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.

 

What I ate

 

 

Happy Hump Day. Congrats on getting over the mid-week hump. Only two more days until the weekend! Im still excited about it, even though I have to work Saturday. For some psychological reason I like the second half of the week better than the first.

In honor of the sunny day-off that I had, I wanted to take part in WIAW. I love reading everyone else’s WIAW posts, (read Brittany’s and Jenn’s – the girl who started it all) but never seem to have time to do one of my own. (I also don’t feel like a food blogger.) But today I had a nice planned grocery trip (which I never do) with a lovely list of yummies so that I can make my lunch for the rest of the week. Then I came home and made a fantastic lunch, and thought man I wanna show people what I ate today.

And so, here it is:

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I started my day with banana pancakes and bacon, that I didn’t take a photo of.. I wasn’t thinking at that point. You can see my banana pancakes from a while back here though.

 

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For lunch I made turkey wraps. I used Boar’s Head turkey and filled it with sliced cucumber, mango, sprouts, and chopped brussels sprouts. I spread a little bit of mayo on the turkey and drizzled a bit of Sriracha for spice. Arugula and tomatoes on the side with extra cucumber and oil and vinegar. It was really good. I also set out an organic Gala apple to have with lunch, but ended up being too full and snacking on it later.

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I tend to drink more coffee when Im at work and everyone else is drinking it, but when Im home I generally only have two cups in the morning. Today I felt like an afternoon coffee.. and it hit the spot.

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Dinner was simple. My dad’s friend gave him a huge ring of kilbasi recently, so he threw that on the grill while I made a brussels sprout salad with a hot vinegar and mustard dressing. I ate my kilbasi with spicy brown mustard made with beer. Definitely satisfying.

Today was a day to myself except that I got to spend the afternoon with my buddy Teddy. IMG_2558

What did you guys eat today?