Black Bean Hummus

Keep canned beans in your pantry and garlic and lemon in the fridge to make this a go-to dish when you want a delicious homemade snack. It is so easy to make and tastes much better than the store-bought variety. Serve it with carrots, celery, tortilla chips or whatever you like to dip. Make it a meal by spreading hummus in a wrap or on a slice of bread topped with your favorite roasted vegetables.

Ingredients:
1 (15 ounce) can no salt added black beans
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons water
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon cumin
¼ teaspoon salt
⅛ teaspoon cayenne pepper

Directions:

  1. Rinse and drain beans.
  2. Fit a food processor with the steel blade. Add all ingredients in the food processor and pulse until smooth. Transfer to a bowl and serve.

Servings: 4

Roasted Winter Vegetable Pizza

Sweet potato, turnips, turnip greens, leeks, thyme and sorghum compliment one another in this earthy pizza with a little sweet and a lot of savory in each bite. This pizza pairs well with a simple salad and a Pinot Noir from Oregon. Cheers to savoring the tastes of winter and enjoying healthy meals at home.

Ingredients:
1 medium leek, white part only, thinly sliced
1 medium sweet potato, peeled and diced
1 small turnip, peeled and diced
1½ tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 tablespoon sorghum (or honey)
1 tablespoon fresh thyme, chopped
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
1 small bunch turnip greens, roughly chopped
1 tablespoons water
1 ball pizza dough
¾ cup shredded mozzarella cheese

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. On a large baking sheet, combine leeks, sweet potatoes and turnip. Drizzle with olive oil, honey, thyme, salt and pepper. Roast for 25 minutes, until tender and lightly browned. Remove from oven and set aside.
  3. In a large skillet, heat ½ tablespoon olive oil. Add turnip greens and water and sauté for 4 to 5 minutes, until greens have wilted.
  4. Roll the pizza dough to a thin layer, about ⅛ inch thick and 12 to 14 inches in diameter.
  5. Prepare the grill for medium-high, indirect heat. For a gas grill, leave one or two burners off and for a charcoal grill, place coals on one side and use the coal free side.
  6. Place crust on the grill (a pizza peel comes handy here) and cook for about five minutes, until top of crust starts to bubble and light brown grill marks appear on the bottom of the crust.
  7. Remove crust from grill. Top cooked side of crust an even layer of roasted vegetables and turnip greens. Top with mozzarella cheese.
  8. Return pizza to the grill and cook for about five minutes, until cheese has melted and bottom of crust has light brown grill marks. Remove from grill, slice and serve.

Servings: 4

Sweet Potato and Kale Breakfast Hash

Vegetables and fried eggs are one of my favorite breakfast combination. My Sweet Potato and Kale Breakfast Hash includes sausage in the mix for a hardy breakfast that will fuel you up for a busy day. This is also an easy dish to make for brunch, and leftovers are great warmed up and topped with a freshly fried egg on weekday mornings. Enjoy with a glass of milk or a cup of joe.

Ingredients:
2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and diced
½ pound ground sausage
½ tablespoon olive oil
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
1 bunch kale, stems removed and leaves chopped
4 eggs, fried to desired preference

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit and place sweet potatoes on a rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Toss to evenly coat and arrange in a single layer. Roast for 20 minutes, flipping with a spatula after 10 minutes.
  2. Crumble sausage in a large skillet, breaking it up with a spatula for about 5 to 6 minutes, until cooked through. Drain oil from skillet.
  3. Add kale to skillet with sausage and sauté until wilted, about 3 to 4 minutes. Add sweet potatoes and stir to combine. Serve hash with fried egg on top.

Servings: 4

GRILLED HAWAIIAN BITES WITH TANGY MUSTARD AND CREAMY BBQ SAUCES

Grilling intensifies the delicious flavor of pineapple, adding an extra burst of caramelized sweetness. The deli ham and grilled bell pepper complement the sweet fruit, turning this appetizer into a sweet and salty snack on a stick. This is a great appetizer for game day, especially if you’re a Green Bay Packer fan and want to add a little green and gold to your plate. Leftovers make a wonderful salad topping, just add lettuce and your favorite dressing.

Ingredients:
1 medium pineapple
4 medium or 3 large bell peppers
1 tablespoon olive oil
toothpicks
4 tablespoons mayonnaise, divided
4 tablespoons nonfat Greek yogurt, divided
2 tablespoons dijon mustard
2 tablespoons BBQ sauce

Directions:

  1. Trim and core pineapple, and slice into four large sections. Remove stem and seeds from the bell peppers and cut each into two halves. On a large platter, brush both sides of pineapple and bell pepper with olive oil.
  2. Heat a gas grill or prepare a charcoal grill to medium heat. Place pineapple and pepper on the grill and cook for four to five minutes per side, until produce is tender with lightly browned grill marks. Remove from grill and set aside until cool enough to touch.
  3. Lay ham flat on a cutting board and cut into 1 inch strips. Starting at one end, roll each piece into a tight roll. Cut pineapple and pepper into bite-size pieces.
  4. Prepare tangy mustard sauce by combining 2 tablespoons of mayonnaise, yogurt and dijon mustard in a small bowl and stirring until well combined. Similarly, combine and stir the remaining mayonnaise and yogurt with the BBQ sauce to create the creamy BBQ sauce.
  5. Thread toothpicks with bell pepper, ham and pineapple. Serve with two dipping sauces.

Pork and Cashew Stir-Fry with Root Vegetables

Stir-fry dishes are great for introducing family and friends to vegetables they may not have tried before, like daikon radishes. This winter root vegetable is frequently used in Asian dishes and when cooked, it gains a sweetness that mellows out its peppery spice. This vegetable pairs well with sweet carrots and oranges in my quick stir fry.

Stir-fry recipes are excellent choices for nights when you want a homemade meal without spending too much time in the kitchen. If you prep the ingredients and cook the rice the night before, this meal can be made in less than 15 minutes. If you are making this meal for one and have leftovers, they are great for breakfast with a fried egg on top.


Ingredients
1 teaspoon sesame oil
2 teaspoons canola oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and grated
1 (6 ounce) center cut pork chop, cut into bite sized cubes
4 medium carrots, peeled and sliced
2 medium daikon radishes, peeled and sliced
2 tablespoons reduced-sodium soy sauce
2 medium navel oranges or 3 small mandarin oranges
½ cup unsalted cashews
Prepared brown rice


Directions

  1. Heat the oil in a wok or large skillet over high-heat. Add garlic and ginger and heat for one minute, until fragrant. Add pork and cook for about 4 minutes, constantly stirring with a spatula to evenly brown all sides. Transfer pork to a plate and cover with aluminum foil to keep warm.
  2. Add carrots, radishes, celery and soy sauce to the wok or skillet and sauté until tender but slightly crisp, about 4 to 5 minutes.
  3. Peel and separate oranges and slice each section in half, removing any seeds. Add oranges, cashews and pork to the vegetable mixture. Stir to combine and cook for another minute.
  4. Check seasoning and add a splash of extra soy sauce if needed. Serve with brown rice.

Servings: 2

Sausage, Kale and Smoked Gouda Frittata

Frittatas are one of my favorite one-pan meals to serve for breakfast, brunch or dinner. They are so versatile and can be made with any of your favorite vegetables, meats and cheeses. This one incorporates fresh kale, sausage and smoked gouda for a combination that will please both meat and vegetable lovers alike. It pairs well with homemade hash browns and orange juice.

Ingredients:
½ pound ground mild sausage
1 medium bunch kale, trimmed and chopped
6 eggs
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper
¼ cup low-fat milk
¾ cup smoked gouda, shredded

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
2. Heat an 8-inch cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat and cook sausage until browned. Drain grease from skillet and return to stovetop.
3. Add kale to skillet in two batches and sauté until wilted, about 5 minutes total.
4. Beat eggs with a whisk in a medium bowl. Stir in salt, pepper, milk and gouda.
5. Pour egg mixture over kale and sausage and gently stir to evenly distribute. Let the eggs start to set for 1 to 2 minutes without stirring. Place skillet in the oven and bake for 20 to 25 minutes until the eggs are set and the frittata is lightly browned. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Servings: 4

Rosemary Roasted Radishes with Bacon

Radishes are a root vegetable you may not think of roasting, but be prepared to kick the potato, carrot, turnip and your other favorite root vegetables aside. I think radishes are meant to be roasted, which brings out a sweetness that mellows their peppery heat. Serve this earthy dish as an appetizer or side.

Ingredients
1 bunch watermelon radishes or red radishes, cut into thin slices
2 teaspoons olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
¼ teaspoon course sea salt
¼ teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
2 teaspoons fresh chopped rosemary or 1 teaspoon dried
3 slices of bacon, cooked and crumbled

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Place radishes in a medium bowl and drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with garlic, salt, pepper and rosemary. Toss to evenly coat.
  2. Place radishes on a medium baking sheet and cook for about 20 minute, stirring occasionally.
  3. Top radishes with crumbled bacon and serve.


BUTTERNUT SQUASH AND MUSHROOM SOUP

Mushrooms, butternut squash and thyme were made to be eaten together and this winter soup captures their earthy flavors in every velvety bite. You can warm up with this bowl of soup on a cold day by the fire while reading a good book. Leftovers freeze well, just defrost in the refrigerator and warm up on the stovetop for a super fast meal.

Ingredients:
1 medium butternut squash, halved lengthwise and seeded
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium onion, peeled and diced
8 ounces whole white mushrooms, sliced
8 ounces baby portabella mushrooms, sliced
1 teaspoon dried thyme
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon pepper
32 ounces low sodium vegetable broth
Sour cream (optional)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. On a medium-sized baking sheet, place squash halves flesh side down. Roast until flesh is tender, about 50 to 60 minutes. Set aside until cool enough to touch. This step can be done several hours earlier or the day before.
  2. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion and mushrooms and sauté until tender and lightly brown, about 20 minutes. Season with thyme, salt and pepper.
  3. Place mushroom mixture in a blender or food processor. Add two cups of vegetable broth and puree until smooth. Add mushroom mixture to a large stock pot.
  4. Scoop flesh of butternut squash and puree in blender or food processor with remaining vegetable broth.
  5. Add squash mixture to stock pot and stir to combine. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat and reduce to a low simmer for 5 to 10 minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning if needed before serve with a dollop of sour cream.

Servings: 4

Bell Pepper Nachos

This low-carb take on nachos is a perfect way to use your late season bell peppers and tomatoes. Leave out the chicken and add another type of bean, like pinto, for a vegetarian version. I love to serve this delicious and nutritious meal on game days. Cheer on your team with this healthy dish and hopefully you can celebrate a win.

Ingredients:

4 large bell peppers

1 teaspoon chili powder

1 teaspoon cumin

½ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon ground black pepper

1 cup cooked chicken, shredded

1 (15 ounce) can, no-salt-added black beans

2 tomatoes, diced

¾ cup shredded cheddar cheese

1 avocado, cubed

Sour cream for serving

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to broil on high heat. Slice bell peppers into thin strips and place them in a baking dish. Broil for 5 minutes, flipping halfway through the cook time.
  2. Combine chili powder, cumin, salt and pepper in a small bowl. Place chicken in a medium bowl and add seasoning mix. Drain and rinse beans, and add them to the bowl of chicken, stirring to combine.
  3. Remove bell peppers from the oven and top with chicken and beans, tomatoes and cheddar cheese. Broil for about 4 more minutes, until cheese is melted.
  4. Remove nachos from the oven, top with avocado and serve with dollops of sour cream.

Servings: 4

Fall Muffins with Pecan Sorghum Granola

Topped with Pecan Sorghum Granola, these pumpkin-like, mini-muffins make the perfect addition to a brunch spread and are also a great grab-and-go breakfast option for busy mornings. Pureed butternut squash and pumpkin pie spice deliver flavors of fall in a moist muffin that is not overly sweetened. If you manage not to eat them all within a few days, extras freeze well for a quick and delicious breakfast that is safely stored away for another day.

Ingredients:
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
¾ cup brown sugar
¼ cup canola oil
2 eggs, lightly beaten
½ cup unsweetened applesauce
½ cup low-fat milk
1 cup pureed butternut squash
¾ cup Pecan Sorghum Granola

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a 24-cup mini-muffin pan with oven-safe paper cups or coat with cooking spray.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk the flours, pumpkin pie spice, baking soda and salt together.
  3. In a large bowl, beat the sugar, oil and eggs until the mixture turns light yellow and slightly frothy. Stir in the applesauce, milk and butternut squash. Mix dry ingredients into the wet ingredients in small batches until combined.
  4. Spoon mixture into the prepared pan and sprinkle tops of batter with granola. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes. When done, muffin tops will be golden brown and a toothpick will come out clean when inserted in the center.

Servings: 12