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Category Archives: Burgers & Sandwiches

Green Chile and Cream Cheese Burgers

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I’m a sucker for a grilled burger in the summer, so I broke this recipe from Debbi out as soon as it was grilling weather!  Usually I just go for a plain grilled burger with lettuce, tomato, pickle, onion, ketchup and mustard, but sometimes you want something a little different and this one really satisfies.  The chiles give the burger a kick (for more kick, you could use jalapenos) and the cream cheese is a cooling, tangy contrast.  I really love grilled onions on any burger and they are perfect with the green chiles on this one.  I served mine with Dilly Cucumber Salad, and I found the tangy sweetness really complimented this burger!

Green Chile and Cream Cheese Burgers

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1 teaspoon canola oil
1/2 of a large onion, diced (I sliced mine)
1 (4 oz.) can of green chiles (I bought canned whole chiles and cut into strips)
Salt and pepper
1 lb. ground beef or bison (click here to find out why bison is better)
4 hamburger buns
4 oz. cream cheese

Heat oil in skillet over medium-high heat. Saute onion until softened and is browned in places (it helps to only stir occasionally). Add chiles, season with salt and pepper, saute until heated through. Divide meat into four patties, salt and pepper, and cook or grill until done. Spread 1 oz. cream cheese on each bun and divide the green chile-onion mixture among the burgers. Serve hot.

Makes 4 burgers.

Per burger, using bison, light (80-calorie) buns, and neufchatel: 302 calories; 10 g fat; 24 g carbohydrates; 5 g fiber; 31 g protein; 8 Points Plus.  Using 93% lean ground beef makes the burgers 9 Points Plus.

Recipe source: adapted from Debbi Does Dinner


Mediterranean Veggie Sandwich with Pesto Hummus

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Another mouth-watering Mediterranean sandwich, bursting with fresh flavor! This recipe comes from the lovely Debbi, who was inspired by a Panera sandwich. I haven’t tried the original, but I know I like this one!

I messed up my bread (only about half my loaves ever come out right–I’m still learning) and it baked up pretty flat and wide instead of round, but if done properly with enough flour (I’m always scared to add too much), you will have a nice sandwich bread.

I know this recipe seems like a lot of work for a sandwich, but if you break down the process into steps, it’s not so bad. Make your bread one day, and make your hummus while you’re roasting the eggplant the next. Plus, it makes lots of sandwiches!

Mediterranean Veggie Sandwich with Pesto Hummus

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Tomato Basil Bread
2 1/4 teaspoons (1 package) yeast
3/4 cup warm water (110 – 115 degrees)
1/4 cup minced fresh basil, packed
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
2 1/4 to 2 1/2 cups bread flour (I used AP)

Pesto Hummus
1 can chickpeas, rinsed and drained (water reserved)
3 tablespoons lemon juice
3 cloves garlic
1 1/2 tablespoons tahini
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Pepper, to taste
1/2 cup (packed) fresh basil leaves
1/4 cup pine nuts, lightly toasted and cooled

Garlic-Roasted Eggplant (optional)
8 cloves garlic, minced
2 to 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 lb. eggplant (about 2 globe or 4 Italian)
Kosher salt
8 fresh thyme sprigs

Make the bread: In a large bowl, dissolve yeast in water. Stir in basil, Parmesan cheese, tomato paste, sugar, oil, salt, pepper flakes and 2 cups of flour. Stir in enough remaining flour to form a stiff dough. Turn onto a floured surface, knead until smooth and elastic, about 3 – 5 minutes. Place in a greased bowl, turning once to grease top. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about an hour. Punch down dough, knead for 1 minute. Shape into a round loaf. Place on a greased baking sheet. Cover and let rise until doubled about 1 hour. With a sharp knife, cut a large X in top of loaf. Bake at 375 for 35 minutes or until golden brown.

Make the hummus: In a food processor, combine all the ingredients. Add in reserved bean water slowly until desired consistency is reached.

Make the eggplant:
Mix the minced garlic and oil together in a small bowl and set aside. Slice the eggplant into rings and toss with 1 teaspoon salt. Place in a colander and allow to drain for 30 min. Heat the oven to 400°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment.
Over the sink, gently squeeze the eggplant to extract the salty juice and wipe them dry with a paper towel. Brush each half thoroughly with the garlic olive oil. Arrange in a single layer on the baking sheet. Roast for 30 minutes-1 hour. The eggplant will collapse and the bottoms will be a deep brown caramel color. Let cool considerably before handling, at least 20 min. Gently turn the cut side up. If serving as a side dish, serve with a lemon wedge for squeezing or drizzle with vinaigrette. If using in other recipes, scoop the flesh from the skin with a spoon.

For the sandwich: Spread two slices of tomato-basil bread with Pesto Hummus, then top with  lettuce, red onions, tomatoes, cucumbers, feta, and Garlic-Roasted Eggplant (if using).

Recipe source: adapted from Debbi Does Dinner and Fine Cooking

Mediterranean Tacos

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My best good friend, Jackie, calls these her “Hook the Guy Pitas” because she gives them partial credit for hooking her own man when she came up with them on the fly using ingredients she had on hand when they were first dating.

Well, that may have worked for her (they’re still going strong more than ten years and four children later!), but mine could care less about anything that isn’t steak or spaghetti.  He’ll eat them, but I’m the one who got hooked on the pitas!  Without ever having tasted hers, I started making them in January after she shared her recipe with me, but she made sure to make them for us while we were visiting them in Texas, bless her heart.   Have you ever noticed how food prepared by someone else, especially someone you love, always tastes better, even if they made the same exact recipe that you did?

This is a pretty quick meal to throw together, and if you enjoy foods with a Middle-Eastern flare, I think you’ll like them too!

Mediterranean Tacos

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1 lb. 93% lean ground beef
1/2 onion, diced
8 oz. baby portobello mushrooms, sliced
1 small zucchini, chopped
2 cloves garlic
Mediterranean seasoning to taste*
2-3 cups baby spinach
1 diced tomato
1 cup hummus
1/2 cup feta cheese (optional)
Creamy Dill Sauce (recipe follows)
1 package pita pockets or flat bread

Brown the hamburger with the onion over medium heat. When it is mostly cooked, add in the mushrooms, zucchini, garlic, and seasoning, and continue cooking until the veggies have softened but not completely died a cooking death. Stir in the spinach and turn off the heat. It will wilt a little while you prepare the pitas. Spread hummus on the inside of the pitas, then fill with meat mixture and top with tomato, feta and serve with creamy dill sauce.

Creamy dill sauce: 1/2 cup light miracle whip, 1/2 cup lowfat buttermilk, 1 tsp dried dill, 2 tsp dried chives, 1 tsp minced onion, 1/2 tsp garlic powder. Mix until blended–best if made in advance and refrigerated so the flavors can develop. If you use mayonnaise instead of Miracle Whip, add in some sugar to cut the sourness.

Makes 8 tacos

Per taco (using half a whole wheat pita pocket): 292 calories; 12 g fat; 30 g carbohydrates; 4 g fiber; 20 g protein; 8 Points Plus

*I use 2 tablespoons of McCormicks Mediterranean Herb seasoning; Jaci uses 1/2 tablespoon Cavender’s.

Recipe source: slightly adapted from Jackie H.

Danielle (my sister), Jaci, and I at a marsh in TX.

Muhammara (Hot Pepper Dip)

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This spicy vegan dip originates in Syria and I didn’t discover it until my friend, Pia, introduced me to it.  It’s her favorite dip and she recommended it to me when she found out I enjoy Middle Eastern cuisine.  I knew it was right up our alley simply because it’s spicy, and since I’d seen some of the pomegranate syrup the recipe calls for at a market attached to our favorite Lebanese restaurant, I snapped a bottle up next time we were there and set out to make this dip.

It is great simply as a dip, but I’m also going to include a “recipe” for a veggie wrap that I’ve incorporated it into for quick lunches.  The first time I served this to my husband, he raved, and it wasn’t until afterward that I realized he had eaten an entirely vegan meal with no complaints. Score!

Muhammara (Hot Pepper Dip)

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1 (12 oz) jar of roasted red peppers, drained and rinsed
3/4 cup walnuts, toasted and chopped
1/2 cup breadcrumbs — 1/2 cup (I turned pita bread into crumbs in the food processor)
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 tablespoons pomegranate molasses/syrup/concentrate
1 tablespoon sriracha hot chile sauce
1 teaspoon ground cumin
Salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

Chop the peppers roughly and place them, along with all the remaining ingredients, except the olive oil, into a food processor or blender. Pulse to roughly chop the ingredients, then slowly pulse in the olive oil. Try not to purée the ingredients too much. You want the dip to have a little texture.  Adjust seasoning to taste and serve as a dip or spread with pita wedges, vegetables or kebabs.

*Veronica’s notes: the original recipe calls for four fresh red peppers which you roast before processing.  Click the recipe source link below for instructions on this if you would like to do it this way.  The original recipe also calls for red pepper flakes instead of sriracha, so that can be used in place of sriracha if you desire.  As for the pomegranate syrup, my bottle is actually a pomegranate juice concentrate and I know that Pom is now selling this so you might be able to find it where Pom brand pomegranate juice is sold if you don’t have a market that sells ethnic foods in your area.

Recipe source: Inato lang Filipino Cuisine and More

Muhammara Veggie Wrap

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You will need:

  • Muhammara
  • Black beans
  • Parsley
  • Fresh baby spinach
  • Shredded carrots
  • Tortilla, flat bread, or pita bread*

Spread muhammara down the center of your tortilla or bread, then sprinkle on some beans, a little parsley, a handful of spinach and shredded carrots.  Wrap tightly and cut in half to serve.

*I used a pita “tortilla” for my wrap bread:

Recipe source: inspired by My Kitchen Adventures

***For those who wish to participate in BSI this week, don’t forget to submit your cream cheese recipes to me by Sunday night!  Details here.***

Hamburger Salad

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There is a local burger joint called Spangles that has a “protein style” option for their burgers, which means they’ll give you the guts of the burger in a styrofoam container, sans bun, with extra veggies.  I came to love this when I was on the Atkins diet (which I have long since ditched), and still order their Gourmet Supreme burger “protein style.” 

I think this was the original inspiration for the Hamburger Salads I started making at home this summer and eat quite frequently because they’re fast, easy and delicious.  Essentially it’s a bed of lettuce topped with all the inner components of a hamburger: burger patty, onion, pickles, tomato, onion, and a drizzle of ketchup and mustard.  It doesn’t lay as heavy on my stomach as a big burger and is really nice and refreshing in these hot summer months. 

Hamburger Salad
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grilled hamburger patty, chopped
chopped red onion
dill pickle slices
chopped tomato

your choice of salad greens
ketchup & mustard

Place salad greens on a plate and top with the burger, onion, tomato and pickle.  Drizzle salad with ketchup and mustard.  To kick it up a notch, add some shredded cheddar cheese for a cheeseburger salad!

Serves 1

Recipe by Veronica Miller

Sweet & Salty Salad Wraps (plus Poppyseed Dressing!)

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I probably subscribe to more than fifty food blogs but ranking right up there with my favorite, My Kitchen Cafe, is Our Best Bites, and this recipe comes from them.  (What are your favorites?)  Though I’m still baking, I’m not doing much cooking so I jumped right on this salad wrap when they posted it a few weeks ago.  It is everything the title promises and it is delicious.  You will love it!

Sweet & Salty Salad Wrap
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You’ll need:
Baby spinach
Cooked chicken
Crumbled bacon
Feta cheese
Poppyseed dressing (recipe follows if you want to make your own)

In a bowl, toss together everything in the amounts you choose and then wrap in a tortilla, pita, or flatbread wrap.

Poppyseed Dressing

1/3 cup white vinegar
1 teaspoon Kosher salt (or 1/2 teaspoon table salt)
A few turns of freshly ground black pepper
3/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon mustard
1 green onion, ends removed (both the “hairy” end and where the green part starts to get floppy)
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon poppy seeds

In a blender or food processor, combine vinegar, salt, pepper, sugar, and mustard. While the blender is running, add the green onion. Continue running the blender and add the oil in a steady stream and is fully incorporated into the dressing.  Pour the dressing into a serving or storage container and whisk in poppy seeds.

Recipe source: Our Best Bites

Antipasti Sandwich

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This sandwich would make great party food because it needs to be made ahead and it’s fun & unique with great flavors.  And of course it’s perfect for summer because there is absolutely no cooking involved!  But don’t wait until your next party to serve it–make it for your own family for dinner like I do! I’ve already made this sandwich twice in the last month.  We love it! 


Antipasti Sandwich
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Coarse salt and ground pepper
1 medium zucchini, thinly sliced lengthwise
1 red bell pepper
1 loaf crusty bread (about 1 lb), sliced in half lengthwise
1 can (15.5 oz) cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
1 garlic clove, roughly chopped
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 lb. mortadella, prosciutto, or thinly sliced deli ham (I used Genoa Salami)
1/2 cup fresh parsley leaves
1 cup marinated artichoke hearts, drained and quartered or sliced
1/2 cup (1 oz) shaved Parmesan
1/2 cup pepperoncini, drained and halved if large 

Sprinkle a double layer of paper towels with salt and place zucchini on top in a single layer. Sprinkle with salt and roll up like a newspaper. let sit 10 minutes to draw out excess liquid. 



Over a low gas flame or under the broiler, roast bell pepper until skin is charred, 10 minutes, turning frequently. Place in a bowl and cover tightly with plastic wrap. (I always just pop the blackened pepper into a quart-size Ziploc bag.) Let sit 10 minutes. Rub bell pepper with a paper towel to remove skin, then core, discard seeds, and slice flesh into strips. 

The black skin is very easy to remove once it sweats for 10-15 minutes.


<picture source> 

Pull out about 2 cups bread from inside loaf halves. In a food processor, combine beans, garlic, lemon juice, and oil and puree until smooth. Season with salt and pepper. Completely cover inside of both bread halves with an even layer of bean puree. 

I used half a loaf of French bread both times because I'm only feeding 2 people. This makes 3 sandwiches.



Arrange zucchini on bottom half of bread. Top with meat, parsley, roasted pepper, artichokes, Parmesan and pepperoncini. Sandwich with top half of bread and wrap tightly in plastic. Place on a baking sheet in refrigerator. Place another baking sheet on top and weight with several heavy cans. Let sit at least 3 hours (or up to overnight). To serve, unwrap and cut into wedges with a serrated knife. 





Serves 6 to 8 

Nutrition information (per serving–based on 6 servings): 496 cal; 16.2 g fat; 21.8 g protein; 63.5 g carb; 10.1 g fiber
Recipe source: Everyday Food, July/August 2010 

Rosemary Sage Burgers with Chive Mayo

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I first made these burgers last year with bison meat from the farmer’s market and I’ve been dreaming about them ever since.  I’ve been itching to make them again for an entire year and I finally fulfilled my fantasy on Memorial Day.  I used lean ground beef this time and have to say although still delicious, bison does improve the flavor substantially.  Here in Wichita it is available at the farmer’s markets and in the freezer section in health-food stores.  If it is available where you are, try it–it is actually healthier than most meat, even chicken!  Click here to find out why.

If you do choose to use bison, you’ll need to add a tablespoon of oil when you mix in the herbs because it’s virtually fat-free and doesn’t stick together well without it.

Rosemary Sage Burgers with Chive Mayo

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1 lb. lean ground beef
2 tablespoons chopped fresh sage
2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 buns (I made these and they were perfect!)
1 cup baby spinach leaves
4 large tomato slices

Chive Mayo
1/2 cup mayonnaise (here’s an easy homemade recipe)
3 tabelspoons chopped fresh chives

Combine the ground beef, rosemary, sage and salt in a bowl and mush together with your hands until well incorporated. Form into patties and grill 4 minutes on each side or until juices run clear. Meanwhile, mix together the mayonnaise and chives. Toast the buns and spread each top with mayo.  Arrange spinach leaves on bottom buns, put on the burgers, tomato slices, and cover with top bun.

Serves 4.

Recipe source: adapted from

I served this with a side of Watermelon & Tomato Salad – so good!

Potluck Pockets with Honey Wheat Pita Bread

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I found this Taste of Home recipe through Real Mom Kitchen, another favorite blog of mine, and have made it several times just in the last month.  It is the kind of unassuming recipe you might pass over for something more exciting, but that would be a mistake.  I find the seasonings & sauces a strange mix and never would have thought to put them together myself but believe me, this makes an incredibly delicious savory filling for pita pockets.  I’m salivating just thinking about the flavor of it combined with the crisp lettuce, juicy tomato and a little salty sauce poured over it all.  Oh, mama.  It is GOOD. 

I decided to make my own pita bread and found it an improvement from the store-bought kind.  I’ve never really enjoyed pita bread before because there was nothing to like about it.  Dry, hard, and slightly acidic, I mainly deigned to purchase it simply because it made a handy place to stuff meats and veggies and lovely things like falafel.  I found that although that slight acidic taste is still present in homemade pita bread, the texture makes up for it–it is soft and lovely and so much more pleasant to bite into and chew.  The wonderful filling of the Potluck Pockets is so flavorful that you can’t really even taste the flavor of the pitas so for a fully enjoyable experience, try making the pitas yourself.  I chose to use a honey wheat recipe, but any would be great here since the main flavor impact comes from the filling and the main benefit from homemade pita, in this case, is the improvement in texture.

Potluck Pockets
Printable Version

1 pound lean ground beef
1 medium onion, chopped
1 green pepper, chopped
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 teaspoons garlic powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon oregano
1/4 teaspoon basil
8 pita breads, halved (recipe follows)
2 medium tomatoes, diced
3 cups shredded lettuce

1/2 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup white vinegar
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon basil
1/4 teaspoon oregano
Dash pepper

In a large skillet, cook the beef, onion and green pepper over medium heat until no longer pink; drain. Add the Worcestershire sauce, soy sauce, garlic powder, cumin and Italian seasoning; mix well. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer for 5-10 minutes.

In a small saucepan, bring sauce ingredients to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer for 5-10 minutes. Spoon meat mixture into pita halves; top with sauce, tomatoes and lettuce. Yield: 16 servings.

Nutritional Information for the filling alone (per serving): 92 calories; 6 g fat; 80 mg sodium; 4 g carb; .6 g fiber; 5.5 g protein

Recipe source: adapted from Taste of Home

Honey Wheat Pita Bread
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1 cup whole wheat flour
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 1/4 teaspoons dry active yeast
1 1/2 cups water, heated to 110 F
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon canola oil

*If you are nervous about making pita bread, I’d recommend checking out the step-by-step photos at Evil Shenanigans, where I found this recipe.  If you do not have a mixer with dough hooks, see my note following the recipe for instructions.

In a large measuring cup combine the water and yeast.  Let stand for ten minutes, until foamy. In the bowl of a stand mixer combine the yeast mixture, both flours, salt, honey, and oil. Mix on low speed for three minutes then check to make sure the dough is not too liquid, but it should be sticky to the touch. Mix on medium speed for five minutes. Cover with plastic and let rise until double in bulk, about an hour.

Heat the oven to 475 F with a pizza stone, or 9″ or larger cast iron skillet, for thirty minutes.

Once the dough has risen turn out onto a floured surface and press out the excess gas. Divide the dough into eight equal pieces. Roll the dough into balls then cover with a towel and allow to rest for twenty minutes.

Once rested roll the dough into a thin circle, about 1/8″ thick. Place the dough on the heated pizza stone and bake for 3-4 minutes, until golden brown and puffed. Cover the baked pita with a clean towel and repeat with the remaining dough.

Makes 8 pita.

Veronica’s Notes: I used rapid-acting/instant yeast, so I used my usual method of mixing it with the dry ingredients, then adding the wet (no proofing/activating necessary with instant yeast). I made my dough by hand and had to add about 1/2 cup more all-purpose flour to get it to where I could knead it without it completely adhering to my hands, but made sure to leave it slightly sticky. I kneaded it for about 5 minutes. You can usually skip the first rise with instant yeast, but I went ahead and let it rise and then divided it into balls and let them rise again.  If you want to skip the first rise and go directly to shaping the balls, you’ll have to let them rise for an hour or until doubled in size.

A word of warning! I used a Pampered Chef pizza stone and it exploded halfway through the process of baking the pitas.  I got the stone from a friend who didn’t want it any more and I had no information on how to care for it, etc., so I’m sure I did something fundamentally wrong (like washing it with soap–yes I did) before placing it in the oven and that the process of baking pitas has nothing to do with the explosion.  After all, Evil Shenanigans used a pizza stone with no trouble.  But I just wanted to warn you–a cast iron skillet might be safer here.

Nutritional Information (per 1/2 pita): 94 calories; 1 g fat; 73 mg sodium; 18.5 g carb; 1.4 g fiber; 2.6 g protein

Recipe Source: slightly modified from Evil Shenanigans

Crunchy Dilled Shrimp Salad

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I’ve been making this shrimp salad for several years and especially enjoy it in the spring and summer because it is light and bright. I love the crisp crunch from the water chestnuts and the nutty crunch from the cashews. The dill & lemon balance the slightly sweet taste of the dressing and pair perfectly with the shrimp. I usually serve it on a slice of toasted bread as an open-faced sandwich so I can enjoy the visual appeal of the pretty salad while I eat it.

I omitted the cashews from this batch and decreased the dressing to 1/3 cup, which saves 50 calories per serving.

Crunchy Dilled Shrimp Salad

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1 (12 oz) bag frozen cooked shrimp, thawed and tails removed
1 (8 oz) can water chestnuts, drained
1/4 c cashews
1/2 c light Miracle Whip
3 T chopped fresh dill or 1 T dried dill
2 t lemon juice
3/4 t garlic powder
1/8 t salt

Roughly chop the shrimp, water chestnuts & cashews and mix in a medium bowl with all other ingredients. Serve immediately. If you will be serving later, omit the cashews and refrigerate. Stir them in just before serving so they will still be nice and crunchy.

Makes 4 servings.

Nutritional Info (per serving): 187 cal, 7 g fat, 177 mg cholesterol, 560 mg sodium, 12 g carbs, 1 g fiber, 20 g protein.

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