Kale apple salad with feta cheese and pistachios in orange dressing

Kale apple salad with feta cheese and pistachios in orange dressing

This seasonal salad will become a favorite among your guests.  Kale is one of my favorite greens to toy with.  Did you know that eating just 1-2 servings of leafy greens may improve your memory?

To improve the texture of kale, place it in a Ziplock bag after cleaning and massage it until it’s shiny.  This helps wilt and sweeten this rough green.  Honey crisp apples or pears “pair” nicely with any winter greens, pistachios and orange vinaigrette.  The salad can be made ahead of time and may actually taste better on day 2 or 3.  Add feta cheese or blue cheese or any variation of nuts or seeds.


6 cups kale, chopped, rinsed and massaged

2 Honey Crisp or Granny Smith apples

½ cup chopped pistachios

¼ cup feta cheese


1/3 cup orange juice

1/3 cup canola oil



  1. Wash and rip the kale. Place in a zip lock bag and massage kale until it’s shiny.  Add kale to a large salad bowl.
  2. Slice the apples into chunks and add to the kale.
  3. Add pistachios and feta cheese.
  4. Whisk together orange juice and oil.
  5. Dress salad ahead of time (if desired).


Makes 6 servings.  Nutrition facts per serving:  245 calories, 18.6 grams fat (2.5 grams saturated fat), 5.6 mg cholesterol, 17.7 grams carbohydrate, 3.6 grams fiber, 5.5 grams protein, 141 mg sodium.

Steel cut oats with ginger & almonds

Steel cut oats with ginger & almonds

I’ve had a cylinder of steel cut oats in my pantry for months, but had not used it due to sheer laziness.  Steel cut oats are meant for a weekend breakfast when you’ve got a little extra time to sip coffee and let them cook.

The beautiful thing about them though, is you can make a lot ahead of time and reheat them the next day.  The recipe I made makes 4 servings, but you can keep them plain and add in what you want to make them more interesting.  Below is what I came up with this morning.  Delightful!


1 cup steel cut oats

4 cups water

2 tsp. cinnamon

2 tsp. ginger paste

2 tsp. real maple syrup

1/2 cup chopped almonds



Boil water then add 1 cup steel cut oats and boil for 5 minutes.

Turn heat down and cook oats uncovered for another 25-30 minutes until the water is all soaked up.

Stir in ginger paste, cinnamon, maple syrup and almonds before serving.

Makes 4 servingsNutrition facts per serving: 180 calories, 7.9 grams fat, 22 grams carbohydrate, 6.3 grams protein, 3.9 grams fiber, 0 mg cholesterol, 4.7 mg sodium.


Slow Cooker Sweet Potato Chickpea Chili

Slow Cooker Sweet Potato Chickpea Chili

This recipe comes from Sweet Peas & Saffon, but was shared by a fellow neighbor, Doug Olberding.  Doug is an avid runner with a biting sense of humor and taste for adventure.

Did you get an Instant Pot or crock pot for the holidays and are itching to try it, but don’t know where to start?  Look no further!  This delicious slow-cooker dish is packed with fiber and protein from chickpeas and beta-carotene from sweet potatoes.  It’s seasoned with savory chipotle, adobo sauce and lime. Adobo sauce is typically browned in oil at finishing, so the recipe will contain some fat.

Recipe takes about 30 minutes of prep time in the morning, but dinner is done when you return from a long day.  Ingredients can be prepped the night before and refrigerated before cooking.

Let’s say you added too much adobo sauce or chipotle peppers.  No worries!  Add a dollop of plain Greek yogurt before serving.  The casein in dairy products binds capsaicin from peppers and cools off your tongue.  True story!



28 oz. can diced tomatoes (keep liquid)

13.5 oz. can tomato sauce

4 Tbsp. adobo sauce (can use more if desired)

1 chopped chipotle pepper (less if desired)

2 Tbsp. chili powder

1 Tbsp. ground cumin

½ cup low sodium chicken or vegetable stock

2 medium onions, minced

1 large sweet potato, peeled and cut into 1 ½-2” cubes (~5 cups)

2 diced carrots

2 (19 oz. cans) chick peas (drained & rinsed)

1 fresh lime

avocado (optional)



  1. Add all ingredients to the base of a 5-quart slow cooker.
  2. Mix with a wooden spoon until completely combined.
  3. Cook on lowest setting for 8-10 hours.
  4. Before serving, *gently* stir in the lime juice.
  5. Serve with avocado, cilantro, yogurt/sour cream, and tortilla chips.

Makes 8 servingsNutrition facts per serving: 339 calories, 6 grams fat, 59 grams carbohydrate, 10.5 grams fiber, 15.6 grams protein, 0 mg cholesterol, 1500 mg sodium.

Asian broccoli sautee

Asian broccoli sautee

Need a tasty, colorful side dish?  Look no further!  Broccoli slaw, made of shredded broccoli stalks, red cabbage and carrots, contain loads of vitamin C, beta-carotene and folate- nutrients that help protect your heart.  This simple dish can stand alone or be combined with tofu, chicken, salmon or pork to boost protein content.  Red or yellow bell peppers can be added for more color and nutrition.  Serve over brown rice, Japanese Soba noodles or quinoa to make a complete meal.



1 Tbsp. canola oil

1 (10 oz) bag broccoli slaw

2 green onions (scallions), cut into pieces

1 clove garlic or 1 tsp. minced garlic

1 tsp. minced ginger

1 Tbsp. sesame seed oil

1 tbsp. rice vinegar or white vinegar

2 tsp. low sodium soy sauce

1 Tbsp. chopped peanuts

Dash of red pepper flakes

Chopped cilantro



  1. In a large pan, add canola oil, garlic, pepper strips, ginger and broccoli slaw and saute’ over low heat.
  2. Mix the rice vinegar, sesame seed oil and soy sauce and add to the vegetables.
  3. Heat on low until vegetables are slightly soft.
  4. Add green onions cilantro, chopped nuts and pepper flakes before serving.




Serves 6.  Nutrition information per serving:  63 calories, 4.3 grams fat, 5 gm carbohydrate, 2 gm fiber, 2 gm protein, 0 mg cholesterol, 76 mg sodium 

Layered hummus dip

Layered hummus dip

Need a beautiful appetizer for your next holiday party? You’ll be invited back if you bring this dip!  This colorful appetizer is not only tasty, but also healthy.  A good source of protein and fiber, hummus is versatile and vegetarian-friendly.  Chopped tomatoes, cucumbers and red onions add color while feta and Kalamata olives boost the Mediterranean equity.

Serve with pita chips, whole grain crackers or vegetables.  Leftover dip can be used in a pita or whole wheat wrap as a sandwich.  Add raw spinach or additional vegetables to boost the fiber and nutrient content.


1 (10 oz) tubs of prepared hummus (original or garlic flavor)

10 grape tomatoes, cut in half

15 Kalamata olives, pitted and chopped

1/4 cucumber, cut into small pieces

¼ cup feta cheese

¼ red onion, chopped

2 tsp. olive oil

1 ½ tsp. oregano


  1. In a 9” pie plate, spread all of the hummus on the bottom of the plate.
  2. Layer tomatoes, cucumbers, olives and onion on top of the hummus.
  3. Sprinkle feta cheese on top of the vegetables and olives.
  4. Drizzle olive oil over the vegetables. Sprinkle oregano after the oil and serve.

Makes 12 servings.  Nutrition facts per serving:  130 calories, 6.9 grams fat, 14 grams carbohydrate, 5.7 grams protein, 5 grams fiber, 3 mg cholesterol, 270 mg sodium.

Italian sausage, peppers & pasta

Italian sausage, peppers & pasta

In an effort to reduce food waste, I created this simple recipe using leftover turkey sausage we had cooked one weekend.  The fiber content gets a boost with whole wheat pasta and nearly any vegetable can be added in (read something green like spinach)!  It’s an excellent source of vitamin C as well as protein.  Serve with a little grated Parmesan cheese and you’ve got a delicious meal worth repeating!


1 lbs Italian turkey sausage

2 Tbsp. olive oil

1 bell pepper- cut into strips

½ yellow onion- chopped

1 clove garlic- minced

2 Tbsp. prepared pesto

1/2 lb whole wheat pasta/penne or farfalle



Cook the sausage over medium heat until it is completely cooked (~15

minutes).  Set aside.

Cook a half pound of whole wheat pasta according to the directions and set aside.

Sautee the peppers, garlic and onions in olive oil.

In a large pot, combine the sausage, onions, garlic, peppers and pasta together.  Add the pesto and mix well.

Serve with grated Parmesan or other pungent cheese (such as Asiago or Romano).


Makes 4 servings.  Nutrition Facts per serving:  333 calories, 14.6 grams fat, 32 grams carbohydrate, 19 grams protein, 4 grams fiber, 52 mg cholesterol, 505 mg sodium.

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