Kale, artichoke dip and minestrone soup

So about a week or so ago one of my bosses (bosses son, so I guess he’s my manager? The lines are a little blurry) gave me two huge heads of kale. I was SO excited. He always grows veggies in his back yard to try them out but then can never eat them all. Most of his lettuce goes to the swans and bunnies that we have at work, but I got to the kale before he divvied it up.

More times than not I can never use it all fast enough, but this time I made a point to use it all.

The first thing I did was make kale and artichoke dip. I was heading to a friends house for dinner and was bringing the before-dinner snack. It was delicious, but of course I don’t have a photo.

This is the recipe I used:

Kale and Artichoke Dip

1 (14oz) can artichokes, drained and chopped coarsely
4 oz cream cheese, softened
6 oz greek yogurt (I used Chobani)
1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1 tsp garlic salt
6 oz kale (8-10) cups

Chips or crackers of your choice.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Combine artichokes, cream cheese, yogurt, parmesan cheese, mozzarella cheese, garlic salt and kale until completely mixed. Pour into a 1 1/2 qt baking dish or pie plate and cover. It definitely will not look cheesy enough but the kale will cook down. I was worried for a while but if you stir the dip a few times while in the oven you will see it change. Bake 2o mins. Give a good stir (or a few) and bake for another 10 mins.  Top with another 1/2 cup of mozzarella and bake uncovered for 5 mins.

It was a hit… so much that we got a non-kale eater to finish it off. We didn’t really tell him that it wasn’t spinach that he was eating.

Next thing I did was split the second head of kale in half. One half got cleaned, chopped and put in the freezer for some future winter recipe. Points for me!

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The other half was put into my minestrone soup. This soup recipe was kind of made up by me but also loosely based on other recipes. Usually thats how I cook, I read recipes to find out the gist, then I wing it depending on what I have or what I like to eat.

I think I make this soup at least once a week when the weather starts to get chilly.

Ingredients:
4 slices of bacon
1 medium onion
2 cloves of garlic

4 medium carrots (I have used parsnips in place of the carrots also)
3-4 celery stalks
2 russet potatoes (I have used red potatoes too)
1 14oz can of diced tomatoes (roasted or garlic flavor, whichever you prefer)
1 14oz can of white beans

1 quart of water (4 cups)
2 cups of beef broth
4 cups of kale or swiss chard

Instructions:
I start with 4 slices of bacon. Sliced into small pieces and browned in the bottom of my ceramic soup pot. Once the bacon is crispy remove and drain on paper towels. Then in the bacon fat I sauté the chopped garlic and onions, chopped carrots and celery. Add in chopped tomatoes (small, bite size pieces so that they cook quickly). Drain beans and drop them into the pot along with the entire can of undrained tomatoes. Salt and pepper to taste. Add broth and water. Let boil until potatoes are soft and then add in chopped greens. Stir and let simmer for 5 minutes.

I always top with grated parmesan cheese and I have also poured the soup over elbow noodles in the past as well. Im not a fan of cooking noodles in soup because I prefer my pasta on the al dente side.

Heres a photo of all of the chopped up veggies. I dropped the ball on more photos though. I love this soup.

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I hope someone tries my recipes. : ) If you do, let me know.

 

A summery mess

Hey guys. Hopefully some of you are still out there…. waiting for me to post. It’s been quite a while. Over two months. I haven’t forgotten, its been haunting me that I haven’t been writing, just been too busy or tired to even start thinking of writing something.

Work has finally died down, but now the next project starts. Christmas. Yes, I know its 6 months away, but 6 months is barely enough time for us to price, organize, set-up and display the thousands of decorations and such that we handle. To me, Christmas doesn’t mean a holiday anymore, it means a huge project to tackle.

Anyway. I am writing just to write. I have no topic.. just trying to get myself back into the groove of blogging. I really love it, I just need to get my brain back into that mode I guess. I haven’t even been reading blogs!

So since I’ve been gone what have I been doing?

Taking lots of pictures and maintaining our social media for our garden center, working outside all day… even on my days off I’ve been helping one of my friends who designs gardens. I’ve been galavanting back and forth between college friends houses and home, driving straight to them after work and spending weekends. And trying to find a little bit of time for myself in between it all. Summer seems to get away from you, doesn’t it?

Here’s a random photo mash-up of life lately.

life lately

 

 

If you follow me on Instagram you’ve probably already seen a bunch of these pictures… Instagram is one of my favorite places to be.. so if you haven’t found me yet, you should… my screen name is krtaylor88. I hope you find me so I can follow you back!

I’ll be back soon.. I have all kinds of ideas spinning through my mind and I’ll have to write them all down soon enough.

See you all soon!