Monthly Archives: December 2012

Slow Cooker Chicken Fajitas with Creamy Avocado Sauce

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IMPORTANT NOTE: I STILL HAVE COOKBOOKS FOR KINDLE AND KINDLE APP TO GIVE AWAY! If you would like one please email me at colleen@colleens-kitchen.com and I will email you a link to download your copy for free. All I ask in return is that you post a (hopefully positive) review in the Amazon store and on Goodreads.com.  Now on to this week’s topic…

This past week I realized that a family tradition was gone and never coming back.

As my kids were growing up, every Christmas morning I would get up early and make a big breakfast. My kids would sit eagerly, staring at the glossy packages under the tree, anxious to wolf their food down and start ripping into their shiny new presents. After presents, we would dress, pack up gifts for delivery, and bundle into the car to head to my parents house.

My mom would spend most of the day in the kitchen, crafting a heavenly meal, me at her side, just like when I was little. My dad and the kids would watch TV in the other room. Somewhere in there we would open more gifts. More family and friends would wander in the door, always greeted by a warm hug.

Things changed over 3 years ago after my grandfather died and my grandmother’s health began to decline. I decided it was important to spend what holidays she had left with her. So I began an annual jaunt to Napa, California, kids in tow, and spent the holiday with my aunt, uncle and grandmother. My aunt, who is a phenomenal cook, easily filled the role of my absent mom. My uncle would bring his guitar out and we would all sing carols. My grandmother would don a Santa hat and dance and sing along. I missed my mom and dad, but it was warm, comfortable and familiar.

This past year things changed though. It was after my annual Christmas visit last year that I realized the stress my uncle was going through caring not just for my grandma but also my aunt’s mother. My birth father, his older brother, died when I was just 16 and there was no one else to help. Except me.

My kids are older and I found I had more time on my hands and didn’t have to worry about leaving them home alone. So I agreed to go down every other month for an extended weekend to help out. It’s not a lot, but it gives my uncle a break and the anticipation of my visit distracts my grandmother enough that her mental breakdowns have been significantly less this year. It also allows me to help her with things that my uncle doesn’t particularly enjoy, for example take her shopping for a new bra.

When it came to Christmas this year, though, I simply couldn’t afford the airfares for myself and my 2 kids, my daughter had to work through Christmas, and I couldn’t bear the thought of Christmas without my kids. So after 3 Christmases away, I found myself at home again this year. And I suddenly found that traditions had changed in my absence. Having no big family to cook for, my parents started a new tradition of going to a movie and then out to Chinese food. No big home-cooked meal, no TV blaring in the living room, no dishes to wash afterwards. And they loved it. There was no going back.

So we joined them. I still made a big breakfast of cinnamon French toast and bacon, followed by the traditional present frenzy, but this time instead of spending the afternoon in the kitchen we went and saw The Hobbit then out to a Chinese restaurant. My brother, his son and girlfriend, and my sister and her boyfriend also joined us. Although a small part of me missed the warmth of the kitchen, it was wonderful, stress free, and no one had to wash any dishes at the end.

Looks like we have a new tradition.

Recipe of the Week

Slow Cooker Chicken Fajitas with Creamy Avocado Sauce

Ingredients

Fajitas:

  • 1 large sweet onion, quartered and cut into thick slices
  • 2 red bell peppers, seeded and cut into strips
  • 1 poblano pepper, seeded and cut into strips
  • 1 anaheim pepper, seeded and cut into strips
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 lb. boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 2 tbsp pineapple juice
  • 2 tbsp homemade, salt free chicken broth
  • 2 tbsp cumin
  • 1 tbsp coriander
  • 1 tbsp chili powder
  • dash of ground cinnamon
  • juice of 1 lime

 

Creamy Avocado Sauce:

  • 1/4 cup light sour cream
  • 1 small avocado
  • 1/3 cup fresh cilantro leaves
  • 2 tomatillos, husked and wedged
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and chopped
  • pinch of coarse sea salt
  • juice of 1 lime

 

Directions
Put the onion, peppers and garlic in the bottom of the slow cooker. Put the chicken breast over the top. Drizzle with the pineapple juice and chicken broth. Sprinkle over the cumin, coriander, chili powder and cinnamon. Drizzle with the lime juice. Cover and cook on low for 8-10 hours. Remove chicken and finely shred it with 2 forks. Return the shredded chicken to the pot and mix together with the cooked peppers and onions.

Dressing:
Combine all ingredients in a food processor and pulse until creamy and well blended. Serve drizzled over the chicken mixture.

Serving Size: Makes 4 servings

Tips
Serve the fajitas on a low calorie, soft taco-sized tortilla like my favorite, La Tortilla Factory’s Smart Carb, High Fiber Whole Wheat Flour Tortilla. Top with a little reduced-fat shredded cheese, lettuce and tomato. (Not included in the nutritional information)

Nutritional Information: Calories 241.4, Total Fat 7.3g, Cholesterol 60.0mg, Sodium 421.0mg, Total Carbs 14.5g, Dietary Fiber 3.4g, Protein 26.7g
 
 

COOKBOOK GIVEAWAY!

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I am giving away 10 copies of my new cookbook, Soups and Stews, in Kindle format. The first 10 people to send me an email at colleen@colleens-kitchen.com will receive a link for their free copy. All I ask in return is that you help me grow my business by posting a positive review of my book in the Amazon store and on Goodreads.com. Thank you and here’s to a great 2013!

Colleen

Italian Sausage and Wild Rice Soup

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For the past few months, my 18 year-old son has been busy stockpiling jugs of water and supplies in our basement. He has been convinced that the Mayans had it right and that the world would end on December 21st. I think he’s been watching a bit too much Walking Dead. Or Shaun of the Dead.

What a non-event this latest end of the world has been. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised, after all I remember well the big non-event of Y2K. “Planes will fall from the sky because computers will think it’s 1900 and not 2000!” Really? How could anyone have bought into that?

All of this paranoid end of the world fanaticism makes me wonder why people buy into this hype over and over and over again. I don’t think it’s an American phenomenon because I hear about these same fears from all over the world, apparently a little village in France was the safe place to be for this latest apocalypse.

My humble theory? Our world has grown so comfortable, so dependent on material things, that losing these basic creature comforts — electricity, water, shelter — is the worst thing we can imagine happening to us as a society. How can we survive, provide and care for our families, without these most essential of needs? It terrifies us, and so these movies, TV shows, and media-hyped myths strike a chord at our most base level, reeling us in like big mouthed bass.

When I was a child, the fear was a nuclear holocaust. When my mother was a child, it was a communist invasion. I think every generation has their time relevant emotional triggers. For my children, it apparently is zombies. For me, I will take these gruesome zombies for the entertainment they are meant to be and continue on with my life until it really does end, in one form or another.

If there is one food that is perfect for the zombie apocalypse, though, it is soup. You can prepare it in large batches and freeze or can the excess for later use, perfect for packing for your survival hike with the family. I love the spiciness of this soup from the hot Italian chicken sausage, the subtle nuttiness of the wild rice, and the hearty goodness provided by the spinach, carrot and tomatoes. The tomato paste adds depth to the broth and the red wine gives it character and complexity. And the fact that it’s all healthy and good for you is the icing on the proverbial cake.

Recipe of the Week

 

Italian Sausage and Wild Rice Soup

Ingredients

  • 1/2 sweet onion, diced
  • 2 medium carrots, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • pinch of coarse sea salt
  • 1/2 lb. bulk raw hot Italian chicken sausage
  • 1 cup red wine
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste
  • 6 cups homemade, salt free chicken broth
  • 2 cups chopped, frozen spinach
  • 1 cup wild rice
  • 1 can diced, no salt added tomatoes
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • 1 tsp dried oregano

Directions

Heat a stockpot over medium heat and coat with nonstick cooking spray. Add the onion, carrots, garlic and salt and saute until the onions are transparent. Add the sausage and continue cooking until the sausage is browned and crumbly.

Stir in the red wine, using a wooden spoon to scrape and deglaze the bottom of the pan. Continue cooking until the wine has reduced by half.

Stir in the tomato paste until it’s well combined then add the rest of the ingredients. Bring the soup to a boil then reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer for 45 minutes or until the rice is tender and cooked through.

Serving Size: Makes 6 servings of about 1 1/2 cups each

Note: I have reduced the nutritional value of the wine by half since much of it burns off in the cooking process.
Nutritional Information: Calories 141.9, Total Fat 1.7g, Cholesterol 28.3mg, Sodium 547.6mg, Total Carbs 18.1g, Dietary Fiber 3.6g, Protein 11.2g

Chocolate Holiday Special!

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Here’s a little secret you may not know about me: I sometimes fantasize about becoming a chocolatier.

It’s not so much that I love eating the chocolate. When it comes to guilty pleasures and temptations, believe it or not, chocolate is not at the top of my list. What tempts me: wine, cheese and fresh bread. Yes, I think I was likely French in a former life. But chocolate isn’t too far down that list, especially really rich, dark, quality chocolate.

I love the crafting of it more than anything. I love being able to take this simple ingredient and turn it into all sorts of pretty, scrumptious marvels.

Salted Almond Toffee, bagged and ready for gift giving

I think my love of candy-making goes back to my childhood. My grandma, “Nana”, used to make candies at the holidays, not just Christmas but Easter and Valentine’s Day as well. This meant gathering in the warm kitchen, melting the chocolate, mixing up the fondant, carefully painting delicate molds, and assembling the various candies. Then we would patiently wait, listening to Christmas carols playing in the background, as the first chocolates cooled and we could taste the fruits of our labor.

Several years ago, Nana sent me a big box in the mail at Christmas. I wasn’t expecting anything and opened it cautiously. Lovingly packed inside were all of her candy molds, tools and recipe book. I was a little disappointed to learn that it was a Wilton recipe book she was working from all those years. Here I thought she was a chocolate magician.

But I eagerly took up the challenge and tried my hand at candy-making. Like all first attempts, it wasn’t great. I followed the Wilton recipe book and the result was, in a word, average. As with any recipe I try, though, I had to deviate and experiment until the result has morphed so completely that it’s barely recognizable from the original recipe.

Finished Cherry Zinfandel Truffles

So over these many years of making chocolates at the holidays, I have experimented, twisted, and shaped the candy into something that is entirely and completely my own. Gone are the molds and the Wilton recipe book, instead I focus on luxurious, gourmet-quality chocolate truffles for the most part. And I have to say that this year is my best year ever.

Today, I am going to share with you some of my favorite candy recipes that are entirely my own. Let me preface this by saying that these recipes are not at all in keeping with my focus on healthy, calorie-friendly meals. These are very rich treats that are only meant for occasional consumption and even then in moderation. The beauty of making chocolate at the holidays is that I give it all away as gifts. I generally spend about $80 on ingredients and packaging supplies, and this yields enough candy to serve as presents for the office, my friends and family.

First, I will share a couple of non-truffle recipes with you. These are much easier and less time-consuming to prepare. Note that most recipes require a double boiler. If you don’t have a double boiler, simply use a glass bowl over a pot of water, it works just as well and many times even better.

Peppermint Bark:

Equipment needed:

  • Double boiler
  • Rubber spatula
  • Nonstick baking sheet

Ingredients:

  • 2 bags white chocolate chips
  • 1 giant candy cane stick (I believe they’re called Big Jim’s, you can also substitute a box of peppermint candy canes, but the stick is much cheaper)

Instructions:
Take the wrapper off the candy, put it in a resealable plastic bag and pound with a hammer or mallet until it is in small pieces. Fill the bottom pan of the double boiler about 1/3 of the way full with water. Put the chocolate chips in the top pan and turn the burner to medium. Put the crushed candy into a colander and sift it over the chocolate, letting the finer crumbs and dust combine with the chocolate and the larger chunks remain in the colander — set these aside. Use the rubber spatula to stir the chocolate and candy until the chocolate is completely melted and smooth. Pour onto the baking sheet and use the spatula to spread it out into an even layer. Take the remaining candy pieces from the colander and sprinkle them over the top, lightly pressing them into the chocolate so that they will stick. Put in the fridge to cool completely. Break into chunks and store in airtight containers or bags.

Toffee boiling away – not quite dark enough yet!

Salted Almond Toffee

Equipment needed:

  • Saucepan
  • Candy thermometer
  • Rubber spatula
  • 13×9 pyrex baking dish

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound unsalted butter
  • 1 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 cup chopped almonds
  • 1 bag dark chocolate chunks or chips (I think the chunks look nicer in the finished product)
  • Sea salt

Instructions
Spread the almonds and chocolate evenly over the bottom of the baking dish and set aside. Heat the butter and sugars in the saucepan over medium heat, stirring constantly until it reaches a boil. Let it continue to boil, without stirring, until it reaches 300F degrees. (Note that I don’t always trust my candy thermometer here as I’ve had it burn on me before, so I’ve become adept at recognizing the color and texture that tell me it’s ready. This only comes after practice, so don’t expect to be able to spot this right away, but the mixture should be a dark amber in color and will be thick, glossy and sort of balling up on itself – in other words, pulling from the side of the pan and even itself.) Once the mixture has reached this stage, pour it over the nuts and chocolate in the baking dish, using the spatula to spread it in an even layer. Sprinkle sea salt over the top of the mixture – usually a teaspoon is enough, you don’t want it to be too salty. Do not refrigerate, just let it cool on the counter or table. Once completely cooled and hard, break into chunks with a knife and store it in airtight containers or bags.

Chocolate Truffles

Equipment needed:

  • Double boiler
  • Rubber spatula
  • 13×9 baking dish
  • Waxed paper
  • Baking sheets
  • 2 very narrow skewers (I actually use turkey lacers, they work even better than the candy dipping tool from the store)

Truffles are not for the faint of heart or the under-confident chef. They are extremely time-consuming and can be a little tricky. If you are up for it, though, the reward is absolutely delightful. And rolling the truffles is something that kids can easily help with if you’re looking for a family activity.

A truffle consists of some sort of mixture — usually either a ganache or fondant base — that is rolled into balls then dipped in chocolate. I mostly use a ganache which can be very tricky to master for if it’s too hard then it won’t roll into balls and if it’s too soft then it just falls apart in your hands. I have come up with what I consider to be the perfect basic formula for a chocolate ganache:

Ganache for Cherry Zinfandel Truffle

Basic Truffle Ganache Recipe

  • 1.5 pounds of extra dark (63% cacao or higher)
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons butter

This will yield about 90 truffles. To create different flavors, I then adjust the amount of cream I add — see below for specific ideas and examples.

Instructions:
The ganache needs to be melted in the top of a double boiler until completely smooth, then pour it in the pyrex baking dish, smooth it with the rubber spatula, and cover and chill until completely firm (I chill them overnight). Line a baking sheet with waxed paper. Make sure your hands are clean and completely dry. Use a melon baller or small scoop to create balls no larger than 3/4″ – 1″ in diameter, rolling them smooth in your palms, and place on the waxed paper. The longer you do this, the more the chocolate residue gets on your hands, the softer the ganache becomes when you try to work it, and the more it falls apart in your hands. So when you see more chocolate sticking to your fingers then forming into the balls, stop and wash your hands – with soap to remove the chocolate oils – then dry them completely. I keep a bag of ice in my freezer that I also then chill my hands on before returning the task of rolling.

Once the balls are rolled, put the baking sheet in the freezer and let them completely freeze. Melt 2 bags of extra dark (63% cacao or more) chocolate chips in the top of a double boiler with 1 tbsp unsalted butter and 1 tbsp chopped parafin wax (these give the chocolate coating a little gloss and thin it out a little to make it easier for dipping). Take 20 of the rolled balls out of the freezer at a time, otherwise they soften too much before dipping.

Hold a skewer in each hand, place a ball on one skewer. Dip it in the melted chocolate. Tap the skewer gently on the side of the pan and let the excess chocolate drip off. Place the dipped truffle on the waxed paper, using the skewer in your other hand to help release the truffle off the dipping skewer. If you wish to top the truffle with anything decorative (see notes for each recipe below), do it before the chocolate dries. Let dry completely – refrigerate if necessary – then store in an airtight container.

Here are a few of my ganache creations this year, the preparation and dipping procedure is the same as outlined above:

Chili Chocolate Truffle Ganache
Basic ganache recipe plus 2 tsp crushed red chili pepper flakes. Once the truffles are dipped, for decoration dust the top with a very, very small amount of cayenne pepper.

Tarragon Merlot Truffle Ganache
Alter the basic ganache recipe by reducing the amount of cream to 1 cup, then add 1 cup quality merlot wine and 3 tbsp chopped fresh tarragon. Once the truffles are dipped, for decoration top each truffle with a small piece of tarragon.

Mandarin Orange Truffle Ganache
Zest 3 mandarin oranges to add to the ganache. Juice the oranges then add heavy whipping cream until it totals 2 cups of liquid. Use this instead of the 2 cups of cream called for in the basic ganache recipe, the rest of the recipe remains the same. Once the truffles are dipped, for decoration top each truffle with a sprinkling of dried orange zest.

Cherry Zinfandel Truffle Ganache
Alter the basic ganache recipe by reducing the amount of cream to 1/2 cup, then add 1 cup quality zinfandel wine and 1 bag of dried Trader Joe’s dried sweet cherries finely chopped (save 1/4 cup of these chopped dried sweet cherries). Once the truffles are dipped, for decoration top each truffle with a piece of the dried cherries that you set aside.

Salted Caramel Truffle Ganache
Alter the basic ganache recipe by eliminating the butter and cream, then add 2 jars of Trader Joe’s Fleur de Sel Caramel Sauce. Once the truffles are dipped, for decoration top each truffle with a sprinkling of coarse sea salt.

Roasted Harvest Vegetable and Quinoa Bake

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If you’ve been following me for a while, you know that this time of year I go a little bit crazy with the butternut squash. Roasted, pureed, sauteed, baked – you name it, I love it. And this is the only time of year when it’s fresh, so why not go a little crazy with it?

I especially love pairing butternut squash with root vegetables and roasting them up together to create a sweet, caramelized version of these delicious garden creatures. In this dish, I’ve tossed them with earthy sage and, once roasted, baked them together with quinoa and creamy gorgonzola until the cheese is melted and bubbly. It’s an easy one-pot meal that is a wonder on a weeknight when I’m busy and need a good, healthy vegetarian recipe.

And life has been a little busy lately! Aside from the annual orgy of chocolate-making taking place in my kitchen at the moment, my dating life has become quite the spectacle. Yes, I finally dove back into that pool after some disappointments earlier in the year. I decided to take the plunge with match.com, that shopping mall of singles sites.

After a couple of weeks of nothing, I tweaked my profile and suddenly I’ve become a hot commodity. Oh, and for full disclosure, I lied about my age. Everyone says I look younger than I am – which I do – so I shaved 5 years off and made myself 36 instead of 41. Why? Because the only guys I was hearing from were 50+ year old couch potatoes that I had nothing in common with.

Now before you criticize me, let me tell you something: the guys on there aren’t exactly honest either. They post photos that are 10+ years old and they totally lie about their height, weight, marital status, and anything else. So at this point, I’m not feeling too guilty. And besides, now I hear from guys who are actually my own age — of course they don’t know this, but I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it.

So I’ve been going on 1-2 dates per weekend, in general, although there was a 3 day weekend where I went on 4 — that’s right 4 — dates. Note that I did call one by the wrong name that weekend. Whoops!

This past weekend I was invited to a hot Portland danceclub by a young guy, coincidentally the one that I called by the wrong name. And he was still interested in me! Imagine that!

I will tell you up front that I can’t even remember the last time I was at a danceclub. You see, I had my daughter when I was 19 and my son at 22, so when most college girls were going to danceclubs, I was home taking care of my babies. Then I gained a ton of weight, my self-esteem went down the toilet, and my dating life was non-existent. Dancing has become somewhat of a foreign language to me.

But I went! Because in my new body, I have become adventurous and I will try anything once!

This danceclub is 80s and 90s themed so the music was right up my alley. The downside: I am certain that, aside from the bouncers, I was the oldest one there. A cute young guy, who was probably close to my daughter’s age, came up to me to tell me in drunken detail how hard it was to find (in his words) some “intelligent pussy” at the club. (I told him to try the library next time.) Another drunk guy approached my date and started hitting on him — awkward! And then I’m watching these young girls in seriously short skirts climb on the bar and start grinding, and I’m thinking: I am way too old for this.

When did that happen? When did I get to be such an old fuddy duddy? I do love going and listening to a live band and rocking out in the pit in front, smashed in between all the sweating and pulsating bodies. Why didn’t I get the same vibe there? I’m not sure. Maybe because I didn’t have the anonymity of people to pool with on the dance floor. Maybe because there’s just something about live music that is more honest and real that strikes a chord with me.

So perhaps the best thing about all these dates that I’m going on, is that I am constantly learning something new about myself and what I like and don’t like. Somewhere back there — in my marriage, in my divorce, in my obese body — I lost myself and didn’t realize it. Finding me again can be a little painful, but it is so much fun.

I can’t wait to see what the next date brings!

Recipe of the Week

 

Roasted Harvest Vegetable and Quinoa Bake

Ingredients

 

  • 2 cups homemade, salt free chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1 cup white quinoa, rinsed in cold water and drained
  • 1/2 lb. butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cubed
  • 2 small sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp chopped fresh sage
  • pinch of coarse sea salt
  • 2 oz. gorgonzola cheese, crumbled

 
Directions
Preheat the oven to 450.

Cook the quinoa in the chicken broth according to package directions.

Toss the squash and sweet potatoes with the olive oil, sage and sea salt then roast in the oven for 15 minutes in a single layer in a deep dish pan or cast iron skillet. Remove from the oven and stir in the quinoa and the gorgonzola cheese. Bake for 15 more minutes or until the cheese is melted and bubbly. Let sit for 5 minutes then serve.

Serving Size: Makes 4 Servings

Nutritional Information: Calories 334.9, Total Fat 10.6g, Cholesterol 12.5mg, Sodium 194.8mg, Total Carbs 49.5g, Dietary Fiber 6.4g, Protein 12.3g

Hearty Harvest Salad

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I learned early on in my weight loss journey to read nutrition labels. I was shocked to find that many products labeled as “reduced sodium” were still extremely high in salt content. This time of year I use various broths regularly for soups, stews, and, occasionally, other items, yet store bought broths are one of those items that are shockingly high in sodium.

Then I learned how easy it is to make my own broth. Making my own broth is not only cheaper, but I can better control the salt content, the color and clarity, and the flavor. This time of year, I will roast a chicken approximately once a month — or at least pick up an already cooked rotisserie chicken at the store — then use the carcass to make broth.

I simply submerge the carcass in water in my stockpot then add vegetables such as an onion, a couple of carrots, celery, or whatever I might have on hand in the fridge. This last time I added a few leaves of kale leftover from the recipe below. I’ll also throw in a sprig of rosemary or thyme for additional flavor. I don’t add any salt whatsoever, in order to better control the flavor, I prefer to add that directly to the dish I prepare with the resulting broth.

I then bring this mixture to a boil, reduce the heat to low, cover the pot and let it simmer for 4 hours to create a rich, deep flavor. I then simply remove it from the heat, let it cool, and strain the broth through a fine sieve to remove the debris created from the contents. I measure the broth into plastic containers in 2 and 4 cup increments then seal them up and throw them into the freezer. If I need smaller increments, I will fill an ice cube tray with the broth (each ice cube equates to 2 tbsp), freeze that then throw the resulting broth cubes into a resealable plastic freezer bag. Then whenever I need to use broth for a recipe, I simply pull the container from the freezer and defrost it in the microwave.

Couldn’t be easier right?

You can make virtually any type of broth using this method. For vegetable broth, I just add more vegetables, particularly mushrooms, and I so prefer my own to that store-bought concoction which tends to be thick and either overly orange from carrots or brown from mushrooms. For fish broth, try using discarded shrimp shells, they are surprisingly full of flavor. Once you start making your own broth you will never go back to store bought, at least I haven’t.

And by the way, the recipe below makes for a great side to a roasted chicken!

Recipe of the Week

 

Hearty Harvest Salad

Ingredients


Roasted Squash and Parsnip:

  • 1/2 lb. butternut squash, peeled and cubed
  • 1 parsnip, peeled and cubed
  • 1 tbsp chopped fresh sage
  • 1 tbsp olive oil

 

Salad:

  • 4 cups chopped fresh kale
  • 2 tbsp chopped hazelnuts
  • 1 oz. crumbled gorgonzola cheese

Dressing:

  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • pinch of sea salt
  • dash of freshly ground black pepper

Directions
Preheat the oven to 450. Coat a baking sheet with nonstick olive oil cooking spray and set aside.

Toss the squash and parsnip with the sage and olive oil. Spread on the baking sheet in a single layer and bake for 15 minutes or until tender and lightly browned.

Arrange the kale in a medium salad bowl. Layer the roasted squash and parsnip (still warm) on the kale. Sprinkle the hazelnuts and gorgonzola over the top.

Whisk together the 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper and drizzle over the top of the salad. Serve immediately.

Serving Size: Serves 4 as a side or 2 as an entree

Nutritional Information: Calories 219.8, Total Fat 12.1g, Cholesterol 7.5mg, Sodium 168.1mg, Total Carbs 26.7g, Dietary Fiber 7.7g, Protein 6.0g