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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Spicy Thai Style Noodles

Did you know that you are supposed to eat really hot, spicy things when the weather warms up? Weird, right? But I swear it’s true. On those day when the temperatures has climbed into “surface of the sun” range and you feel as though your body has melted into the leather seats of your car, a spicy meal will do you well.  I promise. See, spicy foods make you sweat. And sweat is the body’s air conditioning system. You sweat to keep from overheating. Basically, you are cooling yourself off. So the more spicy foods, the more sweat. The more sweat, the cooler you’ll stay.

I know. I just spent five minutes talking about sweat… But really, spicy foods are apropos for summer time. The spicier the better. Spicy, Spicier, Spiciest! This recipe will definitely add some heat to your menu. Bare in mind, a little bit of red pepper flakes go along way. So if you’re more of a mild fan, adjust the amount of flakes accordingly (1 tablespoon of red pepper flakes = spicier). If you really like to crank up the heat, go ahead and give 2 tablespoons of flakes a whirl. Keep a gallon of milk handy to cool your mouth after!

People, this is my gift to you during those summer months.

Spicy Thai Noodles

very slightly adapted from A Small Snippet

Ingredients:

1 box of angel hair pasta

1/2 cup vegetable oil

1-2 Tablespoons red pepper flakes

6 Tablespoons honey

6 Tablespoons soy sauce

Boil water and cook your pasta according to package directions.

Put your oil in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add the red pepper flakes and let cook for about 2 minutes. After 2 minutes, strain the pepper flakes out of the oil.

Whisk the honey and soy sauce into the oil.

Once you have drained your cooked pasta, pour oil mixture on top and mix well, coating all of the pasta.

Refrigerate until cold (overnight works best).

Pasta Primavera

This weekend was so absolutely fabulous, I’m not sure I can express it in words. Abby made her first Holy Communion. It was filled with friends and family and good food. We parties, played softball, ate great food, watched a little horse racing and just generally had a great time.

And now, it’s Monday. And we’re all forced to go back to the daily grind. Let’s be completely honest, I am absolutely not liking it. I just want the weekend to go on forever. Doesn’t everyone?

Either way, the world continues to turn. And in order to get through Monday, I need serious sustenance. In the form of creamy, delicious pasta. My take on pasta primavera. It’s just the right thing to eat on a Monday night. What’s your best way to get through a boring Monday?

Pasta Primavera

Serves about 4

Ingredients

8 ounces pasta of your choice

1/2 onion, thinly sliced

1/2 red bell pepper, chopped

10 cherry tomatoes, halved

2 Tbsp. cream cheese

3 Tbsp. butter

1/2 cup heavy cream

1 clove crushed garlic

Cook your pasta in a large pot of salted water. While it simmers away, melt 1 Tbsp. of butter in a sauce pan. Add the onion, pepper and tomatoes. Cook for about 5 minutes until onion and pepper are soft and tomatoes have started to break down a bit. Transfer them to another dish.

Melt the other 2 Tbsp. of butter in the same sauce pan. Add in the clove of garlic. Cook for about 2 minutes until fragrant. Add in the cream cheese and stir. Once it is a bit melty, add in the heavy cream. Stir it well, incorporating the melted cream cheese. Once the mixture has melted and combined, add in the veggies. Stir well to combine.

Drain your cooked pasta and add it to the sauce. Stir well, covering all the pasta with sauce.

Serve warm.

Pasta alla “Not-Ka”

First, there is a very important matter to discuss here.

See these? This footwear has been a topic of contention in our house. So I need to know.

Are they slippers or appropriate footwear for long work days, dinner dates with friends and just general gallivanting?

Keep in mind, they have a hard sole, much like a sneaker. And while these were $6 at Sears, I have seen a similar style shoe at Nordstrom, in the Ugg department… So they can be compared to Uggs, right? Uggs… appropriate outdoor footwear, right?

B would say hell no. He thinks they look ridiculous outside of the house. I think that is due to the fact that I told him they were slippers when I convinced him to let me buy them. And by convinced, I mean bought them and then told him why I needed them when he knew I wouldn’t take them back.

Thoughts? Shoes, right? I can continue wearing them at my casual, jeans-everyday workplace, yeah?

Second, there is this pasta. It was awesome. Flavorful and delish. Keep in mind, pasta in our house is typically some cooked noodles with a pat of butter or a splash of Ragu. Our pasta horizons needs some serious broadening. So we started simple with a saucy pasta that doesn’t deviate too far from the standard Ragu dish. And it was a winner.

Did I mention it’s semi-healthy, low in calories and fat?

You’re trying it right now, aren’t you?

Pasta Alla “Not-Ka”

from Cook Yourself Thin

Ingredients:

      2 teaspoons olive oil
      3 cloves garlic
      1/2 cup chopped red onion
      3/4 teaspoon salt
      1 14-ounce can diced tomatoes or whole tomatoes in juice, pureed in a food processor
      Pinch red pepper flakes
      8 ounces pasta (they recommend penne, I used whole grain linguine)
      1/4 cup heavy cream
      6 tablespoons evaporated nonfat milk
        1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese

    Bring a pot of salted water to a boil for the pasta.

    In a large saucepan, heat the olive oil and garlic until the garlic begins to brown, about 3 minutes. Add the onion and 1/4 tsp. of salt. Cover and cook for approximately 2 minutes until the onions soften. Add the tomato, 1/2 tsp. of salt and red pepper flakes. Bring to a simmer, reduce heat and simmer for about ten minutes. Stir in the evaporated milk and heavy cream and simmer for one more minute.

    At five minutes, add the pasta to the boiling water. Cook until al dente, then drain and reserve 1/2 cup pasta water. Add the pasta to the saucepan and stir. Add water, a little at a time, if your pasta is dry. Stir in the Parmesan cheese and serve hot.

    Brown Butter Lovin’

    Sometimes you discover something that is so genius, you wonder how you ever lived your life without it.  Take the sandwich, for instance.  How did people ever live before the PB & J and the Fluffernutter?  Or slipper socks.  I would personally like to thank the person who invented those marvelous things.  And volume-boosting mascara.  I personally credit Hard Candy for changing my life.  Really, I would have gotten nowhere without these amazing eyes and their awe-inducing power.

     

    That’s sort of how I feel about brown butter.

     

    My new love… The one I can’t part with, ever.  The thing that’s really been missing from my existence.

     

    Where have you been these 27 years?  How have I not known you?  We will now be bonded for life and I will use you in every scenario possible.  I will slather you on my skin if I have to.  But there will be no parting for me and brown butter.

     

    This might seem like I’m going a tad overboard.  But unless you’ve tried brown butter, you can’t possibly understand how marvelous it is.  I’ve never had one ingredient enhance flavor so much.  And I stumbled across it purely by accident.  See, I had this marvelous zucchini from the farmer’s market just screaming to be used.  I was tired of typical zucchini preparations and wanted to try something a little different.  I scoured and came across a recipe on Delish.com for gnocchi with zucchini ribbons and parsley brown butter.  I knew instantly that I wanted to adapt the recipe a bit, using angel hair instead of gnocchi.  But why not give this brown butter thing a whirl?

     

    I will never be the same.

     

    Pasta with Zucchini Ribbons and Brown Butter

    adapted from Delish.com

    1 medium zucchini

    2 Roma tomatoes

    2 T butter

    1 lb. pasta of your choice

    2 T basil

    salt and pepper

    Cook your pasta according to the package directions.  Then begin slicing your zucchini into ribbons.  I cut mine in half, then took the vegetable peeler and ran it down the zucchini, making long zucchini ribbons.  Take your Roma tomatoes and dice them as well.

    Place 2 T of butter in a sauce pan over medium heat.  Allow it to melt all the way through.  Then, watch as it turns a brown color.  It will be very aromatic, so you’ll know when it is finished.  If you cook it too long, you’ll absolutely know because it will stink.

    Once finished, your butter will be a really nice, nutty  brown color and will smell amazing.  Resist the urge to pour it right into your mouth.

    Add the zucchini to the brown butter and top it with a little salt and pepper.  Cook it for 2 to 3 minutes until soft.

    Add the tomatoes and basil to the zucchini.  Allow it to cook for 2 to 3 more minutes.  The tomatoes will break down slightly and the smell will be fabulous.

    Once your pasta is finished cooking, put it in your serving dish.  Top with zucchini mixture.

    Yummy in my tummy.