autumn salad with maple vinaigrette and waffle croutons

*This is a sponsored post for Eggo brand waffles.  The recipe, thoughts and opinions are my own!*

autumn salad with maple vinaigrette and waffle croutons | Sweet Anna's

I was really excited about this challenge to come up with non-breakfast (as in: not just butter and syrup) uses for our favorite freezer waffles.

Actually I kind of love a challenge of any kind, but my family’s obsession with Eggo waffles made this one extra fun.

This week’s theme is Thanksgiving foods.  (Waffles on Thanksgiving?  Really?!)

Yep!   And,of course, my first thought was some kind of waffle stuffing, but that just seemed too…  I don’t know.  Too much work I guess.

Then this salad idea popped into my head and oh my word is it good.

The funny thing is, I don’t really remember serving or eating salad at any Thanksgiving dinners.  Oh, I know they must have been there, but I never got around to them.  I plan on changing that ‘salad-is-second-rate’ mindset with this one.

The combination of a maple vinaigrette with the buttery, toasted waffle croutons, toasted almonds and dried cranberries is just so much fun.

The waffle croutons are the perfect balance of crunchy and chewy and the dried cranberries are such a great complement to the tangy maple dressing.

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oven roasted cabbage

Oh my word.  How have I not had this deliciousness in my life before now??

I adore cabbage.  Always have.

My mom used to make me big bowls of steamed cabbage with butter and salt for lunch when I was little, and I have loved it that way ever since.

So, I guess I never thought about trying something new…

If it’s not broke, don’t fix it, right??

Well, I wish I had tried this years ago, because I am absolutely hooked on this new version of my beloved cabbage!

Unfortunately my sweet little nursling was not as fond of this treat as I was, so it will be a while before I will be able to make this again, but I will enjoy it oh so much when I can!

And if you think you don’t like cabbage…  try this, k?  You just might become a convert!!

oven roasted cabbage

Ingredients

  • 1 head green cabbage
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • salt & pepper, to taste

Directions

Preheat the oven to 400ºF. Line a baking sheet with foil.

Remove the outer leaves of the cabbage and discard. Cut the cabbage straight down into several thick slices.

Lay the slices out on the baking sheet, and then drizzle generously with olive oil and salt & pepper.

Roast for about 30 minutes, until the cabbage is starting to brown. Serve immediately, with more salt & pepper to taste!

http://sweetannas.com/2013/02/oven-roasted-cabbage.html

spicy pesto chicken with wilted fresh baby spinach

This meal was a delicious surprise born out of necessity.

I need to eat more greens and protein for this baby and I have been having a hard time doing that.  Nothing sounds or tastes good.

Until this, that is!

I made my homemade pesto sauce, but loaded it up with crushed red pepper flakes because I love a kick.

Then I warmed some of it up on the stove with some grilled chicken breast and tossed in a ton of fresh baby spinach until it was all coated and jut barely wilted with the warm pesto sauce.

I was so worried that all would be able to think about was the noodles that I was wishing were on my plate with this, but I didn’t miss them at all!  In fact, I made it again the next day and ate it twice!!

Try this sometime if you need a good protein/greens meal and are getting tired of cold salads like I am!  :o)

Spicy Pesto Chicken with Wilted Fresh Baby Spinach Recipe
serves 2

Ingredients:
1/4 cup or so homemade spicy pesto sauce*
1 chicken breast, grilled or sautéed and sliced
3-4 large handfuls fresh baby spinach

Directions:
In a large pan over medium heat, warm the pesto sauce and chicken together.  Once they are both nice and warm, toss in the spinach, turning and stirring often until coated with the pesto sauce and just as wilted as you like (I prefer mine barely warmed, and not too soft!)

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*Spicy Pesto Sauce Recipe

Ingredients:
2 cups packed fresh basil leaves
1/4 cup toasted pine nuts
1 garlic clove
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes, to taste
1/2 cup (or so) extra virgin olive oil
salt & pepper, to taste
1/2 cup fresh grated parmesan cheese

Directions:
In your food processor, place the basil, toasted pine nuts, garlic, and red pepper flakes. Pulse until everything is finely chopped.

Turn the food processor on and slowly stream in the olive oil until you have a smooth, creamy consistency.
Store any leftover in a small jar in the fridge with a thin layer of olive oil poured on top.

Or you can freeze leftover pesto to use later!

tomato feta salad or bruschetta

This bright, fresh salad of tomatoes, feta and herbs is summer in my mouth.

Tomato Feta Salad or Bruschetta | Sweet Anna's

I know it’s not summer yet, but in this dreary, cold, damp Pacific Northwest, I really really needed some summer in my life!

Of course you can usually get good tomatoes year-round at the market, so this salad can be made anytime you like…

But can you just imagine how amazing it would taste with tomatoes and herbs fresh from your summer garden?

Tomato Feta Salad or Bruschetta | Sweet Anna's

Even my tomato, feta & vinegar hating husband loves this salad, even though he doesn’t like to admit it.

When I make it and put it in front of him, it’s not long before the whole bowl is gone!!

Tomato Feta Salad or Bruschetta | Sweet Anna's

tomato feta salad or bruschetta

Ingredients

  • 6 cups seeded, diced tomatoes (or 3 pints cherry tomatoes, halved)
  • 3/4 lb crumbled feta (preferably French goat feta)
  • 1/2 large onion, finely chopped
  • 6 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 1/2 cup good extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup basil leaves, chopped
  • 1/2 cup italian parsley, chopped
  • salt & pepper, to taste

Directions

Gently toss together the tomatoes, feta and onion in a large bowl.

Add the vinegar, oil, basil, and parsley; Toss gently again and season to taste with salt and pepper.

Serve at room temperature with sourdough toasts or fresh french bread slices.

http://sweetannas.com/2012/03/tomato-feta-salad-or-tomato-feta.html

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You can mix this salad up so many ways…   My favorite is tossed with a bunch of chopped fresh romaine.

You could also mix it with cooked, cooled pasta or quinoa for a great summer potluck dish.  Or of course it is amazing just the way it is!

Halve this recipe if you’d like, but I doubt you’ll have any problem finishing it off!

the best homemade salad dressing

A few years ago we quit buying salad dressing.

Except for, you know… that one bottle of ranch dressing to dip my pizza in, that is.

Instead I like to make this homemade dressing every week or so and we live off of it.  The whole family loves it!

It is healthy and fresh-tasting…  and I especially love that I know exactly what’s in it!  (Unlike the rest of those bottles we finally threw away!)

This is an italian-style dressing…  it’s very light & fresh, but chock-full of flavor!

We call this “Daja Dressing” because I got the original recipe from my friend Daja…  I believe she said it was actually a Weight Watchers recipe, but don’t quote me on that.

I have tweaked it a bit, of course, but the original idea is still there…  and so good.

Even my salad dressing-hating husband loves this!

 
the best salad dressing

Ingredients

  • 2/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup freshly-squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons dijon mustard
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely minced
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon freshly-ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

Directions

Measure ingredients into a jar with a securely-fitting lid. Screw on the lid and shake vigorously to combine. Store in the fridge for up to a week.

(If it solidifies - as olive oil does in cold temperatures - let it sit at room temperature for a little bit and re-shake!)

http://sweetannas.com/2011/08/best-salad-dressing.html