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In the cooler weather months, you’ll notice recipes using leeks more frequently.  Part of the reason is they are in season during this time and can be found with ease in your supermarket’s produce section.  Leeks are a member of the onion family, but they have a slightly sweeter flavor.  They are a nutritious addition to your menu, as they are fat free, cholesterol free, very low in sodium, an excellent source of Vitamin A, and a good source of Vitamin C and folate.  While you can substitute leeks in place of onions, there are some terrific recipes specifically set aside for using these savory veggies.

leek
Courtesy of Fruits & Veggies–More Matters

 

This Caramelized Leek Quiche can be made for a brunch or a meatless dinner entrée.  This recipe has you make your own crust, which is a special treat!  You’ll combine sliced leeks, eggs, grated gruyere cheese, milk, fresh thyme, heavy cream, salt and pepper to create the quiche.

caramelized-leek-quiche
Courtesy of Martha Stewart

 

Simple, yet elegant is how I’d describe Leeks with Lemon Dijon Vinaigrette.  It’s a beautiful side dish to make for guests.  You’ll saute the leeks in olive oil and butter and then add chicken stock and parsley to the pan.  Simmer until the leeks are tender. Arrange the leeks on a serving platter.  Add lemon juice and Dijon mustard to the pan and whisk to combine.  Season with salt and pepper and pour the vinaigrette over the leeks and serve.

roasted-leeks-with-lemon-vinaigrette
Courtesy of Blue Kitchen

 

Porri al Forno or Leeks Baked in Cream is another simple side dish, but one that packs a lot of flavor.  Cut your leeks crosswise and have enough to arrange close together in a baking dish.  In a bowl, combine leeks, two cups heavy cream, one cup of parmesan cheese, and season with salt and pepper.  Arrange in your baking dish with the cut sides up, cover with foil, and bake 60 minutes in a 425 degree oven.  Remove foil and sprinkle with a half cup of parmesan cheese.  Finish baking for another 20 minutes until tender and browned.

baked-leeks
Courtesy of Diary of A Tomato

 

I’m back next Monday with some recipes to help you keep it healthier this holiday season.

 

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Salads can be a healthy part of your meal and when you include a protein like chicken or fish, can be made into an entrée.  One big mistake many folks make is by drowning their healthy salad with a fat, calorie, and sodium laden dressing.  Not only are you defeating the purpose of eating healthy, but you’re covering the delicate flavors of the fruit and/or veggies.  While their are some healthy store bought options available, it’s not hard to make your own dressing.  I’ve collected a few recipes that are light and simple to make.

Rosemary Lemon Vinaigrette highlights aromatic rosemary and is perfect for any kind of salad.  You’ll combine garlic, fresh rosemary leaves, sea salt, lemon juice, and extra virgin olive oil.  You can keep this dressing in the refrigerator for up to five days in an airtight container.

rosemary-and-lemon-vinaigrette
Courtesy of West Coast Seeds

 

Homemade Strawberry Vinaigrette would be perfect on fresh spinach, but goes well with any fresh veggie or fruit salad.  You’ll blend together fresh strawberries, honey, sea salt, black pepper, apple cider vinegar, and olive oil.  After mixed, stir in poppy seeds and serve over your salad.  Store covered in your refrigerator for up to one week.

strawberryvinaigrette2-1024x682
Courtesy of Feel Great in 8

 

This Lemon Herb Vinaigrette is super versatile.  It can be used over greens, pasta, or potato salads.  Simply combine olive oil, canola oil, lemon zest, lemon juice, red wine vinegar, oregano, basil, mint, minced garlic, chopped sun dried tomatoes, salt, sugar, and black pepper in a glass jar then shake well.  Let the vinaigrette sit for at least 30 minutes to allow the flavors to blend.  Store in a tightly covered jar in the refrigerator for up to a week.

lemon-herb-vinagrette-1
Courtesy of The Café Sucrefarine

 

I’m back next week with a look at leeks and some delicious recipes that feature them.

 

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During the cooler weather, especially with the holidays, bread is frequently served at meals.  Think serving a hearty soup or stew and then having some fresh rolls or bread on the side–it’s my idea of the perfect comfort meal.  Instead of the usual white bread or sourdough rolls, I’ve collected some interesting and healthier options to try at your next meal.

 

These Sweet Potato Dinner Rolls are excellent–the sweet potato and honey give them a little sweetness.  And, they are slightly chewy on the outside, yet soft on the inside.  You’ll need a large sweet potato, buttermilk, eggs, melted, unsalted butter, instant, yeast, salt, and bread flour.  Once prepared, these rolls store in a sealed plastic bag for up to three days.

sweet-potato-dinner-rolls-01
Courtesy of Handle the Heat

 

If you’re looking for a great low-carb version, these Rosemary Onion Dinner Rolls are for you.  You’ll need coconut flour, almond flour, flax meal, salt, baking powder, onion powder, dried rosemary, eggs, water, and olive oil.  You can also opt to make this bread into a loaf if you choose.

rosemary-dinnerrolls00291
Courtesy of Buttoni’s Low Carb Recipes

 

Another sweet/savory recipe are these Orange Buttermilk Dinner Rolls.  They have flour, sugar, warm buttermilk, honey, dry yeast, melted butter, grated orange rind, and salt.  These rolls go well with roasted pork.

orange-buttermilk-dinner-rolls
Courtesy of Pointless Meals

 

I hope everyone has a wonderful Thanksgiving this week and I’ll return next Monday with some great recipes for homemade salad dressings.

 

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Certain fruit and veggies are particularly popular at various times of year.  Cranberries are associated with the holidays, so you’ll see them popping up in your produce section by the end of October and they’re plentiful right through December.  Cranberries are fat free, cholesterol free, sodium free, a good source of Vitamin C and fiber. Though cranberry sauce and cranberry muffins are the two most common ways to enjoy these tart berries, there are other delicious ways to incorporate them into your meals.

cranberries
Courtesy of Fruits & Veggies–More Matters

 

Brussels Sprouts with Cranberries and Pecans is a savory side dish using in season fruit and vegetables.  Brussels sprouts are sauteed in olive oil and seasoned with salt and pepper.  You’ll add balsamic vinegar, maple syrup, and cooked barley to the cooked Brussels sprouts.  Toss to coat and add in dried cranberries, chopped pecans, and top with some gorgonzola cheese.

pan-seared-brussels-sprouts-with-cranberries-pecans-from-rachel-schultz1
Courtesy of Rachel Schultz

 

Acorn Squash with Walnuts and Cranberries uses fresh cranberries combined with chopped walnuts and brown sugar.  The mixture is spooned into the center of a halved acorn squash, add a bit of butter on top, and then place into a 375 degree oven for an hour and a half (until the squash is tender).

acorn-squash-with-walnuts-and-cranberry
Courtesy of Let The Baking Begin

 

Instead of cranberry sauce this year, try making this yummy Cranberry Salsa.  Combine fresh cranberries, Granny Smith apple, red onion, red bell pepper, fresh lime juice, fresh cilantro, jalapeno pepper, no-sugar added applesauce, sugar, salt, and pepper in a food processor and pulse until combined.  Refrigerate for at least two hours so that the flavors blend together and serve with tortilla chips.

cranberry-salsa3
Courtesy of Mel’s Kitchen Cafe

 

I’ll be back next week with some ways to work fruit and veggies into your homemade bread recipes.

 

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