31 March 2014

Cranberry Pecan Salad with Lemon Mustard Dressing

So, I realize that my posts have really been non existent lately. I hope to fix that, but I can't make any promises.  Between moving, little boy starting preschool at the beginning of the year and me training for my 1st 10K I haven't gotten my routine all worked out yet and blog posts have been pushed lower on my priority list.  But, I'm putting up this post and hope you can forgive me for now.

So a couple of weeks ago we had an activity for the women at church. The did little mini work shops on organizing, couponing, cooking, stuff like that. I stopped by the cooking workshop and the lady who taught gave us a couple of recipes for some delicious salads. One of there recipes had candied spiced almonds. I'm not a big fan of almonds, but I have to admit the candied almonds were delicious. I can home and though, I really like pecans. If the the almonds were delicious candied, pecans would probably be amazing! I decided to make the pecans and make up my own little salad to go with them, since I didn't have most of the ingredients the lady called for in her salad.  I even made my own dressing!

Cranberry Pecan Salad with Lemon Mustard Dressing
  • 6 oz Green leaf lettuce broken into small pieces
  • 6 oz Spinach
  • 1 green onion, chopped
  • 3-4 tablespoons fresh grated parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/2 cup Candied Spiced Pecans (see recipe below)
  • Lemon Mustard Dressing (see recipe below)
  • Grilled Chicken, sliced (optional)
Mix lettuce, spinach, and green onions together in a large bowl. Pour dressing over greens and toss until evenly coated. Top with cheese, cranberries and pecans. If desired add grilled chicken.
Tip- Adding the grilled chicken is a great option to add if you are using the salad your main course, but the salad is still fantastic with out chicken if you are using the salad as a side dish.

Candied Spiced Pecans
  • 5 cups pecans, slightly crushed (so some pieces are broken up but some remain whole)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1-1 ½ teaspoons paprika
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • sea salt, to taste
Place a large sheet of foil on a work surface. Spray with cooking spray or rub a teaspoon of oil over foil with a paper towel.
 Place sugar in a large non-stick sauté pan and heat over medium heat , occasionally tipping and swirling the sugar until it is all melted into a pale golden syrup.
Lower heat immediately and add butter, cinnamon, smoked paprika, cumin, and vanilla. Stir until well combined and all butter is incorporated into the sugar syrup.
Add the pecans and stir gently to coat. Don’t worry if you have some clumps of caramelized sugar – they will melt as you continute to sauté the pecans. Continue to cook on low, stirring every minute or so until pecans begin to darken. Watch very carefully as they can go from beautiful to burned very quickly! Turn out onto prepared foil and sprinkle liberally with sea salt. Spread out and let cool. Store pecans in an airtight container.
Tip: Walnuts and almonds would also work great in this recipe

Lemon Mustard Dressing
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 tablespoon spicy brown mustard
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 clove garlic,minced or pressed
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons oil
Juice your lemon and pour lemon juice into a small jar or container that can be sealed.. Add the zest from about 1/2 of the lemon peel. Add remaining ingredient and place lid on container. Make sure container is well sealed and shake until ingredients and well mixed.  Makes about 1/2 cup of dressing.
Tip: I use the small individual portion container on my Ninja Kitchen System Pulse to mix the dressing. If I do this I don't have to mince the garlic before I add it. 


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