BLUEBERRY-ORANGE-POMEGRANATE SMOKED SALMON SALAD

Bear with me while I say it again: I’m not a fan of fish, and as for salmon… But since it isn’t all about me, I make sure Senior and Junior Too get their weekly quota of stuff from the sea. Fortunately, I chose smoked salmon for this salad, of which I think I just might become fond. Of course, the blueberries, mandarin oranges, pomegranate seeds, Craisins, goat cheese, and pecans played a big part in making this meal a keeper. Enjoy!

BLUEBERRY-ORANGE-POMEGRANATE SMOKED SALMON SALAD

6 cups romaine lettuce

4 cups spinach

1 cup fresh blueberries

1-11 oz can mandarin oranges, drained and segments chilled

1  cup pomegranate seeds (arils)

1/2 cup Craisins

1/2 cup crumbled goat cheese

1/4 cup pecans

8 oz smoked salmon, flaked

Dressing suggestion: raspberry vinaigrette (our favorite is Ken’s Steakhouse Lite Raspberry Walnut Vinaigrette)

1) To large salad bowl, add romaine and spinach and toss to combine.

2) Scatter over lettuce and spinach: blueberries, mandarin oranges, pomegranate seeds, Craisins, goat cheese, and pecans.

3) Top salad with salmon and serve with dressing

Servings: 4-5

CARAMELIZED ONION, PEAR, AND POMEGRANATE BITES

I toted this gorgeous appetizer to my annual book club Christmas party at Neiman-Margaret’s (her new moniker for reasons obvious to those invited into her home) and happily watched it disappear. The combination of caramelized onion, pear, and pomegranate is simply out of this world. And when you toss in a bit of bacon and feta… Fabulous! And not at all difficult to put together. Enjoy!

Caramelized Onion, Pear, and Pomegranate Bites

2 tbsp olive oil

1 red onion, halved and thinly sliced

1 tsp sea salt

4 slices turkey bacon (optional), fried lightly and slivered

2 tbsp unsalted butter

2 pears, cored and chopped

2 tsp brown sugar

1-8 oz pkg Crescent Seamless Dough Sheets (by Pillsbury)

1/2 cup crumbled Feta (or blue cheese)

1 cup pomegranate seeds (about 1/2 large pomegranate)

1 tbsp minced parsley

1) Preheat oven to 375 degrees; lightly oil a baking sheet (I used a rectangular pizza stone and dusted with cornmeal)

2) To large skillet over medium heat, add olive oil; add onions and salt and, stirring often, cook 20 minutes until onions caramelize; transfer to large bowl and mix with bacon

3) In large skillet over medium heat, melt butter; stir in pears and brown sugar and cook 5-6 minutes; mix with onions and bacon in bowl; set aside

4) Unroll crescent sheet and place on baking sheet; using a pizza cutter, slice into 2″ squares

5) Spread onion-bacon-pear mixture over crescent sheet and bake in oven 10-12 minutes until crescent sheet puffs and edges turn golden; remove from oven, scatter with feta, pomegranate seeds, and parsley; serve (you may need to gently slide a knife beneath the crescent sheet to loosen)

Servings: 12

CHICKEN-BACON-POMEGRANATE SPINACH SALAD

Sam’s Club: Four big, beautiful pomegranates for $7.98. Meaning I’m in a pomegranate state of mind and these sweet and snappy little fruits (er, arils) will likely figure into my recipes over the next week–unless Junior Too gets his hands on them. In the meantime, here’s a wonderful way to work pomegranates into a salad-as-entree that had my guys–and me–spearing forkful after forkful right down to the bottom of the bowl.

6 cups baby spinach (or a mix of spinach and romaine–Junior Too’s preference)

1/2 cup matchstick carrots

3 cups deli-roasted chicken, chopped (I used breasts only)

8 slices cooked bacon, chopped

4 oz block swiss cheese, sliced thin and cut into bite-size pieces

1 avocado, peeled, pitted, and diced

1-1/2 cup pomegranate seeds (arils) (about 1 large seeded pomegranate)

Dressing of your choice (but–really!–give Ken’s Steakhouse Raspberry Walnut Vinaigrette a try–it’s perfect with the pomegranate seeds)

Optional: Pine nuts (wish I’d had some)

1) Assemble 4 salads, equally dividing ingredients between them, as follows: spinach, carrots, chicken, bacon, swiss cheese, avocado, pomegranate seeds (and pine nuts if you some laying around); serve with dressing of your choice (a vinaigrette is a good choice)

Servings: 4 dinner-sized portions

POMEGRANATE-AND-PINE NUT-STREWN BASMATI RICE WITH STEAK AND CHICKEN

Our family shared this dish with friends last night and it was a hit. I know: the pomegranate seeds (arils) are pretty, but…really? With meat? With chicken-flavored basmati rice? Yes, yes, and yes. Those tasty little jewels took this dish from what would surely have been quite good to explosively delicious. Same goes for the pine nuts. So roll up your adventurous sleeves and give it a try. P/S: Senior disagrees, but I think this dish would have been better yet had I cut out the steak and doubled up on the chicken. But I’m more of a chicken person 🙂

2 tbsp olive oil

1 white onion, diced

1/2 tsp dried thyme

1/2 tsp ground cumin

1/2 tsp ground coriander

2 cups brown basmati rice

3-1/2 cups chicken broth

1 lb grilled steak (I used top sirloin)

2 cups deli-roasted chicken, chopped

2 tbsp minced parsley

2 tbsp minced cilantro

1/4 cup green onions, sliced thin

1/4 cup pine nuts

1/2 cup pomegranate seeds (you’ll have to dig through the fruit for them)

1) Heat oil in large skillet over medium-high heat, add onions and cook, stirring often, 5-6 minutes; add thyme, cumin, and coriander and, stirring often, cook additional 5-6 minutes until onions are tender

2) Stir in rice; add broth and bring to a boil; cover skillet with lid, reduce heat to low/simmer and cook 45-50 minutes, stirring occasionally, until rice is tender

3) Meanwhile, grill steak to your preferred doneness (I started grilling 20 minutes before rice mixture was finished cooking, allowing time for steak to sit a few minutes before slicing); slice steak into thin, bite-sized pieces

4) Stir chicken into rice mixture and cook 1-2 minutes to allow chicken to warm through; remove skillet from stove and stir in steak; transfer mixture to a serving bowl, strew with parsley, cilantro, green onions, pine nuts, and pomegranate seeds (I used only half the toppings and put the remainder in little bowls to allow diners to personalize their taste experience); serve away!

Servings: 4-6

Note: Adapted from Nigella Lawson’s Mixed Meat Pilaf recipe