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by Sarah Steimer

Compared with my other salads, this was definitely the most tame. Although it wasn't as jazzy as the other salads, I really enjoyed the soft flavors from the spices and the sweet raisins that are all plumped up because they simmer with the rice and spices.

Compared with my other salads, this was definitely the most tame. Although it wasn’t as jazzy as the other salads, I really enjoyed the soft flavors from the spices and the sweet raisins that are all plumped up because they simmer with the rice and spices. This salad would be best paired with something else, and I’m considering picking up some salmon to go with my leftovers.


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by Sarah Steimer

Chard become one of my favorite greens this summer, and I ate this open-face chard sandwich often. I read somewhere this year that chard would replace kale as the "trendy green" of 2013. That's a ridiculous thing to say, but I do sort of hope that's the case because I'd love to see chard on more restaurant menus.

Chard become one of my favorite greens this summer, and I ate this open-face chard sandwich often. I read somewhere this year that chard would replace kale as the “trendy green” of 2013. That’s a ridiculous thing to say, but I do sort of hope that’s the case because I’d love to see chard on more restaurant menus.

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by Sarah Steimer

The dressing for this salad is awesome and makes just the right amount. You could probably add any number of vegetables to this - peppers or carrots for instance. I would not, however, suggest putting raw onion in this salad as it would completely overtake the ginger and garlic in the dressing.

For the vinaigrette

  • 3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons grated, peeled fresh ginger
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper

For the salad

  • 2 cups packed shredded red cabbage
  • 2 cups broccoli florets
  • 2 cups thinly sliced Granny Smith apple
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup raisins, plumped in hot water
  • 1/4 cup sunflower seeds and/or chopped walnuts

Whisk all ingredients for the vinaigrette together. Set aside.

Toss the sliced apples with the lemon juice in a large bowl. Add the cabbage, broccoli, raisins and nuts to the bowl. Add the vinaigrette to the salad and toss until all the vegetables are coated.

Let sit in the refrigerator for about an hour so the vegetables and apples can soak in the vinaigrette.

Serves four as a main dish or six to eight as a side.

Recipe adapted from: Health.com

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by Sarah Steimer

This was described in a blog as a "detox" salad - and I'm all about a detox that isn't just nonstop smoothies.

  • 3 cups julienned carrots – OR – I just shredded the carrots (as long as you don’t have a fine grater)
  • 1 cup raisins
  • 1/4 cup sunflower seed meat – OR – pumpkin seeds
  • 1/3 cup tahini
  • 1-2 teaspoons curry powder
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • pepper, to taste

In a small bowl, whisk together the tahini, curry powder, lemon juice, maple syrup and pepper. Set aside.

Toss together the carrots, raisins and seeds. Add the dressing a little at a time until it is coated to your preference (I used it all).

Serve chilled. Makes about a week’s worth of regret-free lunches.

Recipe adapted from: The Family Kitchen

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Breakfast is usually not what you’re concentrating on Thanksgiving morning — but that doesn’t mean you have to skip it. We found two great recipes for you — a little savory, a little sweet — that store well so they can be made in advance. Since many of us are putting in the extra effort and making this or that from scratch for dinner, go ahead and allow yourself a shortcut for breakfast.

Spinach mini-quiches

by Caitlin Saniga

Any time I go home to Mom’s, she always welcomes me with a nice, warm breakfast. And she’s the master of eggs. She loves to improvise with eggs, adding cheese and any vegetables from the fridge. Whether it’s scrambled eggs or a frittata, she knows how to cook and season eggs to perfection — a skill I hope I’ve picked up. For Thanksgiving this year, I’d love to surprise her with some of these mini-quiches for breakfast.

Each mini-quiche is one or two bites, and I love that you don’t have to sit down with a fork and knife to eat them. Keep them in the kitchen while you’re assembling the Thanksgiving  dinner so guests (and you, duh)  can have something to snack on. They’ll disappear in no time!

  • 2 circles of chilled prepared pie crust dough (from a package)
  • 8 cups spinach (or 2 medium zucchini roughly grated)
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped finely
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 ounces feta cheese
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan, plus more for sprinkling
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt (plus 1/2 teaspoon salt if using zucchini instead of spinach)
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon lime juice

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Spray the cups of 2 12-cup mini muffin pans with cooking spray, or rub cups lightly with butter.

Use a 2-inch-diameter glass to cut circles from the pie crust dough. (Try to squeeze 12 circles from each pie crust dough circle.) Place each small circle of dough in the cup of a muffin pan, and use your fingers to press the dough into the corners at the bottom of the cup. (Toward the opening of the cups, the dough might bunch a little, but that’s OK.) Place prepared muffin pans in the fridge until filling is ready.

If using zucchini for this recipe, place the grated zucchini in a colander in the sink and sprinkle it with 1/2 teaspoon salt. Let sit 30 minutes. Wrap zucchini in a towel, and squeeze out liquid.

Heat butter and olive oil in a medium pan over medium heat. Add the onion, and cook until it turns translucent and starts to brown slightly on the edges, about 6 minutes. Add the garlic, and cook 1 minute. Add the spinach, and cook until it wilts, 1-2 minutes.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the feta, Parmesan, eggs, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper and lime juice. Add the spinach mixture, and stir to combine.

Remove the muffin pans from the fridge, and divide the egg mixture between the pastry cups. Sprinkle a little grated Parmesan over each cup.

Bake 12-15 minutes, or until egg is cooked through and the cheese on top turns golden brown.

Makes 24 mini-quiches.

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Sticky rolls

by Sarah Steimer

Sticky rolls are a given on our Thanksgiving mornings. We either make them in advance or at least have the dough thawed out to make quickly in the morning. When you’re trying your hardest to make Thanksgiving dinner from scratch (or close to it), give yourself a break and use this frozen dough — OR — next time you’re making bread, make extra dough and freeze it for these rolls. Either way, cut out a step or two. It’ll pay off when your feet are up instead of hustling through the kitchen.

How good would these be with little flecks of bacon…

  • Rhodes frozen white bread — 1 roll (comes in packs of three)
  • vegetable oil
  • 4 tablespoons butter, melted and divided in half, plus more butter for brushing
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar, divided in half
  • 2 teaspoons water
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts or pecans
  • cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup raisins

Coat the frozen roll in vegetable oil and wrap in plastic wrap (this way it won’t stick to the plastic). Refrigerate for about 12 hours or until it has thawed.

Click to enlarge for a better look at what the pan and dough should look like (whoops – product placement).

Use the end of a stick of butter to grease a 9-by-11-inch glass or metal baking dish OR a 9-inch round pan. In bowl, combine 2 tablespoons melted butter, 1/4 cup brown sugar, water and syrup. Spread the mixture on the bottom of the baking dish and sprinkle with the nuts.

Roll out the thawed dough on a lightly greased or flour surface to make a 12-by-16-inch rectangle. Brush the dough with the 2 remaining tablespoons melted butter, sprinkle with the remaining 1/4 cup of brown sugar, along with cinnamon (however much you prefer) and raisins. Try to distribute everything as evenly as possible.

Roll the dough up width-wise (as in rolling along the longer side so the roll is longer than fatter). Cut into 12 equal pieces (I fail at this each time, don’t worry. I always mean to measure). Place the rolls in your pan, so the spiral is facing you.

Let the rolls rise, covered with a towel, for 30-60 minutes, or until they have doubled in size. It’s best to pop them in the oven to rise, putting the oven on its lowest setting. When ready, bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes. Let cool for about 5 minutes then flip the rolls out of the pan (upsidedown) onto a rack. Drizzle any remaining brown sugar mixture from the pan onto the rolls.

These rolls can be frozen a few days ahead of time. Just let thaw or microwave for maybe 20-30 seconds.

Makes 12 rolls.

Recipe: Martha Steimer (the recipe used to be on the back of the Rhode’s Sweet Bread bags — but those apparently don’t exist anymore)

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by Sarah Steimer

Shot of bourbon on the side is not optional.

For bread pudding

  • 4 cups cubed day-old French bread
  • 1/2 cup walnut or pecans, chopped
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons packed brown sugar
  • 2 cups evaporated fat-free milk
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon cloves or nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup raisins (I used golden raisins)
  • 1/2 bar chocolate, chopped
  • 3 teaspoons granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon butter

For bourbon sauce

  • 1/3 cup evaporated fat-free milk
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 tablespoons bourbon
  • 2 tablespoons nonfat plain yogurt

Spread bread cubes and nuts on a cookie sheet and bake, stirring a few times, at 325 degrees for about 10 minutes. Meanwhile, whisk eggs and brown sugar in a large bowl. Blend in evaporated milk, vanilla, cinnamon, chocolate and nutmeg. Stir the bread and nut mix into this, mixing so the bread is well-covered by the liquid. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes to an hour.

Lightly coat a shallow 2-quart baking dish with cooking spray (I used a pie dish and just adjusted the recipe accordingly). Sprinkle with 1 1/2 teaspoons granulated sugar. Melt butter in a saucepan until it turns a light nutty brown (do not burn). Transfer to a small bowl and let cool.

No wonder the South is slow, if they're snacking on desserts like this and sippin' bourbon all day I don't blame them for taking a little extra time.

Pour the bread mixture into the prepared dish. Drizzle the butter over top and sprinkle with the remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons sugar. Bake the pudding at 350 degrees for about 40 minutes or until the center is firm. Increase the temperature to 425 degrees and bake for a few more minutes until the top is brown and puffed.

While the mixture cooks, place a mixing bowl, beaters and evaporated milk in the freezer to chill for about 20 minutes — do not skip this step! I only put it in for a few minutes and the milk didn’t beat as well so I had to pop it back in. Beat the milk in the chilled bowl until it is the consistency of whipped cream. Gradually add 1/4 cup granulated sugar, bourbon and yogurt until thickened. Serve the warm bread with the sauce.

FYI: If you don’t like bourbon, you aren’t going to like this.

Makes about eight servings.

Recipe adapted from: Eating Well on a Budget

Photos: Sarah Steimer

Baking tips:

  • It never hurts to experiment. I’ve never made or even eaten bread pudding before this recipe. Might be my new favorite dessert.
  • Everyone always stresses the importance of following baking recipes to a T. Forget that. Add what you want, take out what you want (short of completely changing the recipe and ruining your food, of course). Try to find good “base” recipes that you can add a twist to, like a basic sugar cookie or sweet bread.
  • Day-old bread is your baking friend. It makes the best bread pudding, French toast and croutons.

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