Thanksgiving recipe! Spinach salad with apples, cherries & pecans

Thanksgiving recipe! Spinach salad with apples, cherries & pecans

Good Lord- Thanksgiving is less than 2 weeks away! There is no good reason why you can’t be the hero and bring this beautiful seasonal salad to dinner.

This salad starts with spinach, which is a great source of lutein and beta-carotene. These nutrients help prevent macular degeneration and night blindness, respectively. It’s also a source of potassium, which helps lower blood pressure during this stressful holiday season. Add a crisp apple or two, chopped pecans and dried cherries, and you’re set.

This recipe calls for blue cheese, which I consider the Brussels sprouts of cheese. It’s quite polarizing. You either love it or hate it. You can always substitute feta cheese or leave the cheese out. Chopped walnuts or almonds could be used in place of pecans and raisins or dried cranberries would work in place of dried cherries.

You’ll be surprised at how LITTLE salad dressing you need for this salad. I prefer to taste mostly salad and keep my dressing light when I make salad. This also saves calories and fat in the recipe.

Enjoy and have a happy, healthy holiday!

Ingredients

 Salad:

1 bag baby spinach leaves

1/3 cup dried cherries (cranberries may be substituted)

1 Granny Smith or other tart/firm apple

2/3 cup chopped walnuts or pecans

1 Tbsp. crumbled Bleu cheese or feta cheese

Dressing:

1/3 cup olive oil

2 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar

1 tsp. Dijon mustard

1 tsp. honey

Directions

Wash & dry spinach leaves and place in a large bowl.

Wash and cut the apples into small chunks and add to spinach.

Add chopped nuts, cherries and cheese crumbles.

Mix ingredients for dressing.

Drizzle dressing over salad (and toss) right before serving.

Makes 6 servings.  Nutrition information per serving:  194 calories, 16 grams fat, 3.4 grams protein, 10 grams carbohydrate, 2.5 grams fiber, 1 mg cholesterol, 338 mg sodium.

 

Instant Pot Risotto

Instant Pot Risotto

While the grain-avoiders are eating cauliflower rice, you can be enjoying delicious risotto! My family and I love this Italian favorite, but it was not a recipe I relished making. Traditional risotto requires a lot of “babysitting” at the stove. You have to stir the stuff constantly to get the creamy, distinctive texture. But, I found a work around!

If you’ve got an Instant Pot, it’s the perfect way to cook risotto. You can sautee your veggies and rice in it, then set it to do its work without having to hang out by your stove for 30 minutes. Here’s how I made this:

Ingredients:

1 Tbsp. butter

1 Tbsp. olive oil

1/2 onion, chopped

1 clove garlic, minced

1 cup Arborio rice

1 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth

1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese

Freshly ground pepper

Directions:

  1. Place the butter, olive oil and rice in the instant pot and turn the setting to sautee. Add the onions, garlic and rice.
  2. With the lid open, sautee the onions, garlic and rice until onions are translucent (about 5 minutes).
  3. Add the chicken broth and stir. Close the lid and set the instant pot on high for 5 minutes.
  4. Once the pot beeps, exhaust the steam and open the pot. Flush the rice with a wooden spoon.
  5. Serve the risotto with freshly ground pepper and Parmesan cheese.

Makes 4 servings. Enjoy!

 

Sauteed Shrimp with Spinach and Anise

Sauteed Shrimp with Spinach and Anise

If you haven’t figured it out yet, I’m a simple gal with simple taste. Basically, I want healthy food that tastes good, but doesn’t take forever to create. I came across some frozen shrimp while grabbing ice earlier and it put me in the mood for seafood. I’m a fan of trying new new flavors, but almost always include my standbys of garlic, salt and pepper.

On a nutritional note, I have a personal mission of eating at minimum- 1 cup of leafy greens a day. Regular intake of leafy greens has been found to reduce the risk of cancer, heart disease and dementia. Today I combined shrimp with spinach, anise seed and leftover rice. Anise has a lovely licorice-like flavor that really complimented the shrimp and spinach. Let me tell you- it was delightful! Below is the recipe:

Ingredients:

2 Tbsp. olive oil

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 tsp. anise seeds

15-20 baby shrimp

2 cups frozen spinach

1 cup cooked rice

salt & pepper to taste

Shredded Parmesan cheese (optional)

Directions:

  1. Using a medium sized skillet, heat olive oil to medium heat.
  2. Add shrimp, garlic and anise seeds and sautee for 5 to 7 minutes until shrimp is opaque.
  3. Add cooked rice and frozen spinach. Cook for another 3 minutes until spinach is bright green.
  4. Salt and pepper to taste. Serve with shredded Parmesan cheese.

Makes 2 servings. Recipe can be doubled or tripled to feed a bigger crowd.

Instant Pot Stir Fried Chicken & Vegetables

Instant Pot Stir Fried Chicken & Vegetables

I haven’t posted a recipe in a while, but I have an excuse! I’ve been writing a cookbook about gout! It’s been a lot of fun to find recipes that are low in purines (a compound that increases uric acid in the body, which can precipitate a gout attack), in addition to being anti-inflammatory (meaning, the recipes are high in anti-oxidants and healthy fats). If all goes well, it should be published by late March. More on that later.

My family has gotten used to me being behind my laptop, but we still need to eat! I’ve always been a fan of quick, healthy recipes that taste good. The biggest reason we eat at all is TASTE. We tend to eat a lot of “next-overs” here. Being raised by parents that lived through the Great Depression, wasting food was not an option in our house. I am thankful that they brought me up to appreciate good food and have learned to embrace leftovers.Thankfully, my family does, too.

Seeing a wrinkled pepper on my counter and knowing I had a few grilled chicken breasts in the frig about to expire, I was inspired to try something in the instant pot. Honestly, any veggies or protein will do. My goal is to make the meal colorful and edible. Here’s what transpired:

Ingredients:

2 Tbsp. corn oil

1 cup brown rice

1 clove garlic, minced

1 yellow bell pepper, diced

1/2 red onion, chopped

1 cup frozen chopped spinach or chopped fresh spinach

2 chicken breasts, cut into small pieces

3 Tbsp. low-sodium soy sauce

1 Tbsp. ginger paste

1 Tbsp. chili garlic sauce

1 1/4 cups water

Directions

  1. Turn your Instant Pot setting to sautee.
  2. Add corn oil, brown rice, garlic, peppers, and onions to the pot.
  3. Sautee for 5 minutes with the lid open until onions are translucent.
  4. Add chicken, spinach, soy sauce, ginger paste, and chili garlic sauce and 1 cup water.
  5. Switch Instant pot setting to “rice”. Close the lid and turn the pot on.
  6. Once the pot “beeps”, exhaust the steam and open the pot.
  7. Add additional soy sauce, ginger or chili garlic paste to taste.
  8. Serve hot!

Makes 4-6 servings.

Tropical fruit salad with lime dressing

Tropical fruit salad with lime dressing

If you’ve ever had a conversation with me or have heard me speak, you’ll recognize that I really hate food waste. Brought up by 2 parents that lived through the Depression era, you didn’t leave a pea on your plate in my house. Did you know that 40% of the food in the US ends up in a landfill? That is unacceptable! I don’t want to contribute more food waste.

Our frig is often full of food because my husband and I both love to cook. But, we either make too much or I bring home what’s left from a food demo. You can typically find noodles, fruit, rice, beans or some other item just waiting to go bad. This morning, I decided to create something out of the chopped cucumbers and cilantro left from a Saturday class. I had a pineapple that was overdue to be cut and some watermelon, berries and grapes from last week. Here’s what transpired:

Ingredients:

1 cup chopped cucumber (1/2 of a cucumber)

1 cup fresh pineapple

1 cup watermelon, cut into 1″ chunks

1/2 cup grapes

1/2 cup blueberries

1/2 cup blackberries

1/4 cup chopped cilantro

Dressing:

Juice from 1 lime

1/2 tsp. honey

Directions:

Place cucumbers, fruit and cilantro in a bowl and toss.

Whisk together lime juice and honey.

Drizzle over fruit, toss and serve.

Makes 8 (1/2 cup) servings.

 

 

Mediterranean tomato & spinach salad

Mediterranean tomato & spinach salad

I admittedly have a brown thumb and am not known for my gardening skills. We have minimal sun coupled with lots of deer, so the stars do not exactly align for a garden. But, if you give me a few crops, I’ll make you dinner!

I picked up a basil plant at my local hardware store and with the grace of lots of rain this season, it has thrived. I recently paired some cherry tomatoes with torn romaine, fresh spinach, basil and a simple dressing and VOILA! A new salad was born.

This salad can be made with any greens and other veggies can be added. I am a fan of kalamata olives and feta cheese, but bleu cheese would go well here, too.

Ingredients:

2 cups fresh spinach leaves

2 cups torn romaine lettuce

1 pint cherry tomatoes, cut in half

1/4 cup pitted/chopped kalamata olives

1/4 cup feta cheese

1/4 red onion, cut into rings

1 handful washed, torn fresh basil

Dressing:

1/4 olive oil

1/4 balsamic vinegar

1 tsp. Dijon mustard

salt/pepper to taste

Directions:

Place the greens, basil, onions, tomatoes, olives and feta cheese in a bowl.

In a separate bowl, whisk the olive oil, vinegar and mustard together. Drizzle the dressing over the salad. Toss and serve.

Makes 4 servings.

 

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