I was asked to bring a salad to Thanksgiving dinner this year. I just couldn’t bring myself to toss mixed greens, tomatoes and other salad toppings into a bowl. It was time to change things up a bit. Here was my salad at today’s Thanksgiving table.
You have to admit it beat a traditional tossed salad hands down. It’s a salad bar in one dish and could be used as the table centerpiece should you be so inclined. I dressed the rim of a shallow bowl with red leaf lettuce. Chopped mixed greens, including baby spinach, filled the center of the bowl. I then began layering the veggies. I started at the outside edge of the bowl and worked my way to the center.
Here’s what I used:
- Baby carrots
- Sliced celery
- Fresh green beans (blanched). I purchased a microwavable bag of green beans. They were perfect. I cut them in half after they steamed in the microwave.
- Baby asparagus (slightly sauteed). Unfortunately, the asparagus I purchased was bad, so I didn’t get to use it.
- Sliced red, yellow, green pepper rings, cut in halves
- Sliced mushroom caps
- Grape size tomatoes
- Yellow squash cut in half
- Sliced black olive and two black peppercorns for the turkey eyes
- Small triangular piece of yellow cheese for the turkey beak
- Reserve one red pepper slice for the wattle and two pieces of celery stems for the feet
You can serve with various salad dressings on the side as well as with a side of ranch for dipping. When you’re ready to serve, use tongs so guests can pick and choose the items they want to put in their salad bowls/plates.
TIP: You can also use shredded cheddar cheese as one of the layers (or any other cheese for that matter). You can put your personal touch on this salad with a variety of other veggies, like broccoli and cauliflower florets.
I opened the freezer and spotted a package of baquette slices ready to strut their stuff. They were like a wardrobe piece in your closet that cries out, “Use me, use me, dress me up.” And, so I did. I tend to seek out the failing fruit, veggies and pantry items when making a dish. With my busy life, I unintentionally ignore food items until they are near death.
As usual, I was in starvation mode and wanted something quick & easy to keep my growling hunger under wraps and prevent me from launching into hunger attack mode.
- French baguette, sliced into serving sizes
- Olive oil
- 1/2 Yellow or red bell pepper, diced
- 1/2 cup diced onion
- 1 clove garlic, finely diced
- 1 1/2 cup fresh spinach leaves, roughly chop 1 cup and reserve the remaining leaves
- Balsamic vinegar
- Parmesan Reggiano or crumbled feta cheese
- 3/4 cup diced tomato
Place all the chopped/diced ingredients into a oven dish sprayed with non-stick cooking spray. Drizzle with 1 tablespoon olive oil. Bake at 350 degrees until ingredients are cooked through (about 8-10 minutes). Remove from oven and set aside.
Brush baguette slices with olive oil and place on a cookie sheet sprayed with non-stick cooking spray. Evenly distribute the veggie mixture onto the top of each bread slice. Sprinkle bread slices with your choice of cheese.
Bake in oven for 10 minutes at 350 degree F. While this bakes, arrange reserved spinach leaves on a serving platter and drizzle with balsamic vinegar.
Arrange the baguette slices on top of the spinach leaves. Ten servings.
One serving is in the neighborhood of 150 calories. I could make a meal with two baguette slices and the bed of spinach/balsamic leaves.
This dish can court any season. However, in Michigan where the smell of Autumn is running rampant, this stuffed shell dish lends itself to a Sunday afternoon football feast next to a cozy fire.
The flavorful stuffed shells are tucked beneath the cheesy tomato topping and packed with tasty goodness. Pair with an antipasto salad (low-fat dressing-pepperoni-ham-cheese, of course) and you have a meal made in sports heaven.
Cook the jumbo pasta shells as directed on the box. The filling recipe will stuff approximately 24 shells. Once shells are cooked, drain the water and place the cooked shells in a bowl of ice water until ready to fill.
- 1 pound ground turkey meat, cooked and crumbled
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 2 cups fresh, chopped spinach
- 1/2 cup finely chopped red bell pepper
- 16 ounces ricotta cheese
- 4 wedges garlic-herb Laughing Cow cheese
- 1/2 cup finely chopped onion
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 egg yolk
Combine the above ingredients into a bowl. Mix well. Spoon filling mixture into each jumbo size (cooked) shell. Drain shells from the ice water bath before filling.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 9 x 12 baking pan with non-stick cooking spray. Spread a portion of the ricotta cheese onto the bottom of pan and top with a 1/2 cup layer of marinara sauce.
- 1/2 cup low-fat mozzarella cheese
- 2 cups marinara sauce (reserve 1/2 cup for the bottom of pan)
- 24 Jumbo size stuffed shells
- Cooking spray
While oven is heating, crumble and cook the turkey meat in a large skillet until browned. Add the filling mixture to the browned turkey meat. Remove from heat once ingredients are warmed through.
Stuff each shell with the filling mix and place into the 9 x 12 baking dish.
Cover the shells with the remaining marinara sauce. Sprinkle with 1/2 cup grated low-fat mozarella cheese. Cover and bake for 30 minutes. Remove from oven and let stand 8 minutes before serving.
This recipe will easily serve 8 people when served with an antipasto side salad. Each stuffed shell is in the neighborhood of 91 calories.