kale recipe

White Bean and Chard New Year’s Eve

Usually my boyfriend and I go out for a nice dinner on New Year’s Eve. I like the glitz and glamour of getting dressed up and being spoiled at a restaurant. Last year we changed the norm and stayed home. We were preparing for him possibly losing his job in January–which did end up happening–and wanted to tighten the reigns in anticipation. Thankfully, after a long 9 months unemployed, Michael got a new job and a fantastic one at that.

We had so much fun last year cooking a really nice meal at home and spending the evening playing scrabble together that we decided to do it again this year. Last year I made my very first ham and it turned out great! This year, we made something different: Gnocchi with Chard and White Beans and I added chicken to the recipe I found.

Skillet Gnocchi with Chard and White Beans

Ingredients
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 16-ounce package shelf-stable gnocchi
  • 1 medium yellow onion, thinly sliced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 6 cups chopped chard leaves, (about 1 small bunch) or spinach
  • 1 15-ounce can diced tomatoes with Italian seasonings
  • 1 15-ounce can white beans, rinsed
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 1/2 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
  • 1/4 cup finely shredded Parmesan cheese
Instructions
  1. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add gnocchi and cook, stirring often, until plumped and starting to brown, 5 to 7 minutes. Transfer to a bowl.
  2. Add the remaining 1 teaspoon oil and onion to the pan and cook, stirring, over medium heat, for 2 minutes. Stir in garlic and water. Cover and cook until the onion is soft, 4 to 6 minutes.
  3. Add chard (or spinach) and cook, stirring, until starting to wilt, 1 to 2 minutes. Stir in tomatoes, beans and pepper and bring to a simmer.
  4. Stir in the gnocchi and sprinkle with mozzarella and Parmesan. Cover and cook until the cheese is melted and the sauce is bubbling, about 3 minutes.
Calories: 325 Fat: 7 Carbohydrates: 55 Fiber: 6 Protein: 14 Cholesterol: 8
3.1.09

 

I bought purple chard AND some kale at the grocery store and I used both in the recipe. I bought the gnocchi at Trader Joe’s, which is the only store I have ever found it in. I also added some fresh grape tomatoes, also from TJ’s, to the recipe in addition to the canned tomatoes. I thought the fresh tomatoes added a lot to the recipe and I’d definitely add more next time.

Robyn's Birthday

I opened a nice bottle of red wine, even though the red didn’t really go with dinner. It was what I wanted and it actually ended up tasting pretty good with the gnocchi and chicken. Michael had a glass of whiskey then switched to an IPA. I set the table and lit some candles and turned on the music. It was fun cooking together and the recipe was SUPER easy and fast. This could most definitely be a work night meal.

Everything was done in one skillet, so the clean up was easy as well. Next time I would add more of the tomatoes, and more greens. I didn’t really add as much as the recipe called for and I regretted that. The chard and kale went perfectly and I wished there was more in it. As for the chicken, Michael baked a boneless chicken breast with just some lemon pepper seasoning and when it was done, chopped it into bite size pieces and threw it into the skillet at the last minute.

Robyn's Birthday

The chicken definitely added something to the recipe. I’m so glad we did it. The chicken and gnocchi and greens were fantastic together. Michael felt like the white beans weren’t necessary but I kinda liked the beans in it, too.

Robyn's Birthday

The cheese melted in the skillet and mixed with the tomato chunks to make a sauce. This recipe was most definitely a winner! I halved the recipe and made three servings (yay leftovers!) and because I added the chicken to it the calorie count was off. I’m guessing it was more in the range of 450-500 calories for the entire dish. (I also added more cheese.)

After dinner we shared some Ben & Jerry’s Karmel Sutra ice cream for dessert and then worked on the crossword puzzle we started on Christmas. 😉 Yes, it’s taking us a week to finish it! Fat Kitty was super excited about everything and just HAD to make his presence known.

 

Man he looks so grumpy in that photo! He didn’t like that we were ignoring him to finish the crossword. Before we came home to fix dinner, we saw a movie, Django Unchained. I wanted to share my mini review of that.

The movie started out really, really strong. The first half of the film, I LOVED it. It was exciting, intriguing; it had a great story, the characters were interesting, the acting superb (I even thought “wow, I see Oscar in their future”), and the camaraderie between Christoph Waltz and Jaime Foxx was great! I don’t want to give too much of the plot away, so I will be a bit vague.

While the slavery aspect was really, really hard to watch and that horribly racist word was used a lot, I was able to ignore that because it was the time period and that’s what the story was about. But honestly, 3/4 into the movie I was over it. The use of that word was too much and it became every other word and I found myself cringing. That needed to be toned down. Also, it is very, very violent and graphic so if you can’t handle people being shot on film don’t see this movie. There were a few scenes where I just had to close my eyes because I couldn’t take it. Finally, my last complaint was that Tarantino needed an editor, badly. Like I said, the first half of the movie was GREAT. The second half had some pacing issues and there were quite a few scenes toward the end where I thought “Oh my god is this OVER YET?”

Don’t let that deter you from seeing it, though. Despite the missteps, the movie was still really good and Christoph Waltz seriously stole the show. I hope he goes on to very big things in his future because he was riveting. There were also a lot of other big names in the movie that threatened to steal the show (Samuel L. Jackson’s and Don Johnson’s characters). Oh, and there’s a part in the movie that will have you rolling on the floor laughing so hard. The only hint I’ll give: it’s Jaime Foxx’s outfit change. 🙂 Okay I’ll give you another hint: my first thought when I saw it was “Is that Prince?”

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Anyways, it was a fun New Year’s Eve: good company, good movie, good food. I hope you rang in the new year with your loved ones!

QUESTION: How did you spend NYE? Have you seen Django Unchained?

Burning Lunges and Loving Kale

I chat with Suzanne often on Twitter. If you’re not following her, I recommend it. She’s a fount of knowledge when it comes to weight lifting. In fact, check out this old guest post she wrote for me about strength training. So I was chatting with her on Twitter because I find that on days I do a lot of lower body exercises (like lunges), I am crippled for days! The bad news: it never gets easier. She admitted that she’s always sore after Leg Days! The good news: it’s time to work through the pain and make my body stronger.

The reason I bring this up is because both Michael and I have noticed that my hamstrings have gotten larger. Noticeably larger. Like when I stand in front of the mirror and turn to the side I can see my hamstrings bulging under my jeans. I was quite surprised when I noticed this fact. I attribute it to Spin class and the lower body weight workouts I’ve been doing.

The other night I went to the gym and hit the elliptical for my cardio, then spent some quality time with the free weights. I did a circuit workout that included a lot of lunges. After talking to Suzanne, I decided it was also time to increase the weights. I bumped up the free weights for all my upper body activities to 15 pounds each (instead of 10 or 12.5 pounds like I’ve been using). I also increased the weight in the plates I hold while doing lunges–two 10 pound weights instead of two 5. BOY DID I FEEL IT! Each lunge burned but it felt good.

Gym Stats:
Time: 1:19
Calories Burned: 675

When I got home, Michael and I made dinner together. He did the bulk of the cooking. I reheated the leftover brown rice and poured a glass of wine. 😉 Michael blackened some salmon in a skillet to go with the rice and then we also tried something new: kale!

Sauteed Kale With Bacon

Sauteed Kale With Bacon

Ingredients

  • 1/4 lb. thick-cut bacon (about 4 thick slices), cut crosswise into thin strips
  • 3 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 cups packed thinly sliced kale leaves (stems removed)
  • 1-1/2 cups homemade or low-salt canned chicken broth

Instructions

  1. In a heavy skillet over medium heat, cook the bacon in the olive oil, stirring occasionally, until the bacon renders much of its fat and starts to brown, about 5 minutes.
  2. Use a spoon to remove 2 Tbs. of the bacon fat from the skillet and reserve in a small bowl.
  3. Raise the heat to high, add the kale, and sauté, stirring, until it starts to wilt, about 1 minute.
  4. Add the chicken broth and beans and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium, cover the skillet, and cook for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and keep warm.

Notes

Adapted from: http://www.finecooking.com/recipes/broiled-salmon-white-bean-kale-bacon.aspx

http://www.110pounds.com/?p=29452

We changed the above recipe a bit. First, we skipped the garlic and we found that the garlic wasn’t necessary in this specific dinner. We used some of the homemade vegetable stock that our friends Bob and Alazar made (I added a bit of water to it).

The kale cooked down quite a bit, so next time I’ll cut more before cooking it. We topped the kale with the cooked bacon pieces (which was delicious). The kale was great! We both enjoyed it a lot and it went really well with the blackened salmon.

Remember how I wanted to start eating Kale to get more nutrients I was lacking in my diet? Well I’m following through! And I love kale! It’s so good. Kale is here to stay in our house. The dinner was so filling, I ended up only eating half of the salmon. I forget how filling rice can be.

For dessert Michael and I had some vanilla pudding. I added slices of fresh strawberries to my dessert. It was a nice meal all around and a great workout.

QUESTION: What’s your favorite kale recipe?