This time of year I never ask our guests to bring a salad. That’s because our garden is full of fresh lettuce, just waiting to be picked.

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In fact, my husband gets pretty upset if I come home from the grocery store with lettuce, because we have so much of it. (This time of year, spinach would be the exception because we don’t grow spinach.)

Growing your own lettuce does take a little work, though, to get it ready for eating.

Paul picks a giant-sized basket (remove the outer leaves of plants first).

I wash and spin and dry the leaves.

We store the greens, packed tightly, in Ziploc bags.

With summer approaching and the warmth of my kitchen in the evening (even with the A/C on) I try to make my salad right before it’s time to serve. I’m not crazy about warm salads.

What helps is to prep my salad ahead of time. To be organized and prepared to put it all together at the last minute.

1. Chop up food items, such as celery, onion, radishes, and cucumbers and place in a bowl.

2. Layer anything else you want in the salad on top (such as red cabbage).

3. Toast the nuts (about 1 cup in microwave at 2 minutes, turning once), cooling and chopping into smaller pieces. Place on top of the veggies.

4. Place in the fridge until serving time.

5. Chop the lettuce and place in a serving bowl, putting back in the fridge until serving time.

6. When it’s time to serve, dump the veggies onto the greens. Add cheese or avocado.

7. Pour your dressing; toss and serve.

I always feel better when I’ve got my act together in the kitchen, and am ready for company. The feeling of being rushed or unorganized for sure does not feel good. So this is an easy step to take hours ahead of time, so you can check the “salad” off your list!

What’s your go-to salad tip for easy entertaining?