Rush Hour

If the thought of salads in winter has you cringing, you haven't spent enough time wandering your product isle lately. Winter is a great time to exploring layering salads. In addition to some great wintertime seasonal fruits and vegetables, items like dried fruit, nuts, seasonings and fun protein sources can be added to salads to give them depth and interest.

This month's recipe is a great combination of fun ingredients that create a textural treat along with a tangy dressing that gives you an extra splash of cranberry. Since dried cranberries feature into the salad and fresh ones feature into the dressing, it's a great tangy 1-2 punch. Tame the tartness with the addition of ripe, juicy pears and creamy avocado. Round it all out with the finest blue cheese you can afford and some spicy green onions and you've got a salad that is in adventure in every bite!

Transform it into the perfect dinner by serving it with crusty Italian bread and a glass of white wine. If you want, you can add shredded chicken and roasted pecans or other nuts to make it even heartier. And stop and consider what a good for you meal it is ... but only for a moment. Otherwise, you'll ruin the experience of pampering yourself that this meal brings as well!

As always, I encourage you to share your recipe ideas and comments. You can always post comments using the forms provided in the articles or email me directly at . Enjoy!

Winter Fruit and Blue Cheese Salad

  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons fresh cranberries
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • Pinch minced garlic
  • Pinch salt
  • Pinch ground black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons water
  • 8 oz. mixed greens
  • 1 pear -- cored and chopped
  • 1 avocado -- seeded and sliced into bite-sized pieces
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 2 oz. blue cheese
  • 2 green onions -- sliced

In a blender, process the vinegar, oil, cranberries, mustard, garlic, salt, pepper and water until a smooth dressing forms. Set aside.

Arrange the remaining ingredients on two salad plates and dress with the prepared dressing.

  • Yields: 2 servings
  • Preparation Time: 15 minutes