Cocoa-Spiced Chicken Salad

1 Tbs. cocoa powder

1 Tbs. brown sugar

1 tsp. dried thyme

1/2 tsp. cumin

1/4 tsp. cayenne

1/4 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. black pepper

1 pound skinless, boneless chicken breasts

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

1 Tbs. honey or maple syrup

1 Tbs. red wine vinegar

2 tsp. grainy mustard

1 clove garlic, minced

4 cups baby spinach

1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced

1 apple, thinly sliced

1/3 cup toasted sunflower seeds (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix together cocoa, sugar, thyme, cumin, cayenne, salt and pepper. Coat chicken with cocoa mixture. Place on a parchment or silicone-lined baking sheet, and cook for 20 minutes to an internal temperature of 165 degrees.

In a small bowl, whisk together olive oil, honey, vinegar, mustard, garlic, and salt and pepper to taste for vinaigrette. In a large bowl, toss together spinach, bell pepper and apple. Serve sliced chicken, vinaigrette and sunflower seeds, if desired, over spinach mixture. Makes 4 servings.


Cocoa Sloppy Joes

1 Tbs. canola or grapeseed oil

1 pound extra lean ground beef

1 large onion, diced

1 medium carrot, shredded

2 cups cremini mushrooms, diced

3 garlic cloves, minced

1 red bell pepper, diced

1 cup tomato sauce

2 Tbs. cocoa powder

2 Tbs. cider vinegar

1 Tbs. honey

1 tsp. cumin

1/2 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. chili powder or cayenne

2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce (optional)

2 Tbs. tomato paste

2 cups premixed coleslaw

4 whole-grain buns

Heat oil in a skillet over medium heat. Cook ground beef, onion, carrot and mushrooms until beef is browned and vegetables are tender, about 10 minutes. Stir in garlic and bell pepper, cook 2 minutes more. In a bowl, stir together tomato paste and sauce, cocoa powder, vinegar, honey, cumin, salt, chili powder, Worcestershire if desired, and ¼ cup water. Add to beef. Simmer 10 minutes or until thickened. Serve on buns and top with coleslaw. Makes 4 servings.