Sunday, January 31, 2010

Meatball Christmas

Each year at Christmas, it's become a tradition for our family to honor a piece of our heritage with the menu. Typically that means collaboratively preparing either Italian or Mexican dishes. Occassionaly, however, we venture out as my family did on Christmas Eve this year with a Polish feast. Complete with handmade sausage, perogies, saurkrat, etc. I (sadly) did not attend this affair, but Shawnie could probably capture the food experience perfectly (hint, hint, Shawnie!). ;)

This year was our Meatball Christmas! It was complete with baked pasta, eggplant parmesan (pictured above), Gram's famous sauce, fresh sausage with peppers and salad that makes you melt. Since there were so many recipes to choose from and I am far from perfecting Gram's sauce (although I try regularly!) I thought I'd use this post to talk about salad. Wait, don't go check your email yet! I promise this "recipe" will deliver.

OK, glad you stayed with me (mom).

Salad...for many people this simple dish wouldn't begin a dialogue (or a monologue in this instance), but for our family it's a daily staple that is loved by many. My sisters and I are frequently asked to bring the salad when attending dinner parties and it's all my mother's fault. ;)

Mom taught us the key to a great salad is using fresh ingredients (of course!) and salt. I know, it sounds strange, but if you are not using salt and pepper in your salad today - I woulld start tomorrow. It turns on the flavors of the lettuces and veggies and brightens the sweet flavors you add.

My Grandma made our daily salad extrordinary for holidays by adding stinky cheese (like provolone or stinkier), olives and pepperoni.

So here is a loose interpretation of our family salad "recipe":

Lettuces = a mixture of whatever floats your boat (we use a TON of romane, and add spinach and arugla)

Veggies = tomatoes are a must, onion, and then whatever stray veggies you have in your fridge (my faves are brocolli, carrots, and snow peas)

Fruit = my mom regulary added apples (probably those apples that rolled around my dad's lunch box day after day...he favors donuts over apples). I also like grapes, strawberries or any dried fruit on hand.

Nuts = pecans, walnuts, whatever

Salt & Pepper = sprinkle liberally and give it a little toss before you dress for success

Ok, if you are still reading you deserve a prize...and so I present the piece de resistance...


I swear, I do not work for Kraft foods. When I say that my family buys this stuff by the box full...I'm not lying. OK - not this exact kind. I like the basil, but my mom likes the Italian. Whichever way you slice it. this is the BEST DRESSING IN THE WORLD if you don't want to make your own. ;)

You make it fresh, you make it best...

Mangia ~ Lora


  1. Couldn't agree more on the salad! You have to have something sweet like apples or craisins. I make my own Balsamic Vinegrette with Good Seasons Italian, like your mamma, but with Balsamic Vinegar! Going to try the salt and pepper!

  2. yeah - love to mix it up with the balsamic. Are your kids big salad eaters? Trying to get Vi to eat more - she eats one leaf and says, "i'm done." ;)