SORGHUM ROASTED ACORN SQUASH

Roasted acorn squash, drizzled with sorghum enhances the flavor of this sweet vegetable. Top it off with a quick sorghum yogurt that turns tangy plain yogurt into a candy-like cream. This versatile dish goes well as a side, desert, snack or breakfast.

While sorghum is widely available in the southern United States, other readers may not have access. Honey or molasses are good substitutes, but sorghum has a luscious sweetness that is crave worthy. When enjoying this dish, go ahead and eat the skin of the squash. Roasting the squash will leave you with a tender green exterior that is edible and nutritious.

Roasted Acorn Squash Ingredients:
2 small acorn squash, quartered and seeded
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 tablespoon butter
2 tablespoons sorghum

Sorghum Yogurt Ingredients:
1 (17.6 ounce) container plain, low-fat Greek yogurt
3 tablespoons sorghum

Toppings:
Toasted Pecans
Cinnamon

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Place squash wedges, skin side down on a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil. Sprinkle with salt, cinnamon and nutmeg.
  2. Cut butter into 8 small pieces and place one in the center of each squash wedge. Drizzle equally with sorghum. Roast until tender when pierced with a fork, about 40 to 45 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, combine yogurt and sorghum in a medium bowl and stir until well combined. Chill until ready to serve.
  4. Remove squash from oven and serve with a dollop of sorghum yogurt, toasted pecans and a dash of cinnamon.

Servings: 8

Fall Favorites for Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is almost here and I can hardly wait for all of the cooking and eating. If you are working on your meal plan or trying to decide what side dish to bring to your potluck-style gathering, here are a few of my seasonal favorites that would make a great addition to your holiday table.

Why wait for lunch or dinner to celebrate the holiday and enjoy the tastes of fall? My Acorn Squash and Swiss Chard Mini Frittatas are loaded with fall squash and Swiss chard, making them a healthy choice for fueling up after your turkey trot race or for enjoying as a couch potato (no judging) while watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade. These pair well with a cup of coffee with a dash of pumpkin pie spice.

Acorn Squash and Swiss Chard Mini Frittatas

If you are looking for an appetizer to hold your dinner guests over before the turkey is ready, try my Beet Bites with Goat Cheese and Pecans. Roast the beets the night before to cut back on your time in the kitchen this Thursday. If you are taking this appetizer on the road, please make sure you use a container with a securely fitted lid to avoid dying your car seat hot pink. Unfortunately, I learned this the hard way, but it did come clean and this appetizer was a hit at the party.

Beet Bites with Goat Cheese and Pecans

It is time to move on over to soup or salad after those appetizers. My Mushroom and Butternut Squash Soup is a different take on the fall squash classic and this combination captures the earthy flavors of these delicious vegetables in every velvety bite.

Mushroom and Butternut Squash Soup

My Massaged Kale Salad with Roasted Sweet Potatoes will add beautiful color and delightful flavor to your holiday table.

Massaged Kale Salad with Roasted Sweet Potatoes

Now onto side dishes to pair with your turkey. Keep it simple this Thanksgiving with my Roasted Acorn Squash with Quinoa and Greens. Roasting makes the squash skin tender enough to eat, and you save time not having to peel this veggie.

Roasted Acorn Squash with Quinoa and Greens

Another one of my easy-to-make, fall favorites is Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Hazelnuts. This dish is mostly hands off and will even make those skeptical brussels sprouts eaters big fans.

roasted-brussels-sprouts-with-hazelnuts

I wish you all a lovely Thanksgiving with hearts full of gratitude and tables surrounded by loved ones. I am thankful for all of my readers and the many blessings God continues to pour into my life.

Butternut Squash Grilled Pizza with Blue Cheese and Bacon

I am one of those pumpkin-crazed people who embraces all things, from lattes to ravioli and lip balm to candles. Fall squash is also one of my favorite things to cook with, and I particularly love sweet and creamy butternut squash, which is the star of my grilled pizza. A touch of maple syrup enhances the sweetness of mashed butternut squash, which is smothered on top of the crust and topped with sharp blue cheese, crispy bacon and toasted pecans. Cooler fall evenings are perfect for firing up the grill and enjoying dinner on the patio with your favorite beverage. Round out the meal with a fall salad, like spinach with apples or roasted beets.

Ingredients:
1 small butternut squash, halved lengthwise and seeded
2 teaspoons butter, divided
1 tablespoon maple syrup
1 homemade or store-bought pizza dough ball (about the size of a grapefruit)
½ cup shredded mozzarella cheese
⅓ cup blue cheese crumbles
5 slices of bacon, cooked and crumbled
¼ cup chopped pecans, toasted

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. On a small baking sheet, place squash halves flesh side up. Place 1 teaspoon of butter in the hollow of each squash. 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. Scoop inside flesh of squash from skin and place in a food processor or blender. Add maple syrup and puree until velvety smooth, without any lumps.
  3. Roll and stretch pizza dough to a thin layer, about ⅛ inch thick and 12 to 14 inches in diameter. 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.
  4. Place crust on the grill (a pizza peel is handy here) and cook for about five minutes, until top of crust starts to bubble and light brown grill marks appear on the bottom. Remove crust from the grill and place on a workable surface.
  5. Spread a thick layer of butternut squash on top of the cooked side of the crust. Top with mozzarella, blue cheese, bacon and pecans. Return pizza to the grill and continue cooking for about five minutes, until cheese has melted and light grill marks appear on the bottom of the crust. Remove from the grill, slice into 8 wedges and serve.

Servings: 4

Grilled Cabbage Wedge Salads

There’s something so beautiful about a wedge salad where you can see layers of green produce decorated with your favorite toppings. Instead of lettuce, I used cabbage grilled in foil packs with an orange-sage marinade that doubles as a warmed dressing. Crunchy bacon and melt-in-your-mouth blue cheese round out my Grilled Cabbage Wedge Salads. These are elegant enough for entertaining and simple enough to make on a busy night.

Ingredients:
1 medium head green cabbage, cored and cut into 4 wedges
1 orange
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon fresh chopped sage
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
4 slices of bacon, cooked and crumbled
4 ounces blue cheese, crumbled

Directions:

  1. Place cabbage wedges in a shallow dish and zest orange on top of cabbage.
  2. In a small bowl, juice the orange. Whisk in olive oil, sage, salt and pepper. Pour mixture over cabbage wedges and marinade for 30 minutes.
  3. Prepare a grill for medium-high heat. Place each cabbage wedge over a sheet of aluminum foil and drizzle any marinade from the bottom of the dish over the cabbage. Seal foil tightly around wedges and grill for 8 to 10 minutes per side.
  4. Remove from grill, unwrap and serve with bacon and blue cheese crumbles.

Servings: 4

Sweet Potato and Kohlrabi “Fries” with Creamy Garlic Sauce

Oh, how American’s love French fries, and I am included. The crispy, greasy, fried potato is the perfect burger companion. For a healthy alternative, I make a homemade, oven-baked version that is just as satisfying as my favorite guilty pleasure food. These “fries” are made with sweet potato and kohlrabi and served with a creamy garlic sauce for dipping.

The sweetness of the potato is a perfect balance for kohlrabi, which has a slight bitter taste. I love how the kohlrabi looks so similar to a French fry. This would be a great way to introduce a new vegetable to picky eaters who have not yet tried kohlrabi. Pair this side with a hamburger or your favorite sandwich for healthy pub grub at home.

Ingredients:
1 large sweet potato
1 large kohlrabi bulb
1½ tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
½ cup plain non-fat Greek yogurt
2 teaspoons whole grain Dijon mustard
2 cloves minced garlic

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. Peel sweet potato and kohlrabi and cut into fry shaped strips.
  2. Place sweet potato and kohlrabi strips in a large bowl and drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle with paprika, salt and pepper and toss to evenly coat.
  3. Arrange “fries” in a single layer on a large baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes. Remove from oven and flip with a spatula to evenly cook. Continue baking for 15 to 25 minutes, until golden brown.
  4. Meanwhile, add yogurt, mustard and garlic in a small bowl and stir to combine. Serve “fries” with creamy garlic sauce.

Servings: 4

Sweet and Spicy Fruit Salad

The inspiration for this recipe came from a strawberry jalapeño jam, which is my new food obsession. The combination of sweet strawberries with a slight peppery heat is a perfect pairing that will delight your taste buds. I added a little citrus to my new favorite duo for a unique take on fruit salad that’s tangy, sweet and spicy all in one bite.

This is a wonderful use for spring strawberries and makes a simple but unique side dish or dessert. Pair it with grilled fish or chicken and fresh asparagus for a fast and delicious homemade meal, or liven up your next potluck with this sweet and spicy treat.

Ingredients:
1 pound strawberries
1 grapefruit
1 navel orange
1 tablespoon honey
2 tablespoons candied jalapeno pepper slices, diced

Directions:
1. Remove stems from strawberries and cut into quarters.
2. Peel and roughly chop grapefruit and orange, removing any seeds.
3. In a large bowl, combine strawberries, grapefruit and orange and drizzle with honey. Add candied jalapeño pepper and gently toss to combine.

Note: You can use hot and sweet jalapeño slices in place of the candied jalapeño peppers or pickled jalapeños plus an extra 1 tablespoon of honey.

Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Hazelnuts

I love the way the leaves fall off Brussels sprouts when you quarter them, resembling flower petals and creating a beautiful centerpiece for your plate. This cooking method caramelizes the vegetable, bringing out its natural sweetness. If your family members don’t love Brussels sprouts, this recipe may just change their mind.

This dish is so simple and mostly hands off, which is why I love roasting vegetables. You can step outside and grill your favorite lean protein while your Brussels sprouts roast. Pair this side dish with grilled salmon, a simple salad, fresh whole grain bread and your favorite white wine for an elegant and easy stay-at-home, date-night meal.

Ingredients:
2 pounds Brussels sprouts
1½ tablespoons olive oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
⅓ cup hazelnuts, toasted and chopped

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Trim the ends off the Brussels sprouts and cut into quarters, keeping the leaves (or as I like to call them, petals) that fall off.
2. Place Brussels sprouts on a large baking pan and drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle minced garlic, salt and pepper on top and toss with a spatula to evenly coat.
3. Roast for 30 minutes, tossing halfway through the cooking cycle. Brussels sprouts will be tender with dark brown outer leaves. Sprinkle with hazelnuts, toss and serve.

Note: While I love this as a side dish, it’s just as tasty for breakfast topped with a fried egg. It’s a great way to reinvent those leftovers.

Servings: 6

Spicy Sweet Potato Puree

This versatile recipe makes a great side dish, but also stars as a main ingredient in my Sweet and Spicy Veggie Quesadillas. The chipotle chile pepper adds smokey heat, while the maple syrup amps up the sweetness in this puree. Add a pork chop and sautéed kale to turn this side into a meal.

I like to make a double or triple batch of this Spicy Sweet Potato Puree to freeze and have on hand for fast weeknight dinners. To minimize storage space, I place the potatoes in zip-top bags and lay them flat in the freezer.

Ingredients:
2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
1 tablespoon maple syrup
1 teaspoon chipotle chile pepper
¼ teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons skim milk

Directions:
1. In a medium saucepan, add sweet potatoes and cover with water. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat and cook for about 10 minutes, until tender.
2. Drain potatoes in a colander and return to saucepan. Reduce heat to low and mash sweet potatoes. Add maple syrup, chipotle chile pepper, salt and milk. Stir to combine and cook for a minute or two, allowing flavors to meld.

Note: For a more rustic version, use a potato masher. If you prefer a smooth, no-lump version, use a mixer.

Servings: 4 ~ Serving size: 1/2 cup