Pesto kale chips

 
Pesto kale chips
 

I won’t lie to you that kale chips are just like regular potato chips. They’re definitely not the same, but kale chips are still a solid go-to snack. Both are are crunchy, salty, and snack-able.

I like this pesto version to amp up the flavor even further. While the kale chips bake, the pesto dehydrates in the oven and you’re left with concentrated pesto flavor in each bite. And don’t skimp on the salt! I find that’s what makes these addictive.

If you want to make your own pesto for this one, give my basil pesto recipe a try. It doesn’t require pine nuts, which makes it budget friendly, but a jarred version will work here too.

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Pesto kale chips
Ingredients
  • 8 lacinato kale leaves, ribs removed
  • 1/4 cup pesto
Instructions
Pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a baking sheet with parchment.Place the kale leaves on the baking sheet, and massage in the pesto until the kale is evenly coated. Spread the kale out in one layer, so the kale gets crispy and not soggy. Sprinkle a generous pinch of salt over the kale. Bake the chips in the oven for around 15 minutes until crispy. Enjoy warm.

Basil pesto without pine nuts

 
Basil pesto without pine nuts
 

This quick, homemade pesto recipe doesn’t use pine nuts, but you won’t miss out on any of the flavor.

Jarred pesto is one of my favorite ingredients to cook with, but fresh pesto is a different thing. All of the ingredients are brighter: fresh garlic adds punch and heat, while the basil is still fragrant, not dull.

I can’t be the only one who has had sticker shock when buying pine nuts. Pine nuts are expensive, and I’d argue not too necessary to making pesto. While pine nuts are part of most classic pesto recipes, I substitute them out with almonds or walnuts instead. If you’re allergic or don’t like nuts, you can leave them out all together for a nut-free version of pesto. No matter how you blend it up, you’ll want to make this pesto over and over again.

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Basil pesto without pine nuts
Ingredients
  • 4 oz. fresh basil (~ 3 packed cups)
  • 2 large garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1.5 tablespoons almonds
  • 1 tablespoon parmesan
  • Sprinkle of red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 - 3/4 cup olive oil
Instructions
Add all of the ingredients, minus the olive oil, to a blender or food processor. Add a generous pinch of salt and pepper. Blend the ingredients, slowly pouring in the olive oil until it reaches your desired consistency. Blend more for a smooth pesto, and less for a chunkier version. Add the full 3/4 cup of olive oil for a pesto that’s thinner and drizzles, and less olive oil for a thicker one.Enjoy fresh, or store in an air-tight container for up to 2-3 days. The pesto might darken in color when exposed to air, but still tastes great.

Turkey meatballs with chimichurri

 
Turkey meatballs with chimichurri
 

Turkey meatballs with chimichurri is an easy, weeknight wonder. All you need are a few kitchen staples, ground turkey, and fresh parsley to make this one happen for dinner tonight.

Now, let’s talk about turkey. It has a poor reputation - and it’s not totally fair. Over-roasted turkey not so great. Roasted turkey meatballs smothered in chimichurri, is another story altogether.

Chimichurri is one of my favorite sauces because it’s vibrant green (just like my other favorite pesto!), but packs its own unique punch with plenty of fresh garlic and red wine vinegar. It can hang out with the best steaks, but happily lifts up turkey as well.

Give this one a try and see for yourself.

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Turkey meatballs with chimichurri
Ingredients
  • 3 tablespoons oats
  • 1/2 lb. ground turkey
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon grated pecorino romano cheese
  • 1 cup fresh parsley, loosely packed
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 1 large garlic clove
Instructions
Finely blend the oats in a food processor or blender until they resemble fine crumbs. Add 2 tablespoons of water and allow the oats to soak for ~10 minutes until soft.Pre-heat your oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.In a large bowl, combine the soaked oats with the ground turkey, egg, and pecorino romano cheese. Add plenty of salt and pepper. The mixture will be soft, but that’s just fine.Using a tablespoon, carefully shape the mixture into ~12 meatballs on a foil-lined baking sheet sprayed with cooking spray.Bake the meatballs until golden for ~22 minutes. Flip the meatballs during cooking to get a golden crust on all sides.While the meatballs are baking, make the chimichurri sauce. In a food processor or blender, combine the parsley, olive oil, red wine vinegar, and garlic. Add a pinch of both salt and red pepper flakes. Blitz until it reaches your preferred consistency, chunky or smooth both work.To serve, drizzle the chimichurri all over the meatballs and enjoy warm.

Brown butter rigatoni with butternut squash

 
Brown butter sage rigatoni with roasted butternut squash
 

I don’t need to convince you how wonderful brown butter is. Nutty and rich, it’s an affordable indulgence if I’ve ever seen one. It’s also really easy to make!

Here’s all you need: a pan, some butter, and a little bit of patience. It’s kind of like toasting nuts in the oven. One second they’re good, and the next they’re burnt if you don’t watch out for them. But! If you keep stirring melted butter, it becomes golden and turns into glorious, glorious brown butter. So worth it!

This is a perfect dish to make on a cold evening, with a crisp wine in hand. Butternut squash works well with the brown butter (um, duh), but this would be great with any winter squash or root vegetable.

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Brown butter sage rigatoni with roasted butternut squash
Ingredients
  • 2 cups cubed butternut squash
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Sprinkle of cloves
  • Sprinkle of chili powder
  • Pinch of red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 lb. rigatoni pasta
  • 1/2 stick butter
  • 1 stem fresh sage
  • Lemon
  • Fresh parsley
Instructions
Pre-heat your oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.Toss the butternut squash cubes with olive oil, ground cloves, chili powder, and red pepper flakes. Add a few pinches of salt and pepper.Roast the butternut squash in the oven for around 30 minutes until caramelized and softened.Meanwhile cook the rigatoni according to the instructions on the package. Before you drain the pasta, reserve 1/3 cup of the pasta water and set aside.Prepare the sauce by melting the butter. Add the sage. Let this cook on medium low heat until slightly nutty in color and smell. Watch this carefully to avoid burning! At this point remove the sage from the butter.To the sage butter, stir in the pasta water, the pasta and the roasted butternut squash. Finish the dish with a squeeze of lemon to brighten everything up and tons of fresh parsley.
Brown butter sage rigatoni with roasted butternut squash

Roasted carrots with sage vinaigrette

 
Roasted carrots with sage vinaigrette
 

It’s that time of year again, Thanksgiving! I love the traditions, the family time, the food and everything in between. There are some Thanksgiving classics that you just don’t mess with year after year: Grandma’s stuffing recipe, the brined bird, and green bean casserole (from the can, of course). Then there are dishes with more wiggle room. Carrots is one of those in our family.

Some flavors just work together, and carrots and orange is one of those combinations. There’s no room for boring steamed carrots on your table this year anyways. For this recipe, first you need to roast your carrots with olive oil and cumin. Using two different colors is a nice touch, but not required of course. Then, whisk together a quick vinaigrette with sage and orange. It’s sweet, slightly acidic, and a perfect fit for Thanksgiving this year.

Happy Thanksgiving, folks!

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Roasted carrots with sage vinaigrette
Ingredients
  • 2 bunches of carrots
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 orange, juiced
  • 2 tablespoons fresh sage, finely sliced
  • 1 tablespoon orange zest, julienned
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • Goat cheese
  • Shelled pumpkin seeds
Instructions
Pre-heat your oven to 400 degrees.First scrub your carrots clean, and trim the tops to remove the leafy greens.Drizzle the carrots with olive oil and a sprinkle with cumin and salt. Roast the carrots in the oven for ~30 minutes until the skin is crinkly and the carrots are softened.Meanwhile prepare the sage vinaigrette. Whisk together the orange juice, sage, orange zest, honey, and apple cider vinegar. Slowing drizzle in the olive oil while whisking. Whisk in salt and cracked black pepper.To serve, drizzle the carrots with the vinaigrette. Add dollops of goat cheese and a sprinkle of shelled pumpkin seeds around the carrots.
Roasted carrots with sage vinaigrette