Roasted Fall Veggie Salad with Cornbread Croutons

In his book, Thanksgiving, Sam Sifton makes the case that salads have no business being a part of the Thanksgiving spread.

“A salad is a perfect accompaniment to many meals, a hit of astringency that can improve some dinners hugely. Not this one. You can have your salad tomorrow.” {Sam Sifton, via Cup of Jo}

Well folks, it’s tomorrow.

I hope that each and every one of you had the happiest of Thanksgivings full of family, football, and most importantly, lots of good food. Am I right or am I right that you kind of never want to look at food again?

I’m also wagering that you have lots of leftovers hanging out in your fridge.

I’ve been making this little salad at least once a week all fall, and I’ve been dying to share it with y’all. It dawned on me a couple days ago that many of these veggies were probably on your thanksgiving tables, so in the spirit of Thanksgiving, be grateful for those leftovers. They’re about to be a truly great salad.

In the directions, I walk you through roasting the veggies, but really you can throw your already cooked leftovers in there and it will be a winner. It’s completely adaptable, so go wild!

Roasted sweet potatoes or yams with candied pecans? Add it.

The always present brussels that the kids wouldn’t touch? Add them.

Cranberry sauce? Why not?

How are you using up your Thanksgiving leftovers?

Roasted Fall Veggie Salad with Cornbread Croutons

Roasted Fall Veggie Salad with Cornbread Croutons

serves 2-4 depending on how hungry they are

{This genius recipe is from the lovely lady behind Naturally Ella, Erin. Very, very rarely do I follow recipes exactly. There are usually things I add or take away in order to improve or adapt the recipe to our tastes. I didn’t have to do any of that for this ingredient list. It’s pretty much perfection. I do have a few procedural short cuts to add though, so I thought I’d share it.}

1 loaf of Erin’s cornbread

To Roast
1 small sweet potato, cubed
about 15 brussels sprouts, quartered

To Toss
about 2 cups of spinach, {this is your salad base so adjust accordingly for how much you think you’ll eat}
6 oz blue cheese, crumbled

The Dressing
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 Tbsp maple syrup
1 Tbsp sweet whole grain mustard {we use Handelmeier}

Preheat your oven to 350°F/180°C.

Whip up a loaf of Erin’s cornbread and pop it in the oven to bake for 25 minutes. {To keep dirty bowls to a minimum, I always combine my wet ingredients in a mixing bowl first and then place a sieve over the bowl and measure my dry ingredients into it.}

While the cornbread is cooking, wash and chop your veggies. Leaving the skin on, because there are tons of nutrients in that stuff, chop your sweet potatoes into 1/2 inch cubes. Cut off the base and quarter the brussels. Put them in your roasting pan and drizzle with a bit of olive oil, salt and pepper. Give them a toss and put them in the oven to roast for around 45 minutes.

about 15 minutes before the veggies are done roasting, chop your cornbread into little squares, toss with olive oil and rosemary and add them to the roasting pan to toast them up.

While those finish, put your spinach in a large mixing bowl and crumble the cheese over it. Also go ahead and shake up your dressing. {I put all of the ingredients in a mason jar and give it a shake. Super easy and beats the heck out of the store bought stuff in terms of flavor.}

When the veggies and croutons come out of the oven, transfer them to the big bowl and pour the dressing over the whole thing. Give it a toss and serve.

Roasted Fall Veggie Salad with Cornbread Croutons

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Strawberry Red, White, and Blue Cheese Salad

Last summer the Kiwi and I took a trip to Amsterdam, and while we were there, we got some of the tastiest blue cheese in the world. Since the cheese was special {tastiest in the world I tell you}, I didn’t want to use it on just an average meal. I wanted whatever we were going to make with it to be excellent in its own right, but, at the same time, complement the blue cheese perfectly. And that, my friends, is how the idea for this salad was born. The dressing is the Kiwi’s brain child via a Gordon Ramsey TV show he saw once. He originally made it for me as a syrup for my birthday pancakes, so calling it a dressing is a bit generous, but you won’t be disappointed. The amounts of powder sugar and balsamic vinegar here are just guidelines. Feel free to be a bit liberal, it will reduce and thicken either way.

Are you like this too with special ingredients {or any product for that matter}? Do you ration it and only use it on special occasions? I ration pecans too because we can’t find them here in Germany.  We got two bags when we were in Ireland this past fall, but we are down to our last few nuts now. Sad day.

Anyway…

Last month, the Kiwi had a 6 hour layover in Amsterdam on his way back from a business trip. Instead of sitting around at the airport, he decided to head into the city and go in search of more of that blue cheese. Luckily he found it, so naturally the first thing I made with it was this beauty. {Obviously, we’ve made this with blue cheese from the shop and its great too.  I’m just telling you about the Dutch blue cheese because its out of this world and if you’re ever there you should get some.}

This would be a great addition to any summer cookout. It’s really simple to whip up and I promise people will rave!  {Plus you’ll get props for bringing a salad!  You healthy thing you–just don’t mention all the sugar in the dressing.}

Kiwi+Peach: Strawberry Red, White, and Blue Cheese Salad

Strawberry Red, White, and Blue Cheese Salad

The Salad
mixed field greens {I usually use a whole 500 gram bag, but it depends on how much you like rabbit food.}
1/2 cup blue cheese, crumbled
1/2 cup chopped pecans

The Dressing
1 pound of strawberries {3 1/2 cups}
2 Tbsp maple syrup
2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar

Before getting started, wash and dry your greens and return them to the fridge. This will make them nice and crisp.

Start heating your frying pan over medium high heat. Wash, core, and cut your strawberries into fourths. Throw them in the hot pan and add the maple syrup. Stir it in and then add the balsamic vinegar. Give it a stir and then let it simmer away for about 3-5 minutes or until it is thickened a bit and the strawberries are soft but not completely broken down. At this point I transfer it back to the bowl and put it in the fridge to chill a bit so that it doesn’t wilt the lettuce too much.

While the strawberries are cooling down, you can assemble the rest of the salad. Plate up your lettuce and generously sprinkle with the blue cheese crumbles and chopped pecans. Top with strawberries and eat up!

Baked Sweet Potato Fries with Blue Cheese

I can not tell y’all how many times I’ve gone to check out at our local and the cashier will hold up the sweet potato I’m buying and ask me what the heck it is. It happens at least 50% of the time. It invariably leads to other questions which I can’t answer fully because my German is a bit limited. My fall back is always ‘Süßkartoffeln sind sehr gut für Ihre Gesundheit.” which sounds like something a third grader would say. The reason for their lack of knowledge of this magical root vegetable? Sweet potatoes, or kumara in New Zealand, have only been widely available in Germany for about 5 years, so they are relatively new to the German food market. Not everyone has caught on to and embraced the new potato in town. {Maybe they should though. I’m sure sweet potato Knödel would be infinitely better than its current form.}

However, when buying some the other day, I happened upon a little pamphlet in front of the bin from the North Carolina Sweet Potato Commission describing why they were good for you {Vitamin A! Very important for this carrot hater} and how to use them, auf Deutsch of course. I actually considered taking a few with me so I could spread the public service announcement to cashiers at other stores, but I refrained. Well done North Carolina. Thanks for having my back. Just one more reason for me to love you.

Baked Sweet Potato Fries with Blue Cheese Dipping Sauce

The Fries
1 sweet potato
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 tsp salt {or garlic salt}

The Sauce
4 ounces blue cheese, crumbled
¼ cup sour cream
2 Tbsp cream
1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
2 Tbsp plain yogurt

Preheat your oven to 450°F/225°C.

Peel your potato and chop into slices that are approximately 4.25 inches in length and 1/3 of an inch in width and height. Just kidding. Chop them to look like fries. Put them in a medium size bowl, add the salt and olive oil, and toss to coat. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and spread your fries out on it. Pop them in the oven for 30 minutes. Give them a stir about half way through so they are evenly crispy.

While the fries are baking, break out the food processor. Add all of the ingredients for the sauce to the food processor and blend until its creamy and the blue cheese is in tiny chunks.

This is a great side if your making a burger or any sandwich for that matter. I also make them with wings and when I make buffalo chicken fingers {pictured} because then the sauce can serve double duty.

Blue Cheese Burgers

Happy Memorial Day friends!

We aren’t letting the fact that we haven’t seen the sun for a week or that today isn’t a holiday in Germany stop us from a little celebration. So if you need a little last minute inspiration, we are here to help.

It doesn’t get much more American, food wise, than burgers and baked beans, so that is what I’m throwing together tonight. Only, being the sophisticated American that I am {stop laughing}, any old burger and beans just wouldn’t do. This burger is stuffed with blue cheese and the beans are full of apples and maple syrup bacon. While grilling for us is out of the question due to the lack of a grill and the downpour that is happening outside right now, I bet these would be amazing on the grill. Try it. Please? Then you can tell me all about how the smokiness of the grill and the blue cheese went together like peas and carrots–because that is what is happening in my head and its making my mouth water {not the carrots obviously}.

Blue Cheese Burger

{adapted for two from Simply Recipes}

The Burger
1/2 pound ground beef
1/4 of a sweet onion
1 clove of garlic
1 tsp whole grain sweet mustard
1 tsp whole grain spicy mustard
1 tsp worcestershire sauce
2 Tbsp whole wheat bread crumbs
1/4 cup blue cheese crumbles

The Bun
2 fresh buns {I used a pretzel roll or, auf Deutsch, ein Laugensemmel}
1 Tbsp butter
lettuce, tomato, onions for dressing your burger up

Start heating up your pan on medium high heat.

In a medium sized bowl combine all of your burger ingredients except the blue cheese. Once they are all mixed together, pat out 4 thin patties {about 1/2 in}. Pile the blue cheese crumbles in the middle of two of the patties and then top with the others. Pinch the sides together so that none of the blue cheese can escape once it starts melting. Put them in the pan and cook until they are at your desired level of doneness {about 10 minutes on one side with the lid on and like 3 on the other without the lid for us}.

While the burgers are cooking, slice your bun and butter both sides. Once the burgers come out place your buns in the pan to toast them for a bit. Then load your bun up with the burger and whatever toppings and condiments you like. I used lettuce, tomato, and leftover apple salsa from the baked beans.  Grab a glass of tea {or a shandy} and enjoy.