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Did You Know a Dressing Could Do All That?

Think beyond salads! 
marinade July August 2023

Virtually every fridge has at least a bottle or two of salad dressing that’s been used only a handful times. While dressings are an easy way to make veggies more flavorful, using the entire bottle can sometimes present a challenge. We think of salad dressing as a secret weapon, however, and one of the easiest hacks in the kitchen to transform weeknight meals. It has the key components to make food shine: fat for satisfying taste and added moisture, acid to cut through rich, heavy flavors, and herbs and spices to add that extra something. Check out these  tasty ways to put your dressing to work in the kitchen. 

Marinate and Tenderize Meat

Bottled dressings are a great swap for homemade marinade. The vinegar in most dressings or vinaigrettes will help tenderize the meat, and the spices add a great punch of flavor. This recipe uses Italian dressing as a base to marinate chicken halves. Mix in a few extra spices, and you’ve got an impressive but easy cookout dinner any night of the week.  

Make Your Grains and Pasta Shine

Don’t forget about the sides! Grains and pasta are another great way to use up any extra dressing. Quinoa, couscous, and orzo all love absorbing the flavors of a zesty vinaigrette or creamy dressing. This recipe balances the bite of fresh radishes with creamy ranch. Add extra veggies and fresh mozzarella, and this side is ready for a picnic. 

Finish the Perfect Burger

A burger with no special sauce just feels incomplete. Thankfully, you don’t have to spend hours tweaking your own signature spread, just use a bottled dressing. From Thousand Island to blue cheese to sesame-ginger, you can mix and match all summer long. We love the zip creamy ranch adds to these quick and easy, lean grilled chicken burgers.

Boost the Flavor of Grilled and Roasted Veggies

Grilled and roasted vegetables can be basic when just  dressed with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Try tossing  veggies with a premade vinaigrette or balsamic vinegar before putting them on the barbecue or in the oven. This trick can easily switch your  side from Italian to Thai to Japanese, etc. depending on which dressing you use.  

Pour over Lunch Bowls

Power bowls, bliss bowls, salad bowls – you name it and we’re ready for lunch. No bowl is complete, though, without a dressing. Just a simple splash can launch an otherwise good lunch into greatness. These chicken satay bowls are a great example of using dressing to zhuzh up the slaw with an extra drizzle for flavor at the end. 

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