Category Archives: FOOD

Defying Jim Gaffigan Using Kale: Call Me Zupas-THM

Using kale for my non-kale loving readers.

Jim Gaffigan says in his standup routines that kale is like bug spray; he looked at a can of bug spray and it said “made of kale.” He even talked about a lady who “snuck some kale” in a soup, and he wanted to throw the bowl at her.

In my unsophisticated opinion, he is right about kale being bitter, but that is until I was schooled on how to make it a decadent leaf in your salad. Thank you Zupas, my brother-in-law’s least favorite place to eat. Cover it with cilantro lime, olive oil, etc. and WA-LA! It’s digestible and down-right TASTY!

With this memory of that delectable protein, quinoa bowl over a bed of smothered kale, I asked Parker to pick up some kale from Costco on his way home. Once it was home, I remembered that I wasn’t Zupas. I had to re-create that salad using the raw material?

Challenge accepted.

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Challenge Accepted!

GREEK CHICKEN SALAD A LA KALE 

I have no picture because I ate every bite, but that’s a good sign right? (I hadn’t intended on posting this at the time obviously.) First I mixed the kale with romaine lettuce in a large mixing bowl. I added olive oil and balsamic vinegar and pretended I was working at Zupas. How’s the coverage? Good? -Check. Move it down the line.

I threw in diced red onion, feta cheese, and halved cherry tomatoes from Costco (they last the longest). What dressing you might ask? Just my favorite Tzatziki sauce, again from Costco. Somehow, I can’t have feta without wanting it.

Last, I added rotisserie chicken breast and squeezed lemon juice on top of it for good measure.

MM’ MM’Good! Experiment= Success!

Notes:

  • I buy my rotisserie chickens from Costco rather than Walmart because they are $3.00 cheaper; my mom does the same from Sam’s Club and she freezes extra ones since she lives so far from the store (it helps that she has an extra freezer). 
  • I also always keep rotisserie chicken on hand because it’s Elsie’s favorite food, and it’s already made and not processed. 
  • This was an S-meal for any THM eaters out there (THM is a diet I’m enjoying to get the baby fat off ).

Next up?

CHICKEN, RICE, & KALE SOUP

Someone warn Jim and buy me a shield because I made two soups this week using kale. Sneak attack Parker! I was sick with the world’s longest-lasting sinus infection with an added cough so I took my aunt’s suggestion and made Chicken, Rice, and Kale Soup.

How did this come to be?

I was making the soup by throwing chicken stock mixed with bouillon (because I only had one can of stock on hand), rotisserie chicken, and frozen, leftover parboiled rice into the pot. Then, I realized it looked ugly because it had no color, and who wants ugly soup? Not me.

In comes kale to the rescue! I remembered that I had the bag in the fridge from my Greek Chicken A La Kale Salad, so I threw it in! Presto! Better than Campbell’s or Progresso. And prettier too.

Note: THM E-Meal.

CURRIED LENTIL SOUP

I also added kale to my Curried Lentil Soup. Basically, this was a repeat soup story from above, so just re-read the above and then click this title for the recipe.

Don’t expect a picture though because lentils are ugly no matter how well they are cooked; they were even ugly at a gourmet Indian restaurant we visited a few years ago when I ordered them. They tasted divine though if you love Indian food. Don’t judge a book by its cover? I think lentils may have more license to complain.

Note: THM E-Meal.

Last in line?

TUSCAN CHICKEN WITH WHITE BEANS & KALE

I know what you’re thinking. Not another rotisserie chicken… But no, This time I sauteed chicken breasts using a non-stick spray and balsamic vinegar, removed them from pan, and set them aside to make the rest of the magic happen.

The basic description is sauteing diced onion and red pepper with minimal olive oil, throw in some cherry tomatoes, and at the end add some kale. Once tender, add in pizza sauce (less processed sugars), white beans, thyme, salt, pepper, and Italian seasoning. Add the chicken back in to let it finish cooking in the Tuscan juices and then serve!

Note: THM E-Meal. 

So what did I discover? The results of the challenge are in!

KALE WINS!

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Even Baby Elsie loves it!

 

UPSIDES TO KALE

 

    • Kale lasts longer than lettuce or spinach, which is great for small families or garnishes.img_5977

 

  • It can be used in raw materials, sauteed for pan-fried dishes, or be “snuck” in soups to add a pop of color or to pretend you’re eating more veggies.

 

 

  • The downsides are below, but this time, we don’t care about the downsides because we don’t have to tell anyone that “green stuff” is kale. Anti-girl-food husbands, boyfriends, and children don’t need to know.

 

 

 

DOWNSIDES TO KALE 

 

    • I’m not sure that a couple of leafs per serving of soup actually counts as “more veggie.”

 

  • Jim Gaffigan disagrees with me.

 

 

 

WHAT PLEASANT EXPERIENCES OR HORROR STORIES HAVE YOU HAD USING KALE?

Please feel free to comment and share for a good cause. We have to cut kale some slack. 😉
Happy Eating!

Sarah @PlantFamilyCo

 

Tuscan Chicken with White Beans & Kale E-Meal

INGREDIENTS

  • Chicken Breasts Halves
  • Olive Oil (minimal amount)
  • Balsamic vinegar
  • Garlic
  • Non-stick spray
  • Diced onion
  • Halved cherry tomatoes
  • Kale
  • 1/2 C Chicken stock
  • 2 cans of white cannellini beans
  • 1 jar of pizza sauce (the least amount of processed sugar you can find)
  • Thyme
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Red pepper flakes
  • Italian seasoning

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Spray large sauce pan.
  2. Sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper and then pan fry for 4 minutes on each side. Add minimal oil if needed to keep chicken from burning.
  3. Remove the chicken and set aside (it will not be cooked through yet, but will finish cooking later; this step add texture to your meal, yet allows it to stay moist when it finishes cooking during the simmering process later on).
  4. Add garlic, onion, carrot, thyme, and 1/2 C balsamic vinegar.
  5. Add kale and cook until wilted.
  6. Stir in the stock, pizza sauce, salt, pepper, red pepper flakes, and Italian seasoning.
  7. Add chicken back in; cover; reduce heat, and simmer until chicken is done.
  8. Serve alone or on parboiled or brown rice.

NOTES

  • This was delicious! Parker and Elsie loved it!
  • THM E-Mealimg_5972

Curried Lentil Soup E-Meal

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 LB bag of lentils
  • Diced carrots
  • Sauteed yellow onion
  • Halved Cherry Tomatoes
  • Kale
  • Chicken and Beef Bouillon
  • Water
  • 1-2 TBS Olive Oil
  • Minced garlic
  • Garlic Powder
  • Garam Masala
  • Curry
  • Turmeric
  • Salt
  • Pepper

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Saute the onions in olive oil.
  2. Once the onions have softened, add the lentils and garlic.
  3. Add water and carrots and bring to a boil. (It helps to microwave the carrots for a little while first to speed up the softening process; select how long to microwave depending on your microwave’s strength.)
  4. Once the water is boiling, add the bouillon cubes. I use 6-8 cubes per large pot.
  5. Add the spices to taste; it takes a lot of curry powder and turmeric for my preference.
  6. Simmer for 15-20 minutes.

NOTES:

  • I prefer eating soups the next day because I think the flavors settle better. I usually try to prepare soups a day ahead, but when you eat it the same day, it tastes great too.
  • I often eat this as a stand-alone soup or serve it over parboiled or brown rice.
  • THM E-Meal

Chicken, Rice, & Kale Soup E-Meal

INGREDIENTS

  • Chicken stock or bouillon
  • Water
  • Pulled rotisserie chicken
  • Pre-prepared parboiled rice
  • Boiled Carrots
  • Sauteed onions (if desired)
  • Fresh kale
  • Salt
  • Pepper

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. In a large pot, bring the chicken stock or bouillon to a boil; add water. Notice I didn’t put the amount because to be perfectly transparent, I use what I have on hand and then add water to make up the difference. I prefer a 1:1 ratio of chicken stock to water.
  2. Throw in the chicken, rice, boiled carrots, sauteed onions, and kale.
  3. Salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Let the soup simmer for 20 minutes.
  5. Serve!

NOTES

  • I prefer eating soups the next day because I think the flavors settle better. I usually try to prepare soups a day ahead, but when you eat it the same day, it tastes great too.
  • Whenever I have leftover rice, I throw whatever isn’t eaten into the freezer for this type of cooking situation.
  • THM E-meal

 

Greek Chicken Salad a La Kale S-Meal

INGREDIENTSimg_5977

  • Kale
  • Romaine Lettuce
  • Pulled rotisserie chicken breast
  • Feta Cheese
  • Halved Cherry Tomatoes
  • Diced Red Onion
  • Diced Cucumbers
  • Kalamata Olives (not on my salad!)
  • Sliced Almonds (if desired)
  • Salt
  • Lemon juice
  • Olive or coconut oil
  • Balsamic vinegar
  • Greek Yogurt Tzatziki

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Prepare the vegetables by dicing the onion, slicing the tomatoes, and washing and drying the lettuce (I use a salad spinner).
  2. Mix the lettuce and kale (bag from Costco or Walmart) in a large mixing bowl; pretend you’re at Zupas for extra fun…
  3. Add olive oil and balsamic vinegar to taste; I prefer a hearty amount for this one. Mix well until the lettuce and kale is covered.
  4. Next, place the lettuce and kale into your separate, single serving salad bowls; I learned this from my mother and grandmother. Because we like a heavy helping of all the salad toppings, we don’t mix them into the large mixing bowl with the lettuce/kale base; if I were to do that the best part of the salad would sink to the bottom and then you only get a good salad if your serving is plated last. (I call that the Olive Garden effect.)
  5. Add the chicken and squeeze lemon juice on top of it.
  6. Throw the tomatoes, onions, cucumbers, almonds, and feta onto the salad. Feta goes last because when you see feta, your brain gets excited! It needs to be the cherry on top in the Greek salad world.
  7. Sprinkle salt.
  8. Last, plop a dollop of Greek Yogurt Tzatiki on the top.

Note: S-Meal

 

 

 

Pinterest Fails! #ShareYourStory

Dear Fellow Pinners, 

downloadThey were the best of ideas, they were the worst of ideas.  And yet I love Pinterest.  In trying to explain why I like Pinterest, I usually find myself explaining it’s like digital magazine clipping.  My students say that it’s the Tumblr for old women.  Their idea of “old” is interesting because I think it would be more accurate to say that we Pinterest lovers are more often young or mid-aged.  (Maybe I just like thinking of myself as young.)

I love Pinterest for many reasons; whether it’s cooking up a something new, finding new holiday decorating ideas, keeping an eye out for teaching ideas or church activities and handouts, usually Pinterest doesn’t disappoint me.

However.

That being said.

I do think we’ve all had some Pinterest fails.

Have you seen those memes that say “what I thought I looked like/what I actually looked like” about exercising?  Well that’s I think what Pinterest often incurs in many of our attempts.  For example, this week!

What It Was Supposed to Look Like
What It Was Supposed to Look Like
WHAT IT ACTUALLY LOOKED LIKE
What It Actually Looked Like

Before I tell you about the pasta, I will say that though my “professional” picture here doesn’t look as appetizing as the picture of what it was supposed to look like, I will say that it tasted great!  We loved it.  So this was a visual fail.

My personality as a cook and as a Pinterest chef is to take the idea of a recipe and see how it fits my cupboards!  One roommate once asked me for a recipe I used for a vegetarian dish I love using sauteed peppers, onions, tomatoes, spices, and white beans.  My reply was something like, “you just throw in whatever sounds good.” That’s my style of cooking!

  • Noodles-check
  • Cheese-check
  • Chicken-check
  • Sun-dried tomatoes-check
  • Parsley-check

(Actually, the sun-dried tomatoes are what started this venture to begin with because I was looking for a recipe to use them in.)  I had noodles on hand, though not penne, and I already had cooked up some stock chicken to have ready to use in weeknight recipes (I usually cook on Sunday night so that I have stuff prepped for quicker meals during the week when I’m coming home from work, needing to fit the gym in, among other things like church or tutoring in the evenings).  I also knew that I had Parsley already, though not fresh.

May I just say in response to this recipe…If you are using 5 oz. of sun-dried tomatoes, then how is your dish not red? Had you not added the full amount when you took the picture? It’s a lovely picture, no insult intended, I am just baffled about why mine turned out so red.  Maybe those expert chefs out there can give me a pointer when using sun-dried tomatoes (I learn from others better than just a written recipe). 🙂


The above made me laugh, but below made me want to cry, tears of embarrassment!


My Worst Pinterest Fail

Maple Bacon Pancake Cupcakes–who wouldn’t want a pancake flavored cupcake, frosted with maple bacon buttercream frosting? Well, from the kitchen of Sarah using the Pinteresting recipe I had seen, this proved to be a DISASTER! First, you must understand that I already was breaking a cardinal rule of baking: never bake something you haven’t successfully made and tried before when you will be serving them to other people (Sometimes my “winging it” gets me in trouble).

I had committed to providing cupcakes for a carnival’s concession stand, even though cupcakes are not my strong suit; I’m better with cookies. While I’m not the best baker, I didn’t want people to think I couldn’t bake simple cupcakes; I’d considered using a box mix, but that didn’t seem good enough.  If these cupcakes were going to sell, then they couldn’t be just your plain old vanilla cupcake with birthday cake frosting; they had to be special– next time, I’ll choose a simple chocolate. Chocolate never fails me.  That’s what took me to Pinterest, the land of new ideas, bigger and better, more creative than you’re actually capable of…desserts!  Well, if you’ll notice by the picture…

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I can’t even show you a picture of the outcome because once I tasted this failure, I promptly threw them away so that I wouldn’t have to remember this occurred.  Without having tasted them (refer back to the cardinal taboo), I took them to the carnival, sat them on the table and then panicked, just then realizing that in my rush to get out the door, I hadn’t even tasted them.  I bought one and tasted it–YUCK! Blah. Bland.  Maple Bacon=a bad idea.  I ran to my friend who was running the stand and quickly explained the situation, embarrassed.  She graciously let me take the cupcakes and immediately dump them in a trash can out back, without saying a word.


My approach to life, to cooking, and to Pinterest is:

  • Is it simple?
  • Is it practical?
  • Will it help my life?
  • Can I adapt it?

It shouldn’t be a place where I compare myself to others or where I find more things to put on my to-do list.

Such as sowing plastic snack bags...really?
Such as sewing plastic snack bags…really?

I’ve often heard it said that your technology should be working for you, not the other way around.  It should be easing your load, not adding to it.

I love finding new recipes on Pinterest and on other websites, but sometimes yours might turn out a little different, and in my pasta case, that’s just fine (just don’t put an ugly picture online like I did).  It tasted good! And as my older sister would say, “you ‘git’ what you ‘git’ and you don’t complain.”  Other time though, it’s an epic baking failure that may hurt your pride. Just laugh it off!

My Diet Coke was perfect just like normal!
My Diet Coke was perfect just like normal!

What have been your best Pinterest fails? I’d love to hear about them! If you’re not shy, comment below! Or if you know how to cook with sun-dried tomatoes without them staining your pasta, let me know! 😉

Sincerely,

A Fellow Pinner

P.S. My mom’s the world’s best baker! No pressure or anything.