Saturday, December 4, 2010

Thanksgiving Pot Luck!

We had a Thanksgiving pot luck & Chili/Soup cook-off at work! Very cool.
I brought a salad to balance out the mass amounts of chili I knew everyone would be consuming.
I love salads with fruit in them, so I decided to make up my own recipe with some in-season fruits, and one that was easy to make ahead of time!

It was so simple to make, and everyone really liked it!

I put baby spinach in first, with a raspberry vinaigrette dressing. 
Then, added layers of :
freshly sliced oranges,
canned Mandarin oranges,
canned, sliced pears (because fresh would have turned brown),
grapes that I halved,
halves and pieces of walnuts
and dried cranberries

...and tossed the whole thing together.

I actually made this the day before, dressing and all, kept it in the fridge overnight, and in the fridge at work all morning, and by lunch it was still great!

Spinach holds up really, really well to dressing and doesn't wilt for a long time.  This made the salad even easier, since I could assemble everything ahead of time.

I sliced oranges the fancy way, and then also added some canned ones. ( in their own JUICE, NOT syrup)
I don't know WHY Joe & Kylie don't like canned Mandarin oranges - I love them!!
But, the trick to fancy orange slices is to peel the orange with a knife, taking off both the peel and all the white part. Then, cut in to each orange section right inside the white part from the left side, then the right, at a V angle, leaving you with perfect orange slices with no white part at all! You're so fancy!

Another fancy tip is to slice all the grapes in half. Not only are they easier to eat without flinging them across the room, while attempting to stab them with your fork...but they look very professional.
I don't think you need a step by step on this one, but I promise it doesn't take as long as you are thinking...just do it!

Now, the canned pears you may be thinking....umm, I don't want my salad to taste like an elementary school fruit cocktail... don't worry! Get the kind canned in their own juice, not sugar syrup, and slice them all evenly, and they really taste good! The reason I did this (I know pears are in season!) was because I knew the fresh pears would brown and look really gross, if I was going to make this all the day before.  Canned pears hold up nicely.

This salad, whether made for 2 people, or 75, is a simple, and wonderful addition to any meal!
So there. YUM!!