What to do with all of those greens? Try these ideas…

This week, my CSA (Lazy Eight Stock Farm) share had lots of greens. First rule for keeping greens fresh – do not wash them until you are ready to use them.  In the meantime, store them in veggie bags in your refrigerator’s crisper drawer. They will stay fresh and crisp much longer this way.  A second necessity for greens is a salad spinner.  After soaking greens in water to clean them prior to using, a salad spinner is key to getting them dry and crisp again.

When it comes to using the greens, smoothies are a great option. Here are several recipes to consider: Rainbow Swiss Chard SmoothieSwiss Chard Green Smoothie with Lime and Banana, & Swiss Chard and Oat Smoothie.  Don’t feel limited by the greens in these recipes.  Switch out the chard for kale or any of the other greens you have on hand. Using the greens as replacements for tortilla shells or buns is also another great option.  Use greens (romaine or swiss chard) this week with the Slow Cooker Pulled Chicken BBQ recipe for a new twist on a BBQ sandwich.  Another great way to use greens is the Kale Caesar Salad.  This is a great take on a classic.  However, if kale scares you, make it with romaine lettuce.  Either way, the dressing is fantastic and deserves some sort of greens to showcase itself!    

Trying to get your family to eat more veggies? Try roasting them.  Roasting creates a crispy edge and brings out natural sweetness.  If you do it my way, the veggies are lemony, garlicky, and a little bit cheesy.  I’ve yet to meet a roasted veggie yet that isn’t improved with garlic, Parmesan cheese, and lemon. When roasting, remember to turn off the convection setting and don’t let the veggies touch each other on the pan.  Both are key to roasting perfection. Let me know what you think of the Roasted Broccoli and Cauliflower.

Two other fast and fresh dinner options up for grabs this week: Spinach and Zucchini Ribbon Salad and Tomato and Goat Cheese Zoodle (Zucchini) Salad.  Both are quick and flavorful salads that are prepped and on the table in no time!

Are you getting tired of zoodles yet?  If you’ve been following me here the last couple of weeks, there’s definitely a zoodle trend.  Can’t jump on spiralizer gadget bandwagon yet?  Let me suggest an alternative twofer gadget that can slice and julienne. The julienne option can create short zucchini zoodles. While your strands won’t be long, luxurious curls that a spiralizer creates, they will still do the trick.  In addition to the julienne cut, this gadget also makes thin slices.

My family likes a little something sweet after dinner.  This week, we revisited Chocolate Banana Avocado Pudding. Throw a few ingredients in a blender or food processor and, voila, pudding is served!  The avocado is undetectable and creates a rich and creamy texture that is a crowd pleaser.

In the next week or two, We Eat For Real will be hosting a guest blogger who is going to share some tips for creating a deck garden using window planters and several of her favorite recipes for organic greens.  Take notes folks. She’s killer in the kitchen!!

Hope something makes your belly smile!

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Chocolate Banana Avocado (Shhh!) Pudding   

Adapted from The Nourishing Gourmet

2 avocados (quick tutorial for cutting an avocado)
2 ripe bananas
1/4 c. honey (preferably local or raw honey)
1/4 to 1/2 c. raw cacao powder or unsweetened cocoa powder
1 T. organic milk (alternatives: almond milk, water)
1 t. organic vanilla extract
¼  t. sea salt

Directions: Add all ingredients to a blender or food processor. Process until smooth and creamy.   Serve immediately.

Try adding one tablespoon of creamy almond butter (or other nut butter) to individual servings. Trust me, it’s lose your mind good!


Kale Caesar Salad With Pan Seared Chicken Sausage  


Adapted from Five and Spice

5-6 anchovies, preserved in oil (alternative 2 t. anchovy paste)
2 garlic cloves
1 t. Dijon mustard
1 t. balsamic vinegar
1 avocado, peeled and diced
1 lemon, juiced
¼ c. olive oil
¼ c. organic mayo
¼ t. each sea salt/pepper
½ c. good quality grated Parmesan
Several handfuls organic kale or other preferred organic greens, roughly chopped to bite sized pieces

Directions: To a small food processor or blender, add the anchovies, garlic, and Dijon mustard. Blend until thoroughly combined.  Next, add the avocado, lemon juice, olive oil, mayo, cheese, and salt/pepper.  Again, blend until combined.  If the dressing seems much too thick, add 2-3 tablespoons of water.  In a large bowl, immediately toss one-half of the dressing with the kale.  Serve topped with additional Parmesan cheese.

Note: This recipe makes extra dressing that can be reserved for later use.  Store refrigerated with plastic wrap pressed down, touching the entire surface to minimize avocado browning.

Serve with pan seared, preservative free chicken sausage.


Spinach and Zucchini Ribbon Salad With Herb Chicken


Adapted from Proud Italian Cook

Vinaigrette
3 T. extra virgin olive oil
1 ½ T. red wine vinegar
½ to 1 t. Dijon mustard
small garlic clove, crushed
½ t. dried oregano
Pinch of sea salt/pepper

Directions: Add ingredients to a jar with lid and shake.

Salad
4 organic zucchini, sliced super thin
3-4 c. organic spinach
¼ c. Parmesan cheese, shaved (alternative: feta cheese)
1/8 c. toasted pine nuts (alternatives: hazelnuts, almonds, walnuts)
½ pint organic cherry tomatoes, halved

Directions: Remove both zucchini ends and slice paper thin.  Lightly coat zucchini with olive oil and sauté in a skillet until it begins to soften (approximately 2 minutes per side). Toast the pine nuts via skillet or microwave.  Begin assembling the salad with the spinach and cherry tomatoes.  When the nuts and zucchini are cool, add them to the salad.  Pour one-half of the vinaigrette over the salad and lightly toss.  Add additional vinaigrette to taste.    

Time saving tip: It’s easiest to slice the zucchini into thin strips with a shaving tool or mandolin.  It can be done by hand, but it’s tough for me to get paper thin strips using a knife.

Herb Chicken
3-4 organic chicken breasts
1/8 c. extra virgin olive oil
Handful of fresh herbs of choice, chopped (ideas: basil, oregano, rosemary)
(alternatives: 1 t. dried Italian seasoning, Trader Joe’s 21 Seasoning Salute)
sea salt/pepper, freshly cracked

Directions:  In a small bowl, combine the oil, herbs, and salt/pepper.  Brush chicken with oil mixture.  Grill (or sauté) on medium heat for 6-8 minutes per side.  Remove from heat and cover with foil until ready to serve.


Tomato and Goat Cheese Zoodle (Zucchini) Salad With Herb Chicken  


Adapted from Mama Balance

2 large organic zucchini, zoodled
1 c. organic grape tomatoes, halved
2 T. balsamic vinegar (alternatives: red wine vinegar, white vinegar, rice wine vinegar)
2 T. extra virgin olive oil
½ t. sea salt
¼ t. fresh ground black pepper
¼ t. dried crushed red pepper flakes
¼ c. fresh basil, chopped thin
1 T. pine nuts (alternatives: sunflower or pumpkin seeds)
1 ½ oz. goat cheese (alternative: feta cheese)

Directions: In a small mixing bowl (or lidded container), add the vinegar, oil, salt/pepper, and red pepper flakes.  Vigorously whisk (or shake) to combine.   To a large serving bowl, add the zoodles (zucchini strands) and tomatoes.  Top with the remaining salad ingredients (basil, pine nuts, and goat cheese).  Pour the dressing over the top.  Season with salt/pepper to taste.  If serving with Herb Chicken, cover and refrigerate until the chicken is ready.

Herb Chicken
3-4 organic, free range, chicken breasts
1/8 c. extra virgin olive oil
Handful of fresh herbs of choice, chopped (ideas: basil, oregano, rosemary)
(alternatives: 1 t. dried Italian seasoning, Trader Joe’s 21 Seasoning Salute)
sea salt/pepper, freshly cracked

Directions:  In a small bowl, combine the oil, herbs, and salt/pepper.  Brush chicken with oil mixture.  Grill (or pan sear) on medium heat for 6-8 minutes per side.  Remove from heat and cover with foil until ready to serve.


Slow Cooker BBQ Pulled Chicken Sandwiches with Roasted Broccoli & Cauliflower

 

Adapted from Eat Good 4 Life

2 c. homemade BBQ sauce (see recipe below)
¼ c. extra virgin olive oil
¼ c. apple cider vinegar
5 garlic cloves, minced
2 t. oregano
1 t. sea salt
1 t. black pepper
3 T. organic coconut palm sugar
1 t. onion or garlic powder
2 T. Worcestershire sauce
2 T. natural liquid smoke, optional

4 lb. organic chicken thighs (alternative: organic chicken breasts)

Directions: In the slow cooker bowl, prepare the Homemade BBQ Sauce (see below).  Add the remaining ingredients and stir to ensure the chicken is evenly coated.  Cook on high for 3 hours or low for 6-8 hours.  Thirty minutes before serving, use a slotted spoon to remove the chicken.  On a cutting board, use two forks to shred the chicken.  Return the chicken to the slow cooker, and allow it to cook for the remaining 30 minutes.  Serve on buns or in a swiss chard or romaine lettuce wrap.

Time saving tip:  Prepare and refrigerate the night before.  Turn on the slow cooker when you head out the door in the morning.  When you get home, all you will have left to do is shred the chicken.  No worries if you’re going to be gone longer than eight hours.  I’ve cooked it for as long as 10 hours and the chicken just melted in your mouth!

Homemade BBQ Sauce
Adapted from The Gracious Pantry
1 (15 ounce) can organic tomato sauce – no sugar added
1 (6 ounce) can organic tomato paste – no sugar added
1 t. low sodium soy sauce
2 t. cumin
1 t. paprika
1/8 t. cayenne pepper
1 T. garlic powder (alternative 3-4 garlic cloves, minced)
1 T. onion powder
4 T. unsulfured molasses
3 T. raw honey
5 T.  balsamic vinegar

Directions: In a medium bowl, add all ingredients.  Stir to combine.

Roasted Broccoli & Cauliflower
1 head of broccoli, separated into florets
1 cauliflower, separated into florets
3-4 T. olive oil
sea salt/pepper to taste
2-3 garlic cloves, minced
grated Parmesan cheese (topping)
½ lemon, halved (topping)

Directions: Preheat the oven to 425 degrees (not convection setting). In bowl, toss the veggies, olive oil, salt/pepper, & garlic.  Spread the veggies on parchment paper or a foil lined baking sheet. Veggies pieces should not touch each other.  Roast at 425 for about 20 minutes.  Use a spatula to turn the veggies over halfway through roasting.  Serve with a sprinkling of Parmesan cheese and freshly squeezed lemon juice. Serve immediately.

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Perfect? No. Functional? Yes!

How about that? The blog is up, and it’s functional.

As this point, it’s housing meal plans from week to week and not much else.  As I figure out how I want things to look/feel, things will change.  Let’s just say you’re accessing an active work in progress.  If I wait until it reaches my standards, well…it will never exist.

So without further delay [drum roll please], here are the recipes.

Hope something makes your belly smile!


Snack

Chocolate Vanilla Chia Seed Pudding
1 c. organic milk (ideas: almond milk, white milk, cashew milk)
¼ c. chia seeds
¼ c. pure maple syrup (depending on how sweet you like it)
1 t. pure vanilla extract
1/8 c. to ¼ c. cacao powder or unsweetened cocoa powder
pinch sea salt

Directions: In a glass jar, (preferably one with a lid) add all ingredients. Shake vigorously and refrigerate overnight. When serving, add more milk by the tablespoon to obtain your desired consistency.


Dinners

Chopped Kale, Bacon and Brussels Sprouts Salad with Chicken Sausage

adapted from sugar and grace

Dressing:
2 T. fresh lemon juice
1 T. Dijon mustard
¼ red onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely minced
1/8 t. sea salt
Pinch black pepper
1/4 c. extra virgin olive oil

Directions: In jar with a lid, add all ingredients.  Shake.

Time saving tip: double this recipe. Store unused portion in the fridge and use for another salad.

For the Salad:
½ bag organic baby kale, chopped
1 lb. Brussels sprouts, finely shredded using a mandolin or spiralized
3-4 slices preservative free turkey bacon, cooked crispy and chopped
1/4 c. almonds slivers or pine nuts
1/2 c. Parmesan cheese, finely grated

Served with…

1 pkg. preservative free chicken sausage, pan seared


Red Pepper & Goat Cheese Frittata with Chicken Sausage

adapted from Aggies Kitchen

5 organic eggs + 3 organic egg whites
½ c. organic milk
Sea salt/black pepper, freshly ground
2 t. olive oil
½ red onion
1 organic red bell pepper, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 bag organic chopped kale (or other preferred greens) roughly chopped
4 oz. goat cheese

Directions: In a medium bowl, whisk the eggs, milk and salt/pepper. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. To a nonstick skillet heated to medium heat, add the olive oil to coat the bottom of the skillet. Add the onions and bell peppers and cook until softened, stirring occasionally (about 5 minutes). Over stirring will prevent the onions from caramelizing which brings out incredibly sweetened flavor. Add the garlic and stir. Allow to cook for a minute or two at the most (just until you can really smell the garlic). Scrape the bottom of the skillet with a spatula to loosen any bits of food. Pour in the egg mixture to evenly coat the pan. Allow to cook until the eggs have firmed up around the edges. Evenly crumble the goat cheese on the top. Cook for an additional 4-5 minutes in the oven. It’s done when the eggs have firmed up in the center and the goat cheese has melted and is bubbly. Serve as is or top with a dollop of organic Greek yogurt, a few dashes of hot sauce, or maybe even a bit of salsa.

Served with…

1 pkg. preservative free chicken sausage, pan seared


Corn and Tomato Pizza

adapted from Bev Cooks

Dough

Trader Joe’s premade whole wheat dough, prepared per package directions

Pizza Toppings
2 T. extra-virgin olive oil)
1/2 red onion, thinly sliced or chopped
2-3 NON GMO sweet corn ears, shucked (OR 2 c. frozen NON GMO sweet corn)
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
1 small pkg. organic cherry tomatoes, halved
1/2 c. fresh cilantro, chopped
1 lime, juiced
1 c. organic mozzarella, shredded
2 oz. goat cheese
Sea salt/black pepper, freshly ground
Tabasco style hot sauce, optional topping (recommended if you omit the jalapeno)

Directions: Preheat the oven to required pizza dough temperature. In a medium/large skillet warmed to medium heat, add the olive oil and onion and jalapeno (if using). Sauté until onions are translucent (about 5-7 minutes). Add the corn and sauté another 5 minutes. The next step happens quickly because you do not want to burn the garlic! Add the garlic, stirring constantly, allow it to cook until for about a minute or until you can really smell it. Immediately squeeze the lemon over the skillet and add the cilantro. Stir in the cherry tomatoes and allow the heat to release their juices (about 5 minutes). Remove from the heat. With the dough on the pizza stone or baking sheet, add a thin layer of mozzarella cheese, followed by the corn mixture. Crumble the goat cheese atop the pizza and add the remaining mozzarella cheese. Bake according to your pizza crust directions.

This is amazing –  especially with a few drops of hot sauce on each slice!!!


Indian Summer Chili (serves at least 6, if not 8)

adapted from Rachael Ray

3-4 T. extra-virgin olive oil
2-3 lbs. ground turkey breast (not 99% fat free)
4 T. chili powder (check ingredients to avoid preservatives/fillers)
4 T. grill seasoning blend (free of preservatives/fillers: Kroger’s Grill Time Chicken)
2 T. cumin
2 T. Worcestershire sauce, optional
1 – 3 T. hot sauce, medium to extra-spicy (several ingredients add heat – start slow and add more when tasting at the end)
1 large organic onions, chopped
2 large organic green or other color peppers, chopped
1 bottle of beer (alcohol cooks out)
2 (14 or 16-ounce) cans organic tomato sauce
1 can organic diced tomatoes (I often use canned organic fire roasted tomatoes)
1 c. smoky barbecue sauce (I’ve found very few without processed sugars so I make mine – see recipe below)

plain Greek yogurt (optional topping)
crumbled organic tortilla chips (optional topping)
organic cheddar, shredded (optional topping)

Directions: Heat a large stock pot (or Dutch oven) to medium heat. Add olive oil to coat bottom of pan. Add turkey, chili powder, grill seasoning, cumin, Worcestershire sauce, and hot sauce. Mix ingredients and break up the turkey into tiny bits. Continue cooking until turkey is no longer pink (approx. 5-7 min.). Add onions and green peppers and cook until softened (about 5 min.). Add all other ingredients and bring to a boil. Immediately reduce heat to barely simmering. Cover and allow to simmer for at least 20 min.
Note: if you double the original recipes it’s simply too spicy!!


Homemade BBQ Sauce

adapted from The Gracious Pantry

1 (15 ounce) can organic tomato sauce – no sugar added
1 (6 ounce) can organic tomato paste – no sugar added
1 t. low sodium soy sauce
2 t. cumin
1 t. paprika
1/8 t. cayenne pepper
1 T. garlic powder
1 T. onion powder
4 T. unsulfured molasses
3 T. raw honey
5 T. balsamic vinegar

3 T. raw honey
5 T. balsamic vinegar

Directions: In a medium bowl, thoroughly stir all ingredients.  Pretty easy stuff, right?