Kale, Apple and Cheddar Panini with Strawberry Jam

Sautéed kale is not just for side dishes. Give it a try as a sandwich base and you will forget all about lunch meat. This Kale, Apple and Cheddar Panini with Strawberry Jam is a hearty vegetarian sandwich with seasonal farm-fresh favorites. It is comfort food that packs a nutritious punch and takes less than 15 minutes to prepare.

Ingredients:
2 sub sandwich loaves (5 to 6 inches each), cut from a baguette
1 medium bunch kale
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons water
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 small apple, cored and thinly sliced
2 slices white cheddar cheese
2 tablespoons strawberry jam (preferably homemade)

Directions:

  1. Preheat a panini maker to medium-high. Slice sandwich loaves in half and set aside.
  2. Remove stems from kale and roughly chop. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat, add kale and water. Sauté for 4 to 5 minutes, until wilted. Season with salt and pepper. Add balsamic vinegar and cook or another minute, tossing to evenly coat.
  3. Layer apple slices, kale and cheddar cheese on the bottom bread slices. Spread strawberry jam on the top bread slices. Stack together and place sandwiches in the panini maker, closing the top. Grill until the bread is crusty and golden and cheese has melted. Slice sandwiches in half and serve.

Note: If you do not have a panini maker, use a grill pan or skillet and flip the sandwich to grill both sides. Placing a heavy skillet on top of the panini while grilling will give you the panini effect.

Servings: 2

Delicata Squash Cheese Spread

Picky eaters will not even know they are eating a vegetable when they bite into this velvety cheese spread with a delicate taste of pumpkin pie. While pumpkin is all the craze, let us not forget about other varieties of winter squash that offer the same delicious taste of the season. If you are unable to find delicata squash, use any variety of locally grown squash. Delicata squash has a silky smooth texture when roasted and a slightly sweet and nutty flavor. If you want to enhance the nutty flavor and add a little more protein to your plate, top your toast with walnuts or pecans.

Ingredients:
1 medium delicata squash, cut in half and seeds removed
1 tablespoon butter
2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice, plus more for serving
8 ounces Neufchatel cheese, or reduced fat cream cheese, softened
Whole wheat toast

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Place squash slices, skin side down on a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil.
  2. Cut butter into six cubes and place three in each squash cavity. Drizzle each squash half with a tablespoon of maple syrup. Roast until tender when pierced with a fork, about 40 to 45 minutes.
  3. Remove squash from oven and set aside until cool enough to touch. With a large spoon, remove the golden squash from the skin and place in a food processor. Add pumpkin pie spice and cream cheese. Process until smooth.
  4. Spread on whole wheat toast, top with a dash or two of pumpkin pie seasoning and serve.