Strawberry and Spinach Salad with Candied Pecans

Recipes, Worknight Dinners

In case you weren’t already aware, Chicago had a winter problem this year.

The problem was that winter would not seem to end.

The groundhog did his thing in February, and we all dealt with the resulting news like reasonable, responsible citizens.

We waited until spring officially arrived on Tuesday, March 20. We waited patiently as the first day of spring passed, bringing with it about two days of reasonable spring weather before the skies turned gray and stayed that way for the next three weeks.

Easter came and went and April showers arrived in full force. Finally, we thought, the weather is doing what it’s supposed to do. April showers bring May flowers, right?

Well it turns out that this year, April showers brought snow showers and it freaking snowed three times in April.

Now that the weather has finally turned a corner, the road to recovery has been rough for the Chicagoans who have been popping Vitamin D and using the happy lamp at work since October. It’s hard to climb out of that funk after what felt like 297 of days straight of weather misery.

The best place to go to inspire the spring spirit this year is at your local Jewel-Osco.

For spring — whether it’s ready for us or not — and every day, the debi lilly designTM collection provides a wide variety of inspired entertaining and high-quality décor solutions at a great value.

Debi Lilly, a Chicago celebrity event planner, launched the debi lilly design collection to make everyday entertaining a breeze for everyone. The collection has beautiful and on trend products for entertaining at any time including home, candle and gift products are perfect for any occasion as well as colorful bouquets that are ready to “chop & drop.” These bouquets are prearranged, so just simply cut the stems to length, and drop them right into a beautiful debi lilly design vase, and you’re set. The spring debi lilly design collection is available in the Chicago area exclusively at Jewel-Osco stores.

If you don’t live near a Jewel-Osco, you can also find the collection at all of the Albertsons Companies family of stores, including ACME Markets, Albertsons, Safeway, Vons, Pavilions, Randalls, Tom Thumb, Shaw’s, Star Market, United Express, United and Carrs/Safeway. Visit to find a store near you or for more décor inspiration.

Although you can find everything you need to create an unforgettable event without spending a lot of time or money all year round, the spring debi lilly design collection is especially inspiring for spring’s special occasions.

The debi lilly blush candles are a nice touch and make a great hostess gift, dinner party favor or simply a pick-me-up gift to yourself to brighten your days during the longest, darkest “spring” days.

I used the debi lilly blush candles and the debi lilly blush pillar candles to decorate the table for dinner on what was, at the time, one of the sunniest days we’ve had this year.

On the menu? Grilled Taco Lime Chicken paired with a refreshing strawberry spinach salad full of sweet toasted pecans and poppy seed dressing.

The strawberry spinach salad was a riff off the salad that Brad’s mom made at Easter dinner this year. Her salad had a homemade dressing, but I loved the combination of the fresh spinach, tart strawberries, and sweet and crunchy pecans so much that I had to replicate it on my own — albeit using bottled dressing and a liberal handful of goat cheese.

For a minute, it almost tasted like spring.


Strawberry and Spinach Salad with Candied Pecans
Recipe type: Worknight Dinners
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 2-4
  • 2 Tablespoons butter
  • 1 cup pecan halves
  • 2 Tablespoon brown sugar
  • 5 ounces fresh baby spinach
  • 1 cup sliced strawberries
  • ¼ cup crumbled goat cheese
  1. Melt the butter in a small skillet over medium heat. Add the pecans and brown sugar and stir continuously. Cook until the sugar begins to caramelize (about 2-3 minutes). Place pecans on a wax paper lined baking sheet to cool.
  2. Meanwhile, combine the spinach, strawberries and crumbled goat cheese in a large bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Drizzle the dressing over the salad just before serving. Top with pecans once cooled.
  3. Yield is two entree sized portions or four side portions.

This post is sponsored by Jewel-Osco. All thoughts, opinions and unsolicited gripes about the weather when I know perfectly well that Chicago winters never end, are my own.

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