Broccoli Cauliflower Salad

I’ve made versions of this salad over time, always with broccoli.  Today knowing that I had both broccoli and cauliflower on hand, I decided to do a twist on my go-to recipe and share it with you.

Broccoli Cauliflower Salad

  • 2 c broccoli florets
  • 1 1/2 – 2 c cauliflower florets
  • 1/2 c dried cranberries – add to 1/2 c very hot water for 1o minutes, drain
  • 4 oz sharp cheddar, cut into small chunks
  • 1/4 c chopped red onion
  • 1/2 c pecans – chopped and lightly toasted
  • 4-5 slices crisp bacon, chopped
  • 1/2 c mayonnaise
  • 1 T honey
  • 1 T rice wine vinegar
  • 1 t coarse ground black pepper
  • 1 t dijon mustard
  • red pepper flake to taste (optional)

In a large bowl, combine the broccoli, cauliflower, cranberries, cheddar and red onion.  Make the dressing by whisking together the mayonnaise, honey, vinegar, pepper, dijon and red pepper flakes.  Dress the salad with the desired amount of dressing – you can always add more.  Add the bacon and pecans, stir to blend. Chill for one hour and serve.

Salsa Red Snapper with White Beans & Gremolata Topping

Not shown: green pepper

Last night I invited Mom to join me for dinner.  I surprised her by making a recipe she’d discovered a few years back.  It’s a showy dish that’s perfect for easy entertaining and chock full of flavor.  Loaded with healthy ingredients, this is only 4 1/2 Weight Watchers points per serving. I sent Mom home with a to-go box and have an ample serving left for myself.  I tweaked the original recipe ever so slightly, using only one can of beans, a bit more salsa and made more gremolata because it’s that topping that makes this dish over- the-top delicious.  If you have gremolata left it would be great with chicken, salmon or even tossed in with pasta, couscous or rice!

Salsa Red Snapper with White Beans & Gremolata Topping             serves 4

4 1/2 Weight Watchers points per serving

  • 18 oz salsa
  • 1 can great northern beans, drained
  • 1 small green pepper, cut into thin strips
  • 1 lb red snapper
  • 1/4 c green onions

Gremolata topping:

  • 1/2 c chopped flat leaf parsley
  •  1 1/2 t orange zest
  • 1 1/2 t lime zest
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped

Heat oven to 425 degrees.  Combine 12 oz of the salsa with the beans and green pepper and place in a casserole dish.

  Cut the red snapper into several servings and place over the salsa mixture.


Top the fish with the remaining 6 oz of salsa, followed by the green onions. Cover the casserole dish tightly with aluminum foil and bake for 25-30 minutes.

Mix together the ingredients for the gremolata and set aside.


Remove the casserole from oven and allow to rest uncovered for five minutes before serving.  Top each serving with gremolata and prepare to fall in love with this flavorful, healthy dish.

I served this with roasted garlic crostini, a fresh spinach salad with dijon vinaigrette with a lovely bottle of wine and lemon bars for dessert.

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Walleye Picatta

As another bitter cold wintry Michigan day unfolded, I realized that I just didn’t want to to leave the house for any reason.  With a household of goodies between pantry, fridge and the chest freezer I came up with a delicious entree.

A fishing buddy of Spence’s used to cook Lake Trout, Bass and Whitefish in foil packets with lemons, butter, green onions, garlic, salt and pepper – then place the packets on the grill.  It was so simple and absolutely delicious.  I decided to adopt the foil packet idea for this recipe using a Walleye Fillet.

Walleye Picatta    Serves 1-2

  • 1 Walleye Fillet (1/2 – 3/4 lb)
  • 1 lemon
  • 2 T butter
  • 1 large clove of garlic – minced
  • 1 large shallot – chopped
  • lemon pepper
  • coarse sea salt
  • red pepper flake (optional)
  • 1 T capers
  • 2 T Extra Dry Vermouth (or other dry white wine)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking dish with aluminum foil. Rub about 1 tablespoon of butter on the foil, add the Walleye Fillet (skin side down).  Zest a lemon, set the zest aside.  Cut the lemon in half placing it on either side of the fillet then top the fish with another tablespoon of butter cut into 4 pieces placed on top of the fish.

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Sprinkle sea salt, zest, red pepper flakes and coarse ground lemon pepper over the top, to taste.

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Next add the garlic and shallot over the top and around the fillet.  Top with the capers  followed with the extra dry vermouth around the fillet.

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Seal the foil tightly allowing for a pocket of air above the fillet. Bake for 10 minutes, allowing it to rest for five minutes and then opening with care to avoid burns from the steam.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Festive Winter Fruit Salad

My lifelong BFF put together a Winter Solstice Meditation for a small group of women.  We’ll start with a delicious dinner (she is an amazing cook) and I’ve offered to bring a salad.  At least three of the women there are vegan and I wanted to honor that so that everyone can enjoy it. As I thought about the holidays, I shopped for ingredients that would be both delicious and look festive.  This recipe is what I came up with…what do you think?

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Festive Winter Fruit Salad

  • organic baby greens
  • baby spinach
  • shredded purple cabbage
  • Belgian Endive
  • thin sliced red onion
  • sliced strawberries
  • raspberries
  • blueberries
  • pomegranate seeds

Toss the greens, spinach and cabbage together, place the endive around the edges.  Top with the onion, then berries.  Finish topping with the pomegranate seeds.   Chill and serve.  I’m bringing toasted walnut halves and Boars Head crumbled blue cheese – on the side – for those that want to add them.

This is the dressing I made for the salad…

Dressing

  • 1/2 c white strawberry & peach balsamic vinegar
  • 1/3 c good extra virgin olive oil
  • sea salt & ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 T dijon mustard

Place ingredients in a large mason jar, stir to blend and put top on tight.  Shake vigorously to blend, allowing the mustard to emulsify.

 

 

Pork Fried Rice

Let me start by saying, I love fried rice and I love to cook.  That said, I’ve never made fried rice…until last night – with great success. I even dreamt about it. I had leftover baby back ribs from Sunday’s dinner which inspired me to do Pork Fried Rice.  If you want, this recipe would be equally delicious with shrimp, chicken or amp up the veggies and make it a veggie fried rice as well.

Pork Fried Rice   serves 3-4

  • 2 c uncooked white rice
  • 2 eggs – beaten with a fork
  • 1 1/2 – 2 c cooked, chopped pork
  • 3/4 c diced white onion
  • 1/2 c diced carrot
  • 1/3 c diced peppers
  • 1 c frozen peas – thawed
  • sesame & peanut oil
  • liquid aminos or soy sauce
  • 1/4 c Rice Wine vinegar

Start by cooking your rice (using a little less water than called for), early in the day or the night before.  Spread it out and cool it on a sheet pan, allowing it to dry out a bit.

Compile your ingredients and heat your wok to medium high heat, add a teaspoon of sesame oil and 1 tablespoon of peanut oil.

Add the eggs to the pan, allow them to start cooking then break up with your spatula into soft scramble egg bites.  Remove from the wok and set aside.

Add the same amount of oils to the wok as for the eggs then add the carrots allowing them to cook for several minutes.  Now add the onions and peppers, cook for a few minutes more, then remove them from the wok and set aside.

Add the same amount of oils as in previous steps, then add the pork allowing it to crisp up a bit.  Remove from the wok and set aside.

Add 2 T sesame oil and 2 T peanut oil to the wok, add the rice spreading it out to cover as much of the wok surface as possible.  Let it brown for a couple of minutes, then move it around allowing it to continue to brown, repeating this step until it’s nicely golden. Stir in the Rice Wine vinegar and the liquid amigos/soy sauce to taste.  Add the veggies and pork into the rice, stir to combine. Now add the peas, then the scrambled egg, stir to combine and it’s ready to serve!

 

My Famous Cran-Orange Relish, just in time for Thanksgiving

 Cran-Orange Relish
Cran-Orange Relish
  • 2 12 oz bags of fresh cranberries
  • 2 navel oranges
  • 1 T raspberry or strawberry jam
  • 2-3 T sugar
  • 1 t balsamic vinegar
  • 1-2 T Grand Marnier liqueur
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Assembly Line

I use a dutch oven pan to create more surface area for warming the berries. Place cranberries, sugar, jam and vinegar in the pan on a low to medium setting, stir. Zest one navel orange and then juice that orange, adding both juice and zest to berry mixture. Stir again

Using a veggie peeler or small sharp knife, remove about 1/2 the peel from the second orange, careful not to go beneath the “orange” peel (avoiding the bitter white part). Chop the peel fine (see below) until you have 1 tablespoon. You may use more peel if you end up with more or freeze it for later use.

Add peel to berry mixture. Cut the second orange in half and then section it, adding the sections to the berry mixture. Squeeze any residual juice from the second orange into the pan.

Looks pretty, smells tart and citrusy
Looks pretty, smells tart and citrusy

You will start to hear little pops from the pan, those are the cranberries bursting. Give it a stir, put a lid on the pan, reduce the heat to low. Check back every 15 -20 minutes for another stir, letting it simmer.. After 45 minutes, stir in the Grand Marnier, the berry mixture should be breaking down like a chutney. Continue to cook for 15-20 minutes more. Cool and serve. Makes 2-3 cups of relish. This can be stored in an airtight container in your refrigerator for up to two weeks and freezes beautifully, simply thaw and serve.

This is delicious as to serve not only with your Thanksgiving dinner but with chicken, pork or even seared scallops (trust me). For a festive appetizer, make a charcuterie platter  with cheeses like brie or a spreadable goat cheese or camembert, manchego, sharp white cheddar, cornichons and marcona almonds with sliced baguettes! Get creative…..and always, enjoy!

Looking for other Thanksgiving or Holiday recipes? Here’s links to a few of my best recipes:

Chestnut, Apple and Sausage Stuffing

Roasting Chestnuts – a Labor of Love

As I’m making my 2016 batch today, I decided to re-publish this recipe in hopes that it might be helpful to someone this Thanksgiving!  

Taco Fiesta Casserole

Taco Fiesta Casserole serves 6-8

Ingredients:
1 lb extra lean ground beef
1 package pillsbury grand biscuits (10 count)
Taco seasoning – 2 T Pampered Chef Fiesta Seasoning, 1 T Cumin, 1 T chili powder (you can use packaged taco seasoning)
1 1/2 cup salsa
1 chopped chipoltle in adobo, chopped
1 c black beans (rinsed)
2 cup diced peppers – green, red, yellow & orange
1 cup diced red onion
2 cups Mexican shredded cheese
3 chopped green onions
Sour cream for topping

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Brown ground beef, stirring in taco seasoning mix, salsa and chipotle. Set aside.
Cut the biscuits into quarters, then into eighths. Place half the biscuits in the bottom of a 9 x 13 in pan. Top with 1/2 the meat mixture, then all of the pepper, onion and black bean mixture. Sprinkle 1 cup of cheese over the top. Now add the remaining biscuit pieces, meat mix and 1 cup of cheese followed by the chopped green onion.

Place in oven, tented with foil for 35 minutes. Remove foil and return to oven for 15 minutes more. Remove and let it cool for 5 minutes before serving. Top servings with sour cream if desired.