Wednesday, February 10, 2010

food 101 ~ sugared pecans

sometime around thanksgiving i came up with an idea for a salad that incorporated dried cranberries (cause they are readily available for cheap at traderjoes)...we served the salad at thanksgiving and the husband and i have been eating it a couple times a week ever's a simple salad:
mixed greens
dried cranberries
sugared pecans
crumbled goat cheese
cranberry walnut vinaigrette dressing
but something about that combo of those few ingredients makes for a delicious salad...we have it as a side with whatever else we may be having for dinner OR i top it with sliced grilled chicken to make it an entree salad...

the thing is, the sugared pecans even from traderjoes are $$$...a SMALL bag is about $4...the husband could eat the entire small bag in about 2 minutes...i tend to use them sparingly on the salads...

so i got to thinking, surely i could make sugared pecans...the package had few ingredients i did a search on the internet and came up with this recipe and decided to try it last weekend...spurred by the fact that in the freezer i FOUND one pound. ONE POUND of halved pecans...i have absolutely no idea where they came from. none. but i figured even if they were stale or freezer burned i had nothing to loose as all the other ingredients are just common pantry staples.

here is the tray of sugar coated pecans ready to go in the oven on sunday afternoon:

and here are some of them after baking:


they are so good...maybe even better than the ones i'd been buying at the store!  the only thing i am changing next time is to decrease the amount of sugar - it was way too much...sugared pecans are simple, simple, simple to make and they taste like a million bucks...ideas for using them:
  • on a salad
  • chopped up a bit and used to top pumpkin pie or even ice cream with caramel sauce (they are almost like pralines...almost)
  • give a small bag of them as a hostess gift next time you go to a dinner party
  • make other types of sugared nuts - i'm going to try walnuts since they are very healthy and full of good fats
  • chopped up fine you could mix them with breadcrumbs and use them as a crust on fish or chicken
here's what they look like on my cranberry pecan salad:

our dinner tonite was the salad, whole wheat spaghetti with homemade pesto (made at end of summer with our basil crop and frozen), sauteed chicken tenders, sourdough bread with dipping oil and blackberries (the bread and fruit were not in this picture:

let me know if you make any sugared pecans or this salad and what you think of them!



Emily said...

The pecans and salad look good... oh yeah do you say pa-cons or pea-cans???? I say
"pa-cons".. lol! I don't know about the wheat spaghetti noodles though... I haven't developed a liking to the wheat noodles yet.... and I can't make anymore spaghetti or my husband is going to put the smack down on me cause he says I have made that meal one to many times. HA!

AM said...

looks so yummy! I love nuts on salads. I am watching my calories over here though so I think I'll still with non-sugared right now.

Page said...

oh, that salad is so good. you're inspiring me to cook! quit it! (wait, is making a salad considered "cooking"??) ;) BTW, what brand of dressing do you use???

kristie said...

emily: i say pee-cans, lol! whole wheat pasta takes a while to get use to. at first i thought it was the most digusting thing ever, now i cannot stand regular pasta. give it a try though (maybe mix half and half for awhile then gradually use more whole wheat) as it's a lot healthier and keeps you feeling full longer.

AM: note there are only six pecans on my salad. i dole them out sparingly! same with the goat cheese crumbles and i use a teensy drizzle of dressing. teensy.

page: well, i'm not sure if it really is cooking or not. but it's fast, easy, yummy and healthy so i'm all for this salad. for reals, we have it 3-4 times per week as a side to our entree. i use newman's own light cranberry walnut dressing.

another note: we eat off of SMALL plates - makes it look like you are eating a lot when they are full! this is hard to tell in the pictures.

Hope said...

Hey , I also love that salad mix from trader Joes & make own as well.
How are their crab cakes?
You must get the madarin Chicken to die for & the honey & sesame covered almonds.

kristie said...

hope, trader joes crab cakes are REALLY good! i saw the honey sesame almonds but think i'll wait to get all my braces off before i get them. they were in a basket at checkout...taunting me, lol!