Twice Baked Potatoes with Kale

Twice-Baked Potatoes with Kale

Twice-Baked Potatoes with Kale

It’s the weekend after Christmas and we’ve been to three parties plus a family get-together this past week.  I’ve eaten so much rich food, appetizers and dips, cheese this and cheese that, not to mention all the desserts,  that I woke up this morning with the urge to eat pie for breakfast.  Is this where the holiday festivities have brought me?

No, no, and no way.  I will not succumb to any more temptation.  I will overcome the gravitational pull to the wrong foods and make wholesome choices once again.  Yet somewhere along this righteous path to eating kale salad for breakfast, lunch and dinner, I remembered that kale salad tastes absolutely nothing like pie, cheesecake, or chocolate thumbprint cookies, so that was the end of that.

However, my reasoning tells me that there must be a middle ground here.  By Sunday dinnertime I’d found that middle ground; a happy medium between total submersion in butter, cream and chocolate, and the kind of austerity measures that never quite make it past the 24 hour mark.  I give you the twice-baked potato, restuffed with not only the usual sour cream and cheese, but a whole lot of greens.   Greens make everything healthy,  don’t they?  Of course, we all know that!

IMG_8827

The basis for this recipe came from Healthy Eating food blog, but I ended up veering a bit off the recipe, using less cheese (I know, I can’t believe it either) and sour cream, adding a softly cooked onion, and then, although kale was supposed to be the green used, I actually used a combination of baby kale that I had on hand, and some baby spinach.   What that means is that you, too, can take liberties with this recipe:  any green of your choice such as Swiss chard, or all spinach.  For the cheese you could use parmesan, goat cheese or cream cheese instead of the traditional cheddar.  If you’ve got a surplus of scallions, shallots or leeks you could use them where I used a small onion.

I really hope you make these potatoes, because I can’t emphasis loudly enough how much they hit the spot—toasty and a little decadent, but green enough that I didn’t even feel the need to make a salad on the side.  I served this with sautéd asparagus and it was the perfect light dinner to cap off a week of heavy eating.

TWICE-BAKED POTATOES WITH KALE

Yield:  Serves 6 as a side dish,  3 as a hearty main

Ingredients:IMG_8813

  • 3 russet potatoes ( mine were 8 to 9 oz. each)
  • 1 bundle lacinato kale or swiss chard or spinach
  • coarse salt
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp. butter
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 cup coarsely grated cheddar,  or 2/3 cup finely grated parmesan, or 1/2 to 2/3 cup cream cheese, or goat cheese, softened
  • 3/4 cup sour cream

Directions:

1.  Preheat oven to 400*F.  Cook potatoes the first time.  Gently scrub potatoes but do not peel.  Pierce all over with a fork so steam can escape.  Bake about 1 hour to 1 hour 15 minutes or until potatoes are tender when pierced in center with a skewer.  Remove potatoes, but leave oven on.

2.  While potatoes bake, prepare your filling:  Tear kale, chard or spinach leaves from stems.  Plunge into cold water to remove any dirt or grit.  No need to dry them.   Heat a skillet over medium-high heat and add greens and a pinch of salt. Cook them in the pan with just the water clinging to the leaves until they wilt and collapse.  Transfer to a colander and when cool enough to handle, wring out any extra moisture in small fistfuls.  On a cutting board, finely chop greens.  You will have about a cup of wrung-out, well chopped greens;  a little more or less won’t matter.

IMG_8816

3.  Heat a large skillet over medium heat; add butter and oil.  Once both are warm, add onion and reduce heat to medium-low.  Cook until softened, stirring occasionally.  Try not to let it brown.  Add chopped greens into the skillet and warm up with the onion, 1 minute.  Transfer mixture to a bowl.

IMG_8814

4.  Prepare the potatoes:  When potatoes are cool enough to handle, halve lengthwise and scoop out all but the last 1/4-inch thickness, so you are leaving a shell inside for stability.

A melon-baller is a good tool for scooping out the potato.

A melon-baller is a good tool for scooping out the potato.

Add potato filling to the bowl with the greens.

IMG_8821

Arrange the potato shells on a baking sheet or shallow baking dish.  Mash potatoes, with onions and greens until smooth.  Stir in sour cream, 3/4 of cheese and more salt and pepper that you think you need.

Potato filling and greens mixed with sour cream and cheese.

Potato filling and greens mixed with sour cream and cheese.

Heap the filling into the potato shells.  Sprinkle with remaining  1/4 of cheese.

Fill potato shells with the filling.

Fill potato shells with the filling.

5.  Bake potatoes a second time:  for 20 to 30 minutes, until bronze and crisp on top.

IMG_8826

A light meal to cap off a week of eating too many rich foods.

A light meal to cap off a week of eating too many rich foods.

 

 

 

Advertisements

Kale, Mandarin and Avocado Salad

Kale, Mandarine and Avocado Salad

Kale, Mandarin and Avocado Salad

I have over-indulged!  Way over.  I imagine there are any number of people saying the same thing about now.  Don’t we ALWAYS over-indulge during the holidays?  And we’ve got only the first one behind us.

I’ve eaten too much sweet potato casserole, stuffed myself with stuffing, picked at one too many pieces of pecan pie. I’ve done the peppermint stick ice-cream.   It was delicious, but it’s over.

Stomach, I’m going to be nicer to you,  because you deserve a break.   Before I start making cookies, I’m making a salad.  This is going to be so good, you’ll be thanking me all over the place.  So, hang on to your hat.

IMG_8659

A salad  begins with greens, right?   And what’s the most popular green in town?  Kale!   Yes, kale, chopped up nice and fine, raw and crunchy.  Next we add some romaine, also chopped up nice and fine, also crunchy.

Cut up the greens nice and fine.

Cut up the greens nice and fine.

To sweeten up this deal we’re adding clementine or tangerine.  Grab and peel those babies.

Avocados go in next;  for color, for fat nutrients, for creaminess…..oh heck, just put them in because we love them, and they love to hang out with citrus.  Bright and juicy meets soft and creamy.

Avocado + Citrus = True Love

Avocado + Citrus = True Love

Last, we sprinkle in some toasted sesame seeds because we need something to get stuck in our teeth to embarrass us later. If you want to leave them out that’s okay,  you can still go ahead and walk around with kale stuck in your teeth.

To soften the kale, you can rub it with a bit of olive oil and salt….that’s called a kale massage….a totally normal thing to do.  If you find baby kale you can skip this step.  My supermarket is now carrying baby kale.

Once the kale is massaged, make the dressing.  The dressing ingredients go into a small jar.  They consist of rice vinegar, sesame oil, honey, soy sauce and pepper.  Add in a tiny bit of minced garlic if you’d like.

 

These become the dressing.

These become the dressing.

Now tighten the lid, and start shaking.   Shake, shake, shake like mad.  That’s it.  Done.

Toss dressing with salad.

Toss dressing with salad.

Toss some with the salad, and as it gets tossed together the orange segments may split open and the avocado may mash a bit making these two elements a lovely addition to the sesame dressing.   Adjust seasoning with additional salt and pepper as needed.

Now’s the time to grab a fork and dig in.  Your stomach will thank you.

Do yourself a favor, take a break today with a salad this good.

Do yourself a favor, take a break today with a salad this good.

KALE, MANDARIN AND AVOCADO SALAD

Yield:   Serves 4 as a side salad

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups clean and well-chopped kale
  • 1/2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • pinch of salt
  • 3 cups clean and well-chopped romaine lettuce
  • 2 tangerines or clementines, peeled and divided into segments
  • 1 ripe avocado, sliced
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp. sesame seeds
  • 3 Tbsp. rice vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp. sesame oil
  • 1 Tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • fresh pepper and coarse salt to taste

Instructions:

1.  Place kale in a large bowl and drizzle with olive oil and a pinch of salt.  Massage the oil and salt into the kale.

2.  Add the romaine, tangerines, and avocado to the bowl.

3.  Sprinkle with the sesame seeds.

4.  In a small jar with a tight-fitting lid, combine the vinegar, sesame oil, soy sauce, honey, and pepper.  Place the lid on the jar and shake vigorously until emulsified.  If you don’t have a jar, whisk the ingredients together in a small bowl until well combined.

5.  Drizzle the dressing over the salad.  Toss to combine.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper and enjoy!

IMG_8663

 

SOURCE:   adapted from The Joy of Baking

Linguine, with Garlicky Kale and White Beans

 

Linguine with Kale and White Beans

Linguine with Kale and White Beans

This dish gets its flavor from lots of garlic.  Ya gotta love garlic!!  It makes the most bitter greens taste divine.  As it cooks and becomes sweeter, so do the greens lose their bitterness, and become silky and tender.  Pasta, greens and beans—typically an Italian-style meal.  All you need to think you’d “died and gone to heaven” is some Parmesan cheese dusted over the top, some crusty, toasted bread and a glass of white wine.  SIGH!

IMG_7343

Extremely easy to make with only five ingredients, and taking only about 30 minutes to prepare, this is a dish to put on the table when you’re in a hurry, but you want your family to be well fed on a healthy meal.  I used fresh leaf kale in my preparation, but you could speed up the process by using packaged prechopped kale, found in the produce department of most supermarkets.  Other than the kale, you probably have everything else to prepare this dish already in your cupboard.

I like the fact that only 1/2 pound of pasta makes 4 generous servings, because of the addition of the healthy kale and beans.  Calories are low/serving (381);  and the whole nutritional profile of this dish is impressive:  Fat, 11.8 g;  Protein, 13 g;  Carb, 58 g;  Fiber, 5 g; Cholesterol, O g; Iron, 4 mg;  Sodium, 34 mg.;  Calcium, 121 mg.

LINGUINE WITH GARLICKY KALE AND WHITE BEANS

Yield:   Makes 4 servings of about 1 3/4 cups  (calories:  381)IMG_7334

Ingredients:

  • 8 ounces uncooked linguine
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh garlic
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 6 cups chopped kale (about 8 oz.)
  • 1 ( 15-ounce) can unsalted cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
  • 3/4 teaspoon black pepper, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • grated Parmesan cheese at the table (optional)

Directions:

1.  Cook pasta according to package directions, omitting salt and fat.  Drain in a colander over a bowl, reserving 1/2 cup cooking liquid.

2.  Heat oil and garlic in a large skillet over medium heat.  When garlic begins to sizzle, add 1/2 cup water and the kale;  cover and cook 5 minutes or until kale is tender, stirring occasionally.

Cook the kale with garlic and a little water.

Cook the kale with garlic and a little water.

3.  Add beans, 1/2 teaspoon pepper, and salt; cook 1 minute or until heated through, stirring occasionally.

Add beans and cook to warm through.

Add beans and cook to warm through.

Add drained pasta and 1/4 cup reserved cooking liquid to pan;  toss to coat.  Add the remaining cooking liquid if needed to liquify further.  Transfer to serving bowl and sprinkle remaining 1/4 teaspoon pepper over the pasta.  Serve immediately with grated Parmesan if desired.

IMG_7337

 

IMG_7344

 

SOURCE:   Cooking Light

 

 

Kale and Melted Cheese Panini

Kale and Melted Cheese Panini

Kale and Melted Cheese Panini

Farmer’s Markets are starting to open or move outdoors now that the weather has warmed up.  I’m tired of making do with supermarket produce, even if some of it is locally grown.  I love going to the open market and seeing first-hand the stalls and rows of fresh vegetables. So on most Thursdays I’ll be part of the crowd strolling in the sunlight from stall to stall, with my bags and basket in hand.  I’ve gotten to know a few of the vendors, so we chat and they keep me informed as to what’s in season right now, right here.  Local to me means having been grown in a 25 mile radius of where I live.

IMG_7469

Dinner inspiration waits at every turn.   A bunch of dark green kale and a juicy early tomato go into my bag.  These will be layered with melty cheese in a savory, cheesy panini.  (today’s post)  I have plans for using the rest of the kale in a  meatless meal that will soon be appearing on these pages also.    Rhubarb goes into my bag next,  ooooh, so many things to make with rhubarb.  What shall be first?   Asparagus, standing in tall bunches, just waiting for me.   Again, I have so many ideas of what to do with them.  Oh, I’m happy.  I’m doing the happy dance!!   1-2-3-cha,cha, cha.

For this vegetarian panini sandwich, layers of sautéed kale, garden-fresh tomatoes and a fine melting cheese get toasted to ultra-deliciousness.  Gruyère or fontina have complex flavors and melt beautifully, but any cheese you have on hand will do.  I particularly like muenster cheese as it too melts nicely, and has a mild nutty flavor that blends with the other flavors of this sandwich.  For anyone who absolutely must have some meat in their sandwich, well, a little bacon never hurt anything, and  it makes a great addition.  As you can see by the photos, I did just that!

KALE AND MELTED CHEESE PANINI

Yield:   makes 4 servingsIMG_7461

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 8 cups chopped kale
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 8 slices country bread (1/4 inch thick), preferably whole wheat
  • cooking spray
  • 1 cup shredded Gruyère or fontina cheese ( or any other cheese of choice)
  • 1 medium tomato, cut into 8 thin slices
  • 2 slices precooked bacon/sandwich (optional)

IMG_7464

Directions:

1.  Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat.  Add onion and cook, stirring frequently, until golden brown, 5 – 7 minutes.  Add vinegar and cook until almost evaporated, about 1 minute.  Add garlic and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 30 seconds.

Onion and garlic sautéed with balsamic vinegar.

Onion and garlic sautéed with balsamic vinegar.

Add kale, water and salt  (the pan will be full).  Stir, cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until the kale is wilted and the water has evaporated, about 5 minutes.  Remove from heat.

Add the kale and cook until it is wilted.

Add the kale and cook until it is wilted.

2.  To prepare the panini:  Preheat panini maker to high.  Coat one side of each slice of bread with cooking spray. With sprayed side down, spread the kale mixture on 4 slices of bread ( about 1/2 cup per sandwich).  Top each with 1/4 cup cheese and 2 slices tomato.

All layered up, ready for the bun top.

All layered up, ready for the bun top.

Top with the remaining bread, sprayed-side up.  Press in the panini maker until crispy,  3 to 5 minutes.

IMG_7466

 

This is unbelievably good!

This is unbelievably good!

 

SOURCE:   Eating Well Magazine

 

 

 

 

Kale and Caramelized Onion Grilled Cheese

Kale and Caramelized Onion Grilled Cheese.

Kale and Caramelized Onion Grilled Cheese.

If you’re tired of the same old, same old for Meatless Mondays, this sandwich with its unusual combination of vegetables and cheese might just perk up your menu.  I served it with a hearty tomato soup, (read about it here.) last week when I wanted to have a meatless meal.

I had seen this sandwich recipe and earmarked it as one I wanted to try because of the inclusion of kale, with caramelized onions and two kinds of cheese.  I’ve only recently grown to like kale and I wasn’t sure I would like it in a sandwich, but surprisingly it did not announce itself too strongly.  The most prominent flavors were the onions and cheese, but the kale is quietly in the background, and you know you’re eating something healthy.  We thoroughly enjoyed this sandwich and it was a good compliment to the tomato soup.

IMG_5153

The two cheeses I used were Parmesan and smoked provolone.  The recipe calls for raclette, but it may not be widely available so a good substitute is Gruyère, or any cheese with good melting properties, like provolone.

KALE AND CARAMELIZED ONION GRILLED CHEESE

Yield:   Serves 4  ( 4 sandwiches)IMG_5141

Ingredients:

  • 4 medium sized kale leaves, stems removed
  • 2 teaspoons canola oil
  • 1 large or 2 medium red onions, cut into 1/2-inch thick slices
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
  • 8 slices multi-grain bread
  • cooking spray
  • 1 ounce finely grated Parmesan cheese, divided ( about 1/4 cup)
  • 3.5 oz. shredded raclette cheese ( about 7/8 cup)  or other shredded or sliced cheese

1.  Bring a small pot of water to a boil;  add kale.  Remove from heat; let stand 4 minutes or until kale is bright green.  Drain;  Pat leaves dry with paper towel.

Dry kale after blanching.

Dry kale after blanching.

2.  Heat a skillet over medium-high heat.  Add oil; swirl to coat.  Add onion, pepper, and salt.  Cool 10 minutes or until onion is tender and browned, stirring frequently.  Remove from heat; stir in vinegar, tossing to coat.

Brown onions in a little oil.

Brown onions in a little oil.

3.  Heat a non-stick skillet or panini pan over medium heat.  Lightly coat 1 side of each bread slice with cooking spray.  Working with 2 slices at a time, arrange bread in pan, sprayed side down.  Sprinkle 1 tablespoon Parmesan on each slice.

First layer of cheese is grated Parmesan.

First layer of cheese is grated Parmesan.

Top with 1 kale leaf, one-fourth of onion mixture,

Layer on the kale and onions.

Layer on the kale and onions.

and about 1/4 cup shredded cheese, (or 1-2 slices of cheese).

Top with second type of cheese.

Top with second type of cheese.

Top with another slice of bread, sprayed side up.

4.  Toast sandwiches until browned and cheeses are melted, turning over once.  Repeat with remaining bread slices and remaining filling ingredients.

Toast till browned and cheeses are melted.

Toast till browned and cheeses are melted.

Melty, gooey cheese, savory onions, and kale on multi-grain bread.  YUM!

Melty, gooey cheese, savory onions, and kale on multi-grain bread. YUM!

SOURCE:  COOKING LIGHT  Magazine

Orecchiette with Kale and Breadcrumbs

Orecchiette with kale and breadcrumbs (and sausage).

Orecchiette with kale and breadcrumbs.

In Italian, orecchiette  means “little ears”, and for this dish that pasta is the perfect shape for holding the kale and bread crumbs. I love the fact that there are so many different shapes of pasta and each of them, or similar ones, are meant for a specific type of sauce.  One cannot get bored with pasta when there are so many to choose from.

IMG_3564

I had never cooked with orecchiette before, but on reading the recipe, it looked like something I would like (including my newfound fondness for kale).  This is a hearty dish that is vegetarian, but accepts the addition of meat -in this case, sausage-very well.   I wasn’t sure if a meal consisting of only pasta and kale would be adequate for Mr. D.  so I decided on adding crumbled Italian sausage rather than whole links or slices because of the shape of the pasta.  In the supermarkets that I go to, this pasta shape was hard to find.  The “name brand” pasta companies didn’t seem to have it.  I finally found it in the isle with imported foods.

IMG_3567

The yield of this recipe is large, probably enough to feed 6 people.  I used half a pound of pasta and kept all the other ingredients the same, plus I added half pound of ground Italian sausage (no casings).  This was enough for two of us with enough left over for another meal, or for lunches.  It is very flavorful; we really enjoyed it, and the homemade bread crumbs are a great addition.  Whatever dry bread you may have on hand can be used for the crumbs.  I had a piece of baguette that I used and it worked out well.

ORECCHIETTE WITH KALE AND BREADCRUMBS

YIELD:    about 6 servingsIMG_3559

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 large bunch of kale, trimmed of thick stems
  • kosher salt
  • 5 Tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 cup coarse fresh breadcrumbs
  • 3 garlic cloves, chopped, divided
  • 2 tablespoons ( 1/4 stick) unsalted butter
  • 4 anchovy fillets, packed in oil, drained
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 lb. orecchiette pasta
  • 3/4 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 pound ground Italian sausage, optional

1.  Working in batches, cook kale in a large pot of boiling salted water until just tender, about 4 minutes.  Using tongs or a skimmer, transfer to a rimmed baking sheet;  let cool.  Set aside pot with water.  Squeeze out excess liquid from kale.  Chop leaves and set aside.

Cook, cool and drain kale, then chop.

Cook, cool and drain kale, then chop.

2.  Heat 3 Tablespoons oil in a small skillet over medium heat.  Add breadcrumbs and cook, stirring often, until beginning to brown, about 4 minutes.  Add 1/3 of the chopped garlic and cook, stirring often, until breadcrumbs are golden, about 3 minutes.  Season with salt and pepper and transfer to a paper towel-lined plate;  let cool.

Making the breadcrumbs.

Making the breadcrumbs.

3.  If using sausage,  crumble sausage in a large heavy pan, breaking it up with a spoon, and cook until browned.  Drain any fat rendered, and set the sausage aside, then proceed with step #4 using the same pan.

4.  Heat butter and remaining 2 Tablespoons olive oil in a large heavy pot over medium-low heat.  Add anchovies, red pepper flakes, and remaining 2/3 chopped garlic;  mashing anchovies with a spoon, until a paste forms, about 2 minutes.  Add reserved kale and 1/2 cup water.  Cook, stirring often until kale is warmed through, about 4 minutes.  Season with salt and pepper.

Kale with seasonings in the pan.

Kale with seasonings in the pan.

Add in the cooked sausage.

Add in the cooked sausage.

5.  Meanwhile, bring reserved kale cooking liquid to a boil;  add pasta and cook, stirring occasionally, until al dente.  Drain, reserving 1 cup pasta cooking liquid.  Add pasta and 1/2 cup pasta cooking liquid to kale mixture and stir to coat.  Increase heat to medium and continue stirring adding more cooking liquid as needed, until sauce coats pasta.

Drained pasta added into the mixture.

Drained pasta added into the mixture.

Mix in Parmesan and 1/2 cup breadcrumbs;  toss to combine.

6.  To serve, divide pasta among bowls and sprinkle with remaining bread crumbs.

IMG_3565

SOURCE:   Bon Appetit

Sauteed Cabbage and Kale

Cabbage and Kale Sautee

Cabbage and Kale Sautee

Kale seemed to be the darling vegetable of 2012, and its popularity does not seem to be letting up in 2013.  Whether cooked in soups or with other vegetables or eaten raw in salads, this is one vegetable that packs a nutritious punch.

For years I wouldn’t even look at kale.  I thought it was only used as a garnish in fancy restaurants. Its leaves and surface are so rough, all I could imagine was trying to eat a brillo pad.  Until last year I had never even purchased kale.  But being a person who does not want to be left out of a good thing,  I realized that I owed it to myself ( and the people I cook for) to at least give it a fair chance.  So my first endeavor was to put some in a soup, where I would not have to meet it face-to-face.   I could tolerate that because it was mixed with the other vegetables, and every thing tasted quite good.  My second encounter with kale was not so successful.  I made Kale Chips.  So many articles and blogs raved about baked kale chips; crispy, a little salty, addictive.  Yup, they certainly were—-and I over did it.  Unpleasant side effects!  Mr. D. had the same reaction, so there has been a lengthy time lapse since that experience.

Where food is concerned, a good picture will get me every time.  So when I saw a picture of this dish on My Gourmet Connection of kale sautéed with cabbage, onions, and scallions, I decided to give it one more chance.  This time it was a winner.  If you are a fan of this leafy green vegetable that becomes soft and silky smooth when cooked, you must give this recipe a trial run.

Because you want to caramelize rather than brown the cabbage in order to develop its natural sweetness, this dish takes a little time to prepare, but I think you will find that the flavor is well worth the extra effort.  It is a great side dish that goes with all sorts of entrees.

SAUTEED CABBAGE AND KALE

Take time to slowly cook the cabbage until it is browned.

Take time to slowly cook the cabbage until it is golden.

YIELD:   about 4 – 6 servings

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 small head of cabbage, chopped or roughly cut
  • 1 lb. fresh kale, stemmed and roughly chopped
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 cup onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, very finely chopped
  • 1 Tablespoon butter
  • 1 bunch scallions, ( 4 – 5 ) chopped
  • salt and pepper

1.  Heat the olive oil in a large pan over medium heat.  Add the chopped onion and cook for 3 to 4 minutes, until it begins to soften.  Add the garlic and continue cooking just until fragrant, 1 minute longer.

2.  Add about 1/3 of the chopped cabbage, season with a pinch of salt and cook until wilted and reduced in bulk.  Repeat with the other two batches of cabbage, being sure to season with a bit more salt each time.

3.  Continue cooking, stirring often until the cabbage is caramelized and golden in color, 15 to 18 minutes.  Add the butter, a few grinds of black pepper, and adjust the salt  to taste.

4.  Add the kale and continue cooking until it’s wilted and tender, 3 to 4 minutes, then add the scallions and cook until they’re slightly softened, but still bright green.

Add kale and scallions to the pan.

Add kale and scallions to the pan.

Transfer to a serving dish.

A great side dish ready to be enjoyed with any entree.

A great side dish ready to be enjoyed with any entree.

SOURCE:   MyGourmetconnection.com

Quick Fall Minestrone

Fall Minetsrone Soup with Cheese Quesadillas

Hit the Road, Jack!  Yep, that’s us. We’re hitting the road, going on a little vacation, going south, going to visit family, going, going, almost gone.  But before I go, I need to clean out the refrigerator, use up all the bits of veggies that are in there.  So what I’m making is a minestrone soup.  This easy soup  is made up of fresh fall vegetables, some orzo and a can of beans, making it hearty and filling.  I plan to freeze what we don’t eat so we will have it waiting for us when we get back home.  I know that after a long day on the road we will be happy to have a warming, nourishing soup to  return to.

While I’m away, posts that I have already written will be published, but I will not be available to respond to your comments for a while.  I hope you enjoy reading what I’ve prepared for the next week or so.  When I get back I hope to have some new sights, foods, and dining experiences to tell you about.

QUICK FALL MINESTRONE  (alias, Clean- out -the- refrigerator- before -I -go -on- vacation soup)

YIELD:  8  servings

  • 1 Tablespoon vegetable oil

    My ingredients differ slightly from the recipe, because of what I had to use up.

  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 6 cups vegetable broth
  • 2 1/2 cups cubed peeled butternut squash ( I only had about half that amount so I added about 1 cup of cauliflower florettes)
  • 2 1/2 cups cubed peeled baking potato
  • 1 cup cut-up green beans, about 1/4 pound
  • 1/2 cup sliced carrot ( I used fennel instead)
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 4 cups chopped greens, such as kale, spinach, broccoli rabe
  • 1/2 cup uncooked orzo (rice-shaped pasta)
  • 1 (16-ounce) can cannellini beans or other white beans, rinsed and drained
  • grated fresh Parmesan cheese to sprinkle on top

1.  Heat the oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat.  Add onion and garlic, sauté  2 1/2 minutes or until tender.  Please excuse me,  I got so caught up in this step, I forgot to photograph it.  But I’m sure you know what sautéing onions and garlic look like. 🙂

Broth and seasonings added to the sautéed vegetables.

2.  Add the broth and the next 7 ingredients (broth through salt); bring to a boil.  Reduce heat, and simmer 3 minutes.

Greens added; in my version I used broccoli rabe.

3.  Add greens, orzo, and beans;  cook 7 – 10 minutes or until orzo is done and vegetables are tender.

Ready for the soup bowls.

4.  Ladle into bowls and sprinkle with cheese to serve.

My version of Fall Minestrone served with Cheese Quesadillas

To go along with the soup I made Cheese Quesadillas:  6 – inch flour tortillas with Monterey Jack cheese in the middle, warmed in a skillet till cheese melted.