easy

You’re Kale-ing Me!

The boyfriend and I are working on a few things when it comes to the food/eating situation in our house. First, we’re trying to cook together at least once a week, because it’s fun, and because I work most nights, so our time together is limited to a couple nights a week and the three or four hours I’m awake on the weekend days before I have to go back to work. Also, we’re trying to get our meals prepped ahead of time for at least a few days. He’s been better about that than I have because he’s got these slow cooker meals he throws together that have been providing him with lunches for the whole month. And finally, we’re trying to eat just a little healthier through the week, so we can still go have beers and nachos, wings, etc. on the weekend. Soup seems to be an easy “go to” for us at least a couple times a month.

I think my love of soup is pretty well established, right? I’ve seen several versions of a Kale and Sausage soup on Pinterest, other blogs, and various other websites. For some reason, I’d never actually made one, and I thought it was about time. This one is packed with flavor, a little smoky, and requires no additional salt. The recipe is bulked out a bit for guaranteed leftovers, but only takes about 45 minutes (including non-active cooking time) to come together.

Equipment:
Your favorite large soup pot
Spoon for stirring
Can opener
Knife and cutting board
Measuring cup and spoons

Ingredients:
1 large yellow onion, medium dice
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
1 14 oz smoked turkey sausage, cut into 1 inch chunks
1 can diced tomatoes (I used the Italian ones with oregano and basil because they were on sale, but use whatever you like)
2 cans cannellini beans, drained but not rinsed
6 cups low sodium chicken broth
2 bunches kale, cut into 1-1.5 inch strips (I used the curly kale that might also be called Scots kale because I feel like it holds up better in soup. Use whatever’s available, though.)

In the bottom of the soup pot, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the garlic and stir until it just starts to give off some fragrance–less than 30 seconds, probably. Then add the onions and stir. Saute until the onions are soft. Add the smoked paprika and sausage. Stir well and cook for about 2 minutes. The sausage doesn’t have to brown. You’re just giving each ingredient time to make friends with the others to build layers of flavor.

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Add the can of tomatoes, stir, and let everything cook together for another couple minutes. Then, repeat with the two cans of beans.

Stir in the chicken broth, bring it to a boil, and add the kale. It’s probably going to look like way too much for the pot at first, but just push it down into the soup until you can get a lid on the pot. Turn the heat down to medium and let it bubble away for about 5-7 minutes. This will help the kale wilt down. Uncover, give the whole thing another stir, and let it simmer for 15-20 minutes. Give it a taste to see if you think it needs any additional seasoning. I felt like it didn’t need any additional salt, but your palate might be different.

Happy Soup-ing!

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Two Ingredients = Magic

Hi!

This one is going to be a quicky, but I just had to share this amazingly quick and easy recipe with you, courtesy of Tasting Table. When it first came across my Facebook news feed I thought, “No way is it that easy. This will never work.” But, it is, and it did. And if you’ve ever felt cornered into bringing something to a bake sale or potluck, or gotten stuck on what to make for dessert, you’re gonna wanna bookmark this because it may just become a go to recipe. The great thing is that you can make it a different flavor every single time without ever changing the number of ingredients. Just pick a different ice cream flavor!

Tasting Table’s Ice Cream Bread

Equipment:
Loaf pan (I just used an aluminum throwaway recycle one from the grocery store)
Large mixing bowl
Mixing Spoon

Ingredients:
2 cups (1 pint) any flavor full fat ice cream – I went with Ben & Jerry’s Cherry Garcia
1.5 C Self rising flour (AP won’t work here)
Pan spray

Instructions:

1. Preheat your oven to 350.

2. Let the ice cream sit out for an hour or so to melt/soften. Then, dump it into a bowl and add the flour. Mix the flour and melty ice cream together until it’s a smooth batter. It will be a fairly thick batter.

BLOG_mix3. Spray your loaf pan with the pan spray, and then pour in the batter. Smooth it out a little on top if you want.

4. Bake for 25-35 minutes. Their recipe says 25-30 minutes, but I’m horrible about letting the oven fully preheat, so mine took a little longer. Just test it with a table knife or a skewer at around the 25 minute mark. If it needs to go longer, no worries.

5. Remove from the oven when it’s done and let it cool slightly, then remove it from the loaf pan to let it finish cooling completely.

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The Tasting Table recipe/article says this bread will come out sweet enough that you could top it with more ice cream. I also think you could use any sort of sweet sauce and some whipped cream, or some fruit and whipped cream, depending on what flavor ice cream you use, but it’s also not super sweet, so you could just use it as is. The texture is somewhere between cake and bread– dense and sturdy but not heavy.

BLOG_insideI seriously could not believe how easy it was. And since there’s really just some stirring involved, you could even get the kids in on the fun.

Happy Weekend!

It’s a Non-judgmental Lentil

I just very nearly typed, “It’s been a long week,” and then I realized it’s only Monday. Good grief.

Next Sunday is Superbowl Sunday. There will be gatherings of people crowded around televisions to watch the sports ball while simultaneously putting food in their faceholes. Ahhh, tradition.

I always thought it was a little unfair that just after so many of us have had a decent January of eating healthy and getting our bodies out of Holiday Food Coma-geddon, they go and drop a day full of  deep fried, sauced, beerified, cheesy, crunchy snacks on us. I love those snacks. So, so much. *wistful sigh*

But I have an alternative for you. Or, if not an alternative to the whole array of goodies, maybe an alternative for one of the things on your game day plate. It’s kind of a dip… hummus-y sort of thing that is packed with flavor.

It was inspired by this Roasted Garlic and Red Lentil soup posted by Patricia over at Grab a Plate. I thought it sounded awesome as a soup, but maybe equally as delightful as a dip. I experimented a bit, and came up with this little ditty. You can do some of the prep, like cooking the lentils and roasting the garlic, a day ahead and then whir everything up in the blender on the day of the game. Or the day of the sitting at home watching Empire on Hulu while avoiding any mention of football altogether and snacking your face off.

Equipment:
1 medium bowl
1 medium pot
1 baking sheet
measuring cups and spoons
aluminum foil
spoon
knife and cutting board
blender

Ingredients:
1 cup red lentils, soaked for 30 minutes just covered in water
1 cup water and 1 cup chicken or vegetable stock
1 whole garlic bulb
salt and pepper
1/4 cup + 1 tablespoon olive oil
1 1/2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 tsp ground coriander seed
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 400º.

In a medium pot, combine 1 cup water, 1 cup of stock, and the lentils. Bring to a boil over medium-high, then lower the heat to a simmer and cover for 30 to 40 minutes until the lentils are tender.

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While the lentils are cooking, divide the garlic bulb in half horizontally, place it on a piece of aluminum foil, drizzle with 1 tablespoon of olive oil and season with salt and pepper.

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Wrap the whole thing up and pop it in the oven for about 40 minutes. When it comes out, it’ll be all roasty and sweet and mellow and smooshy and just really freaking delicious.

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Once the garlic is out of the oven and the lentils are ready, pour the lentils, as much garlic as you like, the red wine vinegar, and the ground coriander into the blender. Pulse 5 or 6 times to combine, then let the blender run while you stream in 1/4 cup of olive oil. Taste for seasoning, adjust, pulse a couple more times, then, viola! You’ve got dip.

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You can drizzle a little more olive oil on top, kind of like the way you serve hummus.

Also, you can play around with the seasonings to your hearts content. I imagine some curry spice would be interesting, or maybe a little smoky cumin. Give it a whirl!

Veni Vidi Veggie

I came, I saw, I veggied. That’s how Latin works, right?

I am going to preface this whole thing by reassuring you all that I’m not going full on vegetarian. I could do that, but I could also walk into the path of an oncoming city bus. I might survive it, but the rest of my life wouldn’t be much fun afterwards, right? Same same.

However, sometimes I just don’t feel like standing in a hot kitchen and filling it with the smells of cooking meat. I mean, it’s sort of a commitment, you know? You’re deciding that this is what you want your apartment to smell like for the next three hours or more.

So, I decided to keep dinner last night really simple. It was kind of an experiment… a tiny seedling of a thought that sprouted into sustenance. But, it turned out pretty delicious so I thought I’d share.  This recipe would serve 4 people as a side dish, or two people as a main dish.

Equipment:
Saute pan
Pot to cook the rice
Spoon, spatula, whatever you have handy for stirring and whatnot
Measuring cup and spoons
Knife and cutting board

Ingredients:
1 poblano pepper, deseeded, cut in half lengthwise and then cut into slices
2 portobello mushrooms, cleaned of dirt and stems removed, sliced
1 T vegetable oil (canola or whatever you have is fine)
2 C cooked rice (I used brown rice. Brown rice takes forever to cook. If you want to use the boil in bag kind or the microwave kind, I will not judge. This is supposed to be easy, yeah?)
1/2 C of your favorite salsa (I used Trader Joe’s Salsa Verde)
1/3 C plain, non-fat yogurt
1/2 tsp some sort of Latin or Spanish spice blend. I used the paella spice blend I got in my June Hatchery box
Salt and pepper to taste

Mix the salsa into the cooked rice. Set aside.

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Mix the spice blend into the yogurt, and season with S & P to taste. Set aside.

Saute your mushrooms and peppers together until the mushrooms have given off their liquid and both ingredients have taken on some color. Season to taste with S & P.

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Mound some of the salsa rice into the center of the plate. Arrange some mushrooms and peppers on top. Drizzle the whole thing with your yogurt sauce.

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It really doesn’t get much easier than that unless you’re cooking from a box or something, yeah? The salsa really adds a ton of flavor to the rice without much effort at all, and that yogurt sauce gives it a nice, tangy finish.

You could jazz this up even further with some fresh corn, red peppers, maybe some jalapeno if you like it spicier. Much like life in general, it really all depends on how much effort you want to put into it.

Just roll with it…

People, it’s been an interesting week. And by interesting, I mean, I’m glad it’s over and next week needs to be less interesting. But, if we’re going to think about the positives of the week, the fact that I had a healthy lunch, in fact, one of my favorite healthy lunches/snacks is at the top of the list. I’m going to show it to you, and show you how to do make it, and your mind is going to be blown by how completely lazy I am easy this is to make for yourself.

Dude, it’s spring rolls. It’s non-complicated. It’s go to the store, buy some rice paper, hit the salad bar for the assemblage of shredded vegetables of your choice, and buy a bottle of peanut sauce. I’m not even going to list out all the ingredients and the equipment because it’s your hands and a bowl. YOUR HANDS AND A BOWL.

Lookit. You buy a package of rice paper wrappers. They’re in the Asian aisle of nearly every grocery store with more than 6 aisles. They’re like, $2 or less a package, and you’re going to get more than you need for one lunch in that package, which means you can make spring rolls over and over again. Grab yourself a bottle of peanut sauce, or tamari, or soy sauce, or fancy mango chili blah blah blah. Whatever kind of sauce you like will probably be delicious, so just get some.

Then, you walk over to the salad bar and check out the shredded veggies. Do you want to stand at your kitchen counter shredding things? Do you have the time/motivation to make perfect juliennes? No, you really don’t. Not when someone at the grocery store is already paid to do that for you with a machine. Get some random combination of shredded vegetable matter and go to the check out. You’re done shopping. No really, you’re done shopping. Ok, maybe grab some of those Reese’s cups, but that’s it. Now you’re really done.

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So, you went there. You got those things. Go home. Fill up a bowl with some hot water. Dunk a rice paper wrapper in the hot water until it becomes all flimsy and soft. Lay it on a cutting board or your counter or a plate or whatever, put some of your shredded veggies on there towards the bottom third, roll it up like a burrito.

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Here, this will help. I’ll give you a minute to watch.

Look, right there. That’s a spring roll. If you want to add some chicken or shrimp or,  yanno, sliced up baloney, do it! (Not the baloney. Ok, maybe the baloney, but maybe not.)

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Make another one. Then another one. Now you have a whole plate full. Pour your sauce into a little cup and put it on the plate with all those delicious, healthy, beautiful spring rolls.

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Put it in your face. Eat it. It’s delicious. It took longer to explain it than it will to do it, I promise. These are good for all summer, especially if you’re getting bored of salads. I know vegetables is vegetables, but make them look interesting. Put some thought into it instead of just dumping that bag of mixed leaves on a plate and drowning it in ranch.

You can do this. I have faith in you.