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Asian chicken salad, Chinese recipes, Asian spinach salad

Crunchy Asian Salad with Chicken and homemade Sesame Peanut Dressing – gluten free, healthy recipe, full of fiber and nutrients! Lots of vegetables: spinach, cucumbers, red bell pepper, carrots, sugar snap peas – all tossed in a delicious, homemade peanut dressing, and topped with grilled chicken, toasted peanuts and sesame seeds. [click to continue…]


vegetarian pasta recipes, pasta and vegetables, gluten free pasta, sun-dried tomato cream sauce

Penne Pasta, Bell Peppers, and Asparagus in a Creamy Sun-Dried Tomato Sauce, with basil and crushed red pepper. This Italian-style pasta dinner is easy to make, full of flavor and just pure comfort food. It’s so easy to make – perfect for busy week nights!

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Mexican recipe, Mexican dinner, Mexican mac and cheese recipe

Chili Pasta Skillet – Mexican-style mac and cheese!   Everything is cooked in one skillet: elbow macaroni, black beans, green chilies, tomatoes! The clean-up is a breeze! [click to continue…]

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strawberry cake from scratch, chocolate chip sour cream cake, strawberry bars

Strawberry Sour Cream Cake Bars with Chocolate Chips – delicious Spring and Summer dessert! The texture is very light and fluffy, and chocolate chip covered strawberries on top take this sour cream cake to the next level!

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sauteed spinach, cooked spinach, cooked spinach recipes, spinach recipes

Best cooked spinach, with garlic, freshly squeezed lemon juice, and topped with lemon zest (peel)! Tasty, quick, healthy, and beautiful side dish! Goes great with pasta, grilled meats, steak, and chicken. It’s very easy to make, inexpensive, paleo, vegetarian, vegan, and gluten free! [click to continue…]


Lemon Ginger Chicken Thighs

chicken recipe in a skillet, chicken dinner

Lemon Ginger Chicken Thighs. These bone-in, skin-on chicken are so easy to cook – they always come out flavorful and moist, NO FAIL! Easy-to-make (35-minutes from-start-to-finish), budget-friendly weeknight dinner recipe! Gluten free! [click to continue…]


Caesar salad recipe, homemade Caesar salad

Caesar Salad with Cannellini Beans and Avocado – healthy, vegetarian salad. Creamy, rich Cannellini Beans are a great, gluten-free alternative to bread croutons!

gluten free Caesar salad, gluten free salads, gluten free appetizers

I love white beans in salads – and they are a great addition to the Romaine lettuce salad with classic Caesar dressing. So good! Everybody raved about this recipe, even the kids! While this salad wins the prize of being everyone’s favorite, it is extra special for those of us on gluten free diet, because it is gluten free! [click to continue…]


spinach artichoke dip healthy, hot spinach artichoke dip, how to make spinach artichoke dip

Easy Spinach Artichoke Dip – made in just 30 minutes, from scratch, very easy and delicious! Can’t beat homemade dip! And, it’s gluten free! [click to continue…]


Apple Cranberry Spinach Salad with Pecans, Avocados (and Balsamic Vinaigrette Dressing)

This Apple Cranberry Spinach Salad with Pecans, Avocados (and Marzetti® Simply Dressed® Balsamic Vinaigrette Dressing) is so good, you might as well double the recipe when you’re making it! The recipe is filled with so much flavor, that I’m having a hard time finding the right words to describe it but I will try. :) Let’s start with the salad ingredients. They are amazing: fresh produce (spinach), combined with fresh fruit, nuts, and dried cranberries:

Apple Cranberry Spinach Salad with Pecans, Avocados (and Balsamic Vinaigrette Dressing)

Look how pretty the salad looks when all ingredients are mixed together. Just look at all those natural colors. I love to make salads that use the most vibrantly colored fruits and vegetables:

Apple Cranberry Spinach Salad with Pecans, Avocados (and Balsamic Vinaigrette Dressing)

But what really boosts the flavor of this salad and combines all the fresh fruit and the fresh produce together so well is the amazing dressing: Marzetti Simply Dressed Balsamic Vinaigrette. The dressing is so good that my husband, who never eats salads for lunch, ate a whole bowl of it at noon and asked for seconds! Eating a huge amount of salad for lunch is so out-of-the character for my husband that I was shocked.  It is really one of the best tasting store-bought balsamic vinaigrettes that I ever tried!

Apple Cranberry Spinach Salad with Pecans, Avocados (and Balsamic Vinaigrette Dressing)

What I also love about this dressing is that it uses a minimal number of simple ingredients, such as extra virgin olive oil, balsamic vinegar, sea salt, etc. It has no MSG, no high fructose corn syrup, no artificial flavors or colors added. I see this dressing as a great way to incorporate more fresh green leafy vegetables, fresh fruit, and other produce into my family’s diet. Perfect for a fresh lifestyle!

Apple Cranberry Spinach Salad with Pecans, Avocados (and Balsamic Vinaigrette Dressing)

There is something else that I really appreciate about this dressing. I am currently gluten free. Naturally, first thing I did was to visit the Marzetti Simply Dressed website, and, lo and behold, all of their dressings (except Ginger Sesame) are clearly marked as gluten-free! Few things in life make me happier these days than seeing a clear gluten free label on a product I like! :)

Apple Cranberry Spinach Salad with Pecans, Avocados (and Balsamic Vinaigrette Dressing)

Because Marzetti Simply Dressed dressings have no preservatives, they have to be refrigerated, so make sure to look for them in the refrigerated section of grocers’ produce departments. You will definitely find me looking and searching for more flavors of this brand: I really want to try their Champagne Salad Dressing, Pomegranate Salad Dressing, or Strawberry Poppyseed Salad Dressing, to name just a few!

Apple Cranberry Spinach Salad with Pecans, Avocados (and Balsamic Vinaigrette Dressing)

Make sure not to add the dressing to the salad until serving time, otherwise the spinach will wilt quickly. Add the dressing right before you’re ready to serve! Also, drizzle just enough dressing to coat the leaves–don’t pour all of it at once–let your taste buds be your guide and use just enough to coat the salad lightly! Enjoy!

Apple Cranberry Spinach Salad with Pecans, Avocados (and Balsamic Vinaigrette Dressing)

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 30 minutes

Yield: 4 servings

Apple Cranberry Spinach Salad with Pecans, Avocados (and Balsamic Vinaigrette Dressing)


  • 10 oz fresh baby spinach (about 10 cups of torn leaves)
  • 1 Granny Smith apple, sliced
  • 1 Gala apple, sliced
  • 1 or 2 avocados, sliced
  • 1 cup pecan halves
  • 2 whole fresh mandarin oranges, peeled; or 1 can of mandarin oranges, drained
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • Marzetti® Simply Dressed® Balsamic Vinaigrette Dressing


  1. Chop 1/4 cup of pecan halves into smaller bites - set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, combine all salad ingredients except for 1/4 cup of chopped pecan halves.
  3. Drizzle the salad with the dressing and toss. Sprinkle chopped pecans on top of the salad. Serve immediately.

Note: This post is sponsored by Marzetti and the product has been provided by them. The opinions and ideas expressed are my own.

How will you use Marzetti Simply Dressed refrigerated salad dressings to make fresh and simple meals for you and your family? Leave a comment below to enter for a chance to win a $100 Visa gift card.

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2. Tweet (public message) about this promotion; including exactly the following unique term in your tweet message: “#SweepstakesEntry”; and leave the URL to that tweet in a comment on this post

3. Blog about this promotion, including a disclosure that you are receiving a sweepstakes entry in exchange for writing the blog post, and leave the URL to that post in a comment on this post

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This giveaway is open to US Residents age 18 or older. Winners will be selected via random draw, and will be notified by e-mail. The notification email will come directly from BlogHer via the sweeps@blogher email address. You will have 72 hours to respond; otherwise a new winner will be selected.

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This sweepstakes runs from 4/1/2015 – 5/31/2015.

Be sure to visit the Marzetti® Simply Dressed® brand page on BlogHer.com where you can read other bloggers’ posts!


easy white chicken chili, easy chili, easy chili recipes

White Chicken Chili with Pinto Beans, Chickpeas, and Corn. Topped with Mexican (or Cheddar) shredded cheese, crushed tortilla chips, and sour cream. Easy and delicious! [click to continue…]


stir fry cabbage, beef and cabbage stir fry, Asian cabbage, Asian beef

Asian Beef, Broccoli, and Cabbage Stir-Fry – so easy-to-make and healthy! Cabbage is cooked in a simple homemade Asian sauce until soft and very flavorful! Great dinner or side dish! [click to continue…]