Autumn Kale Salad

autumn kale salad Here’s a nice autumn salad that features some of the fruits of the fall season along with our beloved kale. It’s pretty and festive and it could be a nice side to balance out a heavy meal, plus it requires very little work to bring it together!

autumn kale salad ingredients You can put your own twist on it by changing up the type of fruit and nuts that you and your family like. For mine and for presentation, I added chopped apple and thinly sliced pear, I liked the contrast between the two cuts, I also added dried cherries, toasted walnuts and a sprinkling of pomegranate seeds.

dressing for autumn kale saladThe dressing really pulls this salad all together, it’s a mixture of apple cider vinegar and white balsamic blended together, which is a must. The oil you can change up to your liking, but I highly recommend roasted walnut oil for a little treat. Also, If you want to sweeten your dressing up a bit you can, but I never ended up doing it, it was perfect without.

autumn kale salad Whatever nuts you use be sure to lightly toast them beforehand, it intensifies their flavor and also gives them more crunch.

autumn kale salad It’s colorful, healthy, fresh and good for you, so dig in!

fall colors Speaking of colorful, every tree and bush I see is worthy of a snapshot. Chicagoland is exceptionally vibrant and beautiful this season!

Autumn Kale Salad

Ingredients

  • 1 bunch of curly kale
  • 1 apple, chopped
  • 1 pear, thinly sliced
  • dried cherries or cranberries
  • toasted walnuts
  • pomegranate seeds, optional
  • DRESSING INGREDIENTS
  • 1/2 cup toasted walnut oil, (or oil of your choice)
  • 1/4 cup of vinegar total, using half apple cider vinegar and half white balsamic
  • 1 teaspoon, Dijon mustard
  • 1 small garlic clove grated on a microplane
  • salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Remove the stems from the kale, chop,wash and spin dry, place into a large bowl or platter. Curly kale holds on to water so spinning it dry is an important step.
  2. Chop 1 apple and slice 1 pear then squeeze a tiny bit of fresh lemon on top and set aside.
  3. Whisk together all the ingredients for the dressing then pour onto the kale and toss until well coated,a little goes a long way, but feel free to make more if you have a huge amount of kale.
  4. Arrange the apples and pear on top and sprinkle with dried fruit and toasted nuts, any amount you desire.
  5. Serve immediately!
http://www.prouditaliancook.com/2014/10/autumn-kale-salad.html

 

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Butternut Squash Lasagna Roll Ups

butternut squash lasagna roll ups I’m sorry,  but I’m at it again with butternut squash. I can’t help it, it’s so creamy, delicious and nutritious and it just screams fall to me! Not only that, it’s versatile and can be used in various dishes, just check out my archives for several different ways that I’ve used it in the past.

Sure, I’ve made your typical type lasagna using butternut squash but recently I realized that I never used it in a lasagna roll up.

I’m seriously considering this as my pasta side for Thanksgiving dinner this year, it’s that good!

butternut squash sauce Now lets talk sauce, which is based on a recipe from Chef frank De Carlo, well it just elevates the dish and funny thing is, you don’t really need alot. If you look at my top photo you’ll see I just put a little on the bottom of my baking dish and then I spooned some on top of each roll up, it’s not heavy at all, it’s dreamy!

Infuse some sage into melted butter and shallots, deglaze with broth, whisk in a small amount of pureed squash, add a little bit of cream and some parmesan. This is definitely party worthy!

butternut squash filling Roasted and mashed butternut squash, chopped spinach, a mixture of  ricotta, parmesan and asiago with a slight hint of garlic and lemon zest fills the pasta noodles.

butternut squash lasagna roll upsbutternut squash lasagna roll ups The day I made this my whole family stopped over for one reason or another, I made a big salad to go along with it, and it was devoured in seconds!

butternut squash lasagna roll ups

Great as a stand alone meal right now, but certainly worthy for the upcoming holiday season. I see Thanksgiving side written all over this!
winter squash

Lucky me, I was the recipient of all these beautiful squashes, so no doubt you will be seeing more squash recipes here in the future.

They were sent to me by a wonderful local company called Door to Door Organics, where you can have fresh organic and local produce, plus grocery items delivered right to your home. It’s funny because I had used them myself way before they ever even contacted me.

If you’re a regular reader of my blog you know how I love my veggies so this offer for me to try was a win win for me! I remember in the dead of winter last year how happy I was to see my order sitting outside my front door. What I love about the company is that there’s is no commitment, you could stop and start whenever you want.

So for all my readers who live in the Chicagoland area and want to give Door to Door Organics a try, here’s a ten dollar off coupon for you on your first order.

Now on to the recipe!

Butternut Squash Lasagna Roll Ups

Ingredients

  • 1 good sized butternut squash
  • 2 1/2 cups of cooked butternut squash for the entire recipe, 2 cups will be for filling mixture, 1/2 cup will be reserved for the sauce
  • 1 cup, ricotta
  • 1/4 cup of frozen, chopped spinach, measured after it is drained well
  • 1/2 cup of grated parmesan
  • 1/3 cup of grated asiago
  • 1 egg
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 small garlic clove grated on a microplane
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 8 or 9 cooked lasagna noodles
  • FOR THE SAUCE
  • 1/2 cup of reserved squash pulp, pureed smoother than the pulp for the filling
  • 2 shallots, or 1/2 of a white onion, finely diced
  • 1/2 stick, unsalted butter
  • 1 small bunch of sage leaves
  • 3/4 cup of stock, I used chicken
  • 3/4 cup of cream
  • 1/2 cup of grated parmesan
  • salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Prepare your squash ahead of time. Cut lengthwise, with skin still on, remove seeds and roast the squash, cut side down at 350 degrees until tender and a knife goes through with ease, close to an hour. Let it cool, then scoop out pulp.
  2. FILLING MIXTURE
  3. Mash 2 cups of the squash pulp into small chunks, making it easy for spreading.
  4. Add in ricotta, egg, cheeses,grated garlic, zest, salt and pepper, mix together well, then fold in spinach until incorporated.
  5. SAUCE
  6. Make your sauce by sauteing shallots in the butter with the sage leaves until slightly golden, then deglaze with the broth and whisk in the 1/2 cup of the well pureed squash that was reserved until nice and smooth on low heat.
  7. Whisk in the cream and add the grated parmesan cheese
  8. Salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.
  9. INSTRUCTIONS
  10. Spread about 3 tablespoons of filling on each cooked lasagna noodle, then roll up and place them seam side down on a shallow baking dish that has some of the sauce spooned onto the bottom. Spoon sauce on top of each lasagna roll up, plus grate a little parmesan cheese on top of each.
  11. Bake uncovered in a 350 degree oven for 15 to 20 minutes, sauce will be set and top will be slightly golden. There should be extra sauce for serving.
  12. This whole recipe can easily be doubled.
http://www.prouditaliancook.com/2014/10/butternut-squash-lasagna-roll-ups.html

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Slow Braised Beef Pot Roast, Italian Style

Italian style beef pot roast Tender braised beef soaked in red wine and cooked slow and low on a cold weather day is comfort in a pot! The process of braising is not one to be rushed, this is not a thirty minute meal what so ever. You’ll want to make this several hours ahead of time or better yet, the day before.

The slow method of braising results in deep deep flavors and fork tender meat that melts in your mouth, it’s out of this world!

pot roast ingredients For my Italian style pot roast I like to add Muffuletta, which is a store bought bottled olive salad, it has great flavor, it couldn’t be easier and it enhances the meat and juices perfectly. Red wine, some broth, canned tomatoes, added veggies, lots of garlic, rosemary and thyme complete the flavor profile.

seared beef roast Braising is very economical, you don’t have to use an expensive cut of meat, in fact, I used a chuck roast for this recipe, one that I got on sale at Whole Foods and it was just under three pounds.

I like to stud my meat with slices of garlic all over on the top and bottom, salt and pepper both sides then sear the meat until a nice crust forms, this is a key step in braising.

braised beef pot roast

I can’t tell you how good my house smelled while this was simmering in the oven so you’re going to have to try it yourself. I’m sure you could do this in a crock pot but I rarely use one, I’m more of an oven kind of girl myself. All you need is a nice heavy bottomed pot with a tight lid.

braised beef pot roast As the meat breaks down some fat will accumulate but that’s easy to skim off once it cools down or like I said in the beginning you can make this the day before and then the fat will solidify in the fridge overnight which makes it even easier to remove, that is if you have the will power to wait for the next day to eat it!

braised beef pot roast The juices that become the sauce goes perfectly on top of egg noodles, mashed potatoes, or the favorite in my house, polenta. I like to roast my carrots and eat them as a side dish, a little al’dente, but if you prefer you can certainly cook them along with the other vegetables.

braised pot roast with polenta No matter how bad the weather is outside I guarantee this dish will make you feel all warm and cozy inside.

Slow Braised Beef Pot Roast, Italian Style

Ingredients

  • 1 chuck roast, 2 1/2 - 3lb
  • 1 onion, chopped medium
  • 1 14 oz. can of cherry tomatoes, ( or chopped) including juice
  • 1 container of whole crimini mushrooms
  • 1 small roasted red pepper strips
  • 8 garlic cloves, 6 smashed and 2 sliced for studding meat
  • 3/4 of a bottle of Muffaletta olive salad, drained of excess oil
  • 1/2 cup red wine
  • 3/4 cup of broth, I used chicken because that's what I had, of course beef broth would work too.
  • rosemary, thyme
  • parsley for garnish

Instructions

  1. Make slits with a small knife all around the meat then push slices of garlic inside.
  2. Salt and pepper both sides of the meat.
  3. Heat a heavy bottomed pan like cast iron that has a tight lid.
  4. Drizzle some olive oil in the bottom and when almost smoking place meat in and sear it until crust forms on both sides.
  5. Remove meat then set aside.
  6. Add the chopped onion, roasted red pepper strips,6 smashed garlic cloves, a branch of thyme and rosemary and cook until onions caramelize.
  7. Add wine, broth and tomatoes and Muffaletta olive salad.
  8. Nestle your meat right in the center of the liquid, add more rosemary and thyme.
  9. Cover the pot with a tight lid then cook it low and slow at 275 degrees for 3 1/2 to 4 hours, meat must be fork tender.
  10. When I took it out of the oven I placed the mushrooms inside then put the lid back on, they got tender and cooked in a few minutes from all the heat still inside the pot.
  11. Skim off excess fat.
  12. Garnish with parsley and serve over mashed potatoes, egg noodles or polenta.
http://www.prouditaliancook.com/2014/10/slow-braised-italian-style-beef-pot-roast.html

 

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