Creamy Kale-Fredo

When comfort food calls, there is nothing better than this creamy kale-fredo. Smooth, saucy with just the right amount of veggies to ease your guilty conscience. 

Creamy Kale-Fredo

A few weeks ago, I waffled back and forth on what to make for dinner so hard, I think I strained my brain. Both dishes were new but clearly had potential to be incredible. And it really just came down to whatever craving struck me more. This creamy kale-fredo won out. And I, for the life of me, could not remember the other dish once I opted for the kale-fredo.

It wasn’t that the other dish wasn’t a stand-out choice. This pasta was just better. The first horse in a serious comfort food race, it fulfilled every need I had at the time. Cheesy, creamy, filled with kale so I didn’t feel so guilty about all the aforementioned cream. Loaded with carbs and just salty enough to quell my near-constant need for salt (am I dehydrated or something?). Sometimes, it is just how the world works. You have a need for comfort food, someone is there to fill in the gap.

I have to admit that I was pretty heavily inspired by this creamed kale from Nutmeg Nanny. She posted it back in the winter, when I had an even larger, harder to fill gap for warm and hearty foods. It seems like ages ago now, digging out mountains of snow and kicking myself for getting fake grass in the fireplace during the Christmas village extravaganza of 2014. But I bookmarked her recipe and promised myself it would appear on my table sometime in the near future.

I didn’t. At least not yet. But I took it, ran with it and made something different yet equally as satisfying, especially if you are a pasta person. Hopefully, you are! And hey, there’s kale in here so really, it’s healthy. Enjoy!

Creamy Kale-Fredo

Yield: 4 large servings

Ingredients

  • 1 lb. whole wheat linguini
  • 3 1/2 Tbsp. butter
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 shallots, diced
  • 3 Tbsp. flour
  • 2 1/2 cups half and half
  • 2 ounces cream cheese
  • 1/2 cup parmesan cheese
  • 1 large bunch of kale, torn into pieces

Instructions

  1. Begin by cooking your linguini according to package instructions. While it cooks, prepare the sauce.
  2. Heat the butter over medium heat. Once melted, add in garlic and shallots. Cook until softened and fragrant, about 1 minute.
  3. Add in flour and whisk for 1 minute. Slowly stir in the half and half, 1/2 cup at a time, whisk vigorously to avoid lumps. Once the half and half has been added, stir in the cream cheese until fully melted.
  4. Add the parmesan cheese and stir until combined. Add in kale and drained pasta. Toss to completely coat and integrate the kale.
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Brown Butter Fried Apples

Brown butter fried apples – the perfect summer time dessert for spooning over ice cream. 

Brown Butter Fried Apples

I must admit, I am not typically a fan of fruit. Mainly a textural issue, I tend to avoid most. Apples, however, are the one fruit I will always eat. They have to be the right kind of apples, of course. Crisp, tart with just a hint of sweet, no brown spots. If you see an annoying person spending twenty minutes in front of the apple cart at the grocery store, it’s likely me. For years, it would be ONLY red apples. Then, granny smith exclusively. Now, I can eat honeycrisp, pink lady, macoun. Honeycrisp may actually be my favorite. But I’ll tell you, if I take one mealy bite, all bets are off. One single bite of a sandy apple can ruin me.

Since I feel passionate about my apples and how I like to eat them, it’s no surprise to find I like apple desserts. Apple pie is likely my most favorite pie on this planet (even more than coconut cream, which is saying a lot). And an apple crisp makes me swoon, with the crumbly cinnamon topping. But fried apples? They have my heart, forever and ever. I can’t pass up an opportunity to order them at Cracker Barrel, devouring every last one, no shame.

Today is Secret Recipe Club reveal day and I was paired with Palatable Pasttimes. She’s a Sunday Supper gal, too. And she has a recipe on her site for easy fried apples. How could I honestly resist? I waffled between these and the taquitos she posted recently for Weekday Supper. But ultimately, fried apples won out. I made one simple change to her recipe. When heating the butter, I simply browned it a bit to give the apples one more little flavor twist. The result is an amazingly caramelized, nutty apple perfect for spooning on top of pancakes, over ice cream or just eating straight from the bowl. Is there anything better?

Nope.

Brown Butter Fried Apples

Ingredients

  • 3 green apples, peeled and sliced
  • 2 Tbsp. butter
  • 2 Tbsp. brown sugar

Instructions

  1. In a large sauce pan over medium high heat, heat the butter. Allow it to brown, gathering small flecks on the bottom of the pan. Once the butter turns a deep brown, caramel-like color, add the brown sugar and stir well to combine.
  2. Toss the apples in and toss them to coat. Cook for 10 minutes until the apples have caramelized and are soft.
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Plum Green Tea Slushies

Plum Green Tea Slushies

When Brian and I honeymooned in Disney World, we ate some of the most delicious food. Now, Disney is known for having some incredibly high class restaurants but we really stayed true to ourselves and kept things pretty low-brow. Fries, chicken fingers, funnel cakes, mostly. But there was also an amazing buffalo wing dip with shredded celery and kettle chips for dipping. And I stuffed myself with kielbasa and pierogies. A breaded pork chop with red onion jam stands, to this day, as one of the best meals I’ve ever eaten. And yet out of all the things we tried, the plum green tea slushies were the most memorable.

We went during the Food and Wine Festival, this amazing two month long food bash with different bites from countries all around the globe. You get a little passport and they’ll stamp it for you with each new dish you try. We noshed on bites from Canada (because Moosehead must be part of this culinary tour, of course), Mexico, Poland (because Polish food is the best and I am incredibly loyal to my heritage) and Belgium. It can get crowded during the festival, no doubt. Brian and I were occupying a little high bar table while we ate some tamales. And right across from us, a man stood leaning against a trash can, balancing his plate and drink over top.

Plum Green Tea Slushies

We invited him to use our table – I mean, a trash can. He was using a trash can. So he joined us and eventually, his wife, brother and mom came over. They’d just run a half marathon and were celebrating. They told us which stands had the best drinks, where to snag the best spot for fireworks and how to avoid major bus traffic on the way home. And then the mother grabbed my arm and said “You absolutely MUST try this plum drink over there,” and pointed to a little stand sandwiched between Mexico and China. We figured why the heck not and grabbed two.

We should have grabbed four. They were perfect. Sweet, cold, refreshing. These are the kind of drinks that make it very, very easy to end up hammered by. The alcohol – by ways of plum sake – is so subtle in flavor. It just adds this nice boost, a little kick. Not enough that you are even aware how much you are drinking. Therein lies the problem. Moderation, my friends. It took almost five years for me to make these at home and I’m not even sure why. But on a recent trip to the store, I spotted plum sake and snatched it off the shelf. It was about time.

I’m really, really happy with how these turned out. They were almost exactly as I remembered them. Sweet, refreshing, sassy. Plum green tea slushies, for the win!

Plum Green Tea Slushies

Yield: Serves 6 to 8

Ingredients

  • 2 cups green tea
  • 2 cups ice
  • 4 tsp. sugar
  • 4 cups plum sake
  • 1 cup coconut rum

Instructions

  1. Place all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.
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BBQ Turkey Burgers with Caramelized Onions

BBQ turkey burgers with caramelized onions are THE burgers for this summer: saucy, sassy and tasty.

BBQ Turkey Burgers with Caramelized Onions

I am a big believer in the idea of every burger being topped with loads and loads of caramelized onions and cheese. The cheese seems obvious. People who eat hamburgers (read: my husband) are weird. But the onions, they are an acquired taste not everyone will love. They take time, an adjustment period. If you force them, your diners will rebel and likely throw the onions in your face. 

Maybe they won’t do that exactly, but people will gripe. 

It’s an important lesson I’ve learned over the years. You really can’t force foods on people. If they suddenly have a “Come to Jesus” moment with onions, then you’re golden. But the second you try and stuff caramelized onions in someone’s mouth – no matter how delicious and perfectly browned and slightly salty they are – they will hate them forever. It’s about coming to things on your own, of discovering their beauty and flavors at your own speed.


BBQ Turkey Burgers with Caramelized Onions

Still, I wish some people would just hurry up and have this enlightening food experience. I am really tired of serving up my caramelized onions on the side. For real.

I made these burgers a few weeks ago and have tried since then to come up with a clever Bob’s Burgers style name that would convey exactly how fantastic they tasted. The sweet and sassy BBQ sauce on a turkey burger, topped with not one but two slices of cheese and covered in a mountain of golden, caramel onions. It needed a cool name. Here’s what I came up with:

Nothing. I got nothing. Sorry. If you’re into cool named burgers, please shout out your suggestions or head over to this amazing Tumblr dedicated to all things Bob’s Burgers. In the meantime, I highly suggest you heat up your grill pan and get to cooking this burger. Please, share it with someone who is super into caramelized onions. They’ll thank you.

BBQ Turkey Burgers with Caramelized Onions

Ingredients

  • 2 small yellow onions
  • 1 Tbsp. butter
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 cup beef stock
  • 1 lb. ground turkey
  • salt
  • pepper
  • burger seasoning
  • ½ cup BBQ sauce of your choice
  • 4 slices American cheese
  • Optional: pretzel rolls, ketchup, tomatoes, lettuce

Instructions

  1. Begin with the caramelized onions. Slice your onions into thin slices. Melt butter and olive oil together in a pan over medium high heat. Once melted, add in the onions and season with salt and pepper.
  2. Allow to cook for approximately five minutes, then add ¼ cup of beef stock. Cover and cook approximately 7 minutes until the onions have absorbed the stock.
  3. Add another ¼ cup of stock and repeat until all of the stock has been absorbed and the onions have cooked down and are caramelized. Remove to a plate until ready to use.
  4. Divide your ground turkey into fourths. Take each fourth and form it into a patty. Sprinkle with salt, pepper and burger seasoning.
  5. On a grill pan or griddle (you can use your grill if it is warm outside) over medium high heat, cook the burgers for approximately five minutes per side.
  6. With only an additional minute left, place the cheese on top and allow it to melt. Remove the burgers from the grill. Place them on top of your roll, top each with 2 Tbsp. BBQ sauce, a generous serving of caramelized onions and the other half of the roll.
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Lemon Sugar Grilled Chicken for #WeekdaySupper

Kick grilling season off right with this lemon sugar grilled chicken.

Lemon Sugar Grilled Chicken

You know in that Pat Benetar song, how she says “Love is a battlefield”? And you might pump your fist in the air and sing along because, well, Pat Benetar? Tell her to come sit at my dinner table one night and then we’ll see if she changes her mind. Because the dinner table? That is the ultimate battle field. It’s a fight against good and evil. Every epic movie you’ve ever seen with a big battle at the end. I so often feel like Frodo and Sam Wise, trying to make it up that dang hill while my friends battle ugly Orcs at the bottom. The only difference is in the end, Frodo makes it out alive.

I guess this isn’t a totally fair comparison. There are some slam dunk dishes that I put out that just please everyone. This lemon chicken scallopini elicits tears of joy every time I plunk it down on the table. And popcorn chicken is always welcomed with open arms, like a long-lost cousin or friend (hmm… a chicken theme here, perhaps). But then there was the chicken fajita pasta that tasted amazing to me and was met with resounding groans and an evening of sitting at the table until plates were cleared. How am I, a person completely biased and in love with all things Mexican-inspired, meant to get a clean read on how the recipe turned out if everyone is going to poop on it the second it hits the table?

Poop in the strictly metaphorical sense, of course. 

Lemon Sugar Grilled Chicken

So that’s how I know this recipe for lemon sugar grilled chicken is a winner. It was met with cheers and hoots of joy, even a little welcome parade with streamers and balloons as I ushered it to the dinner table.

Maybe not really that, but it was eaten without one single complaint. People even asked for seconds so, you know, victory. Now, if you don’t have a grill or it’s still freezing where you live or you just don’t feel like turning on the propane and heating the grill, you can always bake this chicken. Toss it into a glass baking dish and just throw it in a 375 degree oven until cooked through. But the grilling here lends flavor. So do it. Don’t be lazy, folks. You won’t get that nice, crispy char without the grill. The char is important. Serve it with some grilled potatoes and some grilled eggplant because heck, you might as well use the grill while you’ve got it all preheated.

Be sure to check out the rest of the Weekday Supper posts for more grilling ideas.

Monday – Strawberry and Avocado Salad by Take A Bite Out of Boca
Tuesday – Bratwurst Tacos by Palatable Pastime
Wednesday – Lemon Sugar Grilled Chicken by Feed Me, Seymour
Thursday – Mayo-Free Curried Chicken Salad by eating in instead
Friday – Italian Chicken Avocado Burgers by Momma’s Meals

Recipe slightly adapted from Can You Stay For Dinner?

Lemon Sugar Grilled Chicken for #WeekdaySupper

Ingredients

  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • Juice and zest of 1 lemon
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper

Instructions

  1. Preheat the grill to medium high heat.
  2. In a bag, place chicken, lemon juice and zest, garlic cloves, olive oil, salt, sugar and black pepper. Allow it to marinate together until the grill is heated.
  3. Once hot, place the chicken on the grill. Cook for 15 minutes, turning a few times, until cooked through.
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