Tag Archives: appetizer

Recipe: Kale Salad with Bacon, Cranberries, and Goat Cheese by Melissa McKinnon

Ingredients:

  • 3 slices thick-sliced bacon, crumbled
  • 3 Tbsp. bacon grease, reserved from frying
  • 3 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • 1/4 tsp. dry mustard
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 6 c. chopped fresh kale leaves (discard stems)
  • 1/4 c. dried cranberries
  • 1/4 c. slivered almonds
  • 1/4 c. crumbled (honeyed or plain) goat cheese (about 2 oz.)
Spaghetti with Marinara Sauce and Fresh Basil; Kale Salad with Crackers

Kale Salad with Crackers, served as a side with

Spaghetti with Marinara Sauce and Fresh Basil

Instructions:

1. Cook thick-sliced bacon over medium high heat until crisp. Remove bacon from pan and pat dry with paper towels. Crumble bacon. Let bacon grease cool slightly (pour 3 Tbsp. grease into a glass bowl to help it cool faster, if desired–just don’t let it burn).

2. Prepare kale. I buy the pre-washed, pre-chopped bag of kale, but if you buy fresh, whole kale from your grocery store or farmers’ market, wash thoroughly (I recommend triple washing to remove all the grit), pat (or spin) dry, remove stems and chop as finely as desired. Set aside.

3. Whisk together vinegar, sugar, mustard, salt and pepper. Carefully pour warm grease into vinegar mixture; whisk to combine. (I do this step in the serving bowl to cut down on clean-up.)

4. Toss kale in dressing. Make sure leaves are evenly coated with dressing (use your hands–just don’t burn yourself). Then add crumbled bacon, goat cheese, cranberries and almonds and toss.

5. Serve as an appetizer, a side salad, or as dip with crackers. The combination of crunchy and creamy, tangy and sweet is fantastic! This is definitely a new family favorite! Bon Appetit!

Note: You could also add 2 Tbsp. of finely chopped red onions or scallions for a nice touch.

As an alternative, I made some this week and switched out the cranberries for some finely chopped sun-dried tomatoes, added juice from half a lemon to the dressing, and used plain goat cheese, along with the almonds and crumbled bacon, and it was a big hit! So whether you go savory or sweet, bon appetit!

Holiday Pizza Pizzazz

Tonight’s pizza was an interesting combination of ingredients that turned out to be fabulous! It reminded me of Ina Garten’s Sausage Cranberry Stuffing for her Roasted Turkey Roulade.

I started with our homemade white wheat sourdough crust and prebaked that for 5 minutes at 425F. Then I drizzled the crust with some black raspberry vinaigrette (2 parts organic black raspberry jam, 1 part blueberry red wine vinegar, 1 part organic olive oil – whisk together over low heat until evenly combined).

For the toppings, I used cooked, crumbled sausage along with goat cheese,  caramelized onions, thinly sliced granny smith apples, chopped fresh mushrooms, chopped pecans, dried cranberries and fresh cilantro. Then I baked it for another 8-10 minutes at the same temperature, until the crust was golden and the cheese was just beginning to brown. Wow! I will definitely make this again! It was delicious! The crust was thin and crisp, the vinaigrette, cranberries and apples added a nice, sweet tang that paired beautifully with the creamy goat cheese and fresh nuttiness of the pecans. I think I’m craving another piece just writing this post!

What crazy toppings have you put on your pizza that gave it some pizzazz?!

Recipe: Twice Baked Potatoes

Preheat oven to 350F.

  • 6 small red potatoes, whole
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • sea salt

Rub potatoes with olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt. Bake 350F for 40 minutes.

Meanwhile, mix together the following ingredients and set aside.

  • 1 Tbsp. softened butter
  • 1/4 c. low-fat plain Kefir (plain yogurt or sour cream should work too)
  • 2 oz. freshly grated parmesan
  • 1 large garlic clove, minced
  • sea salt & cracked pepper, to taste

Remove potatoes from oven and let rest for a few minutes (till cool enough to handle). Turn heat up to 400F. Cut each potato in half lengthwise, scoop out middle, leaving 1/8″ to 1/4″ rim around potato. Add potato middles to the cheese mixture. Mash and spoon into potato shells.

Bake at 400F for 15 more minutes, until golden brown.

Top with 1 Tbsp. finely chopped fresh parsley leaves. Serve warm!