Raw Kale and Tofu Salad with Citrus Dressing

This salad was super delicious.  There’s lots of delicious stuff going on in this salad.  Tofu and edamame add protein, the vegetables add a variety of color, texture and nutrients, and the dressing adds a punch of delicious citrusy flavor with salty-sweet flavors from the soy sauce and honey.  The ground flaxseed adds a really interesting texture and adds healthy omega-3s to this vitamin rich meal.  This is definitely not a boring salad.  It’s great all on its own or would be awesome paired with some fish (salmon would be my preference) or grilled shrimp.

If you have the time/forethought, I’d recommend pressing the tofu and making the dressing the day before serving, and then letting the tofu marinate overnight before you make the rest of the salad.  Or if you’d like to make it all ahead of time just keep the rest of the veggies separate from the dressed kale so they don’t get soggy.

Raw Kale and Tofu Salad with Citrusy DressingRaw Kale and Tofu Salad with Citrus Dressing

Serves 4-6

Adapted from Clean Eating

  • 2 (14oz) packages firm tofu, pressed and cut into 1/2″ cubes
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
  • 1/2 cup rice wine vinegar
  • 2 oranges, juiced
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 3 Tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 Tbsp honey
  • 2 Tbsp peeled and grated fresh ginger
  • 1 Tbsp sesame oil
  • 2 Tbsp ground flaxseeds
  • 2 bunches kale, deveined and chopped
  • 1/2 cucumber, diced
  • 2 carrots, peeled and shredded
  • 2 scallions, thinly sliced
  • 1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup red cabbage, shredded
  • 1 cup shelled frozen edamame, thawed

Preheat oven to 500°F.  Grease a 9×13″ pan with cooking spray and add pressed and cut tofu in a single layer.Tofu and Kale Salad with Citrusy Dressing

In a blender or food processor, blend garlic, vinegar, orange juice, lime juice, soy sauce, honey, ginger, and sesame oil until smooth.  Pour half of the mixture over the tofu and toss until coated.  Bake for about 30-40 minutes, toss several times to ensure even browning.

Meanwhile, add flaxseeds to the remaining dressing and blend.  In a large bowl, add chopped kale.  Pour 1/3 of the dressing over the kale and then use your clean hands to massage the dressing into the kale.  You want each leaf to turn dark green, glossy and tender.  Add remaining ingredients and toss to combine.  When the tofu is ready, top the salad with tofu and additional dressing as needed.

Lemony Wheat Berry and Brussel Sprout Salad

As much as I like salad, all the cold weather recently has made them the last thing I want to eat.  So I’m attempting to mix things up a bit and try some new, more creative salads to help me eat more veggies.  This salad is a great side dish since it combines whole grains with delicious roasted brussel sprouts.  The lemon adds a great freshness, the wheat berries are chewy, and the brussel sprouts add warmth.

Lemony Wheat Berry and Brussel Sprout SaladLemony Wheat Berry and Brussel Sprout Salad

Serves 6

Adapted from Oh My Veggies

  • 1 1/2 cups uncooked wheat berries
  • 3 cups vegetable broth (or water)
  • 1 1/2 lbs brussel sprouts, trimmed and halved
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • drizzle of extra virgin olive oil
  • kosher salt
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • toasted walnuts (I forgot these, but I think they’d be great)

In a medium pot, bring wheat berries and stock to a boil, and then reduce to a simmer for about 50 minutes, or until wheat berries are tender.

Meanwhile, preheat oven to 425°F.  On a large baking sheet, toss prepared brussel sprouts and onion with olive oil and kosher salt.  Roast for about 25-30 minutes, toss halfway through.

When the wheat berries are done drain any extra liquid.  In a large bowl, whisk together about 1-2 Tbsp olive oil with the lemon juice and about 1/4 tsp salt and pepper.  Add wheat berries and toss to combine.  Then add the brussel sprouts/onion, mix to combine.  Serve hot or at room temperature.

Roasted Cauliflower Soup

This soup is creamy and rich tasting.  It feels like a decadent treat, but without the guilt.  Pureed soups like this just feel like a hug in a bowl.  This soup gets better the longer it sits, so feel free to make it ahead of time and just reheat.

Roasted Cauliflower SoupRoasted Cauliflower Soup

Serves 4-6

Adapted from Cooking Light (Jan/Feb 2013)

  • 2 small heads of cauliflower, cut into florets (about 8 cups)
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 Tbsp butter
  • 2 small onions, diced
  • 5 garlic cloves, minced
  • 4 cups vegetable stock
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1/4 cup half and half
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • dill for garnish

Preheat oven to 425°F.  Grease a large baking sheet with cooking spray.

Cut cauliflower into florets and spread out on prepared baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil and salt, toss to coat.  Roast for 20-25 minutes, stirring occasionally until browned and tender.

Meanwhile, heat butter in a large Dutch oven over medium heat.  Add onion to pot and sauté until tender.  Add garlic, stirring occasionally until onion begins to brown.  Add stock, water, and roasted cauliflower.  Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer for 20 minutes.  Remove from heat and add half and half.  Using an immersion blender (or transferring to a blender in batches), blend the soup until smooth.  Taste and adjust seasoning as needed.  Serve and garnish with dill.

Hearty Spiced Oatcakes

These oatcakes are dense and hearty and filled with oat-y goodness.  I wasn’t sure what I thought of these at first, but they definitely grew on me.  They aren’t muffins, they’re way too dense and substantial to be muffins.  But that makes them a great breakfast or snack, they have serious staying power.  These are excellent with a cup of coffee or some Earl Grey.

Hearty Spiced OatcakesHearty Spiced Oatcakes

Makes 1 dozen

Adapted from In Jennie’s Kitchen

  • 3 cups old fashioned rolled oats
  • 2 cups white whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 to 1/2 tsp ground cardamom
  • 1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/4 cup  ground flaxseeds (or wheat germ might work too)
  • 1/4 cup chopped toasted walnuts (optional)
  • 1/3 cup melted coconut oil
  • 1/3 cup unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten

Preheat oven to 325°F.  Grease muffin tin with cooking spray and set aside.

In a large bowl, combine oats, flour, baking powder, salt, spices, flaxseeds, and walnuts.

Add coconut oil, butter, syrup and sugar to a small pot and heat over medium-low heat until the sugar has dissolved and the butter has melted.  Pour over the dry ingredients and use a fork to mix together.  Add eggs and continue to mix until fully incorporated.

Divide the dough into the prepared muffin tin.  Bake for 22-25 minutes until golden and set.  Let cool on a wire rack and store in an airtight container for up to a week.

Maple-Mustard Glazed Salmon

Last week was Mom and Sister’s birthdays.  And while I didn’t get to celebrate in person with Sister (yet) this year, Mom requested a salmon dinner on the night of big day.  As you may have guessed from my surprisingly few seafood recipes, seafood is something I haven’t quite mastered yet.  And this was an especially tall order because my mom happens to make the best salmon in town!  That’s quite the high standard to make both a birthday dinner and the birthday girl’s own specialty!  But I’m not one to back down from a challenge (culinary at least), so salmon it was!  Mom also requested that it be mustard-y…so after a bit of googling to get an idea of how to cook it, I whipped up this glaze, and I have to say the results were mighty fine!  The birthday Mom had a wonderful day, a delicious dinner and was a happy camper, what more could you ask for?Maple-Mustard Glazed Salmon meal

I served this with roasted garlic potatoes (fancy colorful ones!), and steamed broccoli.  This meal was a synch to put together and only takes about 40 minutes (or however long your potatoes cook), the fish is done in less then 10…now that’s what I call a good weeknight meal!

Maple-Mustard Glazed Salmon

Serves 3

  • 4 tsp Dijon mustard (I used a combination of whole grain and creamy)
  • 1 Tbsp Maple syrup
  • 4 tsp olive oil
  • 2 tsp lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp dill
  • 3 (6oz) salmon filets
  • salt and pepper to taste

In a small bowl, whisk together the first 5 ingredients until well combined.

Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and spray with cooking spray.  Remove salmon from the fridge, rinse and pat Maple-Mustard Glazed Salmondry, place the salmon skin-side down on the baking sheet.  Season with salt and pepper.  Turn on the broiler, and with the oven rack in the middle (not too close to the broiler), cook the salmon for 2-3 minutes.  Remove the pan and carefully pour the glaze over the filets.  Return the fish to the oven and cook for 4-6 more minutes or until the salmon is fork tender.

Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

I am not a raisin fan.  Golden raisins are alright, but regular raisins are just not my thing.  Despite this, I made these Oatmeal Raisin Cookies, and they are quite tasty.  I think they’d be even better without the raisins, but an Oatmeal-Raisin lover I know said these are delicious.  If you have a split household, divide the batter at the end and add raisins to only half.  If I wasn’t adding raisins I’d up the amount of cardamom and nutmeg to 1/4 teaspoon each and make them more of a spiced oatmeal cookie.

Oatmeal Raisin CookiesOatmeal Raisin Cookies

Makes 42 cookies (using a 1oz cookies scoop)

Adapted from My Kitchen Addiction

  • 2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 3/4 cup dark brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp ground cardamom
  • 1/8 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
  • 3 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 1 1/2 cups raisins (optional)

Beat together the butter, brown sugar, and granulated sugar until light and fluffy.  Add in the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition.  Mix in the vanilla.

Sift together the flour, salt, baking powder, cinnamon, cardamom, and nutmeg, and add the dry ingredients to the butter-sugar mixture mixing by hand until just combined.  Stir in the oats and raisins.

Using a cookie scoop, scoop the batter onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.  Stick the dough in the freezer for about 15 minutes, and then store in a ziploc bag in the freezer until ready to bake.  Preheat the oven to 350°F.  Bake for 15-20 minutes until golden and the cookies are set.

Red Lentil Mexican Soup

This is a great soup to whip up on a gloomy day or when you’re feeling under the weather or when you just don’t know what else to make.  I usually have most of these ingredients on hand, so it can come together quickly and doesn’t take a lot of forethought.  The lentils make it hearty and comforting and you can add as much or as little heat as you want.

Red Lentil Mexican SoupRed Lentil Mexican Soup

Serves 6-8

Adapted from Everybody Likes Sandwiches

  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 stalks celery, diced
  • 2 red bell pepper, diced
  • 2 tsp chili powder
  • 1/4 – 1/2 tsp cayene pepper
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 (15oz) cans diced tomatoes
  • 2 cups red lentils, rinsed
  • 6 – 7 cups vegetable stock
  • a few splashes of your favorite hot sauce
  • 1-2 limes, juiced
  • 1 cup chopped cilantro (or parsley)

In a large pot, heat olive oil over medium-high heat and sauté onions, garlic, celery and red pepper.  Once the vegetables have softened, add spices and tomatoes.  Add rinsed lentils and vegetable stock.  Stir, cover and let simmer for 20-25 minutes, or until lentils are tender.  Stir in the lime juice, and serve, garnish with cilantro or parsley.

Raspberry Chocolate Pecan Rugelach

I’ve always been a fan of rugelach, they’re like delicious pastry cookies.  When I was younger I’d always go for the chocolate ones, but my mom liked the raspberry ones.  So imagine my delight when my new Smitten Kitchen Cookbook had a recipe perfect for the both of us.  These rugelach are the perfect balance of delicate pastry dough, tart raspberry jam, rich chocolate, and crunchy toasted pecans.

Raspberry Chocolate Pecan RugelachRaspberry Chocolate Pecan Rugelach

Makes about 48

Adapted from The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook, Alex’s Chocolate Raspberry Rugelach

Dough:

  • 2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 pkg (8oz) cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour

Beat butter and cream cheese together until light and fluffy.  Sift together the salt and flour and add to the butter-cream cheese mixture.  Beat on a low speed until the flour is just combined (or mix by hand).  Scrape dough onto a large piece of plastic wrap and form into a flat-ish packet.  Wrap well and chill in the fridge for at least 2 hours or up to 3 days.  (You can also freeze the dough for up to two months).

Fillings:

  • 2/3 cup seedless raspberry jam
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/2 Tbsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup toasted and finely chopped pecans
  • 1/2 cup (3oz) finely chopped bittersweet chocolate or mini-chocolate chips

Prepare the fillings while the dough chills.  Over medium heat, bring the jam to a simmer to make it easier to spread.  In a small bowl whisk together the sugar and cinnamon.  Toast and chop the pecans, and chop the chocolate.

To assemble, remove dough from the fridge.  Divide the dough into thirds.  Place one third on a lightly floured surface, and return the other two thirds to the fridge until their turn.  Roll the dough into about a 12″ circle, doesn’t have to be precise, but you want it pretty thin and even.

Brush dough with a thin layer of jam, about 2-3 Tablespoons.  Sprinkle with cinnamon-sugar (about 1 1/2 Tbsp), and sprinkle on pecans and chocolate (a third of each pile).  Use a large piece of wax paper to gently press the toppings into the dough.  Then using a pizza cutter or a sharp knife, divide the dough into 16 wedges.  Roll each wedge tightly from the outside to the center and place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper with the point on the bottom.  Space them about one inch apart.  Once you’ve finished rolling all of them place the baking sheet in the freezer for about 15 minutes.

Glaze:

  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1 tsp water
  • sprinkle of cinnamon sugar

While the formed rugelach are in the freezer, preheat the oven to 350°F.  Repeat the assembly process with the other two thirds of dough.  Whisk together the egg yolk and water.  Once you’ve removed the rugelach from the freezer, brush with the egg wash and sprinkle with a little of the remaining cinnamon sugar.  Bake for 20-25 minutes, until puffed and golden.  Transfer rugelach immediately to wire racks to cool (so they don’t stick to the paper).  Serve warm or at room temperature.  Store in an airtight container.

Turkey, Spinach, and Quinoa Lasagna

Lasagna is a great winter food.  It’s cheesy comfort on a plate.  It’s also a great way to sneak some more vegetables into your diet and served with a side salad, it’s downright nutritious and delicious.

I was intrigued by this recipe since it added quinoa to the mix.  And actually in the final product I didn’t really notice the quinoa.  But I like the idea especially if you make a vegetarian lasagna, it’s a great way to add some extra protein.  I added some zucchini and onion, but you can add whatever vegetables you have on hand, just sauté them up and mix them in with either the tomato sauce or the ricotta.  I went ahead and doubled the recipe below and made two 9×13″ pans of lasagna, it takes a little bit of extra time, but then you’ll have a spare that you can share, freeze or serve for a large crowd.

Turkey Spinach, and Quinoa LasagnaTurkey Spinach and Quinoa Lasagna

Serves 6-8

Adapted from Chasing Some Blue Sky

  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1 small zucchini, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 lb lean ground turkey
  • 1 jar (24oz) tomato pasta sauce
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 cup red wine
  • 1 pkg frozen spinach (I used about 10oz, but next time I’d use the whole 16oz bag), thawed and squeezed to remove excess liquid
  • 3 cups low-fat ricotta
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup cooked quinoa
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 cup grated parmesan
  • 8 oz mozzarella (sliced or shredded)
  • 8-12 no-boil lasagna noodles

In a large pan, heat olive oil over medium high heat.  Add diced onion and sauté until it begins to soften, then add zucchini and garlic.  Sauté for a few minutes until veggies begin to brown.  Remove veggies to a plate while you cook the turkey.  In the pan add a little more olive oil if needed and cook the ground turkey, breaking it up into small pieces as you go.  Once the turkey has cooked through, add the vegetables back in and add tomato sauce, balsamic and wine.  Let simmer while you assemble the ricotta mixture.Turkey Spinach and Quinoa Lasagna with Salad

In a large bowl, mix together strained spinach, ricotta, eggs, cooked quinoa, spices, and parmesan.

Preheat oven to 375°F.

To assemble, scoop about 1 cup of the tomato mixture into the bottom of your 9×13″ pan.  Lay noodles in a single layer over the tomato mixture.  Scoop ricotta mixture over noodles, top with tomato mixture, then sprinkle with a thin layer of mozzarella, repeat with noodles, ricotta, tomato and mozzarella, until your pan is full, ending with the layer of mozzarella on top.

Bake for 30-35 minutes, until top begins to brown and cheese is melted.

Creamy Pumpkin Pie Bars

I don’t know about you, but I love pumpkin flavored things all year.  It’s a shame that pumpkin gets a brief over-the-top highlight for two months in the fall and then basically disappears.  So I bring you this recipe in protest of keeping pumpkin locked away until October.  And since it has all the deliciousness of a pie, but is shaped like a bar, it’s totally got year-round potential.

This year, I mixed things up at Thanksgiving and made these pumpkin bars instead of traditional pumpkin pies.  These bars are delicious.  They serve a large crowd, and have all the delicious flavor of pumpkin pie, plus a chewy, crunchy crumb topping.  If you need a dessert to feed a crowd, I’d definitely recommend these!  If you don’t need to feed a crowd you can just make half a recipe in an 8×8″ pan.

Creamy Pumpkin Pie BarsThanksgiving dessert

Makes a 9×13″ pan

Adapted from Joy the Baker

Crust/Crumble:

  • 2 2/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 cups old fashioned oats
  • 1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, cold and cut into small pieces
  • 1 cup chopped pecans

Filling:

  • 8 oz cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1 (15oz) can pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 large egg whites
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp allspice
  • 1/4 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350°F.  Grease a 9×13″ pan and line with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, whisk together flour, sugars, salt and oats.  Add cold butter and quickly work it into the dry ingredients until butter is broken down to the size of small peas.  Add the chopped pecans and toss to combine.  Remove 2 1/2 cups to be the crumb topping, and place in the fridge until ready to use.

Dump the remaining crumb mixture into the prepared pan and press into an even layer.  Place in the fridge while you prepare the filling.

In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese with an electric mixer until smooth.  Add the pumpkin and sugar, beat until well mixed and smooth.  Add the eggs and egg whites, beating to combine.  Then add the spices, salt and vanilla extract, and beat until well mixed.

Remove crust and crumble from the fridge.  Pour filling over the crust and then gently add the crumble on top.  Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until the center no longer jiggles.  (I broiled mine for 1-2 minutes to get a nice golden top, but watch it like a hawk so that it doesn’t burn!)  Remove from oven and allow to cool completely before removing from the pan and slicing.