Butternut Squash & Black Bean Salad

We are not new to the kale bandwagon, but most of the time I cook it and it’s mixed into a dish or we blend it in a smoothie.  This is the first kale salad that we’ve tried that I really liked.  Luckily, my local Harris Teeter’s produce department has already done the work and offers peeled, seeded & cubed butternut squash all ready to go.  I took the shortcut and grabbed some pre-washed kale too.  Don’t judge – it was a long day!  I was pleasantly surprised at how much I liked this salad.  Since I didn’t have a lot of time I didn’t really let the squash cool so the goat cheese kinda melted a bit.  Next time, I think I might try to let it cool a little more first.  This is a great fall salad!


  • 1 medium butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cubed (1/2-inch pieces)
  • 3 tbsp olive oil, divided
  • salt and black pepper, to taste
  • 2 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp dijon mustard
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1 tbsp adobo sauce
  • 2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 2 cups cooked black beans
  • 1 large bunch kale, stemmed and cut into thin slices
  • 1/2 cup goat cheese, crumbled


Heat oven to 400. In a large bowl, toss together the butternut squash, 1 tbsp olive oil, and salt and black pepper to taste. Spread out on a parchment-lined baking sheet and roast for 20-30 minutes, or until tender. Set aside.

In a small bowl, stir together 1/2 tsp salt, red wine vinegar, dijon mustard, honey, adobo sauce, garlic cloves, and 1/4 tsp black pepper. Taste for seasoning. Set aside.  When the squash is done roasting, toss it with the kale, black beans, and dressing. Serve topped with crumbled goat cheese.

Source:  Eats Well with Others

Chicken Enchilada Rice Casserole

It’s no secret that we love Mexican food, especially when it’s easy to make and tastes this good!  To keep it quick and simple I used a rotisserie chicken I picked up from the grocery store deli.  I usually keep jasmine rice on hand so I used that instead of the Basmati.  I already a bunch of cheddar jack cheese so I used that instead of the white cheddar (any cheese will work) and I was surprised to find that Harris Teeter had refried black beans which we like better than pinto beans.  I’m fan of cilantro so instead of using it as a garnish I added it to the mix before baking and I used some green onions as the garnish.  Oh and it’s just wrong to serve any kind of Mexican dish without a dollop of sour cream (or substitute with greek yogurt).
  • 3 cooked chicken breasts, shredded
  • 2 cups dry Basmati rice
  • 2 cans (10 oz each) Enchilada sauce
  • 1 can (16 oz) refried beans
  • 1 cup white cheddar, shredded
  • 1 cup Monterey Jack cheese, shredded
  • 1 can (11 oz) corn kernel
  • cilantro for garnish
  • salt and ground black pepper to taste

Cook the rice. Preheat oven to 350 F degrees.  Mix the 2 cheeses together.

In a large bowl mix the shredded chicken with the enchilada sauce, refried beans and half of the cheese. Add rice, season with salt and pepper if needed, and mix well. Pour rice mixture into a large casserole dish. Top with corn then with remainder of cheese.

Bake for about 20 to 30 minutes or until cheese melts and is bubbly.  Garnish with chopped cilantro and serve warm.

Adapted from:  Jo Cooks

Pumpkin Cream Pie

It’s that time of year when all the white girls want pumpkin everything!  Now, I like pumpkin but I’m not all crazy about it.  Even when Starbucks brings out the pumpkin lattes I still stick with my normal Chai tea latte or spiced apple cider.  I’m crazier about spiced apple cider than pumpkin – especially when it’s spiked with some spiced rum… ok, sorry back to the pie.  So, it’s fall and National Dessert Day, I just had to whip up this super duper easy dessert.  To make it even easier, rather than make my own crust I just bought one – I actually like the shortbread crust better than graham cracker anyway.  Oh, and I didn’t have any pumpkin pie spice so I just used cinnamon and nutmeg.  Done!


  • 6 oz cream cheese, softened
  • 1 15oz can pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups whipped topping


Beat cream cheese and pumpkin puree in a medium bowl until smooth.  Add sugars, pumpkin pie spice and salt.  Beat until combined.  Gently fold in whipped topping.  Spread into crust.  Refrigerate overnight or until firm.  Spread extra whipped topping over top of firm pie and serve.

Shrimp Superfood Salad

We’ve been on a health kick, eating a lot more salads and now I buy quinoa by the pound.  This is an excellent salad, you can do anything with it.  I prefer it with some shrimp but you can add grilled chicken or just eat it alone.  For the sweetener I used agave nectar just because I happened to have some.  I forgot the orange but I did substitute some mandarin oranges from the can.  Nice, simple weeknight dinner or great for lunch.


  • 1/2 cup dry quinoa
  • 1/3 cup red onion, chopped
  • 1 orange, peeled and segments chopped
  • 1 avocado
  • 1 cup black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 cup corn
  • 1/3 cup cilantro, chopped
  • salt & pepper
  • grilled shrimp (optional)

Lemon Vinaigrette:

  • 6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • dash of sweetener
  • salt & pepper


Cook quinoa according to package directions. Set aside to cool.

For the Lemon Vinaigrette: combine all ingredients in a jar with a tight fitting lid, and shake to combine. Or, add lemon juice, garlic, sweetener, salt and pepper into a small bowl and whisk in oil.

Combine cooled quinoa with red onion, orange segments, avocado, beans, corn, cilantro, salt and pepper. Pour Lemon Vinaigrette over the salad and stir to combine. Serve cold or at room temperature.  Top with grilled shrimp.

Adapted from:  Iowa Girl Eats

Cinnamon Swirl Cheesecake

My niece stayed with us for her birthday weekend awhile back and we decided to make a fun cheesecake to celebrate.  So we got up early and got to work.   It turned out pretty good, I’m sure I’ll make it again.  For most of my cheesecakes I use the same crust, like the one here, just added a little cinnamon to the mix and bake for about five minutes before adding the cheesecake filling.

Cinnamon Swirl:iPhone 9-21-14 370
  • ¼ cup butter
  • ½ tablespoon cinnamon
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • 16 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 1 egg at room temperature
  • ⅓ cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla

Preheat oven to 350.  In a small sauce pan combine butter, cinnamon, and brown sugar. Cook over medium heat and stir until butter is melted and ingredients are combined. Stir in vanilla and flour.

In a large bowl whisk together egg and sugar until foamy. Add cream cheese, egg, and vanilla until smooth. Pour mixture on top of baked crust. Drizzle cinnamon mixture over cheesecake filling. Use a knife to swirl.  Bake 20 minutes or until cheesecake is set. Allow to cool 30 minutes, then continue cooling in the fridge. When completely cooled, cut and serve.

Adapted from:  Creme de la Crumb

Sweet Potato & Kale Enchiladas

The first time I tried this recipe it didn’t look as good as the picture so I was unsure of how it would taste.  Of course I added some extra sour cream and with the salsa, they the enchiladas became kinda pink.  The husband was a little hesitant at first but it turns out he likes pink foods.  Now, he can never remember what’s in it so he asks for me to make “that pink stuff”.  These are quite filling so there are always leftovers.

  • 1 pkg. corn tortillas
  • 1 tablespoon grapeseed or canola oil
  • 1 large sweet potato, peeled and diced into 1/2-inch cubes (about 2 cups prepared)
  • 15 oz. can black beans, drained
  • 2 cups fresh baby kale, stems removed
  • 1 chipotle pepper in adobo sauce, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoon adobo sauce
  • zest of one lime
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 4 oz. goat cheese, crumbled
  • 2/3 cup salsa
  • 1/3 cup sour cream
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Heat oil over medium heat in large stock pot. Add sweet potatoes and saute until beginning to brown and potatoes are softening, 8-10 minutes. Add black beans, kale, chipotle pepper and adobo sauce, lime zest, garlic and salt. Continue to saute, stirring occasionally until kale is wilted, another 3-5 minutes. Remove sweet potato mixture from heat and allow to cool a bit.

Mix together the salsa, sour cream, lime juice and salt.  Scatter the crumbled goat cheese over the top of the sweet potato mixture and stir well to combine.  Evenly divide mixture among the eight tortillas (about 1/3 c. each) and roll up tightly.  Place the 8 enchiladas, seam side down, in a greased 9×13 baking dish. Pour the salsa and sour cream mixture evenly over the top of the enchiladas.

Cover the baking dish with foil and bake for 20 minutes. Remove foil and continue baking for another 10 minutes. Turn broiler on high and finish under broiler for another 2 minutes or so, to brown the tops of the enchiladas.

Source:  Foodtastic Mom

Rainbow Pad Thai

We love vegetables, my husband especially loves them raw.   I was hesitant with this one because I’m not a big cabbage fan, but it was so colorful I just had to try it.  So healthy and so good.  We actually like a little more of the dressing so I made some extra.  This is excellent for make ahead lunches.


  • 1 medium zucchini, julienned
  • 2 carrots, julienned
  • 1 red pepper, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup red cabbage, thinly sliced
  • 3 green onions, thinly sliced
  • 3/4 cup cooked edamame
  • 3 tbsp sesame seeds


  • 1 garlic clove, finely grated
  • 1/4 cup peanut butter
  • 2 tbsp lemon or lime juice
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 1/2 tbsp sesame oil
  • 1 tsp ginger, finely grated
  • maple syrup, to taste


Prepare the vegetables and mix together the zucchini, carrots, red pepper, and cabbage in a large bowl using your hands. Make the dressing by whisking together all the ingredients. Top the salad with the edamame, green onions, sesame seeds, and the dressing.

Source:  The Girl with the Spatula

Chicken Chickpea Chopped Salad

I’m always on the lookout for easy, healthy salads.  We make salad for dinner at least once a week and often make them to take to work for lunches.  For this one, I got a rotisserie chicken from the deli at the grocery store and made a huge bowl with extra for leftovers.  I’m not a huge fan of BBQ sauce so instead of the BBQ dressing, I used the same lime vinaigrette from Sriracha Lime Chicken.  With the chicken and chickpeas it was a pretty filling salad.

  • 2 large romaine hearts, washed and chopped
  • 1 cup pulled cooked chicken breast
  • 1 (15.5 oz) can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 1 cup grape tomatoes, sliced in half
  • 3/4 cup sweet corn
  • 1/4 cup crumbled goat cheese
  • 1/3 cup cilantro, washed and chopped
  • 1 small avocado, diced
  • 1/2 cup BBQ sauce for dressing, if desired

In a large bowl, add lettuce, top with all ingredients except for avocado and dressing. Toss salad gently.

Place into cold salad bowls. Garnish with diced avocado and drizzle with dressing if desired. Serve with low-fat corn tortilla strips.

Adapted from:  Ambitious Kitchen