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Save Money and Make an Easy Salad Bar at Home
By Monica Resinger

One thing I like to do for dinner, that my family loves, is make a salad bar. 
 It's easy, inexpensive, fun, healthy and is always different; a plus in my 

The only work involved is making the salad ingredients salad-friendly 
(cutting them to bite size) and if you want meat and aren't using leftovers, 
need to cook the meat.  Thinly slice or chunk up meats, shred cheeses and 
carrots, thinly slice or chunk up vegetables... the main thing is to get them 
sized and how you like them.  A lot of items are already prepared such as 
nuts, thawed peas, shredded cheeses, croutons (unless you make your own!), and 
dried fruits.

You can use whatever you have on hand that sounds good to go in a salad, 
including leftovers (great way to save money). Almost anything goes for salads 
nowadays, so be creative.  After making the ingredients bite-sized, simply put 
them in lined-up dishes across your countertop or tabletop and include bottles 
of salad dressing, homemade dressing and/or oil and vinegar at the end.  

Here are some of the ingredients you could use in a salad bar:

NUTS:  Think of all the different nuts there are and how they would make each 
salad unique... honey roasted peanuts, plain roasted peanuts, sunflower 
seeds, smoked almonds and candied walnuts are some of my favorites.  

GREENS:  Greens and lettuces also have many varieties... Romaine, Iceberg, 
spinach and cabbage come to mind. Each one would add a different twist to your 
salad bar.  You could even have a selection of greens, although I usually only 
use one type per bar because I want to keep it simple and inexpensive. I like 
to get the already-cut salads and mixes when they are on sale.

CHEESES:  Cheese is a great ingredient for the salad bar.  There's Parmesan, 
Cheddar, Mozzarella, Feta, Blue and many others.  

VEGETABLES:  There are so many different vegetables and you can even prepare 
them in different ways for your salad bar, like grill or roast them first or 
marinate them.  Of course the simplest way is to just cut them up fresh!  Use 
your favorites or ones you've never tried on a salad, like asparagus, 
cauliflower or broccoli.  

FRUITS:  I love fruit on salads, especially paired with a meat.  Bacon and 
mandarin oranges for example, is one of my favorites.  Let's see... ham and 
pineapple and pork and apple are a couple that come to mind.  Don't forget 
fruits.  Dried cranberries, pineapple, raisins and many others make great 
additions to the salad.  

DRESSINGS:  I usually have a variety of bottled dressings (that I purchase on 
sale) on hand and occasionally make my own.  To cut the calories of the 
high-calorie creamy dressings, I add vinegar and/or milk to them and to me, 
actually taste better thinned out.  It also gets on more of your salad being 

SALAD TOPPERS:  Even though I could save money and make my own croutons, I 
like to buy them already-made to save time.  I have recently seen other 
crouton-like items, like flavored tortilla strips made just for salads, but you 
always use broken tortilla chips to save money.  

I hope this inspires you to try making homemade salad bars!

Monica is the founder Homemaker's Journal E-publications, the growing home of 
many fun and informative home, garden and recipe e-books, tip sheets, 
articles and more!
Get a FREE Slowcooker Recipe E-book when you subscribe to Monica's FREE 
e-zine for homemakers!  To subscribe and receive instructions for picking up 
FREE e-book, just send a blank e-mail to:  HomemakersJournal

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