Greek-Style Candied Walnut and Mixed Greens Salad

For an Italian version, use crumbled Gorgonzola cheese in place of feta.

½ c. walnut halves
3 T white sugar
3 cups mixed greens
½ c. craisins or dried cherries
½ c. feta cheese
2 green onions, chopped, tops and all
1 T capers or chopped Greek olives (optional)

DRESSING:
Whisk together equal amounts of balsamic vinegar and olive oil with a pinch of salt and black pepper to make a balsamic vinaigrette.

DIRECTIONS:
Candied walnuts: Place the walnuts and sugar in a skillet over medium heat (do not burn). Stir until sugar melts and is light brown (about 1 minute). Stir to coat walnuts, about 1 more minute. Remove from heat and spread on foil to cool, then break apart if necessary.

Assemble and toss salad ingredients, top with candied walnuts and drizzle with balsamic vinaigrette.

Makes two salads.

Hot or Cold Sicilian Pasta Dressing

pasta with dressing

Sicilian Pasta made two ways

3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
3 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup mushrooms, sliced
1/2 cup roasted red bell peppers, chopped (they come in a jar)
3 Tablespoons Kalamata olives, chopped
1/3 cup Italian parsley, finely chopped
¼ cup feta cheese, crumbled

1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
¼ cup sunflower nuts (or chopped pecans)
salt and pepper to taste
Squeeze of fresh lemon or lime juice
fresh cooked pasta or zucchini pasta

 

1. Scrub, prepare, chop or have ready, all ingredients. Cook 8 ounces of bowtie pasta (farfalle) while preparing sauce.

2. Saute’ mushrooms and zucchini in oil, then add sweet red peppers, Kalamata olives, parsley and garlic for a minute more of cooking, then remove from heat.

4. Spoon dressing mixture into a large bowl and cool to room temperature. Add feta and Parmesan cheese. Mix well and season with salt and pepper to taste.

5. Stir piping hot pasta (or zucchini pasta) into dressing. Top individual servings with sunflower nuts (or pine nuts for a more traditional touch).

Variation: Chill the dish (having added the feta and Parmesan cheeses) and serve as a cold salad. Drizzle with a little more olive oil and stir right before serving.

Three Fresh and Fast Party Snacks

Party foods can be light, guilt-free and satisfying. In this cooking episode of IAWW TV, we learn three fresh and easy to make party foods:

Eye-Opener Smoothie

a yellow-orange colored smoothie

Make this Eye-Opener Smoothie with candied ginger, kombucha, apple, turmeric and grapefruit.

It’s Smoothie Week at Williams-Sonoma, and in honor of that, I decided to kick my routine up a notch. Ordinarily, I make my smoothies with almond milk, colorful fruit or veggies (like kale and beets), but today I decided to make a smoothie with unique ingredients, some not usually associated with blender drinks.

I whipped this sweet concoction together in just minutes using 2 Tablespoons of candied ginger (for zip), 1 cup kombucha (for probiotics and  fizz), 1 teaspoon turmeric (brain food), 1/2 of a pink grapefruit (vitamin C and bioflavonoids) and a half an apple (keeps the doctor away).

Did I get the eye-opener I was expecting? Yes. This sparkling, frothy, invigorating on-the-go breakfast (or afternoon pick-me-up) is my new go-to favorite.

Here is my method: Using a sharp knife, cut off the skin of the grapefruit and chop it into chunks. Cut the apple into chunks (don’t peel it). Put apple and grapefruit into blender. Follow with minced candied ginger, turmeric and kombucha (plain or ginger flavored). Throw in 3-4 small ice cubes, blend and serve immediately. Fills two, 12-ounce glasses. What’s not to like?

if you don’t have a blender, or are planning to upgrade soon, here is the place to start looking: blenders at Williams-Sonoma.

Rhubarb Crisp Lite

I’ve shared this recipe in the past. It is a favorite of mine, but this time, I’m showing you step-by-step how easy it is to make my Rhubarb Crisp Lite. I know you will like it as much as we do in our house. One of the reasons I have successfully maintained my 88-pound weight loss for the last seven years, is because rather than going on a diet, I made permanent changes in my lifestyle. This is one of the recipes that helped me do it. Indulgences and treats can be part of any healthy diet as long as we are mindful of the fat and sugars we are consuming (moderation rocks) and portion sizes are appropriate. Recipe makes 9 servings of rhubarb filling/compote, 58 calories per serving. The topping is 60 calories per tablespoon, so use sparingly. NOTE: For a text version of this recipe, click here.