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.

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

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.


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!


Oh, Stuff It!

I’ve been doing a lot more cooking at home, lately, and planning ahead on my shopping trips to take advantage of specials at the grocery store. I used to be really good at that, and then started spoiling myself with all kinds of fancy food and just shopping all willy nilly without a list because apparently I thought there was a money tree out back.

NOTE: There’s not. I looked.

So, now, I plan a little. I think about when I’ll be home for dinner during the week, and how much effort I want to put into cooking for myself. Whether you’re a semi-professional like me, or not, it seems to be so difficult to get motivated to cook for one, right? Or maybe you are always cooking for an army and you want to smack me upside the head right now for complaining about this. That’s ok, too. For me, it’s just way more fun on the weekends when I get to cook for the boyfriend or make food to bring to someone else.

This recipe for Pork Chops Stuffed with Kale and Red Bell Peppers made use of a sale on boneless pork chops, some kale I already had on hand, and half a red bell pepper that wasn’t going to make it to the end of the week.  It was super easy to pull together in the absolutely laziest way I possibly could, and bonus! I had a leftover chop for lunch the next day.

oven safe skillet
baking sheet or pan (if you don’t have an oven safe skillet)
knife and cutting board
spoon or spatula
small spoon to use when stuffing the pork chops
toothpicks (optional)
aluminum foil
platter or plate


salt and pepper
2 boneless pork chops
1 tablespoon canola oil
2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1/2 of a red bell pepper, julienned
2 cups baby kale, or regular kale, chopped

Pre-heat the oven to 375º.

Cut a pocket into one side of each pork chop. Be careful not to cut all the way through.

Season both sides as well as inside the little pocket with salt and pepper (or use whatever spice blend you like).

Heat your skillet to what I can best describe as “screaming hot.” If you can’t hold your hand one inch above the surface for longer than 5 or 6 seconds, it’s hot enough. This is so you can get a good, quick sear on the outside of your chops. Do not put any oil in the pan.

Lay each chop into the pan, and just leave it alone for a couple of minutes. Don’t smoosh it or move it around or anything. Let that hot pan do its job. Flip the chops over and do the same thing on the other side. You want to see some good color, but you’re not trying to cook the chops through right now.

When both sides have been seared, remove the chops from the pan and reduce the heat to medium-low.

Give the pan a few minutes to come down in temperature, then add the oil to the pan. Toss in the garlic and let it cook until it just starts to get some color… it should take less than a minute. Then add your bell peppers and cook for another 2-3 minutes, until they start to soften.


Add the kale and give it a stir to get the wilting started, then season the veggies with a pinch of salt and pepper. The kale will reduce down quite a bit.


Take the pan off the heat. Spoon the kale/red pepper mixture into the pocket of each pork chop. I kind of over-stuffed mine, and I didn’t use a toothpick to hold it shut. I probably should have, but I am sometimes a lazy mofo. If you want your chops to look a little prettier than mine, go ahead and grab a couple toothpicks to hold them closed.


If you have an oven safe skillet, you can just cover it with foil and put it directly into the oven. If you don’t, just transfer the stuffed chops to your baking sheet or pan and cover that with foil. Pop them into the oven for 15-18 minutes, or the internal temperature of the thickest part of each chop reaches 155º. Once they’re out of the oven, let the chops rest, covered, on a plate or platter for about 10 minutes to let the juices redistribute and so the carry-over cooking can bring the meat fully up to temp.

I ate my pork chop with some pan roasted Brussels sprouts because I am currently very obsessed with them. You can eat yours with whatever tickles your fancy, since these already have some veggies inside of them.


Happy cooking!

So, what exactly is a superfood anyway?

I’m about to drop some truth. Yep. Right there on your head. I hope it doesn’t spin your whole world into a tizzy, but it’s happening, so get ready.

There’s no such thing as a superfood, from a nutritional and a medical standpoint. It’s a marketing word created by some ad agency genius. Yes, genius, because it worked. Seriously, go on Pinterest right now and search for “superfood.” There’s a list of foods a mile long.

Do not misunderstand. I’m not saying the foods on those lists aren’t good for you. They’re great for you! They’re full of good stuff like antioxidants and phytonutrients and, well, yeah, lots of really good things. You should eat the foods on those lists because your body will appreciate being well taken care of. But, that’s all a superfood really is– a food that is good for you because it contains the vitamins and nutrients your body needs to function and feel good. It’s food that is super for you!

So, when I show you how to throw together this salad, I’m calling it a “Superfood” salad because it tastes super, it’s super satisfying, it’s made of foods that are super for you, and it’s super easy to make. I made it for myself for lunch because I have this horrific flu straight from the depths of hell and I am desperately shoving anything that is good for me into my body until it decides to straighten up and fight back. I have literally been eating an apple a day since Monday. No joke.

This salad with roasted lemon-ginger vinaigrette contains:

Baby kale: Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin K, copper, potassium, iron, protein, calcium
Toasted pumpkin seeds: magnesium, zinc, omega-3, fiber, antioxidants
Fresh blueberries: Vitamin C, Vitamin E, riboflavin, niacin, folate, phytonutrients
Shredded Brussels sprouts: low-glycemic properties, protein, fiber, Vitamin C, antioxidants, Vitamin K
Roasted Lemon: Vitamin C, calcium, magnesium, pectin
Ginger: anti-inflammatory, anti-nausea, may reduce blood pressure, and when consumed ahead of time, may help reduce the damage to your liver caused by taking acetaminophen
Olive oil: reduces risk of high blood pressure, stroke, and high cholesterol, anti-inflammatory, and may have a slight protective effect against depression


Aluminum foil
Knife and cutting board
Small grater (or the small side of a box grater)
Large Bowl
Small bowl (for making the vinaigrette)

1 Lemon (I used two because I have plans for the second one later next week)
1 large knob of ginger, to produce about 1 tablespoon of grated ginger
1/3 cup olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
1 cup of shredded/thinly sliced Brussels sprouts
1 cup of fresh blueberries
1/4 cup of toasted pumpkin seeds
3-4 cups baby kale (or full sized kale, cut into thin strips)

For the vinaigrette:

Heat your oven to 450º.

Poke several small holes in the lemon.

Place it on a medium sized sheet of aluminum foil with a small pinch of salt and pepper, then wrap the whole thing up into a little package and roast it for about 20 minutes.

While that’s roasting, take the skin off of your knob of ginger with a spoon. Don’t use a knife, because you’ll probably take off more than just skin and the outer layer of ginger is the bit with all the flavor. Instead, use the edge of the spoon to scrape off the thin outer skin of the ginger, then grate the peeled ginger directly into the small bowl you’re going to use to make the dressing.



When you take the lemon out of the oven, open it over the bowl to catch any juice that might have already come out. Squeeze the rest of the juice into the bowl, being careful to catch any seeds. Mix the ginger into the lemon juice. Slowly drizzle the olive oil into the lemon-ginger mixture while whisking briskly. The ingredients should start to emulsify.

I’m sorry I don’t have pictures of this step. I blame all the crap clogging up my noggin area. However,  I found a great video on how to make a basic vinaigrette that shows you the whole whisking thing at :47


Alternatively, put all three ingredients plus a little salt and pepper into a jar with a lid and shake it like a Polaroid picture until it all comes together.

For the salad:

Thinly slice your Brussels sprouts. Alternatively, you could peel each tiny leaf off one by one… if you have all the time in the world and no place to be for the next little while. But yeah, let’s just go with the shredding thing.


Roast your pumpkin seeds in a dry pan, just until they start to get some color.


Toss the Brussels sprouts and the kale together in your large bowl. Top with the toasted pumpkin seeds and fresh blueberries. Drizzle with the vinaigrette.

Ta da!


Have a super time making/eating this super salad that will make you feel super.