Archive | October, 2015


Now that the temperature is starting to cool, my tastes turn toward more cold weather recipes.  This acorn squash and shitake mushroom salad is a perfect dinner side dish that can be prepared in advance.  It could also work as a light entrée with the addition of grilled chicken.

squash salad (9)



1 ea                                      acorn squash, medium **it is not necessary to peel squash

2 C                                        cremini, shitake or oyster mushrooms, sliced

4 T                                         extra virgin olive oil

1 ea                                      garlic clove, minced

2 T                                         white balsamic vinegar

1 T                                         fresh thyme, minced

1 ea                                      orange, zest and juice

2 C                                         grape tomatoes, halved

1 C                                        goat cheese, crumbled

3 T                                         fresh chives, chopped

Pinch                                   cayenne pepper

                                                Salt and pepper to taste


Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Remove both ends of the squash and cut in half lengthwise.  Remove seeds. Cut crosswise into 1/2 “ thick slices.  Transfer to parchment lined baking sheet.  Add sliced mushrooms and minced garlic.  Drizzle with olive oil, vinegar, orange juice and zest and thyme.  Toss to coat.  Season with salt and pepper.  Roast for 30-35 minutes, turning squash halfway through, until tender, golden brown and caramelized on the edges.  Remove from oven and allow to cool to room temperature.

Toss cooled squash with sliced grape tomatoes, minced chives and cayenne.  Place in serving dish and crumble goat cheese on top.

Serves 4-6

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 buffalo chix burger 29

Use boneless skinless chicken breasts for these burgers.  While grinding the meat yourself is an extra step, it yields a far better burger.  However, if you’re in a hurry, pre-ground chicken works well too.  You can adjust the spiciness by adjusting the amount of hot sauce used in the baste and in the burgers, but don’t skimp on the blue cheese dressing and pickled veggies!!  These burgers are also terrific served open faced for more calorie savings.



½  Slice                              100% Whole Wheat Sandwich Bread torn into pieces

2 T                                         skim or 2% Milk

1 ½  Lb                              boneless, skinless chicken breast

½                                           yellow onion, chopped

2 cloves                            garlic, minced

1 T                                         soy sauce

2 t                                         cayenne pepper, or more to taste

2 t                                         ground dry mustard

2 t                                         Frank’s Red Hot Sauce, or less to taste

¼ Cup                                  parsley, minced

Finishing baste for burgers made with 1 T Frank’s Red hot combined with 1 t olive oil


1 ea                                      carrot, peeled and cut into thin strips

1 ea                                      cucumber, peeled and cut into thin strips

2 ribs                                   celery, cut into thin strips

1 ea                                      red bell pepper, cut into thin strips

¼ C                                        rice wine vinegar

2 t                                         sugar


whole wheat hamburger buns

light blue cheese dressing


Prepare pickled vegetables:  Combine all vegetable ingredients in a bowl and toss gently.  Set aside

Prepare chicken burgers: Pulse the bread in the food processor to coarse crumbs. Add milk and pulse gently.  Remove from work bowl and set aside.  Cut chicken into 1” pieces and pulse in food processor until uniformly chopped.  Remove from work bowl and set aside.   Pulse onion and garlic in food processor until chopped fine.  Add to ground chicken breast.  Add soy sauce, mustard, cayenne, parsley and hot sauce.  Using  your hands, mix gently until thoroughly combined. Gently mix in bread crumb milk mixture.

Divide meat into 4 portions and form into 1” thick patties.  Refrigerate 30 minutes while you prepare grill.

Pre-heat grill to high.  Clean and lightly oil cooking grate.  Brush burgers with oil or spray lightly with pan spray.  Season patties with S & P.  Place burgers on grill and cook, turning only after a good sear has been achieved on the original side, 5-6 minutes.  Flip and finish cooking on the second side until internal temperature reaches 160-165 on an instant read thermometer. Before removing from grill, baste burgers with hot sauce baste mixture if desired.

Assemble Burgers:  Place a burger on bottom half of whole wheat bun.  Top with pickled veggies and light blue cheese dressing.  Top with bun top and serve passing additional Frank’s Red and blue cheese dressing on the side.


1 clove                               garlic, finely minced

1 C                                         Greek non-fat yogurt

¼ C                                        low fat mayo

2 T                                         buttermilk or skim milk

2 T                                         extra virgin olive oil

salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 T                                         Dijon mustard

Pinch                                   granulated sugar

1/2 C                                   Blue cheese


Make the Blue Cheese dressing:  Whisk together the garlic, yogurt and buttermilk in a small bowl.  Add olive oil, salt and pepper.  Mix well.  Add Dijon mustard and pinch of sugar.  Mix thoroughly.  Add Crumbled blue cheese and mix gently to form a smooth but slightly lumpy dressing.  Set aside.



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The weather can be crazy this time of year.  One day it’s cool, the next it’s summer again.  This soup plays double duty here.   It’s light enough for a warm day, but also hearty with lots of bold flavor when the weather turns cool again.  It comes together quickly and uses ingredients you may already have on hand.  The addition of the chicken sausage adds a tasty protein punch for those who want a more substantial soup.



1 ½                          yellow onion, chopped

2 cloves                   garlic, minced

2 T                           olive oil or olive oil pan spray

1 T                           cumin seed, ground

2 t                            coriander, ground

1 t                            cayenne pepper

2 t                            oregano, dried (or 2 T fresh)

2 C                           butternut squash, peeled, seeded and diced into ½” cubes

1 T                           red wine vinegar

1 15 oz can              Mexican style diced tomatoes

4 15 oz cans            black beans, rinsed and drained

4 C                           low sodium chicken or vegetable  stock


2 C                           chicken sausage, sliced into rounds and cooked

1 C                           tomatoes, diced

½ C                          cilantro, chopped






In a large stock pot, heat olive oil until shimmering.  Sauté onions over medium high heat until tender and slightly browned.

Add garlic, cumin, coriander, oregano, and cayenne and sauté 2 minutes longer or until fragrant.

Add diced butternut squash and sauté briefly.

Deglaze the pot with the red wine vinegar.

Add canned tomatoes, scraping up the bits at the bottom of the pot.

Add rinsed black beans and stock.

Bring soup to a boil, then reduce heat to medium low and simmer uncovered until the butternut squash is tender but not mushy, about 20 minutes.  Stir occasionally to combine flavors and prevent scorching.

Remove pot from heat.  Using an immersion blender, carefully puree ½ the soup until smooth.  Alternately, ladle 2 C of soup into a food processor or blender and process until smooth.  Return pureed soup to pot.  ***Take care when pureeing hot soup to avoid burns!!

To serve, ladle soup into warmed soup bowls and top with optional ingredients if desired.

Serves 6-8

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