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Salads add color, freshness

At Thanksgiving and other holidays, the salad often gets short shrift. Sometimes it's an afterthought; usually it's an uninspired offering.

Change your thinking about holiday salads by considering a salad's attributes. At a meal where there's so much richness, salad adds crispness and freshness that's missing in stuffing, potatoes, cranberries and casseroles.

And to a largely brown meal, salad adds color. The Jell-O mold, laden with nuts and fruits and sometimes topped with sour cream or whipped cream, is the target of many jokes. But many a cook will tell you there's never any left. It also travels well for a potluck.

Here are some recipes that add color and big taste to the festive table.

Candied Walnut, Pear and Goat Cheese Salad

1 cup walnut halves

\ cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar

5 cups baby lettuce greens or torn mixed lettuce greens

2 cups arugula leaves, torn

1 small red bell pepper, seeded, stemmed and slivered

2 pears, cored and cubed

1{ ounces soft goat cheese, crumbled

Vinaigrette:

2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

1 teaspoon minced shallot

{ cup plus 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

Salt to taste

Freshly ground pepper to taste

In a heavy, nonstick skillet, melt the sugar around the almonds, stirring constantly. Remove from heat immediately and quickly spread onto a foil-covered surface to cool. Break apart, if necessary. Combine the lettuce, bell pepper, pears, cheese and candied walnuts in a serving bowl and toss to coat with vinaigrette. Season with salt and pepper as desired and serve.

For vinaigrette, whisk together the vinegar and the shallot in a small bowl. Add the oil in a stream, whisking until it is emulsified. Season the vinaigrette with salt and pepper to taste.

Makes 6 servings.

Source: www.cooksrecipes.com

Apple & Spinach Salad

1 pound spinach, washed and chopped

2 large apples, cored and diced

{ cup red onion, thinly sliced

{ cup walnuts, chopped and

toasted

2 tablespoons lemon juice

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

{ teaspoon sugar

cup olive oil

In a large salad bowl, combine the spinach, apples, onions and walnuts. In a small bowl, combine the lemon juice, mustard and sugar, and add the oil in a stream, whisking until it is combined well. Whisk in salt and pepper to taste and toss with the salad.

Source: www.allrecipes.com from MasterCook

Cherry-Strawberry Pretzel Jell-O

2 cups crushed pretzels (about 4 cups uncrushed, or 6 oz)

} cup melted butter

\ cup sugar

1 9-ounce tub Cool Whip nondairy whipped topping

1 cup sugar

8 ounces cream cheese

2 3-ounce packages cherry Jell-O gelatin dessert

1 16-ounce package frozen sweetened strawberries

1 cup boiling water

For crust, combine pretzels, butter and sugar. Press into a 9- by 13-inch baking dish and bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes. Cool to room temperature. White Layer: Cream together cream cheese and 1 cup sugar. Fold in Cool Whip. Spread over pretzel crust. Red Layer: Dissolve gelatin in boiling water. Stir in frozen strawberries. Chill until partially set (about 1 hour) and spread over white layer. Chill until set and serve. Serves 10 to 12.

Source: Jell-O.

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