacos!! Pictured in the gourmet-picnic post.)
I am still on the lookout for a Ranch seasoning packet substitute….when I figure a good one out, I’ll let you know!!

Happy Stretching pennies!

1 comment:

  1. I stopped by your blog today. Great post. I'm adding a link to your blog on the sidebar of mine.