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  1. Kale Quiche with a Quinoa Crust

    December 13, 2012 by betsy

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    Finally! A seasonal ingredient I actually like! I feel like I’ve been doing a lot of trial and error with ingredients lately trying to make them work for me, but kale and I are already old friends. Speaking of old friends, its been a while since I busted out my old standard: quiche. I’ve kind of been missing quiche lately so I thought I’d make one with kale….and the bag of sun-dried tomatoes that have been sitting in my pantry for quite some time. As the current reigning queen of cooking with random stuff in my pantry, I scoured that bad boy for something I could use as a quiche crust. Quinoa was the clear winner. (I don’t think raisins would have worked out so well)

    This is probably the healthiest quiche I have ever made. Kale is a superfood, eggs and quinoa are protein packed, and sun-dried tomatoes are a great source of Vitamin C! Plus, its super tasty and really easy to make.

    Kale Quiche with a Quinoa Crust

    1/2 c. uncooked quinoa

    1 c. chicken broth

    3 tsp ground flax

    1 tsp Italian seasoning

    2 T. butter

    2 T. whole wheat flour

    1 bunch kale, stems and ribs removed

    1/2 c. onion, diced

    1/2 c. sun-dried tomatoes, roughly chopped

    1/4 c. shredded parmesan cheese

    3/4 c. milk

    6 eggs, lightly beaten 

    Preheat oven to 350 degrees

    Combine quinoa and chicken broth in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer 10 minutes or until liquid is absorbed. Remove from heat and add flax, Italian seasoning, butter, and flour. Stir until butter melts. Pour quinoa mixture into a 9-inch pie plate coated with cooking spray. Firmly pack quinoa along bottom and sides of the dish to form a crust. Bake the crust at 350 degrees for 20 minutes until golden brown.

    Meanwhile, cut the kale into ribbons. Steam kale for 5 to 6 minutes until just beginning to soften. In a medium bowl combine kale, onion, sun-dried tomatoes, cheese, milk and eggs. Pour into prepared quinoa crust. Bake the entire quiche for 35-30 minutes until set. Allow to cool for 10 minutes before serving.

    Do you love kale too? Do you have an excellent kale recipe you want to share? Maybe you’re just looking to try something new, or incorporate kale into your diet. No matter what your relationship with kale, you should head over and check out our LINK PARTY under the DECEMBER section to add your kale recipe or find kale inspiration.

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  2. Farfalle with Kale, Sausage and Cannellini Beans

    December 7, 2012 by betsy

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    I was hoping to fool my kale-hating husband into thinking that the green leafy stuff in this recipe was spinach…but I failed.  All of my years of getting him to try new things has caught up to me.  He is too food savvy for his own good now.  How am I supposed to trick him into eating his veggies when he can recognize kale?!  Even though he proclaims he hates kale, he helped himself to a second serving of this dish.  AND ate leftovers for lunch the next day.  The moral of the story:  you may not have to trick your family into consuming healthy ingredients.  As long as they’re willing to try something, you might not have to force them to like it (or at least pretend they do)!

    The original recipe called for turkey or chicken Italian sausage, which would certainly lighten up the fat content.  I happen to have some regular Italian sausage on hand though, so that it was I used.  If you’re not using a real spicy sausage, I’d recommend adding a dash of crush red pepper for an added kick, depending on your taste.  I used a regular curly kale, but any variety should work in this recipe.  Enjoy!

    Farfalle with Kale, Sausage and Cannellini Beans, adapted from Cooking Light

    • 8 ounces farfalle pasta
    • 1/4 cup oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes
    • 1/2 cup chopped onion
    • 8 ounces hot Italian sausage (casings removed)
    • 6 garlic cloves, minced
    • 1 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
    • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
    • 1 (14-ounce) can fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
    • 1 (16-ounce) package fresh kale, or one bunch
    • 1 (15-ounce) can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
    • 1 ounce shaved fresh Parmesan cheese (about 1/4 cup)

    Cook pasta according to package directions, omitting salt and fat. Drain, reserving 1 cup cooking liquid; keep warm.

    Drain tomatoes in a small sieve over a bowl, reserving 2 teaspoons oil; slice tomatoes. Heat a large Dutch oven over medium heat. Add sliced tomatoes, reserved 2 teaspoons tomato oil, onion, and sausage to pan; cook 10 minutes or until sausage is browned, stirring to crumble. Add garlic to pan; cook 1 minute. Add seasoning, pepper, and broth to pan. Stir in kale; cover and simmer 5 minutes or until kale is tender. Stir in pasta, reserved 1 cup cooking liquid, and beans.


  3. December is Kale Month

    December 3, 2012 by betsy

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    Happy December!  A full year of Seasonal Potluck is coming to a close.  We’ve featured many great ingredients, and this month is no different with the addition of kale.  Kale is a superfood full nutrients like vitamins C & K and calcium, to name a few.  Something healthy to add into your diet in addition to all those holiday cookies!

    I stumbled a blog that is a sort of ode to kale, appropriately titled “I Love Kale“.  Sarah Jane has some great information on the basics of how to prepare kale, as well as a variety of recipes!

    Kale is not one of my favorites, but I like to keep an open mind when it comes to trying new recipes and featured ingredients.  Betsy didn’t like sweet potatoes before we featured them one month – and now she loves them!  So who knows, maybe I’ll be a kale addict by the new year!  Be sure to share all of your kale and pear recipes on our December page.  Happy holidays!


  4. Featured Recipe: Butternut Squash Mac & Cheese

    November 14, 2012 by betsy

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    Not only is this dish good, but it’s also healthy!  It’s also a great way to sneak in a serving of vegetables to your husband or children (or Betsy).  I’ve made this dish a couple of times now, and used slightly different cheeses the second time.  Still turned out delish!  I think if you use a variety of cheeses that are suitable for melting, this will turn out great.  So get creative!

    The squash adds a creaminess to the dish without being too heavy like a traditional mac & cheese.  You could also play around with this recipe by adding some grilled chicken or turkey sausage, crumbled bacon, or a variety of fresh herbs.

    I hope you’ll try out this recipe this month, and add some of your own to our November link page.  Don’t forget we have lots of great sweet potato recipes there too!

    Butternut Squash Mac & Cheese, adapted from Cooking Light

    • 3 cups cubed peeled butternut squash (about 1-pound squash)
    • 1 1/4 cups fat-free, lower-sodium vegetable or chicken broth
    • 1 1/2 cups fat-free milk
    • 2 garlic cloves, peeled
    • 2 tablespoons plain fat-free Greek yogurt
    • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
    • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
    • 1 1/4 cups (5 ounces) shredded Gruyère cheese
    • 1 cup (4 ounces) grated pecorino Romano cheese
    • 1/4 cup (1 ounce) finely grated fresh Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, divided
    • 1 pound uncooked cavatappi (or pasta that will hold sauce like rigatoni or fusilli)
    • Cooking spray
    • 1 teaspoon olive oil
    • 1/2 cup panko
    • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
    1. Preheat oven to 375°.
    2. Combine squash, broth, milk, and garlic in a medium saucepan; bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium, and simmer until squash is tender when pierced with a fork, about 25 minutes. Remove from heat.
    3. Place the hot squash mixture in a blender. Add salt, pepper, and Greek yogurt. Remove the center piece of blender lid (to allow steam to escape); secure blender lid on blender. Place a clean towel over opening in blender lid (to avoid splatters). Blend until smooth. Place blended squash mixture in a bowl; stir in Gruyère, pecorino Romano, and 2 tablespoons Parmigiano-Reggiano. Stir until combined.
    4. Cook pasta according to package directions, omitting salt and fat; drain well. Add pasta to squash mixture, and stir until combined. Spread mixture evenly into a 13 x 9-inch glass or ceramic baking dish coated with cooking spray.
    5. Heat oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add panko, and cook for 2 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from heat; stir in remaining 2 tablespoons Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese. Sprinkle evenly over the hot pasta mixture. Lightly coat topping with cooking spray.
    6. Bake at 375° for 25 minutes or until bubbly. Sprinkle with parsley, and serve immediately.

     


  5. November is Butternut Squash Month

    November 1, 2012 by betsy

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    I find myself, once again, faced with a featured ingredient I don’t really love. Let’s be honest, this time of the year, the produce pickings are getting slim. On the bright side, this is really what Seasonal Potluck is all about. Trying new things, and learning how to cook and eat things you wouldn’t normally go for. Heck, last year we featured sweet potatoes in November, and I was not a fan. Because I was forced to try using them in recipes, I’ve now become an addict! Whaddaya know?

    So, I’m willing to give butternut squash a try. Even though it reminds me of my Grandma’s gross cooking (yes, not all Grandma’s are good cooks) I will push those thoughts aside and go into this month with an open mind. From what I’ve read, butternut squash is actually considered a pumpkin, and can be interchanged with pumpkin in most recipes. Sounds like this could be a good month for baking! I’m dying to see what other people are making. Be sure to link up on our NOVEMBER page, and feel free to link up your SWEET POTATO recipes as well.


  6. Chicken Salad with Cherries and Goat Cheese Dressing

    July 11, 2012 by betsy

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    I usually use cherries for snacking or baked goods, so I wanted to find some recipes with a savory application.  This is a nice, simple recipe that lets the flavor of fresh cherries really shine through.  The sweet, red cherries pair really nicely with the goat cheese dressing.  This recipe is easy enough for a weeknight dinner, but unique enough to impress company.  It makes a great summer meal!

    Don’t forget to check out other cherry recipes and share your own on our cherry page!

    Chicken Salad with Cherries and Goat Cheese Dressing,

    adapted from Martha Stewart, serves 4

    • 1/2 cup fat-free Greek Yogurt
    • 1/2 cup crumbled fresh goat cheese (2 ounces)
    • 2 tablespoons snipped fresh chives
    • 2 teaspoons white-wine vinegar
    • Coarse salt and ground pepper
    • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts
    • 1 head Boston lettuce, torn into bite-size pieces
    • 1/2 pound (2 cups) Bing cherries, pitted and halved
    • 1/4 cup walnut pieces

    In a small bowl, whisk together sour cream, goat cheese, chives, vinegar, and 2 tablespoons water; season with salt and pepper. Set dressing aside.

    Heat grill or grill pan to medium-high. Season chicken with salt and pepper. Cook until opaque throughout, about 3 to 4 minutes per side. Thinly slice chicken crosswise.

    Divide lettuce among four plates; top with chicken, cherries, and walnuts. Serve salad with dressing alongside.


  7. Cherry Brown Butter Ravioli

    July 9, 2012 by betsy

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    Kelley has always been a super fan of cherries. Me, not so much. It’s not that I don’t like them, its just a lot of work to cook with cherries. Heck, its a lot of work just to EAT cherries straight up. That is, until I got my Oxo cherry pitter! Whoa nelly do I love this thing! Its opened up a world of cherry recipes to my lazy ass. No more messing around with a paring knife and a slippery bowl of cherries. Just pop one in, clamp it down, and you’re done. I pitted nearly 6lbs of cherries in like 20 minutes the other day. It was so awesome!

    The good news for you folks is that this means more cherry recipes to spread around! I feel lot of pressure this month because Kelley said the midwest cherry crop was terrible, so its up to me on the west coast to bring you some unique and delicious ideas for you to make at home with your cherries.

    Let’s start with this recipe from my favorite, living in the west magazine, Sunset!

    Cherry Brown Butter Ravioli recipe from Sunset magazine 

    • 10 ounce store-bought cheese ravioli
    • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
    • 3 tablespoons lemon juice 
    • About 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
    • 3 cups pitted and halved Rainier cherries
    • 1/4 cup toasted almonds, roughly chopped 
    • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
    1. Cook pasta as package directs. Drain and spread out on a shallow serving platter. Tent with foil to keep warm.
    2. Meanwhile, melt butter in a medium saucepan over high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until butter starts to turn medium brown and smells nutty, about 7 minutes. Remove from heat and carefully add lemon juice and 1/2 tsp. salt (it will bubble up). Pour all but 2 tbsp. brown butter into a small bowl; keep warm.
    3. Put cherries in pan of brown butter and cook over medium heat, stirring often, until hot and skins start to wrinkle, about 7 minutes.
    4. Pour cherries over reserved pasta along with half of reserved brown butter. Sprinkle with almonds and thyme, and add salt to taste. Serve with remaining butter.
    The Hubs and I both loved this! It was all gone very quickly. I was super impressed with how fast this was to make (especially since I pitted all my cherries in NO TIME!) Don’t forget, we want to hear all your cherry recipes too! Be sure to link up under our July tab
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  8. July is Cherry Month!

    July 3, 2012 by betsy

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    July is cherry month!  Cherries are one of my favorite fruits, but I haven’t done much experimenting with them in the way of recipes.  With sweet cherries I usually eat the whole lot before I can even think of making a recipe with them.  And with sour cherries, pie is my go-to way to use them up.  Sour cherry pie is just so good, it’s hard to make anything else!

    This is kind of an odd year for cherries given that the crazy spring weather in Michigan destroyed most of their crop.  I actually tried to snag a few at Stover’s farm in Berrien Springs, MI yesterday, but no luck.  Not only were there none left on the trees, but they didn’t even have any available for purchase!  I did see some at the farmer’s market this past Saturday though, so I am confident I’ll be able to get my cherry fix in some way.

    Take a look at our cherry link page for recipe ideas, and to share your own!  We also have the zucchini and blueberry links from July 2011 for you to view and add to.  Summer is here and produce is a plenty, so don’t be shy about joining in the fun!


  9. May is the month of the avocado!

    May 1, 2012 by betsy

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    Avocado month is here!  I can’t believe it’s already May – this spring is flying by!  Pretty soon we’ll be linking up all of those gorgeous summer fruit and vegetable recipes.  Since Betsy and I live on opposite sides of the country, we often have trouble picking ingredients because we see different produce come into our stores and markets at different times of the year.  Last year we featured asparagus in May, but this year we picked avocados because you can find the Mexican variety almost everywhere, and California avocados start popping up in the springtime.

    Avocados are so versatile.  Whether you enjoy them mashed up in guacamole, diced in a salad, sliced on a burger, or baked into deserts, you’re getting a healthy dose of nutrients in every serving!  The California Avocado Commission has a great website with recipes and nutritional information, amongst other things.  Check out our AVOCADOS link party to find recipes and share your own.

    Also, don’t forget to check in on our asparagus link page.  It was one of our favorite ingredients, and you’ll find some fantastic recipes in there.  The link party has been reopened so that you can share your own asparagus recipes too!


  10. March is Artichoke Month!

    February 29, 2012 by betsy

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    This March we’re celebrating seasonal cooking with artichokes!  I am an artichoke lover, but Betsy is new to the vegetable – so you should get some very different perspectives and recipes from the two of us this month.  For those of you that are new to artichokes, I am going to list some quick tips on picking them out and a basic method of preparation.

    Be sure you check out our ARTICHOKE link page to find recipes and share your own!

    1.  When choosing an artichoke, make sure the leaving are tightly packed, as separated leaves indicate that your artichoke isn’t as fresh.

     

    2.  A few brown spots on the artichoke are okay.

    3.  To store, refrigerate unwashed for about a week.

    To prepare the artichoke, first rinse under cold water.  Trim off the top about 1/2 inch and trim the stem so that about 1/2 -1 inch is left.  Use kitchen shears to trim off the thorny tips of the remaining leaves.  Now the artichoke is ready to be prepared in your recipe!

     

    The easiest method of preparation is to steam them.  All you need to do is simmer a pot of water, and place the artichokes in the pot stem side up.  Steam for about 30 minutes, or until the stem is tender when poked with a fork.

    Eating the artichoke is whole other process.  The leaves can be eaten individually by pulling the base through slightly clenched teeth to strip off the meat.  Many people dip the leaves into some sort of butter sauce or aioli when eating.  I prefer mine with melted butter and a dash of lemon and pepper.  When you get down to leaves that are too small to eat and the fuzzy top layer, scoop that out until you see the heart.  Then enjoy this delicious part of the artichoke!