Strawberry Fields Forever Salad (with Candied Pecans, Mandarin Oranges and Garlic Chicken)

Recipe Author:
Ojai, California

I made this on May 11 -- in memory of Mom's birthday (MARY RUTH SMITH HAMILTON). She LOVED strawberries and her birthday month is when they were always the tastiest! Our neighbors in Oxnard, the Hiji's, owned most of the strawberry fields in Oxnard and would always bring us over flats of strawberries. Mom would make the most scrumptious strawberry shortcake (with biscuits) or topping untop of homemade ice cream that she and dad would hand crank on the back porch. This one's for you mom.

Serves 6 people

1 1-lb bag of pecans (halves)
1/2 cup sugar
2 Tablespoons Butter
1/4 cup honey
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 - large bag or box of Mixed Spring Mix
1 large can Mandarin oranges
2 boxes of strawberries (approx 10-12 individual strawberries) - the fresher the better
1 can of Hearts of Palms - this is the secret ingredient
1 bunch fresh green onions
2- Tablespoons Olive oil
3- Chicken breasts (1 breast for every 2 people), cubed
6- cloves garlic, chopped
Brianna's Salad Dressing
Parchment Paper


- Use Spinach vs. lettuce and add blueberries, blackberries & goat cheese
- Try poppyseed, balsamic or sweet vidalia onion dressing
- Add feta cheese, fresh basil and miniature heirloom green tomatoes and peaches

Start with making the candied pecans. Preheat oven to 350. Place pecans on baking sheet, bake for 10 minutes. (Do not over bake as pecans toast up quickly). In saucepan, melt butter, then add sugar, honey and cinnamon. Bring to boil, then turn to medium. Let simmer for 5 minutes - do not stir. When pecans are toasted, add them to candied mixture on stove. Stir to coat. Pour unto parchment paper and separate pecans as much as possible. Set aside to cool.

In heavy skillet, heat olive oil and add garlic. Add chicken cubes and fry. While chicken is cooking, prepare salad, add chicken on top and drizzle with vinaigrette. Serve immediately.