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Easy Dinner Side: Classic Wedge Salad

Easy Dinner Side: Classic Wedge Salad

These days you rarely see me in the kitchen anymore. My husband has been taking up most of the kitchen duties due to the combination of a killer work commute and the pregnancy. The few days a week that I decide to venture in to make something I either way over do it and create a 9 course meal based on pregnancy cravings, or I choose to go with super quick and simple dinners that I can throw together in less than half an hour. This recipe is the second of the two. I paired this super quick and easy classic wedge salad with a simple (and delicious) stuffed ravioli dish. However, the wedge salad can be a meal in its own right if you are just wanting to put together a delicious and quick Summer meal.

Wedge Salad Recipe

Classic Wedge Salad

Classic Wedge Salad

This recipe makes an easy dinner side for four people or a simple dinner for two!

Ingredients

  • 1 head ice berg lettuce
  • 1/2 lb bacon, cooked & crumbled
  • fresh ground pepper
  • blue cheese crumbles for garnish
  • 1 cup homemade blue cheese dressing
  • OPTIONAL: Cherry tomatoes quartered
  • For Dressing:
  • 1/3 cup blue cheese crumbles
  • 3/4 cup sour cream
  • 2 tablespoons mayonaise
  • 1/4 cup whole milk
  • 2 tablespoons white vinegar
  • Salt & Pepper to Taste

Instructions

  1. Put all of the ingredients for the dressing into a bowl and whisk together. Refrigerate for up to a week if not using right away.
  2. Cut butt end off of the ice berg lettuce and then quarter the wedge, trying to keep the leaves together as much as possible.
  3. Drizzle the dressing over the iceberg lettuce wedges.
  4. Top with crumbled bacon and optional tomatoes.
  5. Garnish with more crumbled blue cheese and LOTS of freshly ground black pepper.
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Variations on the Wedge Salad

Fun variations on a wedge salad:

  • — Change out the bacon for some lovely crisp chorizo for a flavorful variation on the classic. Try using a smoked bacon or cured Italian meat for another twist.
  • — Add a little Worcestershire sauce to your blue cheese dressing.
  • — Substitute butter milk for the milk and leave out the white vinegar for a tangier dressing.
  • — Change out the lettuce for a more nutritious variation… though, I am a traditionalist when it comes to the lettuce for a wedge salad. I rarely ever eat iceberg lettuce, but when I do it is usually covered in blue cheese and bacon!
  • — Serve miniature versions of this as a side at a party or perhaps a build your own wedge salad bar with a variety of fun toppings.

You can also use a store bought blue cheese dressing for this recipe to make it even simpler. I just happen to like the flavor a freshly made blue cheese dressing!


 

This post was created in collaboration with Grocery Outlet. All opinions are my own. Thank you for reading and sharing posts that are created in partnership with brands that help support this blog.Grocery Outlet operates 210+ stores in California, Idaho, Nevada, Oregon, Pennsylvania, and Washington.Visit the Grocery Outlet website to find a store near you and sign up for notifications when their new ad comes out! 

Camping Essentials Not Found in the Camping Section

Camping Essentials Not Found in the Camping Section

We’ve been doing a lot of camping this Summer to get away from the Portland heat. Our camping supplies have grown over the years from fairly basic sleep on the ground in sleeping bags to quite the array of convenience camping items. (Pregnant camping needs to have some conveniences!) Someday I’ll share a list of all the camping items we’ve found indispensable, however today I sort of have an ode to three items that have become camping essentials for our family and are not found in the camping section!

Three camping essentials—not in the camping section of the store!

 

I have not ventured to check out all of the camping stores out there, and likely there are some version of all three of these items that you CAN find in the camping section of the store. However, they’d probably cost a lot more and be a little more fancy than you really need. Here are the three items I’ll never leave at home while camping. (Some of the below links are affiliate links. Purchases from affiliate links help support this blog with no extra cost to you my awesome reader!)

 

Baby wipes are now a camping essential for me and my family.

I will never camp again without baby wipes.

 

These little work horses do wonders when camping. Every time we go camping we purchase (or refill, because, let’s be honest, I buy these puppies in bulk) baby wipes for our trip. The wipes sit out on the picnic table for any and all to use for cleaning up hands and messes with ease. I especially like these for when the guys go tinkle out in the forest (my son’s favorite new pastime) because they wouldn’t be likely to wash their hands afterwards if it weren’t made this easy. I’m usually cooking when we go camping and having the wipes there for quick clean up of my hands in between touching different meats/veggies/sauces helps keep things from cross contaminating or just being gross. They are great for wiping hands up after applying bug spray or sunscreen as well! Yep, never going camping without baby wipes again.

Face wipes, specifically cucumber face wipes, have become a camping essential for me!

I will never camp again without face wipes.

 

Seems silly to have both baby wipes and face wipes. And, before recently, I just went camping with baby wipes. However, on a recent trip a friend brought along her cucumber facial wipes and using them at night and in the morning was so refreshing that I quickly added it to my ‘must have’ list for camping. Often we camp at campsites that do not have great restrooms with showers or even sinks. We like the rustic camp sites the most for how secluded and off the beaten path they are, but can feel gross quickly without those hygiene conveniences.

While baby wipes will do the trick, the face wipes are much better for taking off the grime and leaving you feeling clean and refreshed. Last time we went camping I used as a little sponge bath to boot. I never felt gross the whole trip! (Though, better believe that shower when I got home was just as amazing as ever!)

You'll never guess how a red solo cup made camping much more enjoyable for this lady...

I will never camp again without a red solo cup.

 

I‘m about to get much more personal on this blog than I ever imagined. However, I am doing it for the good of womankind…

I cannot squat and pee outdoors. It is impossible for me. I’ve tried every trick out there and somehow always end up peeing all over my pants. I’m not about to go get naked in the middle of the woods just to relieve myself, but I also hate making the trek to the restrooms in the middle of a dark, cold evening of camping.

Story Break: I’ve loved camping for a very long time. So much so that we registered for a ton of camp gear when getting married and camped while honeymooning. It was wonderful and oh-so-romantic camping with my brand new husband. That is, until the first evening, when it was FREEZING at night in the mountains of Colorado in the early Summer months, and I had to pee in the middle of the night. We were at a very rustic campsite and the restrooms were way too far away for me to get there in time. I tried squatting down in the bushes and ended up wetting my PJs so throughly that I had to wake my brand new husband to help me find new pants and find somewhere I could put my freshly wet PJs so they wouldn’t stink up everything we brought. SO embarrassing.

We’ve been camping together for nine years now and I haven’t really been able to perfect the art of peeing outdoors. About four camping trips ago I decided to try peeing in a cup instead of trying to squat. We had thrown a pack of red solo cups into our camping items because we were going with a group of people and we didn’t know if they’d be prepared with water bottles or cups of some sort. I grabbed a cup and went off into the woods. I was able to easily relieve myself with little to no effort. The cup lasted the evening and then was easily disposed of the next day. Not the most eco-friendly option, I know, but it was an easy and clean way to deal with the one aspect of camping that had really been difficult!

If you are anything like me and cannot squat and pee outdoors while camping, I recommend a red solo cup. (Doesn’t really need to be red.) 😉

 

What are your camping essentials?

Tips for Serving a Multi Course Meal (without a personal chef!)

Tips for Serving a Multi Course Meal (without a personal chef!)

Someday I will hire a personal chef to cater a party for me. Actually, someday, I absolutely will hire this personal chef team and sit back and enjoy being served throughout an entire party. That will be a treat in itself, however, I also really love to cook and serve for my parties. I enjoy the whole process of planning, executing and serving dishes to my guests. Many of my parties are fairly simple with serve yourself or buffet style dishes of foods. Occasionally, I like to serve multi-course meals (either plated or family style) and when I do, I like to use the following tips/tricks/hacks to make the dinner more enjoyable for everyone involved. 

Tips for Serving a Multi Course Meal (without a personal chef)

I am the first person out there that will recommend hiring out (or purchasing out and bringing in) for large parties and life events. I value the talents of others and their ability to make my life easier more than I can say. These tips will work for just about any type of party, big or small, but they still require the work be put in. Hiring a chef, ordering catered items, renting dinner ware, hiring a cleaner or hiring a server are absolutely time and sanity saving options for important events. This list is for someone who really wants to do it themselves, whether because of circumstances or because they enjoy it.

These tips will also help for those trying to save money in their party budget for other area. I do stress that you know your limitations however because saving a few dollars here or there and being disappointed in the end will only make it feel like you wasted the money you did spend. I enjoy throwing parties, preparing dishes, and cooking foods. I’m pretty good about timing things out as well. I am terrible at getting the house spick and span before a party. I often hire that portion out and do the entertaining part of it all myself. Know your talents, your limitations and your resources and have a fantastic party!

1. Prep what you can before the party day.

This seems easy, right? Prep anything and everything you can for your party before the big day hits. It is trickier than it seems however because some items don’t keep as well as other items. Anything that you can prep without compromising the quality should be prepped as far in advance as possible. When creating my menu, I often try to get at least one or two items that can be prepped prior to the big day on the menu. Some menu items that can be prepped early include soups, sauces, vegetable cutting prep and many dessert and drink items. Need a simple syrup for your speciality cocktail? Whip one up nearly a week in advance and store in your fridge. Want to serve a dessert of cookies under ice cream? Prep the cookie dough up to a couple of months in advance and store in your freezer. This works great for home made crackers as well!

2. Pre-plate what you can before the party begins!

A lot of my multi-course parties combine a mix of serving dishes family style and plated. Family style is easier on the chef (and whoever does the dishes afterwards) and the plated style of serving is often easier on guests. I tend to serve the dishes that have to be made or finished during the party as family style and pre-plate (or even pre-dish for an all family style meal) what I can. Salads can often prepped an hour or so before the party, wrapped in cling wrap, and stored in the fridge. If you are serving an individual cheese course or a cheese platter you can also prep these early and put in fridge, just make sure you get it out with enough time to get it to room temperature before serving.

3. Include Entertainment at the Party

Include some form of entertainment at your party so that time between courses goes unnoticed. A little time between courses is actually great because it gives your guests time to really savor the course before it. Too much time can be a drag, but with the rest of these tips and a little entertainment no one will notice a time slag. I often do a photo booth, music, questions at the table or even drink pairings that guests can talk about in between courses.

4. Serve a menu that doesn’t all need to be served HOT.

Planning your menu carefully is very important when you are doing it all and wanting to actually sit down and enjoy your meal with your guests. I try to serve at least a couple of items that can be serve chilled or at room temperature. Salads, appetizers, cheese plates and desserts are easy places to put in items that do not have to stay hot before serving.

5. Utilize warming and cooling appliances.

Take advantage of any and all warming and cooling appliances that you have in your home. I clean out my fridge as much as possible before a coursed meal so that I can pile in pre-prepped plates of items or pre-cut elements that will come together for a portion of the meal. My oven, if not in use, is set to warm and all hot dishes are carefully stored in the warmer so that they can still be served. (Be careful to not let hot food dry out in your warmer. Cover with foil and try not to put in to stay warm for too long.) My crock pot is typically in use for sauces or soups that are prepped in advanced, but need to be served hot.

What tips do you use when serving a multi-course dinner to friends or family? Comment below!

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