Italian Vegetable and Lentil Soup

Cold winter nights call for warm bowls of soup and this one is packed with vegetables and lentils and a dash of crispy, salty pancetta. Cooked with a Parmesan rind, this soup captures the sharp and nutty flavors of the cheese in every bite. If you are planning the perfect cozy night at home, enjoy a bowl of this delicious soup with your family and end the night with a mug of hot cocoa and good book by the fire. Cheers to nutritious comfort food and warm evenings at home this winter.

Bourbon Baked Apples with Creamy Peanut Butter

Are you craving dessert, but you made a New Year’s resolution to eat healthy? Dessert does not have to be off limits. Instead of depriving yourself, select recipes made with nutritious ingredients like this dish with fresh apples, protein-packed peanut butter and non-fat Greek yogurt. Cheers to a healthy year filled with delicious and nutritious sweet treats.

New Year’s Brunch

If good luck and prosperity are on your list for 2019, you are likely planning to indulge in a plate of collard greens and black-eyed peas on New Year’s Day. Because brunch is one of my favorite meals and I love to embrace southern food traditions, I created this New Year’s Brunch dish that will leave you with a happy belly and hopefully a prosperous year ahead. If you prefer to eat your greens and peas like your grandmother prepared them, leftovers would be delicious in this brunch recipe the next day. Cheers to a healthy, happy and successful year ahead.

A Smoothie for the Grinch

If the hustle and bustle of the holiday season has you feeling like the Grinch (it happens to the best of us), this smoothie is for you. Fuel up with this nutritious breakfast or enjoy as an afternoon snack. You will be ready to tackle the crowded stores on your next shopping trip or that pile of presents that need wrapping.

Tripple Chocolate No-Bake Christmas Cookies

If you are craving Christmas cookies and do not have time to bake this holiday season, you are in luck. With three types of chocolate, oats and peanut butter, this is my wreath-shaped-take on the classic no-bake cookie. Throw together this simple recipe and let it chill, while you finish decorating your Christmas tree, and you will be ready to relax with your cookie, a glass of milk and a Hallmark movie.

Slow and Spicy Pinto Beans

Top these Slow and Spicy Pinto Beans with a little shredded mozzarella and you have the perfect side dish for your fish tacos or chicken enchiladas. They also make a great vegetarian protein for your main course. Try them in veggie tacos or simply add them to a cheese quesadilla or on top of a salad.

Cauliflower and Mushroom Tacos

Make it a Meatless Monday with these hardy vegetarian tacos, stuffed with mildly spiced cauliflower and mushrooms and topped with sweet bell pepper sauce. This mostly hands-free meal is perfect for a busy week night, because you get 20 extra minutes to relax while dinner is roasting. Round out this meal with a side of pinto or black beans and Mexican hot chocolate for dessert. This is also a great make-ahead meal, especially if you are entertaining. Reheat the vegetables, make a pitcher of margaritas and you are ready to host book club.

Spaghetti Squash Breakfast Hash

Vegetables are one of my favorite things to eat for breakfast, but I had never thought about combining spaghetti squash with eggs until I had a similar dish for brunch at Posana in Asheville, NC. Their garden vegetable hash was superb and I enjoyed it on their dog-friendly patio where they even have a menu for fur babies. Back at home in my kitchen with my four-legged-boy, Rocco, beside me, I crafted my version with a light and creamy Dijon sauce in place of their leek vinaigrette. Rocco approves of both dishes and really loves spaghetti squash for breakfast, even better than the bacon ice cream from Posana’s dog menu.

Fall Harvest Pancakes

Start your Thanksgiving morning off with these scrumptious Fall Harvest Pancakes made with pureed butternut squash and pumpkin pie spice. Whether you are refueling after running a turkey trot race or kicking back and watching the Macy’s parade, this breakfast dish will satisfy your morning appetite and give you a new appreciation for fall squash. If you are eating light to save room for all the carbs to come, extra pancakes will freeze well for a quick reheat another day.

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.

Fall Muffins with Pecan Sorghum Granola

Topped with crunchy 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.

Fall Salad with Pecan Sorghum Granola

Granola on a salad sounds weird, but trust me it is delicious! The first granola-topped salad I ever tasted was amazingly delicious, made with pine nuts from the BlueFire Bar and Grill. With just one bite it fueled my curiosity to create my own nutty sweet salad topping. My version features seasonal pecans and whole grain oats that are lightly sweetened with sorghum, adding the perfect crunch to this fall salad with earthy, tender-roasted beets and mildly sweet acorn squash.