When explaining TMR to people who don’t farm, dairy farmers often compare it to a great big salad. This summer, I turned the analogy around to describe my summer lunches. Instead of making salads, I’ve been making TMR.
But unlike the cows, who usually eat the same TMR every day, with minor adjustments each week to accommodate changes in pasture quality, my TMR changes every day depending upon what leftovers need to be used up, how hungry I am, and what I’m in the mood for.
We’ve been grilling a lot this summer, since it’s been too hot to start the oven or – even some days – use the stove. So, for my salad, I usually chop up leftover grilled steak or chicken, add diced veggies or fruit, mix everything into dressing and call it TMR.
About that dressing. Here’s the thing: I don’t like regular salad dressing – the kind that comes in a bottle or jar from the store. It’s usually too thick, too slimy or has too many crazy ingredients. Plus, it’s most often made with vegetable oils I try to avoid.
But you can’t have salad with dressing, because that really would be like eating bovine TMR. So I make my own dressings using either yogurt or cottage cheese for a base. There are two big benefits of making salad dressing from cultured dairy. One, the dressings are fresh and delicious. Two, you get extra protein, healthy fat, probiotics, and all of the other nutrients dairy provides.
Those extra nutrients are extra important for me. Many folks might think of a salad as a light lunch, but I’m not looking for a small meal. I want a fresh, cool, delicious, satisfying lunch that will keep me full until supper. In addition to chores, I also swim, bike, or run most days, so fueling up with high-quality nutrients is essential.
The other reason I like making my own salad dressing is that it’s easy to adjust ingredients and play around with flavors. If I need a little more protein, I’ll add more cottage cheese or yogurt. If I need a little more fat, I’ll add extra cream or oil. We had leftover chicken breasts from a spatchcocked chicken that ended up being a little bland, so I added smoked paprika and chipotle chili powder to my salad dressing to bump up the flavor. The resulting TMR was amazing.
Here are a few examples of my summer TMR combinations:
Summer TMR No. 1 – yogurt salad dressing, leftover grilled chicken or pork chops, chopped up and reheated, diced celery, diced apples, roasted peanuts or almonds
Summer TMR No. 2 – cottage cheese salad dressing, leftover grilled steak or hamburger, chopped up and reheated, shredded baby spinach, diced red pepper, leftover grilled onions, heated up
I start by mixing all of the dressing ingredients together in a large salad bowl. Then, I throw in the meat, veggies, and other salad fixings. Mix everything together, just like TMR, and enjoy!
Last, here are the ingredients I use for the dressings. I included quantities, so you have an idea of how much to use, but the amounts are completely adjustable. I don’t like dry TMR, so these both make enough dressing for one large batch of well-dressed TMR.

Yogurt salad dressing
1/2 cup whole milk yogurt
1 Tablespoon liquid coconut or avocado oil
1 Tablespoon apple cider vinegar
Dash salt
Dash black pepper
Optional: other herbs, as desired

Cottage cheese salad dressing
1/2 cup whole milk cottage cheese
2 Tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
2 Tablespoons heavy cream
1 Tablespoon rice vinegar
1-2 Tablespoons water, if needed to thin dressing
1 teaspoon dried chives
Couple dashes black pepper
Optional: other herbs or spices, as desired

I hope you give these a try and enjoy them as much as I do. Happy summer!
    Sadie and her husband, Glen, milk 100 cows near Melrose, Minnesota. They have three children – Dan, 14, Monika, 12, and Daphne, 8. Sadie also writes a blog at www.dairygoodlife.com. She can be reached at sadiefrericks@gmail.com.