Kale and Collards Greek Yogurt Dip

A few years ago I had the luck of trying a dip from Trader Joe’s that rocked the socks right off my body.  It was a greek yogurt based dip, packed with veggies and savory goodness but, although tasty, I’m a dip from scratch gal.

After experimenting with the recipe, checking a few other basic greek yogurt recipes and adding my own flare, here it is.  A slammin’ success at the Secret Santa party, the Kale and Collards Greek yogurt Dip:

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Ingredients:

1 17 oz container greek yogurt (0% or 2% will do)

2 tbsp mayonnaise

1 tbsp honey

1 cup chopped kale

1 cup chopped collards

3 green onions, finely chopped

1/3 cup red pepper, finely chopped

1/3 cup carrots, peeled and finely chopped

¼ cup finely chopped water chestnuts

2 garlic cloves, minced or pressed

¼ tsp pepper

½ tsp salt

¼ tsp smoked paprika (I use Burbon Smoked)

  1. After all is chopped and ready, combine ingredients into a large bowl and mix well.
  2. Allow dip to sit for at least an hour.  This will allow the spices to soak and the greens to soften.  Serve with chips, veggies, or whatever ya like and enjoy!

 

 PS: The dip was such a Secret Santa hit I thought I might have my dear friend, Molly, model it for us.

Is it the blurriest photo? Yes. But look at that enthusiastic tongue shot.
Is it the blurriest photo? Yes. But look at that enthusiastic tongue shot.

Ingredients List:

The Trusted Table: kale, collards, carrots, garlic

Wholefoods: yogurt, green onions, red pepper, water chestnuts, honey

 

Twice Baked Sweet Tater Boats

Twice Baked Sweet Potato Boats

Right between that line of mashed and baked, twice baked potatoes I love you so.

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Ingredients:

(serves 1-2)

1 medium sweet potato

1 tbs greek yogurt

½ tbs salted butter

1 sprig rosemary leaves (chopped)

1 tsp brown sugar

pinch of salt

cracked pepper

  1. Poke holes one every side of your sweet potato.  Place in the microwave on medium-high for 10 minutes.
  2. After 10 minutes, or when the potato is soft to touch, cut potato down its length and scoop out the inside.

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    Scooped Potatoes
  3. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Mix filling with greek yogurt, butter, salt, chopped rosemary, brown sugar, salt and pepper.  If you aren’t a rosemary fan, you can always use sage (its incredible).
  4. Once the butter has melted, place the filling back into the potato skins.  Top off with a sprinkle of brown sugar and a touch of butter.

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    Pre-baked taters
  5. Place potatoes in a pan and bake for 15 minutes.

My Winter Favorite: Cozy Greens Soup

Cozy Greens Soup

Why I love this soup?  In the winter we all just start craving our favorite fatty foods, many of which are pretty dern unhealthy.  Soup is one of the favorite winter treats, but it’s usually either incredibly unhealthy or just doesn’t fill ya up.

This soup? Tons o greens, tasty veggies, and once you add that parm rind: the fatty taste you need in your winter soup.

I love this cozy soup.  A special thanks Megan Dyer for teaching me this one!

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 Ingredients:

(serves 6)

2 lbs mixed greens (kale, chard, spinach, etc) rough chopped, stalks removed

1 large onion, chopped

2 stalks celery, chopped

2 carrots, chopped

1 bay leaf

1 can peeled tomatoes, chopped

½ lb dried pasta

5 sprigs fresh thyme

2 boxes vegetable broth

1-2 parmesan rinds

2 tbsp olive oil

salt and pepper

grated parm

 

  1. Heat a large pot over medium heat with olive oil.
  2. Add carrots, onion, celery, salt & pepper.  Sauté for 7-10 minutes.
  3. Add the thyme, bay leaf, tomatoes, and parm rinds.
  4. Sauté 5 minutes, then add pasta, greens, and vegetable broth.  Cover and simmer until the pasta is cooked.
  5. Serve topped with parmesan and enjoy!

 

 

Quick & Clean: One Pan Pasta

Long, tired days = a need for quickly made comfort food.

I learned this recipe from my dear friend Megan when we worked together—it’s the perfect way to combine all of your leftover veggies and get some tasty pasta.

You’ve spent the week cooking and now have half a bell pepper, a little bit of cauliflower, and a handful of green beans—chop ‘em up and throw ‘em in.

So here ya have it: a fatty feeling, veggie using, fairly healthy comfort meal.

 

One Pan Pasta

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Ingredients:

(serves 2-3)

 1 pack fresh ravioli (I use La Pasta*)

½ container of Uniquely Greek Spread**

2 cups vegetable broth

½ yellow onion

your odds and ends veggies:

anything from bell peppers to brocc, I used:

1 cup broccoli

1 cup romanesco

4-5 leaves swiss chard, stems removed and chopped

  1. Pour veggie broth into a sauté pan.  Bring to a boil and add ½ yellow onion, finely chopped.
  2. While onions soften, chop up your veggies into bite size pieces.  Add firmer veggies at this point, such as broccoli and cauliflower.  Hold off on spinach and bell peppers.
  3. After a minute, add ravioli to the pan.  Boil for 2 minutes, then add softer veggies.  Boil for 1 minute, then add 1/3-1/2 of a container of Uniquely Greek feta spread. DSC_0029
  4. Mix together the veggies and ravioli with the vegetable broth and feta spread.  Once the broth has reduced and the sauce has thickened, remove from the head and enjoy!  This should take approx. 2-3 minutes. DSC_0032

Ingredients List:

The Trusted Table: all of my veggies

Whole Foods: Uniquely Greek (also at Annebeth’s), La Pasta Ravioli, vegetable broth

 

*La Pasta, based in Silver Spring, Maryland

**Uniquely Greek started out of the family Grecian delights shop in Boothwyn, Pennsylvania

A meal in under 30: Shrimp & Chard with a White Wine Mushroom—Mashed Cauliflower & Romanesco

Bloggin’ back in action with a meal in under 30 min!

 

After a long break from cooking and a wonderful Thanksgiving in Maine, I wanted to start my December off with something worth getting excited for.  Since my lovely roommate surprised me with the gift of shrimps and my lovely best friend dropped off a bag of produce just before I left for Maine, it only seemed right that I invite them both for dinner and create something great from the gifts they’ve given me.

 

The bag of surprise ingredients this week from my produce share (I feel like I’m on Chopped, it’s great):

Swiss Chard–Garlic–Romanesco–Cauliflower–Broccoli–Beets–Rosemary–Mushrooms

 

How many did I use?  All but the beets and broccoli (6 out of 8 ain’t so bad).

 

The results::

Sautéed Shrimp & Chard in a

White Wine-Mushroom Sauce

With a side of

Rosemary Mashed Cauliflower & Romanesco

 

 

Because the mash can stay warm/be heated without overcooking (unlike shrimp), start this guy off first:

 

Rosemary Mashed Cauliflower & Romanesco

Just to see what romanesco looks like...silly little cones
Just to see what romanesco looks like…silly little cones.

Ingredients:

(Serves 2-3)

1 small head of cauliflower (1/2 large head)

1 small head of romanesco

1 clove garlic

1 sprig of rosemary

4 tsp greek yogurt

1 tbs butter

vegetable broth

salt

pepper

 

  1. Pour vegetable broth into a saucepot and bring to medium high heat (use enough to give veggies room to boil).
  2. While bringing broth to a boil, cut cauliflower and romanesco into equally sized pieces.  Keep the two separate.  The romanesco will have to be cut into smaller pieces and it takes a bit longer to soften cauliflower.
  3. When the broth reaches a boil, add the cauliflower and a clove of garlic.  Let boil for 3 minutes, then add the romanesco.  Once the romanesco and cauliflower have softened (can poke a fork through and remove with ease).
  4. Drain the veggies from the broth and add to a blender (I love my Vitamix!) food processor, or prep your hand mixer.
  5. Add greek yogurt, butter, salt (I used a little over 1/8 tsp), pepper (fresh cracked), and the leaves of the rosemary sprig.  Blend until a smooth consistency.

 

 

Sautéed Shrimp & Chard in a White Wine-Mushroom Sauce

 The finished dish

Ingredients:

(serves 2-3)

18 shrimps (avg. 6 per person)

10 swiss chard leaves, washed and dried

3-5 crimini mushrooms, stems removed and thinly sliced (approx. ¼ inch)

½ stick of butter

3/4 cup dry white wine

3 cloves garlic (pressed or finely chopped)

½ lemon

pepper

red pepper

salt

 

  1. Melt butter, on medium, in a large sauté pan.  Add mushrooms, a pinch of salt, pepper (fresh cracked is tastier), and red pepper (to taste).  Sauté for 2 minutes.  Add white wine; simmer for 2 minutes.
  2. Cut swiss chard leaves into thin strips.
  3. On medium heat, add garlic and juice from squeezed lemon half to sauté pan.  Place shrimps on one side of the sauté pan, the swiss chard on the other and cover pan.  Be aware, both of these ingredients will cook fairly quickly.  By adding both at once, the shrimps start to cook on their first side while the swiss chard steams, before being tossed in the sauce.
  4. After a minute (or until pink on bottom side), flip the shrimps.  You should only have to do this once when cooking the shrimps.  **Quick “when are they done??” tip: my dear friend Nate taught me that when they look like a U they’re perfect, but a C…overcooked. **
  5. As the shrimps cook, begin tossing the chard in the wine and mushroom sauce.  Continue until softened and a darker green.  **Leaving them a little undercooked will increase their nutrient density**
  6. Either tossed together or kept separate, serve the shrimp and chard as you like with the sauce drizzled over top.  Enjoy!!

 

Ingredients List:

The Trusted Table: romanesco, cauliflower, mushrooms, rosemary, garlic, swiss chard

Whole Foods: greek yogurt, butter, lemon, vegetable broth

Baked Chicken Nuggets :: Not just for kids

I haven’t made a single post in the past two weeks.  Why?  Because it’s the awful time of year where mystical illnesses that take over your life swoop in and pretend to be over, then show up again.  Contagious? Nah, my doc couldn’t even figure it out, just said: not contagious (thanks a mill, doc).  When the only sick sickly I was feeling was dizziness and a bit of nausea, my sister, suffering from a debilitating headache, and I decided to do team cooking for comfort food.  Results: It worked.  24 hours later I felt awesome.

 

Why chicken nuggets? Our wonderful mother taught herself to make chicken nuggets back when I was called “the little panda bear”.  Most kids go through the age where they’ll only eat one weird thing or another; I just refused to eat most things.  Anywho, the chicken nuggets became a staple of the house and the neighbor kids.  She didn’t leave a recipe but we figured we’d take a crack at it.  Now that Helen (sister) refuses to eat Chik-Fil-A, this was quite an exciting night for her.

 

She might not look excited but, trust me, she is. Hey sis!
She might not look excited but, trust me, she is. Hey sis!

So here they are, healthy homemade baked chicken nuggets.  To season them we used Shenandoah Spice Blends, split the mix in half to try out two flavors (curry barbecue and sweet heat).  If you don’t have SSC blends, try any other in the cabinet.  If you don’t have any blends, try cracking some pepper, adding some paprika, and maybe some garlic powder.

 

Homemade Chicken Nuggets

 

Two flavor chicken nuggets with homemade french fries and a bit o broc
Two flavor chicken nuggets with homemade french fries and a bit o broc

 Ingredients:

(serves 2-4, depending on how hangry)

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

1 cup crushed bread crumbs (it’s stuffing season, rull cheap ones at WF)

½ cup all purpose flour

2 tsp seasoning of your choice (rubs/blends)

1 tsp olive oil

a lil cooking spray

2-3 eggs

 

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 450 degrees.  Cube chicken breasts into nugget sized pieces.
  2. Take breadcrumbs and crush in a bowl to a medium-fine consistency (fine enough to stick to the nuggets).  Because it’s the holidays, you can find cheap no-flavor added stuffing cubes at Whole Foods.  To crush, use the bottom of a spice bottle or something else with weight to it.
  3. Add seasonings and flour to breadcrumbs.  Drizzle the olive oil into the mixture and stir.
  4. Beat eggs in a separate small bowl.  Place a wire rack into a rimmed cooking pan (line pan with aluminum foil or parchment paper for easy clean).  Spray wire rack with cooking spray.
  5. Dip the chicken into the egg, allowing excess egg to drip off.  Roll in breadcrumb mixture, pressing to help seasoning and larger pieces stick.  Place on wire rack.
  6. Bake at 450 degrees for 12-15 minutes, or until crisp and meat is cooked.  Flip half way through cooking time for even bake.

Ingredients list:

The Trusted Table: Eggs, Sides (potatoes, sweet potato, broccoli)

Whole Foods Market: Shenandoah Spice Company Seasonings, Chicken, Bread Crumbs, Flour

 

Ladies night and a Chicken Pot Pie

 

Now that Shenandoah Spice Co. has successfully made it to DC WholeFoods (yay), it means a lot more crafty overnights in the great city.  The favorite thing about that?  Getting to stay over night in Alexandria with my very favorite ladies, Erin and Becca.

Epic Chef Becca (left) and Super Sous Chef Erin (right)
Epic Chef Becca (left) and Super Sous Chef Erin (right)

We cook, we drink our wine, we have a lovely time.  Each week I’ll bring a bag of mystery produce from my share and we’ll make a meal from the secret ingredients and whatever’s left in their fridge.  THIS time we had a fantastic visitor from a farm in Pennsylvania who was on her way to Florida.  She, like I, tends to travel in a car filled with produce and tasty treats—the kitchen went from bare bones to fully stocked.  It went from ladies night to epic ladies night.

Surprise Chef Sarah and her farm hair
Surprise Chef Sarah and her farm hair

This weeks head chef: Becca.  From the rural mid-west, her index of recipes is the never ending joke of what to make—steak and potatoes, meatloaf, or chicken pot pie.  Gotta tell ya, the Heartland makes one heck of a chicken pot pie.

 

A hearty winter meal, great for 4-5 with a bottle of wine (or three) or a tasty microbrew.

 

Chicken Pot Pie

Epic pot pie with greens
Epic pot pie with greens

 

 Ingredients:

(serves 4-5)

1 lb skinless, boneless chicken breasts

1 cup sliced carrots

1 cup frozen green peas

½ cup sliced celery

1 cup chopped cauliflower

1/3 cup all purpose flour

½ tsp salt

¼ tsp black pepper

¼ tsp celery seed

1 ¾ cups chicken broth

2/3 cup milk (Trickling Springs)

2 (9 inch) unbaked pie crusts

Optional Herbs:

Rosemary/Sage/Thyme/SSC Bread Dip

No more than a pinch of any.

  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
  2. In a saucepot, add chicken, peas, carrots, celery, and cauliflower.  Add enough water to cover and bring to a boil.  After 15 minutes, remove from heat, drain, and set aside in a bowl for later. DSC_0016
  3. Now for gravy makin’: In a saucepot, melt a tab of butter and cook onions until translucent.  Stir in salt, pepper, flour, celery seed, and any other preferred herbs.  Slowly stir in chicken broth and milk, leaving on medium heat until thick.  Set aside.
  4. Place chicken and veggie mixture into one of the two pie crusts.  Pour gravy over mixture.
    Erin was very excited for the gravy.
    Erin was very excited for the gravy.

    Take the other pie crust and lay over the top of bottom crust.  Pinch the edges of both crusts together, making a tight seal.  You can use a fork to pinch it closed.  Cut three slits at the top of the pie so the steam can release.

    Sarah removing the crust.
    Sarah removing the crust.
  5. Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until the top of the pie is golden brown.  Allow to cool, then slice up and serve!  We added a bed of greens as our side to keep it somewhat healthy in all the gravy goodness.

 

Enjoy!

 Side note:  we actually forgot to buy a second pie crust before the store closed so we made it from scratch.  It was like a puff pastry, so all you need is water, butter, salt, and flour.

Try using a bottle to roll out the dough and clear wrap to stop the stick.
Try using a bottle to roll out the dough and clear wrap to stop the stick.

 

Ingredients List:

The Trusted Table: Cauliflower, carrots, greens, onion

Sarahs Magic Car: milk, butter

Everything else from the kitchen of Erin and Becca.

Todays Produce Star: Purple Cauliflower

Produce Share for October the 24th:

Technicolor garden dreamland

I’ve been off my produce share photo game ever since my share was ripped from my grasp.  Well, to be fair, The Trusted Table was shorted on some of their produce and had one more customer to fill an order for…so I lost mine to help the company.  Totally fair.  But it seems more fun to add some drama.

 

Now that they’re back regularly in my kitchen, I’m back to photographing the unbelievable bounty I get to cook with this week–they even threw in some extra tomatoes to roast as a “thanks for last week!”.  Thank YOU Sarah!! I look forward to roasted tomato and arugula omelets.

 

But who’s the star of this weeks show?  Purple cauliflower.  Who knew that if we went back to all heirloom that our gardens would be Rainbow Brite’s play land?!  First purple tomatoes, then carrots, and now cauliflower??  The real challenge will be to find a dish to make that truly accentuates the beauty of this veggie.

 

But the supporting roles this week?

(Just as important, just not as purple)

1 bunch cylindra beets

1 lb Mei Qing Choi

1 bunch arugula

1/2 lb jasper cherry tomatoes

1 lb purple/orange carrots

I must admit though, these are just repeat images of cauliflower due to my fascination with the purp.  Unberieivable.

Things to expect for this weeks recipes:

Storing roasted beets (because I’m beet-ed out and they won’t be around for 6 months once their gone)

Roasted Cherry Tomato and Arugula Scrambles/omelets

Roasted root soup

Roasted Cilantro Mei Qing over quinoa with a cauliflower puree

 

Its a roasting kinda week.

Avocado Apple Cider Vinaigrette: The healthy creamy dressing

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 When I started down the road to healthy eating, the biggest labor o love with salads was trying to find a dressing that was both delicious and healthy.  Always loved my blue cheese and caesar but those are not the healthy choices that lead to life changing results–so why eat the dag salad anyway?

Sure, raspberry and balsamic vinaigrettes were aiight for a while but after a year I was over it.

 It was thanks to the amazing Robert Chaisson that I started learning to make my own dressings.  Thanks Robert!!!

 

The first variation was with ¼ avocado, chopped garlic, maple syrup, and apple cider vinegar.    After that, I just kept playing.  The message that leaves? You can make your dressing a million ways, just have avocado and apple cider vinegar!

 

 

So today’s salad:

Blackened tri-tip steak with a three greens salad

 with a SweetHeat Avocado Vinaigrette.

 

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Salad Dressing:

(serves 1)

¼ Avocado

1 ½ Tbs Apple Cider Vinegar

1 1/2 tsp sweetheat spices from Shenandoah Spice Company

You can substitute that spice with come garlic powder, cayenne, or a spice you love (plus a tsp of honey) but why would you?  Sweet Heat is by far my favorite spice from that dag company.

 

  1. Combine ingreedients into a bowl and, using a fork, mash together thoroughly.  Because the spices are not being heated, you may need more to get the flavor through.

Cooking the Steak (Super easy, promise)

Ingredients:

¼ lb tri tip steak strip (skirt steak or flank also fine)

1 tsp Blackend Bayou seasoning

1light drizzle of oil

  1. Bring the pan to a medium-high heat.  When oil is hot, lay steak in pan and sear on either side (Tthe spice will start to darken). Cook to your liking!

 

In the salad?

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4 leaves of romaine (chopped)

a cup of pea shoots

a cup of arugula (chopped)

1 green onion shoot

thinly sliced tomato

¼ cup of finely chopped apple

a sprinkle of raw gorgonzola

Results:

Sweet and spicy tasty salad with a dressing that makes me feel like I’m eatin’ something fatty without making me feel fatty.  It feels like fall and for once I feel full from a salad deemed healthy: oil free, low sodium, low sugar.

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Ingredients:

The Trusted Table: pea shoots, romaine, arugula, cilantro, tomato, onion

Whole Foods: Shenandoah Spice Company’s Sweet Heat, steak, apple, avocado, vinegar, gorgonzola

 

Two best friends and Brilliance: Shenandoah Spice Co.

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Shenandoah Spice Company caught my attention while doing the beloved Whole Foods sample rounds. I’m not a huge meat lover, nor will I ramble down the road of over-priced Whole Foods items—but they got me.

It was the bread dip first: everyone’s favorite Italian restaurant starter, with herbs a little sea salt and olive oil, just to dip your bread in. Next, a refreshing dill yogurt dip: one bite and all I wanted was red pepper, cucumber, and a bottle of wine. So the dips stop you at the table long enough just to see their spice collection.

They got my sale, but thanks to a wonderful Whole Foods employee, Chad, they got my help. Well really I got a cabinet filled with tasty spices and another awesome company with which to work.

So here’s the story:

Shenandoah Spice Company is owned and operated by two best friends, a butcher (Nick) and a chef (Josh).  About 8 years back they did what any good DelMarVa cat does and took a trip down their local river, the Shenandoah of course, with a cooler of beers and a couple of inner tubes.

While floating, they came to the brilliant realization: we have all of the knowledge and passion to make our own spice line…so why haven’t we?

They started with the butcher shop, Crabhill Butchers in Toms Brook, Virginia—then the farmers markets—now: Whole Foods and beyond!

I have the privilege of helping them expand through the Maryland, DC area.  Slow, but steady, we win the race to enter the kitchens of the masses.  After just one demo I am almost obsolete—it flies from the shelves.  Why? Because it’s just that dern good.

 

What I love and why?

  • Espresso BBQ rub
  • Island Jerk
  • Blackened Bayou
  • Cul-Pepper Rub
  • Sweet Heat
  • Spicy Adobo
  • Okay so basically all of them but those are the top favorites

Why? You become the laziest chef and get that restaurant quality of flavor, without the take-out cost.  When trying to start a small business, that really makes a difference.

Go team.

 

So what can YOU do to help and get Shenandoah Spice to your neighborhoods??  How can you help a small business survive??

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Go to your local Whole Foods, Wegmans, corner markets and ask them if/where their Shenandoah Spices are! A few requests, only 5 minutes of your day, and you can truly bring momentum to their success.  Plus, nobody likes a squeaky wheel—being an annoying customer actually rocks in this situation.

 

Where to find it as of now?

Whole Foods Annapolis

Whole Foods Charlottesville

Whole Foods Tenleytown

Whole Foods Oldtown

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 p.s.- nicest guys to work with..maybe ever.