Posts by Lisa Appleton

Lisa Appleton

Layered Spinach and Pot Sticker Salad

There’s nothing quite like a crisp refreshing salad on a warm summer day. It’s a wonderful way to take advantage of the fresh produce in season, and without cooking as much, it’s an excellent way to beat the heat. The forecast this past week was full of high temperatures, and this layered spinach and pot sticker salad was my answer.  Juicy summer strawberries? Check! A protein that is more exciting than my go-to grilled chicken or shrimp? Check! Crunchy topper? Check! In and out of the kitchen in less than 30 minutes? Check!

Believe it or not, it gets even better. A lot of the prep work can be done a day before. I made the dressing and stored it in an airtight container in the refrigerator until I needed it; be sure to whisk it well before you use it. Since I was already working with the strawberries, I just continued to slice up the rest and stored them the same way. I did the chips a day ahead as well, so I wouldn’t have to deal with the oven.  Store them in an airtight container at room temperature, and the salad is almost complete. The next day when you go to make the salad, the only thing that you have to do is boil the pot stickers according to the package directions and layer away.

The strawberries were just as juicy and sweet as I’d hoped.  They were a terrific balance to the spinach, which at times can be a slightly bitter green. The dressing had a lovely tang from the red wine vinegar that made it slightly reminiscent of sweet and sour sauce and perfect for the pot stickers. The spiced chips had just the right amount of heat from the cayenne to round out the whole dish. I did tweak the recipe ever so slightly.  I live alone, and there was no reason to make such a large salad, so I halved the whole recipe. Even then I still had 3 main dish portions, so I opted to not actually layer it in a trifle dish. I built each salad individually in bowls with all the ingredients when the time came and added dressing as desired. I also used a baked version of the ridged potato chips because I like them better. I had no complaints about this salad. It’s now my go-to summer salad recipe, and it can be yours too. Find it here! If you’re looking for even more sensational summer salads, check them out here: Our Best Summer Salads.

 


Lisa Appleton

Sunday Strata

Hi all! It’s Lisa Appleton, Associate Editor with special interest media here again. It’s finally spring! I couldn’t be happier, but you should know a few things about me before I go any further. 1) I LOVE breakfast foods. I will make breakfast food any time of the day, but I always go out of my way to make something fun on Sunday mornings. 2) Asparagus is my favorite vegetable. Every spring when it’s back in season, I just can’t get enough. I will always go out of my way to find new ways to use asparagus.


It’s a wonder it even took me this long into the season to combine the two, but last Sunday I did just that. I had some asparagus on hand and some asiago garlic French bread I didn’t end up using for another recipe last week. I immediately thought of our Ham-Asparagus and Cheese Strata. In case you don’t know, strata is a layered breakfast casserole that typically has day-old bread, eggs, and cheese with any meat or vegetables of your choosing. It turns out like a savory bread pudding.

I went straight to bhg.com and found this recipe for Ham-Asparagus and Cheese Strata.  I had a three-cheese blend of shredded cheese, so I used that instead of the Gruyere it suggests. The only other element I was missing was ham. I had Canadian bacon and didn’t want to run to the store, so I substituted that too.

Not only was it delicious, it was also super easy to make. Asparagus is pretty simple to cook with. Just remember to snap off and discard the woody base of the spears by bending them. The spears can be cooked whole, but this recipe required chopping into 2-inch pieces. After you’ve chopped the rest your ingredients, blanch the asparagus for just a few minutes, and layer everything in a greased baking dish. Blanching is a cooking technique. Vegetables are cooked in boiling water for just a few minutes and immediately cooled in an ice bath to stop the cooking. It brings out the bright green color in asparagus. Whisk up some eggs and milk to pour over the dish, and you’re nearly finished.

This might be the best part. Strata is at its best when it’s chilled overnight. You don’t have to bother making this in the morning before a fun brunch with your friends or family. Prepare it up to this point and chill it overnight. In the morning, baking is easy. After 30 minutes, take it out of the oven to quickly add the six eggs to the top and then it’s right back in until it’s finished. This would make a great dish for Mother’s Day! You’ll spend more time with your Mom and less time in the kitchen on her special day.

In my mind, there is no better vegetable in spring than asparagus. This was perfect for a lazy Sunday breakfast, and it’s already on my list to make again.

Get the recipe for Ham-Asparagus and Cheese Strata.

Get more information on cooking with asparagus, and more of our best asparagus recipes. Planning something special for Mother’s Day? Check out our favorite brunch recipes.