Bacon Fried Rice

This is a childhood classic.   My mom would make this fairly regularly when we were growing up.  It’s a great way to reinvent leftovers.  This is perfect if you have some leftover rice from getting take-out, or just make a bit extra and save it for this.  Day old rice is perfect in this recipe.  Other than the rice and bacon, you can add whatever you like.  Frozen peas were classic growing up, but whatever veggies you have on hand will be great in this.  It comes together quickly in just one pan, now that’s what I call comfort food!

Bacon Fried RiceBacon Fried Rice (A Seat at the Table)

Serves 6-8

  • 3 slices bacon, diced
  • 2 Tbsp canola oil, divided
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 1 1/2 cups diced carrots
  • 1 cup diced celery
  • 1 bell pepper, diced
  • 4 cups chopped kale
  • 4 cups rice
  • 4 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp soy sauce
  • salt and pepper, to taste

In a large skillet, cook bacon over medium high heat with about 1 tsp canola oil (this helps the bacon crisp).  When bacon is cooked, add the onion and sauté until translucent, then add the carrots and celery.  When the vegetables are tender, wilt the kale.  Add the rice and mix well.  When the rice begins to stick to the bottom of the pan, add the remaining oil, and mix well.  Make a space in the skillet and pour in the eggs.  Scramble the eggs briefly, then mix them into the rest of the fried rice.   Pour soy sauce over the top and season with salt and pepper, then mix well.  Taste and adjust seasoning as needed.  Serve immediately and enjoy!

Advertisements

Greek Kale Salad

Back to my kale eating ways!  This was something I was able to throw together with whatever I had on hand.  It’s easy and super delicious.  It’s easy to keep feta and olives on hand and during the summer months I usually have some tomatoes, cucumbers on hand too, so this is perfect when you don’t feel like putting a lot of work into your salad but you still want to eat your vegetables.  Kale adds some extra nutrients and staying power to this Greek salad.  If you want to make this more of a main dish just add in some chickpeas or grilled chicken.  Perfect for a weeknight dinner or lunch.

Greek Kale SaladGreek Kale Salad (A Seat at the Table)

Serves 4-6

  • 1 bunch kale, stems removed and chopped
  • 1 cucumber, chopped
  • 2 bell peppers, chopped
  • 2 medium tomatoes, chopped
  • 4 oz feta, crumbled
  • 1/4 cup kalamata olives, chopped
  • Italian dressing to taste

In a large bowl, add kale and about 2-3 Tbsp of Italian dressing, massage the kale until tender.  Add remaining ingredients and serve.

Strawberry Avocado Kale Salad

This recipe is a little bit of a different take on Strawberry Spinach Salad.  The kale makes this a bit heartier, the avocado adds some great healthy fats and creaminess; strawberries for sweetness, and pecans for crunch.  The best thing about raw kale salads is that they’re hearty.  You could easily make this at the beginning of the week, and have easy lunches all week long.  Kale is also full of good for you vitamins, and is high in calcium!  While kale might be a bit intimidating, it’s quite easy to turn into a delicious meal.  Since kale is rather tough, if you plan to eat it raw you have to massage it.  I know it sounds weird, and I too have felt the “if anything’s getting a massage it should be me” thoughts, but alas, your raw kale wants a massage too.  All you have to do is rub the salad dressing into the leaves.  You’ll know you’re doing it right when the leaves turn a brighter green, look glossy, and have already softened up a bit.  It doesn’t take long to do a whole bowl of kale, so don’t let this deter your raw kale eating ways!

Strawberry Avocado Kale SaladStrawberry Avocado Kale Salad (A Seat at the Table)

Serves 4

Adapted from Two Peas and Their Pod

Lemon Poppyseed Dressing:

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 1/2 lemons, juiced (about 3 Tbsp)
  • 1 Tbsp honey
  • 1 tsp poppyseeds
  • salt and pepper to taste

Salad:

  • About 8 cups raw kale, stems removed and torn into bite size pieces (or enough to fill a large bowl, it reduces to about half the amount after it’s massaged)
  • 2 cups sliced strawberries
  • 1 avocado, chopped
  • 2 oz feta, crumbled (optional)
  • 3/4 cup pecans, toasted and chopped

In a measuring cup, whisk together the dressing ingredients.  Place raw kale in a large bowl, pour about 1/2 of the dressing onto the kale, and then massage the kale (rub the leaves between your hands), until kale is bright green and glossy.  Add remaining salad ingredients and serve.  Store in the fridge for about 3 days (although best to leave off the pecans until ready to serve).

Raw Kale and Tofu Salad with Citrus Dressing

This salad was super delicious.  There’s lots of delicious stuff going on in this salad.  Tofu and edamame add protein, the vegetables add a variety of color, texture and nutrients, and the dressing adds a punch of delicious citrusy flavor with salty-sweet flavors from the soy sauce and honey.  The ground flaxseed adds a really interesting texture and adds healthy omega-3s to this vitamin rich meal.  This is definitely not a boring salad.  It’s great all on its own or would be awesome paired with some fish (salmon would be my preference) or grilled shrimp.

If you have the time/forethought, I’d recommend pressing the tofu and making the dressing the day before serving, and then letting the tofu marinate overnight before you make the rest of the salad.  Or if you’d like to make it all ahead of time just keep the rest of the veggies separate from the dressed kale so they don’t get soggy.

Raw Kale and Tofu Salad with Citrusy DressingRaw Kale and Tofu Salad with Citrus Dressing

Serves 4-6

Adapted from Clean Eating

  • 2 (14oz) packages firm tofu, pressed and cut into 1/2″ cubes
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
  • 1/2 cup rice wine vinegar
  • 2 oranges, juiced
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 3 Tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 Tbsp honey
  • 2 Tbsp peeled and grated fresh ginger
  • 1 Tbsp sesame oil
  • 2 Tbsp ground flaxseeds
  • 2 bunches kale, deveined and chopped
  • 1/2 cucumber, diced
  • 2 carrots, peeled and shredded
  • 2 scallions, thinly sliced
  • 1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup red cabbage, shredded
  • 1 cup shelled frozen edamame, thawed

Preheat oven to 500°F.  Grease a 9×13″ pan with cooking spray and add pressed and cut tofu in a single layer.Tofu and Kale Salad with Citrusy Dressing

In a blender or food processor, blend garlic, vinegar, orange juice, lime juice, soy sauce, honey, ginger, and sesame oil until smooth.  Pour half of the mixture over the tofu and toss until coated.  Bake for about 30-40 minutes, toss several times to ensure even browning.

Meanwhile, add flaxseeds to the remaining dressing and blend.  In a large bowl, add chopped kale.  Pour 1/3 of the dressing over the kale and then use your clean hands to massage the dressing into the kale.  You want each leaf to turn dark green, glossy and tender.  Add remaining ingredients and toss to combine.  When the tofu is ready, top the salad with tofu and additional dressing as needed.

Sesame Kale

I’ve been craving kale lately.  Definitely an odd craving, but at least it’s healthy!  With all the great nutrients found in kale (vitamins K and C, calcium, iron…) it’s a great winter vegetable.  This is one of my favorite ways to eat kale.  The dressing is salty, sweet, and nutty from the toasted sesame oil.

Sesame KaleSesame Kale

Serves 4-6

  • 1 bunch kale
  • 3 Tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 Tbsp mirin (rice wine)
  • 1 Tbsp rice vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp sesame oil
  • 2 tsp honey
  • sesame seeds

In a large pot, fill the bottom of your pot with enough water to cover the bottom with 1/2″ water.  Place your steamer in the pot and fill with bite size pieces of kale, removing the stems as you go.  Cover the pot with a lid and turn heat on high.  Steam for about 8-10 minutes, until kale is bright green and tender.  While the kale cooks, whisk together the remaining ingredients.  When the kale is finished, run cold water over it and put in a bowl.  Drizzle with dressing and then sprinkle with sesame seeds and serve.  Delicious room temperature or cold.

Spiced Stuffed Acorn Squash

This stuffed squash was DELICIOUS!  This will definitely be a regular recipe for me.  It took quite a bit of searching to find an acorn squash recipe I liked the sound of.  So many vegetarian squash recipes out there don’t sound like a main dish (in that they don’t have a lot of protein), so I was really intrigued by the chickpeas.  I also liked the inclusion of some extra veggies that I don’t normally think of in a stuffing but worked out really well.

I’m not sure this is the right name for this since it’s pretty hard to describe in a word or two, the main seasoning is garam masala.  Garam masala is a warm spice blend typically used in Northern Indian/South Asian cuisine.  It has a lot of those warm baking spices like cinnamon and cardamom, so it works really well with this slightly sweet, but savory dish.  I’m not normally a fan of celery or raisins, but in this dish they work wonderfully.  Although if you can’t get your mind wrapped around celery you might be able to use frozen peas instead, and if you don’t want to give golden raisins a chance then you can use dried cranberries instead.  But really I think it was absolutely perfect as is.  Definitely make extra because the leftovers are just as delicious.

Spiced Stuffed Acorn SquashSpiced Stuffed Acorn Squash

Serves 14

Adapted from Mountain Mama Cooks

  • 7 acorn squashes, cut in half and scoop insides out
  • olive oil, kosher salt and pepper to taste
  • 3 Tbsp brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp garam masala
  • 1/2 tsp table salt
  • 1 head of celery, about 10 stalks, chopped
  • 6 scallions, finely chopped
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 bunch kale, stems removed and leaves chopped
  • 3 1/2 cups cooked buckwheat (or barley, couscous, etc)
  • 4 tsp garam masala
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 cups golden raisins
  • 3 cups canned chickpeas, drained and rinsed

Preheat oven to 375°F.  Line a large baking sheet with foil and set aside.

Drizzle olive oil on the insides of your prepared acorn squash, sprinkle with kosher salt and pepper, and stab the insides repeatedly with a fork.  Place squash cut side down on prepared baking sheet.  Bake for about 35-40 minutes, until just fork tender (the fork should be able to pierce the skin pretty easily.  In a small bowl, whisk together brown sugar, 1/2 tsp garam masala and 1/2 tsp (table) salt.  In the last five minutes of baking, carefully flip the squash over and sprinkle with brown sugar mixture.  Return to oven to finish baking until fork tender and brown sugar has melted, about 5 minutes.Stuffed Squash and Roasted Cabbage

While squash bakes, prepare the filling.  In a large sauté pan or wok, heat a little olive oil over medium heat.  Add celery, scallions, and garlic, cooking until tender.  Stir in kale.  As kale begins to soften, add in the cooked buckwheat and the garam masala, cumin, and salt.  Mix well.  Just before flipping the squash, add in the raisins and chickpeas, mix to warm through.

When the squash is done, carefully transfer to your serving dish and then scoop filling into the center of the squash.  Serve and enjoy!

Veggie Greek Yogurt Dip

In this season of lots of holiday parties, and lots of desserts and cookies, it’s the perfect time for a veggie dip.  This dip is a great healthy way to sneak some more vegetables into your diet and makes a great addition to any holiday party.  This has tons of flavor and is great with Pretzel Crisps, chips, crackers (I recommend Dill Triscuits), or extra vegetables.  Using Greek yogurt instead of sour cream adds extra protein.

Veggie Greek Yogurt DipVeggie Greek Yogurt Dip

Makes about 3 cups, about 10 servings

Adapted from How Sweet It Is

  • 2 heaping cups of plain Greek yogurt (I used 0% Chobani, but whatever your favorite is)
  • 3 Tbsp reduced fat mayonnaise
  • 2 Tbsp honey
  • 2 cups finely chopped kale
  • 3 scallions, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 red pepper, finely chopped
  • 2-3 large carrots, peeled and grated
  • 2 small cloves garlic, minced or pressed
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper
  • 1/4 tsp smoked paprika

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl.  Mix well.  You want the vegetables to be as small as possible to mix in well with the dip.  Refrigerate for at least an hour before serving.  Taste and adjust seasoning as needed.

Black Bean Pumpkin Patties with Raw Kale Salad

I made this dish for Tuesday’s School of Christian Living dinner, and it was SUPER popular!  I have to admit I was really shocked by how much people liked this meal.  I was taking a chance on the raw kale.  I love salad and raw veggies, but I know they frequently feel like “health” food in the worst sense of the word.  And while this is definitely a healthy meal, it works together so perfectly.  The patties are creamy and tender with fragrant spices, the kale is hearty and chewy with a tart vinaigrette rubbed into each leaf.  It’s definitely a perfect pairing and works so much better than rolls would for these patties because they are so tender and creamy they would just blend with rolls.  With this salad, the patties really shine!

Black Bean Pumpkin Patties with Raw Kale SaladBlack Bean Pumpkin Patty on Raw Kale Salad

Serves 10-12

Adapted from Sprouted Kitchen

Salad:

  • 2 bunches curly kale
  • 1 romaine heart
  • 1 bunch cilantro
  • 1 lb. carrots, peeled and shredded
  • 3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 1/4 cup rice vinegar
  • 2 tsp ground coriander
  • salt and pepper to taste

Black Bean Pumpkin Patties:

Black Bean Pumpkin Patties

  • 6 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 9 scallions, chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups pumpkin puree (I used fresh, but one 15oz can should work)
  • 1 Tbsp chili powder
  • 2 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 Tbsp cumin
  • 2 1/2 cups cooked and cooled brown rice
  • 3 (15oz) cans black beans
  • 6 Tbsp flaxmeal
  • 1 cup quick cooking oats (or bread crumbs, or rolled oats briefly processed)
  • olive oil for cooking

To make the salad, tear the kale from the stems and into small bite size pieces, place in a large serving bowl.  In a measuring cup, whisk together the oil, lime juice, vinegar, coriander, salt and pepper.  Drizzle 1/3 to 1/2 the dressing on the kale and then massage the leaves.  Rub the dressing into the leaves until they’re all glossy and shiny looking.  Let sit while you assemble the rest of the meal (the kale can sit like this for about a week without getting soggy and unappealing like normal lettuce).  Just before serving, chop the romaine and cilantro, toss with grated carrots and kale.  Toss with a bit more dressing to taste, or serve it on the side.

In a food processor, combine garlic, scallions, pumpkin, chili powder, salt and cumin, pulse until well mixed.  Add rice,  2/3 of the beans, flaxmeal and oats, pulse to combine.  Remove mixture from food processor into a large bowl and mix in the remaining whole black beans.  At this point you can refrigerate it until you’re ready to cook.

Heat a large skillet with about 1 Tbsp oil over medium high heat.  Form the patties (should get about 20 3/4″ thick patties, I used a 1/3 cup scoop to form them) and carefully place in hot skillet.  Cook for about 2 minutes on each side, until golden and heated through.  If cooking in batches, heat the oven to 300°F and keep the patties warm in the oven while you finish cooking them.  Serve over kale salad.

Black Bean Burgers with Corn

I enjoy experimenting with new black bean burger recipes.   There are so many tasty combinations out there that I can’t commit to just one recipe.

This recipe caught my eye because of the corn!  Sweet corn + spicy + smokey cumin + creamy savory black beans = yum!  I definitely enjoyed all the flavors going on in these.  They were great without any condiments, or you can go the tradition route with ketchup and mustard, or mix it up and use some guacamole which I think would be awesome.

I served these on Whole Wheat Hamburger Buns, but you can use whatever your like or go bun-less.

Black Bean Burgers with Corn

Makes 9 burgers

Adapted from Teacher by Day, Chef by Night

  • 2 cans black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 Tbsp salsa
  • 1 jalapeno, seeded and minced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 Tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 Tbsp cumin
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 Tbsp flax seed in 3 Tbsp water (optional)
  • 3/4 cup corn
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup Panko breadcrumbs

Mix flax seed in the water if using, and set aside.  Add one can of black beans, salsa, jalapeno and garlic to the bowl of your food processor, pulse until mostly smooth.  Add tomato paste, cumin, salt and the flax seed in water, pulse until mixed.  Scoop mixture into a mixing bowl and add the remaining black beans, corn, egg and breadcrumbs.  Mix well and then shape into patties.  Spray a skillet or grill pan lightly with cooking spray (I’m not an outdoor griller, but I suppose you could try these on the grill, they held their shape pretty well) and heat over medium-high.   Place patties in the pan and cooking for about 5-8 minutes on each side or until golden and crispy on the outside and heated through.

I served these with kale chips and roasted sweet potato.  Delicious!  Just preheat the oven to 400°F and toss your favorite vegetables (or veggies you’re not sure you like, roasting vegetables makes magic happen) with a little olive oil and kosher salt.  Spread veggies evenly on a baking sheet and roast for about 15-20 minutes tossing about halfway through.

Kale and Quinoa Stuffed Peppers

Mom and I made this for lunch the other day at the spur of the moment.  I saw a recipe for stuffed shells with kale and thought we could mix something up for stuffed peppers.  Dishes like this are a great way of using up some of the things you have in the fridge that you don’t have a plan for.  This used up some extra cheese and vegetables; stuffed peppers are super versatile and are a great opportunity to try new flavor combinations.

I would definitely make these again.  Maybe with even more kale in the peppers because the kale in the stuffing was my favorite part!  As you can see we steamed the whole bunch of kale and used half for the stuffed peppers and had the other half on the side.  Delicious!

Kale and Quinoa Stuffed Peppers

Serves 4

Adapted from Pink Parsley

  • 1/2 bunch kale, stems removed, chopped
  • 3/4 cup quinoa
  • 1 clove garlic, pressed
  • 5 bell peppers, cored and halved
  • 1 cup fat free cottage cheese
  • 1 cup reduced fat mozzarella (plus more to sprinkle on top)
  • 3 Tbsp shredded Parmesan
  • 2 tsp Italian seasoning
  • 2 Tbsp basil
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes
  • salt and pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 350°F.  In a large pot steam or saute the kale.  In a small pot, toast the quinoa then add 1 1/2 cups water, a sprinkle of salt and the pressed garlic; bring to a boil.  Simmer the quinoa until all the water has been absorbed.  Place the halved peppers cut side down on a greased baking sheet.  Place peppers in the oven for about 8 minutes, while finish making the filling.  In a large bowl, combine the remaining ingredients and stir to combine.  Mix in the kale and quinoa.  Take the peppers out of the oven, flip and fill.  Top with a little bit more mozzarella or parmesan, loosely cover with foil and return to the oven for about 20 minutes.  Serve immediately.