by Sue Ready
“All you need is love. But a little chocolate now and then doesn’t hurt.” — Charles M. Schultz
Chicken apple sausages, sweet potatoes, apples, brussels sprouts roasted in maple dijon sauce with cranberries and pecans
This is a healthy easy dinner that makes clean up a breeze with just one sheet pan. Pair the meal with a nutritious serving of couscous. I used a box of Near East roasted garlic and olive oil couscous.
Splurge a bit for Valentine’s Day with a chocolate cherry cookie. It’s pure chocolate bliss with bursts of cherry bits in every bite.
Cook’s notes: Chicken apple sausages from Chef Bruce Aidells are a tasty product that is gluten free, with no artificial ingredients and fully cooked, so they only need a warm up. There are other flavors to choose from. Recipe serves 2-3 but can be increased for more; just double the sauce.
2-1/2 tablespoons lemon olive oil or olive oil
2-1/2 tablespoons maple syrup
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon dijon mustard
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1-12 oz. package chicken apple sausages (I used 2 links and cut each into fourths)
3 cups brussels sprouts, stems cut and sprouts halved
1 large firm apple, cut in chunks (I used Honey Crisp)
3 cups diced sweet potatoes
1 cup red onion slices
1/3 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup chopped pecans
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line a baking sheet with a silicone pad or parchment paper.
In a large bowl mix the sauce. Add in diced sweet potatoes, brussels sprouts, red onion slices and apple chunks. Coat well and spread mixture out on baking sheet. Roast 15 minutes. Add in chicken sausage chunks, cranberries and pecans. Mix all ingredients well. Roast veggie sausage mixture 10 minutes more until sausages are warmed and sweet potatoes are softened.
Chocolate cherry cookies
Cook’s notes: The chocolate cherry combo is perfection! Everyone will love these decadent and divine cookies! Recipe makes 3 dozen cookies depending on the size of the dough ball; adapted from twopeasandtheirpod.com
2- 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
3/4 cup Dutch processed cocoa (e.g. Droste)
1/4 teaspoon espresso powder
1/4 teaspoon Saigon cinnamon or ½ tsp. regular cinnamon
1 cup butter, at room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar-minus 2 tablespoons
1 cup light brown sugar-minus 2 tablespoons
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup chocolate chunks or mini semi-sweet chips
1 cup dried cherries
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, sea salt, espresso powder, cinnamon and cocoa. Set aside.
With a mixer, cream butter and sugars together until smooth. Add in eggs, one at a time. Next, add in vanilla extract and mix until combined.
Gradually add in flour mixture and beat until just combined. Stir in the chocolate chunks or chips and dried cherries. Chill dough one hour in refrig or 20 minutes in the freezer.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Flour hands, roll dough into 2 inch balls and place on prepared baking sheet, about 2 inches apart. Keep dough chilled until the next batch.
Bake cookies for 10-11 minutes, or until cookies are set, but still soft in the center. Don’t over-bake. Remove from oven and let sit on baking sheet for 2 minutes. Move to a cooling rack and cool completely.
Twice a month The Seasonal Plate food column will highlight dishes inspired by the changing seasons. My passion for travel, poetry, writing, exploring new cuisines, trying recipes and cooking have been inspiration for the recipes I have published on my blog http://www.sockfairies.blogspot.com.
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Sue Ready is a writer, poet and former middle school teacher. She is the president of the Northwoods Arts Council in Hackensack.