Tasty Tuesday: Crunchy Toasted Chickpeas

I’m always looking for ways to make crunchy, salty snacks and this recipe is a keeper! Seriously, if I can munch on these savory toasted garbanzo beans, I’ll give up pretzels and chips forever! (I’m pretty sure I can’t give up crackers like cheezits and rice crackers though, because I’ll always need a vehicle for really good cheese.)

These crunchy chickpeas are also a great alternative to nuts for those who are allergic or just don’t like nuts. So yes, they can go right next to the mints on the buffet table. Best of all, this recipe is super easy…easy enough to make them often.

I  use a lot of garbanzo beans for homemade hummus so I’m already a fan. This recipe elevates the humble chickpea/garbanzo bean to a pantry staple in our house. Loaded with fiber and protein, these beans are a great snack. And yes, I DO use the names, chickpea and garbanzo bean, interchangeably. If someone is searching for a snack like this, I definitely want them to find this recipe!

Toasted Chickpeas

Crunchy Toasted Garbanzo Beans

Crunchy toasted chick peas

Want the recipe? Visit me at My Sister’s Kitchen to see the ingredient list and directions. It’s so easy!

This is my last Tasty Tuesday post here on High Country Parent. I hope you’ll stop by My Sister’s Kitchen to visit from time to time because I will still be writing there. In fact, later this week I’ll be featuring a new fudgy gluten-free brownie recipe as well as a delicious Orzo pasta dish with grilled chicken and peppers.

I want to thank Sarah Pinnix for the opportunity to write for all you parents and grandparents in the High Country. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed sharing good food with you!

Barb, writing at My Sister’s Kitchen

http://mysisterskitchenonline.com

– don’t forget that we’re on Facebook AND Twitter! “Like” us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter for the very latest in the Kitchen. If you want to receive our email updates, sign up on the sidebar link to subscribe.

 

Tasty Tuesday: Summer Favorites

It’s that time of year again…yes, that back-t0-school-frenzy, end-of-the-summer, whatever-do-I-do-with-all-this-great-produce?  time of year! I love hanging out at my local Farmer’s Market in late August and September because the produce is just incredible. Have you noticed recently how stunningly beautiful fresh produce can be? (And when I take pictures of it, it doesn’t move, so it’s easy to capture that beauty!)

I want to bring to your attention some of my summer favorites. I’m all about preserving and saving some of these wonderful summer flavors for my family to enjoy during the winter months. NOW is the time start planning for this!

What can I do with all this fruit?

Lovin’ me some fresh veggies….

Other summer faves:

Now.

Take a stroll with me through our farmer’s market. I think I mentioned before that I think that fresh produce is just gloriously beautiful and I want to share some of my personal favorites with you. (And I can NOT help it that a photo of a pecan sticky bun snuck into my gallery of photos. I do NOT know how that happened!) For some reason, I can’t seem to import a whole gallery of photos (there are 31 photos) so I’m going to ask y’all to visit my lovely Farmer’s Market photos over at My Sister’s Kitchen. I just love the sights and smells of a Farmer’s Market!

I’m starting to wrap up my tenure here writing the High Country Parent Tasty Tuesday column and I want to invite you to head over to My Sister’s Kitchen to visit me where I’ll still be writing regularly. If you subscribe, you’ll get an email telling you when there’s new Kitchen News.

Barb, writing at My Sister’s Kitchen

http://mysisterskitchenonline.com

– don’t forget that we’re on Facebook AND Twitter! “Like” us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter for the very latest in the Kitchen. If you want to receive our email updates, sign up on the sidebar link to subscribe.

 

 

Tasty Tuesday: Grab-and-Go miniature Lasagnas

Tasty Tuesday? Wednesday? Thursday? It’s hard to tell this week. Both this week and next are dominated by the moving-into-the-dorms process and classes starting for my university students. This meal is actually PERFECT for the next several days….exactly what I need!

Our love for homemade lasagna is what actually inspired this recipe. The creative variations possible are endless for these little single-serving treats. (I made two variations because one of my sons can’t eat any dairy and he didn’t feel deprived at all when he bit into his own mini lasagnas.)

Even when we make it through the beginning weeks of school, I’m currently in a season of life where I can’t predict how many hungry young men will be eating at my dinner table on any given evening. These muffin-sized lasagnas allow me great flexibility on meal size! Plus, they’re easy, tasty, and relatively fast.

Grab-and-go lasagna

Miniature Grab-and-Go Lasagnas

Ingredients:

  • 12-16 ounce package of wonton wrappers (I used the small square ones that are about 3 inches square)
  • 1 pound ground meat (I used sausage but ground beef, turkey, or venison would all work), cooked and crumbled
  • 1 red onion, chopped
  • 2 bell peppers (I used one orange and one yellow bell, but even the less expensive green bells will work)
  • 1 t. fennel seed (optional)
  • 3-4 cups fresh spinach (or one 10-ounce package of frozen spinach)
  • olive oil
  • 2 c. spaghetti sauce
  • grated cheese (I used a mixture of Parmesan and mozzarella)

Directions:

Cook and crumble the ground meat.

Saute the vegetables and fennel seed in a dab of olive oil until tender. Stir in spaghetti sauce and cooked meat. Simmer for about 10 minutes.

Fresh diced veggies for miniature Grab-and-Go LasagnasSaute fresh veggies for miniature grab-and-go lasagnasSimmer veggies, meat, and sauce together for mini grab-and-go lasagnas

Meanwhile, spray the cups of two muffin pans with nonstick spray. Press a wonton wrapper into each cup.

Press a wonton wrapper in the bottom of each muffin cup for mini grab-and-go lasagnas

Spoon a little meat and vegetable filling in on top of that wonton wrapper. As you can see, I added a little chunk of fresh mozzarella to some of these and a little dab of goat cheese to others.

Making grab-and-go miniature lasagnas

See? A little blob of goat cheese will make these lasagnas special.

Add a chunk of fresh mozzarella to your grab-and-go lasagnas

And here’s a chunk of fresh mozzarella. Mmmmmmmmm.

Layer another wonton wrapper on top of the filling. Add some more filling. At this point, I put a third wonton wrapper on top of the non-cheese lasagnas. I brushed the top wonton with a little olive oil. On the others, I sprinkled some of the Parmesan/mozzarella mixture.

Top miniature grab-and-go lasagnas with cheese or another wonton wrapper

These mini lasagnas work for my boys who eat dairy and the boys who don’t.

Bake at 350° for 15 to 20 minutes or until the edges of the wonton wrappers start getting brown.

Bake mini grab-and-go lasagnas until the wonton wrappers start to brown

Use a butter knife to remove each little lasagne from the pan.  Serve with a leafy green salad.

Miniature grab-and-go no-cheese lasagne

Miniature grab-and-go lasagne

Assorted miniature grab-and-go lasagnas

Single-serving grab-and-go lasagnas

Now, here’s the absolute best part of this dinner…. if you have leftovers, you can freeze them in a ziplock bag to use later. Freeze mini Grab and Go Lasagnas in a ziplock bag When you want to reheat them, you can either stick them back in the oven for ten minutes or just pop them in the microwave! These make a great after-school snack for those days when your kids are in growth-spurt mode and need something a little more substantial to fill their tummies.

I do feel it only fair to warn you that a couple hungry guys can make short work of 5 or 6 of these little lasagnas at the end of the day. I’ve found that a big green salad slows them down just a little!

These little lasagnas would be easy to make with ricotta cheese if that’s the direction you’d like to take them. They’d also be delicious with vegetables other than spinach and peppers….like zucchini squash or even carrots and finely diced potatoes. My vegetarian friends can easily leave out the ground meat and just use veggies and cheese. You could also use a different type of sauce in place of the red marinara sauce. A garlicky Alfredo sauce would be delicious!

Single-serving grab-and-go lasagna

Barb, writing at My Sister’s Kitchen

http://mysisterskitchenonline.com

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Tasty Tuesday: Make a single brownie in 1 minute!

Warning: this is a cool and very dangerous little recipe. I’m just warning you! It only takes once to get hooked. This recipe makes a single, homemade brownie in a microwaveable mug or custard dish and is so easy that anyone can make these tasty treats. (Even kids can do it if they can safely use a microwave.)
1 minute brownie with Butter Pecan Ice cream

One-Minute Brownie

Ingredients:
1 T. all purpose flour
1 T. brown sugar
1 T. unsweetened cocoa powder
pinch of salt
1 T. oil
1 T. water
3-4 drops vanilla extract
Directions:
In a microwave-proof mug or small custard cup mix the ingredients together until smooth. Stirring the dry ingredients together first will give the best result. (Did you notice that you really only get one measuring spoon dirty?)
1 minute brownie only takes a few ingredients and 30 seconds in the microwave. A few ingredients and 30 seconds in the microwave will produce a 1 minute brownie
Microwave for approximately 30 seconds. Every microwave is different, so you may need to tweak the time just a little. In my microwave, this brownie takes 34-35 seconds to be just perfect. The brownie is VERY fudgy and dark.
1 minute brownie
Top with ice cream or sorbet as soon as the microwave goes, DING!  Eat with a spoon. (One of my guys doesn’t do dairy at all, so the raspberry sorbet was the perfect addition for him. It was delicious for me too and I DO eat dairy!)
1 minute brownie topped with raspberry sorbet
1 minute brownie topped with butter pecan ice cream
Some notes:
  • I experimented a bit and found that using Hershey’s Special Dark unsweetened cocoa was the very best. Of course, I love dark, dark chocolate best; if you’re more of a milk-chocolate fan, use a lighter cocoa.
  • You can use whatever type of oil you have on hand. I tried these with vegetable oil as well as with a really light olive oil. both worked just fine.
  • You can also use white sugar instead of brown sugar. The texture will be a little bit different but they are equally delicious.
  • It’s easy to get too much vanilla in these brownies because you’re making such a small quantity. Not only will too much vanilla affect taste, it will affect how the batter microwaves up…and not in a positive way.
  • If you want, you can spray the mug or custard dish with non-stick spray, but since you’re eating this brownie right away, it doesn’t really matter.
  • It should be noted that there are no eggs or dairy products in this brownie.
This single serving brownie recipe won’t help you if you have a crowd coming over (for that, I much prefer this recipe for my Best Brownies). This single brownie IS the perfect solution for an intense chocolate craving or sweet-tooth moment, no matter what time of day or night. It’s also great if you have a kid who is just dying for a homemade treat and you don’t have time to make such a thing. It’s also helpful, in those situations, not to have an entire pan of brownies trying to trick people into eating them. It’s an inexpensive fix for that moment of craving!
1 minute brownie and raspberry sorbet
1 minute brownie and ice cream
I won’t stop making entire pans of brownies because I really do like to share. Still, this is a very handy recipe to have on file for those dessert emergencies!

Barb, writing at My Sister’s Kitchen

http://mysisterskitchenonline.com

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Tasty Tuesday: Broccoli Chicken Stir-fry

I was actually trying to use up elderly vegetables in my fridge when I created this delicious Broccoli Chicken Stir Fry. Ideally, I’d serve it over rice, but well….I ran out of rice! (I never know which of my grown and mostly-grown kids are going to be at home needing to eat, so keeping the fridge stocked has gotten tricky!)

Spicy Broccoli Chicken Stir-fry

Broccoli Chicken Stir-fry

Ingredients:

  • 1 ½ pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cubed
  • 1 T. minced garlic
  • 3 T. soy sauce
  • 3 T. orange juice
  • 2 T. sesame oil
  • 1 T. brown sugar
  • 1/2 c. cilantro, finely chopped
  • ½ t. red pepper flakes (I used Aleppo pepper but cayenne would also work for this optional ingredient)
  • 2 T. cornstarch
  • 2 red or yellow bell peppers (oh, okay, you can use green if that’s all you have) sliced into strips
  • 1 medium onion, sliced
  • 1 zucchini, cut into 1 inch chunks
  • 2 c. broccoli florets
  • 4 large cloves of garlic, finely minced
  • 1 inch cube of fresh ginger, minced or grated
  • olive oil

Directions:

Whisk together minced garlic, soy sauce, sesame oil, orange juice, brown sugar, cornstarch, cilantro and pepper flakes in a bowl. Add the chicken cubes and toss to coat completely. Let the chicken marinate in this sauce for about 30 minutes.

Spicy marinade for Broccoli Chicken Stir-FrySaute Broccoli Chicken Stir-Fryin this Broccoli Chicken Stir-fry

Meanwhile, slice or dice or mince all your veggies into a bowl and set aside.

Veggies for Broccoli Chicken Stir-Fry

Heat up a large skillet (if you  have a wok, this is the time to use it) with some olive oil.  When the oil is just starting to smoke, dump in the marinating chicken. Stir a few times and put the cover on for about 2 minutes. Stir some more. Cover again. Keep doing this until the chicken is cooked. It won’t take long because the pieces are small. Remove the chicken from the pan and set aside in a clean bowl. (Don’t re-use the bowl they were marinating in…that bowl needs to be washed before it’s used again.)

Don’t clean out the pan. Add a little more olive oil and reheat until it’s very hot again. I added a scant teaspoon of sesame oil to the olive oil for flavor. Dump in all your veggies, including the minced garlic and ginger. With the burner on a high setting, stir the veggies constantly until they start to get cooked just a bit. The broccoli should still be bright green and the peppers should still be fairly crunchy.

Stir fry peppers, broccoli, zucchini, and onions for this Spicy Broccoli Stir-fry

After about 6 minutes of sauteing those veggies, dump in the cooked chicken and whatever juices have accumulated in the bowl. If you need to add a little water or chicken stock, you can. Give the mixture a couple of good stirs and then put the lid on the pan. As soon as the lid is on the pan, turn off the burner. Peppers, zucchini, and onions add to this Spicy Broccoli Stir-fry

 

If you’re cooking on a gas stove, you can just leave the pan on the burner. If you’re cooking on an electric stove, move the pan to a different burner. Let the pan sit, tightly covered, for about 10 minutes before serving. If you think this dish tastes like it needs salt, add some at this time. Remember that the soy sauce has a lot of salt in it already. Definitely salt to TASTE.

As I mentioned above, this would be delicious served over some basmati or jasmine rice. I didn’t actually serve it that way because I had run out of rice! It was still perfectly delicious. I also meant to sprinkle some toasted sesame seeds over the top of this dish, just to make it prettier, but I forgot. Probably because it smelled so delicious and we just couldn’t wait to eat it!

Spicy Broccoli Chicken Stir-fry

Peppers, zucchini, and onions add to this Spicy Broccoli Stir-fry

 

Barb, writing at My Sister’s Kitchen

http://mysisterskitchenonline.com

– don’t forget that we’re on Facebook AND Twitter! “Like” us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter for the very latest in the Kitchen. If you want to receive our email updates, sign up on the sidebar link to subscribe.

Tasty Tuesday: Let’s talk Duck Eggs

We need to talk about duck eggs today. Several years ago I discovered duck eggs and I’ve been on the lookout for them at farmers’ markets every since.

Duck Eggs are much bigger than Chicken Eggs

Larger Duck Egg is on the right.

Duck eggs make a huge difference in baking at high altitude

The duck egg on the left has a significantly larger yolk than the chicken egg on the right.

Now is the time to experience the difference a duck egg can make in your baking because it’s easy to find them for sale.

First, duck eggs are larger than chicken eggs. Their yolks have a higher fat content (many people use the word “silkier” when describing the texture difference when you bake or cook with duck eggs) and a higher water content. They also have a larger yolk, percentage-wise, than chicken eggs do.

The shell and membrane of a duck egg is a little sturdier than that of a chicken. (This increases their refrigerated shelf life!) You’ll also notice that the egg white is a little more viscous than that of a chicken egg. You might even need to scoop the egg out of the shell with a spoon.

I first played around with duck eggs when I lived in Colorado at an elevation of close to 7000 feet. I really had to work hard to get baked goods to turn out right at that altitude. Using duck eggs in my brownie recipe made all the difference. Those duck eggs stabilized the batter and gave me perfect brownies; I didn’t make any other altitude adjustments. At this point, I live right on the edge of needing to adjust for altitude. Most of the time I don’t need to make adjustments but if I find that I do, duck eggs will do it for me.

Usually the yolks of duck eggs are a deep yellow or orange. The flavor is slightly different and richer than chicken eggs. A simple breakfast of scrambled duck eggs can be a real treat. An entire omelet or a fritata made with duck eggs is sheer heaven.

Often, finding duck eggs for sale can be a challenge. We’ve found that the best place to start looking for them is the local farmers market. (If you’re in the NC high country, try the Watauga Farmers Market and look for New Life Farms. They’re usually selling duck eggs.) I’ve also seen them listed on Craigslist. In fact, if you google “where can I buy duck eggs in ___________” and fill in the name of your city and state, you’ll be amazed at how many listings you find.

I have the personal philosophy that it’s always good to try new foods. Duck eggs are definitely worth going on the list of things to try. (And if you’re worried that your kids might not like them….your kids probably won’t know the difference if you don’t make a big deal out of them. They ARE eggs, after all.)

Duck eggs

What about you? Have you used duck eggs? Do you have any favorite recipes that you like to substitute duck eggs for chicken eggs? Do you have a favorite source for duck eggs?

Barb, writing at My Sister’s Kitchen

http://mysisterskitchenonline.com

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Tasty Tuesday: Ceviche with Rick Bayless

All right, I’ll confess. We are shameless groupies of television chef, Rick Bayless, his restaurants, and his recipes. Actually, mostly with his recipes. A few weeks ago, my husband was in the Chicago area for business and ate at Bayless’s Frontera Grill twice and his other restaurant, XOCO,  a couple more times because the food is just that good. Finding good Mexican food is like….well, let’s just say that we’re ALWAYS looking. Eating in Bayless’s restaurants has inspired Dave to do his own experimentation in the kitchen with recipes he discovered on Bayless’s site.

Yesterday I came home from a two-day workshop on food fermentation (yes, I’ll be writing a LOT about that over the next few weeks!) to a fabulous dinner of Ceviche ala Bayless. Initially, I was a little hesitant; I’m not a huge fan of sushi or steak tartar  simply because raw meats make me a little nervous. Bayless does a great job of explaining in his recipes how the lime juice in Ceviche actually cooks the fish without heat. Once I overcame my hesitation, I was overwhelmed with fabulous, mind-bending flavors and, yes, textures.

Two types of Ceviche recipes from Rick Bayless

My favorite was Herb Green Ceviche. This fabulous recipe includes lime juice, cilantro, chilis, garlic, cucumbers, and scallops among other things. Pretty much ALL my favorite foods! I was stunned by how COOKED those scallops seemed, in their texture, after they’d been playing in lime juice for a couple hours. I’m linking to the recipe since we followed it exactly…this time. This really is Rick Bayless’s recipe through and through.

Herb Green Ceviche

Coming in a close second was Frontera Grill’s Now-Classic Ceviche. We made ours with tuna and it was just delicious! Again, my fears of raw fish were allayed when I saw how thoroughly the tuna was “cooked” by the lime juice. We loved the spiciness of both of these dishes, which we ate with tortilla chips. It wouldn’t be hard to scale back the heat by using fewer chilis in the prep.

Two types of Ceviche

 

Check out some of the other great recipes on Rick Bayless’s site. This guy knows how to make good food!

Two spicy versions of Ceviche make a great appetizer

Of course, we’ve only just begun to explore some of these great recipes at our new favorite food site. Because we can never just follow a recipe the way it’s written, I’m sure we’ll do some creative innovating as we explore these delicious foods. Join us over at My Sister’s Kitchen as we PLAY!

Barb, writing at My Sister’s Kitchen

http://mysisterskitchenonline.com

– don’t forget that we’re on Facebook AND Twitter! “Like” us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter for the very latest in the Kitchen. If you want to receive our email updates, sign up on the sidebar link to subscribe.


Tasty Tuesday: Shrimp and Spinach for a light Summer Supper

We’ve been having wretchedly hot weather lately, haven’t we? Well, I’ve been on the hunt for dinner ideas that do NOT involve turning on the oven. This light dinner of Shrimp and Sauteed Spinach does involve turning on a couple of burners but not for very long. Both shrimp and spinach cook up quickly, so my time in front of the stove is at a minimum.

Shrimp and Spinach Saute for a light Summer Supper

Shrimp and Sauteed Spinach

Ingredients:

  • 12 ounces shrimp, cleaned and peeled
  • 2 T. minced garlic
  • 2 T. olive oil (or sesame oil….even nicer)
  • 16 ounces baby spinach, washed
  • juice of one lemon
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • pine nuts for garnish (optional)
  • 1 slice bacon, cooked extra crispy for garnish (optional)
  • grated Parmesan for garnish (optional)

Directions:

Saute the cleaned shrimp briefly in olive oil and 1 T. minced garlic and set aside.

Shrimp sauteed in garlic and butter or olive oil

In a really large skillet, heat up 1 T. olive (or sesame) oil and 1 T. minced garlic. When the oil is hot and the garlic is sizzling, add the spinach. This is a large amount of fresh spinach and it will cook down to almost nothing. Use a large spatula to turn the spinach once or twice. Cover and turn off  the burner. (If you’re cooking on an electric stove, remove the pan from the burner.) It won’t take long for the spinach to wilt down completely. It’s not necessary to cook it very long at all. Add salt, pepper, and lemon juice. Toss thoroughly.

Use fresh, washed baby spinach for this Shrimp dishGarnish this Shrimp and Spinach dinner with toasted pine nuts

Serve on a lunch plate by spooning shrimp over a bed of spinach. Garnish with toasted pine nuts, crumbled bacon, and grated Parmesan.

Shrimp and Spinach, garnished with Parmesan, Pine nuts, and bacon crumbles

Notes: I like to buy my spinach at Sams Club in the big tubs for $4.48. It’s organic and well washed which makes my life easier. Of course if you have a source for local spinach, that’s the very best option.

On super hot days, I try to buy shrimp that has already been cooked. Then all I need to do is toss them in the pan for a couple of minutes to get the garlic flavor. It doesn’t take much longer than that, though, to cook up the uncooked shrimp and the  flavors and seasons of the garlic (and even a dab of butter) will be absorbed much more thoroughly. Really, either will work out fine.

 

Barb, writing at My Sister’s Kitchen

http://mysisterskitchenonline.com

– don’t forget that we’re on Facebook AND Twitter! “Like” us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter for the very latest in the Kitchen. If you want to receive our email updates, sign up on the sidebar link to subscribe.

Tasty Tuesday: Clean out the fridge with Italian Chicken Stew

It’s the day before you need to leave on vacation;  you look in the fridge and think, “What in the world do I do with all this food???” I had that day last Friday, knowing I would be leaving town early Saturday morning. Even though I still have grown kids at home, I knew that those basic raw ingredients would go unused, so I needed to clean out that fridge before I left.

This post is less about the end result (which was delicious) and more about the method of using up as many of  the perishables in a creative way. I dubbed the very tasty final result, Italian Chicken Stew, but your results are bound to vary. Keep in mind when you read my ingredient list: these were the things in MY fridge that needed to go before vacation. Your list will vary.

Italian Stew is a savory stew made from leftovers in the fridge

Italian Chicken Stew

Ingredients:

  • 2 pounds chicken tenders, sauteed and chopped into bite-sized chunks
  • 1 1/2 medium red onions, chopped
  • 1/2 yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 T. minced garlic
  • 1/2 green bell pepper, cut into strips
  • 6 medium tomatoes, diced
  • 1 c. red wine (any color will do but I needed to use this last bit up)
  • 2 c. kale, washed and cut/torn into 2″ pieces
  • 1 c. fresh basil leaves
  • 2 c. broccoli florets
  • 1 t. smoky paprika
  • 2 t. dried oregano
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 can garbanzo beans

Directions:

In one medium to large skillet, saute the chicken tenders in a bit of olive oil until completely cooked. Cut into bite-sized chunks and set aside.

In a very large skillet or a dutch oven, saute the onions, garlic, and peppers until tender and translucent. Add the tomatoes, kale, wine, and seasonings. Simmer for about 20 minutes or until the tomatoes are cooked down and the wine is partly reduced. Stir in fresh basil. Add broccoli florets and cook for another 5 minutes.

Italian chicken stew simmering on the stove

Stir in the chicken chunks and the garbanzo beans.

Serve in a bowl with crusty bread. We used the rest of a loaf of spinach-feta bread from our favorite local bakery.

I’m trying to get this posted in a hurry while I sit in the car outside the public library, using their wifi, so there won’t be many pictures this week!Italian Stew uses up leftovers before vacation

Remember, your goal is to use as many perishables as you can before you leave town. All veggies, cooked and uncooked are fair game. Add some grated cheese on top to garnish this stew. Also consider adding noodles or even rice. If I had had leftover rice, I would have stirred that in. If I’d wanted noodles, I would have cooked the noodles separately and then stirred them in when I added the chicken.

My fridge was essentially bare when I headed out the door on Saturday morning and I know that I won’t be coming home to some slimy mass of decaying vegetable matter in the crisper drawer in a week. Best of all, dinner was delicious!

Barb, writing at My Sister’s Kitchen

http://mysisterskitchenonline.com

– don’t forget that we’re on Facebook AND Twitter! “Like” us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter for the very latest in the Kitchen. If you want to receive our email updates, sign up on the sidebar link to subscribe.

Tasty Tuesdays: Cooking Fresh Kale with Shrimp, Garlic, and Pine Nuts

Okay, I must confess. I really struggle with kale. I’m okay with kale chips and the very occaisional sliver of kale in my green salad. As a child, I was required to eat kale that had been boiled to death and then thickened with cornstarch (we kids called it “slimed”) and that has left …well… scars. Perhaps that word is a little strong strong, but I’ve always had a reluctance to embrace this healthy vegetable. There’s a lot of local kale grown here in the High Country and people sing the nutritional praises of kale. This summer I finally buckled down to learn some tasty ways to prepare this leafy green.

Kale with Garlic, Shrimp, and pine nuts

This dish involves sauteing the kale and other veggies and topping it all off with shrimp and pine nuts. I was just amazed at how delicious this dinner turned out to be.

Kale with Garlic, Shrimp, and Pine Nuts

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound large shrimp
  • 1 large bunch of kale
  • 4 T. garlic, minced
  • olive oil
  • 1 bell pepper
  • 6 roma tomatoes
  • 2 large shiitake mushrooms, cut into chunks (portabellas work nicely for this recipe too)
  • 2-3 c. fresh spinach (optional)
  • juice of 1 lime
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • drizzle of balsamic vinegar
  • salt to taste
  • 2 T. pine nuts, toasted
  • 3 slices bacon, cooked until very crispy and crumbled
  • finely grated Parmesan cheese (optional)

Toast pine nuts in a dry skillet and set aside. (You can either toast them on the stove top over medium heat, watching them VERY closely so they don’t burn, or you can put them in a 400° oven for a few minutes. Again, watch them closely!)

Toasted pine nuts for Kale with Garlic, Shrimp, and pine nuts

It won’t take long to toast the pine nuts in a hot skillet.

Slice the tomatoes and bell peppers in half and put them under the broiler until their skins start to blacken. Set aside.

Roasted Peppers and Tomatoes to go with Kale with Garlic, Shrimp, and pine nuts

Prepare the mushrooms and set aside.

Get the shrimp ready. I bought raw shrimp in their shells so I needed to clean them and take the shells off. Set aside.

Prepare the kale by slicing the center stem out of the middle of each leaf and tearing or cutting the greens into 2 inch pieces.

trimming kale for kale chips

Fold the kale in half. See that big fibrous spine? It’s gotta go.

In a large skillet, heat up about 2 T. olive oil. Add 2 T. minced garlic. Why yes, that IS a lot of garlic. That’s how we roll around here….can’t ever have too much garlic! Add more if you want!

Stir in the shiitake mushrooms and cook for about 2 minutes before adding the kale. Stir the kale and continue to saute. After a couple minutes, add the roasted vegetables and continue to stir. Cover and let steam for a few minutes. If you need to, add a little water to keep things from sticking to the skillet. When the kale is tender, remove from the heat and drizzle the juice of a lime and some balsamic vinegar over all the veggies and toss lightly. Now is when you add your fresh spinach if you want to. Cover the pan and let everything sit for a few minutes while you cook the shrimp.

Saute mushrooms and kale for Kale with Garlic, Shrimp, and pine nutsAdd roasted vegetables to Kale with Garlic, Shrimp, and pine nuts

In a different skillet, heat up about 2 T. olive oil. If you are going for maximum flavor, add a teaspoon of butter. Start sauteing the remaining 2 T. minced garlic until it just starts to brown. Toss in the cleaned shrimp and toss in the garlic. Stir and cook but DO NOT OVERCOOK your shrimp. If you’re starting with already-cooked shrimp, then really, all you need to do is heat them up. If you’re starting with raw shrimp, they’ll be grey. As they cook , they’ll turn pink. Once they are no longer translucent, they’re cooked. This won’t take long. Add the juice of a lemon and stir.

Garlicky shrimp for Kale with Garlic, Shrimp, and pine nuts

Ah, look at all that garlic!

On your dinner plate, make a bed of vegetables. Add shrimp and then top with the toasted pine nuts and grated fresh Parmesan (optional).

Kale with Garlic, Shrimp, and pine nuts

Kale with Garlic, Shrimp, and pine nuts and a wee bit of bacon

My vegetarian friends should leave out the shrimp and either expand the vegetable quantities or add something like tofu.

I was truly astonished at how delicious this was! I think I might like kale after all!

Barb, writing at My Sister’s Kitchen

http://mysisterskitchenonline.com

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