Lazy, jet-lagged weekend and Cristiano’s Spinach Salad with Warm Tomato Basil Vinaigrette

Three days back from Hong Kong and I’m feeling marginally better than I did Friday, which was a total beast, could barely get off the sofa so it’s a good thing someone invented the remote control eons ago (okay, in my lifetime, but still). My limited goals for the day included a grocery store run, menu planning and making Soft Lemon Cream Cheese Cookies. I really wanted to bake a cake, and I’m about to go on a cake-baking binge with all my new Pinterest finds and a new board dedicated to interesting cake recipes, but baking a cake is a lot of commitment, you know? Not just in the hours actually baking, cooking, trimming layers and icing the thing, but in the eating. A lot of commitment in the eating. Like about 12 people’s worth of commitment. That’s a hard sell, right now, when almost everyone I know is eating healthy and eschewing sweets. When the two oldest were home I could bake a cake that would get at least half-way consumed before being taking to the faculty lunchroom, but given that the youngest has a penchant for eating pretty-much nothing except pasta, string cheese, salami and oreos, it becomes an impossible sell.

On the heels of a blissful Niçoise salad this afternoon, the cookie-making is pushing it a bit for me, but I know that we will eat horribly tomorrow for lunch if I don’t prep a salad, tonight, and my current obsession is to make every salad into a jar salad that’s so easy to enjoy in a teacher’s ridiculous 30-minute lunch that I can’t NOT make one for our first day back to school after Spring break. Voilà:  the Cristiano’s Spinach Salad with sliced mushrooms, shredded mozzarella, chopped bacon and Warm Tomato Basil Vinaigrette.

I kept going back to Cristiano’s for a while just to get this Spinach Salad, when suddenly I realized I could make it at home! With the internet! And a recipe for a Warm Tomato Basil Vinaigrette! Poof! Funny how magic happens like that.

Cristiano’s Spinach Salad with Warm Tomato Basil Vinaigrette (for 4)

Salad
16 oz. baby spinach evenly divided between four bowls
1 1/2 c. freshly-cooked then chopped bacon evenly divided
2 c. sliced mushrooms, evenly divided
2 c. shredded mozzarella evenly divided
Directions:  Layer in the order above

Warm Tomato Basil Vinaigrette
2-3 Roma tomatoes, seeded & finely chopped
1/2 c. finely chopped basil
4 T. red wine vinegar
1/2 c. olive oil (as always, I use my Rosemary-infused olive oil)
2 T. dijon mustard
salt & pepper to taste
Directions:  Mix all in a small saucepan, then heat over medium low. Do not let it boil.

For the jar salad version:  Pour the dressing in the bottom (unless you want to heat it before topping the greens), then add in the following order:  chopped bacon, sliced mushrooms, mozzarella, spinach.

Yumminess. It’s going to be a great week.

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