Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Kale, Beet & Goat Cheese Salad






It's that time of year when gorgeous produce starts showing up at Farmer's Markets everywhere.  I don't know about you, but I just can't resist pulling over at a market or roadside farmstand.  One of my favorite Farmers Market finds are fresh beets.  This salad highlights fresh cooked beets. While you can cook them however you like, I prefer to roast them.  Roasting beets brings out their rich, earthy flavor - and they taste nothing like the stuff that comes out of a can!  

Serve them over kale topped with fruits, nuts.  Skip the bottled dressing and whip up this delicious 3-ingredient honey balsamic dressing and you have a super healthy nutrient-rich salad.  Creamy goat cheese adds just the right amount of indulgence too!


















recipe developed for Celebrity
Prep time: 
Serving size: 4

1/4 cup balsamic vinegar 
3 tablespoons orange juice 
2 tablespoons honey 
8 cups baby kale or spring mix 
1 cup drained mandarin orange slices 
1 cup sliced cooked beets 
1/2 cup chopped walnuts, toasted if desired 
1 (4.5-ounce) package Celebrity Lite Goat Cheese, crumbled 

Combine vinegar, orange juice and honey; season with salt and pepper if desired. Set aside.

Arrange kale in salad bowl or serving platter.


Top with remaining ingredients and serve with dressing.

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ROASTED  BEETS:

Whenever I cook fresh beets, I always roast them.  It really brings out the flavor of the beets.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Remove leaves and root and wash beets thoroughly.  Arrange beets on roasting pan.  Leave small beets whole, cut large beets in half.  Drizzle with a little olive oil and sprinkle with salt.

Place in oven and bake for about 20 minutes.  I like my beets to have a bite to them. If you prefer to have them softer, leave in the oven a little longer.

Let beets cool, and peel with a sharp paring knife.  Store in refrigerator until ready to use.


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Toasting Nuts:

Toasting nuts really brings out their flavor, so I always like to toast mine even when using on salads. 

Oven Method:
Preheat oven to 350°F. Spread the nuts in an even layer on a baking sheet. Coat with oil.  Roast for 5 to 10 minutes stirring occasionally.  Remove from baking sheet (nuts will continue to toast on the hot baking sheet)  and cool.

Skillet Method:
Heat nuts or seeds in a dry, heavy skillet over medium heat for 1 to 2 minutes or until they're golden brown and they give off a rich, toasty fragrance. Stir frequently for even toasting. Remove immediately from skillet (nuts will continue to toast on the hot skillet) and cool.

I typically use the skillet method, because inevitably, when toasting nuts in the oven, I walk away for a few minutes and when I come back they are overdone.  Always give a lot of attention when toasting nuts as it's very easy to overdo it and then they'll be ruined.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Berry Cherry Chocolate Empanadas

Tis the season...for fabulous, fresh summer berries! While I never get tired of eating them right from the fridge or muddling them into my cocktails, sometimes you just want a little something more. Here's a fun dessert recipe that's perfect for summer nights. Cherry-infused chocolate goat cheese (pick up an extra package or two because you're going to want to eat this all by itself!) and fresh berries are an unexpected filling in these easy-to-make empanadas.
Recipe developed for Celebrity
Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 15 minutes
Serving size: 4

Ingredients:
4 large empanada discos
1 cup assorted berries
1 (4.5-ounce) package Celebrity Chocolate Cherry Goat Cheese, sliced into 8 rounds
Oil for frying


Directions:
Arrange ¼ cup berries in center of each empanada disco. Top with 2 Goat Cheese rounds.
Moisten edges with water and fold over to form a half moon. With fork, press edges tightly to seal.

Heat 1 inch of oil in deep skillet. Add empanadas in 2 batches and fry until golden brown. Remove and drain on paper towels.  Serve warm.

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If you can't find the chocolate cherry goat cheese, you can use plain goat cheese or any flavored goat cheese with a sweet flavor profile. And of course, almost any fruit will work well in this recipe. Peaches, plums, thinly sliced pears or apples are great choices.  In a pinch you can also use a fruit spread instead of fresh fruit.
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If you don't want to deal with frying because it's too messy or you want to cut back on fat and calories, these empanadas are delicious when baked instead of fried.

Baked Empanadas: Preheat over to 425°F. Arrange empanadas on lightly greased baking sheet. Brush with lightly beaten egg. Bake 20 minutes or until golden brown.

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If making for a crowd or a dinner party, try making them mini!

Mini Empanadas: Use 6 small empanada discos; cut Goat Cheese into 6 rounds, divide fruit evenly among discos and seal and cook as above.