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Kick Start Your Healthy New Year's Resolution

Step-by-step directions show how to make an instant homemade salad dressing

All right, here we are with the holidays fading fast in the rear view mirror, and I’m sure many of you have resolved to eat healthier this year. Is that right? Whoa, I can hear a resounding “YES!” all through town. Good deal.

Now, I’m pretty sure for a lot of you there's a voice in your head suggesting that eating healthy means eating more fresh salad. Whoa. Suddenly that resounding “YES!” has quieted quite remarkably to a much less enthusiastic, head sagging “Yah, I guess so.”

Well, to help lift your chin and crank up the volume on that enthusiasm, here's the quickest and easiest salad dressing I know to add life to just about any kind of salad you can imagine. All it requires is 5 ingredients, a teaspoon and preferably a 16-ounce jar to make measuring, mixing and storing the dressing as easy as possible. If you don't have a jar, no problem. Just use a measuring cup.

Here are the written directions. But if you're more visually oriented, like I sure am, you can get a complete step-by-step picture book recipe by clicking this link.

Ingredients (to make 16 ounces)

  • 1 1/2 Teaspoon Garlic Powder
  • 1/2 - 1 Teaspoon Ground Black Pepper
  • 3 Teaspoons Mustard 
  • 8 Ounces Vinegar (For a quick breakdown of vinegars, red and white wine vinegar are most sour, cider and rice vinegars are medium sour, and balsamic vinegar, my favorite, is fully flavored and even somewhat sweet.)
  • 8 Ounces Olive, Vegetable or Canola Oil

Equipment

  • 16 Ounce Jar with a Snug Fitting Lid or a Measuring Cup
  • Teaspoon

1. Add the following to a jar or measuring cup:

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1⁄2 - 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 3 teaspoons mustard (3 teaspoons = 1 tablespoon, but in order to make this recipe as easy as possible and minimize cleanup, I only use a teaspoon to measure all the ingredients listed above.)

2. Add about 8 ounces vinegar or, if you’re using a jar, just enough vinegar to fill the jar about half way full (You'll see in the picture of the ingredients above that I use two kinds of vinegar when I make the dressing. That's just for variety and is entirely optional.)

3. Fill the jar the rest of the way with olive, vegetable or canola oil making sure to leave enough air space at the top of jar so that the dressing can be shaken. If you’re using a measuring cup, add 8 ounces of oil.

4. If you’re using a measuring cup, stir the dressing vigorously with the same teaspoon you used from the start until all the ingredients are well mixed together. If you’re using a jar, screw the lid on the jar tightly enough so that the jar won’t leak. Hold the jar firmly and securely with two hands, and give the jar a vigorous shake, preferably over the sink in case the jar happens to leak. Shake for about 10-15 seconds until all the ingredients are well mixed together. 

5. Use the dressing on salad as is. For leftover dressing, if you’ve used a measuring cup, just cover the measuring cup with plastic wrap. Again, the great thing about using a jar is that you can put the lid back on when you’re done to store the dressing. You can keep the dressing in the refrigerator if you want. The only drawback to that is that the oil will get slightly firm from the cold temperature, which means the dressing will then have to be warmed to room temperature before pouring it easily on whatever it is you want to pour it over. The great thing about making a dressing like this is that it’s made with ingredients that aren’t perishable. I leave my dressing out at room temperature for at least a week - even when I make it with fresh garlic - and never have a problem with it going bad. Regardless of how you store the dressing, though, just give it a quick shake or stir when you’re ready to use it again, and you are good to go.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

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