July 15, 2012

Another Quickie: Watermelon and Arugula Salad

Ever have those days when nothing goes right and everything is a mess? Well, this was that week. The Hubs and I are running in circles, it seems. One car gets fixed, the other breaks down. One bill gets paid, then another pops up (ok, so that's normal!)... but you get my point.

On days (or weeks) like this, you just wanna curl up on the couch, close your eyes, and wish the world away for a while.

I suppose I could do that. But who would walk the dog? Or pay the bills? Or cook dinner? I'd starve to death before anyone (ahem, the Hubs) stepped forward to cook something besides Spaghetti-O's.

From this, I've learned to take my moments of peace where I can get them, and to make them count. Dinner simmering on the stove? Good time for a quick meditation. Walking the dog? This equals a nice conversational interlude with the Hubs.

For those nights when a spare moment is few and far between, I compensate with cutting back on my cook time. Not by making Spaghetti-O's, although I'm sure the Hubs would love it, but by flipping through my stack of go-to, quick and simple meals.

Watermelon and Arugula Salad
This particular salad speaks to me. It's full of greens and fruit, and one of my favorites.... feta cheese. Best of all, you can be eating dinner in about 10 minutes, from start to finish.

The ingredients are basic, and customizable to your taste:

I like arugula as my greens in this dish, because it has a peppery flavor that's a nice contrast to the sweeter fruit. If you like spinach or spring mix instead? Try it out, see which you prefer. I like to encourage experimenting with your cooking. Truly, it's the best way to learn and discover your tastes.

So, if you're like me, start with a base of arugula on your plate. I drizzle with balsamic at the end, but you'll notice a second dressing in the picture above. I've used it here as an example, a way to really make this dish your own. If you prefer, lightly toss the greens with your favorite vinaigrette. I dressed the Hubs' salad with one, and mine with the other. Both were yummily!

Once your plate is covered with an ample amount of greens, add the watermelon. You can buy a knife like the one above in several places, but I found this one at Walmart for about $5. Chop your melon into bite-sized pieces, then distribute over your greens.

In addition to the watermelon, I add blueberries if I have them on hand. If you don't have any handy (or just don't like them), no worries... the salad is delicious with just the watermelon! Do you prefer strawberries instead? Go for it!

A handy tip: don't put too much of any one fruit on your salad... try to remember how many toppings you're adding, and adjust your quantities accordingly. If I put half the watermelon on my salad before adding blueberries, there wouldn't be enough greens to support so much fruit ( a mistake I commonly make).

After the fruit comes the cheese...

Mmmmmm..... I adore feta cheese. This is another staple in our fridge, I almost always have it on hand.  In particular, I prefer the Athenos brand. I've tried others, but the flavor and texture are not the same, at all. Trust me on this. Go get some Athenos today.

Sprinkle the yummy, scrumptious, fantastic cheese over your salad. Try to keep the balance between the fruit and cheese. Feta adds a nice salty note to your salad. It matches well with the sweet and peppery flavors already on your plate.

Naturally, I left one item out of the ingredients picture. I wouldn't be me if I hadn't forgotten, you know this! So, after the greens, and the fruit, and the feta, we need some crunchy. Without the crunchy, this salad is good but it lacks a certain... crunch. I have such a way with words, don't I?

You can use different elements here, depending on your taste. The Hubs and I went for chopped pecans. You could also use walnuts, sunflower seeds, pine nuts, etc. The choice is up to you. Just don't forget The Crunch. Mega important ingredient, people! Don't be like me.

You're almost done now. If you didn't toss your greens earlier, then we need a little dressing. I've been a bit obsessed lately with balsamic reductions. However, I'm not the least bit interested in making them myself. Instead, I found this little beauty which suits all my balsamic needs:


Let me just say that again... yum yum yum yum.

This isn't an easy item to find, but my local Target carries it. You can order it here on Amazon, but I paid only half that at the store. So check your local grocery first. If you can't find it at all, or you don't want to pay double for the online item, then you can use a different dressing on your greens or make the reduction yourself. Remember, this recipe is adaptable to you! A balsamic vinaigrette would be just as delicious.

So, simply drizzle your dressing over the salad, and viola! Dinner in 10 minutes. Let's be honest, it probably took longer to read this recipe than it did to actually make the salad!

Pick up that first forkful, close your eyes, and enjoy. The pepper of the arugula and the sweet of the fruit combine in perfect harmony with the salty feta and the tang of balsamic. And don't forget the all-important crunch! Divine.

Happy cooking, my friends. And yes... salad still counts as 'cooking', especially this week.

What are your favorite recipes for those weeks when everything is a mess? I'd love to hear from you!

The Standard Form:

* There are no measurements for this recipe, as all quantities are based on taste *

Watermelon and Arugula Salad


Arugula greens
Chopped Watermelon
Feta Cheese
Chopped Pecans
Balsamic Glaze


Spread the greens evenly over your plate. Top with the chopped watermelon, and then the blueberries. Sprinkle with pecans and feta cheese. Drizzle with balsamic glaze. Enjoy!

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