Skillet Cornbread with Goat Cheese and Sun-Dried Tomatoes

Skillet Cornbread with Goat Cheese and Sun-Dried Tomatoes | Cookie Monster Cooking

Skillet Cornbread with Goat Cheese and Sun-Dried Tomatoes | Cookie Monster Cooking

Let’s discuss some fancy shmancy cornbread.  It’s totally a thing.  At least I told my husband it is and he seemed to buy it – so we all know that means it’s true.  When in reality I really just like to say the words fancy schmancy.  Yes, I act like a 10 year old sometimes and I’m completely okay with it.

But really, this cornbread does have some fancy, super good stuff going on.  First, it’s made in a skillet which results in a nice and crispy crust.  Second, it’s stuffed with goat cheese (awesome), sun-dried tomatoes (double awesome) and chives (a nice little bonus).

Skillet Cornbread with Goat Cheese and Sun-Dried Tomatoes | Cookie Monster Cooking

And … it’s actually pretty simple to whip up.  More bonus points.

So you can throw together a batch while you have some delicious chili going on in your crockpot.  Or your favorite soup.  I’ll allow it.

And then you can sit and watch the football playoffs and occupy yourself with the awesome food while your husband freaks out over the game and yells at the television.  Considering the Patriots are on this weekend I have a feeling there will be a lot of said yelling going on at our house.  See why I need some fancy cornbread?

Skillet Cornbread with Goat Cheese and Sun-Dried Tomatoes | Cookie Monster Cooking

And a glass of wine.  I think I’m going to need one of those too.

Skillet Cornbread with Goat Cheese and Sun-Dried Tomatoes

Yield: 1 9-inch round cornbread

Skillet Cornbread with Goat Cheese and Sun-Dried Tomatoes

Ingredients

  • 1 ½ tablespoons vegetable oil
  • ¾ cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 ¼ cups yellow cornmeal
  • 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
  • ¼ cup sun-dried tomatoes, drained, patted dry and chopped
  • 2 ounces goat cheese, crumbled
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh chives

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
  2. Set a 9-inch cast-iron skillet over medium-low heat. Add in the vegetable oil and allow it to heat while you mix up the batter.*
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder and salt. In another medium bowl, add the milk, eggs and butter (make sure the butter has cooled down so it doesn’t scramble the eggs). Whisk to combine. Add in the tomatoes, goat cheese and chives and mix to combine. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and mix until just combined.
  4. Tilt the warmed skillet back and forth gently to make sure the oil is distributed in the pan. Pour the batter into the skillet and use a spatula to spread it in the pan. The oil should bubble and sizzle a bit when you pour in the batter. Transfer the skillet to the preheated oven. Bake for about 18 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean and the edges of the cornbread have pulled away from the skillet.

Notes

If you are really fast in getting the batter ready, you’ll want to give the oil a little longer to heat up.

http://cookiemonstercooking.com/2014/01/16/skillet-cornbread-goat-cheese-sun-dried-tomatoes/

Source:
Cornbread base adapted from Food and Wine.

 

Spinach Salad with Fresh Cranberry Vinaigrette

Spinach Salad with Fresh Cranberry Vinaigrette | Cookie Monster Cooking

Spinach Salad with Fresh Cranberry Vinaigrette | Cookie Monster Cooking

It’s time to mix in some greens with all that butter and sugar I’ve been throwing your way.

And eat some better-for-me food so I can prepare to consume even more goodies on Christmas day.  It’s all about balance, right?

So let’s talk a quick and easy salad.   That has a very pretty colored dressing.  Which gives it bonus points in my opinion.

Spinach Salad with Fresh Cranberry Vinaigrette | Cookie Monster Cooking

The base is a simple spinach salad with my favorite combination of fruit, nuts and cheese – the perfect trifecta for salads in my world.  And then there is that bright orange / pink dressing – a little sweet and a little tangy.  And with fresh cranberries – so seasonally appropriate right now.

A sort of detox among all the cookies.  Eat this for lunch or dinner (with some sliced chicken perhaps?) or serve it as an appetizer for guests.

Spinach Salad with Fresh Cranberry Vinaigrette | Cookie Monster Cooking

And then go eat some more cookies … or fudge … or cake?  It is the holidays after all.

Spinach Salad with Fresh Cranberry Vinaigrette

Yield: about ½ cup of salad dressing

Spinach Salad with Fresh Cranberry Vinaigrette

Ingredients

    For the dressing:
  • ⅓ cup fresh cranberries
  • 3 tablespoons freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • For the salad:
  • baby spinach leaves
  • pear slices
  • pecan halves, roughly chopped
  • crumbled goat cheese (even better if it’s herbed goat cheese)

Instructions

  1. To make the dressing - add the cranberries and orange juice to a small saucepan. Set over high heat and bring to a boil. Once boiling, turn off the heat and cover with the lid. Let stand for 5 minutes, until the cranberries have softened. Transfer the mixture to a food processor (or blender). Let cool to room temperature, about 5 minutes.
  2. Add the vinegar, mustard, salt, pepper and honey to the food processor. Process until smooth, about 25 seconds. With the food processor running, pour in the olive oil and continue to process until well combined. Store the dressing in the refrigerator until ready to use.
  3. To make the salad - in a large bowl, add the desired amount of spinach, sliced pear, pecans and crumbled goat cheese. Toss to combine. Add in the desired amount of dressing and toss again to coat. Serve immediately.
http://cookiemonstercooking.com/2013/12/20/spinach-salad-fresh-cranberry-vinaigrette/

Source:
Salad from Cookie Monster Cooking. Dressing adapted from Cook’s Illustrated Holiday Entertaining 2012.

 

Green Beans with Almonds and Shallots

Green Beans with Almonds and Shallots | Cookie Monster Cooking

Green Beans with Almonds and Shallots | Cookie Monster Cooking

So let’s move on to another idea for a Thanksgiving side dish – these green beans with almonds and shallots.  For whatever reason, I’ve never been a fan of traditional green bean casserole.  You know, the kind with the crunchy stuff on top.  It’s just not my thing.  But I do loveeeee green beans.  They’re one of my favorite veggies that we eat all the time.  So I wanted a way to make them a little special for the holiday, but still keep them on the lighter side.

Green Beans with Almonds and Shallots | Cookie Monster Cooking

And this dish is exactly what I was looking for.  The shallots are sautéed in some butter, the almonds are lightly toasted and together they add just the right amount of flavor and crunch to the green beans.  The end result is a dish that will disappear before you know it … and that you can feel better about eating.  Especially when you are trying to save some room for dessert …. no, just me?

Green Beans with Almonds and Shallots | Cookie Monster Cooking

So, what’s your favorite Thanksgiving side dish?  While I love veggies, my true weakness is soft dinner rolls.  Like these honey yeast rolls or these fresh herb dinner rolls.  I have a feeling both will be making an appearance this Thanksgiving…

Green Beans with Almonds and Shallots

Yield: 4 to 6 servings

Green Beans with Almonds and Shallots

Ingredients

  • 1 pound slender green beans, trimmed
  • ⅓ cup slivered blanched almonds
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 shallots, thinly sliced
  • about 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
  • sea salt, to taste
  • freshly ground pepper, to taste

Instructions

  1. Set a large pot of lightly salted water over high heat. Bring to a boil. Add in the green beans and cook until tender, about 5 minutes. Drain and then rinse with cold water. Pat the green beans dry with paper towels and set aside. *You can prepare the green beans up to this point one day ahead of time - store in an airtight container in the refrigerator until ready to use.
  2. Set a large skillet over medium heat. When hot, add in the almonds. Cook for about 2 minutes, stirring frequently, until fragrant and lightly golden. Transfer to a small bowl and set aside.
  3. Set the same skillet back over medium heat and add in the butter and olive oil. When melted, add in the shallots. Cook, stirring frequently, until translucent and starting to brown, about 3 to 4 minutes. Add the green beans to the skillet. Cook, stirring frequently, for about 3 to 4 additional minutes. Turn off the heat and stir in the almonds, parsley and salt/pepper to taste.
http://cookiemonstercooking.com/2013/11/13/green-beans-almonds-shallots/

Source:
Slightly adapted from Williams and Sonoma.

 

Creamy Mashed Cauliflower

Creamy Mashed Cauliflower | Cookie Monster Cooking

Creamy Mashed Cauliflower | Cookie Monster Cooking

When I was growing up, my very favorite side dish at Thanksgiving was always my mom’s mashed potatoes.  I would load up a huge portion on my plate, passing over plenty of other sides that my brain didn’t even register because of my utter focus on that creamy dreamy bowl of goodness.  She makes a mean mashed potato I tell you.

While I certainly do still love mashed potatoes, this creamy mashed cauliflower has become the object of my affection in recent years.  I’m not exactly sure when the change happened, but somewhere along the way I started to prefer this dish.  I’ve tinkered with my recipe over time, trying to find the best way to achieve that creamy consistency that reminds me of actual mashed potatoes.

Creamy Mashed Cauliflower | Cookie Monster Cooking

And bingo, here it is.  The little bit of cream cheese and milk really help to give it that silky smooth texture.  And oh is it good.  While this side dish is a great option for Thanksgiving, it is something that we enjoy all throughout the year as well.

Creamy Mashed Cauliflower | Cookie Monster Cooking

Getting a decadent feeling while eating lots of a healthy vegetable?  I’ll take it.

Creamy Mashed Cauliflower

Yield: about 4 to 6 servings

Creamy Mashed Cauliflower

Ingredients

  • 2 medium heads cauliflower, florets chopped into 1-inch pieces (about 9-10 cups)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • about ¼ to ⅓ cup milk
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 ounce cream cheese, softened
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt, or to taste
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper
  • fresh chopped rosemary, for garnish

Instructions

  1. Bring a large saucepan of lightly salted water to a boil over high heat. Once boiling, add in the cauliflower and cook until very tender, about 10 minutes.*
  2. Drain and then carefully transfer the cauliflower to the bowl of a food processor. Add in the garlic, milk, butter, cream cheese, salt and pepper. Process until smooth (start with ¼ cup of the milk and then add more if needed to get it to the right consistency). Taste and add additional salt/pepper if needed. Transfer to a serving bowl and garnish with the chopped rosemary.

Notes

*Make sure that the cauliflower is very tender - otherwise it will not blend as smoothly and you won’t have a creamy consistency. If you need to cook it longer than the 10 minutes, go ahead and do so.

**I would recommend doing this in the food processor (or a blender should also work). Whenever I try to do it by hand I just don’t wind up with the creamy consistency that I want.

http://cookiemonstercooking.com/2013/11/11/creamy-mashed-cauliflower/

Source:
Cookie Monster Cooking

 

Easy Roasted Asparagus with Parmesan

Easy Roasted Asparagus with Parmesan | Cookie Monster Cooking

Easy Roasted Asparagus with Parmesan | Cookie Monster Cooking

So now that Halloween is over, it’s time to turn our full attention to Thanksgiving!  This year is going to be a little different for us, seeing as how we are hosting not one but two (!!) separate Thanksgiving dinners.  I know …. things are going to get a little crazy around these parts.  Especially considering my day job is ramping up big time.  Deep breaths.

I’ll go into the two Thanksgiving dinners thing in another post, since I thought it might be helpful to share my game plan and menus in case anyone else is crazy enough to be in the same boat.  But for now, suffice it to say that we are going to keep things simple this year.  You know, so I can keep my sanity.

Easy Roasted Asparagus with Parmesan | Cookie Monster Cooking

Along those lines, I have quite a few easy sides as well as some make ahead dessert and breakfast options to share with you over the next few weeks.  And today we are going to start with a side dish that has long been a staple in our house.  While we make this roasted asparagus all throughout the year, it’s a perfect option for Thanksgiving since it’s easy, has barely any prep and is quick to pull together.  While the turkey is resting, just pop this dish in the oven and you have a delicious and healthier side dish that will be ready to serve in no time.

So, tell me.  What are your plans for Thanksgiving this year?  Anyone else crazy like me and planning to have more than one dinner?

Easy Roasted Asparagus with Parmesan

Yield: about 6 servings

Easy Roasted Asparagus with Parmesan

Ingredients

  • 2 bunches (about 2 pounds) asparagus spears, ends trimmed
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • ¼ to ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • ¼ cup freshly grated parmesan cheese

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Place the asparagus spears on a large rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle with the olive oil and sprinkle on the salt, pepper and garlic. Toss to combine and then arrange the spears in a single layer on the sheet.
  3. Bake for about 18 to 22 minutes, or until tender, tossing once halfway through.
  4. Remove from the oven and sprinkle with the parmesan cheese.

Notes

The asparagus will take on the longer end of the baking time if the spears are on the thicker side (conversely, it will be quicker if they are thin). Keep an eye on them earlier if they are really skinny - I had one very skinny batch that was done in around 15 minutes.

http://cookiemonstercooking.com/2013/11/04/easy-roasted-asparagus-parmesan/

Source:
Cookie Monster Cooking

 

Easy Witches’ Finger Breadsticks

Easy Witches' Finger Breadsticks | Cookie Monster Cooking

Easy Witches' Finger Breadsticks | Cookie Monster Cooking

It’s time to get a little spooky here on the blog.  {insert scary halloween laugh here}  I’m going to let you just think of your own spooky laugh, since my husband tells me I sound like a weirdo when I attempt to do one.  Whatever.  I did my own version in the kitchen several times when I was making these breadsticks.  I think I was having a little too much fun … good thing he wasn’t home to see this all go down.

But anyway, I have a few fun treats ready to share with you for Halloween.  And we are going to start off with some savory recipes.  It’s so easy to get sucked into all the sweet treats for this holiday so I thought it would be a good idea to share some options that will make dinner (or lunch) just as spooky as dessert.

Easy Witches' Finger Breadsticks | Cookie Monster Cooking

And these witches’ finger breadsticks are the perfect place to start.  They are super easy to pull together – all you need is some pizza dough and a few other small ingredients.  They are fun (hence me making creepy Halloween laughs while I made these) and they are the perfect accompaniment to a number of main dishes.  Stay tuned later this week for a healthy spooky soup that pairs beautifully with these breadsticks.

Easy Witches' Finger Breadsticks | Cookie Monster Cooking

So are you ready for Halloween?  It’s time for us to bust out Emma’s squirrel costume.  I think it needs to make an appearance again this year … although I bet she disagrees with this statement.

Easy Witches’ Finger Breadsticks

Yield: 8 breadsticks

Easy Witches’ Finger Breadsticks

Ingredients

  • 1 ball pizza dough*
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • sesame seeds and/or poppy seeds, optional
  • 8 whole raw almonds

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
  2. Place the pizza dough on a lightly floured work surface. Using lightly floured hands, divide the dough into 8 equal pieces (mine were about 2 ounces each). Shape each piece into a rope about 9 to 10 inches long (if the dough keeps bouncing back too much, let the dough rest for about 10 minutes and then try again). Twist each rope so that there is a knot in the middle (which will become the knuckle). You can see a picture of the unbaked / shaped breadsticks that I posted on instagram here.
  3. Place the breadsticks on the prepared baking sheet about 1 to 2 inches apart. Let rest for about 20 minutes.
  4. In a small bowl, beat together the egg and water. Brush each “finger” lightly with the mixture. Sprinkle with the sesame seeds and / or poppy seeds, if desired (I did some with the seeds and left some plain). Press one almond into the end of each “finger” - be sure to press down hard or they will come off during baking.
  5. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until golden brown.

Notes

*I used my homemade pizza dough to make these breadsticks. When making the pizza dough I added few dashes of dried herbs (basil, oregano, etc.). The herbs add a touch of flavor and give the fingers little green flecks throughout - which I thought was a nice touch to up the spooky factor (you can’t really see the flecks in the photos!).

http://cookiemonstercooking.com/2013/10/21/easy-witches-finger-breadsticks/

Source:
Slightly adapted from Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day.

 

Mustardy Kale and Butternut Squash

Mustardy Kale and Butternut Squash | Cookie Monster Cooking

Mustardy Kale and Butternut Squash | Cookie Monster Cooking

Let’s chat about a simple side dish today.  This mustardy kale and butternut squash quickly became one of my very favorite sides last fall.  We ate it pretty often for quite a few months, but then forgot about it once all the wonderful summer produce came along.  But it’s time to unforget.  I’ve already made this twice so far in the last month.  It’s quick, it’s simple (did I mention it all cooks in one pot?) and full of good for you veggies.  And now it’s time for you to make it too.

Mustardy Kale and Butternut Squash | Cookie Monster Cooking

This dish makes a great side for dinner or can be eaten alone for lunch.  The mustard makes it a little special (although it’s not super overpowering) and the red pepper flakes give it a little kick.  The chopped walnuts add some crunch and you get some saltiness from the cheese.  A perfect side dish in my book.

Mustardy Kale and Butternut Squash | Cookie Monster Cooking

Plus it’s nice and healthy.  Just what you need when you’ve been eating a few too many apple or pumpkin treats this time of the year.

Mustardy Kale and Butternut Squash

Yield: about 4 servings as a side dish

Mustardy Kale and Butternut Squash

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 small (2 pound) butternut squash, seeded and cut into ¾ inch pieces*
  • 10 cups chopped kale**
  • 1 cup low-sodium vegetable broth
  • 1 tablespoon whole-grain mustard
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • ½ cup walnuts, chopped
  • ¼ cup freshly grated parmesan cheese

Instructions

  1. Set a stockpot or dutch-oven over medium heat. Add in the olive oil. When hot, add in the butternut squash chunks and cook for about 10 to 12 minutes, stirring occasionally, until it begins to soften. Add in the kale, broth, mustard, salt and red pepper flakes and cook for about 8 to 10 minutes longer, stirring occasionally, until the veggies are tender.
  2. Turn off the heat and stir in the walnuts and cheese.

Notes

*If you’re feeling lazy, you can use about 4 cups of the pre-cut chunks of butternut squash that you can find at the grocery store.

**1 medium bunch of kale should give you the 10 cups. Remove the thick stems and then cut/tear the leaves into bite-sized pieces.

http://cookiemonstercooking.com/2013/09/30/mustardy-kale-butternut-squash/

Source:
Adapted from Erin’s Food Files. Originally from Real Simple.

 

Fresh Herb Dinner Rolls

Fresh Herb Dinner Rolls | Cookie Monster Cooking

Fresh Herb Dinner Rolls | Cookie Monster Cooking

Every year around this time I start to crave soup.  Soup and homemade bread.  Although if we’re being fair, I could really eat soup and homemade bread any time of the year.

I’m not a big heavy soup type of person.  I prefer things along the lines of minestrone, or veggie and tortellini, or a new soup that I’ll be sharing with you next week.  You like that?  Anticipation.  I know you are just dying to know what type of soup.  Right?

Fresh Herb Dinner Rolls | Cookie Monster Cooking

Anyway, I like rolls to go along with said soup.  My reigning favorite rolls to pair with soup … or really anything … are these honey yeast rolls.  But our herbs out back are still exploding and I was looking for something a little different.  But not too different.  Something herby.  See where I’m going with this?

My favorite rolls + lots of fresh herbs = quite possibly my new favorite dinner roll.

On second thought, let’s just say that these are now tied with the plain honey ones.

Fresh Herb Dinner Rolls | Cookie Monster Cooking

So make these to go with soup.  Or whatever you’re having for dinner.  Or just to eat plain, slathered with a smidge of butter.  Soft, pillowy dinner rolls packed with fresh herbs.  You can’t say no to that.  Nope nope nope.

Fresh Herb Dinner Rolls

Yield: 12 rolls

Fresh Herb Dinner Rolls

Ingredients

    For the rolls:
  • 1 cup warm water (105 to 115 degrees)
  • 2 ¼ teaspoons instant yeast
  • ¼ cup honey
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 ¼ teaspoons salt
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 4 cups bread flour, divided
  • ¼ cup mixed minced fresh herbs*
  • For topping:
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • sea salt, for sprinkling

Instructions

  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, add the water and yeast. Mix for a few seconds to combine. Add in the honey, olive oil, salt and egg. Mix again to combine. Add in 3 cups of the bread flour and mix until the dough forms a cohesive mass. Add in the fresh herbs and mix for a few seconds to incorporate.
  2. Switch to the dough hook. With the mixer on low speed, slowly add in the remaining 1 cup of the bread flour. Continue to mix on low speed for about 6 minutes, until the dough is smooth and elastic. Shape the dough into a ball and place in a large lightly oiled bowl. Turn once to coat. Cover with plastic wrap or a clean kitchen towel. Let rise until doubled in bulk, about 2 hours.
  3. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface. Knead by hand for about 30 seconds. Cover with a kitchen towel and allow to rest for about 10 minutes. Divide the dough into 12 equal sized pieces. Spray a 9x13 inch baking dish with nonstick cooking spray. Shape each piece of dough into a smooth ball and space evenly in the prepared baking dish. Cover with a kitchen towel and let rise again for about 25 to 30 minutes.
  4. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Brush the tops of the rolls with the melted butter, then sprinkle lightly with the sea salt. Bake for about 15 minutes, until the rolls are lightly browned and cooked through.

Notes

For the herbs, I used a combination of basil, rosemary and parsley (since that’s what we have in our garden). Feel free to use whatever you prefer. I think thyme would also go great.

http://cookiemonstercooking.com/2013/09/13/fresh-herb-dinner-rolls/

Source:
Adapted from these honey yeast rolls.

 

Summer Salad with Sugared Pecans and Poppy Seed Dressing

Summer Salad with Sugared Pecans and Poppy Seed Dressing | Cookie Monster Cooking

Summer Salad with Sugared Pecans and Poppy Seed Dressing | Cookie Monster Cooking

You guys.  This salad.  It’s my newest obsession.  Although don’t worry, I’m still just as smitten with creamy polenta and bourbon salted caramels.

But this salad?  It is pure summer goodness.  And my new go-to side dish to accompany homemade pizza.  Or to enjoy for lunch with some sliced chicken on top.  Yep, it’s nice and versatile.  Really, I’ll find any excuse to make it these days.

Summer Salad with Sugared Pecans and Poppy Seed Dressing | Cookie Monster Cooking

It all started a ways back when we took a quick trip to North Carolina to find a place to live.  We were pretty excited about the upcoming move so we decided to have a celebratory dinner out.  Sounds fun right?  Well the meal itself turned out to be a bit of a bummer.  Except for the appetizers.  I had a salad with fruit, pecans and poppy seed dressing – and it was fantastic.

So this beautiful salad right here?  This is my at-home recreated version.  It has layers of your favorite greens, oh so sweet strawberries and peaches, salty goat cheese, wonderfully crunchy sugared pecans and a lighter poppy seed dressing.

Summer Salad with Sugared Pecans and Poppy Seed Dressing | Cookie Monster Cooking

I think we all know what I’m having for lunch today….

Summer Salad with Sugared Pecans and Poppy Seed Dressing

Summer Salad with Sugared Pecans and Poppy Seed Dressing

Ingredients

    For the sugared pecans:
  • 1 large egg white
  • 2 cups raw unsalted pecans
  • ½ cup packed light brown sugar
  • pinch of cinnamon
  • pinch of salt
  • For the dressing:
  • 2 teaspoons finely minced shallot
  • ½ teaspoon dry mustard powder
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 2 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar
  • ⅓ cup canola oil
  • 1 tablespoon poppy seeds
  • For the salad:
  • mixed greens
  • sliced strawberries
  • sliced peaches
  • crumbled goat cheese

Instructions

    To make the sugared pecans:
  1. Preheat the oven to 250 degrees. Spray a rimmed baking sheet with nonstick cooking spray and set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk the egg white until it is white and slightly frothy. Add in the pecans and toss until the nuts are coated with the egg white. In a small bowl, whisk together the brown sugar, cinnamon and salt (making sure there are no clumps). Add the sugar mixture to the bowl with the pecans and mix until well combined (and all of the sugar is sticking to the pecans).
  3. Spread the pecans evenly on the prepared baking sheet. Bake for about 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes. The nuts should be dry and the coating should not come off on your fingers.
  4. To make the dressing:
  5. Add the shallot, mustard powder, salt, sugar, honey and vinegar to the bowl of a food processor (or blender). Process until thoroughly combined, about 15 seconds. Slowly stream in the oil, blending until combined. Add in the poppy seeds and pulse until incorporated.
  6. To assemble the salad:
  7. In a large bowl, add the desired amount of lettuce, strawberries, peaches, goat cheese and sugared pecans. Toss to combine. Add in the desired amount of dressing and toss again to coat. Serve immediately.
http://cookiemonstercooking.com/2013/07/26/summer-salad-with-sugared-pecans-and-poppy-seed-dressing/

Source:
Salad and pecans from Cookie Monster Cooking.  Dressing from Pink Parsley.  Originally from The Pastry Queen Christmas.