Kale Kale Everywhere

Sorry to leave you all hanging for awhile. It was a rather busy week, and I didn’t have much time to cook anything interesting, or worth sharing with you all. That is until this weekend! Remember how I was saying I had no idea what to do with Kale, but I had loads of it that I needed to do something with! Well, I think I found two pretty awesome recipes! A warm kale salad, and creamed kale!  In fact, one will be making an appearance on our Thanksgiving dinner table! Can you believe it is Thanksgiving already? I can’t, but I am sure glad it is! Thanksgiving is my very favorite holiday The food at Thanksgiving is probably my favorite holiday food, but I also love the family time and the focus on the meal and time together. I can’t wait to spend it with my Husband this year as well as both of our families, what a blessing!

The first kale dish I made since I made the Kale Pesto was a Warm kale salad. I lightly based it off of this recipe from Women’s Health with a few of my own touches based on what I had and thought would taste good. It was incredible and had all the tastes of fall. This is the recipe that will be taking on the Thanksgiving Day table as a new and fresh touch to the average vegetable dish!

Warm Kale Salad

2 bunches Kale, washed and chopped

1/4 cup Apple Cider Vinegar

1/4 cup olive oil

1 TBS Fresh Rosemary

1/2 minced shallot (or onion which I used because I didn’t have a shallot)

Salt and Pepper to taste

1 cup Delcata Squash, cubed and roasted (or any other fall squash such as butternut or acorn)

3 TBS Pomegranate seeds

Parmesan cheese (optional)

Directions:

Chop Kale and shallot (or onion) and place in a medium bowl. Top with vinegar, oil, rosemary, and salt and pepper to taste. Massage the dressing into the kale and mix well. Let sit in fridge for several hours to slightly break down the kale. Once the kale is ready heat a pan on medium heat and add the kale and squash to it. Cook for 5-10 minutes until everything is heated through. Remove from heat and add Pomegranate seeds and Parmesan cheese.

 

The second kale dish I made in the last week was creamed kale. It tasted just like creamed spinach from a really fancy steak house. I paired it with salmon and roasted potatoes and it was an excellent meal! I’ve seen recipes for creamed spinach popping up all over in the last week from blogs to cooking shows so when I looked in my fridge and saw that I had the end of a bag of kale to use up as well as  a carton of half and half sitting in my fridge leftover from when I made the Corn chowder I knew that I had to try out creamed kale. I am so glad that I did! Creamed spinach is one of Andrew’s favorites so I was really pleased that this came out so well, and while he doesn’t always love kale, he loved this dish! This could also be a great Thanksgiving or Christmas side dish.

Creamed Kale

1 bunch of kale, chopped

1/2 cup chicken stock

1/2 onion, diced

1/2 stick butter

2 TBS flour

3/4 cup fat free half and half (or regular, I just had fat free on hand)

2 tbs Mozzarella (or Parm) Cheese

Directions: Place Kale in a large skillet over medium heat, pour chicken broth over it and cover with lid. Melt butter over low-medium heat, add flour whisking constantly. If it turns clumpy add a bit more butter until it smooths out a little. Add onion and continue to whisk, turn heat up to medium and allow the substance to continue to heat through and cook the onion a bit. Once onion is slightly cooked add half and half, Continue to stir. The sauce will begin to thicken in a few minutes, once it does turn back the heat to low.  Continue to stir and add cheese. Remove lid from Kale and allow liquid to cook off while you keep your eye on the cream sauce. Once most of the liquid is cooked off add Kale and cream sauce together and mix.

Do you have your Thanksgiving menu ready?!

 

 

 

How to get your husband to eat his vegetables

I think I’ve expressed this before,  Andrew is a total meat, potatoes, and bread kind of man. While I am a bit of health nut and love my  fruits and vegetables. So naturally I keep our meals fairly healthy and filled with fruits, veggies, whole grains, and healthy fats with a few treats thrown in between. It’s all about the balance, right?

He usually eats our meals without much complaint, unless he really doesn’t like something, but he never really loves the vegetable part. That is until I made this pan roasted Lemon Garlic Broccoli this week.

I bought two crowns of broccoli this week and decided to try something new with the first one earlier this week. I wanted something quick, and full of flavor. I got a little guidance from a few cookbooks I have in order to come up with this. The outcome was great, and Andrew asked if there was more. Another helping of vegetables? What happened to my husband? I told him that there was no more, but that we had another crown of broccoli and that I would make it again later in the week. He said I could make this dish anytime I wanted, and in fact I could make all our vegetables with garlic and lemon from now on and he would be very happy to eat them! WIN!

I served this dish with some venison steaks, oven roasted squash, and some red wine! Delish!

So if you have a picky eating husband when it comes to vegetables, just add some  garlic, lemon, and parmesan cheese and they are happy to eat them!

Pan Roasted Garlic and Lemon Broccoli

1 crown of broccoli, cut and washed

Olive oil

1 clove garlic

3 TBS water

1 TBS lemon juice

Directions: Heat a pan over medium heat with olive oil. Add broccoli and roast on one side until lightly browned, then flip the broccoli to the other side. After that side is slightly roasted add a clove of garlic and stir around, then add the water and cover the pan and let the broccoli cook until it is bright green (about 5 min). Remove cover and add lemon juice and let the remaining water cook off. Serve as is or top with some Parmesan cheese.

Kale Pesto

I absolutely love pesto. The fresh herbs, the olive oil and Parmesan cheese goodness! It is just so fresh tasting and so simple in flavor. Plus, is there any herb better than basil?  I can just never bring myself to use practically my entire basil plant in just one recipe I just don’t have the patience for my basil plant to grow back. So, I have never made pesto.

So,  you can imagine I was super excited when I came across this recipe for Kale Pesto. I figured it was too good to be true, so I gave it a whirl.

I am constantly buying Kale, because I know how good it is for me and I want to eat it, but then I can never think of awesome things to use it for. It is just one thing I haven’t gotten too experimental with. I tried a green smoothie with it once, oh no, NEVER again! One secret I have found is that it needs to be cooked and/or combined with an acid to bring out its best flavor. Then, of course it always comes in large quantities, so I need to think of ways to start using it. I think I found a pretty good one!

Was there anything that Parmesan cheese, olive oil, and lemon ever made taste bad?

I chose to use walnuts as my ‘nut of choice’ but pesto is traditionally be made with pine nuts.

I also poached a chicken breast and shredded it into the pasta, but this can easily be enjoyed without.

Kale Pesto

Adapted from acozykitchen

3-4 cups loosely chopped kale

2 handfuls of basil (about 1 cup)

1 garlic clove, roasted if desired

2 TBS lemon juice or one small lemon

1/3 cup walnuts (or other nut you have on hand)

1/4 cup olive oil

Salt, Pepper, or red pepper flakes (for some heat)

Directions:

Chopping Kale,  discarding the thick stems.  Heat a pan over low-med heat to toast walnuts.  Bring a salted stock pot of water to boil. When the water is boiling put in the kale for about 4 minutes. Then drain it in a colander until it you are able to handle it.

Squeeze the liquid out using paper towels or a salad spinner.  If you are sensitive to garlic like I am, I highly suggest sauteing the garlic at this time on the stove rather than placing a whole raw clove in to the processor. Place walnuts, olive oil, garlic, and lemon in a food processor and process until combined.  Once these ingredients are blended add the kale, and process until it resembles an herb paste. Add more olive oil if it is clumpy.

Spoon over pasta and mix if you are using it immediately (can also be thinned with reserved pasta water) or store in the fridge for several days to use later in the week, or you may freeze it in small batches for a quick meal.

Corn Chowder in Bread Bowls

 

 

I have been on a huge soup kick lately as the weather has been cooling down. Last night was to be the coldest night we’ve had thus far, and as we spent our Sunday laying around I thought about how good some true comfort food would taste. Nothing says comfort food like hot goodness in a bread bowl! It was a joint effort, there is nothing I love more than spending a lazy Sunday cooking with my Husband. I took charge of the soup and he took charge of the bread bowls.

One soup that I have always wanted to make was corn chowder. It’s not one of those soups I ever think to make when I’m whipping up a large vat of soup, but it is one I always look at and think wow that looks good. Though, I had to find just the right recipe because a creamy soup with just corn and spices sounded pretty boring to me! I like a soup loaded with veggies and flavor, and this soup is just that!

I started off the soup with chopping a whole onion and two bell peppers and sauteing them in 4 tbs of butter. Next I added some mushrooms, the corn, a little bit of flour (for thickener), some chicken stock (you could use vegetable stock if preferred), 1 cup of fat free half and half, 1 cup of milk, and some spices. Then let it all simmer on the stove for about 20 minutes.

While the soup was simmering I  chopped green onions, and measured out the cheese which were to be added once the other flavors had some time to mesh.

 

Long before I was prepping the soup, Andrew got to work on the bread bowls by adding all the ingredients to the breadmaker. After the kneading and rising cycles were complete he removed the dough from the bread maker and shaped them into balls on an oiled tray, covering them with plastic wrap for about 1 hour to rest.

While the rolls were baking and the soup was simmering, we  took it upon ourselves to have a little fun and snap some Christmas card pictures on our porch :)

 

Then we came in out of the cold for a delicious, warm meal :)

 

Corn Chowder in Bread Bowls

Adapted from: Pioneer Woman Corn and Cheese Chowder

4 TBS butter

1 whole onion, diced

2 bell pepper, diced

1/2 cup mushrooms

1/4 cup flour

2.5 cups chicken broth

1 cup fat free half and half (you can use regular)

1 cup 1% milk (any milk will do)

2 cups cheese (I used 1 cup chedder, 1 cup mozzarella)

1/3 cup green onions

2 tsp thyme

2 tsp tarragon

Salt, Pepper, Red pepper flakes to taste

Directions:

Melt butter in a stock pot over medium heat. Add onion and mushrooms cook for several minutes. Add bell pepper and corn, cook for a few more minutes. Add flour, stir to distribute evenly and prevent clumping. Add broth, let simmer for a few minutes. Add half and half and milk and any spices. Let simmer 20 minutes. Add cheese and green onions and stir to incorporate. Let simmer for 10 minutes and serve.

Bread Bowls

Adapted from: Italian Bread Bowls

We also halved the recipe, which made plenty more than we needed.

1 package yeast (.125 ounces)

1 1/4 cups warm water

1 tsp salt

1 1/2 tsp sugar

1 TB vegetable oil

3.5 cups flour

1.5 TB cornmeal

1 egg white

1 TB water

Directions:

Dissolve yeast, sugar, and water and let stand until foamy (about 10 minutes). Mix in ingredients through flour, reserving cornmeal, egg, and water for later. (this is where you just turn on your bread machine, if you have one)

Knead on a floured surface for several minutes, place in an oiled bowl and set to rise in a warm place for about 40 minutes.

Once rising in complete punch down, and shape into desired number of  round bowls, and place on a cookie sheet that is oiled and lightly sprinkled with cornmeal. Cover to rest and rise for about 30 more minutes.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Mix egg white and water together and brush lightly over rolls. place in oven for 15-20 minutes or until lightly browned.

Cut out the top and scoop out lightly with a spoon to make your bowl.

 

 

Not your usual Egg Sandwich

Post run yesterday I was famished, so I gazed around the kitchen for a good recovery lunch. Protein, Carbs, Fat, fruits, veggies, and something filling. I think this hit the nail on the head. English muffins were BOGO (buy one get one free) last week at the store, so we’ve been loving them lately, and eggs are my go-to sandwich filler when I don’t have meat on hand ( we lived on egg sandwiches on our honeymoon). The sauteed spinach adds a nice touch instead of typical cold lettuce, and I’m pretty much in love with dijon these days, on everything. It was a perfect sandwich. So perfect it’s going to be lunch again today :)

Not your usual Egg Sandwich

1 whole wheat english muffin

1 slice provolone cheese

1 handful spinach

1 egg

1 slice tomato

1 tbs dijon mustard

Directions:

Cook egg in a fry pan as desired (I like my eggs just cooked, no runny egg here! While cooking split the english muffin, toast if desired and top with dijon. Once the egg is done place it on the top half of an English muffin and cover with cheese, so the cheese can melt a bit. Place a tomato slice on the bottom half. Throw a handful of spinach in the pan and wilt, place on top of the tomato and put the whole sandwich together. You’ve got a perfect breakfast, brunch, or lunch! ** Avocado is also an excellent addition here but we didn’t have any**

Apple Cinnamon Baked Oatmeal

Remember that time I told you all I didn’t really like oatmeal, but I was totally willing to give baked oatmeal a try? Yea, I’m obsessed. I think my usual yogurt breakfast has been replaced by baked oatmeal topped with yogurt for the winter months.

I couldn’t get enough of the pumpkin baked oatmeal I made last week, and was totally devastated when I ate the last piece yesterday morning. So, what did I do. I obviously made more, but this time I decided to get a little more adventurous and experiment with some Apple Cinnamon baked oatmeal. I am so glad that I did! It tastes like an apple pie mixed with a delicious apple oat bar or cookie or cake, you pick one. Basically, it tastes like it is soooooo bad for me like I should only be eating it at dessert time, but it isn’t.  It is healthy and it’s breakfast!

This version has delicious soft baked apples and crunchy walnuts. I also topped it with cinnamon before placing it in the oven to bake. It is a whole lot of delicious, especially topped with yogurt and a dash of cinnamon.

Baked Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal

1 1/2 cups applesauce (I used my homemade applesauce)

1/4 cup Brown Sugar

2 eggs

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

1.5 cups milk

2.5  cups oats, dry

2 TBS crushed walnuts

1 ripe apple, peeled and diced

Directions:

Preheat oven 350

Mix all ingredients together in a bowl, adding oats, walnuts, and diced apples last. Coat an 8×8 baking pan with cooking spray. Evenly distribute oat mixture throughout pan. Cover with foil and bake for 35 minute, uncover and bake 20 more minutes.  Store covered with foil in the refrigerator. Serve hot, plain, or with your favorite toppings.Enjoy!

The good old Turkey Sandwich

Let’s just say I’m a bit of a sucker for a good sandwich. Lunch is my absolute favorite meal of the day, and a good sandwich is my number one pick.  I am VERY particular with my sandwiches, my go-to sandwich contains Turkey, Mustard, Tomatoes, and sweet peppers. But non of that slimy,  deli turkey that is made of and loaded with who knows what…. Nope. I grew up eating freshly roasted turkey from a turkey farm that was near my house. Because of this, I cannot stand the idea of ever buying that slimy stuff. So how do I enjoy a good turkey sandwich? I roast my own turkey!

This past weekend we had some special visitors and I knew I needed to have some tasty lunch options on hand. So I went out in search of some turkey breast, though I couldn’t bring myself to buy an expensive turkey breast, so I sought out the next best option. I found some Turkey Tenderloins that were on special and set to roast them in the oven.

I placed some water in an 8×8 dish and placed the turkey tenderloins inside coating them with Penzey’s Sandwich sprinkle seasoning. I roasted them at 450 for about 20-30 minutes until the turkey was cooked through and registering at 165 degrees. I placed the turkey on a large cutting board and let it sit until I could handle it. I then took a very sharp knife and sliced it thinly and stored it in a container in the fridge until it was needed for lunches on Saturday. I have to say this was delicious and it was way cheaper to roast these tenderloins than it would have been to buy a 1lb or more of lunch meat and way better for you!

I also picked up some other good sandwich makings to add to the turkey. I have been craving avocado for a good while now, and finally found some that were decently priced, so I decided to treat our guests to avocados and tomatoes. I may have found my new favorite sandwich!

Freshly roasted turkey, Dijon mustard, avocado, tomato, and provolone cheese. YUM!

 

And speaking of turkey, the husband got our very own turkey on Monday! He went out in the woods just before the storm hit and got our turkey of the season! Unfortunately I do not have any pictures, though I’m sure you didn’t want to see the gruesome process. Our goal was to butcher it as fast as possible, because we weren’t sure if we were going to lose power from hurricane Sandy and we wanted to get it in the freezer and very frozen ASAP. But I am excited that we will have another turkey to eat through all year round and make stock from! I am also excited to share with you the delicious recipes I will be making with it!

What is your favorite sandwich?

It’s Pizza time!

Pizza is something that happens VERY often in our house, almost once a week in fact. It happens to be Andrew’s favorite food and it also happens to be my fuel of choice the night before a long run, since there is some marathon training going on over here pizza is happening often. Though pizza is also something that both I and my husband are very particular about. I think we have finally gotten it all down, from the dough to the toppings.

Here are the methods we use to achieve our perfect pizza!

You have got to use bread flour, it is the best way to achieve that chewy inside.

Ever since we got a bread machine, making pizza dough has been the easiest thing ever! We used to have to make the dough a day ahead because we had to do all the kneading and rising ourselves. But now, we just put all the ingredients in before work, set the timer, and let it do its thing and you have fresh pizza dough waiting for you to put on a pan and top with your favorite toppings!

Place your pizza stone in the oven at 500 degrees to make it super hot! Then put some parchment paper down and spread out your pizza dough (we support it with a pizza pan, which you could also cook it on if you don’t have a stone). I added some Italian herbs to this dough which is why it looks like it has black flecks of stuff in it. Next we spread the sauce (we use regular tomato sauce), and a sprinkling of flour, so that the sauce adheres to the crust and doesn’t slide off and make a huge mess.

Next, we top the pizza. Our pizzas are pretty funny looking… Andrew loves meat pizzas and loads of cheese, I like veggies on my pizza and light cheese. So we compromise and make our own sections. He gets a much larger section because he happily eats it leftover for lunches. I generally eat my one or two pieces or so and I’m pizza’d out until the next pizza night.

On my side, which I think is the best combinations is some light mozzarella cheese topped with sauteed spinach, mushrooms, and garlic with a sprinkling of Parmesan cheese. I also enjoy fresh tomatoes and roasted chicken as toppings from time to time. One day I’ll get him to eat more interesting pizzas, until then this is our ideal pizza night :)

We have two recipes that we use, the one Andrew has perfected (thin crispy, and perfect!) and then one that I make from time to time which is SUPER thick and bready with a light crust. That is the recipe you see here, if you’re more of a thin and crispy pizza fan, stay tuned.. pizza night will come again soon!

Thick Pizza Crust

1 1/8 cups warm water ( 100-105 degrees)

3 tsp active dry yeast

2 TB Honey

2 TB Olive Oil

1 tsp salt

3 1/4 cups bread flour

3/4 cups AP flour (I use white -wheat flour)

Optional herb addition to crust (basil, oregano, garlic)

Directions:

Place all ingredients in a bread machine, and set to dough/pizza. Remove from machine and refrigerate in a bowl with a splash of olive oil when finished.

OR

In a large bowl combine water, yeast, honey, and olive oil. Mix and let sit until slightly foamy (about 10 minutes). Add flours , salt, and any herbs (optional) to the wet mixture and mix until combined. Using your hands is the best method to get everything together. Add additional flour (if too wet) or olive oil (if too sticky) if needed. Knead dough on a floured surface for several minutes. Rub a bowl with olive oil and place dough in a ball into the bowl. Cover with a towel and place in a warm place to rise (about 1 1/2 hours). Take out of the bowl and punch down, place back in the bowl in a warm place and let rise 10 min. Remove and roll out on a lightly floured piece of parchment paper.

THEN

Remove and roll out on a lightly floured piece of parchment paper. Smooth and shape into your desired pizza shape. Top with sauce, a sprinkling of flour, cheese and/or other toppings and bake for 15-20 minutes or desired crispiness is achieved.

Tuscan Bean Soup

Come fall and winter time I eat a lot of soup. Not only is it warm, filling, and delicious it is super easy to make.  When I make soup I usually make a large pot, so we can have it for lunches and at least one dinner per week if not more. My soups are generally loaded with veggies and proteins. As much as I love the traditional soups, I like my soups to be filling AND wholesome.

I had all day long yesterday to think about this soup while I was at work and set to making it the second I walked in the door. When going into making this soup, I knew I had turkey stew meat from the turkey that Andrew got last fall that I wanted to use before he drags home another one hopefully next week. Other than that this soup was a blank slate. I looked at what we had in the pantry, fridge, and freezer and just started dumping leftovers and bits of things that were needing to be used. I also looked at a few soup recipes online and found a Tuscan Bean Soup that I desired to replicate, but made several swaps with things I had on hand. Instead of Cannellini beans I used Kidney beans, instead of butternut squash I used lentils, instead of fresh Kale I used canned turnip greens. This resulted in a broth-y soup with beans, lentils, veggies, potatoes, and turkey.  This would be excellent meat-less as well! I served it for lunch topped with Parmesan cheese and a whole grain roll on the side. Delicious!

 

Tuscan Bean Soup

1 lb roasted chicken or turkey

3 medium potatoes, diced

1 can greens or handful of fresh greens (spinach or turnip greens)

2 cans kidney beans

1 cup lentils

1 onion, diced

2 garlic cloves

Olive Oil

2 carrots, diced

2 stalks celery, diced

5 cups chicken broth

2 cups water

Salt and pepper to taste

Rosemary, basil, and oregano to taste

Parmesan cheese, for topping

Directions: Saute onions, garlic, and carrots until caremelized. Add all solid ingredients, then add broth, water, and herbs. Let cook until potatoes are cooked and meat is tender.