Hickory Dijon Dressing

meadow

On the news the other day, they had a piece about  how Minnesotans love to talk about the weather. I laughed but then paused…you know, I think they must be right because many of my blogs start out talking about the weather! I’m orginally from Nebraska but I must’ve blossomed into a true Minnesotan now because my thoughts do gravitate towards the conditions outside quite often.

A few weeks ago, we woke up to just an absolute beautiful morning! A brilliant blue sky, big puffy clouds and a gentle breeze with just a little nip in the air.  That kind of weather beckons  me to go outside and I think the kids heard that beckoning too because they wanted to go for a walk in the worst way. So the kids and I got ourselves together and we headed for the meadow because out there, we could enjoy the morning in the height of all its glory…

When we reached the meadow, little A. wanted to run and explore while E. was just content  to sit in the grass and pick wildlflowers…

meadow We found a wild honeysuckle bush, filled with blossoms…

 

honeysuckleAnd we laughed when we saw this one, as it looked like it was filled with tiny little  stick pins!…

purple wildflowers
But A. wasn’t interested in flowers, he had found a stick…

meadow

 I could’ve spent hours in the meadow that morning and I think the kids felt the same way. But when we got to the bottom of the hill and came to the woods, we thought we’d save the forest for another adventure…

moss

So after searching for little animal tracks and seeing who could spy the most dragonflies, we climbed the hill to head back home…

meadow

 

 

meadow

But not before picking a few more flowers…

Here is a recipe for Hickory Dijon Dressing. It was born from my love of hickory-smoked anything so why not try to make a dressing out of it to go with a spinach and bacon salad? ( It is also excellent as a dip with chicken nuggets or onion rings)

Hickory Dijon Dressing

Into a blender place:

      3 Tablespoons white vinegar

      1 Tablespoon prepared Dijon mustard

      1 teas dry mustard

      1/2 teas onion salt

      1/2 teas hickory liquid smoke flavoring

      2 Tablespoons sugar

      1/2 cup honey

      1/2 cup vegetable oil

Blend on high speed for 3 minutes. This can be served as a dip or as a dressing for the following salad:

Into a large bowl place:

      9 oz. bag of spinach (thoroughly washed and spun dry)

      1 medium red onion (finely chopped or sliced)

      1 lb. bacon fried until crispy then crumbled

      2 cups shredded mozarella cheese

Toss everything together and then drizzle desired amount of dressing over the salad and toss again. Enjoy!

Mandarin Chicken Salad

 

 

Mandarin chicken saladHere is one of my favorite salad recipes. I love the combination of tastes and textures… the  sweet onion dressing, the salty peanuts and the crunch of the red onions and Chinese noodles.  I go a little heavy-handed on the peanuts( I love nuts!!)  so you may want to use less, if you wish……unless you are a peanut-lover, like me!

Mandarin Chicken Salad

Into a large mixing bowl, put:

      1 large head romaine lettuce (washed and in bite-sized pieces)

      1  1/2  cups cocktail peanuts

      1 medium red onion, sliced

      1 large can mandarin oranges, drained

      4  grilled chicken breasts, cut into slices (* see note at bottom)

      Chinese noodles

Toss and then top with:     

Fat-free Onion Dressing:

Into a blender, put:

       1 cup sugar

       1/2 cup white vinegar

       2  t onion powder

       1/2  t salt

       1/4  t  black pepper

       1  t dry mustard

Blend on high speed for 5 minutes.  Pour over salad….

* I like to use Tyson frozen grilled chicken breasts. They can be found in the freezer section next to the chicken nuggets. They are convenient and oohhh…so delicious!