Balsamic Vinaigrette

Cranberry Pecan Spinach Salad with Balsamic VinaigretteAs summer blazes on in Texas, we are having more and more salads with dinner.  Mixing up a cool, fresh salad keeps me from having to turn the oven on, and changing up the ingredients keeps them new and interesting. No same-old, same-old around here!

Homemade vinaigrettes > store bought vinaigrettes.  They are easy to make, inexpensive, and taste 100x better.  Once you experiment with making vinaigrettes at home, you will never buy them again.

Among the most popular is Balsamic Vinaigrette, and this recipe is my favorite. The tangy balsamic is balanced by the sweetness of the honey, and using a high quality olive oil really comes through in every bite. Perfect for tossing with some leafy greens, drizzling over fresh tomatoes and mozzarella, or using as a marinade for chicken, I have a jar of this in the fridge at all times.

Ingredients:
¼ cup balsamic vinegar
2 tbsp. honey simple syrup
3 tbsp. olive oil
1 tbsp. Dijon mustard
1 clove garlic, pressed or finely minced
¼ tsp Italian seasonings (dried basil and oregano blend)
Salt and pepper

Steakhouse Chopped Salad with Balamic VinaigretteWhisk together balsamic vinegar, honey simple syrup, olive oil, Dijon mustard, pressed garlic, and Italian seasonings until emulsified. Season with salt and pepper. Toss with a Steakhouse Chopped Salad, Cranberry Pecan Spinach Salad, or one of your favorites. Enjoy!

Honey Balsamic Jalapeno Poppers

Honey Balsamic Jalapeno PoppersThis take on a classic jalapeno popper gets a twist from using tangy goat cheese and a sweet honey balsamic drizzle. This recipe makes 30 delectable poppers, so perfect for a holiday get together or game day appetizer. Who doesn’t love the combination of bacon with something sweet?  WARNING, these are addictive!

 

 

Ingredients:
10.5 oz. package goat cheese (I used Costco’s Kirkland brand)
15 jalapenos, sliced in half the long way, ribs and seeds removed
1 lb. package of bacon (15 slices), cut in half
3 tbsp. honey
1 tbsp. balsamic vinegar

Honey Balsamic Jalapeno Poppers 2Take goat cheese out of the refrigerator approximately 30 minutes before preparing so that it’s soft enough to spread into jalapenos. While preheating oven to 425 degrees, cut stems from jalapenos and slice in half lengthwise, removing ribs and seeds. This will cut down spice considerably from the peppers once they are cooked! Spread an equal amount of goat cheese in each halved pepper and wrap with a half slice of bacon. If the slices aren’t big enough to wrap around completely, they can be secured with a toothpick, but I usually do without. Place jalapenos in roasting pan or cookie sheet in 425 degree oven for 20-25 minutes, or until bacon is cooked. Make sure the pan has a raised lip so the oils from the bacon do not spill while cooking! Once bacon is beautifully browned, remove from oven and let drain on a paper towel. Wisk together honey and balsamic vinegar. Transfer peppers to a serving platter and drizzle with honey mixture before serving.

Enjoy!