a quick weeknight dinner that won’t weigh you down
I got a nasty cold over the weekend and it sidelined my productivity. That just makes me so mad, ya know? 😷 😤 I’m feeling better now, but it definitely knocked out a good workout streak I had going on. I only left the couch on Saturday to force myself to shower, because when you look good, you feel good. Kind of. I have this whole issue with my appearance that I don’t want to go into right now, but let’s say I looked as good as Annie could look with red nostrils and pillow hair. I have a friend, Emma, and she looks like a cute little snow pup all the time. When she’s sick, she looks like a cute little red-nosed snow pup. I’m Yeti. Rawr.
I did not feel like cooking much. I ate leftovers and Jason ate beaucoup pizza and worked on his bike while I watched a lot of Netflix from my blanket igloo.
On Sunday night, I decided to pull myself off of the couch and see what I could make. I’d had these frozen artichokes for ages, because I’d made these pea-artichoke tacos that were quite good, but for reasons and other reasons, never made it to the blog. I was super glad I still had them in the freezer, because they made for an excellent quick-and-ready comfort meal.
I am usually doubtful about how frozen veggies will roast up. I’d bought these anyways because I dislike having to fight with the whole artichoke. I love eating them in the pull-leaf-and-scrape-with-your-teeth fashion, but chopping chokes down the the heart is too much work.
Frozen artichokes roast of beautifully, just like you’d want them to. I have always adored artichokes, and I really want to start incorporating them more here. They are citrusy and meaty and elegant in down-to-earth kind of way. As I am talking about them, I am loving them more and more.
It’s not shown in the photos, but I totally sprinkled cheese on top. You should too. Did anybody else see this article about cheese basically being a drug? That explains a great deal. A great deal.
Lighter Pasta Bowl with Kale and Artichokes
- 8 cups of packed-ish kale
- 3 roasted garlic cloves (or garlic powder equivalent)
- a few sprigs of thyme
- a tiny drizzle of olive oil
- salt and pepper to taste
pasta and toppings
- 2 servings of pasta
- 2 cups of frozen artichoke hearts
- lemon juice
- sesame seeds
- olive oil
- salt and pepper
- sesame seeds
- 2 servings of gf dry pasta
- shredded cheese, optional
- Heat oven to 450
- Place artichoke hearts on a tray and drizzle with a little olive oil, sprinkle with lemon juice and salt an pepper
- Roast for 20 minutes, turning halfway through
- Prepare pasta per box instructions
- Wilt kale in the microwave, about 1-2 minutes
- Combine all the the kale pesto ingredients in a blender.
- Toss pasta in the kale pesto, top with roasted artichoke hearts, and sprinkle with sesame seeds. Serve with love and cheese.
Let’s all go a-wassailing among the kale so green 🎶
Oh gawd, Annie is a total dork. Is she singing carols about kale? Nerd.
I won’t contest the nerd/dork point, but the carols I make up to annoy my husband aren’t blog appropriate, okay? 💨 💨 💨 So we’re gonna holler a little kale jingle instead. The dressing was based off a traditional wassail recipe, and because of that, it truly makes the salad sing.
I know that fall produce kale salads are done a lot, but that’s because they’re wonderful. Besides, this is a warm kale salad, my favorite kind, drizzled with toasty spice citrus flavors that invoke joy. Thick socks and a good book by the fire. A trot outside on a crisp day. A smile from an old friend. This. This is what those carolers were carrying on about.
Or maybe they just wanted to party. Wassail is pretty much all booze, and it you were going from door to door, you’re gonna get plastered. Which is funny, cause what about that line about being “the little children you’ve seen before?” Maybe they had a kid wassail bowl and a grown up bowl. On the other hand, it’s been well documented that kids regularly drank weak booze, as it was safer than other options.
There’s no booze in this dressing, just some fresh squeezed juice and a handful of walnuts and some classic spices. Even though it’s an ugly muddy color (and my weak photo skills don’t do it any favors), I’m so in love with this dressing that I’m going to start making it year round. Why wait to the end of the year to celebrate, when you can do it every day?
for the salad
- 1 large acorn squash
- 5 cups packed kale
- 1/2 cup pomegranate arils
- about 1/8th red onion, thinly sliced
- olive oil and seasoned salt for roasting the squash
- a little salt to taste
for the dressing
- 3/4 cup freshly squeezed Deep Red grapefruit juice
- 1/2 cup roughly chopped walnuts
- 2 tbsp brown sugar
- 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 1/4 tsp cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp ginger
- 1/8 tsp nutmeg
- 1/8 tsp allspice
- 1 pinch ground cloves
for the salad:
- Preheat the oven to 450
- Peel and slice the squash. Brush a little olive oil on, sprinkle it with some seasoned salt, and place on a parchment-covered baking sheet
- Roast the squash 25-30 min, turning halfway through.
- When you notice the squash is almost done, start preparing your kale. Put the kale in a large pot over medium head and sprinkle in a little salt. Cover the pot and allow the kale to wilt, about 4 - 4.5 minutes, stirring occasionally so the kale won't stick to the bottom.
- Combine kale, squash, pomegranate, and onion.
For the dressing
- Put the walnuts in a blender with the grapefruit juice and blend until you see an even consistency. This shouldn't take any more than 20 - 30 seconds or so.
- Add the vinegar, the sugar, and the spices to the grapefruit -nut blend. Stir well to combine.
- Put the dressing in a small pot and heat until just warm. Serve over the salad, with a little salt to taste. Enjoy!
A few years ago, I was at a diner having brunch with my family. My aunt offered me her leftover hash browns, and I shrugged. Ok. As she passed the plate over, she gave me a sheepish look. “I only ordered them because I like the crispy crust,” she explained.
I looked down at the potatoes. All the crust had definitely been picked off, showing the pasty tubers below. They were pale. There might have been an onion in there somewhere. But they definitely didn’t look or sound good anymore.
And I realized my aunt was right. She was the kind of person who was right about pretty much everything, and hash browns were no exception.
The best part of the hash brown is the crust. So we need a hash brown that is all crust, and these potatoes are nothing but crust. Well, there’s a little kale in there too, but what you won’t find are sad, slimy, undercooked hash brown middles. (Oh, dear please don’t let me have offended the people who like hash brown middles. We’re still pals, right?)
Serve these hot, with a side of sunny side up eggs and a big glass of freshly squeezed juice. We had them as breakfast-for-dinner. There was some leftover sauce and I had it the next morning, mashed up with a hard-boiled egg before work. I’m pretty sure this sauce would be a perfect sandwich spread, or a pasta sauce, or, even a dip. That means you’d be dipping veggies in more veggies, which is a super healthy way to kick off the weekend. And earns you lots of chocolate.
Not that you need an excuse to eat chocolate. ♥
Crispy Kale and Potato Stacks
for the potatoes
- 4 medium golden potatoes
- 2 1/2 tbsp chopped chives
- 1/2 tsp salt
for the kale
- 1 lb kale, stalks removed
- 1 cup vegetable broth
- 1 medium garlic clove
- 1/4 tsp curry powder
- pinch of cayenne
- Preheat the oven to 425.
- Scrub the potatoes and grate them on the fine side of your grater.
- Put all the grated potatoes in a flour sack cloth and squeeze as much moisture out of them as you can.
- Mix the potatoes with the chives and salt.
- Put the potatoes on a silicone sheet and spread them out really thin. You should be able to cover most of a 12 & 18 pan. It won't spread all the way to the edges. I used a rolling pin.
- Make some score marks on the potatoes so that you have about 10 even rectangles.
- Bake for 15 minutes.
- Flip the rectangles and bake for about 20-25 more minutes.
- When you remove the potatoes from the oven, they should be crispy but still a little pliable.
- Cut each rectangle into 3 pieces. It's easiest if you use scissors. Set potatoes aside.
- Put the vegetable broth in a sautee pan and bring to a boil.
- Add the kale and garlic to the pan and let it cook for 2-3 minutes without stirring.
- Cook, stirring constantly, for 4-5 more minutes, or until it looks as though broth is reduced to 1/4 cup.
- Remove from heat and puree. I just put in in a huge mug and used my beloved immersion blender (thanks again, Ema!)
- To serve, layer three potato crisps with kale sauce in the middle (potato, kale, potato, kale, potato, kale).
- Garnish with crema or sour cream if desired.