Spicy kale pasta

 
Spicy kale pasta
 

Where were you when you first heard about kale? It's ok, I don't remember either. But it's here, potentially to stay, so I don't fight it as much as others do.

Why? It's great for you! It's green! It's effortlessly pretty too.

It's still quite cold in the northeast, so I thought it would be appropriate to share this hearty pasta dish with you.

It's kale, two ways. Pesto AND shredded. Lacinato kale is my favorite variety of kale because it's soft and has the most beautiful deep green color. Spicy sausage gives the whole dish a kick, and flavors the entire dish with, well, pork. Fried thyme is a secret weapon at the end. The recipe is below for those of you that are ready to eat!

Spicy kale pasta

Spicy kale pasta

  • 1 lb. dried rigatoni pasta
  • 1 lb. spicy pork sausage, removed from casing
  • 1/4 cup pasta water
  • 1 cup lacinato kale, ribs removed and shredded 
  • 1 recipe of kale pesto (recipe below)
  • 1/2 cup finely-grated pecorino romano
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 thyme sprigs

Start by boiling your pasta according to the package's instructions. Reserve 1/4 cup of the pasta water before draining for later and set the pasta aside.

While the pasta cooks, brown the sausage in a large pan. Once brown, add the pasta water and then the shredded kale stirring until the kale softens. 

Add the pasta, pesto and the pecorino into the pan. Stir to combine everything.

To finish the dish, heat the olive oil on medium heat. Add the thyme sprigs and fry them for 2-3 minutes until crispy. Remove the leaves from the stems and stir the fried thyme into the dish. Enjoy.

Kale pesto

  • 1 large bunch of lacinato kale (ribs removed, around 1.5 packed cups)
  • 1/2 lemon, juice
  • 1 large garlic clove, peeled
  • 1/4 cup finely-grated pecorino romano 
  • 3/4 cup olive oil

In a food processor, blend together the kale, lemon juice, garlic and pecorino. You'll want the kale to be finely chopped. While the food processor is running, drizzle in the olive oil until the pesto takes shape. Tada, that's it!

Matcha coconut waffles

 
Matcha coconut waffles
 

My first dog, Mandy, was terrified of our waffle maker. It wasn't just the waffle maker, but literally anything that beeped. So when we had the courage to actually make waffles, we'd have to quickly turn the machine off right before they were done.

Also don't worry. Mandy happily ate waffles. She just hated that beeping!

These are truly simple waffles because you just need your favorite waffle mix and a few other fixings. If you're not familiar with matcha, it's ground green tea. It kind of tastes like brewed green tea, but it's a bit more powerful than that! The color is also stunning and irresistable. 

Matcha coconut waffles
Matcha coconut waffles

Yep, matcha is bright green, but these are some fancy light green waffles.

Chocolate ganache is drizzled on top, and then the whole thing is sprinkled in pistachios and even more coconut. I love these flavors together and you HAVE to try these! Just make sure you have a waffle maker than doesn't beep or a puppy that doesn't mind it.

Matcha coconut waffles (for 2 waffles)

  • 1 cup waffle mix
  • 2 tablespoons matcha powder
  • 2 tablespoons shredded coconut (plus 1 tablespoon for garnish)
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 4 tablespoons semisweet chocolate chips
  • 2 teaspoons half and half
  • 1 tablespoon pistachios, roughly chopped

Start by pre-heating your waffle maker.

In a big bowl combine the waffle mix, matcha powder and shredded coconut. Add the milk, egg and oil. Gently stir until just combined. Slightly lumpy is a-ok.

Cook your waffles, spraying the waffle maker with some non-stick cooking spray before each one. Remove them from the waffle maker when they start to brown on the outside.

While your waffles are cooking you can work on the chocolate ganache. Combine the chocolate chips and half and half in a small bowl. Microwave the bowl for 30 seconds at a time, until the chips are melted. The ganache should be silky smooth, but feel free to add more half and half if you want it to be thinner.

Serve the waffles by drizzling the ganache overtop, and sprinkling 'em with the rest of the coconut and the pistachios. Devour. 

Potato and ham quiche

 
Potato and ham quiche
 

It's not St. Patrick's Day until the Chicago River is bright green and every Irish pub has stocked up on green beer.

I don't have an Irish bone in my body, but I definitely love the spirit of St. Patrick's Day. What's cooler than a holiday that embraces such a rich heritage? I'm totally down!

Well, the green beer I can skip. The food, I embrace.

This recipe is inspired by a classic St. Patrick's Day combination, corned beef and cabbage. Instead of corned beef, I used cubes of thick-cut ham since it has that saltiness that corned beef would bring. Instead of cabbage, brussels sprouts make a great substitute. The potatoes are just potatoes, ha!

Everything comes together into a potato and ham quiche that'll get your St. Patrick's Day started right. Recipe is below!

Potato and ham quiche

  • 1 pre-made pie crust
  • 3 red potatoes
  • 1 ham steak, cubed
  • 1 cup brussels sprouts, thinly sliced
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup half and half
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella
  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Roll your pie crust onto a 9-inch pie dish. Press the pie crust into the pan. Place another pie dish on top and bake the pie crust in the oven for 20 minutes. Remove the pie dish on top and bake for another 10 minutes. Set aside.
  3. Meanwhile cook the potatoes. Prick them with a fork on one side and microwave them for ~5 minutes until soft when pricked with a knife. Cube the potatoes and set aside.
  4. In a large pan on medium heat, stir the cubed ham and brussels sprouts until the ham is warmed through and the brussels sprouts soften. Set aside.
  5. Add the ham and brussels sprouts to the base of the pre-cooked pie dish. Add the potatoes on top.
  6. Whisk together the eggs, half and half, and a heaping pinch of salt. Pour this mixture over the ham and the vegetables in the pie pan. Top the entire dish with the shredded mozzarella.
  7. Pop the baking dish in the oven for 30-40 more minutes until the egg mixture is completely set and the top is golden brown. Dive in while warm!