Tag Archives: kale

Pumpkin Penne Pasta

I love that this dish uses pumpkin and pureed cottage cheese to make the creamy sauce that brings everything together. The sage and nutmeg are also a delicious touch that stands out well against the pumpkin. Feel free to use whatever chicken or turkey sausage you can find or have on hand. You could also opt to leave it out to make it a bit lighter or if you’re not a meat eater. Plus, this dish packs a whopping 8 grams of fiber and 36 grams of protein per serving!



8 oz penne pasta *see note
2 tsp olive oil (or grapeseed oil)
1 medium-large onion, thinly sliced
1 1/2 Tbsp. garlic, minced
1 1/2 Tbsp. dried sage
3 links cooked chicken sausage **see note
1 cup low fat cottage cheese (1% milk fat)
1 cup pumpkin puree
1 cup nonfat milk
pinch of nutmeg
10 oz torn spinach (or kale), thick stems removed
grated parmesan or pecorino romano cheese, optional


Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium-low heat. Add onions and cook gently for about 10-15minutes, until softened and beginning to caramelize. Add garlic, sage, and chicken sausage; continue to saute.

Meanwhile, cook pasta according to package directions.

In a blender, combine combine pumpkin, cottage cheese, and milk. Blend until no lumps are present. Add to sausage mixture in skillet and continue to cook over low heat. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground pepper, and a pinch of nutmeg.

Drain pasta and return to pot over low heat. Add sausage mixture and baby spinach, and toss together. Cover for a few minutes to let the spinach wilt. Serve with parmesan cheese, if desired.

*Barilla PLUS is a good pasta choice as it has added protein in it. You could also use gluten-free if needed or I’ve even thought about trying it with some cooked spaghetti squash, though I haven’t done it yet.

** any type of chicken sausage that you like or can find should work sufficiently. I’ve used different kinds that I’ve bought from Trader Joe’s, CostCo and WalMart. Some brands are Al Fresco, Bistro Sensations and Johnsonville. I, personally, like to use the Sweet Apple ones but I’ve pretty much used them all and loved how they all tasted.

Nutritional Information

per serving, makes 4 servings

Calories 496.5
  Total Fat 12.4 g
  Saturated Fat 3.2 g
  Polyunsaturated Fat 0.4 g
  Monounsaturated Fat 2.3 g
  Cholesterol 53.7 mg
  Sodium 767.5 mg
  Potassium 687.3 mg
  Total Carbohydrate 61.3 g
  Dietary Fiber 8.1 g
  Sugars 14.2 g
  Protein 36.3 g

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Spaghetti Squash Casserole Bake

<Insert photo here> Yeah, believe me, I tried…

Seriously, there must be some issues going on with the site today because I cannot post a picture of the dish I made today…

So…let me tell you about today’s recipe post…

I’ve been working on this thing for quite some time today, looking for a tasty recipe to use up some spaghetti squash and kale that I had at home. I found a recipe that looked pretty good, but as usual, I had some other ingredients I wanted to add to it (and even take some out…shhh). I then continued to make said dish, adding ingredients along the way that I thought would only better the dish.

Then I baked it.

Then I tasted it (it needed an extra pinch of cheese but otherwise very tasty).

Then I took a picture of it.

Then I blogged about it…

or so I thought… (insert extremely unhappy face here)

I should have thought to copy the entire thing because once I tried to publish it,




If anything like this has happened to you before, I’m sure that you can imagine how incredibly frustrating that is! So, what I’m going to do is send you to this site HERE (ok, I don’t know what the deal is but apparently I can’t link anything right now either, so if you would like to see the recipe, please copy and paste this website into your browser. Thank you:  http://www.tasteofhome.com/Recipes/Spaghetti-Squash-Casserole-Bake), where I found the original recipe that I then tweaked to my liking. In case you’re wondering what those changes were, I used kale, omitted mushrooms, added extra basil, oregano, salt, pepper, onion and garlic. I also added 1 bell pepper and 1 carrot, chopped and extra cheese.

I apologize for not having my revised version posted but I’m sure the original recipe is tasty too!

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Filed under Vegetables and Vegetarian Dishes

Kale and Quinoa Casserole

So, I’ve been looking at this recipe off and on for about a week now, trying to decide if I thought it sounded good enough to make. I wasn’t sure about the recipe calling for lettuce (in a baked casserole…sounded sketchy). It just seemed wrong. Well, I decided to give it a try anyway, and at this point I’ll go ahead and say it was purely to satisfy my curiosity as to whether or not it would actually turn out good with the lettuce in it, and also since most of the reviews on the recipe were good. Turns out that it actually tastes really good! How about that?! I did make changes to the recipe and have included those changes in my directions and ingredient list below. Feel free to check out the original recipe HERE (thanks vegetariantimes), in case you’d prefer to make it that way instead. After tasting this dish, I think next time I may add some corn and sun dried tomatoes as well. Make sure that you season this dish well and to your liking; if you don’t you will probably think it’s too bland.
½ cup quinoa, (rinsed and drained if needed)
1 cup water (or any flavor stock, I used vegetable stock)
1 large bunch Kale (1 to 1 ¼ lb.), torn off the stem and into bite-sized pieces
1 head romaine lettuce, chopped (use the entire leaf, including stem)
2 Tbsp. olive oil, divided
1 large onion, chopped
1 cup chopped bell peppers, any color (I used red, orange and green)
2 green onions, chopped
1 Tbsp. minced garlic
1 tsp. dried dill
2 tsp. Mrs. Dash original flavor
1 tsp. Oregano
sea salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
2 eggs and 3 egg whites, lightly beaten
non-stick pan spray
4 Tbsp. shredded Parmesan cheese (optional, topping)
1/4 cup chopped almonds (optional, topping)
Preheat oven to 350.
Cook quinoa according to directions on package, set aside.
Heat a 5 quart pan over medium-low heat. Add 1 Tbsp. oil to pan, then add kale and let cook until wilted down to about 1/2 it’s original volume (took mine about 5-8 minutes). Then add the lettuce and cook an additional 2-3 minutes, until slightly wilted. Transfer to a large mixing bowl.
In the same 5 quart pan, heat 1 Tbsp. oil over medium heat and add chopped onion and bell peppers. Cook until they start to get tender. Add garlic and cook 1-2 minutes more. Add the onion/pepper mixture and quinoa to the kale/lettuce mixture, then add the green onions, seasonings, feta and beaten eggs. Mix well.
Spray a 9 inch pie dish and spread mixture evenly into the dish. Bake, covered, for 25 minutes. Remove cover, sprinkle optional toppings on (parmesan cheese and almonds) and bake for another 20-30 minutes, until cooked all the way through and golden brown.

nutritional information

Per Slice (serves 6):

  • Calories: 233
  • Protein: 10 g
  • Total Fat: 13 g
  • Saturated Fat: 4 g
  • Carbohydrates: 20 g
  • Cholesterol: 115 mg
  • Sodium: 149 mg
  • Fiber: 7 g
  • Sugar: 4 g

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Filed under Vegetables and Vegetarian Dishes

Kale Lasagna

I love making lasagna this time of year and I love that this recipe incorporates kale (feel free to use spinach instead if you prefer it) to make it more nutritious. I’ve left the recipe the way I found it (so as not to change the nutritional values) but when I make it I also add 1 onion (chopped), extra garlic, and sometimes I’ll grate a carrot or two and throw that in as well. Also, keep in mind that this recipe calls for an 8 x 8 pan, so if you need more just double the ingredients and use a 9 x 13 baking dish. One other note, I’m not a fan of boiling the noodles (just another step as far as I’m concerned), so I use the ready-to-cook noodles and usually add a little extra sauce (I’ve never measured how much extra before, but I’d say that for a 9 x 13 pan I usually add 1/2 – 1 extra jar of spaghetti sauce) to make sure it’s not too dry.


Serves 8


1 tsp. olive oil, plus more for oiling pan
1 8-oz. bunch kale, stems removed
1 15-oz. pkg. fat-free ricotta cheese
½ cup low-fat mozzarella cheese
2 tsp. minced garlic
2 cups marinara sauce
6 lasagna noodles, cooked and drained, or 6 no-cook lasagna noodles
¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese



1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Coat 8-inch square baking pan with oil.

2. Cook kale in large pot of boiling salted water 2 minutes. Drain, and rinse under cold water until cool enough to handle. Thoroughly wring out kale, then chop. Season with salt and pepper and set aside.

3. Mix together ricotta and and mozzarella in bowl, set aside.

4. Heat 1 tsp. oil in small saucepan over medium-low heat. Add garlic, and cook 15 seconds, or until fragrant. Add tomato purée and red pepper flakes; simmer 5 minutes, or until thickened.

5. Spread 1/4 cup sauce in prepared baking pan. Place 2 lasagna noodles on top of sauce. Top with half of cheese mixture, half of kale, and 1/3 cup sauce. Top with two more noodles, remaining cheese, and remaining kale. Top with remaining lasagna noodles, and cover with remaining sauce. Sprinkle with Parmesan, and bake 40 minutes, or until cheese has melted and lasagna is bubbly.

Nutritional Information

Per 1-cup serving:


  • Calories: 183
  • Protein: 14 g
  • Total Fat: 5 g
  • Saturated Fat: 3 g
  • Carbohydrates: 21 g
  • Cholesterol: 13 mg
  • Sodium: 450 mg
  • Fiber: 2 g
  • Sugar: 5 g

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Comfort Food – made healthier

I don’t know about you guys but where I live it’s starting to get pretty chilly outside. I’m talking highs around 50. I love it. I love the warmer, cozy clothes and how I don’t mind working up a sweat in the gym because I know when I’m done I can step out into the fall weather that is chilled just enough for a perfect post workout walk. Another thing to love about this weather is, of course, the warm comfort food that pairs perfectly with the chilly weather. Sometimes, though, it can be a challenge to take those comfort food favorites and make them healthier and veggie packed. We recently came across a recipe for macaroni and cheese that will knock your socks off! Not only is it delicious but it is packed full of veggies (my favorite part) – who could ask for more? Make sure you give this one a try, you can find the recipe HERE at Kitchen Thymes.


image from http://www.kitchenthymes.com

I’m also including a side dish for creamed kale. I’ve had a ton of Kale begging to be used and this seemed like a great way to use it up.

Creamed Kale


3 pounds Kale, center piece removed then roughly chopped

1 medium onion, sliced

2 carrots, peeled and chopped into 1/2″ pieces

1 Tbsp. minced garlic

2 cups Unsweetened Almond Milk (or chicken or vegetable stock)

1 cup low-fat cottage cheese

2 Tbsp. nutritional yeast (optional; adds a cheesy flavor)

Pinch of Nutmeg

3 Tbsp. butter

3 Tbsp. flour

Sea Salt and freshly ground black pepper


In a sauce pan over medium heat combine the almond milk, cottage cheese, nutritional yeast, garlic and nutmeg. Use an immersion blender and blend until smooth (if you don’t have an immersion blender I would suggest blending first in a blender or food processor, then transfer to a saucepan to heat up). Set aside until ready to use.

Heat butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Cook onions in pan until tender. Whisk in flour and cook about 2 minutes, making sure the mixture doesn’t brown. Whisk in the warm milk mixture and cook until thickened.

Meanwhile, bring a medium pot of salted water to a boil. Add the kale and carrots and cook until tender (not mushy), about 10 to 15 minutes. Drain in a colander and then return to pot. Add cream sauce and cook until flavors meld, about 2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Serve warm.

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Giving it a Go – Meatless Mondays

I’m pretty sure I’ve done Meatless Monday before. Matter of fact, most of my week days tend to meat free. I’m not a vegetarian, it’s just that most of the time I would rather eat salads, veggies, fruits and legumes (beans). I’ve considered going vegetarian, but I know it would be a commitment that, for me, would fail. Probably not right away, though. I can go without meat for awhile. But eventually, the immense craving for a delicious cheeseburger or beer brat would invade my brain and never leave until satisfied. And I’m perfectly ok with that. Truth be told, very rarely do I even eat red meat. I would say that 80% of the year I’m a pescatarian (someone who’s diet allows seafood but not any other animal meat). I suppose I’m kind of a mutt when it comes to labeling what I am ‘diet-wise’. I’ll be sure to post some Tilapia recipes soon for any fellow fish lovers like myself, but until then…

Back to Meatless Monday!

I had several garden fresh veggies begging to be used.

Sweet Potato, Walla Walla Onion (the SWEETEST onions you could ever give your taste buds the pleasure of discovering), Sweet Corn and Kale to be specific. With some other essential ingredients that I always have on hand this recipe was destined to be made (and the fact that it all comes together in one big stock pot makes dishes a breeze – great for Mondays)! I hope you enjoy it as much as I do!

adapted from http://www.milkfreemom.com


Quinoa and Sweet Potato Chili

1 Tbsp. Grape seed oil (or olive oil)

1-2 Onions, chopped (I use 2 because I love onions but be sure to adjust per your preference)

1 Green Bell Pepper, chopped

1 Tbsp. minced garlic

1 can tomato paste

32 oz. chicken or vegetable stock

1 Tbsp. Chili powder

1 Tbsp. Cumin

1 tsp. Oregano

1/2 cup Kale leaves, finely chopped (about 1-2 leaves depending on size of leaf)

1 can black beans, rinsed and drained

1 large sweet potato, peeled and chopped into bite size pieces

1 cup white quinoa (dry, not cooked)

1 1/2 cups corn (frozen or cut off the cob)

salt and pepper to taste

Optional to Garnish with:

Greek yogurt (or sour cream)

Avocado slices

Directions for Deliciousness:

Heat the oil in a large stock pot over medium low heat. Add the onions and bell pepper, cook until slightly tender (make sure they’re not mushy, they’ve got quite a bit more cooking to go through). Add the garlic, and cook for another minute or two. Then add the tomato paste, chili powder, cumin, and oregano and cook for another 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Then add the beans, stock, potatoes, kale and corn and season with salt and pepper. Cook for about 5 minutes, then add the quinoa. Continue cooking for about 15-20 minutes with the lid on, stirring occasionally, until quinoa and potatoes are cooked and the chili has thickened. The quinoa should have expanded and thickened the chili by the time it’s done. It should not be crunchy, so be sure to check.  Add a bit of water if the chili becomes too thick for your liking. Top with avocado and Greek yogurt or sour cream if desired.


Filed under Vegetables and Vegetarian Dishes

Spaghetti Squash Casserole









1 spaghetti squash, cut in half and seeds removed
1 bunch hearty greens (I used kale but chards, spinach or collards work well too), de-stemmed and chopped
1 onion (I used a medium white), diced
2 Tbsp. grape seed oil, separated
1 Tbsp. chopped garlic
1 egg, lightly beaten (or two egg whites)
3-4 Tbsp. sun-dried tomatoes
1/2 cup frozen corn kernels
3/4 cup plain Greek yogurt
3/4 cup cottage cheese (I used 1 %)
1/2 cup + 1/4 cup grated Romano cheese, divided  (parmesan works too)
1 tsp. dried thyme
salt and pepper to taste
2-3 Tbsp sliced almonds, to garnish



Preheat oven to 400 F. Cut squash in half, lengthwise. Scrape out seeds. Rub a small amount of grape seed or extra virgin olive oil over the squash halves and sprinkle with a generous pinch of Mrs. Dash (any flavor that you prefer -I used the tomato and basil flavored one) or other seasoning of your choice. Put squash on baking sheet and pour 1/4 cup – 1/2 cup water around bottom of squash. Roast for about 45-50 minutes, or until it separates easy into strands when pulled with a fork. Let cool for a few minutes, then shred into strands.

While the squash is cooking heat a small amount (about 1 TBSP grape seed oil or EVOO in a large skillet. Add onions and saute until they start to soften. Add chopped kale and cook for about 5 minutes or until kale starts to wilt down to about 1/2 it’s original volume. Keep in mind it will cook more in the oven so you don’t need to cook it down completely. Turn off heat and let sit while you prepare the rest.

Combine the remaining ingredients from garlic to the salt and pepper. Mix well, then add the kale/onion mixture and the spaghetti squash strands. Spray a casserole dish with pan spray and spread the mixture in the dish. Top with additional 1/4 cup Romano cheese and almonds.

Bake 30-35 minutes or until mixture is hot and bubbly and cheese is browned on top.



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Filed under Vegetables and Vegetarian Dishes