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Carrie’s Kitchen: Recipes for hearty, comforting meals that are more full of vegetables than fat

Happy New Year! We’re officially in winter, and if you’re like me, you’re feeling a little bad about the excessive eating of the holidays, but that cold weather has just got me craving comfort food so it’s kind of hard to reverse the heavy eating trend of the past month or two.

I know I don’t do well with drastic changes in eating, so my goal this January is to eat hearty meals that are more full of vegetables than fat, which will help me feel satiated and comforted at the same time. So here are three recipes that I’m hoping will help me accomplish that goal.

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First up, I’m excited about this curry cauliflower fried rice with roasted chickpeas. Have you tried cauliflower rice? I like it, because honestly, rice is usually just a background starch to soak up the sauce of whatever yummy thing we put on top of it. Finely chopped cauliflower can also serve this person, though I’ve found it’s worth the step of trying to get as much water out of it after you have cooked it as you can, so it doesn’t water down your sauce. I usually cook it, then drain it in a colander lined with a paper towel, then I put it back in the dish I’m cooking. I wouldn’t exactly call this recipe a fried rice because there’s no egg or soy sauce, but it is a curry and the chickpeas should help fill you up nicely.

Next, I’m a big fan of “salads” that aren’t 80 percent lettuce, so winter grain salads are right up my alley. This one uses quinoa, which has protein, and the kale is the green but it will get tamed by the balsamic vinaigrette, and the squash gives it a little more vegetable sustenance. The dried cranberries and pecans are like the candy pieces, and the crumbled feta on top gives you a great salty counterpart to the sweet cranberries.

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And finally, a stuffed butternut squash made with some of the key flavors of Thanksgiving: turkey, apple, and sage, with a touch of maple syrup and some dried cranberries. Because I’m not quite ready to move on from the holidays yet.

If you have some great holiday-reset recipes you would like to share, please send them my way. My waist-line will thank you!

Enjoy!

Curry Cauliflower Fried Rice with Roasted Chickpeas

2 cups cooked chickpeas

2 tablespoons melted coconut oil divided

¼ teaspoon cumin

¼ teaspoon turmeric

1 teaspoon sea salt divided

Freshly ground black pepper

1 head cauliflower cut into florets

½ onion chopped

2 garlic cloves chopped

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1 teaspoon curry powder

¼ teaspoon ginger

1 tablespoon lemon juice

2 large handfuls of baby spinach

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Toss chickpeas with one tablespoon melted coconut oil, cumin, turmeric, ½ teaspoon sea salt, and freshly ground black pepper to taste. Roast in the oven for 25 to 30 minutes, shaking the tray halfway through. Chickpeas should be crisped and crunchy.

While chickpeas roast, add cauliflower florets to a food processor. Pulse cauliflower several times until broken down to the size of small grains of rice or couscous. Alternatively, use a box grater to shred cauliflower into fine rice-sized pieces.

Heat remaining one tablespoon of coconut oil or ghee in a large skillet over medium heat. Add in onion and sauté for 5 to 7 minutes, or until onion is translucent. Add in garlic and sauté for 3 minutes more, stirring often.

To the skillet add cauliflower rice, curry powder, ginger, and lemon juice stirring to incorporate spices into the rice. Season cauliflower fried rice with ½ teaspoon sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste. Add in roasted chickpeas and baby spinach and stir well. Cook until spinach wilts, about 3 minutes.

Garnish with cilantro, if desired.

Quinoa salad with roasted squash, dried cranberries and pecans

1 cup quinoa

Kosher salt

Freshly ground black pepper

1 medium Delicata squash, seeded and thinly sliced into half moons

1 bunch Tuscan kale, thinly sliced and stems removed

1/3 cup pecans, toasted

1/3 cup dried cranberries

1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1/3 cup crumbled feta

Preheat oven to 425 degrees and cover a baking sheet with aluminum foil.

In a medium saucepan, combine quinoa and 2 cups water. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer, covered, 15 minutes. Turn off heat and let sit 5 minutes, then fluff with a fork and season with salt and pepper. Spread out on a sheet tray to cool completely.

Meanwhile, arrange squash on a baking sheet and roast until tender and golden, 15 minutes. Let cool slightly.

In a large bowl, toss together quinoa, squash, kale, pecans, and cranberries. In a small bowl, whisk together balsamic vinegar and olive oil. Drizzle over salad and toss gently to combine. Season with salt and pepper, crumble feta on top, and serve.

Thanksgiving style stuffed butternut squash

1 small butternut squash

2 tablespoons olive oil or butter (or a mix is nice)

½ cup diced onion

½ an apple, diced

2 garlic cloves, rough chopped

8 ounces ground turkey

½ teaspoon kosher salt

½ teaspoon fennel seeds

¼ teaspoon pepper

¼ cup pecans

2 tablespoons dried cranberries

8–10 sage leaves, finely sliced

1 tablespoon maple syrup

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Cut butternut down the middle lengthwise. Place open side down on lightly greased parchment-lined sheet pan. Roast 30 minutes, or until easily pierced with a fork, through the skin.

In a skillet, heat oil over medium heat.

Add onion, apple and garlic and sauté until just tender, about 4 minutes.

Add ground turkey, salt and fennel seeds, and cook until turkey is cooked through and browned, about 6 to 8 minutes.

Add pecans, dried cranberries and sage, and cook a few more minutes until warmed through and drizzle with maple. Set filling aside, keeping warm.

When butternut is done, flip over and scoop out the seeds. With a fork, break up the tender flesh. Drizzle the squash with a little olive oil (or butter) and sprinkle with salt and pepper and a little more maple and mix this all into the squash, seasoning it.

Top with turkey cranberry filling. Serve immediately.

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