Tag Archives: kale

Want me Baby

Butternut Squash Lasagna

butternut_squash_lasagna

I’m not a fan of fall weather, even more so when it comes to the season after fall, but I am a fan of many of the vegetables that pop up during these chilly months.  From the winter squashes, to the greens, to the delicious root vegetables – the fall is well stocked with delicious vegetables. Today’s treat features a number of those goodies, including some of the last of the produce from the Farmer’s Market at my office.  Butternut Squash is a familiar vegetable in our house and it really seems to go with everything.  In this case I added some swiss chard, baby kale, and some mashed pie pumpkin (thought the variety was called baby boy but that just resulted in lots of baby costumes) that was leftover from making the pumpkin chocolate chip cookies.

Want me Baby

Ingredients

1 pack of lasagna noodles (ready to use or pre-cooked)

1 medium butternut squash, halved lengthwise

2 cloves garlic

1 tbsp butter, unsalted

1 cup mashed pumpkin

2 cups kale, chopped

1 cup spinach, chopped

1 cup swiss chard, chopped

1 1/3 cups favorite alfredo sauce

1 cup ricotta, divided

1 1/3 cup mozzarella, divided (shredded or fresh sliced)

1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 425. Lightly oil a roasting pan and place butternut squash in roasting pan cut side down. Bake for 45 minutes. Flip squash in pan cut side up and use a melon spoon, or fork, to remove flesh to a blender. Add garlic and butter and puree until slightly smooth.
  2. Turn oven down to 350
  3. Line the bottom of a 9x9 pan with a 1/3 cup of the sauce and spread around, to include the sides of the pan. Place the first layer of noodles, trimming as needed to prevent overlap. Spoon 1/3 of the butternut squash and pumpkin purees on the noodle. Then top with a third of the greens, 1/3 cup of ricotta, and 1/3 of the Mozzarella. Spoon 1/3 cup of the sauce on top and spread evenly.
  4. Add the next layer of noodles and repeat the layers, then top with the final layer - ending with noodles. Top with the last of the sauce, then the last of the mozzarella (1/3 cup) and the Parmesan cheese.
  5. Bake at 350 for 40 minutes, the cheese should be a light golden brown on the edge and the cheese should be bubbling.

Notes

If using cubed butternut squash, reduce roasting time to 15 minutes and flip at halfway point. For a GF variety, use brown rice lasagna noodles!

http://dancingveggies.com/2014/11/want-me-baby.html

Lasagna will never be a healthy dinner option, and it’s not always the most budget-friendly option, but it will always be something delicious and hearty and fantastic.  I figured that if I only make it a few times a year it’s not that bad…right???  I’m sending this recipe over to November’s Secret and in Season, which is being hosted by Katie of FeedingBoys and was founded by the awesome Ren.   There are so many delicious fall recipes being linked up over there, I can’t wait to give them a whirl!!!

Sock You

Spicy Kale and Tomato Sauce

Spicy Kale Sauce

It seems the end of one growing season is already here as I look outside to see lots of wilted greens that weren’t picked in time.  I’m hopeful that the farmer’s markets but have some for at least the next week or two – but soon I’ll be forced back to the grocery store in order to get one of the staples of my diet: kale.  It wasn’t too long ago that I was living a kale-free existence, unaware of this amazingly healthy and tasty treat.   Now that I know it’s there – I essentially add it to everything!  It adds the perfect crunch with just a hint of bitter, which is perfect for me since I’m allergic to the more common acids (aka citrus).  I also understand that kale is not for everyone but I firmly think that’s just because everyone hasn’t tried kale!

Sock You

Serves: Makes 2 cups

Ingredients

1 tsp olive oil

3 garlic cloves, diced

1/2 vidalia onion, diced

5 roma tomatoes, peeled and halved

1/4 tsp salt

3 basil leaves, sliced

1/2 tsp fresh oregano, diced

1 cup kale, torn

Instructions

  1. Heat the olive oil in a deep skillet. Add the onion and garlic and cook for 10 minutes, or until golden brown.
  2. Add the roma tomatoes, seed side down and cook for 7 minutes, then flip and use a spatula to break down the tomato. Add the fresh herbs and continue cooking for 5 minutes before adding the kale, half at a time.
  3. Once the kale has cooked down, cover and allow to simmer for 10 minutes. Then Serve and Enjoy!
http://dancingveggies.com/2014/07/sock-you.html

I served this sauce over some whole wheat pasta but spaghetti squash or polenta would also work well.   What’s next? Kale cookies? Kale Cake?? Probably not, but I plan to continue this love affair as long as possible – unless I turn my skin green in which case I might back off.

Now for other gardening news: first red tomato has been picked!  There is one more that’s on the verge of ready and another 3 dozen or so close behind.  I’ve also jumped up to 8 fairy eggplants and 5 jalapenos 🙂 I have a feeling July is going to be a delicious month!!!

The Power

Cheesy Toast

cheesy_toast

I totally blame Becca over at Amuse Your Bouche for today’s post – when I saw her cheesy toast variation the other week I got a total craving.   I don’t remember the first time I had cheesy toast but I’m going to guess it was a case of my mom not having enough bread for grilled cheese sandwich and going with an open-faced variation.  Also should note as this point that I’m a HUGE fan of open-face sandwiches so thanks mom 🙂  This extends as far as stripping my burgers which is why I tend to load up my cheesy toast with all sorts of goodies.  I want the bread to just barely be hanging on so in part it does become a balancing act of figuring out how many toppings a piece can handle. I also used two different spreads (or smears) as I couldn’t decide which one would work best, one being vegan and one being not so vegan.  That is of course assuming that vegan bread is being used, something I can assume since I made my own peasant bread using dairy-free stick “butter”.

Cheesy Toast

Serves: Serves 4, as a side

Ingredients

1 cup kale, chopped

1 tsp olive oil

1/4 tsp pepper

4 slices bread (assuming 1 per person)

2 tbsp tofutti cream cheese (or dairy cream cheese)

1/2 tbsp chives

2 tbsp yogurt spread

2 roma tomatoes, sliced

4 pieces Daiya slices, provolone variety (or dairy variety)

Instructions

  1. Place the kale in a small bowl and massage in the olive oil over 5 minutes, toss in the pepper and set aside.
  2. In another small bowl, blend together the cream cheese and the chives until well mixed. Set aside and allow to continue softening.
  3. Preheat oven to Broil - Low
  4. Spread the cream cheese chive mixture over half of the bread pieces and then layer on the tomatoes and the massaged kale. Top with a slice of cheese.
  5. Repeat the process with the yogurt spread on the other two pieces. Then place all the slices on a cookie sheet.
  6. Broil for 5-7 minutes, or until cheese has melted and has started to bubble. Allow to cool on the sheet for another 5 minutes then Serve and Enjoy!
http://dancingveggies.com/2014/06/the-power.html

The more I use Daiya, the more I’m starting to enjoy it in the melted form.  The texture still drives me crazy when it’s raw but that all goes away once it melts.  I’m also hoping to find some more varieties of cashew cheese as there are occasions where I can’t melt the cheese but would still like to have some, such as cold salads.  I’m also sending this open faced cheese sandwich over to 52weeksofcooking for their historic foods challenge since this Depression Era treat has become a comfort classic over the past (almost) 100 years.   Also cool to note that the original version was open-faced and it wasn’t until the 60s that the top piece was added.  Important to note that the cheese on toast is historically different than an open faced cheese sandwich, something that has been around since the 15th century – the toasting makes all the difference!

In gardening news, I have a good dozen green cherry tomatoes growing and today my first little pepper joined the party.  I’ve also got lots of purple flowers on my fairy eggplant but so far no lil eggplants, fingers crossed that will change.  I’ve never done a container garden before so I’m looking forward to seeing how it does in comparison to my awesome box garden.  I’m also hoping that the guy who bought my place appreciates the awesome box garden and is using it.

Perfect Storm

Vegetable Quesadilla

veggie_quesadilla

Ignoring the random snow we had yesterday (none of which stuck), I think it might be safe to say that spring is finally here!  I am ready for the ground to thaw so that I can start clearing out all the old beds and start figuring out my plan for this year.  As far as gardening goes this year is going to be a pot garden, since there is no established garden at our new place and I have no idea what areas of the yard will get the right amount sun – with the exception of the patio.  The few flower beds in the front of the house are home to a few types of ivy, both poisonous and non, so odds are nothing new will get planted there until I know the nasty stuff is gone.  However the first step is going at least a week without frozen precipitation.  Today’s recipe is wishful thinking in that it features all the vegetables that I’m hoping to grow in my garden.   From tomatoes to spinach to red onion – this cheesy treat is packing with the good stuff!

Spring Vegetable Quesadilla

Serves: Yields 2 10inch quesadillas

Serves 2-3

Ingredients

1/2 cup shredded cheese (for non-dairy be sure to use a "meltable" variety)

1/4 tsp cayenne powder

1/4 tsp ground cumin

1/2 tsp chili powder

2 garlic cloves, minced

4 10 inch tortillas

1/2 cup grape tomatoes, quartered

1/2 red onion, diced

1 cup pre-soaked black beans, well rinsed

1 jalapeno, sliced and deseeded (optional)

1 cup spinach, shredded (make sure it's super dry)

1 cup kale, shredded (make sure it's super dry)

Instructions

  1. In a medium bowl mix the shredded cheese/"cheese" with the cayenne powder, ground cumin, chili powder, and minced garlic. Set aside
  2. Heat a medium skillet over medium heat. Place a tortilla on the skillet and cook for 2 minutes before flipping. Place 2 tbsp of cheese on the tortilla, then layer with half of the tomatoes, spinach, kale, onions, and black beans. Place another 2 tbsp of cheese then top with another tortilla. Use a panini press or smaller skillet to weigh down the top of the quesadilla.
  3. Cook for 5-7 minutes, until lightly brown, and then gently (carefully!) flip to the other side. Repress the quesadilla and cook for a final 5-7 minutes.
  4. Remove to a plate and allow to cool for 2 minutes before cutting up with a pizza slicer. Serve as is or with sour cream, salsa, and/or quacamole.

Notes

Avoid place two quasadillas in the same skillet as uneven cooking can result. For those of you with multi-tasking skills use two front burners to prepare two at a time!

http://dancingveggies.com/2014/04/perfect-storm.html

I’ll always be a fan of dishes that allow for easy seasonal switches.  Garden overflowing with zucchini?  Toss them in!  Growing three types of tomatoes?  Add them all!  I decided to stick with the spring greens but look forward to trying a summer variety in the coming months.  With that in mind I’m sending this over to the amazing Ren and her  Simple and in Season April blog challenge, which is being hosted by Michelle who blogs over at Utterly Scrumptious  I can’t wait to see all the early Spring treats everyone will be sending in!!!

Without this Fear

Root Vegetable “Lasagna”

Potato Au Gratin

Another day, another delicious recipe!  I was hoping to start prepping some delicious spring-themed treats but apparently mother nature is not quite ready for that.  As I’m writing this the temperature is preparing to drop some 40 degrees, and with the forecasted wind chill we’ll be back in the single digits.  So instead of thinking up ways to use the asparagus that will soon be arriving in the market, I’m back to my winter favorites: root vegetables (and mushrooms)!  This dish doesn’t really have a name as it’s a bit of a hybrid between an au gratin and a vegetable lasagna.  While lasagna noodles could be used I’m trying to think outside the pasta box – and so I decided to use pan fried potatoes as my “pasta” with various vegetables in between.

Root Vegetable "Lasagna"

Serves: Serves 4-5

Ingredients

2 tbsp olive oil, divided

1 lb butter potatoes, 1/4 in slices

1 tsp fresh thyme

1 tsp fresh rosemary

1/4 tsp black pepper

1/2 vidalia onion, diced

3 cloves garlic

1 1/2 cups wild mushrooms, diced

1 parsnip, coarsely grated

2 large carrots, coarsely grated

2 tbsp unsalted soy butter or margarine

2 tbsp whole wheat flour

1 1/4 cups milk (coconut or dairy)

1 cup plain Greek Yogurt (coconut or dairy - can also use ricotta cheese)

1 1/2 cups kale (or chard or spinach), divided

Parmesan Cheese (optional), finely grated

Mozzarella Cheese (optional), shredded

Instructions

  1. Heat half of the olive oil in a deep saute dish over medium heat. Add the herbs and cook for 1 minute, then add the potatoes and cook until lightly brown. Remove from heat and set aside
  2. Heat the remaining olive oil in the pan along with the garlic and onion. Cook for 5 minutes and then add the mushrooms along with the carrots and parsnip. Cook for another 7-10 minutes, or until carrots become slightly tender.
  3. Meanwhile prepare the sauce by melting the butter in a small saucepan. Stir in the flour and allow to turn slightly golden before slowly whisking in the milk. Bring to a simmer, then cover and turn heat to low.
  4. Preheat oven to 375.
  5. Spoon 1/4 cup of the sauce into the bottom of a 2QT casserole dish, and use a spoon to spread the sauce around the bottom and sides of the dish. Begin layering starting with a single layer of the potatoes, then add 1/3 of the mushroom mixture, then 1/2 cup of the fresh kale, and 1/3 cup of the Greek Yogurt. Add 1/4 cup of sauce and then begin layering again - topping with a final layer of potatoes and sauce. (Optional - add shredded cheese on top of the sauce)
  6. Bake for 35 minutes, or until sauce starts to brown on the edges. Remove from oven and allow to cool for at least 5 minutes before serving.
  7. Enjoy!

Notes

Earth Balance makes an awesome vegan "butter" while So Delicious (coconut) is my choice for Milk products, including Greek Yogurt. I used normal mozzarella in mine but have had Daiya before at various VegFests and rather certain it would be a great alternative! None of these companies know who I am as far as I'm aware - I just like what they sell!

http://dancingveggies.com/2014/03/without-this-fear.html

Once plated this isn’t the prettiest of dishes, lots of white with a bit of green and orange for color – but it’s delicious!  I served it with some crusty sourdough, but anything with a good crust will do well when it comes to getting every last bit of the sauce.  I’m sending this on over to the amazing Ren who hosts Simple and in Season, and I’m crossing my fingers and hoping that winter will soon be over.  As much as I enjoy root vegetables, I’m ready for some fresh greens and spring onions!