SPINACH SALAD WITH MAHOGANY ROASTED MUSHROOMS AND ONIONS

Serves 6.

Note: From "What Can I Bring?" by Anne Byrn.

• 1/3 c. balsamic vinegar

• 1 tbsp. light brown sugar

• 1/4 tsp. salt

• 1/3 c. plus 1 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil, divided use

• 8 oz. mushrooms, lightly rinsed and patted dry (12 mushrooms)

• 1 c. onion slivers (1 medium onion)

• 3 slices sturdy sourdough bread

• 2 oz. soft goat cheese

• 1 (10-oz.) bag spinach (6 to 7 c.), rinsed and drained well, stems removed

Directions

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Place the balsamic vinegar, brown sugar and 1/4 teaspoon salt in a medium bowl and stir to combine. Whisk in 1/3 cup olive oil.

Trim and discard the stems of the mushrooms. Add the mushrooms and the onion slivers to the dressing mixture. Stir to coat well and let marinate for about 5 minutes. With a slotted spoon, remove the mushrooms and onions and place in a baking dish. Save the remaining dressing. Bake the mushrooms and onions for about 20 minutes, until they are golden.

While the mushrooms and onions are cooking, toast the bread lightly, then place on a cutting board and spread it with the goat cheese. Cut the bread into 1-inch cubes and place in a shallow metal baking dish. Set aside.

When mushrooms and onions are done, place them in a large, shallow serving bowl. Heat the remaining dressing by pouring it into the hot baking dish and letting the residual heat warm it.

Preheat the broiler to high. Drizzle the bread cubes with 1 tbsp. of the olive oil, then broil until cheese bubbles, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from oven.

Add the spinach to the serving bowl and stir to combine with olive oil, mushrooms and onions. Dress with warm dressing and garnish with hot goat-cheese croutons.

Garnish: To save time and to offer an alternate taste, substitute large shavings of Parmesan cheese for the goat-cheese croutons.

Nutrition information per serving:

Calories 290 Fat 17 g Sodium 380 mg Saturated fat 4 g

Carbohydrates 27 g Calcium 81 mg

Protein 8 g Cholesterol 4 mg Dietary fiber 2 g

Diabetic exchanges per serving: 2 vegetable, 1 bread/starch, 3 1/2 fat.

BRATS WITH CHERRIES AND BACON

Makes 8 sandwiches.

Note: From "Dad's Awesome Grilling Book" by Bob Sloan.

• 8 fully cooked, unsmoked bratwurst

• 8 oz. pitted cherries, thawed if frozen

• 8 slices bacon

• 8 rolls

• Dijon-style mustard

Directions

Use a serrated knife to slice the bratwurst lengthwise, cutting halfway through. Stuff cherries inside the opening, 4 or 5 for each. (If fresh cherries are large, use halved cherries.) Wrap 1 slice of bacon around each sausage to keep cherries in place. (You may need toothpicks, too.)

Heat grill to medium with lid closed.

Grill the cherry-stuffed brats for 10 to 12 minutes, turning occasionally, until they are cooked through and the bacon is dark, golden brown.

Transfer the cooked brats to a platter and serve with rolls and mustard.

Oven method: Stuffed brats can be baked in the oven. Place them on a rack over a baking sheet and cook for about 20 minutes at 350 degrees. If you don't have a rack, turn the brats halfway through cooking so the bacon browns evenly.

Nutrition information per serving:

Calories 450 Fat 29 g Sodium 1,305 mg

Carbohydrates 29 g Saturated fat 10 g Calcium 76 mg

Protein 17 g Cholesterol 6 mg Dietary fiber 2 g

Diabetic exchanges per serving: 2 bread/starch, 1 1/2 high-fat meat, 3 1/2 fat.

CURRIED RICE AND ARTICHOKE SALAD

Serves 10 to 12.

Note: From "What Can I Bring?" by Anne Byrn.

• 2 pkgs. (6.9 oz. each) chicken-flavor Rice-A-Roni

• Olive oil, for cooking rice

• 6 green onions, green parts only, trimmed and chopped (about 1/2 c.)

• 1/2 c. finely chopped red or green bell pepper

• 1/2 c. sliced green olives

• 1/4 c. chopped fresh parsley

• 1 (12-oz.) jar marinated artichoke hearts, drained and chopped

• 1/2 c. mayonnaise

• 2 tsp. curry powder

• 1/2 c. toasted sliced almonds

Directions

Cook Rice-A-Roni following the instructions on the package, using olive oil. Let cool.

Meanwhile, place the green onions, bell pepper, olives and parsley in a large mixing bowl. Add drained and chopped artichoke hearts.

In a small bowl, whisk the mayonnaise and curry powder. Set aside.

Add the cooked and cooled rice to the bowl with the artichokes. Spoon the curry mayonnaise on top of rice and mix well.

Salad can be served cold or at room temperature. Garnish with toasted almonds before serving.

Nutrition information per serving of 12:

Calories 300 Fat 16 g Sodium 655 mg

Carbohydrates 34 g Saturated fat 2 g Calcium 35 mg

Protein 6 g Cholesterol 4 mg Dietary fiber 3 g

Diabetic exchanges per serving: 1 vegetable, 2 bread/starch, 3 fat.