Fall Cobb Salad

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If you are like me and still have lots of apples in your fridge from your early fall apple picking days out in various farms and don’t quite know what to do with them anymore, then this recipe is for you. This Fall Cobb salad is a delicious healthy lunch and crowd pleaser to be shared with friends and loved ones and serves as a lighter meal in the days leading up to Thanksgiving. It makes a really impressive centerpiece and you don’t need to add anything more (except perhaps, some fresh bread and crisp white wine). You can play around and add different seasonal ingredients such as pear, apple, roast butternut squash, crunchy romaine lettuce or different nuts or seeds – whatever you might have in your pantry. The poppy seed dressing is tangy and creamy and adds a little pop to the taste of the salad. And any salad with bacon is a winner in my book!

Fall Cobb Salad

Serves 4

1 romaine lettuce, chopped
2 eggs, boiled and chopped
4 rashers bacon, cooked and sliced
1 chicken breast, sautéed until brown then cut into strips
10 cherry or grape tomatoes, cut in half
1 apple (of your choice), diced
1 pear, diced
1/2 cup walnut or pecan halves
1/3 cup crumbled feta or goat cheese
Optional extras: roasted cubed butternut squash, cubed avocado, , slices of roast portabello mushrooms, roasted sunflower seeds, pomegranate seeds

Poppy Seed Dressing
1/3 cup Greek yogurt
1/4 cup milk (almond or dairy)
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons of maple syrup (to taste)
1 pinch sea salt
black pepper

  1. Place chopped romaine in a large salad bowl.
  2. Arrange other ingredients in rows: bacon, tomatoes, pear, apple, chicken, eggs.
  3. Make poppy seed dressing in a glass jar and give it a good shake
  4. Pour the dressing lightly over the whole salad.
  5. Serve right away.
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Turkey, Pumpkin, Fall Vegetable And White Bean Chili

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This turkey chili is one of those recipes that you can make over and over again during the fall and winter months. It’s hearty, warming and quite delicious! I play around with different ingredients and spices but this is the basic recipe. The key is to add lots of warming spices to the mix and make it as spicy as you want. I don’t eat beef or lamb so often use ground turkey as a substitute in recipes and I like its lighter flavor. If you are on a low-carb diet, this will be a full meal for you or you can add quinoa or brown rice as a side. To make it into a vegetarian or vegan recipe, simply omit the the turkey and replace with extra portabella mushrooms or cubes of butternut squash. It’s also a great recipe for a slow cooker. I prefer to brown the turkey first, then mix with the rest of the ingredients in the slow cooker and leave on low heat for 8 hours. This recipe serves about 4-6 people and it keep really well in the fridge to be heated up as a quick dinner during the week.

Ingredients

1 pack organic ground turkey
1 medium onion, minced
2 cloves garlic, mashed
1 small pack cremini or white mushrooms
1/2 bunch kale, cut into thin ribbons
1 red pepper, diced
1 large can whole plum tomatoes
1 small can navy or pinto beans
1/2 can organic pumpkin puree

Spices:
2 teaspoons cinnamon
2 teaspoons cumin
2 teaspoons turmeric
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
2 tablespoons chili powder
1 teaspoon cayenne powder (to taste/optional)

Method:

  1. Heat a large skillet or large saucepan. Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Add the ground turkey and stir occasionally. Cook until brown.
  2. Add the onion, pepper, mushrooms and spices. Stir under softened.
  3. Add the canned tomatoes, pumpkin, kale and garlic.
  4. Cover and simmer for 30-40 minutes on low heat until everything is cooked through and the flavors have developed. Add more spices (chili powder or cayenne) to taste.
  5. Serve alone in a bowl or with a side of quinoa or brown rice.

Quick And Easy Vegetable Stock

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Thanks so much to Doug from The Kitchen Professor my guest blogger today for some great tips about how to make your own vegetable stock. This tastes so much better than anything you can buy in the store!

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I don’t know about you…

But I always seem to be out of vegetable stock whenever I need it.

There are some big advantages to making your own vegetable stock:
1. You won’t feel silly when you don’t have it and need it.
2. You can control the amount of salt, i.e. sodium, in your meal.
3. It is much cheaper to make your own stock than to buy it premade.

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Winter Brussels Sprouts Salad With Apples, Pecorino and Pine Nuts

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This month has been so much fun with all the holiday parties, brunches, school events and gatherings with friends of family. Lots of comfort food too and unfortunately a little bit too much sugar, alcohol and treats.

This salad was made out of a craving. A craving for crunch. A craving for raw vegetables. A craving for a simple lunch. A craving for something nutritious and easy in the middle of dark December.

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Spaghetti Squash Lasagne Boats

Lasagne Boats

We had a wonderful week in North Carolina for Thanksgiving and we fortunate to be able to stay in a beautiful lake house in Lake Norman (thanks, Allison and family!) which had a huge and fantastic chef’s kitchen. I absolutely love cooking for crowds so I was in my element all week long.

The night before Thanksgiving, I decided to try out this recipe. Many members of the family are on a low-carb diet and I always like to try something new. When I saw this recipe in Cooking Light magazine, I knew I had to try it. I have a bit of a thing for spaghetti squash right now! This is a low carb and low fat meal.

I love how everything is piled into the spaghetti squash “boats” so that you can exercise some portion control (although you may be tempted to steal a bit from your neighbor’s plate during the meal) and you can serve it with a light side salad. It does take some prep work but it can easily be prepared for the family as a weeknight meal. You can make them vegetarian by simply omitting the ground turkey and replacing with some portabello mushrooms or eggplant for extra texture. Here’s my take on the recipe. I’ll definitely be making this again this month!

Ingredients:

  • 2 small to medium spaghetti squash (one half for each person)
  • 1 pack lean ground turkey
  • 1 cup sliced mushrooms – preferably baby bella
  • 4 cups fresh baby spinach
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • ½ cup part-skim ricotta cheese
  • 1 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano or basil
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°.
  2. (You can prepare the squash in advance if you’d like) Cut each squash in half lengthwise. Scoop out seeds.
  3. Place squash halves, cut sides up, on a baking sheet. Bake at 350° for 50 minutes. Scrape inside of squash with a fork to remove spaghetti-like strands.
  4. Wrap strands on a clean dish towel and squeeze until barely moist. This is a necessary step or the spaghetti squash boats will be really watery. Place spaghetti squash halves (or “boats”) onto a baking sheet.
  5. Heat a large skillet/frying pan over medium-high heat. Make the spinach-mushroom topping. Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Add the mushrooms and cook until soft. Add the spinach and cook briefly (1 minute) until it wilts.
  6. In a medium bowl, combine the spinach and mushrooms with the spaghetti squash strands, ricotta cheese, salt and pepper, and half of mozzarella cheese.
  7. Make the tomato sauce: add 1 tablespoon of olive oil to the pan. Add the turkey and cook until browned. Add garlic; cook 30 seconds.  Add the can of tomatoes and oregano and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from heat.
  8. Increase oven temperature to 425°.
  9. Spoon tomato-turkey sauce evenly into the bottom of each squash half. Top evenly with squash-spinach-mushroom mixture. Sprinkle evenly with remaining mozzarella cheese. Bake at 425° for 20 minutes.
  10. To brown the tops of the squash, broil/grill squash for 1-2 minutes under a high broiler/grill.

 

A Warm Butternut Squash, Red Lentil and Vegetable Soup For Chilly Days

ButtThe weather turned here this week. Last week, we were running around in huge piles of leaves in our T-Shirts. This week, we’re in wellies and big coats and I’m secretly thrilled. I love the colder weather and all the beautiful colors everywhere in the autumn. What better excuse than to pull out my crockpot and make more soup! This is one of those soups takes very little time and yet tastes very rich and delicious and leaves your kitchen smelling superb. It’s vegan and dairy free. The red lentils add extra protein and iron. The ingredients are simple and you don’t need to spend much on them. Simply chop and prepare all the ingredients and pop into your crockpot. And you’ll have a delicious lunch or simple supper ready for you just a few hours later.

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Pumpkin And Sweet Potato Fall Smoothie

Pumpkin and sweet potato smoothie
It’s a rainy day here so I’m sheltering from the rain on my front porch drinking this smoothie. Doesn’t the color look so beautiful and bright against the gray?

I love pumpkin at this time of the year and like to stock up my cupboards with handy cans of (organic) pureed pumpkin to pop into soups and smoothies. This is a really simple smoothie to make and is sweetened by adding half a banana. I added some sweet potato too since that’s what we had for dinner last night and it was already roasted and sitting in my fridge. You can play around with the ingredients to make it have more of a pumpkin or sweet potato flavor. This would make a delicious breakfast or lunch.

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