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Waffle Taco Salad

Did your family have a unique meal? Maybe a classic dish but your family made it in a special way? My family’s was taco salad. I have never heard of anyone making taco salad like my mom. I remember it being a special treat, too, since she only made it maybe once a year. I’m gearing up to try it myself, but I don’t know if I’m prepared for inevitable disappointment.

This taco salad is nothing like my mom’s but is extremely delicious. It is my favorite salad right now, and my favorite way to eat the chili I posted last week. You could use any sort of chili or taco type filling for the top. Vary the toppings as you like, too. But the cornbread waffle is just awesome on the bottom. Thanks to my mother-in-law for introducing me. Enjoy!

Waffle Taco Salad (Makes about 5 waffles)

Waffle Taco Salad

⅔ cup white whole wheat flour
½ cup yellow cornmeal
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 egg
⅓ – 1 cup skim milk

1. Preheat waffle iron.

2. Combine dry ingredients. Whisk in oil, egg, and ⅓ cup milk. Add more milk as needed to thin the batter to the consistency of waffle batter (rather than the consistency of muffin batter).

3. Cook on waffle iron until golden brown. Top with favorite taco salad toppings.

Nutritional Information (Amount per waffle):

Calories: 204
Protein: 6 g
Fat: 7 g
Saturated Fat: 1 g
Cholesterol: 38 mg
Carbohydrates: 30 g
Fiber: 2 g
Sodium: 445 mg

Recipe Notes: This is just a basic copycat recipe for Jiffy cornbread mix. You can use a package mix as well, but it won’t have the whole wheat flour. I also decreased the sugar a bit. You will need to thin it with milk. It just depends on the day how much you need to thin the batter.

Source: adapted from food.com

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Pumpkin Dinner

If you are planning a Halloween dinner or just want to impress your family, look no further.

During my freshman year of college, my roommates and I needed to make dinner for a big group date we were planning.  One of my roommates raved about this pumpkin dinner her family would make.  It was early November, so pumpkin food sounded seasonal and fun.  I enjoyed the meal well enough, but other than the visual “wow” factor, I wasn’t impressed with the food itself.

Despite the lack of flavor appeal, that meal stuck with me.  I’ve made it around Halloween a few times.  Each time, I’ve tried to improve the ingredients so the taste matches the visual impression.  I think this recipe gets it right.

Enjoy!

Pumpkin Dinner (Serves 8-10)

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1 small(ish) pumpkin
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
1 cup chopped carrots
8 ounces mushrooms, sliced
1 pound lean ground turkey (85/15 or better)
⅓ cup unpacked brown sugar
¼ cup low sodium soy sauce
1 can low fat cream of chicken soup
1 cup low sodium beef broth
½ teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon dried sage
6 ounces fresh or frozen cranberries
1 small zucchini, sliced
2 cans sliced water chestnuts, drained well
2 cups cooked brown rice

1. Preheat oven to 350.  Remove 1 rack from oven and move remaining rack to lowest setting.

2. Cut large opening in top of pumpkin, retaining “lid”. Clean out seeds and strings. Place cleaned pumpkin on large baking sheet.

3. Heat large skillet over medium-high heat. Add oil. When hot, add onion, carrots, and mushrooms. Saute until onions are translucent and mushrooms are slightly browned and tender. Add in turkey. Cook until browned.

4. Stir in brown sugar, soy sauce, soup, broth, pepper, sage, cranberries, and zucchini. Bring to a simmer, and cook for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Stir in water chestnuts and rice.

5. Spoon mixture into cleaned pumpkin. Bake for at least 1 hour, until pumpkin is tender and interior scoops out easily with a spoon. As serving, make sure to scoop sides of pumpkin with filling.

Nutritional Information: (Amount per Serving)

Calories: 292
Protein: 18 g
Fat: 8 g
Saturated Fat: 2 g
Cholesterol: 39 mg
Carbohydrates: 41 g
Fiber: 5 g
Sodium: 571 mg

Recipe Notes: Make sure to get a pumpkin that will fit inside your oven. This can be harder than you initially think, since most smaller pumpkins are tall. Err on the side of a short fat pumpkin. If you don’t want to mess with a pumpkin, this would be yummy filling for putting in halved acorn squash, although I would leave out the broth. Bake for about an hour as well, but cover for the first 45 minutes with foil. I have used about a cup of frozen peas instead of zucchini. Either is yummy. The pumpkin may sag a bit while baking, and the lid may fall in. That’s ok, but it is done if that is happening.

Recipe source: Adapted from my friend’s family recipe

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