Party planning should be fun and easy, so get things done in 15 minutes or less.

The 15-Minute Party Planner's blog breaks down basic party-planning tasks into simple actions that take 15 minutes or less. We're not here to make you the next Martha, we're here to help you be crafty quickly!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

3 easy salads you can make in 3 minutes

When you're trying to whip up a quick salad, the last thing you need is to follow a recipe with intricate steps and specific ingredients. By starting with pre-washed, bagged greens and adding other ingredients to taste, you can have a gourmet salad in just three minutes. Here are three of the 15-Minute Party Planner's favorite 3-minute salads.

Spinach salad with feta, cranberries, and walnuts

  • Fresh baby spinach leaves (8-12 ounces)
  • Handful of Crasins (dried cranberries)
  • Handful of chopped walnuts
  • Crumbled feta cheese (2-4 ounces)
  • Salad dressing (honey mustard, sesame ginger, and raspberry vinaigrette are all nice choices)
  • Empty spinach leaves into a large salad bowl.
  • Add handfuls of Crasins, walnuts, and feta cheese to taste.
  • Toss with hands or serving utensils.
  • Serve with dressing of choice.
  • This recipe calls for baby spinach because its stems don't have to be removed, which makes preparation quicker. If you prefer the taste of other greens, however, feel free to use them instead.
  • Don't like the tartness of cranberries? Try Craisins Pomegranate juice-infused dried cranberries instead. Same idea, sweeter flavor.
  • Have almonds on hand and don't want to make a trip to the store for walnuts? Not a problem. You can substitute any nut in place of the walnut.
Arugula salad with prosciutto, dried figs, and pine nuts

  • Fresh arugula (8-12 ounces)
  • 1/8 lb. Prosciutto (thinly sliced, from the deli)
  • Dried figs (about 3 ounces, chopped)
  • Handful of pine nuts
  • Hard Parmesan cheese (for grating)
  • Salad dressing (Try balsamic vinaigrette, for some tanginess.)
  • Put clean, fresh arugula into a large salad bowl.
  • Roll up proscuitto, then make small slices (width-wise), and one large cut lengthwise. Separate the pieces of meat and add them to the salad bowl.
  • Chop figs into bite-sized pieces, add to bowl.
  • Add a handful of pine nuts.
  • Toss salad with hands or serving utensils.
  • Grate Parmesan cheese over the top of the salad (to taste).
  • Serve with dressing of choice.
  • You could easily use romaine or spinach in place of the arugula in this recipe.
  • While prosciutto is the favored choice for this salad, any thinly sliced cured meat will give the salad a rich, salty depth.
  • Think pine nuts are too expensive? Substitute sunflower seeds instead.
  • You can also add a dollop of fig spread to each salad, in place of the chopped dried figs.
Easy Caesar salad

  • One bag (8-12 ounces) of chopped romaine lettuce
  • Bottled Caesar salad dressing (Ken's makes a Lite Creamy Caesar that tastes just as good as the full-fat kind)
  • Hard Parmesan cheese (for grating)
  • Freshly-grated black pepper
  • Croutons
  • Anchovies (optional)
  • Lemon wedges (optional)
  • Put romaine in a large salad bowl.
  • Pour on dressing (not the whole bottle!) and toss with your hands, until lettuce is fully coated.
  • If desired, add anchovies.
  • Shred Parmesan cheese and grind pepper over the salad.
  • Top with croutons.
  • To dress up the salad, serve with lemon wedges.
  • The fun of a decadent Caesar salad is in the dressing, which is why it is recommended to coat the lettuce in dressing before serving (whereas the other recipes call for dressing on the side). If you're catering to the health-conscious, however, you can serve dressing and/or croutons on the side.

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