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Turkey Apple Cheddar Salad

Simple and tasty – Turkey Apple Cheddar Salad

You can’t get much simpler than this. A few years ago, I was scouring cookbooks for new recipes when I found Turkey Apple Cheddar Salad. It was a hot summer, and we were often going to picnics in the park to enjoy the Thursday Night music.

This salad is like a salad you’d get from your local deli. Chunks of fruit, meat and cheese are also kid-pleasers. My youngest loves it. She’s adorable when she eats it. She takes a bite of turkey. “Turkey.” She takes a bite of apple. “Apple.” She takes a bite of cheddar. “Cheddar.” Pause. “Salad!”  She chants this the whole time, eating it in pattern. I better have about the same amount of everything on her plate!

My oldest prefers it without the dressing, and sometimes we just cut up the ingredients into slices and eat them on crackers. 🙂

The original called for green onions and some cooked pasta, but I found the pasta didn’t add anything and the onions tended to fall to the bottom of the salad and not get eaten at all, so I started leaving them out.

I’ve learned to keep the apples out of it until the last minute so they stay crisp. I suggest not making ahead more than one day, or the apples will get soggy. It doesn’t keep particularly well, so plan to eat it within a day or two. I like to cut up the turkey and cheddar, and then cut apples into it as needed.

Turkey Apple Cheddar Salad

  • Oven roasted or smoked turkey breast (not sliced)
  • Block of cheddar cheese (we prefer sharp)
  • Medium, crisp apple(s) (like gala)
  • Poppyseed dressing

I don’t have a very scientific way of making this salad. I cut the turkey, cheddar, and apple into 1/2 inch cubes, and toss them into a bowl until the proportions look right. (A little more turkey than cheese, a little more cheese than apple.) Then I stir in enough dressing to coat it.

That’s the beauty of this meal; you can make only what you need! It’s great for just one person, or make a big batch to take to a potluck. Round it out by putting it on a bed of salad greens and adding a piece of crusty bread, if you like.

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Sometimes, the kids just won’t eat what you want to eat. Annoying. This is a big part of why I hate Menu Planning Day. But I try to find ways to still make what I want and yet get them to eat SOME of it.

Rule in my house: you take one bite. One of my past daycare providers called it the “No- Thank-You Bite.” You don’t have to eat any more than that, but one bite is important. The other day, my daughter actually liked a salad I made her try. Like, with lettuce! Today, she helped me shake up the vinaigrette for this to go with our hamburgers off the grill.

Tortellini Salad (2)

This is a cool, crisp, tangy side for a picnic, or with any meat main dish. It is one of my favorite ways to eat broccoli. My youngest likes this – usually. My oldest turns her nose up at it – I think the vinaigrette is too strong for her – but she will eat raw broccoli and carrots with ranch dressing, so I just save some out for her. But she still has to taste it. Every. Time.

Tortellini Broccoli Salad

Recipe says it serves 4, but it goes farther than that in our house.

  • 1 pkg (7oz) cheese-filled tortellini (I like the dried ones in the pasta aisle rather than the frozen kind. They cook up better.)
  • Garlic Vinaigrette (below)
  • 1 medium carrot, sliced (about 1/2 cup)
  • 2 cups broccoli florets
  • 2 medium green onions, sliced (optional)

Garlic Vinaigrette

  • 1/4 cup cider or balsamic vinegar (I prefer balsamic)
  • 1 Tbsp fresh or 1 tsp dried basil
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp paprika
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  1. Cook pasta according to package directions. (If the package says to use salted water, DO IT. The salt makes a big difference.) Drain, rinse with cold water, drain again.
  2. Make garlic vinaigrette by placing all the ingredients in a large bowl with a tight lid. (I use the container I put the salad in. Make sure it will hold 7 cups, as any smaller will be too small.) Either close lid and shake to mix, or whisk gently.
  3. Add the carrot, broccoli, onions (if using) and pasta to the bowl. Toss to coat. Cover and refrigerate one hour, up to 24 hours. (I find it keeps well for several days, though it is good to toss the salad again before serving in case the vinaigrette settles.)

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