5 Ingredient Appetizer: Fig and Walnut Chutney

In honor of the “Oscars” tonight, here’s a simple and quick appetizer recipe that is sure to please. With only 5 ingredients, This Fig and Walnut Chutney is awesome served with sliced apples, grapes, crackers and Gorgonzola cheese. In under 20 minutes, you will have a superstar appetizer that your guests (and/or family) will love. This recipe also works well with goat or feta cheese so feel free to substitute your favorite. Not only is this appetizer healthy, but it’s low in fat. It’s a great, quick appetizer recipe to serve for any holiday or entertaining occasion. Happy Oscars night everyone, and I hope your movies/actors win!

Easy Holiday Appetizer: Cranberry-Orange Glazed Brie

While cranberries are still at their peak, why not prepare a simple sauce to serve with your holiday turkey or to serve over Brie. This festive appetizer recipe for Cranberry-Orange Glazed Brie is perfect served this holiday season at an open house on Christmas Eve or for a New Years Day celebration. Served with crackers and some toasted bread, preparation is a snap. If you have leftovers, just give to neighbors or friends for a last minute gift.

Holiday Food Gift Idea: Simple Breakfast Granola

As the holidays are approaching, I have been trying to make recipes that my kids will love and hopefully ones that will be potential great homemade food gifts. I saw a variation of this recipe in a recent Paula Dean Magazine, and tweaked it using some of my favorite ingredients such as walnuts and flaxseed. It came out great, and it lasted at least up to 3 weeks in a tightly covered container. My kids ate it for breakfast and a snack, and I piled it on top of Greek Yogurt for a filling breakfast. For the dried fruit, I used Sun-Maid Fruit Bits. Start your holiday food gifts early, and try this Granola recipe.

Halloween Caramel Popcorn

Since my kids love popcorn, I decided to make a homemade version of Carmel Popcorn just in time for Halloween. The combination of butter, honey and light brown sugar coat the popcorn to perfection. I added some of my favorite nuts and M & M’s, and wow were my kids so excited. This makes a great Halloween snack and gift just in time for a sweet, fun holiday.

Super Foods Salad: Watermelon and Goat Cheese Arugula Salad

I wanted to make a great Labor Day salad, but wanted to include my favorite “super foods”. I tossed some fresh arugula with watermelon, blueberries, walnuts and goat cheese (I love Belle Chevre) and drizzled it with a little olive oil and balsamic vinegar. There you have it. Not only is this so beautiful to serve, but so healthy and incredibly delicious.  Great for Labor Day or any day!

Spring and Strawberry Favorites: Strawberry-Walnut Bread

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I had been searching for a decent Strawberry Bread recipe for a while after loving a recipe which had about 1 cup of oil (that was not going to work for me). I worked with this recipe using Greek yogurt and walnuts, and I really loved the moistness and great strawberry flavor. Since spring is around the corner, this is a fabulous recipe to make for breakfast, a snack or dessert.

So Unbelievably Great Snack Mix: Sesame-Wasabi Cherry Mix

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I had this snack mix last week at my friend, Debbie’s house, and I was addicted. It’s so simple and basic, with the sweet dried cherries, spicy wasabi peas, crunch of the walnuts and salty sesame sticks. This is a great holiday snack as well. The green and red colors are perfect for Christmas. You may want to double or triple the recipe, by the way. Enjoy!

Super-Healthy Salad in 20 Minutes

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This is one of my favorite salads that I raced to the kitchen and developed after I saw a similar salad at a really cool and eclectic restaurant new to downtown Birmingham, AL called Urban Standard. The combination of walnuts, strawberries, blueberries and goat cheese with a vinaigrette made from pomegranate juice and flaxeed oil create the ultimate healthy salad. If you’re really short on time, omit the dressing and use your favorite bottled light balsamic or raspberry vinaigrette. And, if you want to make this a main-dish dinner salad, add 2 cups grilled or cooked chopped chicken or salmon. 


By the way, I heard from six different people yesterday from California, two in Nashville, two in Birmingham, Atlanta and even New Jersey who were making my Rigatoni for dinner last night. Thanks for all the awesome support! Best, Alison


Super-Healthy Salad

Prep: 20 minutes

Yield: 4 to 6 servings

Ingredients

1/3 cup raspberry vinegar

2 tablespoons pomegranate juice

2 tablespoons honey

2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh mint

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

21/2 teaspoons flaxseed oil

4 cups fresh mixed greens

2 cups sliced strawberries

1 (4.4-ounce) package fresh blueberries

1/4 to 1/3 cup chopped walnuts, toasted

1/4 cup crumbled goat cheese (if you don’t like goat cheese, you can use feta)

Preparation

1. Whisk together raspberry vinegar, pomegranate juice, honey, mint, salt and pepper in a small bowl. Slowly add flaxseed oil, whisking to combine; set aside.

2. Combine mixed greens, strawberries, blueberries, walnuts and goat cheese in a large serving bowl. Add vinaigrette, tossing well.