My mom started this salad years ago, and it only gets better as the years pass. We call it the Everything Salad. My sister has a unique talent of upping the ante with this salad every time we visit. All you need is baby greens, a fruit, a cheese, and a nut. You can always add more, but the possibilities are endless. The one thing though that I've found that really makes this salad amazing are the sugared nuts. They're super easy to make, and tasty in anything. They make chicken salad the best you've ever tasted. You'll have people beating down your door for these.
I have to thank my niece Ashlee for the spiciness of these nuts. I was making them one day while she was visiting and as I took them off the stove and gave them a little sprinkling of salt she suggested a little chili powder. Love on wheels is how I'd describe the addition. I can't make them without the heat now. It's not real subtle, just perfect. Enjoy these in your next EVERYTHING SALAD as we lovingly call it around these parts, or for a snack, or in your next chicken salad sandwich while skiing. There really is nothing yummier!
Sugar Spice Pecans
1/3 c. sugar
1 c. whole or chopped pecans
In a dry fry pan place the sugar and nuts and put over a medium high heat. Be diligent and stay right by these babies until they're done. I've burned a few nuts in my day, and even the kitty won't eat them:(
Don't stir until you start to see the sugar melting. Gently stir the nuts so they don't burn. Keep stirring until all the sugar melts and turns golden brown. This part goes fast. It takes a while for the sugar to start to melt, but once it does watch it. Poor the nut onto a WELL GREASED pan. Immediately sprinkle with a shot of salt and chili pepper. Let cool and then break up and add to the best salad. Here's the original salad recipe, but I'm afraid I have numerous variations. Last nights was blue cheese, pomegranate seeds, and sugar spice nuts. Hollie makes a great one with grapefruit, and avocado. I also love pears and blue cheese, or even fresh blackberries. Experiment!
1 lb. field greens (Sam's Club is the cheapest place to buy if you didn't grow your own.)
1 green apple chopped
1 red apple chopped
1 c. craisins
1/2 lb bacon crumbled
1 c. Parmesan cheese
1 c. sliced almond
Toss everything together in a large bowl. If you have one of the Tupperware "That's a bowl's" use it. Make the dressing in advanced so it has time to cool.
1/2 c. vinegar
1/2 c. sugar
1 t. salt
1/2 t. pepper
Bring these ingredients to a boil and let bubble for 1 minute. Remove from heat and add:
2 T. balsamic vinegar
3/4 c. oil
Mix together quickly with a wire whisk. It should emulsify and thicken up. Don't place in a container while hot and shake to mix. I've done this and the lid explodes of the container and you will be covered in dressing from head to toe. Not a good idea.