Mandarin Orange & Candied Pecan Salad

This is my mom’s yummy salad that is so easy to make! She made it for my sister’s wedding shower last weekend and I had to share it!

Mandarin Orange & Candied Pecan Salad

  • 2 heads Boston or Bibb lettuce
  • 22 ounce can Mandarin oranges
  • 1 1/2 cups pecans
  • 1/2 cup sugar, plus more if needed

white balsamic dressing:

  • 3/4 cups olive oil
  • 1/3 cup white balsamic vinegar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • pepper to taste (around 1 teaspoon for me)
  • fresh parsley, chopped
  • sugar to taste

To make the candied pecans, heat pecans and 1/4 cup sugar over medium-low heat, stirring often with a wooden spoon. When sugar has melted, add other 1/4 cup. Keep adding sugar until pecans have formed a “crust” of hardened sugar on them. Don’t walk away! Lay them on parchment paper or other nonstick surface to cool.

For the dressing, whisk all ingredients together, adding sugar to taste (if you don’t like it sweet, add a teaspoon or two; if you do, add a lot more).

Break the pecans apart once cooled.

Tear the lettuce into pieces. Drizzle with dressing and toss to coat. Top with drained oranges and candied pecans. Enjoy!


Sweet & Savory Salad with Chicken & Crispy Chow Mein Noodles

I couldn’t resist buying a wheel of Brie cheese the other day. It was calling for me.

I also have some crispy chow mein noodles in my cabinet. You know, the ones in the can? I just eat them like that. I know I shouldn’t.

Compulsion rules me this week.

So here’s an unusual salad, but it totally works. The pear and Brie aren’t an unusual combo I know, but I had a hankering for those noodles in a can and was trying not to eat them like potato chips.

So they went on my salad! And it was delicious.

Use leftover, cold grilled chicken or buy it already cooked from the store. Canned artichokes work better than frozen or fresh, or try using the marinated kind in a glass jar!

Then just pile on the Brie, pear, and noodles to your heart’s content. And any balsamic dressing will work, take your pick.

Mmmm. Crispy noodles and Brie. Nothin’ wrong with that.

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Sweet & Savory Salad with Chicken & Crispy Chow Mein Noodles

  • 8 ounces grilled & chilled chicken
  • 1 can artichoke hearts
  • 3-4 ounces Brie cheese
  • 1/2 pear
  • crispy chow mein noodles (the kind in the can)
  • lettuce, chopped
  • 1 scallion (green onion), chopped
  • balsamic vinaigrette (any kind you like)

Cover 2 plates with chopped lettuce. Dice chicken and add to salad. Drain artichoke hearts and add a few to each plate. Dice the pear into small pieces and add those to the plate. Cut Brie into wedges, then cut those wedges in half so you have long pieces; top salad with them. Pour vinaigrette over the top, add the scallion and as many crispy noodles as your heart desires. Enjoy!


Bacon Wrapped Dates

Recipe by Amy Grossi. See my blog post about this event here.

Are you kidding? No, I’m not. The title says it all…read on!

Bacon Wrapped Dates

  • pitted Medjool dates
  • sliced bacon

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a baking dish with aluminum foil.

Wrap each date in 1 slice of bacon, overlapping until entire slice is rolled up.

Arrange wrapped dates on the baking dish, making sure they aren’t touching.

Bake 30-45 minutes or until bacon is browned and crispy. Enjoy!


Peach & Blue Brie Crostini

Recipe by Amy Grossi. See my blog post about this event here.

Sweet and savory, any soft ripened cheese will work.  Choose your favorite!

Peach & Blue Brie Crostini

  • French baguette
  • 2 larges peaches (or try pears!)
  • Blue Brie, Brie, or any soft ripened cheese
  • 1 or 2 large garlic cloves
  • olive oil for drizzing
  • honey

Preheat oven to 400°F.

Slice baguette on the diagonal and arrange on a cookie sheet. Drizzle with a small amount of olive oil.

Bake for about 5 minutes. Remove from oven and rub each piece with a raw garlic clove while bread is still hot.

Top each piece with a slice of peach and a slice of Brie. Return the crostini to the oven for another 5 minutes.

Remove from oven and drizzle with honey. Serve immediately. Enjoy!