Cherry Tomato and Cucumber Summer Salad

 When it is summertime, I want meals that are as simple and quick to make as possible. If we don’t have a tight schedule that day, then we’ve spent the day involved in some project or other. Especially on weekends, when Michael is home too. Usually it’s been it’s blazing hot out all day too, being summertime and all. And let’s face it, the heat and humidity really has a way of draining anyone’s energy and ambition that much more. 

That’s exactly how I happened to come up with this simplest of salads. Dinner was not even planned, never mind started!  Michael threw some steaks on the grill, and I just grabbed the vegetables we brought in from the garden that day, off of the counter, and threw together a cold side dish. I was not going for anything grand.  And anyway, my kids pop cherry tomatoes in their mouth off of the vine, and they love cucumber spears, with or without a dash of pepper.

The big surprise was that it was far more delicious than I had even begun to anticipate, and it was the talk of dinnertime too.

Long term, it’s a fabulous dish for the whole family to love this much for another reason: 
We need to have a variety of options, to use the abundance of certain vegetables we get out of our garden almost daily, in the summertime.

Here’s one day’s picking, carried in my skirt. 

It’s likely that the next day will harvest about same amount, ready for picking, again.
Especially given that Olivia has her own garden this year, too, and is also growing cherry tomatoes.

She’s growing the cucumbers alone, but she shares with her siblings at lunch sometimes, or for a snack, and she’s happy to offer one for our dinner anytime, as well. 

Those 2 vegetables, were the simple main staples for this recipe:

Quartered Cherry Tomatoes.
Cucumber, quartered the long way, and then chopped.

TIP: I always stripe my cucumbers with the peeler. It makes them a littler fancier looking, and even more enjoyable.

Throw in a dash of kosher salt, and drizzle all over with Balsamic Vinegar Salad Dressing.  We also add black pepper, because we love it, and put it on just about everything. The dressing, as opposed to straight up balsamic vinegar, has all kinds of little bits of seasoning goodness already in it.  Give it a quick toss.  I like to let it marinate just like that for a few minutes.

When it’s time for dinner, I throw some shredded mozzarella cheese on top.

It’s done.  Does it sound plain, to you? Well I’ll tell you what . . . . . .

It’s simple all right, but it’s sure not plain tasting!  The tang of the Balsamic Vinegar Dressing, really brings out the sweetness of the cherry tomatoes.  The combination of the two compliments each other so well. The fresh cucumber, and the soft and subtle flavor of the cheese adds a new texture, and another surprise taste.

We have also used this salad, rolled up in a tortilla, with grilled chopped chicken. Also simple, quick, and delicious.

This is what summer tastes like.

It’s that simple.

What is your simplest summer dish?

Striped Cucumber Salad


It’s a wonder, that our children have not turned into cucumbers, this summer. They love them, and our gardens have been so generous with them, that the kids have happily eaten them many days for lunch, dinner, and sometimes even as a snack.  They’ve had them as spears, sliced the long way and added to their tomato sandwiches, chopped up in a garden salad, and as this Cucumber Salad, which we are sharing with you today.

We know. It’s not the most inventive recipe, if we can even call it that. The ‘recipe’ is actually more about the dressing it’s in.  It’s one that I imagine has been around a long time, as my mother used to make it while I was growing up.  Recently we were at our friend’s house, getting our families together, and they made us the most de-li-cious dinner.  Part of that meal was a simple romaine salad with sliced fresh strawberries, and a dressing very similar to this one. So as you take note of this dressing, keep in mind the various or creative ways you can use it for, too.  This dressing, and this salad, is a perfect summer-side, to a light meal.


Striped Cucumber Salad


Our Cucumber Salad begins with a fresh cucumber, from our own gardens.



I have always, peeled cucumbers in stripes.  But there have been 2 separate reasons I have done so.  In the off-season, I have peeled the grocery-store bought cucumbers this way because, as we all know, the majority of the vitamins & minerals are in the skin, and I want to get all I can into my kids/family. But also, the cucumbers from the store are often waxed. Man I hate that! I can’t stand the feel of it trying to wash them, (the wax never comes off), and the funny feeling it leaves on my hands too. Also, we’re not partial to eating wax. You?  😕 So, peeling the skin in stripes, is a compromise, of sorts.

But even when they are organically right from our gardens, I think the stripes just make them fancy & pretty.  So I chop off the ends, and stripe peel them.


And then I slice it.


And maybe I’ll have fun taking photos of it. It’s a cucumber caterpillar!!

So much for not playing with my food.

Now I know this is silly, but, I didn’t take photos of making the dressing.  It would have been boring, and unnecessary.  It’s so simple though, and there isn’t actually ‘correct’ amounts of any one ingredient. It just matters more of how thick you want the dressing, and how much you like this or that ingredient.  All to your preferred taste.  But this is generally my winged recipe, I mix in a bowl well, with a fork.


Cucumber/(Salad) Dressing


  • 1/2 c. mayonnaise (Hellman’s Real, for us)
  • 1/4 c. white sugar
  • 4 tsp. distilled vinegar

dashes of:

  • dill weed
  • seasoned salt
  • black pepper

Of course….all of these amounts will vary with how many cucumbers you cut up.  I like it to just coat the cucumbers. My mother made enough, that it was more of a soup, that the cucumbers sat in.  She made a lot! LOL

In my antique blue Pyrex dish without missing handle, that was once my grandmothers, I arrange all of the cucumber slices, and drizzle the dressing right over it.  Then I throw another dash of dillweed on top. This dish is light, tangy, sweet, with a tad of salty.  All at once.  More importantly, it’s delicious, light, easy, and well……COOL!

I’ll warn you, with the same wise words my mother-in-law once warned me with, and of which I shared with my kids recently, and they have found absolutely hysterical, and love to say it now every time they have cucumbers:

“Be careful now. Cucumbers tend to repeat on you, later.”

From what I can tell, no one minds repeating around here, except me.  ; )





7 Layer Salad, with Sides – Summer Light & Just Right

If you live in a climate where summers can be hot & humid, than you probably have days like me when you can’t even think of cooking dinner, in a hot kitchen.  You’re looking for a meal that is cool, light, and delicious.  We probably all have our regular stand-bys, but I just discovered a new favorite, and I’m here to share it with you!

One of the best parts of having link-up party on Tuesdays, has not only been the simple home decor or craft ideas, but the recipes shared!  This ‘7 Layer Salad’ was a link-up, and I thought it was so enticing, we made it right away, and then featured it! >  Because our whole family loved it!  As I said in the feature, even the kids were ‘scoffin’ & commentin’ through the whole meal, and were thrilled to have leftovers the next night.  (Honestly, they cheered.)

I think the name alone, 7 Layer Salad, is FUN, and sound enticing.  And the great thing is, if you don’t care for one of the ingredients/layers, you can substitute it with something you prefer, and still call it 7 Layer Salad! But we made it just like the recipe called for, and it was a hit in our mouths, and our bellies.

Here’s the recipe, layer-by-cool & easy-layer:

7 Layer Salad

*In order that ingredients are put into the bowl, building bottom to top:

  • 6 cups fresh, washed Spinach
  • 2 cups Grape Tomatoes, halved (Cherry Tomatoes would work too.)
  • 1 cup Red Onion, chopped
  • 1-1/4 cup frozen Peas, thawed & drained
  • 1 cup Cheddar Cheese, shredded
  • 6 slices Bacon, cooked & chopped*
  • 3 Hard-Boiled Eggs, quartered or sliced

* Use microwavable bacon!  Remember, we not cooking tonight! ; )


Then, I added a few perfect sides, still keeping the meal cool & light:

Some fresh and cold rolled-up Turkey meat & Apple slices.


Serve with a tall glass of cold lemonade, and you have yourself a perfect and light summer meal!  Lunch or dinner!

(OK, that particular glass in the photo, happened to be my Mike’s Hard Lemonade. But, you know, can do Country Time if you’d like!)

As a salad dressing, consider Balsamic Vinegar, or a Raspberry Vinaigrette.  My kids love both, but yours may prefer their regular favorite.


As if this meal wasn’t perfect enough to me, I added my favorite topping.  Most every salad is ‘betta, with Feta’.


We are always looking for new & delicious recipes to try, any time of the year!  So if you have a favorite or few that you’d like to share with us, send it in!  Just email it to us anytime, and if it sounds good to us, we’ll make it, photograph it, and blog it! (With credit to you!)

That’s all for this share. Keep Cool, Folks!