Spinach Salad with Chopped Beets, Goat Cheese, and Candied Walnuts with a Tomato Grilled Cheese.

Salads for me are very seasonal.  There are very few times, when it is raining or windy outside that I crave a salad.  But after living in southern california for three and a half years now I have come to accept that winters here include sun, blue skies, sandals, and on a good day even a sun dress.  After I came to that realization I had to shift my seasonal eating habits and accept that I might want a salad in the winter.

Now, for years I have heard references to “winter root vegetables,”  but actually never tried the classic root vegetable (beets) until this past christmas when my dad decided to make cold beet salad as part of christmas eve dinner.  It took a couple bites to come to terms with this phenomenally new taste coming from those beets but after that I was hooked.  Now, beet salad can sometimes be a little beet overload but when I went back home after that christmas I started getting that little craving for the hearty beet taste.  When I found ready to eat beets at trader joes I knew I would have to create a salad with them in it.  But the package came with about 4 medium size beets so I wanted to preserve them the best I could, and did so by chopping them into chunks and adding them to a spinach salad with sweet goat cheese and those fabulous candied walnuts that I have not been able to get enough of.  I also decided to imitate the fantastic cranberry walnut goat cheese salad from earlier and added about 1 tbl of beet juice to the vinigarette that I was going to put on the salad.  Lets’s just say that that touch just brought the whole salad together.

Now, when making a salad at home for a meal, a lot of people feel that it will not be enough to fill a person up.  But what happens to me more often than not is that I want variation in my meal.  It is hard for me to eat one thing and be happy the whole time.  So in this case, I added that ooey gooey comfort food called grilled cheese, and to add a different touch added a slice of tomato.  It was the perfect warm winter meal.

Spinach Salad with Chopped Beets, Goat Cheese and Candied Walnuts

Ingredients

  • 4 cooked beets, chilled and chopped into bite size pieces
  • 1/2 package of baby spinach
  • 3 tbl crumbled goat cheese
  • 3 tbl candied walnuts
  • 1 tbl beet juice (if available)
  • 2 tbl vinigarette or salad dressing of your choice

Recipe

  1. add the baby spinach, chopped beets, goat cheese, and walnuts to a mixing bowl.
  2. in a separate small bowl combine the salad dressing and beet juice, whisk until blended
  3. add to the salad and toss to coat

Fresh Tomato Grilled Cheese with White Cheddar Gruyere Cheese

Ingredients

  • 2 slices whole wheat bread
  • 1/2 cup grated cheese of your choice (I chose my Trader Joes favorite of White cheddar Gruyere)
  • 2 slices of a small tomato or 1 slice of a large tomato
  • 2 tbl olive oil

Recipe

  1. Heat the olive oil in a nonstick pan over medium high heat
  2. while oil is heating, assemble the sandwich by placing half the cheese on one slice of bread, adding the tomato(es), and then adding the rest of the cheese and topping it with the other slice of bread
  3. add to pan and turn head down to medium low, cover and cook about 5 minutes or until cheese begins to melt and bread begins to brown on the bottom
  4. flip and return lid.  cook another 5 minutes or until desired brown-ness or meltiness
  5. ENJOY!

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