Recipes and Cooking Ideas for Homemakers and Amateur Cooks

Berry-Mandarin Tossed Salad – Out of My Comfort Zone Cooking #5

Posted on May 29, 2008
Filed Under Out of My Comfort Zone, Salads

Do you ever just stop and wonder WHO decided what goes together? And who decided that scrambled eggs and pancakes are breakfast foods? And who decided that you shouldn’t eat ice cream or a Hershey’s w Almonds candy bar before 10:00 a.m.? And who decided that corndogs are a kid’s food? And WHO was the first person to have the guts to put fruit and nuts in a lettuce salad?!


But, you know what, this salad was good! Really good! I could not believe it! And I could also barely stop eating it! If you have never tried it, this recipe would be a great one to try it on. Especially the strawberries were good with it. And the dressing.

If any of you are coming up for air about anything in the first paragraph… “Hey, we eat scrambled eggs and pancakes for supper sometimes!” “Hey, c’mon, I eat ice cream every morning!” “I LOVE corndogs and I’m 27!”, I know, I know. Me too. Well, me too all except the parts about ice cream EVERY morning and being 27. But, when you have pancakes and eggs for supper, you call it a ‘breakfast supper’. And I would think my husband was the one who decided that about no ice cream or candy bars before 10:00 (yes, we’ve had these discussions), except that Dairy Queen doesn’t open till 11:00 a.m., so that’s kind of another clue. And have you ever seen corndogs on the regular menu at a restaurant? Nope, you’d have to order them off the kid’s menu. There, that oughta save some ranting in the comment section. :)

Back to this salad, it comes from the 2001 Quick Cooking Annual cookbook. There’s a picture, and it is so colorful, and it grabbed me. I also learned something… I almost didn’t put the onions in because I do not like raw onions in stuff and was afraid that the amount of them would for sure wreck it. The recipe calls for a sweet onion, so when I went shopping, I made sure to get an onion labeled ‘sweet’. It was a world of difference from the regular onions I usually buy! These were good! And not as strong. I’d still use the regular onions for cooking, but I won’t dodge around raw onions in other recipes anymore… I’ll just make sure they’re sweet onions.

Berry-Mandarin Tossed Salad

1/4 cup sugar
2 Tbsp. cider vinegar
2 Tbsp. honey
1 1/4 tsp. lemon juice
1/2 tsp. paprika
1/2 tsp. ground mustard
1/2 tsp. grated onion
1/4 tsp. celery seed
Dash of salt
1/3 cup vegetable oil

8 cups torn mixed salad greens (if you see grated carrots and red cabbage in there, it’s because my bag of ready-to-serve Romaine salad mix had them in)
2 cups sliced fresh strawberries
1 can (11 oz) mandarin oranges, drained
1 medium sweet onion, sliced into rings
1/3 cup slivered almonds, toasted
4 bacon strips, cooked and crumbled

Note: To toast the almonds, I just tossed them with about a teaspoon of melted butter in a pan, then put them in a 400 degree oven till they started turning brown, maybe 10 minutes or so, I didn’t time them, just kept checking them.
In a 2-cup microwave-safe bowl, combine the first nine ingredients. Microwave, uncovered, on High for 1 1/2 -2 minutes; stir until sugar is dissolved. Whisk in oil. Cover and refrigerate until serving.
I actually had some problems with the dressing… the oil didn’t want to blend into the rest of the stuff, the dressing got really thick after being in the refrigerator, and I thought it was too much dressing. And I did follow the recipe exactly, right down to the celery seed. It actually worked out ok and coated the salad evenly (I was afraid it would be thick in some places and none in other places). I think next time, I would put only about 2/3rds of it on though.

In a salad bowl, combine the greens, strawberries, oranges, onion, almonds, and bacon.

So pretty, huh?


Drizzle with dressing and gently toss to coat. Yield: 12-14 servings.

Maybe this type of thing is a regular dish on some of your tables, but we don’t see it much around here. I’m going to take this salad to the next fellowship meal at church… see if anyone takes any. :)

And now, I have to get an inspiration for something to make for a meal this evening… we eat in a little over an hour and a half and I have no clue what we’re going to have. Any ideas?



21 Responses to “Berry-Mandarin Tossed Salad – Out of My Comfort Zone Cooking #5”

  1. Liz on May 29th, 2008 3:53 pm

    I don’t know what we are having for supper tonight either and I really should know cause Elvie might be home in 1/2 hour. If I see this salad at church I think I’ll atleast try some. So a little bit will be gone. It looks good though.

  2. Annette33 on May 29th, 2008 3:58 pm

    Spaghetti, here! I planned it yesterday, but dang, realized I forgot to pick up the garlic bread. What’s spaghetti without garlic bread??

  3. Arla on May 29th, 2008 4:38 pm

    Hey, why not have a breakfast supper of pancakes and scrambled eggs. We actually have pancakes for supper more often than for breakfast because Elv really likes them and he’s more likely to be here at supper time that at breakfast. The salad looks wonderful. I’ve been looking at those strawberries at the store and wondering what to do with them; vetoing all those deserts we don’t need. Now, you’ve given me excuse to buy them, thanks!

  4. Shannon on May 29th, 2008 4:42 pm

    Ummm, I think I’ll still skip the onions, sweet or not sweet. :) Someone at church makes a salad with Strawberries in it. I’ll have to try some the next time I see it.

  5. lisa on May 29th, 2008 5:04 pm

    we would love this salad. unless i put the onions in. marc would quietly pick them out.

  6. cretora on May 29th, 2008 5:20 pm

    Mmmm! This looks like an awesome summer salad! So pretty and yummy looking all in one. I think you probably hit on a winner here. :)This I’ll have to try.

  7. Michelle on May 29th, 2008 5:34 pm

    Yum! I’ll have to try this. I like about any salad with fruit in it. I know it’s kinda after supper time but for what it’s worth we had the chicken squares tonite. I had kinda forgotten about that recipe until you posted it a couple weeks ago. It’s very good and easy to make!

  8. Sharon on May 29th, 2008 6:01 pm

    I will have to try this, too! I stayed away from “those kind” of salads for awhile ’cause I thought they sounded funny, but then I had a fruit and nut one at a company meal (at someone else’s place–wow! what guts! I thought) and it was REALLY GOOD! I’m with you on the sweet onions–I actually like the stronger ones, too, if it’s just a bit for flavor, but definitely sweet ones are the ones for stuff like this!

  9. Karisa on May 29th, 2008 6:19 pm

    It looks delightful!!!! I have had salads with fruit in and I love them. Last summer I had one with feta cheese and strawberries and I couldn’t get done eating it :)

  10. Kris on May 29th, 2008 7:56 pm

    I am like you and would have turned my nose up at a salad with fruit and nuts in it too at one time. Then several years ago I had a spinach salad with fruit and nuts in it, tossed with a Raspberry vinagerette. Yummy! I totally love making salads like this now. Spinach, mandarin oranges or strawberries or dried cranberries with onions and nuts are so yummy! There is a Crunchy Romaine Strawberry Salad at that is so good!

    I always buy sweet onions for my everyday cooking because my husband is sensative to strong onion flavor, and I love onions, so this is a way we can both enjoy them.

  11. Jo on May 29th, 2008 8:06 pm

    Looks oh!-so-refreshing for a muggy summer day! Will have to try this one sometime, as soon as fresh strawberries are available.

  12. Roxanna on May 29th, 2008 8:56 pm

    Have lots of salads with fruit in them around here and we love them! Annette33-here’s a suggestion for when you forget to get the garlic bread. Take regular sliced bread and butter it. Sprinkle it with garlic salt (not powder) and broil it until its brown. This is quick and easy and a great substitute in a pinch! p.s. homemade bread is REALLY good like this but boughten works great too!

  13. Lisa on May 30th, 2008 5:28 am

    I love variety in salad, since I eat lots of salad I am actually always looking for something new and different. Fruits and nuts – oh yeah! One of my favorites is apple, feta and walnuts – so good.

    Here’s a little tip for those of you who don’t like the “bite” of onion so much. Put the sliced onions in a collander and pour boiling water over them, then immediately pour cold water over them to stop the cooking process. The boiling water takes out the strong flavor and leaves you with a milder onion. Try it!

  14. Monica on May 30th, 2008 7:57 am

    It sounds good!! I didn’t used to like salads like that, but the more I have them, the more I like them!! I recently made a spinach-strawberry salad with a raspberry dressing that was delicious!!

  15. barb on May 30th, 2008 9:04 am

    My sister gave me a tip on homemade salad dressings. So many of them seperate after they have been in the fridge for a while.(like you mentioned) Just put all of the ingredients in the blender and mix for 3-4 minutes. It really works.

    I am not sure if you could do this with a cooked dressing, but it seems like it would work after you let it cool a little. That should keep the oil from seperating.

    This salad recipe looks great. Thanks for sharing another great idea.

  16. barb on May 30th, 2008 9:17 am

    I would make the peanut butter dream bars, but I would like it better if my friend/neighbor (Roxanna) would let me taste hers. HINT, HINT.

    Kay, I know I have told you before but I’ll say it again. I LOVE your site.
    I would love to do the same thing you are doing. I am always thinking of a recipe or tip that you should post on your site, so I really should start my own. I just think it would take too much of my time. How much time do you spend in a week taking pictures and doing all these post? Just curious.

    Also, could I suggest a post on soft pretzel? I have a recipe that really does taste like the ones at the mall. And you don’t have to let them raise twice like most other yeast products. So they are really easy and fast!!! Just comment back here if you are interested. Maybe I could email it to you.

  17. Kay on May 30th, 2008 9:47 am

    Thanks to those of you who put tips and suggestions into the comments, like Kris, Roxanna, Lisa, and Barb above. I love that!

    Sharon, about you being surprised someone served that to company, that was funny because I had told Shannon that I’m going to make this for carry-in, but I wouldn’t make it for company because at carry-in, they can pass it up if they want to, where with company it wouldn’t be as easy to pass on.

    Barb, yeah! Start a food blog! It is so much fun. It does take time, but we all spend time on hobbies, not? :) It’s actually more like a part-time job… if I update 5 times a week, I’d say I’ve spent roughly 20 hours/week making the food, taking pictures, posting, and managing it. I do need to cook though, so some of that cooking time would be done anyway, but it is amazing how much time it takes to take pictures, esp because I usually take several of one step, then pick the best one.

    I’ve never made soft pretzels, but I’ve always wanted to. I guess that would fit in with ‘Out of my Comfort Zone’. I’ve heard there is a knack to it and that you need certain tips and all, so I’ve always been scared to try them. I’d love the recipe though! I’d definitely try them and do a post, unless you decide to start a site, that could be your first post! Tasting like the ones in the mall sounds like a winner! :) My email address is

  18. LaDonna on May 30th, 2008 12:36 pm

    I have never tried fruit or nuts in a lettuce salad maybe I’ll take the plung and try this one. Love your site by the way I have tried several recipes and loved them. Thanks so much for the ideas and impute. I think the hardest thing about cooking is deciding what to make. You help that process along for me. thanks!

    I do have to make a comment about breakfasts foods because I totally have wondered the same thing. I have always eaten wierd for breakfast like leftovers from the night before. My family always teases me about it. But I’m like hey who says that you can’t eat chicken or mashed potatoes for breakfast. That sounds a little healthier that sausage and bacon anyway ???? There is one thing that I have found that I can not stomach before ten o’clock and that is a salad. Something about the raw veggies or something just doesn’t sit well on the stomach…anyway sorry about the ranting ;-)I’ll have to try that salad,…just not before ten o’clock.

  19. LaDonna on May 30th, 2008 12:38 pm

    Oops, that’s input not impute that’s what I get for sending a comment and not reading over it before it’s sent.

  20. Rosa on May 30th, 2008 1:08 pm

    Just wanted to tell you i LOVE your site! so interesting & practical… i love grilled food & am looking forward to the”perfect steak” post…maybe in time for Father’s Day?

  21. Denise on June 2nd, 2008 2:21 pm

    Hey, just wanted to let you know that the P.B. Dream Bars were a huge hit. I made them for that carry-in supper. There were 3 other kinds of cookies and bars. Every other kind still had some left but these bars were totally cleaned up. And I got a lot of comments on how good they were! Thanks