Lemon & Garlic Rainbow Swiss Chard

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Hope all you mothers had a wonderful relaxing Mother’s Day! Mine was perfect- the best gift you can give a mom is sleep so I got to sleep in for a change, then went to mass, followed by a homemade brunch and lots of relaxing down time. Just what I wanted to do!

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First thing my husband said when he saw this rainbow swiss chard I picked up at Pike’s Place market….”did they dye that?”. Shocking the the answer is no, right? Rainbow chard  is just a mix of the other colored varieties as opposed to being a variety unto itself.

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Swiss chard is a nutritional superstar with it’s antioxidant properties as well as it’s anti-infammatory effect. It’s an excellent source of vitamins K (more than 300% of the dailyvalue in a cup), A, and C, as well as a good source of magnesium, potassium, iron, and dietary fiber. Of course like other leafy greens, it’s super low calorie. The perfect side!

Side note to those that are prone to kidney stones you might want to skip this veggie, because it contains oxalates, which decrease the body’s absorption of calcium and can lead to kidney stones.

Swiss chard can be used similar to kale or spinach, but it has a more earthy, slightly bitter flavor. I love it! You will need to give it a good wash and cut off the stems, but I don’t worry about the stem running through the leaves. It’s not quite as tough a stem as kale.

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I use my salad spinner to get it nice and dry before sauteing

I seriously just wanted to admire this bunch of chard, but decided I should cook it while it was fresh.

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I love a simple side like this that goes with a variety of meals and takes no time to prepare.

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Need some more ideas on how to prepare swiss chard? I turned to my trusty recipe site, Cooking Light and found these delicious recipes.

Fingerling Potato-Leek Hash with Swiss Chard and Egg

Goldren Raisins and Pine Nuts Swiss Chard

Tortilla Casserole with Swiss Chard

Pancetta with Swiss Chard and Soft Polenta

Winter Minestrone

And here is a rough meal plan for this week. As always I tend to make more mexican flavors than anything. With it getting closer to summer and our outside play hours getting longer, I put less energy into dinner since I am usually out watching the kids until later. It’s perfectly fine with me to have a few months where I get to be a little more relaxed about dinner time.

Meal Planning

Sunday

Grilled Chicken, Asparagus and Sliced Potatoes, Bruschetta

Monday

Crunchy Chicken Tacos, Salad, Guacamole

Tuesday

Slow Cooker Chicken and Potato Soup with Cilantro

Wednesday

Leftovers

Thursday

Tortilla Casserole Casserole with Swiss Chard (recipe link above)

Friday

Traveling

Garlic & Lemon Rainbow Swiss Chard

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 bunch rainbow swiss (or regular) chard
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 large clove garlic minced, or smashed if you prefer less garlic flavor
  • 1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 Tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • salt and pepper to taste

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Wash chard leaves well, remove tough stems (reserving for another time), chop chard leaves and dry well preferably with a salad spinner.
  2. Heat a large skillet or pot on medium heat. Add olive oil, minced garlic and saute for 1 minute. Add red pepper flakes and cook an additional 30 seconds. Add swiss chard leaves, stir and half cover with lid. Saute ~5 minutes or until tender. Stir in lemon juice, season to taste with salt and pepper.
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Question: How was your Mother’s Day? What are you cooking this week?

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Prosciutto Wrapped Asparagus & Meal Planning

I have mentioned before that I love serving vegetables for appetizers. They fill you up on less calories plus it’s just nice to get extra veggies into the meal. These are a little more sinful than regular roasted veggies because of the addition of the salty crispy prosciutto. They’ve got the red and green going on which makes them perfect for a Christmas party.

I love that they are so simple to make and require very few ingredients which is something I look for when planning an appetizer spread. Some prosciutto can be extremely salty so make sure to compare the packages at the store (there are usually more than one brand) and buy the one lower in sodium.

I have asked my facebook fans what they’d like to see more of this month and the vote was for healthier holiday food and also holiday party suggestions. I will warn you and this might come as a surprise but I don’t do uber healthy food during the holidays because I believe in eating the real thing on special occasions rather than cooking with a bunch of processed ingredients to create “healthier” dishes. On the other hand I don’t usually make things loaded in fat and calories anyway because that is just the way I grew up eating. I make simple substitutes like using low fat milk and I almost alway cut the butter and sugar of what typical recipes recommend.  In a nutshell, what you shouldn’t expect to see from me are dishes made with fake ingredients just so I can label something as vegan or gluten free for label sake.

With that being said, I am up for the challenge and hopefully I can share some lighter holiday favorites with you!

I only have a partial meal plan this week because I am off to San Diego for vacation! That also means that I am trying to use up some of the food in the house so some of these combos are a bit random! Hopefully I will be all connected and able to post from Cali.

Sunday

Chicken Tortilla Soup, Roasted Brussels Sprouts

Monday

Bun-less Turkey Pesto Burgers (will wrap mine in lettuce), Creamy Tomato Soup , sweet potato fries 

Tuesday

Leftover Soup, Lentil Wrap 

Wednesday

Quesadillas

Thursday-Saturday

? Not sure yet

 

Don’t forget to use the “save recipe” function (see blue box on recipe) so that you can save your favorite recipes from my site (and others) to your own personal recipe box which can be accessed from my blog (just click on the “Recipe Box” in the top menu bar to see what you’ve saved). It is a fabulous tool powered by ZipList and keeps all your recipes and shopping lists saved in one easy to access place. You can also download their app to your smartphone so that you will always have access to your saved recipes.

Proscuitto Wrapped Asparagus

Yield: ~10 servings

INGREDIENTS:

  • ~20 asparagus (3/4 lb), ends trimmed
  • 5 ounce package prosciutto, each slice cut in half
  • olive oil
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • black pepper

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place asparagus on a cookie sheet and drizzle with olive oil, roll around to coat. Sprinkle with black pepper.
  2. Wrap half slice of prosciutto around each asparagus. Place seam side down on cookie sheet with space in between each asparagus. Roast for 15 minutes or until tender; using tongs flip asparagus half way through cooking time. Remove to a serving tray, zest lemon over asparagus and serve warm.

Notes

If you are using very thick asparagus, use a vegetable peeler to remove a little off the sides of the bottom of the stalk to ensure a tender result. Look for the lowest sodium prosciutto available as it is a very salty product.

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This is another one of my favorite Holiday appetizers- roasted veggies with herbs served with marinated olives. YUM!

Question: What does your meal plan look like this week? What are your must-have foods during the Holiday months? I’d love specific dishes in case there are some that I might want to make-over!

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

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

Monday
Bean & Cheese Tacos, Guacamole, Homemade Salsa

Tuesday
Chicken Cacciatore Crock Pot Meal

Wednesday
Mom cooks :)

Thursday
Out to Dinner

Friday

Saturday
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

Yield: 4-6

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 lb kale (one large bunch), washed, thick stems removed and chopped
  • 1 Tablespoon sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 1/4 cup water
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • 2 Tablespoons rice wine vinegar
  • 1 Tablespoon roasted sesame seeds

DIRECTIONS:

  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.
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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.

A Delicious, Healthy Side- Roasted Cauliflower

I am on a roasting vegetable kick. Broccoli, carrots, asparagus, you name it! My newest favorite is roasted cauliflower. I’ll have to admit cauliflower is not my favorite veggie raw and I really don’t cook with it often. This however is simple and so good. I could eat it everyday prepared this way. If you’re not into cauliflower, try it roasted. It’ll be on your veggie rotation in no time.

Cauliflower is a cruciferous vegetable responsible for helping to reduce risk of cancer due to it’s special antioxidant properties, anti-inflammatory effects, as well as it’s high fiber content. It is also an excellent source of Vitamin C! ONE cup of cooked cauliflower will provide you with almost all the Vitamin C you need in a day (92% to be exact). It is beneficial to include vegetables from the cruciferous vegetable family (also includes broccoli, cabbage, brussels sprouts) several times a week at minimum.

Cut that head of cauliflower into bite sized pieces

Toss it with your olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, salt & pepper and into the oven it goes!  Finish it with some parmesan. Delicious!

Nutritious Eats Benefits: Vitamin C, Vitamin K, folate, fiber

Have a great weekend!