Winter Salad with Squash and Hardy Greens

salad of squash and winter greens I don’t know about you but I’m in desperate need of some healthy salads now that the holidays are behind us, in fact I couldn’t wait to run out and buy a bunch of greens. I settled on three gorgeous heads of escarole and my favorite, cavolo nero or Tuscan kale.

I never thought of using escarole in a salad because I normally eat it cooked, in a soup or with beans but I thought these two hearty greens would hold up well together when I layered strips of roasted butternut squash on top along with roasted chickpeas, walnuts and a few other things, and I was right!

I’ve always been a kale fan for salads but now I’m a newly converted escarole salad fan. It’s crunchy, it stays crispy (which I love), it’s hardy and it has a very mild, and an ever so slight bitterness that balanced out the buttery sweet squash. Please give it a try, you won’t be disappointed and besides,it’s really nice and refreshing to break away from the norm.

butternut squash shards

I love making shards of butternut squash and then roasting them, they look so pretty in a salad or tossed into some pasta, in a frittata or on top of a pizza. I try to buy a squash that has a long neck, because basically that’s the part you’ll be using for this. Remove the skin first with your vegetable peeler then continue making strips turning the neck part as you go.

Toss them gently in a little olive oil, salt and pepper and roast in a 400 degree oven, keep watching, they could burn quick. Sometimes I move them to the top rack to get rid of some of the moisture and keep a better eye on them.
salad of squash and winter greens

Let the squash cool down before you add it to the salad. There’s no real recipe here, just a list of ingredients that I used and that I could honestly say was so delicious and went very well together.

Along with the kale, escarole and butternut squash shards, I added roasted chickpeas, feta cheese, toasted walnuts and pomegranate seeds all tossed together with a vinaigrette made of olive oil and white balsamic.

This salad is hardy, healthy and just perfect to finish out the cold winter months, and don’t forget you can follow along with me on Instagram to see what I’m cooking up during the week!


Creamy Lemon Kale Salad

creamy lemon kale salad

Sometimes you just want a good hearty salad to eat in the hot summer heat, especially when it’s made with some of your own fresh garden produce, in this case it’s a kale salad.

Yes, we over did it again with the kale, we grew too much this year!

My freezer is now stocked with kale leaves that I can break off and put into soups and stews in the dead of winter, I’ve given some away, made pestos, smoothies, you name it.

For salads, I like to pick the leaves when they’re nice and tender, wash it real good, remove the tough stems and then spin it dry, I then store a bunch in a big zip bag and keep it nice and cold in my fridge, ready to use when ever I want.

creamy lemon kale salad

There’s no real recipe for this salad but the colorful, combo of ingredients I used were;

A mixture of curly and tuscan kale, chopped into bite size pieces, red and orange pepper strips, sliced cucumbers and radishes, olives, red onion, green onion, avocado, feta cheese, cherry tomatoes, toasted sliced almonds and roasted garbanzo beans.

creamy lemon kale salad

For the roasted garbanzo beans, just open up a can, drain well, toss with olive oil, granulated garlic, paprika, oregano, salt and pepper, then onto a rimmed baking sheet in a 400 degree oven, roast until crunchy and crispy, around 30 minutes.

creamy lemon kale salad

The creamy lemon dressing is so easy to make, I’m almost embarrassed to tell you…

Take a few heaping tablespoons of good mayo, add in 1 small garlic clove that has been grated on a micro plane, whisk in some real fresh lemon juice to thin it out and get a nice consistency, add salt and pepper to taste.

Spoon the dressing on top, toss and enjoy, that’s it!


Kale and Quinoa Patties with Sundried Tomatoes and Romano Cheese

quinoa and kale patties I opened my freezer the other day and saw a quart size container of cooked quinoa, I like to do that with different grains, I always make extra and freeze some, it’s nice and handy, and makes for some quick meals during the week. I do it with quinoa, couscous, farro and rice, a quick defrost and you’re ready to go!

quinoa and kale patties I decided to try my hand at making quinoa patties, and being a “newbie” at this I searched the Internet for some inspiration. Kale and quinoa sounded like a good combination to start with and then I gave it my own little Italian twist.

quinoa and kale patties Most of the recipes I saw added a bunch of breadcrumbs, I wanted to try making them without bread, so I just added more cheese instead and surprisingly they came out perfect! I added sundried tomatoes to mine, romano cheese, a little basil. Think about what you might have on hand, like shredded carrots, diced red pepper, other types of greens and cheese, different kinds of herbs, basically the sky’s the limit on additions.

quinoa and kale patties They’re very versatile, and a nice meatless meal that you can make ahead and reheat. I served mine alongside a simple salad for lunch, and topped them off with some tzatziki sauce.

quinoa and kale patties I also served them as a main course with a warm roasted red pepper sauce and a nice side of mixed veggies.

quinoa and kale patties And if you have any leftover at all, just plop a crispy fried egg on top for a wonderful breakfast, it’s so darn good!

Kale and Quinoa Patties with Sundried Tomatoes and Romano Cheese
  • Recipe adapted from Every day Dishes and DIY
  • 2½ cups of cooked and cooled quinoa, either tri-color or plain, cooked according to package. I advise having this done ahead of time.
  • 4 cups of kale, deveined and chopped up into small shreds
  • 1 cup of grated romano cheese
  • ½ cup chopped onion
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 large eggs, beaten
  • 2 tablespoons or so of diced sundried tomatoes, if using oil packed, rinse and pat dry
  • 1 heaping tablespoon chopped fresh basil
  • olive oil
  1. In a large skillet, drizzle bottom with olive oil and saute onions and garlic until soft then add in the shredded kale and cook until wilted on a medium low flame, stirring and being careful not to burn edges of kale, let it cool down.
  2. In a medium bowl combine the quinoa, romano cheese, basil, sundried tomatoes and the three beaten eggs.
  3. Add the cooled down kale mixture to the bowl and combine everything well.
  4. Heat another skillet, I would use a non stick surface because of the cheese, drizzle that with olive oil.
  5. Form patties and place into hot pan, medium flame, don't move them until a crust forms on the bottom! (very important) then flip them over and cook the other side until crust forms, watch them so they don't burn, lower heat if necessary.
  6. The crust that forms will keep them together, so don't move turn them before that happens or else they will fall apart.
  7. remove patties, place on a paper towel and serve..



Brussels Sprout, Kale and Corn Pie

brussel sprout, kale corn pie With Thanksgiving less than a week away I’m sure all of your menus are pretty much planned and now the cooking and prepping begins!

I don’t know about you, but until then I’m not cooking anything very elaborate, in fact all these ingredients for this luscious pie were just sitting in my fridge, and I bet most of them are in your fridge right about now.

I went easy on myself, I had a store-bought pie crust handy, some brussels sprouts that I bought way too much of, and kale, I always have kale, but spinach or swiss chard would work equally as well. Oh, and frozen corn, we all have some of that don’t we?

brussel sprout kale, corn pie I added a small leek, but an onion would do, and one clove of garlic. Then you whisk up a custard of eggs and cream and add some wonderful melt-y cheese and the end result is a wonderful, savory pie/ quiche/tart, call it whatever you want, I call it delicioso!

brussel sprout leaves I prefer pulling the looser outer leaves off of my brussels sprouts then slicing what’s left, I think it looks prettier, but it is time consuming so you don’t have to do that, you can just shred or slice them up or even use leftover cooked sprouts.

pre cooking pie crust Roll out your dough, then pre-cook it for 7 minutes until set using pie weights.

ingredients for brussel sprout pie Saute the brussels sprouts and kale until they start to wilt, adding them in raw is not good, then crisp up your leeks or onion.

ingredients for brussel sprout pieThen a mixture of  grated parmesan or romano and a shredded cheese of your choice, maybe a fontina or chedder, something that melts nice, I had a package of Gruyere that I wanted to use up.

After the piecrust is precooked add all the sauteed veggies, top with the cheese and pour on the eggy custard.

brussel sprout kale, corn pie I like to reserve some of the veggies to place on top after you add the custard and cheese because it tends to cover everything up.

brussel sprout kale, corn pie


You can add a salad to this if you’d like, or just cut a nice wedge and pour a glass of wine like I did, it’s a quick eat when you’re busy, like prepping for the holidays, and you’ll be very happy to have leftovers for the next day!

I probably won’t be posting much until after Thanksgiving, but if you want to see what I’m up to, pretty much on a daily basis, follow me  here on Instagram!

Brussels Sprout, Kale and Corn Pie
  • 1 9" piecrust, homemade or store-bought
  • 3 cups of slightly cooked and wilted brussels sprouts
  • 3 leaves of kale cut chiffonade style sauteed, slightly cooked and wilted down
  • ½ cup, frozen corn,
  • 1 small leek, or onion, sauteed and caramelized
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 3 branches of fresh thyme
  • 1 cup of shredded cheese, Gruyere, fontina or chedder
  • ⅓ cup grated parmesan or romano
  • 3 whole eggs
  • 1¼ cup of heavy cream or half and half
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. Heat oven to 400 degrees, roll out piecrust and place into a 9" pie plate that has been brushed with olive oil.
  2. Add a piece of parchment on top and some pie weights, or dry beans. Place on a baking sheet and cook for 7 minutes, then remove and cool and reduce oven to 375.
  3. Saute the brussels sprouts, kale just until it starts to wilt, you could add the frozen corn also, then let it cool down.
  4. Saute the leek, garlic and thyme in a drizzle of olive oil until nicely golden, let cool, then mix all the veggies together.
  5. Whisk up the eggs, the grated cheese and the heavy cream together.
  6. Arrange all the veggies on the precooked and cooled piecrust, reserve some for top after egg mixture is poured.
  7. Sprinkle the shredded cheese on top.
  8. Pour the egg custard all around.
  9. Place some of the reserved veggies on top.
  10. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes, let it cool down, then cut.



Autumn Kale Salad

autumn kale salad Here’s a nice autumn salad that features some of the fruits of the fall season along with our beloved kale. It’s pretty and festive and it could be a nice side to balance out a heavy meal, plus it requires very little work to bring it together!

autumn kale salad ingredients You can put your own twist on it by changing up the type of fruit and nuts that you and your family like. For mine and for presentation, I added chopped apple and thinly sliced pear, I liked the contrast between the two cuts, I also added dried cherries, toasted walnuts and a sprinkling of pomegranate seeds.

dressing for autumn kale saladThe dressing really pulls this salad all together, it’s a mixture of apple cider vinegar and white balsamic blended together, which is a must. The oil you can change up to your liking, but I highly recommend roasted walnut oil for a little treat. Also, If you want to sweeten your dressing up a bit you can, but I never ended up doing it, it was perfect without.

autumn kale salad Whatever nuts you use be sure to lightly toast them beforehand, it intensifies their flavor and also gives them more crunch.

autumn kale salad It’s colorful, healthy, fresh and good for you, so dig in!

fall colors Speaking of colorful, every tree and bush I see is worthy of a snapshot. Chicagoland is exceptionally vibrant and beautiful this season!

Autumn Kale Salad
  • 1 bunch of curly kale
  • 1 apple, chopped
  • 1 pear, thinly sliced
  • dried cherries or cranberries
  • toasted walnuts
  • pomegranate seeds, optional
  • ½ cup toasted walnut oil, (or oil of your choice)
  • ¼ cup of vinegar total, using half apple cider vinegar and half white balsamic
  • 1 teaspoon, Dijon mustard
  • 1 small garlic clove grated on a microplane
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. Remove the stems from the kale, chop,wash and spin dry, place into a large bowl or platter. Curly kale holds on to water so spinning it dry is an important step.
  2. Chop 1 apple and slice 1 pear then squeeze a tiny bit of fresh lemon on top and set aside.
  3. Whisk together all the ingredients for the dressing then pour onto the kale and toss until well coated,a little goes a long way, but feel free to make more if you have a huge amount of kale.
  4. Arrange the apples and pear on top and sprinkle with dried fruit and toasted nuts, any amount you desire.
  5. Serve immediately!



Butternut Squash Noodles with Sausage, Mushrooms and Kale

butternut squash "noodles" with mushrooms, sausage and kale Here I go again with my Spiralizer, but this time it’s all about butternut squash “noodles”! As soon as fall arrives you’ll always see a butternut squash or two sitting on my counter, it’s my favorite squash, it’s so versatile and easy to incorporate into so many meals.

If you did a search on my blog you would see how often I cook with it. I’ve made ravioli, polenta, lasagna, tarts, salads, pizza, I could go on and on and one of my most popular recipes, butternut squash gnocchi, I always get requests for it.

spiralizer and butternut squash I like using a Spiralizer because you really get spaghetti like strands, in the past I’ve used a julienne peeler and while that works pretty good you don’t get that curly continuous look of real spaghetti. A good tip to remember when making spiralized butternut squash is to pick a squash on the smaller size that has a long neck on it, because basically you’ll just be using the neck of the squash, just dice and roast up the bulb part for something else.

butternut squash "noodles" See how long and curly the strands are? It’s a wonderful thing!

butternut squash "noodles" You’ll have to slightly roast the squash beforehand by placing the “noodles” on a baking sheet, tossed and drizzled with olive oil, a little salt and pepper. Roast at 400 degrees for a mere five minutes or so. I personally like to check them as they’re roasting by taking my tongs and tossing them just to make sure they don’t over cook, you want them slightly limp with no signs of burning, they’re delicate. You’re not looking for mushy and overdone, you want al’dente like pasta.

butternut squash "noodles" with sausage, mushroom and kale I added crumbles of spicy Italian sausage that I pre-cooked, roasted mushrooms and kale that was sauteed in olive oil, minced garlic and red pepper flakes.

butternut squash "noodles" with sausage, mushroom and kale Gently toss everything together and add a ton of freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano and another pass of your best olive oil.

butternut squash "noodles" with sausage, mushroom and kale This is heaven in on a plate!



Kaleslaw with Kale-onaise

kaleslaw Our garden is still overflowing with kale so I’m always looking for different ways to use it up. Kale thrives in cool weather so I know I’ll have plenty for upcoming soups and stews this fall, at least until the first frost hits us, but for now I’m still on a salad kick.

Recently I bought a cook book called, Fifty Shades of Kale, catchy title don’t you think? Anyway, it got my attention plus the fact that it had 50 unique and different recipes for kale. One that I wanted to try right away was this colorful dish of Kaleslaw. It’s a little twist on traditional coleslaw where the cabbage is replaced with sturdy leaves of shredded kale.

It’s the perfect side dish sitting next to any kind of meat you might be serving, we had it with pork chops and chicken but it’s even great all by itself for a nice hardy lunch.

kale-onaise The book also had a recipe for kale-onaise which they suggested you use with the kaleslaw, it’s mayo based with lots of chopped kale added in along with lemon, lemon zest and garlic, not only did I use it for the kaleslaw, I started scooping it into my deviled eggs and chicken salads, it’s so good and it’s  even better as it sits in the fridge for a day or two.

kaleslaw I adapted the original recipe and added more veggies that was called for, along with toasted sliced almonds for added crunch, it was a hit!

kaleslaw All you kale lovers out there, make this for yourself, make this for your family or serve it up at your next party, you’re going to love it!

Kaleslaw with Kale-onaise
  • 1 large bunch of kale, stemmed and chopped in shreds
  • 1 large handful of coarsely shredded carrots
  • 1 whole red pepper, cored, seeded and cut into thin strips
  • ½ yellow pepper, cored, seeded and cut into thin strips
  • ½ orange pepper, cored, seeded and cut into thin strips
  • ½ red onion sliced into thin strips
  • 1 handful of shredded purple cabbage
  • ¼ cup of toasted sliced almonds
  • Kale-onaise to coat your kale and veggie mix , the amount is up to you.
  • 2 cups of packed and chopped kale
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 cup of organic mayonnaise
  • pinch of salt and pepper
  1. For the KALESLAW, place kale and all veggies into a large bowl, add kale-onaise and toss well.
  2. Cover and refrigerate for at least an hour or overnight before serving.
  3. For the KALE-ONAISE, in a food processor, combine the kale, salt, pepper and garlic. Process until finely chopped.
  4. Add the mayonnaise, lemon zest and juice, process until nice and smooth.
  5. Store in the fridge like regular mayonnaise.

Baked Eggs in Pepper Cups with Mushrooms, Leeks and Kale

baked eggs in pepper cups

In case you’re hungry this morning I wanted to leave you with a little something for breakfast. Something easy to make especially if you just cleaned out your fridge like I did. I was left with one leek, a small bunch of kale, a handful of roasted tomatoes and mushrooms and a few colored peppers. So I decided to make baked eggs in pepper cups, and so can you.

Ingredients for baked eggs in pepper cups Grab some leftover veggies, whatever you have, you won’t need a lot, they can be sautéed, roasted or grilled it doesn’t matter, they’re all good. The main thing you will need is some good sized bell peppers, big enough to pour an egg into along with your veggies, any color pepper will do.

Cut your peppers in half, clean out the membranes so you have lots of room in there and scrape the seeds, then drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper.

baked eggs in pepper cups Place your cleaned out pepper halves into a baking dish drizzled with olive oil then add some cheese on the bottom of each, whatever melts good, I used fontina.

Now take your veggies and place them into the pepper cup, on top of the cheese, leaving room enough to plop an egg in the middle. TIP: crack your egg into a small bowl first, like a ramekin, then gently pour the cracked egg into the pepper cup, the egg white will run so wait a second and let it settle into everything.  Bake at 375 degrees F. until peppers are tender and egg sets.

baked eggs in pepper cups Garnish with extra veggies on top and all around your baking dish, this is great for breakfast or brunch!



Individual Kale Baked Eggs

kale baked egg


What do you do when you’re stuck in the house, it’s frigid outside and you have a nasty winter cold? I like to stay inside where it’s warm and play with food. I saw this idea while mindlessly wandering the web one day. Individual portions of eggs that were baked in kale leaves, how cute is that? Since I had everything on hand I thought I’d try my own version. It looked healthy and simple to do, so why not!

kale baked eggs


I decided to whisk my eggs up with grated romano and asiago cheese for added flavor but you can certainly plop a whole egg right in the middle like the original recipe. I used curly kale because that’s what I had, but any variety would do. I bent a larger leaf so it would fit inside the muffin pan then anchored it down with sliced cherry tomatoes and a cube of cheese.

kale baked eggs I was curious to see how they would turn out and how it would  all taste cooked together but I was pleasantly surprised. The eggs puffed up and stayed right inside the crispy kale cups and of course they had a nice flavor with the different cheeses and tomatoes.

kale baked eggs I don’t think I would make these for a crowd but if you have the patience you certainly can. Personally I think they would be excellent for a small brunch or a special breakfast because visually it looks very impressive and pretty on your plate. As far as flavoring your eggs, well the sky is the limit! Think goat cheese, feta, brie,  bacon, sausage bits, herbs, I could go on and on!

kale baked eggkale baked eggs

They came out nice and easy from the muffin tin, just be careful because the kale gets crispy and fragile. I misted my kale with olive oil and sprinkled a tiny bit of salt on top which gave it the taste of the popular kale chips that are all the rage.  They looked pretty all lined up on a white platter too!

kale baked egg Tasty, cute, healthy, what’s not to like?

Individual Kale Baked Eggs
  • For six individual portions I used;
  • 6 eggs, scrambled
  • 6 large kale leaves or enough to cover muffin tin hole with some extending over for easy removal
  • ⅓ cup grated romano or parmesan cheese
  • ⅓ cup or more shredded cheese of your choice
  • 3 or 4 cherry tomato slices per muffin cup
  • 1 small cube of cheese to anchor bottom of kale leaf
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. Preheat oven to 375 F.
  2. Spray or grease muffin tins with olive oil.
  3. Whisk 6 eggs preferably in a pourable container along with the grated and shredded cheese or anything else you might add, plus salt and pepper.
  4. Take a kale leaf or 2 and place it into greased muffin tin, anchor it down with a wedge of cheese and sliced cherry tomatoes.
  5. Carefully pour egg mixture on top to about ¾ full.
  6. Mist or drizzle olive oil all over kale leaf and sprinkle with salt.
  7. Bake until eggs are set, at least 15 minutes but check according to your oven.
  8. Let cool for 5 minutes then carefully remove.

Grilled Kale Salad

grilled kale salad Who knew you could grill kale? I didn’t. It wasn’t until I saw this technique done in a book called, Hero Food by Chef Seamus Mullen’s, that I got inspired to do it. Actually, the minute I saw it I knew I had to try it, why not, I grill everything else!

garden kale We grow a ton of kale, we have it all over our garden, three different varieties so I’m always thinking of ways to use it up, as it keeps growing well into the fall. I’ve made kale chips in the past and I have to admit I didn’t like them at all, but I’ve since realized it was the way I made them, they lacked flavor. With a little more seasoning and a little more olive oil I’ve come to love those crispy little chips, maybe it’s an acquired taste I don’t know, but they’re very addicting if they’re made right!garden bounty Our tomatoes are finally getting red, it’s exciting to walk out into the garden everyday to see what kind of loot we have vine ripened and ready to pick. grilling kale Tossing the kale in a mixture of olive oil, balsamic, lemon zest and garlic gives you a nice base for a salad or just to eat as is.grilling kale The kale leaves hold up very well on the grill with the stems and all. Don’t walk away because it just takes one to two minutes per side. You could grill up a large platter in a few minutes!grilled kale Grilling brings out a rich smokey flavor with a texture that is crunchy and chewy at the same time, and it looks quite unique on a platter, something you don’t see often.grilled kale salad  As I said you could eat it right off the grill as a side dish to fish, poultry, beef or pork or you might want to break it up and toss it into a salad like I did.grilled kale with grilled veggies For my grilled kale salad I used vegetables that I had previously grilled, eggplant, zucchini, yellow squash, corn, yellow and red peppers. In addition to that I added fresh cherry tomatoes and goat cheese to the salad with an extra drizzle of my vinaigrette over the top. Summertime freshness that is so good for you!

Grilled Kale Salad
  • Adapted from Chef Seamus Mullen's
  • 1 cup olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 2 tablespoons, balsamic vinegar
  • 2 bunches of kale, washed and spin dried, any variety with big leaves will do
  • zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. Pre-heat grill.
  2. In a large mixing bowl combine olive oil, garlic, vinegar, juice, zest and kale. Toss until well coated.
  3. Lay kale side by side in a single layer on top of the grill until crispy, 1 - 2 minutes per side.
  4. Pile the kale in a big stack on a large platter or break up and place into a salad.
  5. For salad add grilled assorted veggies, goat cheese and sliced cherry tomatoes.
  6. VINAIGRETTE RECIPE to drizzle on top.
  7. 3 parts good olive oil to 1 part wine vinegar, a splash of balsamic, 1 smashed garlic clove, a dollop of Dijon mustard, 1 teaspoon of oregano, 1 teaspoon of kosher salt, ground pepper to taste. Whisk everything together.

Post Turkey Day Detox Salad

Are you feeling a little guilty about all the Thanksgiving Day carbs you just had?  How about a little detox before you start baking those cookies!
This fresh, raw, spicy, sweet salad is the perfect remedy! I had this for lunch recently at Whole Foods, it was so good I copied down all the ingredients so I could make it at home.
Chopped kale, shaved brussel sprouts, shredded carrots, sliced celery, parsley, basil, dried cherries, shaved parmesan and toasted almonds.
The combination of flavors are heavenly together when tossed with the dressing!
I’m not at all embarrassed to tell you that almost all the ingredients came from a bag, thanks to my local Trader Joes, which means you can whip this up in the time it takes you to zip open the bag!
The pictures may not do this salad justice, all I can tell you is I made a huge bowl and my daughter and I couldn’t stop eating it, we had it for lunch and dinner, and it’s even good the next day.
No exact recipe here, just dump handfuls of chopped kale, shaved brussel sprouts, shredded carrots, dried cherries, celery, parsley, basil and toasted almonds into a large bowl.
For the dressing, whisk together some olive oil, fresh lemon juice, 1 smashed garlic clove, a good drizzle of honey and some red pepper flakes.
Toss everything together along with freshly grated parmesan.
Sweet, Spicy, Crunchy, Cleansing!


Savory Kale and Pumpkin Scones

The next time you have a pot of homemade soup simmering on the stove take the extra time and whip up a batch of these savory scones, don’t they just scream fall?
They’re  crunchy, cheesy, and filled with all things good, like pumpkin, kale and of course… a little bit of butter!
Make sure you buy a sweet pumpkin that’s for cooking and baking, or better yet, just use a butternut squash, it’s a lot easier to peel and cut, it tastes good, and you’ll still be getting that pretty orange color.
You can even make them ahead of time, stick them in the freezer and warm up as needed.
I used a wonderful aged cheddar in mine and added kale that is still growing strong in my garden.
These yummy scones came from, ” The Book of Kale” by Sharon Hanna, and the recipe has been reprinted here.
I followed her recipe exactly but also added in about 1/3 cup of grated parmesan cheese, why not?
Perfect with a steamy hot bowl of soup!


Veggie Napoleon

This is a savory version of a napoleon, layers and layers of your favorite vegetables all perched on top of a sturdy portobello base. These pretty bundles are the perfect side dish to any protein you make or a straight up main course served together with a salad.
This dish was inspired by something my sister in law ordered while on vacation, her portobello was filled with Yukon gold potatoes, caramelized onions, roasted red peppers and parmesan cheese.

I wanted to incorporate some autumn vegetables on mine so I added sliced sweet potatoes, kale and some nice fresh green beans I found.
Everything is precooked before you layer, I steamed the green beans and sauteed the kale but roasted everything else you see here, the eggplant, red and yellow peppers, the sweet potatoes and the onion slices all tossed with a little olive oil and placed in a 400 degree oven until golden and tender.

The portobellos, (I bought large ones) were scraped of their gills ( to give you lots of room for layering) and roasted for only 10 minutes along with everything else just to get them a little tender.

Then just start layering! In between the layers you want add some grated cheese that melts good like fontina or mozzarella, it sort of “glues” the veggies together so that when you cut into bundle, ( with a serrated knife please) they won’t fall apart.
Place them back in the oven for a couple of minutes just to let the cheese melt in between.
I think I was getting  a little over zealous here stacking them too high with too many layers in the beginning, I tend to over due it, just ask my kids!
 So I ended up making mine a little more compact with not quite as many layers as above but always ending with the sweet potato slices on top.
 Place your finished veggie napoleon in a nice big puddle of marinara and sprinkle with more cheese, delish!
Get creative here, the various veggie combinations are endless!! 


Kale and Almond Pesto with a Little Bit of Heat

We have three different varieties of kale growing in our garden, Cavolo Nero or tuscan kale, the curly and green-gray type and one that is a redish purple color with ruffled leaves, I love them all!
 Quite honestly I never thought of turning kale into a pesto, I’m such a basil person, until I saw the new Donna Hay magazine and then I got instantly inspired!
What a great way to use up all my kale!
What I loved was her addition of red chillies and toasted almonds, the chillies give a slight touch of heat and the toasted almonds add so much flavor to the pesto.
Blanching the kale for a few minutes and then placing it right into a bowl of ice water, helps to retain it’s vivid green color. I made mine about a week ago and it’s still bright green. 
If you’re a kale lover and you know just how good kale is for you, then you have to make this! Dare I say I’m liking this better than basil pesto right now, that’s how good it is.
The first time I made it I quadrupled the recipe.

I’ve been tossing and slathering it all over everything. Here I tossed it with roasted zucchini coins and orecchiette pasta.
Slathered over our weekend frittata, man was that good!
And my absolute favorite, ( thanks to Donna Hay) slathered over a warm, right from the oven, roasted chicken.
I will be making many more batches of this before all my kale is gone… My family is thanking me!

Here is my adapted version, slightly different from Donna Hay’s because she used Manchego cheese and I used romano, she also added 1 cup of parsley in addition to the kale, I just used straight up kale.
2 cups of kale leaves stems removed, blanched and squeezed of moisture
1/3 cup of toasted almonds
2 red chillies
3 cloves of garlic
1/3 cup of grated romano
1/2 cup of olive oil
salt and pepper
Heat oven to 375F. On a small baking sheet place almonds, chillies, and garlic drizzle with olive oil and roast for 8-10 minutes or until almonds are golden brown. Deseed chillies.
Place the almonds, chillies and garlic in a food processor then add the kale and cheese, process until roughly chopped then drizzle in your olive oil.
Taste it for salt or more cheese or even more oil, the pesto should have a nice movement to it when stired.


Kale Made Three Ways

Three flavors that I adore together are caramelized onions, kale and butternut squash, there’s something about the sweetness of the onions, the slightly bitterness of the greens and the buttery squash, it just creates the perfect balance! I was inspired to make this pie after I had a slice for lunch from my local Whole Foods deli. They added pancetta but honestly you don’t need it, I think my version with out it was better, plus I added the caramelized onions which made it irresistible!

Our garden soil must be good for kale because it keeps growing and growing so I’m constantly thinking of ways to use it. I recently started freezing it and it’s actually nice to be able to reach in the bag and take out just what I need.

After I give it a good wash and snip off the stems I rough chop the leaves and place them into boiling water for a quick 3 minutes, drain and let it cool down on a baking sheet then pack it in a freezer bag for future use.

For my version of the Kale and Butternut Squash Pie I roasted the squash ahead of time and I slow cooked the onions and leeks for around 40 minutes until golden brown and sweet, don’t rush them, low and slow, and be generous with the grated parmesan cheese!

I used this recipe which is close to the Whole Foods version I had, it also helped me figure out the phyllo part, which btw, was very easy and forgiving.

All that goodness contained in crispy phyllo dough makes the perfect dinner or lunch!

I had leftover ingredients from the pie so I made this Kale and Butternut Squash Soup, light and not too heavy, perfect for the cool autumn weather we’re recently experiencing.

Ingredients were: kale, butternut squash, caramelized onions and leeks, garlic, cherry tomatoes, a can of chickpeas or beans cooked in a vegetable broth, if you have cheese rinds throw them in all the better! In no time you’ll have a comforting bowl of good for you soup!

I’ve made this Kale Pizza several times already, this is a favorite of my husband and BIL and they request it often, again it’s just those flavor combinations that go so well together. No butternut squash here just kale, caramelized onions, cherry tomatoes and fontina cheese.

Baked on top of a crispy pizza crust. Two big burly guys didn’t even miss the meat!

Now for the winner of the signed copy of Cucina Povera!

The winner is… Barbara F.
Barb congrats! Please email me with your address to