Preparation time: 20 mins
Cooking time: 20 mins
Difficulty: Easy - for beginners
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup coarsely chopped Pecans
4 tomatoes, cut into thin wedges (vine style, size of tennis ball)
1/2 cup Light Balsamic Vinaigrette Dressing (Kraft makes a good one)
6 oz. baby spinach leaves (wash it, ignore what package says)
4 oz. Neufchatel Cheese, cut into small cubes (think dice size)
1/2 a small red onion, cut it paper thin, or as close as you can manage
LINE shallow pan (or plate) with foil; set aside.
Spread sugar onto bottom of small nonstick skillet; top with nuts. Cook on medium-low heat 5 min. or until sugar is completely melted and golden brown, tilting skillet to evenly distribute sugar if necessary. Stir until nuts are evenly coated. Immediately spread into prepared pan; cool completely. (Ok this is probably the trickiest part of the whole recipe, so a few notes. 1. Sugar does melt into liquid, but it also burns into crap. Start at medium low like it says, but adjust up a little if it doesn't start to melt in a couple minutes. Just as the last bit of it turns to liquid immediatly add the nuts and stir to coat. As soon as it is coated dump it on that tin foil, it will harden really fast on everything, spoon, pan, bare skin)
Short on time? MICROWAVE tomatoes and dressing in microwaveable bowl on HIGH 3 min. or until tomatoes are slightly softened and dressing is heated through, stirring after 2 min.
Have time and taste buds? STOVE (not as easy, but not as ghetto) Bring dressing to heat (starting to evaporate) over medium heat in a small pot. Reduce heat to medium low and add tomatoes. Stir and let cook for 1 minute more.
COVER platter with spinach; top with tomato mixture, cream cheese, onions and nuts. Toss lightly before serving.
Final notes: You'll need to break appart the nuts as they have formed a tempting candy sheet. Should be cool enough to do by hand then, but check first. The amount of cream cheese is almost to much, do not use extra.