Stuff and Nonsense: spinach and greens

Showing posts with label spinach and greens. Show all posts
Showing posts with label spinach and greens. Show all posts


Farfalle with Swiss Chard & Kielbasa

I was full of good intentions when I picked up a bunch of beautiful looking Swiss chard at the Newington Farmers Market last week ... but then days passed and the chard was still in my fridge and I knew something had to be done asap before the stuff started to compost in the crisper drawer.

I've made a dish similar to this with spinach and chicken sausage, so I knew my idea would work, but I forgot how much the red chard stems can bleed when cooking and so it's not as pretty as it could be. Maybe? I kind-of like the muddied ruby red.

Unfortunately, while I carefully wrote down all the ingredient amounts as I made this dish, I've lost my notes -- probably recycled them in a mad fit of tidying on garbage day -- so what follows is my best guess!

Farfalle with Swiss Chard & Kielbasa

Yield: 4 servings


  • 1 bunch Swiss chard, washed and rinsed
  • 2 smoked sausage links
  • 1 yellow onion
  • 6 cloves garlic
  • 8 sun-dried tomatoes
  • 4 servings mini farfalle
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Shredded Parmesan, if desired


  1. De-stem the chard. Chop the stems into very small pieces. Sliced the leaves into ribbons. Set aside.
  2. Chop the kielbasa, onion, garlic, and sun-dried tomatoes into small pieces. Set aside.
  3. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook as the label directs.
  4. Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a large skillet. Add the onions and garlic. Cook, stirring frequently, until the onion is translucent. Add the chard stems and sun-dried tomatoes.
  5. Sauté, stirring frequently, until the stems begin to soften. Add the chard leaves and kielbasa and cook until the sausage begins to brown and the chard leaves have wilted.
  6. Add the pasta to the chard and stir well to combine. Season with salt and pepper as needed. Serve with shredded Parmesan.


Sautéed Baby Greens & Eggs

I had some surgery last week and haven't been up to cooking or even standing up until the past day or two. And now I'm suddenly at that very restless stage of recovery, where I'm tired of being housebound, but also don't really have the energy necessary to function outside the house. Yesterday, I needed to get a prescription filled so I thought I'd pick up some groceries at the same time, but I didn't even get through the produce section before my body told me I needed to go back to the car and sit down or it was going to lay me down on the floor next to the sweet potatoes and wouldn't that be embarrassing?

Good times!

But, then I made this earlier today so I feel a bit better about myself. Granted, it probably took me way longer than it would you healthy folks, but I made food. Hurrah.

Sautéed Baby Greens & Eggs


  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • ¼ cup diced onions
  • 2 oz baby kale, spinach, & chard medley [Earthbound Farm Organic Power blend]
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 oz sharp cheddar, diced small [Cabot Seriously Sharp]


  1. Heat olive oil in a nonstick pan over medium heat until fragrant. Add the onions and cook, stirring, until they start to brown a bit.
  2. Add baby greens and cook, stirring, until wilted. Crack eggs over greens, sprinkle with cheese, and cover. Cook until eggs are set and cheese is melted.
  3. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Yield: 1 serving

You could use whatever greens or cheese you have on hand, really, as this is a very forgiving recipe. The only thing you really need to pay attention to is the eggs as mine seemed to go from too runny to too firm in the blink of an eye! Still delicious, though.



Maplelicious Chops With Chard

These chops soaked overnight in a marinade is based on a recipe I found in a recent issue of Taste of Home. I wasn't smart enough to copy down the recipe (or take a snap with my phone), but I remembered it was a simple mix of equal parts maple syrup and balsamic vinegar plus some salt and pepper. I used four tablespoons each maple syrup and fig balsamic vinegar plus one teaspoon sea salt and a half teaspoon sriracha. I used four thick six-ounce chops and they took about twenty minutes to grill, flipping twice -- first at eight minutes and then at sixteen minutes.

I had forgotten to hold back any marinade to baste the chops as they grilled, but still found the flavor to be quite good -- a little sweet, a little spicy, and plenty porky. As per the marinating tips at, I had scored one side of the chops in a crisscross pattern before plopping them in the marinade and I do think that helped. The cuts increase the chops' surface area and help the marinade penetrate deeper into the tissue.

Apparently, I don't own any plain balsamic vinegar and it was toss up between the fig and blackberry. (I actually own four bottles of flavored balsamic vinegars, but neither the peach nor the coconut white balsamic seemed remotely appropriate). Fig won the toss, but I'll definitely try this marinade again with the blackberry balsamic, holding back some of the marinade to baste the scored chops!

The chard was simple. Just heat a little broth, onion, and garlic in a pan until the alliums are fragrant. Add as much cleaned chopped chard to your pan as will fit and cook it, stirring regularly, until wilted. Toss with your balsamic vinegar of choice (fig, again) and a little sriracha. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Eat. My intention was to make enough chard to have leftovers to take to work ... but I gobbled it all up with the chops, instead. Good thing the garden is full of chard!


Cheesy Spinach Scramble

I had some bruschetta topping leftover from this month's Improv Challenge and, oh my god, I've discovered it's good on pretty much everything -- pasta, burgers, sandwiches, scrambled eggs, etc.


To make these yummy and mostly-good-for-you eggs:

Sauté baby spinach in a little olive oil until tender. Add two eggs beaten with a little milk. Cook over medium low heat, stirring gently, until curds start to form and the eggs are still wet but not runny. Top with a little light cheddar (Cabot, obviously) and pop the pan under the broiler until the cheese is all melty and doubly delicious. Top with a little leftover bruschetta (salsa would also be tasty) and eat!


Italian Pasta Salad

I'm not really sure that mozzarella and salami necessarily an Italian salad make, but I didn't know what else to call this dish. Everything-That-Needed-Eating-Up Salad? That would certainly be true, but also very prosaic.

"Antipasto" salad

Italian Pasta Salad
Serves 3 as lunch with fruit

5 oz mini farfalle pasta
4 oz baby spinach
4 oz fresh mozzarella, cubed
1 small red onion, chopped small
5 sun-dried tomatoes, chopped small
6 Tbsp sun-dried tomato vinaigrette
3 oz thin-sliced uncured salami, sliced into strips
5 leaves fresh basil, rolled and sliced thin
Fresh ground black pepper, as desired

Cook pasta as directed by package. Drain. Toss warm pasta with spinach so the leaves wilt a bit. Add in remaining ingredients and toss well. Serve while still warm.
Ingredients like chopped canned artichokes, chickpeas, and olives would make tasty additions to this salad.

"Antipasto" salad


Eating the Alphabet: S is for Sorrel

I tend to think of sorrel as a spring green as it usually dies back at the onset of hot weather and does not return again until the following spring. However, this year my sorrel came back with a burst of green in early September and has been going strong ever since.

While sorrel (also known spinach dock) looks a bit like young spinach, it tastes very bright and sharp and green -- the long lost love child of spinach plant and a lemon tree? While sorrel can be eaten raw in salads or just on its on, I prefer it cooked with other ingredients to balance out its distinctive tang.

Unfortunately, cooked sorrel tends to turn a singularly unattractive shade of gray-green. I've no idea how to keep this from happening -- I think lemon juice usually keeps cooked greens from changing color, but sorrel's so tart already that adding lemon seems inadvisable. The color is not such a big deal in a brothy soup where the sorrel is mixed with chunks of potatoes and other vegetables, but it is a bit off-putting by itself.

So making a sorrel sauce for September's Eating the Alphabet Challenge? A delicious idea, certainly, but the results were not aesthetically pleasing.

Tilapia w/ Sorrel Sauce & Sorrel-Smashed Potatoes

Yes, that sauce is baby poop green. But it's yummy -- bright, tart, creamy -- and went surprisingly well with the baked tilapia. I'd half expected the sauce would overwhelm the mild tilapia, but the fish held its own. Still, I think the sauce would be awesome with something like baked salmon. Or with steak, as a substitute for chimichurri sauce!

(Of course, supper might have looked a smidge more attractive if I hadn't left the plates in our warm oven for two hours while a salesman successfully sold us a bridge).
Sorrel Sauce
Serves 2 plus leftovers

4 oz sorrel leaves, stemmed and washed
1 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp half and half
1 tsp dried thyme, crushed
½ tsp garlic powder
Salt and black pepper to taste

Roll the wet sorrel leaves up like a cigar and slice into thin ribbons (chiffonade).

Chopped Sorrel

Add to a saucepan with olive oil, thyme, and garlic powder.

Chopped Sorrel

Cook, covered on medium, for about 5 minutes or until sorrel is greatly reduced and gone an unattractive baby-gak green.

Wilted Sorrel

Remove from heat, add a splash of half and half, and puree until smooth. Add a little more half and half until desired thickness is reached. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Try not to dwell on the color.

Sorrel Sauce

Serve over fish or meat.

Because I had chopped more sorrel than I needed, I decided to make sorrel-smashed potatoes to go with the fish! The sorrel's flavor was, obviously, much more subtle than in the sauce, but still gave the potatoes a slight lemony tang that was really quite nice.

Sorrel-Smashed Potatoes
Serves 2

12 oz small unpeeled red potatoes
1½ oz sorrel leaves
2 tsp olive oil
1 Tbsp butter, melted
⅓ cup half and half, warmed
Salt and black pepper to taste

Cook your potatoes however you like (I steamed mine whole in the microwave).

Meanwhile, roll the sorrel leaves up like a cigar and slice into thin ribbons (chiffonade, again). Place sorrel in a small saucepan with the oil. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until sorrel is completely wilted.

Add sorrel, butter, and half-and-half to potatoes. Mash until desired texture is reached, adding more half and half if necessary. Season with salt and pepper.
(Another way to do this would be to stir any extra sorrel sauce into your already mashed potatoes).


Soup Makes Space

Last Saturday, I opened the freezer to get out some tilapia fillets and a precariously-perched container of blueberries hurled itself onto the floor, scattering berries around the kitchen. And then the bananas tried to escape and it was clearly Time To Do Something About The Freezer.

Bet you're thinking I made another banana bread, right? Well, I didn't! Not yet, anyway. I corralled all the loose frozen bananas into a gallon storage bag, shuffled the vegetables and meats around so they were once again grouped by like, and tossed some unfortunate freezer burnt ice cream cups. And then I made a big pot of soup from all the open vegetables packages.
Vegetable Barley Soup
Serves many

9 oz frozen chopped swiss chard
8 oz frozen diced butternut squash
3 oz frozen chopped onion
3 oz frozen chopped peppers
2 oz frozen corn
14.5 oz can diced tomatoes
1 bay leaf
Salt-free Italian seasoning, as desired
32 oz low-sodium chicken broth
[Pacific Organic Free Range Low Sodium]
Salt and black pepper, to taste
1 cup quick-cooking barley

Whack the packages of frozen vegetables against your kitchen counter to loosen. Dump the frozen vegetables, tomatoes, and Italian seasoning into the slow cooker insert. Stir. Add bay leaf and broth. Cover and cook on LOW for 6 hours.

Stir in quick-cooking barley, cover, and cook on LOW for 30 minutes.

Remove bay leaf. Taste. Season as desired.

Soup will thicken as it sits so you may need to add a little more broth when you reheat the leftovers, if you want a properly soupy soup.
Overall, this was a pretty good soup. Hearty and rich with vegetable goodness, it made a week's worth of filling breakfasts and lunches. (I admit that, on a few cold and sleepy mornings, I spiked my breakfast bowl with a little sriracha).


Improv Challenge: Pasta & Cheese

My participation in the 2013 Improv Challenge has, sadly, been a bit sporadic. Many of the 2013 ingredient pairings have struck me as more sweet than savory and I just haven't been in the mood for sweet. Happily, September's ingredients are "Pasta and Cheese." Other than a lokshen kugel (noodle pudding), I don't know how pasta and cheese could be anything but savory! (Prove me wrong, Improv-ers).

Because we are supposed to be eating more healthfully here at Chez Savory Tart, I did not whip up a beautiful bacon-wrapped meatloaf stuffed with macaroni and cheese, but made a pretty (and decidedly more healthful) warm pasta salad using whole wheat pasta, blue cheese, beets, arugula, and pecans.

Warm Pasta & Arugula Salad

While I recommend using a mild blue cheese, such as Gorgonzola or Danish Blue, feel free to substitute fresh goat cheese if even the merest thought of blue cheese gives you the horrors.

If you don't have flax seed oil, olive oil will do fine. I just find flax seed oil gives greens a lovely nuttiness.

And, yes, feel free to go Martha and roast your own beets!
Warm Pasta and Blue Cheese Salad
Serves 2

4 oz whole wheat penne
3 oz fresh arugula
1 oz mild blue cheese, crumbled
[Gorgonzola or Danish blue]
Half 8 oz pkg cooked beets, drained and diced [Melissa's or Love Beets]
1 oz pecans, crushed
1 Tbsp flax seed oil [Barlean's]
2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste

Put the arugula in a large bowl and set aside.

Cook pasta until al dente (or however you like your pasta). Drain pasta and pour, still hot, over arugula. Toss until arugula wilts a bit. (If your arugula looks like it isn't wilting, cover the bowl with a tea towel and go away for a few minutes).

Add blue cheese, beets, pecans, olive oil and balsamic, and toss again.

Season with salt and pepper to taste. Divide between two plates. Nom.

Warm Pasta & Arugula Salad


Cheesy Chard & Pasta

Many of the chard recipes I make use only chard leaves so I usually have a bunch of stems hanging about. While they're yummy pickled or simply used as a celery substitute, there usually comes a point where I have so many stems on hand I just want to chuck them all in something and be done. So, yay for pasta! The ingredient that disguises many garden excesses.

Steak w/ pasta & chard

In an oven-safe skillet, I sautéed chopped chard stems and minced red onion in olive oil until the chard was tender, then stirred in a generous splodge of tomato paste, grated Parmesan, salt-free Italian seasoning blend, and two servings of cooked whole grain pasta. I covered it all with shredded low-fat mozzarella and broiled everything until melty.

Overall, I think this pasta bake was a good start. Next time, though, I'd add garlic and cherry tomatoes to the chard-and-onion sauté as it definitely needed a little something more.


Chard Slaw, Because I Can

We had my parents up for a picnic and I wanted to serve a slaw with the turkey burgers and pasta salad, but I had far more chard on hand than cabbage and it seemed a good idea to use the chard I grew rather than go buy someone else's cabbage, but I didn't want to do a hot dish ... so I made a chard slaw.

Chard Slaw

I used Better Homes and Gardens' "Vinaigrette Coleslaw" recipe as my base (what would I do without my red-and-white gingham standby?) but tarted it up a bit with sriracha and whatnot.
Chard Slaw
Makes at least six side dish servings

3 Tbsp white wine vinegar
[Katz Sauvignon Blanc Agrodolce Vinegar]
1 Tbsp honey
2 tsp sriracha
2 Tbsp olive oil
½ tsp ground caraway
½ tsp mustard powder
4 cups chard sliced into thin ribbons (save stems for a later use ... like pickles)
1 cup coarsely shredded red cabbage
1 cup shredded carrots
½ shallot, minced
salt and pepper, to taste

Whisk together vinegar, honey, oil, sriracha, ground caraway, mustard, salt, and pepper.

In a large bowl combine chard, cabbage, carrots, and red onion. Pour vinaigrette over cabbage mixture. Toss lightly to coat. Season with salt and pepper as desired. Cover and chill until ready to serve.
Chard Slaw

I'd recommend eating this within a day of making it, because the chard started to get a bit soggy by the second day.

I think the slaw came out pretty well for a first try -- my mother certainly liked it -- and I will make it again but I might add chopped toasted almonds (or hazelnuts) and dried cranberries (or cherries). Also, maybe a little crumbled blue cheese? But would it even be a slaw then?


Eating the Alphabet: K is for Kale

July's Eating the Alphabet letters are K and/or L. I was leaning toward "L is for lemongrass" when I saw a recipe for kale salad on Whole Foods' website where an avocado was mashed into kale to form a dressing!

It sounded interesting, but I never have avocados on hand. I do, however, quite often have Whole Foods or Wholly guacamole on hand. I wondered why couldn't I mash my kale with guacamole? And then I thought, since I was using guacamole, maybe I'd like to toss in some black beans? Roasted corn? Chopped tomato? A little lime juice? Blackened chicken strips? And, lo, "Southwestern-Style Kale Salad" was born.

Making Kale Salad

Southwestern-Style Kale Salad
Serves 2

Double handful of chopped kale
½ cup drained and rinsed black beans
½ cup thawed frozen roasted corn
6 chopped grape tomatoes
Guacamole, as desired
Lime juice, as desired
1 cup diced cooked chicken

Combine first four ingredients in a large bowl and toss until the kale is evenly coated with the guacamole.

Making Kale Salad

Squeeze a bit of lime juice over it, if desired, and toss again (lime juice is a great "brightener" and, if you are not serving the salad right away, will also help keep the guacamole from discoloring). Portion out into two bowls. Top with chicken. Eat!

Making Kale Salad
How did it taste? Quite fabulous, really, and I felt totes smug eating it since it was packed full of good-for-me ingredients.


Slow Cooked Kale "Stuff"

In a hurry to use up the last of the kale and a few wrinkly bell peppers before they went weird, I made this ... stew ... in my slow cooker. It was surprisingly good for something so off the cuff and I was quite happy to eat big bowls of it all week for breakfast. Sopped the broth up with a dry toasted mini bagel and it was omnomnomilicious. And, as The Husband does not eat kale, I did not have to share.

Slow Cooked Kale Stuff

Slow Cooked Kale
Serves 4-6, depending on appetite

2 red and yellow bell peppers, chopped
2 yellow onions, chopped
2 14-oz cans Muir Glen fire-roasted tomatoes, undrained
8 oz Irish back bacon, chopped
Chopped kale, as needed

Dump the first four ingredients into the slower cooker and stir. Top with as much kale as will fit. Cover and cook 2 hours on High. Stir pot. Continue to cook 3 more hours on High. Stir well and taste. Season with salt and pepper, if desired. Fill a bowl and eat.
While I used Irish back bacon, Canadian bacon or lean ham would work just as well. Or sliced links of smoked sausage. Or omit the meat and throw in some beans, instead. Or beans and meat!


Kale Knows No End

The giant bag of kale knows no end! I've eaten kale twice a day all week and there's still so much left. I think I'll have to break down and make soup. Or kale chips? Mmm, kale chips.

I did make a snazzy kale scramble twice this week, it was that good. Sautéed chopped kale in coconut oil with red onion and garlic until it was wilted and tender (about ten minutes) and then I added two eggs (beaten with a splash of milk) and gently stirred everything 'round until the eggs had formed lovely big curds. A little salt, pepper, and sriracha and it was good to go.
Kale Scramble

I also made a Waldorf-style kale salad. Twice. I'd forgotten how much I love Waldorf salad and, while mine pales before my uncle's traditional version, I liked mine enough to eat it for lunch and supper two days running.

Kale Waldorf(ish) Salad

Kale Waldorf(ish) Salad
Serves: 2

2 packed cups chopped kale
1 apple, diced and tossed w/ lime juice to prevent discoloration
½ cup halved seedless grapes
½ cup roughly chopped dried cherries
¼ cup nonfat plain Greek yogurt
1 Tbsp mayonnaise
1 Tbsp honey
1 Tbsp lime juice
2 Tbsp slivered almonds

Toss dry ingredients together in a large bowl. Set aside.

Whisk wet ingredients together in a small bowl. Add to salad and toss well. Let sit until ready to serve. Season with salt and pepper and sprinkle with slivered almonds, if desired, just before serving.


My First Kale Salad

I know kale's been the hot green for ages now, but (slow boat that I am) I only just discovered the deliciousness that is raw kale. I like kale in soups, stews, and casseroles, but raw kale? In a salad? I don't know. Might be a bit ... chewy? Bitter? Weird? Didn't help that many of the recipes I saw instructed me to blanch the kale leaves or, godloveaduck, massage them. When it comes to salads, all I want to do is throw ingredients in a bowl and go "yum!" So I've been making kale salads sans blanching and massaging ... and they're fine. Maybe even a little bit fabulous.

My first kale salad

The above is my first salad and, while it's pretty simple, it's also ridiculously delicious and I strongly recommended this combination of ingredients. I didn't measure anything, mind you, but just went by "feel" so it's very possible the next time I make this salad, it may taste very different.

  • kale
  • grated carrots
  • apple, diced fine & tossed w/ lemon juice to prevent discoloration
  • slivered almonds
  • red onion
  • dried cherries
  • ginger-sesame dressing

Combine all (including dressing) and let sit until ready to eat.


Red Cabbage, I ❤ You

I've made the Vegetarian Slow Cooker's "Bavarian Red Cabbage (Sauerkraut)" twice now and I am just thoroughly enamored with the dish. Sweet, tart, savory ... yum!

Easter Dinner 2

Of course, I couldn't leave well enough alone and had to tweak the recipe a little bit each time. The first time, I used a red onion instead of yellow and added a tablespoon of ground caraway. The second time, I kept those changes and also reduced the sugar and added a bay leaf.
Bavarian Red Cabbage

1 small head red cabbage, cored and coarsely chopped
1 medium red onion, peeled, diced
1 cup very hot water
2 tsp salt
½ tsp soy sauce
1 Tbsp sugar
1 cup white vinegar
1 bay leaf
1 Tbsp ground caraway
3 Tbsp unsalted butter

Add all ingredients except butter to the slow cooker insert. Stir. Dot with butter. Cover and cook on High for 3-4 hours or Low for 6-8 hours.
Next time, I'm inclined to try swapping out the white vinegar and sugar for cider vinegar and honey ... I might also throw in some unsweetened dried cranberries or sour cherries.

It's spring and I'm in love with cabbage.

(The peas and carrots dish shown in the above photo was made using Chow's "Herbed Peas and Carrots" recipe. I threw fresh thyme in with the peas and it was really good -- way better than the frozen stuff).


The Eating O' The Greens

There was a bit of ham, cabbage, and peas leftover from other recipes and I had the idea to sauté them together in a pan with olive oil and seasonings. The idea, I think, was a sound one ... but the application left a little to be desired. Definitely a (delicious) work in progress!

Cabbage, Peas, & Ham

I used my food processor's shredding disc to prepare the cabbage and that was not the best idea as the disk turned the cabbage into itty-bitty confetti pieces similar to what you'd find in KFC cole slaw. Not what I wanted at all and, because the cabbage was so finely shredded, in the pan it went from crisp-tender to squishy in the blink of an eye. That was disappointing and I was prepared to be displeased by the whole dish, but the broth created by all the vegetable and ham juices was phenomenal and redeemed it all.

(If I made this again, I'd definitely use the slicing disk).

Sautéed Cabbage, Peas, and Ham

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup frozen peas
2 cups Napa cabbage, coarsely shredded
1 cup baby spinach, thinly sliced
1 cup chopped cooked smoked ham
Zest of half a lemon
Dried savory, to taste
Ground caraway, to taste
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

In a large heavy pot, heat oil over medium heat until hot; add peas, cabbage, spinach, ham, and zest. Sauté, stirring occassionally, 4 to 5 minutes, or until cabbage is wilted and tender.

Cabbage, Peas, & Ham

Remove pot from heat and stir in caraway, savory, salt and pepper. Toss to combine and serve over brown rice or buttered noodles.


Healthy Breakfast Still Tastes Good

Now that we're in The Season of Eating, I'm trying very hard to eat healthfully and stick with Weight Watchers. I'm not forswearing any Hanukkah/Christmas goodness, mind you, as December without latkes or home-baked cookies would be a terrible thing indeed. I'm just trying to eat more sensibly the rest of the time.

So what does this "more sensibly" look like when it's at home? Well, for breakfasts, I've been doing this excellent egg white and spinach bake:

Egg Whites & Spinach

Egg Whites & Spinach Bake

16 oz carton All Whites 100% Liquid Egg Whites
7 oz package Nature's Promise organic baby spinach
3 oz fat free feta, crumbled
¼ diced dehydrated red & green bell pepper
1 Tbsp sriracha chili sauce
Salt and pepper, as desired

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Microwave baby spinach 1-2 minutes or until wilted. Stir in all other ingredients. Transfer to a greased pie plate and bake, uncovered, for about 20 minutes or until cooked through. Serves 4. (2WWP+ per serving, but ymmv).
You could bake these in four individual ramekins, but the cooking time will need to be adjusted.

I eat this egg bake with two tablespoons of garlicky Green Mountain Gringo salsa (0) and a satsuma mandarin (0) or banana (0) and I feel righteous. If I'm extra hungry, I'll add a fat-free Chobani Greek yoghurt (3) and still feel righteous.


Doubleplusawesomewithknobson Chard & Chicken

Now that it's December and snowed twice, I must accept there will be no fresh chard coming from my garden until spring. What to do? Frozen chard! Yes, you can find bags of chopped chard in the freezer section of the grocery store. What do you do with it? I'm guessing you can use it in pretty much any cooked dish. I made mine with tomatoes and white beans, because chard + tomatoes + beans = doubleplusawesomewithknobson.

Chicken & Chard

Chard With Tomatoes & White Beans


  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 cup diced red onion
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 9 oz bag frozen chopped chard [Earth Something]
  • 14.5 oz can fire-roasted tomatoes, undrained [Muir Glen]
  • 1 tsp salt-free Italian seasoning blend [Penzeys Tuscan Sunset]
  • Juice of one lemon half
  • 15 oz can white beans, drained and rinsed
  • Salt and pepper, as desired


  1. Heat oil in a large pot over medium-high. Add onion and garlic and cook 3 minutes or until onion is translucent and very fragrant.
  2. Reduce heat to medium, add tomatoes with juice, chard, lemon juice, and Italian seasoning blend.
  3. Cook, stirring frequently, for about 10 minutes or until chard is tender. Add beans and simmer 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, if desired

Yield: 4

I ate the chard for lunch/supper at work with four ounces baked boneless skinless organic chicken breast and it was made for an unbelievably yummy meal. Going to hit the grocery store this weekend and buy all the frozen chard I can fit in my shopping basket!

Easy Baked Chicken Breasts

Yield: 4


  • 1 lb boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • ½ tsp sea salt
  • ½ tsp black pepper
  • 1 Tbsp salt-free Italian seasoning blend [Penzeys Tuscan Sunset]
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • Juice of one lemon half
  • ¼ cup low-fat reduced-sodium chicken broth [Pacific Organic]


  1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Brush a small baking dish with olive oil or spritz with cooking spray.
  2. Season both sides of chicken with salt, pepper, and seasoning blend. Transfer chicken to pan and drizzle with oil and lemon juice.
  3. Pour broth around chicken to coat bottom of pan. Bake until chicken is cooked through, about 30 to 35 minutes.

So many times in the past, I've baked chicken breasts and they've come out dry or flavorless, but with this recipe, the chicken came out really well -- moist, tender, and flavorful. Definitely worth repeating.


Eating the Alphabet: W is for Watercress & Walnuts

November's Eating the Alphabet Challenge was to use U, V, and/or W ingredients. I knew I wanted to use peppery watercress when I saw beautiful green bunches of it piled in with the mint and dill at Shoprite. Not only is watercress delicious, it's full of nutrients like iron, calcium, and Vitamin A and C. I like to eat it in cucumber and cream cheese sandwiches, but that's not really exciting and the Alphabet Challenge is all about excitement and pushing boundaries, you know.

So needed a new spin on watercress. Why not salad? Something light and filling and green? I was first tempted by Patti LaBelle's recipe for "Out-of-This-World Watercress Salad," but tomatoes aren't in season, anymore, and I didn't want to ruin what sounded like a perfectly lovely recipe with questionable tomatoes. So I turned to Martha Stewart and she did not disappoint. Her recipe for "Watercress Salad with Roasted Sweet Potatoes" is delightfully simple and seasonable. If my family was comprised of more adventurous eaters, it's the kind of dish I might start Thanksgiving dinner with. It's very clean-tasting and just looks, to me, like autumn on a plate.

From all this ...
... to this!
Watercress Salad with Roasted Sweet Potatoes
Slightly Adapted From Martha Stewart
Serves 4

1 pound sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 2-inch-long sticks
3 Tbsp + ½ tsp olive oil
Sea salt and ground pepper
½ cup walnuts
¼ tsp sriracha
2 Tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp honey
12 oz watercress, stems trimmed
4 oz fat free feta crumbles

Preheat oven to 450 °F, with racks on upper and lower thirds. On a rimmed baking sheet, toss sweet potatoes with 1 Tbsp oil; season with salt and pepper. Roast on upper rack, until tender, 20 to 30 minutes, stirring frequently. [Stewart's recipe cooks them longer with less stirring, but mine started to burn so ...]


Remove potatoes from oven and set aside. On another rimmed baking sheet, toss walnuts with sriracha and ½ tsp oil. Bake on lower rack, stirring occasionally, until golden (about 5 minutes).


In a bowl, whisk together lemon juice, honey, and remaining 2 tablespoons oil; season with salt and pepper. [Or put it all in an old jar and shakeshakeshake your dressing]. Toss watercress and dressing together. Serve topped with sweet potatoes, walnuts, and feta. Season with salt and pepper to taste.


This salad best served while the sweet potatoes are still warm -- otherwise they just go kind of cold and chewy and that's not a good thing!

Overall, I really liked this salad.  It was easy, elegant, and completely yum! I'd definitely make it again, but I'll keep a close eye on the oven as some of my sweet potato sticks charred a bit!

If you can't find watercress, I'm sure baby spinach would work fine. Ohhh, baby spinach and blue cheese and sweet potatoes and pecans ...