Sauteed Sesame Kale and Meal Planning

It seems like the weather is always a popular conversation topic, especially for those of us in the Seattle area. It’s the first thing out of people’s mouths once they find out we’ve just moved here. So far July has been perfect. Mid 70’s and clear skies. Then this weekend we got a little surprise heat wave- 91 both Sat and Sunday! What!? The majority of homes here don’t have A/C for a reason so I am very thankful this will be short-lived.

As the kids played outside in the mini pool yesterday I tried to brainstorm my menu plan for the week. My mom is visiting starting on Tuesday so I want to leave things kind of open since I haven’t planned what we’ll be doing. Much to my surprise, I came up blank. I had NO ideas. I couldn’t even think of what I wanted her to make for me. I attempted to brainstorm blog ideas. Nada. Zilch. Maybe it was the heat wave. I don’t know, but I was definitely stuck in a rut.

Then 3:00 am came and I was wide awake. I got on my laptop and started thinking about food again. My brain slowly started to kick into gear, but it wasn’t overflowing with food ideas like normal. As a result my meal plan for this week isn’t too inspiring. Does this happen to you sometimes?

Menu for the Week of August 6th

Assortment of random leftovers- Pizza, Sauteed Kale, Cole Slaw

Bean & Cheese Tacos, Guacamole, Homemade Salsa

Chicken Cacciatore Crock Pot Meal

Mom cooks :)

Out to Dinner


Grilled Chicken with Chimichurri, Flageolet Bean and Buckwheat Groats Salad
I also had to think of what I wanted to do with this beautiful bunch of Kale I picked up at the Farmer’s Market. I wanted easy and fast because my priority yesterday was cleaning, not cooking. I looked at my spices and saw a huge unopened container of toasted sesame seeds and had an idea.

Kale has become quite the trending vegetable. Why is it so popular now? I think word has finally spread that it is an super nutritious food. It falls into the cruciferous family of vegetables and is packed with vitamin C, vitamin K, iron, carotenoids and powerful antioxidants such as lutein and zeaxathin. It is also contains a cancer-fighting chemical that can boost DNA repair in cells. There are a variety ways to enjoy kale- it can be steamed, braised, sauteed, stir-fried, wilted into soups, added to smoothies. In case you are new to kale and are wondering what its flavor is like, it has nice earthy sweet yet spicy flavor, similar to collard greens.

1 cup of kale has 36 calories, 2 1/2 grams of fiber, almost 100% of Vitamin C recommendations and over 1000% of Vitamin K needs. In fact anyone taking anticoagulants should avoid eating kale because too much vitamin K can interfere with the medications. Kale is also a great anti-inflammatory food and can help fight asthma, arthritis and auto-immune disorders.

Hope you enjoy this easy, tasty way to enjoy this powerhouse vegetable!


Sauteed Sesame Kale
Serves: 4-6
  • 1 lb kale (one large bunch), washed, thick stems removed and chopped
  • 1 Tablespoon sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • ⅛ teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • ¼ cup water
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • 2 Tablespoons rice wine vinegar
  • 1 Tablespoon roasted sesame seeds
  1. Heat oil in a large pot on medium heat. Add minced garlic and saute for 1 minute. Add red pepper flakes and continue to cook for 30 more seconds.
  2. Add kale and water and cover for 5 minutes. Remove lid and cook for another minute or two until liquid has evaporated.
  3. Season with salt and pepper to taste, stir in vinegar. Remove from heat and transfer to a serving bowl. Toss with sesame seeds.

Question: Do you eat kale? Have you been in a cooking rut? What are you planning this week? Please inspire me! I am sure my plan will change.

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  1. Gretchen Hokenson says

    I must try that kale salad. Looks wonderful! I live the kale at Green in SA this looks similar. I was horrible with meals last week. Did not stuck to our plan at all! Hopefully this week will be better. We are still having football practice every night… and still no oven:(. Makes planning interesting to
    Say the least.

    Sun- the birthday shindig for all three of my kids. The birthdays are 17 days apart do we just do one big party once a year. We did burgers hotdog etc. I also did seven dozen cupcakes! Which are all gone! I am now the favored mom at the pool and my waistline thanks me:)
    Mon- Brittany’s black bean and quinoa tacos with fresh fruit for us and the Smiths
    Tues- I was going to have leftover from the party but a group of 44 ate 40 hamburgers and 24 hotdogs. So we have barely any left. So plan be of veggies with hummus and fresh fruit.
    Wed-my baby girls birthday so I think we will skip football and go out to eat somewhere as a family. Her current choice is chuck e cheese–:(
    Thurs-finally I will make that pot of beans and have burrito bowls
    Fri-eggs and tofu scramble for me
    Sat- hopefully we will have an oven so either homemade pizza or crock pot potatoes if not.

    • Melanie Flinn, MS, RD says

      It sounds like we are all keeping it simple lately and that’s ok! That is what summer is for- more outdoor time and less cooking time. If I didn’t have to worry about the kids, I’d literally eat a giant salad every night. :) Have a great week!

  2. Meredith H says

    Mel–Thanks for the meal planning; keep it coming! We (I) am totally in a rut with weekly meals, especially since it’s summer. Our plan for this week:

    Sunday: roasted chicken, potatoes, broccoli, rice casserole
    Monday: create-your-own pizza night, w/leftover broccoli
    Tuesday: leftovers
    Wednesday: turkey taco night, or taco salad
    Thursday: out to eat?
    Friday: maybe grill burgers…

    P.S. I love to make homemade Kale chips. toss the kale in some olive oil, sprinkle with sea salt, and bake at 400 for 15 minutes. I also make a green machine smoothie with kale, spinach, and banana–super yum!

    • Melanie Flinn, MS, RD says

      Meredith! So good to hear from you! Yes summer has been tough- not wanting to turn the oven on as much plus just spending more time outdoors. My meals have been totally different over the past month. And I love kale chips! I almost posted the recipe but know that they’ve made an appearance on so many blogs already. Keep in touch friend.

  3. says

    I definitely get in ruts like that!!! It is crazy that I can stare at cookbooks and pinterest and find NOTHING!
    I will be making that kale! Just need to buy sesame seeds!
    Mon: Gretchen making my tacos!! Yay!
    Tuesday: Roasted veg over brown rice with rose sauce.
    Wed: leftovers
    Thursday: Homemade marinara over spaghetti squash and roasted broccoli
    Friday: Eating out. yay!

    • Melanie Flinn, MS, RD says

      Well glad to know I am not the only one! I have definitely been lacking motivation lately, but I think it’s because of the summer and having little “alone” time. Last thing I want to do lately is cook elaborate meals. Oh well, it’s good to keep it simple in the summer, right?!

  4. Dana says

    i think we are all suffering from a national epidemic, because my brain is also coming up short when it comes to dinner ideas.
    Monday- veggie burgers, baked potatoes, edemame
    Tuesday- veggie stir fry over quinoa
    Wednesday- eggplant parmesan, pasta and spinach
    Thursday- burrito bowls w cuban black beans and cilantro lime rice
    Friday- may do a pot luck at the pool with neighbors, i may bring blk. bean & poblano taco filling
    Saturday- trailer food in Austin

  5. Sarah says

    Making this tonight. Thanks for posting. I’m always at a loss at what to do with kale. I usually chop it in very small pieces and add it to our salad. I’ve also done the kale “chip” thing. But this looks yummy!

  6. says

    Love Kale! This salad looks great so I’ll have to try it. I like your meal plan too, I do a very similar thing, really cuts down on the trips to the grocery store:)

  7. says

    I absolutely love kale! I am going to try this salad ASAP! I agree that the weather in Seattle has been a little weird this summer. I’ve been totally loving that it hasn’t been that hot, since I melt in the heat. I was in Portland when it got really hot last weekend, and it was over 100 F! Bleck!

    I get into cooking ruts quite often, but I’ve found to get myself out, I have to give myself a challenge. Like, cooking with only the things in my fridge, or cooking for a week with only zucchini. It helps me to get back into the cooking mood!

    Have a great weekend!

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