Dressing for Success

If you said that I had to throw out every salad dressing in my refrigerator except for one, it would not be a difficult decision. Right now, there are 7. What can I say … everyone likes different things! We have Lite Ranch, Lite Honey Mustard, Raspberry-Walnut Vinaigrette, Lite Western, Creamy Italian, Lite Italian and Roasted Red Pepper Italian. The calories per serving (2 tablespoons) range from 30-80, the fat from 1-7 grams, and the sodium from 120-440 milligrams. So which one would I choose?

Well, I guess the picture gave it away … the Kraft Roasted Red Pepper Italian Dressing. Why?

  • It is delicious and loaded with flavor.
  • It is the lowest in calories (30) and fat (1 g) and in the middle of the range for sodium (340 mg – which will play a role later discussion).
  • It is inexpensive (I think I bought this bottle for $1.88 on sale – yes, I stocked up).
  • It is more versatile than any of the other dressings.

It is this versatility, more than any of the other reasons, that makes it my favorite. Of course it’s great on a lettuce salad but I can’t say it would be my top choice for this purpose. However, if you make that a pasta salad, it jumps again to first place. Cook and drain pasta of choice, chop veggies (tomatoes, cucumber, peppers, onions, etc.), drizzle with dressing to coat and stir. That is it! And you know with this dressing that you have kept it light and flavorful.

This is also where my comment about the sodium levels comes into play. Realizing that there is plenty of sodium in this dressing, don’t add salt (other than to the pasta water and keep that to a minimum) until it is all mixed together. You can always add a little more at the end. You can also add cheese (e.g. chunks of mozzarella) and/or meat (e.g. chunks of hard salami).

After saying all these good things about this product, I will reveal my absolute favorite way to use it: GRILLING! This is an awesome marinade. I use it frequently to marinate chicken breasts, added lime juice and beer to it to marinate flank steak for fajitas, and, may I present to you … vegetable kabobs!

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img_3490Mushrooms, tomatoes, summer squash, onions, and peppers, cut into uniformly sized pieces, threaded on skewers, coated (but not drenched) with the dressing and allowed to marinate for 2-4 hours in the refrigerator. Grill over medium heat (rotating the skewers every 4-5 minutes) for 10-15 minutes or until vegetables are tender and lightly charred. I had some extra squash and some asparagus so I marinated and grilled them with the kabobs. Asparagus only takes 4-5 minutes.

The leftover veggies are great in omelettes, tossed with pasta (with or without sauce), added to cold salads or as a pizza topping!

Although I could choose one dressing, I’m glad that I do not have to. I like variety and different things in different seasons. Right now, it’s summer … time for grilling and cool salads, and almost time for … bringing-out-my-foodie-diva … IOWA SWEET CORN!

So, if you can use the Roasted Red Pepper Dressing to marinate and grill the veggies above, what would it do to sweet corn?

To be continued …


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Anita Hinkeldey McVey

From the farm in Alta ... to college in Ames ... to the suburbs of Des Moines in Waukee ... I am an Iowa girl through and through. I married the cute, but quiet, guy who made me laugh out loud in Statistics class and we have two awesome, but terribly sarcastic, boys. In 1999, I quit my research job to be home with those active boys. Staying home allowed me to spend more time preparing meals, trying new recipes and striving to serve healthier options for my family. Now that my boys are men ... well, "adults" anyway ... and my husband still appreciates what I accomplish at home, I have time to explore my creative side and knock "writing a blog" off my bucket list. I love trying new things, traveling, gardening, reading and clean countertops. I love baseball (watching, not playing) and concession stands. Choosing a favorite food is impossible but if I was forced to pick just one, it would be pie! I thank God that He has led me to this place. Here's to a new adventure and hopes that others will be able to use what I post to discover the benefits of family meals and living a picnic life.

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