Mandarin Spinach Salad

I had almost completely forgotten about this amazing salad! I didn’t even remember what it tasted like, but just one bite reminded me why everyone LOVES this salad. If you take it to a picnic or gathering, leave off the dressing until right before serving to keep the spinach from getting too wilted. I don’t put any celery in mine and have reduced the sugar by half of what the original recipe called for and it’s simply delicious! NOTE: I have adjusted the main ingredients to make a salad for 4, but the dressing ingredients are for a salad that serves 8. So the dressing makes enough for at least 2 salads and the main ingredients can be doubled to serve more. Happy Labor Day weekend USA peeps!

5  cups torn spinach

1  (11-ounce) can mandarin oranges

2  green onions, chopped

1/4-1/2  cup slivered almonds, toasted

1/8  cup chopped celery, if desired

For the dressing:

2/3  cup vegetable oil

1/4  cup sugar (original recipe calls for 1/2 cup)

1/4 cup vinegar

1  tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon poppy seeds

1  teaspoon prepared mustard

1/2  teaspoon salt


Combine the first 5 ingredients in a salad bowl and toss gently. If you have time, cover and chill.

Combine oil and remaining dressing ingredients in a jar. Cover tightly, shake vigorously and drizzle over the salad just before serving. Salad serves 4, dressing will be enough for at least 2 salads.


Adapted from Southern Living’s Five-Star Recipe Collection, 1990





Bean and Salsa Tortillas

I always think that summer will be more relaxing and I will have more time to cook, but it never seems to work out that way! We are still crazy busy, and I definitely still need quick and easy dinners. Since I can get these on the table in 45 minutes or less, I always keep the pantry stocked with ingredients for these delicious and filling tortillas. This is another dinner that can be modified to accommodate your family’s needs. If you are sensitive to dairy, simply omit the cheese or use a dairy free substitute. My daughter puts sour cream, salsa, and more green onions on top of hers and my son piles on more cheese and sprinkles them with hot sauce. A bonus for this dish is that they are just as good, if not better, leftover! Hope your family loves them as much as we do.


1  16oz. can black beans, drained slightly

1  14oz can VEGETARIAN refried beans

2  teaspoons chili powder

1/2  teaspoon cumin

1/2  teaspoon minced garlic (or more to taste)

12  taco sized tortillas

6  green onions, chopped (white and green parts)

Jar of your favorite salsa

Shredded cheddar

Sour cream for serving


Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Combine the black beans and next 4 ingredients in a saucepan over medium low heat. Allow to simmer for 5 minutes.

To assemble the tortillas: Place a tortilla on a plate and add 2 heaping tablespoons of the bean mixture to the middle. Layer with the green onions, salsa, and cheddar cheese. Roll the tortilla up and place it in a lightly sprayed 9×13 pan. Repeat until you have used up all the tortillas (I sometimes use the larger size tortillas if that’s what I have on hand). There is usually bean mixture left and it is delicious dipped with tortilla chips.

Bake about 15 minutes or until lightly browned. Top with sour cream, additional green onions, salsa, or cheese and enjoy!


Adapted from The Six O’Clock Scramble, Aviva Goldfarb, 2006


Cranberry-Apple Sweet Potatoes

This recipe says it can be baked in the oven or put on the grill. To date, I have only baked it, but plan to toss it on the grill now that the weather is warmer. I cannot begin to tell you how delicious and easy this is! The sweet potatoes come out incredibly tender and have the perfect touch of sweet and tart from the toppings. I have served this with chicken and fish and it works well with both. It makes about 5-6 servings, but the leftovers never go to waste around here. Try this recipe this weekend and enjoy the rave reviews!



2 – 24″ sheets heavy duty aluminum foil

4  medium sweet potatoes (about 1  1/2 pounds), peeled and cut into 1/4-inch slices

2  Granny Smith or Golden Delicious apples, cored, and thinly sliced

1/2  cup dried cranberries (original recipe said you could use raisins, but I have always used cranberries)

1/2  cup packed brown sugar

3  tablespoons butter or margarine, melted

1/2  teaspoon ground cinnamon


Preheat oven to 450 degrees or grill to medium-high. If baking, place a sheet of foil on a cookie sheet. Center sweet potatoes, apples, and cranberries on the foil (see photo above). Sprinkle with brown sugar. Combine butter or margarine and cinnamon; drizzle on top. Cover with another piece of aluminum foil and seal the sides to make one large foil packet, leaving room for heat to circulate inside.

Bake 25 to 30 minutes in the oven or grill 20-25 minutes in covered grill until sweet potatoes are tender. Remove top of the packet carefully as there will be a lot of steam and yummy juice in the bottom.