melinda’s vegetable salad with apples, bacon & honey apple vinaigrette

My grandma taught me how to make a wonderful salad last week that is perfect for autumn! She got the recipe from her friend Melinda, who she plays bridge with at the senior center every week. 🙂 This salad makes a perfect side dish, but is also hearty enough for a main course. I brought the leftovers to my writing “office” {i.e. the local library} for lunch the next day and they were terrific!

melinda salad

for the salad:
– cauliflower*
– broccoli*
– brussels sprouts*
– 1 tbsp minced garlic
– 1 package baby spinach
– 1 apple {we used a granny smith}
– 4 slices bacon
– 1 cup chopped walnuts
– 1 cup dried cranberries
– 1/2 cup feta cheese
* Feel free to use a combination of your favorite vegetables, and the amounts can vary of each. We used an equal amount of cauliflower, broccoli, and brussels sprouts, about 2-3 cups chopped of each.

for the dressing:
– 1/4 cup apple juice
– 1/4 cup olive oil
– 3 tbsp apple cider vinegar
– 2 tbsp lemon juice
– 1 tbsp honey

1. In the oven or on the stovetop, cook the bacon until it is very crispy. Set aside.

2. Finely chop the cauliflower, broccoli and brussels sprouts. Thinly slice the apple.

3. Saute the minced garlic in a bit of olive oil in a large pot. Add the chopped vegetables and cook 8-10 minutes, until tender.

4. Add the sliced apple and baby spinach and cook another 2-3 minutes, until the spinach is wilted. Then remove the salad from heat.

5. In a separate bowl, whisk together the dressing ingredients: apple juice, olive oil, apple cider vinegar, lemon juice, and honey, until well combined.

6. Toss the salad with the dressing, crumbled bacon, walnuts, dried cranberries and feta cheese. Serve warm, with salt and pepper to taste.

Hope you enjoy!

stuffed chicken breasts

My favorite homecooked meal {when I was a kid and still to this day} is this stuffed chicken breast recipe my mom makes. It was passed down through my family from my great-grandmother to my grandma to my mom, who learned to make it when she married my dad. It is the meal I always request on my birthday and whenever I go home and my mom asks me what I would like her to make for a special “welcome home” dinner. 

I wanted to share the recipe with you in case you are looking for a special and delicious recipe to serve for a nice night in with your sweetie, family or friends!

Great-Grandma Rahn’s Special Stuffed Chicken Breasts

For the chicken:
-8 chicken breast halves {though this recipe can easily be halved}
-7 oz can diced green chiles divided into 8 equal portions
-1/4 lb Monterrey Jack cheese cut into 8 strips
-1/2 cup Italian bread crumbs
-1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
-1 tbsp chili powder
-1/2 tsp salt
-1/4 tsp cumin
-1/4 tsp pepper
-6 tbsp butter

For the sauce:
-15 oz can tomato sauce
-1/3 cup green onions/scallions
-1/2 tsp cumin
-salt & pepper to taste

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

2. Pound each chicken breast to about a quarter-inch thickness. Put the chilies and cheese strips in the center of each chicken breast, then roll them, tucking the ends under.

3. Combine the bread crumbs, Parmesan cheese, chili powder, cumin, salt and pepper into a pie tin or shallow bowl. Melt the butter in another shallow bowl. Then dip each chicken breast into the butter and roll it in the crumb mixture.

4. Place the chicken, seam side down, in a glass baking dish. Once all eight have been done, drizzle with the remaining of the melted butter.

5. Bake uncovered for 20 minutes, or until chicken is done.

6. While chicken is baking, make your tomato sauce: in a small saucepan, combine the can of tomato sauce, cumin, sliced green onions, salt and pepper. Heat over medium-low heat.

7. To serve, top the chicken with tomato sauce. I like to serve this dish with mashed potatoes and some sort of vegetable, though it is also nice over rice.

Hope you enjoy!

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Time spent: 1 hour
Cost: about $10