Yep its here! The holiday season, which means gaining 10 pounds of Halloween candy, pies, cakes, cocktails, party food…. I love this season, but every January I am so sick of eating and drinking not to mention fat! So, I am going to try and incorporate more salads, vegetables and generally good for you foods into the jean busting season.
This recipe is a delicious salad that can be served at a party, as a side salad or made into a meal by adding sliced or shredded chicken, sliced steak or a nice piece of salmon. It is a rich salad because of the blue cheese, but just put as little or as much as you like. And the dressing can be used in other salads or or as a marinade for chicken. Just save it in a jar in the fridge for about a week. But, wait theres more…. the pecans used in this salad are a fabulous neighbor gift for the holidays. Just make a large batch and put in mason jars with a nice big red bow and holiday gifts are DONE! They can be a snack, a topping for salad or mixed into wild rice. The recipe for those amazing pecans are attached.
Makes about 6 servings
2 Tablespoons Apple Cider Vinegar
1/2 shallot, minced
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon sugar or honey
1/3 cup olive oil
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/8 teaspoon cayenne
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
2 Tablespoons water
1 cup pecan halves
6 cups mixed greens
1 large apple, thinly sliced
2 slices of bacon, cooked and crumbled
1/3 cup blue cheese, crumbled
1/2 cup dried cranberries
To make the dressing:
Combine all ingredients in a lidded jar and shake well. Taste for salt and pepper. Keep in the fridge for up to a week.
To make the candied pecans:
Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
In a small skillet over medium heat, combine brown sugar, cinnamon, cayenne, salt and water. Stir until sugar is dissolved, about 3 minutes.
Add pecans and stir until all pecans are coated with sugar mixture. Let simmer for about 3-5 minutes until the pecan mixture becomes sticky.
Remove from heat and spread out into a thin layer on a parchment lined cookie sheet. Let cool about 10 minutes before breaking apart.
To make the salad:
In a large bowl, combine mixed greens, apple slices, crumbled bacon, blue cheese cranberries and pecans. Drizzle salad with dressing. Serve immediately.
* If you want easier clean up you can cook the bacon in the skillet before you cook the pecans. Just pour out all the bacon fat before making the pecans. No need to wipe out the skillet-the remaining bacon bits will flavor the pecans.
* If you don't like blue cheese then substitute cheddar cheese.
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