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Today, Danica Patrick will be the pole sitter for the Daytona 500.  She will be leading the pack in her green “Go Daddy” car. Even though most of the media focus on Danica lately  has been about her relationship with fellow Cup rookie Ricky Stenhouse Jr; last weekend she gave people something else to talk about by being the first women to secure the #1 pole position with a qualifying speed of 196.434 mph. NASCAR has only seen a few other women competing at this level. Interestingly enough, all who know and love me would probably agree that I may well have missed my calling. Yes, I have been known to have a lead foot.  Danica is certainly becoming a super star in the NASCAR world, but she is also proving to be a role model for young women.  Today I will be watching the race with great anticipation in the hopes that Danica will grab the checkered flag……

Danica

I’m not sure if Danica is watching her weight, but my girl is rather petite at 5’2. Today’s dishes are salads and they will please any crowd.

Steak Salad with Onion Strings and Chipotle Ranch Dressing….

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Ingredients

-2  lbs sirloin steak cut into cubes

– olive oil

– salt/pepper

– 2 red vidalia onions

– 2 cups of milk

-2 cups of all purpose flour

– 2 cups of panko bread crumbs

– chopped Romaine lettuce

– vegetable oil for frying

– cucumbers

– tomatoes

– 1 cup store bought ranch dressing

– 1 chipotle pepper

-1 tsp adobo sauce

Directions

1. In small food processor, blend ranch dressing, chipotle pepper, and adobo sauce. Refrigerate.

2.  In a ziplock bag,  toss steak in olive oil and generously season with salt and pepper.

3. Place in pre-heated skillet. You want a medium-high heat. Allow the pieces to brown for about 30-45 seconds and then turn all pieces to brown on the opposite side for another 30-45 seconds. I like my meat medium. Leave in a bit longer for medium-well to well.  Repeat process. Allow meat to rest.

4. For onion strings, slice onions thinly with mandolin. In shallow dish, place strings and cover with milk.  In ziplock bag,  mix flour and panko bread crumbs and season with salt and pepper. Pre-heat vegetable oil to a 350 degrees or over a medium heat. Take strings out of milk and toss in the flour-panko mixture. Using tongs, place in the oil. Fry until golden brown. Drain on a paper towel lined plate. Sprinkle with salt. Repeat process.

5. I use a large platter to assemble the salad. Put a bed of Romaine lettuce, top with cucumber, tomatoes, and steak. Garnish with onion strings. Make sure you have a ton of onion strings…..they are a crowd pleaser. Serve with Chipotle- Ranch dressing…..

Italian Dinner Salad with Red Roasted Pepper Balsamic Vinaigrette Served on Cheesy Bread

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Ingredients

– 1/2 lbs Genoa salami thinly sliced

– 1/2 lbs sliced provolone cheese

– Romaine lettuce

– 1 red vidalia onion thinly sliced

– tomatoes and olives (optional)

Salad Dressing

– 12 oz jar of roasted red peppers

– 1 cup of store bought balsamic olive oil vinaigrette

– 1 tsp cayenne pepper

– salt/pepper

Cheesy Bread

– 1 roll store bought pizza dough

– 1/2 cup olive oil

– 2 cloves of garlic

– dried Italian seasoning

– 1 cup of shredded mozzarella cheese

– 1 cup of shredded provolone cheese

Directions

1. In food processor, blend drained roasted red peppers, salad dressing, and cayenne pepper. Taste and season with salt/pepper. Blend again. Place in the refrigerator.

2. Take a piece of salami and provolone. Fold together to make little flowers. Secure with toothpicks and place in refrigerator. I make four per guest.

3. On stove, heat olive oil, garlic cloves, and Italian seasoning. Allow oil to come to a low simmer and remove from the heat.

4. On parchment paper lined baking sheet, roll out pizza dough. Brush pizza dough with garlic infused olive oil. Place pre-heated 400 degree oven. Bake for 3 minutes.

5. Remove from oven and top with shredded  cheeses. Place bake in oven and bake another 8-10 minutes.  Allow to rest. I make enough for two pieces per guest. You may have to increase the recipe based on the number you are serving.

6. When building the salad, place slice of cheesy bread on plate and top with Romaine lettuce, onions, olives, tomatoes, and garnish with salami/provolone flowers. Remove toothpicks before serving. Side with red roasted balsamic vinaigrette.  DELICIOUS………….

Remember…Who Do You Want In Your Kitchen On Game Day???

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