Back to school

Summer is quickly winding down and (at least for me) the comfort of the school year routine is settling in. Although I have much more time in the summer, I find it much easier to plan and execute regular meals during the school year. It is wonderful to continue to receive awesome produce weekly from Groundswell throughout the transition from summer to fall. Fall signals an eating transition in our family to warmer, comfort fare, and Groundswell’s bounty ensures that we are still getting lots of vegetable goodness into our diet.

I hear that people get together to watch some sort of game, possibly played with a swine carcass…I don’t know too much about all that, but here are two healthy and tasty dishes appropriate for appetizers.

Kale Ricotta Dip (adapted from Whole Foods)

Healthy Holiday: Creamy Low-Calorie Kale Dip

1 bunch green kale, stems and tough ribs stripped out and discarded, leaves sliced
1 small onion, sliced
4 cloves garlic
1/4 cup water
3/4 cup low-fat ricotta cheese
1 1/2 tablespoons parmesan cheese
Juice of 1 lemon
Lemon zest to taste
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes, or to taste


  1. In a large saucepan, combine kale, onion, garlic and 1/4 cup water. Set over medium heat, cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are very tender, about 12 minutes; add more water a tablespoon at a time if the pan dries out.
  2. Transfer vegetables and any liquid in the pan to a food processor or blender and let cool a few minutes. Add ricotta, parmesan, lemon juice and zest, salt and pepper flakes. Process until smooth.
  3. Transfer to a bowl and serve.

Tomato Pesto Bites

Original source:

Hollow out about 30 or so cherry tomatoes

Invert the tomatoes on a baking sheet lined with paper towels. Set aside to allow for the tomatoes to drain.

For the filling, combine the following ingredients in a food processor:

1/2 of a medium avocado, peeled, seeded and chopped

2 oz. cream cheese

1 Tbsp. basil pesto

1 teaspoon lemon juice

Cover and process until just combined.

Place tomatoes on a serving platter and spoon the filling into the tomato cups. If needed, cover loosely with plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to 4 hours. Sprinkle with chopped fresh basil before serving.

I‘d like to share three main dish ideas this week. The first, and by far the easiest (and Gus’ favorite) is:

Pasta with carbonara sauce.

Cut up and saute vegetables of your choice, and cook pasta.

When veggies and pasta are all done, add them together. Carbonara sauce is very simple, take a couple of teaspoons of butter and 2-3 whipped eggs. Add butter to mixture first and then the eggs. Stir the heck out of it.

The eggs won’t “cook” like scrambled eggs, but will form a delightful sauce! So simple-so “fancy!”

Zucchini Fettuccine with Kale

Original source:

Zucchini Fettuccine with Kale

  • 4 medium size zucchini, washed and peeled like fettuccini noodles
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 small yellow pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 1 bunch (4-5 leaves) kale, washed
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 scallions, chopped (both white and green parts)
  • Handfull of walnuts
  • 2 tablespoon hemp seeds (optional)
  • For the dressing
  • 2 tablespoon mayonaise
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • Black pepper
  1. Place the zucchini ribbons into a colander, add salt and let it drain for 15 minutes.
  2. In a large pot put some water and, using a steam basket, steam the kale for 5 minutes. Take it out and let it cool. Once cooled, chop it into small pieces.
  3. Heat olive oil in a large pan. Add onions and cook until they are fragrant, 4 to 5 minutes. Add the yellow pepper, garlic and continue to cook for 2 minutes.
  4. Add the zucchinis, mix and cook for 6-7 minutes. As they cook, they will soften and will start looking like noodles. Place them in a mixing bowl.
  5. Add the chopped kale and scallions in the mixing bowl.
  6. To make the dressing: Mix mayonaise and red wine vinegar in a small bowl. Season it with freshly grounded black pepper.
  7. Drizzle the zucchini and kale mixture with the dressing. Add a handful of (or more) walnuts in and mix.
  8. When ready to serve sprinkle it with a tablespoon of hemp seeds.

Cilantro Cream Chicken (Adapted from Wish Bone)

Original Source:

  • 1 & 1/4 pounds chicken tenderloins
  • 1 cup Italian dressing
  • juice from 1 small lime
  • 1 bunch cilantro, roughly chopped
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 1 red onion, sliced
  • 1 red bell pepper, sliced


  1. Combine the Italian dressing, lime juice & about 2 tablespoons of the cilantro. Reserve 1/4 cup of the mix, pour the remaining marinade over the chicken & vegetables in a Tupperware containers or gallon Ziploc bags. Turn the chicken to coat & marinate in the refrigerator for 1 hour up to overnight. I kept my chicken & veggies in two separate bags.
  2. Add the remaining cilantro to the reserved 1/4 cup of marinade & combine with the 1/4 cup of sour cream. I gave mine a quick blend in my food processor. Chill until ready to serve.
  3. Heat a large skillet over medium to medium high heat. Remove the chicken & vegetables from the marinade, discard the remaining marinade.
  4. Saute chicken until the chicken is no longer pink & juices run clear. Add the vegetables to the chicken after the first few minutes and cook until the vegetables are tender.
  5. Serve the chicken & veggies over rice & topped with the Cilantro Cream Sauce.

Finally it’s dessert time! This bread is a filling bread that is sweet enough to entice, but healthy enough to justify. This would make a great on-the-go breakfast bread, sliced up and frozen until needed.

Lightened-up Chocolate Zucchini Bread

Original Source:


1 egg and 2 egg whites

1/4 cup agave (If you don’t have agave, honey is fine)

1/4 cup applesauce

1/4 cup coconut oil

1/4 cup brown sugar

1/2 tablespoon vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/3 cup cocoa powder

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1 2/3 cup whole wheat flour (I used white whole wheat)

2 cups zucchini, grated

2/3 cup chocolate chips (Shaken in 1 tablespoon flour – this prevents chips from sinking to the bottom of the bread)


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large bowl, use an electric mixer to beat together egg, egg whites, agave, applesauce, coconut oil, brown sugar and vanilla extract.  Add baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon and whole wheat to the mix and beat just until combined.

Carefully fold in grated zucchini and chocolate chips.

Pour batter into a lightly greased loaf pan and bake for 60 minutes or until center is fully cooked.


So that’s been the traffic in my kitchen! Hope all is well in yours. Cheers!

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