Strawberry spinach salad is great for parties

Wednesday, February 19, 2003


I get called often to help with menu planning for various events. My cousin recently called me for recipe suggestions for a women's church luncheon. In addition to several other recipes I have shared with her, I wanted to share this salad recipe with her, as it is one of my favorites.

Strawberry Spinach Salad

8 cups fresh spinach, or a combination of spinach and iceberg blend

2 cups sliced fresh strawberries

1/4 cup toasted pecan halves

1 teaspoon fresh orange zest

1/2 cup poppy seed dressing

1 tablespoon orange juice

Combine spinach, strawberries and pecans in a serving bowl and refrigerate until ready to serve. Combine orange zest, poppy seed dressing and orange juice; stir until well blended. When ready to serve, toss salad with dressing and serve.

I have made this several times, and it is fun to experiment with added ingredients. Steamed and chilled asparagus and cooked chicken is delicious in this salad. I have also sugar-toasted the pecans and even orange glazed the pecans and both are nice additions to this salad.

I had a request from a friend who wanted to make a Monte Cristo Sandwich. I love this sandwich, and this is the recipe I have used for years and is always popular when served. This makes two large sandwiches with three slices of bread each.

Monte Cristo Sandwich

6 slices whole wheat bread

4 tablespoons strawberry preserves

4 slices good quality ham

4 slices cooked turkey breast

4 slices Swiss cheese

1 egg

1/4 cup milk

Salt to taste

Butter for grilling

Spread 4 slices of bread with 1 tablespoon of preserves. Top 2 slices of bread with ham, turkey and cheese, then a plain piece of bread. Place another slice of ham, turkey and cheese on this plain piece of bread; then top with the two bread slices spread with preserves; placing the preserves next to the cheese. Beat together egg, milk and salt. Dip the sandwiches in the egg mixture, then grill in a buttered skillet until golden brown and hot all the way through. Serve at once lightly dusted with powdered sugar.

Our Recipe Swap friends from Altenburg, Mo., sent me a couple of recipes again this week. You will enjoy the cherry gelatin salad and it is delicious served with baked ham.

Cherry Pie Filling Gelatin

1 (3-ounce) package cherry gelatin

1 can cherry pie filling

Bring 1 cup water to boiling; add gelatin and cherry pie filling. Stir very well until gelatin is all dissolved. Allow to sit until firm.

For the topping:

1 can crushed pineapple, drained, reserving the juice

1 small package cream cheese, softened

Soften the cream cheese by combining with the juice from the pineapple. When creamed and well combined, add the pineapple. Spread on top of the firm gelatin. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Pineapple Pecan Cake

2 cups flour

2 eggs

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 cup brown sugar

1 1/2 cups sugar

1 No. 2-sized can crushed pineapple

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup chopped pecans

Blend eggs and sugar. Add flour, salt, baking soda and pineapple and mix well by hand. Put in a well-greased 9-by-13-inch baking pan. Sprinkle top with 1 cup brown sugar and 1 cup chopped pecans. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.

Zucchini Quiche

3 cups grated zucchini

1/4 cup chopped onion

2 tablespoons parsley

1/2 cup oil

3 eggs

1 cup buttermilk baking mix

1/2 teaspoon seasoned salt

1/2 teaspoon oregano

1/2 cup Parmesan cheese

1/2 cup sour cream

Combine all ingredients and pour into a prepared baking pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until tests done.

Turkey is not just for Thanksgiving anymore. I was in a local supermarket over the weekend, and they had some beautiful young turkeys that looked so inviting on a cold winter day. This recipe was given to me and I am just dying to give it a try.

Turkey with Apple Stuffing

4 cups chopped peeled tart apples

3 cups sliced almonds

1 1/2 cups chopped onion

1 1/2 cups chopped celery

1/2 cup butter or margarine

2 teaspoons salt

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

2 teaspoons poultry seasoning

12 cups cubed whole wheat bread

2 cups raisins

1 cup apple cider or juice

1/2 cup egg substitute

1 (15-pound) turkey

1 1/2 cups water

For the gravy:

2 teaspoons chicken bouillon granules

1/2 teaspoon poultry seasoning

1/4 teaspoon pepper

1/2 cup flour

1 cup milk

In a large skillet, sauté apples, almonds, onion and celery in butter for 5 minutes. Remove from heat. Stir in salt, cinnamon and poultry seasoning. In a large bowl, combine bread cubes, raisins and apple mixture. Add cider and egg substitute; toss gently to mix. Just before baking, loosely stuff turkey with half of the stuffing. Place remaining stuffing a well-greased 2-quart baking dish; refrigerate until ready to bake. Tie turkey opening closed. Place breast side up on a rack in a roasting pan. Pour water into pan. Bake uncovered at 325 degrees for 4 1/2 to 5 hours or until a meat thermometer reads 180 degrees in the thick breast portion of the turkey and 165 degrees in the stuffing. Baste turkey occasionally with pan drippings. Cover loosely with foil if turkey starts to brown too quickly. Bake additional stuffing, covered, for 30 to 40 minutes. Uncover, bake 10 minutes longer or until lightly browned. Cover turkey and let stand for 20 minutes before removing stuffing and carving.

For the gravy, pour pan drippings into a 4-cup measuring cup; skim off fat. Add enough water to measure 4 cups. Pour into a saucepan. Stir in bouillon, poultry seasoning and pepper. Bring to a boil. In a bowl, combine flour and milk until smooth; whisk into boiling broth. Cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened and bubbly. Serve with turkey and stuffing.

A nice side dish to serve along with your wintertime turkey would be maple glazed carrots.

Maple Glazed Carrots

12 medium carrots, peeled and julienned or two (10-ounce) packages shredded carrots

2 tablespoons cornstarch

2/3 cup orange juice

5 tablespoons maple syrup

5 tablespoons butter or margarine, melted

1 tablespoon grated orange peel

3/4 teaspoon fresh ground nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon salt

Add 1 inch of water to a large saucepan; add carrots. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 3 to 5 minutes or until crisp-tender. Meanwhile, in another saucepan, combine the cornstarch and orange juice until smooth. Stir in the remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened and heated through. Drain carrots; top with glaze and toss to coat. Yields 6 to 8 servings.

Where does the space go? I had several more recipes to share with you, but we are out of space for this week. Be sure to catch those next week.

We have two requests this week. The first is for diabetic recipes. I know this is a concern of many readers, and we just don't get that many diabetic recipes shared. So, please, if you have some recipes you could pass on to others, please send those in and we will do a week or two devoted to this special need. The second is for creative but fairly simple side vegetable dishes. This reader uses many frozen vegetables, because she is a working mom and minimizes her trips to the grocery store, the frozen vegetables work well for her. But she would like ideas or suggestions to spruce them up a bit. I understand where she is coming from. If I could find ways to get my children to eat vegetables better, I would try just about anything.

Have a wonderful week, and until next time, happy cooking.

Susan McClanahan is administrator at the Cape Girardeau Senior Center. Send recipes to her at or by mail at P.O. Box 699, Cape Girardeau, Mo. 63701. Recipes published have not been kitchen-tested by the Southeast Missourian staff.

Respond to this story

Posting a comment requires free registration: