Mix It Up Monday: Spicy Kale Chips

I’ve been hearing about kale the last couple of years as some kind of nutritional power house.  But it’s a green and other than basic spinach, I’m not really a fan of greens.  Given I’m southern, this probably breaks a law somewhere, but whatever.  Sometime earlier this year, I saw kale chips mentioned on one of my Food Network programs and I thought, “Huh.  Weird.”  Because who ever heard of making chips out of something green?   Then I kept hearing about them in one form or another, so I determined that I should try them.  I prowled around the interwebs and came across this recipe for spicy kale chips from White on Rice Couple and gave it a go.

All I can say is…WOW.  With the sea salt, these shockingly actually tasted like potato chips, and I loved the spicy kick from the red pepper flakes.  I inhaled an entire pan’s worth (approximately half a bunch of kale) in one sitting.  They were light, satisfying, and so surprising.  I saved one for hubby to try when he got home.  He wouldn’t touch it, so I popped it into my mouth and learned that these do not fair well too far from the oven.  The bitter really came out after it had been sitting a while.  But straight out after a 14 minute bake they were wonderful.  Cook’s Note: I used my Misto so that they weren’t soggy from the olive oil.

spicy kale chips

Roasted Tomato, Bell Pepper, and Mozzarella Bowtie Pasta Salad

I love pasta salad.  It’s a great way to use up random veggies and cheeses.  It’s also a great way to put together a cold, balanced lunch with lots of flavor for middle of the week.  This one serves 5 generously at 300 calories and 4.5 grams of fat per serving.

Ingredients:

  • 8 oz whole wheat pasta
  • 3 pints grape tomatoes, slow roasted
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, diced
  • 2/3 green bell pepper, diced
  • 1 shallot, finely diced
  • 1 stalks celery, diced
  • 1 tsp Italian seasoning
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 tsp fresh ground pepper
  • 1/2 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese

 

Directions:

 

1. Boil the pasta according to package directions and drain.

2. Toss with the tomatoes, bell pepper, shallots, and celery.

3. Add the Italian seasoning, salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes, and toss well.

4. Add the mozzarella and toss well.

5. Chill and serve.

 

 

Roasted Tomato, Bell Pepper, and Mozzarella Bowtie Pasta Salad
 
I love pasta salad.  It’s a great way to use up random veggies and cheeses.  It’s also a great way to put together a cold, balanced lunch with lots of flavor for middle of the week.  This one serves 5 generously at 300 calories and 4.5 grams of fat per serving.
Author:
Recipe type: Side
Cuisine: Italian
Ingredients
  • 8 oz whole wheat pasta
  • 3
  • pints grape tomatoes, slow roasted
  • ½ red bell pepper, diced
  • ⅔ green bell pepper, diced
  • 1 shallot, finely diced
  • 1 stalks celery, diced
  • 1 tsp Italian seasoning
  • ½ tsp kosher salt
  • ¼ tsp red pepper flakes
  • ½ tsp fresh ground pepper
  • ½ cup shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
Instructions
  1. Boil the pasta according to package directions and drain.
  2. Toss with the tomatoes, bell pepper, shallots, and celery.
  3. Add the Italian seasoning, salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes, and toss well.
  4. Add the mozzarella and toss well.
  5. Chill and serve.

Zucchini, Shallot, and Mushroom Frittata with Cheddar, For One

I love omelets.  Big, flavorful, loaded with whatever is handy (usually sausage, bacon, or beef in our house of meat lovers).  A frittata is essentially an open faced omelet.  Takes longer to cook because you finish it off in the oven, but that frees you up to work on other components of brunch or do your dishes.  It also saves you that step of trying to fold without making a mess.  It can be as healthy or unhealthy as you want, loaded with whatever you want.  This one fits my current healthy streak and serves 1 at 233 calories and 13 grams of fat.

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup egg whites
  • 1 egg
  • .5 zucchini, diced
  • 1 small shallot, finely diced
  • 1 oz mushroom caps, sliced
  • .8 oz sharp cheddar cheese, grated (I like to use a microplane so that it looks like gobs more cheese than it is)
  • 1 pinch salt

 

Directions:

1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

2. Coat your small skillet with cooking spray.

3. Saute the zucchini and shallots until they begin to soften.

4. Add the mushrooms and saute just until they’re no longer raw.  Remove from heat.

5. Beat the egg and egg white together with salt.

6. If your skillet is oven safe, pour the egg mixture into it.  If it’s not, transfer the mixture to a greased pie plate.

7. Sprinkle the cheese over the top.

8. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes until set.

9. Turn out on to a cutting board and allow to rest a couple minutes.

10. Slice and serve.

 

 

Zucchini, Shallot, and Mushroom Frittata with Cheddar, For One
 
I love omelets.  Big, flavorful, loaded with whatever is handy (usually sausage, bacon, or beef in our house of meat lovers).  A frittata is essentially an open faced omelet.  Takes longer to cook because you finish it off in the oven, but that frees you up to work on other components of brunch or do your dishes.  It also saves you that step of trying to fold without making a mess.  It can be as healthy or unhealthy as you want, loaded with whatever you want.  This one fits my current healthy streak and serves 1 at 233 calories and 13 grams of fat.
Author:
Recipe type: Breakfast
Cuisine: Gluten free
Ingredients
  • ¼ cup egg whites
  • 1 egg
  • .5 zucchini, diced
  • 1 small shallot, finely diced
  • 1 oz mushroom caps, sliced
  • .8 oz sharp cheddar cheese, grated (I like to use a microplane so that it looks like gobs more cheese than it is)
  • 1 pinch salt
Instructions
  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Coat your small skillet with cooking spray.
  3. Saute the zucchini and shallots until they begin to soften.
  4. Add the mushrooms and saute just until they're no longer raw.  Remove from heat.
  5. Beat the egg and egg white together with salt.
  6. If your skillet is oven safe, pour the egg mixture into it.  If it's not, transfer the mixture to a greased pie plate.
  7. Sprinkle the cheese over the top.
  8. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes until set.
  9. Turn out on to a cutting board and allow to rest a couple minutes.
  10. Slice and serve.

Chinese Stay-In: Soba Noodles with Stir Fried Veggies

I love my local Chinese place’s vegetable lo mein, and I never tire of trying to duplicate it.  I haven’t managed it yet, but I really enjoy making my own Chinese food at home, making noodles and some kind of Asian themed sauce with a load of fresh veggies.  It’s WAY healthier than traditional take out.  This particular one incorporates soba noodles, which are made of buckwheat and have a lovely, nutty sort of flavor.  If you have gluten concerns ALWAYS read the ingredient labels, as MOST soba noodles also have wheat.   This makes 2 really hefty servings at 609 calories and 33 grams of fat and WON’T leave you hungry in an hour like most Chinese.

Ingredients:

  • 4 ounces soba noodles
  • 1 zucchini
  • 1 onion chopped
  • 4 ounces mushrooms, sliced
  • 1/2 cup edamame
  • 2 tbs scallions (just the green part)
  • 1/2 cup asparagus
  • 3 tsp minced garlic
  • 2 tbs tamari
  • 1 Tbs sugar
  • 1 Tbs rice wine vinegar
  • 1.5 Tbs sesame oil
  • 2 Tbs canola oil
  • 1/2 tsp chili oil
  • 2 tsp canola oil

 

 

Directions:

1. Cut the zucchini lengthwise and then slice in half moons.

2. Slice the onion.

3. Slice the mushrooms

4. Snap the woody stems off the asparagus (toss em) and cut the remainder into 1 inch pieces.

5. Mix the garlic, tamari, sesame oil, chili oil, 2 tbsp of canola oil (the rest is for stir frying), sugar and rice wine vinegar.  Set aside.

6. Cook the soba noodles according to package directions.

7. Meanwhile, heat the remaining 2 teaspoons of oil over high heat.

8. Stir fry the zucchini and onions until onions start to soften.

9. Add the asparagus, mushrooms, and edamame.  Continue to stir fry until mushrooms are cooked and zucchini is softened.

10. Add the drained, cooked noodles to the pan.

11. Reduce heat to low and add the sauce, tossing until everything is well coated.

12. Set aside and allow to cool a few minutes while the noodles absorb the sauce.

13. Garnish with scallions.

 

 

Chinese Stay-In: Soba Noodles with Stir Fried Veggies
 
I love my local Chinese place’s vegetable lo mein, and I never tire of trying to duplicate it.  I haven’t managed it yet, but I really enjoy making my own Chinese food at home, making noodles and some kind of Asian themed sauce with a load of fresh veggies.  It’s WAY healthier than traditional take out.  This particular one incorporates soba noodles, which are made of buckwheat and have a lovely, nutty sort of flavor.  If you have gluten concerns ALWAYS read the ingredient labels, as MOST soba noodles also have wheat.   This makes 2 really hefty servings at 609 calories and 33 grams of fat and WON’T leave you hungry in an hour like most Chinese.
Author:
Recipe type: Main
Cuisine: Asian
Ingredients
  • 4 ounces soba noodles
  • 1 zucchini
  • 1 onion chopped
  • 4 ounces mushrooms, sliced
  • ½ cup edamame
  • 2 tbs scallions (just the green part)
  • ½ cup asparagus
  • 3 tsp minced garlic
  • 2 tbs tamari
  • 1 Tbs sugar
  • 1 Tbs rice wine vinegar
  • 1.5 Tbs sesame oil
  • 2 Tbs canola oil
  • ½ tsp chili oil
  • 2 tsp canola oil
Instructions
  1. Cut the zucchini lengthwise and then slice in half moons.
  2. Slice the onion.
  3. Slice the mushrooms
  4. Snap the woody stems off the asparagus (toss em) and cut the remainder into 1 inch pieces.
  5. Mix the garlic, tamari, sesame oil, chili oil, 2 tbsp of canola oil (the rest is for stir frying), sugar and rice wine vinegar.  Set aside.
  6. Cook the soba noodles according to package directions.
  7. Meanwhile, heat the remaining 2 teaspoons of oil over high heat.
  8. Stir fry the zucchini and onions until onions start to soften.
  9. Add the asparagus, mushrooms, and edamame.  Continue to stir fry until mushrooms are cooked and zucchini is softened.
  10. Add the drained, cooked noodles to the pan.
  11. Reduce heat to low and add the sauce, tossing until everything is well coated.
  12. Set aside and allow to cool a few minutes while the noodles absorb the sauce.
  13. Garnish with scallions.

Mexican Corn

My husband LOVES Nacho Libre.  One of the things he remarks on every time we watch it is the corn in the movie that seems to be covered in cheese.  I finally got around to picking up some queso fresco to give this a try.  Now there are a bunch of different variations on this, at least one of which includes being coated in mayo–GROSS.  When I finally got down to wanting to make it, my internet was down, so I had to wing it on how to prepare it.  My method was…unconventional and I haven’t quite sorted out how to make the cheese stick without globs of mayo.  But this was tasty!

Ingredients:

  • 2 ears of fresh corn
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 2 ounces queso fresco
  • salt

Directions:

  1. Bring a large pot of water to boil.
  2. Peel the husk back and remove the silks.
  3. Fold the husk back.
  4. Boil the corn for fifteen minutes.
  5. Drain.  Allow to cool for a few minutes (until you can touch the husks and not burn yourself).
  6. Meanwhile, mix the butter, chili powder and cumin.
  7. Preheat your grill to medium.
  8. Smear half the butter on each ear of corn and fold the husks back into place.
  9. Grill the corn for five minutes a side.
  10. Peel the husks back for good this time.
  11. Sprinkle with salt and more chili powder.
  12. Sprinkle with crumbled queso fresco.

 

 

Mexican Corn
 
My husband LOVES Nacho Libre .  One of the things he remarks on every time we watch it is the corn in the movie that seems to be covered in cheese.  I finally got around to picking up some queso fresco to give this a try.  Now there are a bunch of different variations on this, at least one of which includes being coated in mayo--GROSS.  When I finally got down to wanting to make it, my internet was down, so I had to wing it on how to prepare it.  My method was...unconventional and I haven't quite sorted out how to make the cheese stick without globs of mayo.  But this was tasty!
Author:
Recipe type: Side
Cuisine: Gluten free
Ingredients
  • 2 ears of fresh corn
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • ½ tsp cumin
  • ½ tsp chili powder
  • 2 ounces queso fresco
  • salt
Instructions
  1. Bring a large pot of water to boil.
  2. Peel the husk back and remove the silks.
  3. Fold the husk back.
  4. Boil the corn for fifteen minutes.
  5. Drain.  Allow to cool for a few minutes (until you can touch the husks and not burn yourself).
  6. Meanwhile, mix the butter, chili powder and cumin.
  7. Preheat your grill to medium.
  8. Smear half the butter on each ear of corn and fold the husks back into place.
  9. Grill the corn for five minutes a side.
  10. Peel the husks back for good this time.
  11. Sprinkle with salt and more chili powder.
  12. Sprinkle with crumbled queso fresco.

Butternut Squash Fries

I keep trying butternut squash.  I like it roasted and in soup.  Hubs has not yet found an incarnation he likes, but I am nothing if not persistent.  It’s a marvelous veggie because it’s low carb, low cal, and low fat.  It’s got about a third of the calories of potatoes.  Since we’ve been loaded with excesses around here since Thanksgiving, lightening the caloric load wherever we can is an excellent idea.  I love regular oven fries, sweet potato fries, and zucchini fries, so I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect from this very water laden veggie.  The end result–though I went a bit heavy on the cayenne–was a marvelous sort of combination of sweet potato and zucchini in flavor.  Which sounds weird but is really quite tasty.  They won’t crisp up the same way a potato will, but it’s a really nice, different side.

Ingredients:

  • 1 butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into fries, the thinner the better
  • olive oil
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • .5 tsp cumin
  • .5 tsp garlic powder
  • .5 tsp kosher salt
  • sprinkle fresh ground pepper
  • sprinkle cayenne pepper

Directions:

  1. You’re gonna need a rack for this, suspended over a baking sheet for maximum heat circulation.
  2. Toss your squash in a drizzle of olive oil.
  3. Sprinkle on all the spices, and toss thoroughly.
  4. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  5. Layer over the wire racks, not too close.  You don’t wanna crowd.  You might need 2 trays for this much squash.
  6. Bake for 50-60 minutes.
  7. Serve immediately.

Printable version.

Vegetarian Stuffed Shells

I’ve been on a crusade to try to be better about not wasting food.  I’m really really bad about it with the new fridge because all the extra space is in depth and stuff gets lost in the back.  So when I found half a container of ricotta, half a thing of cottage cheese, and some feta, I knew I had to make some kind of pasta.  Once I found a random package of creamed spinach in the freezer, I decided on stuffed shells.  This one isn’t gluten free (though, I checked, Tinkyada does make jumbo shells if you can find them).  Since I knew hubs couldn’t eat them, I loaded them up with veggies and froze them individually so that I could pop them out and heat them for lunch.  I wound up with 29 shells at 42 calories and 1.8 grams of fat apiece. **Note: There were 42 shells in the box but I lost several to tearing.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup part skim ricotta cheese
  • 1 cup simply cottage cheese
  • .5 cup reduced fat feta
  • 1 11 oz. package creamed spinach (you could totally just use regular frozen spinach, this is just what I had on hand)
  • 1 cup  roasted red peppers, diced
  • 7  oz  canned mushrooms
  • 1 tbs minced garlic
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 8.5 oz Jumbo Shells (12-oz. package), uncooked
  • 12 oz arrabiata sauce
  • .5 cup part-skim mozzarella cheese

Directions:
1. Boil the pasta according to package directions, less about 3 minutes.  You want them just under al dente.
2. Meanwhile, mix your cheeses, spinach, peppers, mushrooms, garlic, and salt.
3. Add the beaten egg and stir until well incorporated.
4. When the pasta is done, drain and put in an ice bath to stop cooking.
5. Once shells are cool, spray a 9×13 baking dish with cooking spray.
6. Carefully spoon the filling into the prepared shells.  You will always lose some shells to tearing.  I usually manage to get about 70% success.
7. At this point, I freeze mine so that I can pull them out for individual servings.
8. When ready to finish preparing, place desired number of shells into a baking dish and cover with arrabiata sauce and additional cheese if desired (not included in calorie calculation).
9. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.

Printable version.

German Potato Salad

A few weeks ago, we and some of our friends decided to have Fauxtober Fest.   This was originally to have been an Oktoberfest birthday party for one of them, but some stuff came up and it had to be rescheduled.  My contribution to the menu was this German potato salad and some gluten free pretzels that…um, need some work.  But the potato salad was unanimously declared to be awesome (as anything involving bacon and cheese should).  It’s one of those where you just don’t wanna know the fat and calories.

Ingredients:

  • 2 and a half pounds of Yukon gold potatoes
  • 6 slices thick cut bacon, cooked and chopped
  • 2 oz. smoked gouda, finely shredded
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1 tsp good dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp fresh ground pepper

Directions:

  1. Slice your potatoes about a quarter inch thick.   I did these on the thickest setting of my mandolin slicer (watch your fingers!).
  2. Boil the potatoes about fifteen minutes until just done, then drain and set aside in a large bowl.
  3. Whisk the vinegar, olive oil, mustard, sugar, paprika, salt, and pepper together, then pour over the warm potatoes.  Toss until well coated.
  4. Add the bacon and cheese and toss until well distributed.
  5. Serve immediately or rewarm later.  This was amazing right off and even better the second day.

Printable version.

Roasted Acorn Squash

Acorn squash is another one of those veggies I’d never tried.  I got into butternut last year.  Spaghetti squash the year before that.  So it was time to give this one a try.  A quick Twitter poll proved that THE WAY to cook it was roasting with brown sugar and butter.  So that’s what I did.  Hubs and I both really enjoyed it, and its so easy, we’ll absolutely be adding this to our list of regular sides.

Ingredients:

  • acorn squash
  • 1 tablespoon of real butter per squash
  • 1 teaspoon brown sugar splenda per half squash
  • salt
  • pepper

Directions:

  1. Slice the squash vertically in half.
  2. Scoop out the seeds.
  3. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  4. Grease the bottom of a baking pan with butter or oil and place the squash cut side down.
  5. Roast for 20 minutes.
  6. Flip them over, and crumble the butter (1/2 tablespoon per half) over each half, then sprinkle 1 teaspoon of brown sugar Splenda over each.
  7. Roast for another 25 minutes.

Printable version.

Vegetable Lo Mein with Soba Noodles

Would you believe I had never had soba noodles before?  I bought a pack at the Asian market a few weeks ago and only just got around to trying them.  OMG.  LOVE.  I piled this dish of lo mein FULL of veggies and had a dinner almost as big as my head for just over 400 calories.  Happy tummy.  Makes 2 sane person servings, 1 ginormous one if you’re starving. Servings: 2 at 211.25 calories and 11 grams of fat.  Okay epic fail on my cookbook program for miscalculating that.  It’s actually 2 servings at 364 and 14 grams of fat.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 onion chopped
  • 1/2 cup diced peppers
  • 1/4 cup green peas
  • 1 cup  mushrooms
  • 1/2 cup carrots peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • 1 tsp fresh ginger, grated
  • 3.1 oz soba noodles
  • 4 tbs lo mein sauce
  • 1.3 tbs canola oil

Directions:

1. Chop and prep all your ingredients.
2. Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil over high heat in your wok or large skillet.
3. Start your water to boil for the noodles.
4. Add the bok choy, onion, and carrots to the hot oil.
5. Add your noodles to the boiling water and cook for 3 minutes.
6. Stir fry the veggies for approximately 2 minutes.
7. Add the remaining oil if you need it. Add the garlic, ginger, peas, peppers, and mushrooms.  Stir fry for another minute.
8. Drain the cooked noodles and add to your skillet.
9. Add the lo mein sauce.
10. Toss until well coated and combined.
11. Serve while hot.

Printable version.