Is it blasphemy to talk salad in between Thanksgiving and Christmas?
I’m going to do it anyway. Because honestly. Maybe you have some green bean casserole on your holiday table, but that does not make up for all the veggies you should be getting every day during the holiday season.
Plus, all those heavy meals leave me feeling pretty sleepy and lazy – which is GREAT on the day of! Not so great the rest of the week. I like to make sure we have some hearty, healthy meals between all the heavy / sweet / sugary foods that are typically on our holiday menus.
And Dole makes it even easier now with their new Take Aways. I am a little obsessed with these little boxes.
They have everything in them that you need to make an amazing salad. Greens base, a mix of grains / proteins / seasonings, a dressing to match, and some kind of drizzle for even more flavor.
Plus – it comes with a fork AND a wet wipe. And they’re so easy. We’ve loved having these for grab-and-go lunches on busy work days. Everything you need is already in the box, and then, you USE the box as your serving bowl.
Open containers. Dump everything in. Mix together. Eat.
I think my favorite so far is the Mediterranean Feast – so good with the feta and olives in the mix. Yum! I love that they have whole grains, too. It’s nice to have some new mix-ins that you might not have thought of trying before.
And ps: when you’re looking for these Take Aways, make sure to grab some of their new snappier celery hearts. Oh, I have great plans for this. I’ll let you know how my recipe idea turns out.
I am a Dole ambassador and was provided these salads and celery to sample and review. As always, all opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting brands that support us!
Raise your hand if you need a salad after all the marathon eating sessions the past couple of days. I know I do!
Not every holiday dish is heavy, but there definitely tends to be more rich foods this time of year, so it’s only fitting that we celebrate fall and are thankful for delicious, filling salads like this one – after a few days of pie, that is.
It’s all about balance.
When I think fall, I think three things: winter squash, pecans, cranberries. You can put these three things together in almost anything and it will be good.
Squash, pecans, and cranberries in pancakes? Good.
In sticky buns? Good.
In a casserole? Good.
In this salad? So good.
A hearty, well balanced salad is one of my favorite lunches or dinners. It’s filling, but not too much. Light, but enough to keep you satisfied.
Plus, it’s just fun to toss together all your favorite things, add a simple dressing, and mix it together. This is playing with your food as an adult. Put all the fall things in one bowl and call it dinner!
For this mix, I started with one of Dole’s new chopped salad mixes, the Pomegranate – a mix of lettuce, cabbage, brussel sprouts, green onions, kale, carrots, pomegranate-infused cranberries, flaxseeds, and a pomegranate vinaigrette. We added a bit more punch with my favorite fall flavors, a drizzle of olive oil, and a bit more of my favorite balsamic vinegar.
2. You can seriously do just about anything in the center – and I can’t wait to try ALL THE FILLINGS. We’ve done classic. We’ve done raspberry. And now? Pumpkin.
3. It’s the perfect little sweet bite when you need just a little chocolate but don’t want to make an entire cake.
Plus, isn’t it the BEST when you remember you have a secret treat stash in the fridge or freezer? I love keeping peppermint patties in the freezer for this very reason. A cold, chocolate-ly treat sitting there, waiting for you? Sometimes it’s the highlight of my day.
But these are even better to have on hand than a bag of fun size snickers. First of all, those one bite candy bars are too small to be called “fun size”. And these are homemade! You know what’s in them! And you can make them whatever you want.
If you love classic cheesecake, you’re set. If you like fruit with your cheesecake, it’s an easy swap. If – like me (and most people) at this time of year – you want pumpkin everything, these are the perfect little pumpkin cheesecake bites with a crunchy dark chocolate shell.
And in the middle of the sometimes hectic holiday season, it’s nice to have an easy treat you can whip up in minutes. These are great to keep on hand for last minute get-togethers or when you have unexpected company or….just for you, when you’re settling in with a good book at the end of a long day of cooking or shopping or work.
*Best eaten while standing in the kitchen, freezer door open, so you can quickly grab just one more.
Think you don't have time to make dessert? Enter the no bake option. You can make these days ahead, and all you need is a mixing bowl and some melted chocolate. Easy!
1 1/4 cups chocolate chips (semi-sweet or dark)
1/3 cup cream cheese, softened to room temperature
1/3 cup Stonyfield plain greek yogurt
2 Tbsp pumpkin puree (canned or homemade)
1 Tbsp chopped pecans
1/4 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp pumpkin pie spice
Pour the chocolate chips into a glass bowl and melt in the microwave for 2 minutes, stopping to stir every 30 seconds, until smooth and completely melted.
Drop a spoonful of chocolate into cupcake liners (regular or mini size will both work fine). Use a spoon to spread the chocolate into an even layer, making sure that the bottom of the liner is covered completely with chocolate.
Put the chocolate cups in the freezer while you mix the filling.
Mix the cream cheese by itself until smooth. Mix in the yogurt, pumpkin, pecans, vanilla, pumpkin pie spice, and salt.
Drop a spoonful of the filling into each liner, on top of the chocolate base.
Spoon another layer of melted chocolate over the top of the filling. Spread the chocolate out, making sure that it covers the sides and completely covers the top.
Put the cups back in the freezer for at least 5 minutes until the chocolate has hardened.
There are some things that shouldn’t be tried at home.
The chocolate bomb dessert at our favorite place in town, for instance. Even if I knew the steps and had a pretty good feeling about trying it on my own, I wouldn’t even want to CHANCE ruining it. It’s worth it to me to have it every so often and savor every perfect layer.
Homemade pita bread used to be on the “don’t try at home” list for me. There’s this little greek place downtown that has the best gyros and hummus and serves the fluffiest, doughiest pitas, and I love them. I love them so much I’ve purchased bags of them to bring home for our own meals or to freeze to use later. They are the best.
But we don’t always have time to get downtown when I want them at home – and grocery store pitas aren’t worth the money. So I finally decided it was time to try making an easy pita bread at home.
And these did not disappoint!
My favorite thing about this recipe is that you don’t have to bake anything! So besides the rising time and rolling out, these don’t have much hands on time at all.
Once you divide the dough and roll each out into a round, you put it in a hot skillet for about a minute on each side – and that’s it. Honestly!
Perfect pita bread, cooked in a skillet in less time than it would take to preheat your oven.
Next time you need pitas for a meal at home, try these out. Warm, toasty, fluffy pita. They’re basically a new food group.
Thinking of trying some homemade pitas but feeling intimidated? No worries with this recipe. It's simple! Most of the time involved is hands-off while the dough is rising, and the pitas are cooked quickly in a hot skillet. Have these on the side of a platter dinner with hummus, veggies, olives, and some grape leaves and you're set.
1 cup warm water (not hot, but warmer than room temperature)
Mix the water and yeast together, and let sit for about five minutes until foamy. Add 2 1/2 cups of the flour, salt, and olive oil. Mix until a shaggy dough is formed.
Sprinkle the last 1/4 cup flour onto your clean work surface and turn out the dough. Knead the dough for about 5 minutes, until the dough is smooth and elastic. Add more flour (if needed) to keep the dough from sticking to your hands or the work surface.
Set the dough back in the bowl and add another teaspoon or so of olive oil, then turn the dough until it's coated. Cover with a clean dishcloth or plastic wrap and let the dough rise until it's doubled in bulk, 1-2 hours.
Once the dough has doubled, gently punch down the dough and turn it out onto a lightly floured work surface. Divide the dough into 8 equal pieces and flatten each piece into a thick disk. Sprinkle the pieces with a little more flour and then cover them with a kitchen towel or plastic wrap wrap until you're ready to cook them.
Roll one of the pieces into a circle 6-8 inches wide and about a quarter inch thick. Sprinkle with a little extra flour if it's starting to stick. If the dough starts to spring back, set it aside to rest for a few minutes, then continue rolling. Repeat with the other pieces of dough.
Warm a cast iron skillet over medium-high heat until drops of water sizzle immediately in the pan. Drizzle a little oil in the pan and wipe off the excess.
Lay a rolled-out pita on the skillet and cook for a minute, until you see bubbles starting to form and edges look set. Flip and cook for another minute, until large toasted spots appear on the underside. Keep cooked pitas covered with a clean dishtowel or in a warm oven while cooking the rest of the pitas. *Pitas are best when eaten immediately after cooking. Leftovers will keep in an airtight bag for several days and can be eaten as is or warmed in a toaster oven. Baked pitas can also be frozen with wax paper between the layers for two to three months.
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This post is sponsored by Red Star Yeast. As always, all opinions and recipes are my own. Thank you for supporting brands that support us!