travel, hike, eat. repeat.

my adventures are often on a budget… and always clumsy.

spinach salad with bacon vinaigrette

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I love salad.

Sometimes.

Sometimes I love salad.

I always love french fries. Always. And I always love pizza. Those are my two favorite foods. Sure, I jazz them up, and I pretend to be *quite* the connoisseur (a fancyschmancy way of saying, I eat them in all quantities and styles, all of the time).

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MINE ALL MINE GIMME GIMME!

If I loved salad like I love french fries and pizza (sometimes together, as one meal. I’m gross. Let’s deal with that.), I would weigh negative weight. Because right now I weigh some weight, an amount of weight. And it’s all pizza and french fries.

But it might just have happened, last night, in the heat of my kitchen, that I found a salad that I love almost as much as I love pizza and french fries.

I stepped on a scale this morning. I definitely expected to have lost all of my pizza and french fries weight overnight. I mean, I ate a large freaking salad. Alas. Apparently you have to stop eating pizza and french fries and continuously eat salad for some time for the scale to change. In fact, I had gained .3 pounds. Probably from the bacon fat I used to make the salad dressing.

And to that I say, WHAT DO YOU WANT FROM ME, LIFE?

So, anyway, before I drool over my keyboard thinking about this salad and pizza and french fries and how now I want to eat all 3 right now, let me give you the recipe.

This salad is freakishly good. You have been warned.

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They’re like big orange french fries… from the ground!

Adapted from Smitten Kitchen. It’s that salad. It’s her salad but even more on crack.

I used Smitten Kitchen’s recipe nearly exactly, with some changes and editions. (1) I don’t measure things. I season and chop and dice by what looks right. (2) I added several things.

My additions:

8-10 Brussels sprouts halves (again, I eyeballed it, for what I’d want to eat)
1 large chicken breast, halved (half on last night’s salad, half on today’s)
broccoli! I love broccoli! A handful, chopped to taste, or 1 small head with as much or little of the stem as you prefer
a generous handful of sliced carrots

Method

I used a small George Forman grill to cook my chicken breast. While the grill warmed up, I brought a small pot of water to boil. I put the Brussels sprouts in the boiling water for 4 minutes (blanching) until softened. I added the chicken to the grill (used various spices + olive oil) and placed the Brussels sprouts on the grill. I put a small coat of balsalmic vinegar + olive oil + salt, pepper & garlic on the brussels sprouts. I diced the chicken and half the Brussels sprouts and placed in the salad.

(Side note – this is an easy peasy way of making grilled, delicious brussels sprouts. I could eat this every single day. Move over pizza & french fries… to the other side of the plate!)

For the vinaigrette, I used less than 2tbl of the bacon fat, warmed it up over medium heat, threw in an amount of olive oil (again, I eyeball), balsalmic vinegar, honey, garlic, pepper, two splashes of dijon mustard and played with it until it was what I wanted.

TIP: The dressing is delicious, but you only need a very small amount to flavor your salad. Too much will be overpowering!

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