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for the time-starved or curious culinary adventurer
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    finding time for cooking
    Kale & Walnut Pesto with Whole Wheat Pasta

    As I mentioned in my last post, last weekend I made a few healthy additions to my lifestyle, things I felt like I could manage. The first was guzzling a full glass of water before getting up every morning, and the second was making sure I ate a healthy breakfast every day. I also started to make sure I took vitamins every day.

    This meal was about the last one—trying to eat more raw foods.

    Kale & Walnut Pesto with Whole Wheat Pasta

    Cooking foods can make them more delicious, but can also destroy valuable nutrients and enzymes. That’s not to say you should never eat anything cooked, but adding more raw foods to your diet (such as fruits, vegetables, and nuts) can significantly up the amount of benefits you’re getting from your food.

    Kale & Walnut Pesto with Whole Wheat Pasta & Flax

    Of course, the best way to really get the most out of your food is to make sure you’re buying local and organic, since the longer since a food has been harvested, the more it loses. That’s not always feasible—either financially or availability-wise—but I am trying to get certain things organic, such as apples and carrots (two of the worst pesticide-contaminated foods).

    This dino kale was in my CSA box, so it’s both local and organic. Rather than sauteeing it up like I normally do, I decided to puree it with some raw walnuts, garlic, salt, olive oil, and a little ground flaxseed for a different take on pesto. Toss with some curly whole wheat pasta, and you get the best of both worlds—cooked whole grains with a potent creamy raw sauce.

    kale & walnut pesto with whole wheat pasta raw kale

    kale & walnut pesto with whole wheat pasta kale chopped

    Set a pot of water to boil, then add some salt and the pasta. Cook according to directions, minus a minute or two (al dente is best, particularly for whole wheat pasta).

    Remove the stems from the kale (I practically filleted them like steak), and roughly chop up the leaves.

    kale & walnut pesto with whole wheat pasta garlic

    Mince up some garlic. It’s better for this dish to use fresh garlic, not the kind in a jar, but either will work.

    kale & walnut pesto with whole wheat pasta walnuts

    Throw the kale, garlic, walnuts, some parmesan, sea salt, lemon juice, ground flaxseeds, and several glugs of olive oil (or flaxseed oil, if you have it) into a food processor.

    kale & walnut pesto with whole wheat pasta pesto

    Processor on high until you get a creamy pesto. You may have to do a first batch, then add some more kale to the food processor once it’s reduced in volume some.

    kale & walnut pesto with whole wheat pasta finished

    Reserve about a half cup of the pasta water, then drain the pasta and toss with the pesto (a little more olive oil or some butter wouldn’t go amiss).

    Kale & Walnut Pesto with Whole Wheat Pasta done

    Serve hot and fresh, but it’s great leftover too. It has some bite from the kale and fresh garlic!

    Kale & Walnut Pesto with Whole Wheat Pasta

    • 2 to 3 cloves garlic, minced
    • 3 cups of roughly chopped, packed kale (about 1 small bunch)
    • 3/4 cup of raw walnuts
    • 1 tablespoon of lemon juice
    • 3/4 teaspoon of sea salt
    • 1/4 cup of flaxseed oil or extra-virgin olive oil (more if desired)
    • Optional:  1/2 cup of grated Parmesan cheese
    • 1 pound (16 ounces) whole grain pasta (I prefer short, curly pasta)
    • 1/2 cup of reserved pasta water

    Set a pot of water to boil. Once boiling, add a handful of salt and the pasta. Cook according to the directions, minus a minute or two (you want it al dente).

    Remove the stems from the kale and roughly chop it, then add to the food processor. Mince the garlic and add it, the raw walnuts, some cheese, sea salt, ground flaxseed, lemon juice, and olive oil. Process until the pesto is good and creamy, scraping down the sides as necessary. It’s okay for it to be a little thick, you’ll thin it out with the reserved pasta water. Add the pesto to a large bowl, with some more parmesan and a tablespoon of butter (or some more olive oil).

    Reserve some pasta water, then drain the pasta. Add to the large bowl with the pesto and toss to coat. Serve hot and fresh, but it keeps well for about a week.

    Adapted from Cookie & Kate

    Kale & Walnut Pesto with Whole Wheat Pasta


    0 0

    finding time for cooking
    Balsamic Chicken and Brussels Sprouts

    That’s right, we’re still on a healthy kick! And it’s delicious!

    Balsamic Chicken & Brussels Sprouts

    This recipe had been calling my name for a while, but getting decent brussels sprouts is kind of hard right now, and I also kind of avoid chicken when I can. Chicken’s kind of boring.

    Balsamic Chicken & Brussels Sprouts done

    This chicken isn’t boring at all—it’s got a richness from the balsamic, a crunch from the walnuts, and serious fiber from brussels sprouts. It came together super fast and made for great work lunches for a few days.

    Balsamic Chicken & Brussels Sprouts with sides

    Throw in a side of spaghetti squash and butternut squash and you’re on healthy overload! Seriously, the whole thing is a 20-minute meal, was super easy, and totally delicious!

    balsamic chicken & brussels sprouts sprouts cut

    balsamic chicken & brussels sprouts sprouts cooking

    Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. When it’s hot, add the olive oil, then the sprouts, cut-side down.

    Allow them to cook for several minutes until they’re well-browned (it may take less if they’re smaller sprouts). Then flip and cook on the other side for a few minutes.

    balsamic chicken & brussels sprouts chicken cooking

    Add the chicken to the pan and season with salt and pepper. Cook until the chicken is well browned on both sides, then0 add the thyme.

    balsamic chicken & brussels sprouts balsamic walnuts

    Continue cooking until the chicken is cooked through. Add the balsamic vinegar and walnuts, and cook for a few more minutes, until the vinegar is reduced and walnuts are toasted.

    Balsamic Chicken & Brussels Sprouts finished

    Serve hot, but this also makes great (if possibly a bit dry) leftovers!

    Balsamic Chicken & Brussels Sprouts

    • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
    • 1/2 pound of fresh Brussels sprouts, halved
    • 2 chicken breasts, sliced
    • 1 teaspoon of fresh thyme leaves
    • 1 tablespoon of balsamic vinegar
    • 1/2 cup of chopped, toasted walnuts
    • 1/4 teaspoon of sea salt
    • 1/2 teaspoon of fresh ground black pepper

    Heat a large sauté pan over medium-high heat. When it’s hot, add the olive oil, then add the sprouts, cut-side down. Allow them to cook for several minutes (it may take less), until they’re well browned. Then flip and cook on the other side for a few minutes.

    Add the chicken to the pan, and season with salt and pepper. Stir and cook until the chicken is well browned on both sides, and add the thyme. Continue cooking until the chicken is cooked through, then add the balsamic vinegar and walnuts. Cook for a few more minutes, until the vinegar is reduced and walnuts are toasted.

    Original recipe from Skinny Ms

    Balsamic Chicken and Brussels Sprouts



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