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autumn chopped salad


Autumn Chopped Salad

November 11, 2010
Photo Courtesy of Richard Swearinger, BHG Food Editor Extraordinaire

If you’re stopping by from Pinterest, welcome! I’m happy you took the time to visit Espresso and Cream and hope you’ll stay a while. For more information about me and this site, swing by the About Me page at the top. -Madison

I love my job. Honestly, if I didn’t there would be something seriously wrong with me. To be surrounded by delicious food and stimulating people day after day is a blessing in the utmost sense of the word.

Last night was no exception.

Once a year, the food editors at my parent company get together for a round of meetings and good eats. And for the second time in a row, we have made it a tradition to go potluck-style instead of dining out. Since we have a huge test kitchen, it works out well and is much more interesting than ordering off a restaurant menu.

When food editors gather, it seems a shame not to tap into the talent and creativity, no?

The recipe I made for our potluck is the ultimate in easy and delicious. It’s actually a version of a salad that was passed down to me from my mom-queen of salad and all things healthy and delectable. In fact, it’s one of the only vegetables my uncles and cousins actually seem to enjoy at family gatherings. Not just enjoy. Wolf down and ask for more, to be exact.

I’m already looking forward to Thanksgiving dinner for the sole purpose of eating a salad similar to this. But of course, like all things my mom does, it will taste better when she makes it than when I do.

Autumn Chopped Salad
(Printable Recipe)

*6 to 8 cups chopped romaine lettuce
*2 medium pears, chopped
*1 cup dried cranberries
*1 cup chopped pecans
*8 slices thick-cut bacon, crisp-cooked and crumbled
*4 to 6 oz. feta cheese, crumbled
*Poppy seed Salad Dressing (I like T. Marzetti)
*Balsamic Vinaigrette (I like Newman’s Own Light Balsamic Vinaigrette)

*On a large platter, combine the lettuce, pears, cranberries, pecans, bacon and feta cheese. Drizzle generously with poppy seed dressing, followed by some of the balsamic vinaigrette. (I would estimate that I used about a cup of dressing: 70 percent poppy seed dressing and 30 percent balsamic vinaigrette) If you prefer your salad to have more dressing, feel free to experiment with the combination.

Happy Cooking!



BLT Summer Chopped Salad

March 24, 2014

Summer Chopped Salad | Espresso and Cream 3
Lately Joe and I have been eating warm-weather foods despite our unseasonably cold temperatures. It’s our way of willing summer to come sooner rather than later, and busting out of the monotony of cold weather eating. A few weeks ago we just decided to heck with it, let’s bust out the grill and the salads and the smoothies and just start eating the way we do during the summer. Not only does it taste refreshing, but I seem to have forgotten just how easy it is to cook dinner when the grill is involved.

I’ve mentioned it before, but the most wildly popular recipe on Espresso and Cream is my Autumn Chopped Salad. I guess you could call this salad a follow-up to that recipe with a fresh summer twist. It’s not a diet salad by any means, it’s just plain old delicious. I tend to pride myself on being able to turn people who hate salad into people who love salad with recipes like this.

SummerChoppedSalad | Espresso and Cream

Crisp lettuce pairs perfectly with salty bacon and super sharp cheddar cheese, creamy avocados and juicy cherry tomatoes. Even if the weather never gets any warmer (and I have my doubts) I’ll have this salad to remind me of what summer feels like.

Summer Chopped Salad | Espresso and Cream 2

BLT Summer Chopped Salad
Recipe type: Entree
Serves: 2 to 3 entree, 4 to 6 side
This is an adaptation of one of the most popular recipes on the site, my Autumn Chopped Salad. If you're looking for a fresh, summer salad that works as a side dish or entree, this is your answer. It's easy to pull together and packed with flavor. I guarantee it can make even the biggest salad-hater into a salad-lover.
  • 6 to 7 cups chopped Romaine lettuce
  • 6 strips bacon, crisp-cooked and crumbled
  • 1 cup halved cherry or grape tomatoes
  • 1 medium avocado, chopped
  • 2 oz extra sharp white cheddar cheese, cut into small cubes
  • ⅓ cup poppy seed dressing
  • ¼ cup balsamic vinaigrette
  1. In large bowl, combine the lettuce, bacon, tomatoes, avocado and cheddar cheese.
  2. In small bowl, stir together the poppy seed dressing and balsamic vinaigrette and drizzle over salad. Toss to coat. Serve immediately.


Sweet and Sour Tempeh Salad

December 12, 2011

I got an e-mail from a reader last week asking about how I eat vegetarian even though my hubby doesn’t. When we first got married, I was wondering the same thing! Since I do most of the cooking, figuring out how we could still eat healthfully at home within our dietary constraints was up to me.

This salad is a perfect example of how we eat together. My protein source for this dinner salad was tempeh glazed in a super simple sweet and sour sauce. While Joey’s protein source was chopped cooked chicken breast cooked in the same method I cooked my tempeh. It’s quick swaps like these that make dinnertime in our house easier than it may initially seem.

If you are unfamiliar with tempeh, you can find out more about this vegetarian protein source HERE. It’s packed with health benefits, and from a cook’s perspective, it’s extremely versatile. Crumbled up, it can easily pass for the texture of browned and crumbled ground beef, and it works well as a chicken replacement, as in this recipe.

This salad is a slightly different adaptation of my Autumn Chopped Salad. I know a lot of people have made this recipe after finding it on Pinterest, but mentioned that they wanted it to have a bit more protein. Problem solved!

Sweet and Sour Tempeh Salad
*1/3 cup cubed, raw tempeh
*1 tablespoon low-sodium sweet and sour stir-fry sauce
*1 teaspoon olive oil
*2 cups chopped Romaine lettuce
*1/2 medium pear (firm), chopped into bite-sized pieces
*1 oz. sharp white cheddar cheese, cubed
*1 tablespoon poppyseed dressing
*2 tablespoons light balsamic vinaigrette

*Combine the tempeh, sweet and sour sauce, and olive oil in a nonstick skillet over medium heat. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes until the mixture is bubbly and hot and tempeh is heated through. Remove from heat and set aside.
*In a large salad bowl, combine the lettuce, pear, and cheese. Top with the tempeh.
*In a small cup, combine the poppyseed dressing and balsamic vinaigrette. Pour over the prepared salad. Serve immediately. Makes 1 serving

Happy Cooking!



My Top 10 Most Frequently Made Recipes

September 27, 2012

Do you ever read blogs and wonder what recipes the author behind the blog actually makes time and time again? I do more times than I can count. Since most food blogs tend to be an endless parade of new and exciting dishes, it seems as if every night’s a dinner party where no recipe is made twice.

But I know better than to believe that. My guess is that a lot of food bloggers default to a select few recipes when they are baking and cooking behind the scenes. So today, I’m sharing the top 10 recipes that I make most often when I’m not baking for the blog. In no particular order:

1. Whole Wheat Flax Seed Banana Bread

2. The Only Chocolate Chip Cookie You’ll Ever Need

3. Breakfast Bran Muffins

4. Healthy Pumpkin Butter

5. Chickpea, Kale and Quinoa Bowl

6. Autumn Chopped Salad (or some version of this salad – I usually leave out the bacon)

7. Quick Caramelized French Toast

8. Buttermilk-Blueberry Pancakes (I use this as my base recipe, then customize for what is in season/on hand)

9. Slow-Cooker Apple Butter

10. Lemon-Brown Sugar Chicken

My 7 Links

October 8, 2011

I’m a little late to the game, but I’m finally getting around to doing my Seven Links post after being tagged by Emma a few weeks back. It was so much fun to dig through the Espresso and Cream archives to put this post together. I hope you enjoy!

Most Popular Post: Autumn Chopped Salad
    By far my most popular post has been my fall adaptation of a family-favorite salad recipe. This salad is one that my mom brings to every family gathering and everyone raves about it. The secret is the amazing dressing combination that is made with poppyseed dressing and balsamic vinaigrette. GIve it a try!

Most Beautiful Post: Our Wedding: The Ceremony 
    There aren’t many words in this post, but I think the photos speak for themselves. It was, by far, the most beautiful day of my life and I was thrilled with how the photos captured the joy and excitement of the day.

Most Controversial Post: The Great Meat Debate
    My husband grew up on a cattle farm that raises cattle the traditional mass-produced way, as did my uncle and others in my family. And although I have a great respect and appreciation for meats raised free of hormones with plenty of room to roam, I also have a great deal of respect for the hard-working farmers in America’s heartland. This post still continues to rustle up controversy.

Most Helpful Post: Green Cleaning: Stainless Steel
    My mom actually turned my onto this easy, green way to clean stainless steel. It’s much more effective than any commercial cleaning product I’ve ever tried. My stainless steel bathroom fixtures and appliances look amazing – even my hubby noticed!

Surprise Success Post: Homemade Larabars 
    I had no idea that this recipe would be such a huge success. Thanks to some major play on StumbleUpon, a lot of people are now making Larabars at home, which I think is a great thing!

Post That Didn’t Get the Attention It Deserved: The Only Chocolate Chip Cookie You’ll Ever Need
    This cookie recipe really is out-stand-ing! I was blown away with how it seemed to capture the perfect balance between soft, chewy and crispy all in one cookie. And any cookie that can do all that is a winner in my book. If you’re looking for that signature cookie, this would be the one.

Post I’m Most Proud Of: We Did It! 
    Running (and completing!) our first half marathon just five days before our wedding was such an amazing feeling of pride and accomplishment. Although people told us we were crazy for attempting such a feat before our big day, I was so happy we did it. Training together while preparing for marriage proved to be a great way to grow even closer.