Festive Mixed Greens

1 cup pecan halves
1/4 cup sugar
8 cups mixed greens
1/2 cup sun dried cranberries
1 cup crumbled blue cheese, such as Gorgonzola
1 red onion, thinly sliced
2 navel or blood oranges, peeled and thinly sliced
2 pears, cored and thinly sliced
1 pomegranate, seeded

4 T. pear, raspberry or other fruit flavored vinegar
1 T. Dijon mustard
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
1/2 cup vegetable or canola oil

Place pecan halves and sugar in a small saute pan over low heat. Cook for 2-3 minutes, shaking often, just until sugar starts to dissolve and pecans are coated with the sugar. Remove from heat, cool to roon temperature and break up the pecan halves if they have stuck together. Place the green evenly on a large serving platter. Sprinkle with cranberries, blue cheese and sliced onion. Place the oranges around the perimeter of platter with pear slices in between the orange slices. Sprinkle on the sugared pecans. For dressing, combine the vinegar, mutard, salt and pepper in a small bowl. Whisk in the oil, until incorporated. Pour evenly over salad and serve at once. Serves 6-8.
Warmed Cherry Tomato and Basil Salad
1 pint cherry tomatoes
2 shallots, finely diced
2 T. olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
1 bag baby spinach leaves
1/4 cup feta cheese, goat cheese or grated Romano cheese
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp. garlic, minced
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
salt and pepper to taste

In a saute pan, combine the tomatoes, shallots, olive oil, salt and pepper to taste and cook on medium heat for two minutes or until tomatoes are warmed through and then add the basil to pan. Place in bowl with spinach leaves, cheese, oil, garlic, vinegar and salt and pepper. Toss gently. Serve to once. Serves 6-8.

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