Autumn Chopped Salad

I enjoyed concocting this seasonal salad, packing it full of the colors, flavors, and textures of fall. And to tie it all together, a lovely fall-inspired maple vinaigrette to drizzle over top.

This would be a perfect addition to your Thanksgiving table. It will definitely be a part of our menu because right now, it’s my new favorite salad!

AUTUMN CHOPPED SALAD WITH MAPLE-DIJON VINAIGRETTE
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6-8 oz. Mixed lettuces (leaves torn or chopped)
1 pear
1 apple
1/4-1/2 c. dried cranberries or fresh pomegranate seeds
1/4-1/2 c. chopped pecans or walnuts
4 green onions, sliced (or chopped red onion, if you prefer)
2 strips bacon, cooked and crumbled (opt.)
2 oz. plain or honey goat cheese, crumbled

Wash and spin dry lettuce before placing in a large bowl. Top with pear, apple, onion, and dried cranberries. Drizzle with vinaigrette and toss to coat. Sprinkle salad with nuts, bacon, if using, and goat cheese. Serves 4.

MAPLE-DIJON VINAIGRETTE

2 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp pure maple syrup
1 Tbsp whole grain Dijon mustard
1 tsp white wine vinegar
salt and pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients in a glass jar. Shake well.

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Crock-pot Cooking: Baked Maple Apples

I’ve been in a bit of a cooking rut lately. To try and unstuck myself, I’ve been checking out cookbooks from the library, reading favorite cooking blogs, perusing cooking magazines. This weeks cooking inspiration attempt is my crock-pot, helped out by the newly released cookbook, More Make if Fast, Cook it Slow, written by the crock-pot queen herself, Stephanie O’Dea.

Monday nights I get home from yoga around 7 p.m. I need something easy for supper. This week I knew I was serving leftovers, but I wanted a little something extra. So, I quickly put together these baked apples. And in two hours we had a nice little treat. Super easy and perfect alongside a meal, or as a lightly sweetened dessert.

We love cinnamon in our house, so I sprinkled these with cinnamon before baking. The orange juice added a bit of a tangy quality to the sauce. If you don’t prefer that, you might try substituting apple juice.

BAKED MAPLE APPLE HALVES
(from More Make it Fast, Cook it Slow)
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2 large apples, cored and cut in half
2 Tbsp butter
1/2 c. orange juice
2 Tbsp maple syrup
Whipped cream, if desired

Use a 6-quart slow cooker. Put the apple halves into the bottom of the slow cooker, flesh-side up. In a small bowl, melt the butter in the microwave. Stir in the orange juice and maple syrup. Spoon the butter and syrup mixture evenly into the apple halves. Cover and cook on low for 2 to 3 hours, or on high for 1 to 2 hours. Serve with a dollop of whipped cream, if desired.