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Flavor of the New Year Lean, Green Back-to-Salad Favorites

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Elsie's Spinach Salad
Downtown Simmered Spinach
Chicken and Veggie Lover's Salad

(Family Features) - Ready for the fresh crunch of a green salad? Join the club. Following an indulgent holiday season, most of us welcome a return to healthful eating as our main New Year's resolution. Admit it: Amidst the eggnog and cookies, mashed potatoes and prime rib, you've missed the appealing crunch of a colorful green salad and "good-for-you" benefits that make this year's resolution easy to swallow!

Inspiration for fresh, delicious meals abounds in the produce aisle. A multitude of lettuce blends means your family can enjoy greens every day without palate fatigue. Since nutritionists remind us to eat a wider variety of produce, that's added incentive to keep salad blends on the menu daily, or even twice a day. Nutritionists also say that many weight loss resolutions fail because of simple boredom. Thank goodness salads are a far cry from the "rabbit food" that used to make us cringe. Today, ready-to-eat lettuces and greens are an ultimate convenience food and the foundation for balanced and appealing meals that truly satisfy. Make a fresh blended salad mix the centerpiece of the meal or add protein such as chicken, beef or seafood for a great way to satisfy hunger and manage cravings. Use a light hand with dressings - not only to control calories but to make sure the fresh flavors and crunch of the greens come through.

A Simple Glossary of Greens Eating

Eating green means never being in a rut. Thanks to breakthrough fresh salad technology, fresh produce experts like those at Fresh Express deliver fresh, wholesome lettuces, dark greens and blends using up to 25 different lettuce varieties for distinctive salad inspiration. Fresh is best, so always opt for these super-fresh blends.

Hearty Romaine Mixes

  • Pair crunchy, sturdy mixed greens including hearts of romaine blended with other lettuces with fruit - dried cranberries or apricots, or fresh pears and grapes - sliced red onion, blue cheese and toasted nuts like pecans. Toss everything together with your favorite vinaigrette.
  • Serve your own twist on a classic Caesar salad with a hearty romaine blend tossed with a low-fat Caesar dressing and topped with a few slices of a grilled pork chop or steak.

Baby Lettuce Blends

  • Delicate Baby Lettuce Blends make a great lunch salad, so bring a bag to work with your favorite raspberry vinaigrette and some croutons.
  • For dinner, toss a Baby Blends salad with low-fat garlic dressing and top with grilled or roasted salmon and a few toasted almonds.

Mediterranean Lettuce Mixes

  • Accompany a light pasta dinner with the bold flavors of Mediterranean-inspired mixes that include colorful radicchio, then finish the salad with a drizzle of Italian vinaigrette and a bit of Romano cheese.
  • Toss an Italian blend with cooked and cooled penne, diced roast pork or shredded chicken and no-fat garlic vinaigrette for a simple but classy entrée.

Crispy Lettuces

Iceberg and Carrot Blends, Iceberg and Romaine, Carrot and Red Cabbage

  • Use these sturdy mixes as a "bed" for fajita meat or your favorite turkey chili; garnish with shredded cheddar or a dollop of guacamole or fat-free sour cream.
  • Use these crunchy lettuce blends for tucking into pita pockets with shredded rotisserie chicken; or layer onto French bread halves, top with roast turkey or prosciutto, a drizzle of vinaigrette and top of loaf for a continental sandwich.

Tender Lettuce Mixes

Field greens, sweet butter lettuces and tender baby spinach

  • Toss these mixes with wine vinegar, extra virgin olive oil and a touch of Dijon mustard; serve alongside a rotisserie chicken and roast potatoes.
  • Use this lightly dressed salad as a bed for broiled shrimp.

Ultimate Convenience and Freshness - With Food Safety First

The No. 1 producer of prepared salad blends, Fresh Express is considered an industry leader in food safety. With a major commitment to both food safety and quality, Fresh Express has spent almost two decades creating cutting-edge food safety standards in the leafy green industry. Using the latest and exclusive techniques - from growing operations to delivery to store shelves, this industry leader uses nature, science and innovation to make its salad blends consistently fresh and wholesome.

For the freshest salad ideas around, visit www.FreshExpress.com.

Spinach Is Back

If Americans love salad, they're crazy about spinach. Nothing satisfies quite like a hearty, deep-green spinach salad. Rich in vitamins, minerals and anti-aging antioxidants, spinach has become a staple in U.S. crisper drawers. Its assertive flavor is an ideal carrier for smoky, salty and sweet flavors - hence, the classic favorite spinach salad with warm bacon dressing, a spinach salad garnished with blue or feta cheese or one with honey roasted nuts. It's time to treat the family to their favorite spinach salad again. And while spinach salads promise to remain in style, don't forget other satisfying spinach dishes that are welcome additions to any menu:

  • Sauté fresh spinach with onion in a little olive oil, just until wilted.
  • Boost flavor, nutrition and color to any pasta dish by tossing fresh baby spinach leaves with hot cooked penne or rigatoni, olive oil, crushed garlic, red pepper flakes and Parmesan cheese.
  • Add fresh spinach leaves to boost flavor, texture and nutrition to any deli sandwich.
  • Stir chopped fresh spinach into chicken noodle, minestrone or bean soup.
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Elsie's Spinach Salad

This classic features family favorite flavors. Toss, serve to four hungry people and enjoy.

  • 2 10-ounce packages Fresh Express Spinach
  • 2 hard cooked eggs, quartered
  • 6 slices bacon, cooked crisp and crumbled
  • 4 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 to 1 1/2 cups of your favorite Caesar dressing, reduced fat or nonfat

    1. Place spinach, eggs, bacon and Parmesan in large bowl; add dressing and toss. Serve immediately on chilled salad plates. For extra flavor, add mushrooms and red onions.

Serves 4

Downtown Simmered Spinach

This is sure to become a favorite side dish. Fresh spinach, mushrooms, garlic and green onions are sautéed in olive oil and simmered briefly in a dried tomato-boosted chicken broth.
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  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 cup sliced mushrooms
  • 1/2 thinly sliced leek or 4 sliced green onions
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 10-ounce package Fresh Express Spinach
  • 1 tablespoon thinly sliced sun-dried tomatoes, drained
  • 1 teaspoon soy sauce

    1. In large skillet, heat oil over medium heat; cook mushrooms and leeks about 5 minutes, stirring, until tender.
    2. Add garlic; cook 30 seconds. Add broth, bring to a boil; add spinach, cover and reduce heat to medium. Simmer 3 to 5 minutes, until spinach wilts and is tender. Stir in tomatoes and soy sauce.
    3. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve warm.
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Serves 4
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Chicken and Veggie Lover's Salad

A gourmet blend of lettuces - romaine, curly endive, frisée and radicchio - and shredded carrots is a great jump-start for this colorful, healthful entrée salad.
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  • 1 8-ounce bag Fresh Express Fancy Field Greens
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 cup broccoli florets
  • 1 cup radishes, thinly sliced
  • Fat-free ranch dressing, to taste
  • 1 9-ounce package cooked chicken breast strips, thawed
  • 1 ounce colby cheese, cut into thin strips
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    1. In large bowl, toss together greens, tomatoes, broccoli and radishes with dressing. Portion onto four dinner plates; top each salad with chicken and cheese. Serve immediately.

Serves 4
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SOURCE: Fresh Express

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