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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Vegetarian Chili

Vegetarian Chili

I never want to be that cliched food writer. You know the one, always sharing what’s super trendy or posting 2 million cookie recipes around Christmas or having million recipe collections of pumpkin recipes. But sometimes, you really just need to share something at just the right time. It makes sense and your readers will thank you for it. Hence this chili.

If you’re in my part of the country – or many other parts as well – then you know this week brought an extreme chill not felt for years. I was lucky enough to be inside for most of the time but there are others who aren’t as lucky. Kids walking to school, the guy I saw on the highway changing his tire, the dog who needs to take a good five minutes to find a potty spot. No matter how you’ve spent the last week, you still need something to warm up your bones. Chili is a great, hearty option.

I went for vegetarian chili mainly due to lack of thawed meat. But really, I didn’t miss it at all. Two different kinds of beans – both red kidney and black – make this soup incredibly hearty meaty without actually adding any meat. A great kick of spice lends tons of flavor and the quinoa? Well that might just be my favorite part. It adds a great heft, a nice filling quality, without making this chili heavy.

Top if all off with a helping of jalapeno cornbread and you are set. The cornbread is essential here. You could skip it but why?

Vegetarian Chili
Recipe type: vegetarian, dinner
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 

Serves: 10
 

Vegetarian chili will warm you to the bone, even on the coldest of days.
Ingredients
  • 1 Tbsp. vegetable oil
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 yellow onions, diced
  • 1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 15-ounce can tomato sauce
  • 1½ Tbsp. chili powder
  • 2 tsp. cumin
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • ½ tsp. cayenne pepper
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 cups cooked quinoa
  • 1 15-ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 15-ounce can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1½ cups frozen corn
  • juice of one lime
  • optional: shredded cheese, sour cream, diced red onion for topping
  • For cornbread:
  • 1 cup white cornmeal
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3 tsp. baking powder
  • ¼ cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 egg
  • 2 jalapenos, seeded and diced

Instructions
  1. In a large sauce pan, heat vegetable oil over medium high heat. Add garlic and saute until fragrant, 30 seconds.
  2. Add onions and toss to coat. Cook until translucent, about 5 minutes.
  3. Add in tomatoes, tomato sauce, chili powder, cumin, sugar, cayenne, water and quinoa and stir well to combine. Season with salt and pepper.
  4. Reduce heat to low and simmer 30 minutes.
  5. Add in beans, corn and lime juice and simmer an additional five minutes.
  6. Portion into bowls and top with shredded cheese, sour cream or diced red onions. Serve with jalapeno cornbread.
  7. To make cornbread, Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Spray a 9X11 baking dish with non-stick spray.
  8. In a bowl, combine cornmeal, flour and baking powder. In another bowl, whisk together oil, milk and egg.
  9. Pour the wet ingredients over the dry ingredients and stir just to combine.
  10. Fold in jalapenos. Pour into baking dish and bake 20 minutes until golden.
  11. Remove and allow to cool. Slice into squares.

 

Pizza Stuffed Spaghetti Squash

Pizza Stuffed Spaghetti Squash

Here’s the thing about spaghetti squash. You can’t go into it expecting it to taste anything like spaghetti. So get that thought out of your head now. In fact, stop calling it spaghetti squash. Just call it stringy squash because that is essentially what it is. Once you roast and cut open a spaghetti squash, you are left with stringy, somewhat crisp flesh that is delicious and totally adaptable to basically anything your heart desires. But it does not taste like spaghetti.

I think because it is called spaghetti squash, it is most often treated as such and served with meatballs and sauce. That is fine and dandy, since it is definitely tasty that way. I took mine, however, and turned it into a crustless pizza. I scooped all of the tender yellow flesh out and tossed it in a bowl with copious amounts of mozzarella and pizza sauce as well as a little basil and just a touch of red pepper flakes for heat.

And the result was excellent. I love the texture of spaghetti squash. It’s crisp and fresh. If you’re in that post-Christmas detox mode, this will fit the bill. It’s healthy while filling and incredibly flavorful. Give it a whirl if you’re still craving pizza without the added guilt!

Pizza Stuffed Spaghetti Squash
Recipe type: dinner, vegetarian
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 

Serves: 2
 

Pizza stuffed spaghetti squash is a great, low-carb vegetarian alternative to classic pizza. All the flavor, no guilt!
Ingredients
  • 1 medium-sized spaghetti squash
  • 1 cup pizza sauce
  • ½ cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1 Tbsp. fresh basil, chopped
  • ¼ tsp. red pepper flakes

Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Carefully slice the squash in half lengthwise. Place it in a baking dish, cut-side down, and fill the dish with about ¼ to ½ inch water.
  2. Bake for 60 minutes until the squash is tender. Allow it to cool until it can be handled.
  3. Once the squash is cool, use a fork and run the tines along the squash. The tender flesh will begin to pull away from the skin in ribbons, almost like spaghetti.
  4. Continue to score the flesh until it is all pulled from the skin. Take the flesh and place it in a bowl, reserving the skin for later.
  5. Add the pizza sauce, mozzarella, basil and red pepper flakes to the squash flesh and mix well to completely combine.
  6. Take the two squash skins and divide the flesh mixture between them. Top with an additional sprinkling of mozzarella cheese.
  7. Place the squash halves on a baking sheet and place in the oven for an additional 5 to 7 minutes until the cheese has fully melted.

 

Corn Fritters

I am up to my ears in Thanksgiving leftovers. At this rate, I won’t have to cook until Christmas. We’ve had turkey for lunch and dinner just about every day since Thursday.

I’m a big fan of taking the original and fiddling with it a bit to make it less boring. Turkey was great the first time around. It was almost better as a croquette.  Sweet potatoes are delicious but make an even better sweet potato pie.

And corn fritters? They just improve the corn.

We never usually have corn leftover. It’s a fail-safe when you have a child. If they hate everything else, at least they’ll eat the corn. But when the table is absolutely loaded with every other food imaginable, you can’t really fit more than one helping of corn in your belly. So I finally had the opportunity to try out these corn fritters I’ve had my eye on for a while.

They were tasty!

Feel free to give them a try and use up the last of those Thanksgiving leftovers you may have lurking around. Use them as fuel before you go out and do some crazy Christmas shopping.

Enjoy!

Corn Fritters

adapted from Hillybilly Housewife

Ingredients:

2 cups leftover corn

2 eggs

1 cup flour

1 tsp. baking powder

1 Tbsp. sugar

Vegetable oil

Put your leftover corn in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk your eggs. Pour them in with the corn. Then combine your flour, baking powder and sugar in with the corn and eggs. Using a fork or a whisk, mix them well to combine.

In a frying pan over medium, heat some vegetable oil. Once your oil is nice and hot, drop your corn fritter in by the tablespoon. Let them heat up for about a minute, then flip them. They should be a nice, golden brown. Let it finish cooking on the other side, then remove from the skillet and place on a paper towel to drain.

Sprinkle with a bit of salt when finished, if you choose.

Lemon Broccoli

Sometimes, a simple side can really complete your meal.

It doesn’t have to be anything complex or fancy. A little goes a long way.

Take this lemon broccoli for example. First, it’s broccoli. Only the world’s greatest vegetable. I could seriously eat broccoli with every meal. In any preparation. At any time.

Yeah, broccoli is great.

Second, the light seasoning and lemony flavor really add a zip to the broccoli.

Third, it’s easy.

Really, do you need more reasons to try it?

I thought not.

Lemon Broccoli

Adapted from Taste of Home

Ingredients:

8 cups fresh broccoli florets

3 Tbsp. melted butter

1 Tbsp. lemon juice

salt and pepper to taste

Put your broccoli in a steamer basket. Place it in a large sauce pan filled with 1 inch of water. Bring to a boil, cover and steam for about 3 to 4 minutes until the broccoli is crisp-tender.

In a small bowl, combine the remaining ingredients. Once your broccoli is finished, drizzle the mixture over top of the broccoli and give it a good toss.

Yum-O!