That's A Keeper II

I received a lot of feedback when I wrote my blog “That’s a Keeper”.  Whether I’m trying a new recipe out to taste test with the kids or whether I’m just making something for myself I really wish they all could be keepers.  But I have to be honest, there have been a few that I’ve just wanted to throw away (and probably should have).  Through trial and error I’ve compiled a few more “keepers” for you to see if they become your “keepers”. 

Salad Dressings:  Buttermilk Ranch Dressing

I’ve tried MANY ranch dressing recipes and finally found one that’s made it to my “keeper” status.  I triple this recipe when I make it.  I take some to work and leave some at home (believe me it’ll get used and this way I don’t waste the fresh herbs).  I never really measure the garlic when I add it in.  I’ve even been told maybe it was too garlicky, but I think somehow I’ve become immune to knowing when too much garlic has been used.  Feel free to use whatever herbs you have available.  The last time I only used basil and it was still delish!

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Salad:  Pomegranate Kale Salad with Maple Glazed Pecans

My mom made this recipe for Thanksgiving and I’ve been making it ever since.  The recipe calls for “a bunch” of kale.  When I googled what the equivalent to a bunch was most websites claimed it was ~4-5 cups.  I massaged the dressing with that amount of kale and ended up having to add more kale.  I don’t know how much I ended up using, but that’s the way I make it every time: start off with 4-5 cups and add a little more so it’s not too much dressing.  The only thing is whatever amount you make up make sure you’re using it right away.  This recipe is a nutritional powerhouse:  kale, pomegranate, and pecans.  Healthy food that tastes good, say it isn’t so?!

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Soup Hearty Bean and Barley Soup

Winter in Florida is always mild.  I grew up here, I should know this.  The thing is I love soup and this is the only time of year when one can actually enjoy soup (summer and soup just don’t go together in FL).  I was able to try this soup out when we had a cold front pass through last weekend and this made it immediately to the keeper book.  I used white kidney beans in my recipe and you should definitely make sure to use the amount of chicken broth (or vegetable broth) that the recipe calls for – the barley really soaks up the majority of the liquid.  I leave the spinach out and when I re-heat my soup up for the day I add the spinach in at that time (I hate when the spinach turns a darker green when it’s been sitting for a few days.  If you add it in as you warm it up it’ll steam perfectly!)  This recipe made a lot for one person so I froze a few portions and can’t wait to see if it warms up okay!

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Bean Dish Walnut Chickpea Salad Sandwich

Chickpeas are one of those beans that I think you either love or hate.  I happen to love them.  It’s like a tuna salad sandwich only with chickpeas.  It’s definitely tasty and makes a delicious sandwich.  I recommend serving it with a hearty bread (doesn’t that make any sandwich taste better?!)

Main Dish - Vegetarian:  Grilled Lemon-Basil Tofu Burgers

I can’t say enough good things about this dish.  The combination of the lemon and basil is phenomenal.  While I don’t eat meat, I think this recipe could be good with a regular burger or even marinating some chicken and then browning it for a chicken sandwich.  But let’s be honest, I want you to try tofu!  If you’ve never tried tofu it really doesn’t have any flavor and it tends to take the flavor of whatever it is that you’re cooking with.  So, you’re in luck – the lemon and basil are to die for!  This is another one of those recipes that I’ve been told might have too much garlic, so use a little less if garlic isn’t your favorite.  (It’s in the lemon-basil marinade and the spread for the bun-double whammy!)

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Snack:  Lime‘n Honey Black Bean Dip

Tonight are the Grammy’s and next week is the SuperBowl  (whether it’s played on Saturday or Sunday is another story – I hope Roger Goddell rethinks playing in Miami even if our stadium isn’t newly renovated!) But I digress, and that means there will be parties and gatherings.  And where there are gatherings there is FOOD!  I hope no one buys bean dip in a can, but if you do this recipe will make you rethink ever buying bean dip in a can.  It’s simple, easy and oh so good!  You can serve it with pita bread and cut up vegetables.  I teach a lesson for kids where I show them the many forms of food – for my bean lesson I’ll make them a bean dip, bean burgers, beans in a soup, and even bean brownies (yes, there’s such a thing).  Kids will often tell you that they don’t like a food and while that may be it might just be that they don’t like it the way it’s being offered.  9 times out of 10 if you offer it to them in a different form they might just like it!  So for kids that say they don’t like beans, here’s a way they’ll surely like beans!

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So there you have it – a few more recipes that have recently made it into my “keepers”.  I hope you see a recipe or two that you might like to try.  Enjoy!