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Pomegranate Salad with Gorgonzola and Champagne Vinaigrette

As I hunted through recipes trying to figure out what to make for Christmas I came cross this one. It was nice and winter seasonal with pomegranate and also red and green:) I hardly ever buy pomegranate and I am reminded of why each time I try to cut and de-seed them, but they are delicious! I substituted apples for pears since I like them more.

Difficulty: Medium (only for deseeding)
Prep Time: 15 min
Cook Time: 0
Total Time: 15 min
Yield: 3-4 side salad servings
Taste: Great


4 cups baby spinach
1 ripe Granny Smith apple, sliced
1/2 pomegranate seeds
2 ounces Gorgonzola
Champagne vinaigrette, recipe follows
Fresh cracked pepper
1 tablespoon honey

Optional: Toasted hazelnuts 

Champagne Vinaigrette:
1/8 cup champagne vinegar
1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
1/4 tsp minced garlic
1/2 tbs freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/8 tsp freshly cracked black pepper
1 tbs olive oil

Christmas Eve Dinner

1) For optional hazelnuts preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spread hazelnuts evenly on baking sheet. Roast for 5-10 minutes rotating once in that time. I did 7 min last time. Dark skin should be able to be easily peeled off. Rolling palm over the cooled nuts can help to peel them all at once

Champagne Vinaigrette

2) In a small bowl or glass jar, add all the ingredients except the olive oil. Mix well, then slowly drizzle in the olive oil to combine. Refrigerate until ready to use.

3) In a decorative bowl or platter, add the spinach.

3) Cut the apple into fans, and then slice again on the diagonal, add the greens, crumble the Gorgonzola onto the salad and optional nuts then drizzle with about half of the vinaigrette. Top with fresh cracked pepper and lightly drizzle the whole salad with the honey. Serve immediately.

Source: Guy Fieri


Crock Pot Chicken Tacos

I’ve never had chicken shred so easily before, it really just fell apart.  It lacked a little bit of flavor, but I added in the directions below to adjust with salt, pepper, and spice after shredding.

I had quite a bit of liquid in the crockpot once the chicken was finished cooking.  I had just shredded the chicken in the pot keeping all the liquid, but that made for a pretty messy taco.  I modified directions to drain some of the liquid prior to shredding.

Difficulty: Easy
Prep Time: 10 min
Cook Time: 8 hours
Total Time: 8.5 hours
Yield: ~8 servings
Taste: Good


5 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (~2.5 lbs)
3 heaping tablespoons taco seasoning
3/4 cup diced onion
1 (14.5 ounce) can diced fire roasted garlic tomatoes (or similar variety)
1 (4.5 ounce) can diced green chiles, drained (or 4 hatch roasted green chili, diced)
1 cup chicken broth
 cup chopped fresh cilantro
Salt and pepper to taste
Corn or flour tortillas

Optional Toppings – cheese tomatoes, lettuce, avocado, etc.


  1. Place chicken breasts in the bottom of the slow cooker. Sprinkle taco seasoning evenly over the chicken. Top with diced onion and then pour tomatoes over the top. Top with the drained green chiles. Add chicken broth and stir to mix, but leaving chicken on the bottom.  Cover and cook on low for 6 to 8 hours.
  2. Pull chicken out of remaining cooking broth in the pot and place in a large bowl.  Shred chicken with two forks.
  3. Strain cooking broth and put leftover onion, tomato, pepper mix back in with shredded chicken.
  4. Add cilantro, salt and pepper to taste.  Maybe Cayenne pepper for heat. Mix to combine. Serve.

To prepare the soft tortillas heat flour tortillas in a dry skillet over medium heat for about 30 seconds per side. Just long enough to get them slightly toasted and warm.


Nutrition: Based on chicken filling only. Tortillas and toppings were not included.
Calories: 175, Fat 11g,  Saturated fat  2g, Cholesterol 45mg, Sodium 76mg, Potassium 205mg,  Carbohydrates 2g, Protein 15g, Vitamin A 1.9%,  Vitamin C 1.6%, Calcium 1.6%, Iron 4.2%


Pumpkin Pie Overnight Oats

I had leftover pumpkin puree after making these pumpkin muffins.  I’m a big oatmeal fan so I swapped up my standard variety with this one.  It was pretty good and makes for a nice easy morning breakfast.

Difficulty: Easy
Prep Time: 5 min
Chill Time: 4 hours or overnight
Total Time: 4+ hours or overnight
Yield: 1 serving
Taste: Good


1/4 cup plain nonfat greek yogurt (or use vanilla)
1/2 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
1/4 cup pumpkin puree
2 tablespoon pure maple syrup
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup Old-Fashioned Oats
2 teaspoons chia seeds
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
Optional: Top with nuts, maple syrup, cranberries, coconut


  1. In a medium bowl, mix together greek yogurt, almond milk, pumpkin puree, vanilla and maple syrup until well combined.
  2. Stir in oats, chia seeds and spices.
  3. Pour into a glass jar or container and place in fridge for 4 hours or overnight.

Source: Ambitious Kitchen

Nutrition Information
Serves: 1
Serving size: 1 serving
Calories: 274
Fat: 6.5g
Carbohydrates: 42g
Sugar: 9.7g
Fiber: 10.3g
Protein: 14g
Recipe type: Breakfast
Prep time: 5 mins
Total time: 5 mins


Jim made these!  I guess we have been watching too much of the Great British Baking Show that he got a baking itch.  They turned out good, but maybe not the most circular in shape;)  He added in rosemary to the dough and flaked sea salt on top.  There are so many flavor options to play with there.

Difficulty: Medium
Prep Time: 30 min
Cook Time: 20-25 mins
Total Time: 2 hrs 50 mins
Yield: 8 bagels
Taste: Great


1 tablespoon instant yeast
4 cups King Arthur Unbleached Bread Flour or Organic Bread Flour
2 teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon non-diastatic malt powder, brown sugar, or barley malt syrup
1 1/2 cups lukewarm water
Optional: Rosemary, sea salt, sesame seed, poppy seeds, dried cranberries

2 quarts water
2 tablespoons non-diastatic malt powder or brown sugar or barley malt syrup
1 tablespoon granulated sugar


1) Combine all of the dough ingredients and knead vigorously for 10 minutes (if you’re using a stand mixer) or up to 15 minutes (if you’re kneading by hand). Since this is a high-protein bread flour, it takes a bit more effort and time to develop the gluten. The dough will be quite stiff; if you’re using a mixer it will “thwap” the sides of the bowl, and hold its shape (without spreading at all) when you stop the mixer.

2) Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl, and set it aside to rise until it’s noticeably puffy though not necessarily doubled in bulk, 1 to 1 1/2 hours.

3) Lightly grease two baking sheets, or line them with parchment and grease the parchment. Transfer the dough to a work surface, and divide it into eight pieces (for large bagels), or 12 pieces (for standard-size bagels).

4) Working with one piece at a time, roll it into a smooth, round ball. Place the balls on one of the prepared baking sheets. Cover the balls with plastic wrap, and let them rest for 30 minutes. They’ll puff up very slightly.

5) While the dough is resting, prepare the water bath by heating the water, malt, and sugar to a very gentle boil in a large, wide-diameter pan. Preheat your oven to 425°F.

6) Use your index finger to poke a hole through the center of each ball, then twirl the dough on your finger to stretch the hole until it’s about 1 1/2″ to 2″ in diameter. Place six bagels on each of the baking sheets.

7) Transfer the bagels, four at a time if possible, to the simmering water. Increase the heat under the pan to bring the water back up to a gently simmering boil, if necessary. Cook the bagels for 2 minutes, flip them over, and cook 1 minute more. Using a skimmer or strainer, remove the bagels from the water and place them back on the baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining bagels.

8) Bake the bagels for 20 to 25 minutes, or until they’re as deep brown as you like, turning them over about 15 minutes into the baking time (this will help them remain tall and round). Remove the bagels from the oven, and cool completely on a rack.

To make salt, sesame seed, or poppy seed (or other seed) bagels, brush each bagel, just before baking, with a glaze made of 1 egg white beaten until frothy with 1 tablespoon of water. Glaze each bagel, and sprinkle heavily with seeds.

To make onion-topped bagels, bake bagels for 20 to 22 minutes (or until they’re almost as brown as you like), and remove the pan from the oven, keeping the oven turned on. Working with one bagel at a time, glaze as instructed above, and sprinkle with minced, dried onion. Return the bagels to the oven for no more than 2 minutes (the onions will burn if the bagels are left in longer than that).

For cinnamon-raisin bagels knead about 2/3 cup of raisins into the dough toward the end of the kneading process. Just before you’re done kneading, sprinkle your work surface heavily with cinnamon-sugar, and give the dough a few more turns; it’ll pick up the cinnamon-sugar in irregular swirls. Divide the dough into pieces, form each piece into a ball, and roll each ball in additional cinnamon-sugar. Proceed to let rest and shape as directed above.

Source: King Arthur Flour

Nutritional Info:
Serving Size 108g Servings Per Batch 8
Amount Per Serving:
Calories 230
Calories from Fat 10
Total Fat 1g
Saturated Fat 0g
Trans Fat 0g
Cholesterol 0mg
Sodium 590mg
Total Carbohydrate 46g
Dietary Fiber 2g
Sugars 1g
Protein 9g

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins

This is a delayed fall recipe Jim got from a co-worker years ago that I finally got around to making myself.  I opted to double the recipe below and make this as bread instead of muffins and it was a ton of batter.  Next time I think you could get away with just the recipe as is below for 1 loaf pan.

If you end up with extra pumpkin a good use is pumpkin pie overnight oats.

Difficulty: Easy
Prep Time: 25 min
Cook Time: 15 min (muffins)
Total Time: 40 min
Yield: 12 muffins
Taste: Good


1/4 cup oil
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg
1/2 cup milk
3/4 cup canned pumpkin
1 1/4 cup flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 cup chocolate chips

1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Grease or line muffin tin.
2) Beat the egg, add oil, sugar, milk, and pumpkin. Mix well.
3) Add dry ingredients and mix. Do not over beat.
4) Fill muffin tins 2/3s full.  Bake at 350 for approximately 15 minutes for regular size muffins.
Note: If making bread bake at 350 deg F.  Start checking for doneness at the 55 mark by inserting a toothpick in the center and seeing if it comes out clean.  Continue to check in 5 min increments thereafter.  Initial bake took about ~70 min for me.
Source: Jim’s co-worker

Fresh Tomatillo Salsa

I haven’t made a tomato salsa in a long time.  My last attempt was a lot of chopping which was very time consuming and not worth all the time put into it.  This one on the other hand had a great unique flavor and is easy blending.  Jim gave it a top 5% when compared to store bought salsas:)  I’ll take that.

Note, I hardly used any water and it thickens up pretty nicely in the refrigerator.

Difficulty: Easy
Prep Time: 10 min
Cook Time: 10 min
Chill Time: 30 min
Total Time: 50 min
Yield: ~2 cups, 8 servings
Taste: Good unique salsa


1 lb tomatillos, husked and rinsed
2 to 4 jalapeno or serrano chiles, seeded for milder salsa, coarsely chopped (I used 2 jalepenos and 2 ancho)
1/4 cup chopped onion, soaked for 5 min in cold water, drained and rinsed
1/4 to 1/2 cup coarsely chopped cilantro
Salt to taste ~1/2 tsp
1/4 cup water, as needed (I used hardly any)


  1. Place tomatillos in a sauce pan, cover with water and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer for 8 to 10 minutes, flipping them over halfway through until softened and olive green.  Remove from heat and transfer to blender.
  2. In blender, add chiles, onion, cilantro, and 1/4 cup water.  Blend to a coarse puree.
  3. Transfer to a bowl, add salt, and thing with water as desired.
  4. Set aside for at least 30 min before serving to allow flavors to meld.

Source: NYT Cooking

Avocado Creama

I finally found a great sauce topping for fish tacos, enchiladas, or really any Mexican dish. Quick and easy as well. This would go well on my previous fish taco and cabbage slaw recipes.

Difficulty: Easy
Prep Time: 10 min
Cook Time: 0
Total Time: 10 min
Yield: ~8
Taste: Good


1 medium avocado, dark exterior skin and pit removed
1/4 cup sour cream
1 to 2 tablespoons lime juice (to taste. Used 2 initially and it was a bit zingy)
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt


1) Mix avocado, lime juice, sour cream and salt in a bowl with a fork or add to a food processor, pulse until creamy.

Source: Fox and briar