Cranberry-Apple Chicken Salad Slaw with Blue Cheese Dressing

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Happy New Year!  If you want to eat more healthfullly in 2017, this meal salad can help you keep your promise.  There is so much to love about this colorful winter salad bursting with flavor:  tons of fiber, great crunch and sustaining protein from the chicken and almonds.  Tossing the shredded cabbage with some  red wine vinegar while you chop the rest of the ingredients starts breaking down some of the fiber and adds a  nice dose of resveratrol,  to help fight cancer. The cabbage, especially the red, is full of free radical fighting power and a good source of vitamins C, K, B6 and fiber.   Using bottled blue cheese dressing and left over chicken makes it fast and easy to prepare, 20 minutes tops.  Tossing the cabbage with the vinegar first also helps to reduce the amount of dressing in the salad and will keep the apple from turning brown.    If you love the pungent taste of  blue cheese, toss in an extra half cup of crumbles.   Thinly sliced fennel bulb or julienned jicama would also be tasty additions.   However you make it, this salad is wholesome  and will give your winter diet a delicious nutritional boost.  Dig in!

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Fall Panzanella Salad

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“Every leaf speaks bliss to me, fluttering from the autumn tree.” Emily Brontë

For some time I have been wanting to make a fall panzanella salad.  A recent restaurant-made one sounded so good on the menu but was really disappointing with hard crouton-like bread and hardly any flavor.  So I experimented and settled on this final creation that was unbelievably delicious!  I made it on a crisp sunny fall day and we enjoyed it as a meal. Bursting with the many flavors of fall that I love:  brussel sprouts, squash, cranberries, sage, thyme, pomegranate and maple, the salad was as nourishing as it was gorgous.   Roasting the vegetables enhances their flavor and gives them nice browned edges with tasty crispy bits and a texture that holds up in the dressing.  The salty pancetta balances the sweetness of the cranberries and squash.  Pomegranate arils adds crunch and color.   I used a garlic-herb loaf of Italian bread for another layer of flavor.  The salad lends itself well to experimentation with your own favorite fall veggies and fruits.  The maple infused dressing is the final punctuation mark of autumnal flavors in this dynamic salad.  Full of antioxidant goodness, this is my new favorite fall dish!

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Thinking Outside the Bowl

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Fall is the season where I really want to get in the kitchen.  I like to cook but what I really love is coming up with new presentation ideas of recipes. That’s where creative juices really get flowing.  Fall recipes lend themselves especially well to thinking outside conventional serving methods.  Take the popular butternut squash soup.  It’s delicious in a plain bowl.  But think of the wows you’ll get if you kick up the visual pleasure like this:

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These acorn squash mini “tureens” will get conversation going at your table!   Continue reading