Strawberry & Goat Cheese Salad with 3-Minute Strawberry Balsamic Dressing.

 Up your salad game with this restaurant-style Strawberry & Goat Cheese Salad! A quick but impressive 3-minute Strawberry Balsamic Dressing ties it all together.

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May = Strawberries!
And, also the end of the school year. Womp womp. It’s always bittersweet!
I have been creating lots of delicious recipes for you the past month, so get ready for lots of cooking and baking inspiration to come your way this summer!

Today I’m sharing TWO summer ideas with you. One is a salad, and the other is a 5-ingredient dressing that will be ready in 3-minutes or less AND will compliment the salad perfectly! I even have a bonus mini-recipe for candied almonds at the bottom of the post!

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So, this salad. Just look at it! Swoon. I love adding fruit to my salad for a little natural sweetness, and ripe strawberries are the perfect way to achieve that. This Strawberry and Goat Cheese Salad is perfect for serving company or just enjoying on a weeknight. It’s simple. Ready?

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Spring mix.
Ripe strawberries.
Sliced/slivered almonds for some fun crunchy texture.
My 3-minute strawberry balsamic dressing (recipe below).
Crumbled goat cheese aka chèvre.
The goat cheese is slightly tangy but suuuuuuuuper creamy and compliments the strawberries perfectly. SO. GOOD.

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And then there’s this strawberry balsamic dressing. I’ve been making it for about 6 years now and it never disappoints. My husband isn’t the biggest fan of strawberries but he LOVES this dressing.

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This dressing is sooo quick and easy to make (3 minutes max!). There’s absolutely no reason to buy dressing when this is so easy to make. And, unlike some pre-packaged fruit dressings, there are no food dyes here; that beautiful pink color comes straight from 5 whole strawberries! I love how naturally colorful food can be.

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You’ll have to use some sort of blender to blend the strawberries together with the other ingredients. I used to use my immersion blender, but now that we have a Vitamix, I use it instead. It cleans itself so it’s just a little more convenient! But seriously, use whatever blending appliance you’ve got. Even a food processor should work nicely here.

Along with the strawberries, you’ll add olive oil, balsamic vinegar, lemon juice, a little honey and a touch of salt. Blend it up and BOOM. Done! I like to store my homemade dressings in mason jars so I can give it a quick shake before serving, but you can store it however you want in the fridge.

3-Minute Strawberry Balsamic Dressing

Ingredients:

  • 5 large strawberries, ends cut off
  • 2 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1-1 1/2 Tablespoons honey (use 1 Tablespoon unless your berries aren’t very sweet, in which case add a little more)
  • 1/4 tsp salt

1). Combine all ingredients in a food processor, immersion blender, regular blender, etc. Blend until smooth.

2). Serve immediately or store in the fridge. Enjoy!

Servings: about 8. Approximate Nutritional Information per Serving: Calories: 46 Carbs: 4g Fat: 4g Protein: 0g Fiber: 0g Points+: 1
Recipe courtesy of Audrey’s Apron.

Strawberry and Goat Cheese Salad

Ingredients:

  • Spring mix
  • Ripe strawberries, hulled and quartered
  • Sliced or slivered almonds*
  • Crumbled goat cheese
  • Strawberry Balsamic dressing from above

1). Add all ingredients to a bowl (I eyeball the measurements depending on what size crowd I’m feeding) and toss together. Serve immediately!

*Note: If you want to get really fancy, make your own candied almonds by sprinkling 3 T brown sugar in a skillet over medium heat. Add 1 T water as it heats up to help it dissolve. Watch carefully as the sugar and water come to a boil, then, when the water burns off, you will notice a change in the bubbles. Instead of being wet, they will start to thicken and turn darker. That’s when you add 1/4 cup slivered almonds. Toss them around, let them cool, then add them to the salad!

Recipe courtesy of Audrey’s Apron.

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Homemade Strawberry Shortcake.

Happy Strawberry Shortcake Day!! This is the perfect excuse to share my strawberry shortcake recipe with you. It’s one of my favorites. The simplicity of sweet strawberries, whipped cream, and a homemade shortcake screams summertime dessert.

Title Strawberry Shortcake
Many people turn to store-bought cake as the base of their strawberry shortcake. Is it easier? Sure. Does it taste as good? Not a chance! Homemade is always best. If you have a cookout or party planned, add this to the dessert menu. It’s easy to make ahead for guests because you can chop up your strawberries, make your whipped cream, AND make the shortcakes before they arrive. You could even let your guests assemble their own!

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I really want to turn your attention to the foundation of the shortcake. It’s a cross between a cake and a biscuit. No, it’s not exactly the same kind you’d eat for breakfast, but it is close. It’s much sweeter than a traditional biscuit (and sooooo, so good!). I’ll go ahead and warn you–it’s not healthy. I tried to make a healthier version and it was awful! Just treat this like the dessert it is and indulge sparingly. So, back to the star of this sweet treat. In addition to being rustic and unique, there’s one major reason to use this shortcake instead of angel food cake as your base: it’s sturdy enough to really handle the juices from the strawberries without falling apart or getting mushy. It’s buttery, flaky but dense, golden, sweet, and delicious.

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If you have ever made biscuits or pie crusts in the past, you probably already have an idea of the steps involved. If you’ve never made anything like this before, don’t worry! This is one of the first biscuit recipes I ever made and it’s very easy, perfect for beginners. I’m going to take you through the process with step-by-step photos. These are drop biscuits, which means once you have the dough combined you literally just drop them on the baking pan. They’re not supposed to be perfect! Start by putting all your dry ingredients (flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt) into a bowl like this:

dry ingredients
Next add in very cold butter. Use a pastry blender (or two knives) to cut the butter into the flour until it looks like this:

adding butter
Now, in another small bowl whisk together the egg, sour cream, and milk. Add it to the butter/flour mixture and combine. I used a fork to stir everything together. Your dough may be a little crumbly, but it should be able to adhere to itself well if you press it together. Here’s a visual:

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Time to form the biscuits! Like I said earlier, just take (mostly) even amounts of dough and drop them on a baking pan. Warning: it will be VERY, very, sticky and you will get dough stuck all over your hands, so you may want to use a spoon to help you do this!

buiscit prebaked
When the biscuits are done baking, allow them to cool on a wire rack. Now you’re ready to assemble! Gently cut the biscuit in half. Add a small dollop of whipped cream, strawberries, and the other half of the biscuit. Top with more whipped cream and strawberries and you’re ready to eat!

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Homemade Strawberry Shortcake

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/3 cup cold butter, cut into cubes
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1/2 cup sour cream (I used light)
  • 2 tbsp milk (I used skim)
    For the topping:
  • 5 cups sliced strawberries
  • 2-3 tbsp sugar (this helps bring out the sweetness and juices in the strawberries but is optional)
  • Homemade whipped cream

1). Pre-heat the oven to 400F. Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray, if needed (mine does not). Combine the strawberries and sugar in a small bowl. Make the whipped cream. Refrigerate both the strawberries and whipped cream as you prepare the shortcakes.

2). In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and baking soda. Use a pastry blender or two knives to cut the cold butter into the dry ingredients. Continue until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs (see picture in post, if necessary).

3). In a small bowl, beat together the egg, milk, and sour cream. Add this to the butter/flour mixture. Use a fork to mix everything together until just moistened. Be careful not to overmix.

4). Drop the dough into 8 mounds on the baking sheet. Bake for 12-15 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from oven and allow them to cool on a wire rack.

5). To assemble: gently cut the shortcakes in half. Add strawberries and whipped cream. Top with the second half and add a few more strawberries and whipped cream.

Recipe from: http://alyssabyoung.com/blog/2010/03/24/strawberry-shortcake/
Servings: 8. Nutritional Information per serving: Calories: 367 Carbs: 39 g Fat: 22g Protein: 5g Fiber: 2g Points+: 10

Cucumber, Strawberry, and Feta Salad.

Strawberry season is here!! One of my best friends and I went to a local farm to pick fresh strawberries this week, and although I already froze and ate some plain, I wanted to incorporate them into a salad. Last year I really enjoyed this strawberry and baby kale salad, and this year I think my new favorite will be this cucumber and strawberry salad!

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I know what you’re thinking: cucumbers and strawberries?! Yes. Surprisingly they go very well together. I’m kicking out the tomatoes from the traditional cucumber/tomato salad and replacing them with another bright red fruit: strawberries.

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Reasons to love this salad:

-It is light and refreshing.

Chilled cucumbers and strawberries together? Cool and crisp!

-It requires only 4 ingredients.

Just cucumbers, strawberries, feta cheese, and a poppyseed dressing.

-It is quick and easy. 

Chop your cucumbers and strawberries, sprinkle some feta, pour the dressing, mix and you’re done!

-It is an unexpected combination.

Everyone expects to see cucumbers and tomatoes together. Why not change it up and use strawberries?

-It is a beautiful color combination.

Bright green cucumbers and red strawberries with a sprinkle of white feta in-between? It’s practically art in a bowl.

-Everyone seems to love it!

I can’t tell you how many people have raved about this salad! It’s a winner, for sure.

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Now, I am typically all about making your own salad dressings. After all, I already have several posted on the blog: creamy garlic, red pepper jelly vinaigrette, chia seed dressingavocado ranch, and a tangy blackberry balsamic. In this case, I did take a shortcut because of time restraints and bought Panera’s poppyseed dressing. If you have time to make your own, do it. If not, I was quite pleased with the flavor of this one and would recommend it. There are certainly more ingredients listed on the label than what you would use if you make your own, but that’s almost always the case with store-bought products.

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So, are you looking for a new way to sneak strawberries into a meal? Want to try a light and refreshing salad? You should really try this one; it just might become your new favorite!

Cucumber, Strawberry & Feta Salad.

Ingredients:

  • 2 large cucumbers, peeled and chopped
  • 4 cups strawberries, washed and chopped
  • 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • 6 tbsp poppyseed dressing

1) Combine all the ingredients together in a bowl. Mix well and serve!

Servings: about 6. Nutritional Information per Serving: Calories: 121 Carbs: 19 g Fat: 5g Protein: 5g Fiber: 4g Points+: 3

Recipe adapted from: http://thehousewifeintrainingfiles.com/cucumber-strawberry-poppyseed-salad/