Pumpkin Sausage Soup with Crispy Kale

Well hello fall and goodbye sky. We’ve had an incredible amount of fog in the last week. I like it frankly, it is cool so I have been cozying down in my pjs and blanket. Watching the other buildings slowly disappear is weirdly calming. I don’t like the lack of sunshine, but I will take a few days of darkness here and there.

In other, exciting news, another NFB Digital Studio project has launched, this one is one of mine! Check out Similkameen Crossroads in your web browser. It is a gorgeous photographic and audio essay by Tyler Hagan. It launched at ImagiNative on Friday. Click through the photos while listening to the stories from the Similkameen Valley.

Pumpkinsausagesoup

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Massaged Kale Salad

MassagedKaleSalad

This recipe was sent to me some time ago by our wonderful friend Evi. She always sending me delicious recipes and I finally got around to making this one! I am sure I’ve mentioned it before, but I love kale, so does Gen. So finding new ways to integrate it into our diet is always great! This salad is super simple. Really, it is 5 or so ingredients, and a few minutes of your time. I’ve actually come to the conclusion that this would be a wonderful way to start an even more complex salad, a great way to integrate the benefits of avocado for the Apple Dijon Kale Salad. Really, the possibilities are endless and this is both an awesome salad on its own and really snazzy jumping-off point for many delicious variations. 

Massaged Kale Salad

Adapted from The Wannabe Chef.

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 cups kale, roughly chopped
  • 1 large avocado
  • juice of 1/2 lemon or lime
  • 2 stalks of celery, diced
  • 2 green onions, diced
  • 1 medium tomato, diced (optional, we didn’t have any at the time, still turned out delicious)
  • pinch of cayenne pepper (optional)
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • pinch of black pepper

DIRECTIONS

  1. In a large bowl, toss the kale with your lemon juice. 
  2. Cut the avocado up and plunk onto of kale.
  3. Remove any finger jewelery… it’s about to get messy.
  4. Massage the avocado into the kale for 5-8 minutes, until the kale is evenly coated in avocado and looking vibrantly green.
    You are looking to essentially mash the avocado into the kale leaves.
  5. Toss in your onions, celery, and tomato. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, and cayenne (if using).
  6. Serve alongside something hearty.
Pre-avocado rubdown!

Pre-avocado rubdown!

The terrible final image of a very tasty salad.

The terrible final image of a very tasty salad.

 

Kale & Sausage Soup

Well, this is not as gorgeous as my 100th post, my soups never are particularly attractive, but gosh darn it is delicious. I love kale and I love sausage and I was just hurting to have them together. This soup is super easy and comes together quickly (about 20 mins), quickly enough to make it after a long day at work. Topped with a couple slices of mozzarella, this is comfort at its best. Again though, sorry for the terrible pictures, I was hungry so I ate and snapped a couple of quick pics.

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Stuffed Shells & Apple Dijion Kale Salad

This meal rocks. I know that is tooting my own horn, but seriously, this is good eats. Gen, when he came home at 11pm and took a bite of the cold leftovers, said, “This is better than most restaurant food.” Not loving the “most,” but I’ll take it! The stuffed shells are cozy, warm, downhome eats. The salad is bright, tangy, and texture-rich. Awesome combo that I will surely make again. Once again, I found the salad on the wonderful Budget Bytes and made very slight adjustments. While most recipes for stuffed shells call for spinach, I LOVE Swiss chard, and it was on sale, so I used it instead. It adds a little sweetness and a nice variety of colour to the dish. Also, the step-by-step is PACKED with pictures… just a warning.

Stuffed Shells

Adapted from a Canadian Living recipe.

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 1/2 lb ground beef
  • 3 small (or 1.5 large) red onions, finely chopped
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 1/2 tsp dried basil
  • 1 1/2 tsp oregano
  • 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1 can (28 oz/796 mL) diced tomatoes
  • 1 can (28 oz/796 mL) tomato sauce
  • 1 box jumbo pasta shells (these were hard to find, I had to hit up 4 grocery stores… I was worried I’d have to stuff tiny little shells)
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 bunches (about 10 leaves) of Swiss chard (I used both the white and red versions)
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 4 green onions, chopped
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1 tub (475g) ricotta cheese

DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F
  2. In large pan, heat half of the oil over medium-high heat; cook beef, breaking up with spoon, for 8 minutes or until no longer pink. Drain fat, and remove meat from pan. Set aside.
  3. Trim your Swiss chard, removing the tips of the stems and any brown spots. Rinse the chard and cut/tear into quarters. Steam the chard until tender, about 10 minutes. Place steamed chard onto a tea towel to dry a bit.
  4. Add remaining oil to pan; sauté the onions and garlic for 5 minutes. Add basil, oregano, hot pepper flakes, salt, pepper, tomatoes, and tomato sauce. Return beef to pan; bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer, stirring often, for 20 to 25 minutes or until thickened.
  5. Meanwhile, in large pot of boiling salted water, cook pasta according to package directions until tender but firm. Drain and rinse under cold water; drain well and place on damp tea towel.
  6. Filling: Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine steamed Swiss chard, ricotta, Parmesan, mozzarella, parsley, onions, eggs, basil, nutmeg, and pepper.
  7. Pour half of the tomato-meat sauce into 13 x 9-inch casserole dish. Spoon heaping tablespoons of filling into each pasta shell. Arrange snugly, stuffed side up, in dish. Spoon remaining sauce over top; sprinkle with mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses. Cover with foil.
  8. Bake covered for 30 minutes. Uncover and bake for 20 minutes or until heated through.
  9. While baking, make salad!

Apple Dijion Kale Salad

From Budget Bytes.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 1/2 tbsp dijon mustard
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1 bunch kale
  • 1 medium granny smith apple
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/2 cup walnut halves

DIRECTIONS

  1. Tear or cut the kale leaves from the stems. Cut the leaves into 2-inch squares and then rinse well under cool water (in a colander). Allow the kale to drain as you prepare the rest of the salad.
  2. In a bowl combine the olive oil, apple cider vinegar, dijon mustard, clove of garlic, salt, and pepper. Using a hand blender, blend until the garlic is minced and the dressing is smooth.
  3. Wash the apple and chop it into chunks. Roughly chop the walnut halves. Make sure the kale is as dry as possible and then combine it in a large bowl with the apples, walnuts, and dried cranberries. Pour the dressing on top and toss to coat.

Step-by-steps

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F
  2. In large pan, heat half of the oil over medium-high heat; cook beef, breaking up with spoon, for 8 minutes or until no longer pink. Drain fat, and remove meat from pan. Set aside.
  3. Trim your Swiss chard, removing the tips of the stems and any brown spots. Rinse the chard and cut/tear into quarters. Steam the chard until tender, about 10 minutes. Place steamed chard onto a tea towel to dry a bit.

    Swiss chard is one of my favourites. Also wonderful steamed and sautéed with butter and garlic.

  4. Add remaining oil to pan; sauté the onions and garlic for 5 minutes. Add basil, oregano, hot pepper flakes, salt, pepper, tomatoes, and tomato sauce. Return beef to pan; bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer, stirring often, for 20 to 25 minutes or until thickened.

    Sautéed onions and garlic, with spices added!

  5. Meanwhile, in large pot of boiling salted water, cook pasta according to package directions until tender but firm. Drain and rinse under cold water; drain well and place on damp tea towel.

    Jumbo shell is like the mama of the regular shells. Awww so cute.

  6. Filling: Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine steamed Swiss chard, ricotta, Parmesan, mozzarella, parsley, onions, eggs, basil, nutmeg, and pepper.

    Stuffing for shells!

  7. Pour half of the tomato-meat sauce into 13 x 9-inch casserole dish. Spoon heaping tablespoons of filling into each pasta shell. Arrange snugly, stuffed side up, in dish. Spoon remaining sauce over top; sprinkle with mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses. Cover with foil.

    Stuffing the shells. They looked nice and neat until I had to start shoving them into places to finishing the filling batch.

  8. Bake covered for 30 minutes. Uncover and bake for 20 minutes or until heated through.

    Pre-oven layer confirmation. Niiiiice.

  9. While baking, make salad!

Salad! I have no idea why this picture is sideways… oh well.

Kale and Feta Braid with pine nuts and caramelized red onion

As evidenced by my kale chips of yesterday, I bought a ton of kale that I needed to use up, and I wanted to try something new. My mom makes this killer chicken and broccoli braid, which I will make one day, and I thinking of that tasty loaf, I decided to use up my extra kale, some of the BUCKET of feta that Gen brought home from Costco, the red onions I have on hand, and those pantry favourites, pine nuts. This was easy, delicious, and perfect as a meal. I also finally made my challah bread perfectly, so HUZZAH!

Kale & Feta Bread

Time: 1 hour of rest for the challah + 15 minutes prep of braid ingredients + 30 minutes rest of braid + 30 minutes baking= 2hrs 15 mins to deliciousness (totally worth it)

Ingredients

  • 1 large red onion
  • 1 bunch of kale
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts
  • 1 1/2 cup feta
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 egg
  • 1 1/2 tbsp poppy seeds

Directions

  1. Make your challah dough! It has to rest for 1 hr, so prepare for this.
  2. After the challah has rested for about 45 minutes, start the rest of the braid, saves you time!
  3. Wash kale, cut out the spine, and sauté with a drizzle of oil in a pan over high heat for 5-8 minutes, until wilted. Salt and pepper to taste. Set aside on paper towel to absorb excess moisture.
  4. Sauté onions with another drizzle of olive oil over high heat. Cook for 5-8 minutes until translucent and beginning to brown.  Set aside.
  5. Roll out 2/3 of the Challah dough (reserve the rest for some sugary rolls) into a rectangle, about 1/4-1/2 inch thick.
  6. Crumble the feta in a row down the centre of the dough. Layer the kale evenly on top of the feta, followed by the onions and pine nuts.
  7. Using a pizza cutter, cut 1 inch strips along the side of the dough. Twist the strips and pull across the filling, alternating sides. Fold the ends in and pinch to seal. Move the braid onto a parchmented cookie sheet. Allow to rest for 30 minutes.
  8. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  9. In a small bowl, beat the egg with a fork and brush onto the braid. Sprinkle with poppy seeds.
  10. Bake the braid for 20-25 minutes.

Step-by-step!

  1. Make your challah dough! It has to rest for 1 hr, so prepare for this.

    Dough ready to roll.

  2. After the challah has rested for about 45 minutes, start the rest of the braid, saves you time!
  3. Wash kale, cut out the spine, and sauté with a drizzle of oil in a pan over high heat for 5-8 minutes, until wilted. Salt and pepper to taste. Set aside on paper towel to absorb excess moisture.
  4. Sauté onions with another drizzle of olive oil over high heat. Cook for 5-8 minutes until translucent and beginning to brown.  Set aside.

    Onions and kale, cooking down.

  5. Roll out 2/3 of the Challah dough (reserve the rest for some sugary rolls) into a rectangle, about 1/4-1/2 inch thick.
  6. Crumble the feta in a row down the centre of the dough. Layer the kale evenly on top of the feta, followed by the onions and pine nuts.

    Layered and ready for ‘braiding’

  7. Using a pizza cutter, cut 1 inch strips along the side of the dough. Twist the strips and pull across the filling, alternating sides. Fold the ends in and pinch to seal. Move the braid onto a parchmented cookie sheet. Allow to rest for 30 minutes.

    Resting away.

  8. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  9. In a small bowl, beat the egg with a fork and brush onto the braid. Sprinkle with poppy seeds.

    Egg-washed and poppy-seeded, ready for the oven!

  10. Bake the braid for 20-25 minutes.

So flipping tasty!

Kale Chips, easy and delicious treat that is healthy!

Kale is tasty when sautéed with some garlic, but I’ve been hearing so much about kale chips, that I had to try for myself. Kale was super cheap at IGA on the weekend, so I bought a couple bunches and gave it a shot. These are so thin and crisp, so delicious! Most of them kept their deep green colour, which I liked, but those that browned a little were still fantastic. These can be easily flavoured, and I am going to try that with my next batch, but the simple salt and olive oil version was great for a first shot. Don’t be afraid of these, I was, crispy greens is not something that normally tickles my fancy, but this just seemed right.

Kale Chips

Three ingredients

  • 1 head of kale
  • 2 tbsps olive oil
  • salt to taste (I used about 1 tsp)

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 280°F
  2. Wash your kale.
  3. Cut away the… spine… of the kale leafs. Cut the kale into 2-3 inch pieces.
  4. Place kale on a parchment-papered cookie tray, sprinkle with oil and toss to coat.
  5. Sprinkle with salt, toss again to evenly salt.
  6. Spread the pieces fairly evenly on the tray.
  7. Cook for ten minutes, gently flip, cook for another 10. Devour.

Tossed in oil, ready for some salt (and spices in the future, check back next week!)

Munching time! Gen loved these.