Sunday, August 9, 2009
Salad for a Week
How many times have you purchased those prepackaged salad mixes--you know, the ones with iceberg lettuce, really dried out carrot strips and a bit of red cabbage for color--only to have them become a slimy sludgy mess in the veggie crisper? For me, it is far more times than I care to admit. What a waste of money. They are a fine helper for a quick meal, but not the best choice. They are expensive. They go bad so quickly, and they are not great for nutrients. If you eat a lot of salad, there is a better way I have found. It works for a family like mine, or a single person too. Just vary the size of your container.
I make one big salad that often lasts my family all week. If I am having salad as a dinner meal, I will need more, but this works for sides and lunches for John and me. I use my weekly prep day to put the salad together. Today, my sons and I went out shopping for school clothes since it is tax free weekend here. Don't ever wait until Sunday, everything was picked over. While this means I am postponing some of my prep day chores, the salad is made and ready for the week. Having that ready is such a blessing in the hurry to get lunches packed for my working men!
I have a Tupperware container that I bought several years ago. The model is no longer available, but now they have some with even better features, so go out and look. Mine features a grate that elevates the greens off the bottom of the container. It allows air to flow under the food. I use the grate when I am drying my rinsed lettuce too.
Before I place the grate in the container, I line it with two paper towels to absorb excess moisture. Then, I begin adding my selection of greens. This time, I added some green leaf lettuce first. We had used a few leaves for garnish already, and it was a small head to begin with.
Next I added some iceberg lettuce. Can't beat the price on that one, and it lasts pretty well. Just remember to tear with your fingers not cut with a knife or the edges will be gross by the end of the week.
Next, I added about half a package of prewashed spinach. I love spinach, but I refuse to take the time to soak it clean. This is always ready to go at a great price at Aldi.
Finally, I toss and add those finishing touches you can't get in a pre-bagged salad. We like onion. I add some in big chunks so I can dig around it for my kids. They don't like it like we do. I throw in some grape tomatoes too. A cut tomato would get slimy, but these small ones are fine all week. Besides, hiding them in the salad is the only way to limit how many my diabetic hubby eats. He has a tough time controlling these. If the garden provides, I'll add some cherry tomatoes later this week too.
Now, when I am packing and preparing lunches this week, all I have to do is add a handful of my pre-made salad for a side, or add some meat and cheese for an salad meal. With dinner, it is a side dish I don't even have to think about.