Over the years, I have had some really great salads. Some of my favourites have been the 'Jerk Chicken Salad' from fresh bytes (I think that was what it was called) in the basement of Tuttleman, on Temple University's main campus, and the 'Cobb Salad' from Quiznos. However, salads can run you deep in the pockets costing about $7.00 on average. You can create your own in about the time it takes the person at the shop to make yours. All you have to do is 'prep'... just like they do at your favourite deli or fast food place.
Step 1: Buy pre-cut salad bags from the store. Go for the 'Garden Salads' with the iceberg lettuce, red cabbage and carrots, for example.
Step 2: Buy additional vegetables that you like but that are not in the bag, such as green peppers, tomatoes, cucumbers and onions.
Step 3: Decide on what meat toppings you like and prepare them however you like (might be an excellent way to use up left over grilled chicken or pork chops from last night's dinner).
Step 4: Assemble however you want, drizzle your favourite salad dressing and bon apetite!
Here are a few examples....
Spicy Shrimp Salad: Spread about a third of a bag of 'Garden Salad' on your plate. Slice up about half a small green pepper and dice half a small firm tomato. Scatter over the salad already on the plate. Toss thawed raw shrimp in a mixture of salt, cayenne pepper, garlic powder and thyme. Cook in a hot pan for about 2-3 minutes on each side (until it turns pink). Allow to cool for about two minutes (store bought thawed cooked shrimp would also be just fine) and add to your plate. Add two tablespoons of balsamic vinaigrette dressing (or whichever you like) and enjoy.
Steak Salad: Just like above, pour about a third of a bag of 'Garden Salad' on your plate. Slice up about half a small green pepper and half a small firm tomato. Scatter over the salad already on the plate. Boil an egg and cook some sirlon steak strips in your favourite way (I simply chopped and heated up left over pan cooked seasoned sirlon from last night's dinner). Dice up the hard boiled egg. Arrange the tomatoes, peppers, eggs and steak on the plate as above and sprinkle with homemade or store bought bacon bits. Drizzle some dressing and enjoy this tasty and refreshing dish.
BBQ Chicken Salad: Sprinkle a third of a bag of salad on your plate. Slice a small, firm tomato and add to the salad. Sprinkle sliced barbequed chicken over the salad in the plate (use store bought or use up leftover's from the night before like I did), sprinkle sweet corn from a can and drizzle over two tablespoons of dressing. Simple, quick and delicious.
Enjoy any one of these salads on a Saturday for lunch or take it to work for a nice and healthy, but filling lunch.