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Eat More Kale

27 Aug

Kale seems to be the “it” vegetable this summer. Everyone I know seems to be growing it, every stand at the farmer’s market seems to be overflowing with it, and every (ok, not every, but most) foodie blogs seem to be raving about it. As a bandwagon jumper, I’ve been eating my share of it. I like to fit in. Sue me.

Don’t think you’ll like it? I didn’t. But I kept trying it (cause I just want to fit in, remember?). This recipe takes all that tough kale-ness out of kale and instead transforms the somewhat bitter greens into tender, garlicky, goodness. It’s not my recipe and I won’t pretend it is. I just tweaked it. I couldn’t find pecorino cheese (huh?) and prefer walnuts, not almonds, in meatless pasta dishes. Original recipe can be found here.

Garlic Kale and Walnut Spaghetti

  • 6  ounces  whole wheat spaghetti
  • 2  tablespoons  extra virgin olive oil
  • 1  thinly sliced red onion
  • 2  cloves garlic, minced
  • kosher salt and black pepper
  • 1 bunch kale, stems removed, torn into pieces (about 8 cups)
  • 2  pints  halved grape tomatoes
  • 1/3  cup  chopped walnuts
  • 1/4  cup  grated Parmesan

Directions (from realsimple.com)

  1. Cook the pasta according to the package directions. Reserve ¼ cup of the cooking water, drain the pasta, and return it to the pot.
  2. Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion, garlic, ¼ teaspoon salt, and ⅛ teaspoon pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until beginning to brown, 4 to 5 minutes. Add the kale and cook, tossing frequently, until tender, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the tomatoes and cook, tossing frequently, until the tomatoes begin to soften, 1 to 2 minutes more.
  3. Add the kale mixture, almonds (or walnuts), pecorino (Parmesan), and reserved cooking water to the pasta and toss to combine.

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After a particularly grueling day, I decided to add 1 fried egg for a nutrient boost. Took this dish to the next level. Try it. I’m not weird. Right?!

Caprese Pasta Salad

27 Jun

Remember that caprese pasta salad I promised? I did make it for lunch yesterday. And I ate it for lunch yesterday, even though I went to Meconi’s, at the husband’s request, for subs and chips for him and his friend while they did man/car things in our garage for 12 hours yesterday.

Light, summery, guilt-free fuel for a sore body. I wanted a sub. Desperately. But I have lunch plans there for Thursday. Self control, Jess. Self control. It’s a struggle for me. I cave a lot. Meconi’s get a lot of business from us.

Cold Caprese Pasta Salad

  • fresh basil (grow your own. If you eat as much basil as I do, you’ll save tons of $. I bought an already grown, healthy, and potted basil plant from Trader Joe’s for $2.99.)
  • Cherry tomatoes or (my fave) heirloom tomatoes, chopped
  • whole wheat penne or fusilli
  • fresh mozzarella, cubed
  • balsamic vinaigrette (I use Garlic Gold’s. On everything, lately.)

Boil pasta just to al dente. This a cold salad. No mush, please. Drain, rinse in cold water, drain again, spritz ever-so-lightly with olive oil to prevent stickiness while cooling. Cool completely. Add chopped basil, tomatoes, and mozzarella. I did not measure anything. Use as a much or as little of whatever as you like. But try to keep it light on the mozzarella 😉

Drizzle with a small amount of balsamic vinaigrette (2 Tbs?) and toss to coat.

Topped with about 1/2 cup of Monday’s leftover grilled chicken breast, shredded.

Eat while watching greasy men gorge on subs, chips, and cola in your now-filthy garage. Or don’t. I did. Only for entertainment purposes. It’s like lunching with another species. Fascinating.

Pesto “Pasta”

14 Jun

I am on a total seafood kick right now. And since the husband is gone at a union meeting tonight, I was able to cave into a craving without the Hamburger Helper King standing over my shoulder asking, “Are you pregnant? Cause that isn’t normal. Are you sure you’re not pregnant? You’d tell me if you were pregnant, right?” Like that time he walked in on me attempting to melt dark chocolate over salt and vinegar chips . . . but that’s a story for another night.

Quick Pesto Spaghetti Squash with Garlic Shrimp

Squash:

Preheat oven to 375

Cut length-wise, scoop out seeds (like a pumpkin), put approx. half an inch of water in a shallow baking sheet, and place squash cut side down on a rack in the shallow baking dish. You don’t have to use the rack or the water, but I think it comes out better and more noodle-like this way. And I eat a lot of squash.

Season with salt and pepper, if you want

Cook for 20-40 minutes, depending on size

Let cool

Scrape out “noodles” with a fork

Shrimp:

Heat garlic and olive oil over medium heat

Add raw, deveined, peeled shrimp (a cute seafood guy will do this for you if you ask him sweetly), and cook until just pink, stirring frequently

Pesto:

Okay, the pesto. Look, pesto is amazing when you make it yourself and I do, sometimes. However, there are plenty of amazing jar varieties in most grocery stores. Look at the label. Real food? Everything pronounceable and recognizable? You’re good to go. Just sprinkle a bit of grated Pecorino Romano or Parmesan on top and call it your own. I won’t tell.

Although the Pilsner is not used in this recipe, I do recommend it. This is an honest place and I am honestly drinking that.

Toss it all together, ignore the weird seafood-lovin’ dog, and enjoy.