I have a ton of tricks up my frugal sleeve. Some of these save our family money; some keep us healthy; and some do both.
One of my best tips (I'm sure I learned it from a magazine!) makes getting raw veggies into my diet a snap. Buy fresh greens and chop them up as soon as you get home from the store. Then you'll have the base for individual salads or for a side dish.
I like trying different greens for my salads. Boston lettuce has a creamy, fresh taste but loses freshness quickly. Romaine is versatile, as is iceberg. In my humble opinion, the salad starter that holds up with crunchiness the longest is actually a type of cabbage--napa cabbage. It has a mild flavor (not cabbage-y) and goes great with most salad toppings and flavors. Off season they can be yellowish. Skip those--you want a nice, light green one.
I also pick up a bag of pre-sliced carrot shreds. Buy any raw vegetables you like, pre-sliced or whole.
Once I've put my groceries away, I immediately slice the salad starter (in this case, napa cabbage) into little shreds. You can also chop them smaller.
When the whole thing is chopped, I put the pieces in a Ziploc bag. Next, I slice any other fresh vegetables to snack on for the week.
Sure, you can buy a bagged, pre-cut salad mix--I do all the time--but they tend to brown and wilt quickly. Napa keeps its color and crunch all week.
You now have everything you need for a quick, healthy snack. I like to add sunflower seeds to my salad too for extra protein and crunch.
If you'd like a fancier salad to serve as a side, use 3-4 cups of your prepared napa cabbage. Slice up 1 cup of strawberries. Toss in 1/4 cup of sliced almonds or walnut pieces. Toss with raspberry vinaigrette. Delicious!
Fancy Strawberry Napa Salad
4 cups chopped or shredded napa cabbage
1 cup strawberries, sliced
1/4 cup sliced almonds (or walnut pieces)
Raspberry vinaigrette. (around 1/2 cup, depending how much dressing you prefer)
Toss together and serve.
Do you like salads? What are your favorite toppings?