Tag Archives: parmesan

I’m Back – Kale Yeah!

So Wes has a heavy paper writing/requirement this quarter in school.  He is taking 2 business classes this time around and it is papers galore!  He hogs the computer all the time and by the time he is done, I am just tired and have time to quickly check FB and my email.

Friday night, made one of our all time favorite dishes here at the Blanton house – Kale, Chicken, SDT Pasta!  YUM!

Take about 2-3 strips of bacon (or bacon fat you save under your sink, your choice) and chop the bacon – cook that.  Take the bacon out and put in the kale.  You can put the kale in a salad spinner.  You have to take the large rib in the back out/cut off that rib.  Then just tear it and put it in the spinner, drain it, and put it in the pan with the bacon fat.

Cook the kale down – trust me, you will know what I mean.  Then throw in the sun dried tomatoes, some garlic, some S&P, always adding a little olive oil if necessary during all the cooking.  Then put in sliced chicken and cook that.

At the same time, make pasta (whole wheat penne is good or whole wheat linguine) and when you drain it – SCOOP IT OUT – don’t pour it into a colander in the sink.  I take ours out with a mesh skimmer or a pasta scoop if it is longer pasta and then put it in a serving bowl.  Then I pour the kale/chicken mix over top, put a little more olive oil on there, grate some parm, and then about a cup to a cup and a half of pasta water.  The pasta water keeps things moist without making them oily (key when you are cooking for one Wes Blanton).

Serve it up and dig in!

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Things you should have in your kitchen

Jenny (of Hey Jenny!) called me the other night and said she needs ‘an app’ for my blog.  Not quite sure how to do that or if that is even possible, but instead I promised her a list of things I think everyone should have in their kitchens.  These are things I always use, or just plain like to have around in case I need them.  Some of them are not 100% necessary, but if I ever come visit you and I need to ‘Iron Chef’ it up for dinner – having these items would be most helpful!

List form?  Sure, why not!  These are not in any order, just how I am thinking of them while drinking Cupcake Cabernet and not allowing myself to get up and ‘go look’!

1 – Sun Dried Tomatoes – a must!  I found a great 2 lb bag at Costco for cheap, already hydrated.  You can throw these in hummus, pasta, salads, stuff them in chicken breasts – versatile!

2 – Fresh Garlic – don’t have to refrigerate this stuff.  I keep it in a small dish in my spice cabinet and keep the ones I am not using in the fridge.  You can also buy the pre-ground garlic in a jar that is refrigerated.  Either will do nicely, thank you.

3 – Kosher Salt – just rocks, great to cook with

4 – Canned Chick Peas – always have these around to make hummus, add them to curry, put them in a salad

and along with this comes

5 – Tahini – I personally think everyone should have tahini in their cabinet.  Don’t refrigerate it, not necessary and makes it icky.  I use it pretty much only for hummus, but hummus is a great snack you can whip up with just about any bean and eat with chips, veggies, pita.  You can get tahini in the international section of a grocery store or at an Asian-type market

6 – Olive Oil – I like to have both spray and stuff you can pour.  I also try to make sure my Olive Oil is cold pressed and from Italy or Spain only.  You can cook with it and it is healthier than most oils.  Extra Virgin Olive Oil is good, but the smoke point isn’t that high, so if you cook with it, expect your food to burn in the pan.

7 – Good Balsamic Vinegar – spend a little $$ on this stuff.  It is great to marinate pork, beef, chicken – great tossed in pasta, great on salad.  We brought some good stuff back from Germany when we went to see JM.  I don’t expect anyone to travel to Europe, but get the good stuff.

8 – Fresh Parmesan or Asiago cheese

9 – Frozen Chicken Breasts – Lately, I am buying this from Wal Mart.  When I am feeling ‘culinary’ I buy the bone-in breasts and remove them, freeze them, and save the bone for stock (Steve, we can discuss this later so you can start making it).  Having chicken in your freezer that you can just throw in a pot and boil is GREAT!

10 – Frozen Shrimp – preferable the ‘bigger kind’ 21-35 (in that range) – Raw, Tail On OR Raw, Heads On.  You can make GREAT shrimp stock from the heads and shells (again, Steve, we will discuss) and use it for rice, cous cous, or quinoa

which brings me to:

11 – Cous Cous or Quinoa – I know, I know.  People love rice.  These two other grains are so much better for you!  And so easy to make.

12 – Whole Wheat/Whole Grain Pasta – maybe 1-2 boxes each of whatever type you like (We like penne and linguine in the Blanton house)

13 – Cumin – you can get this at a Hispanic Market or the grocery (Hispanic market is cheaper).  Great to put in hummus or as a marinade herb

14 – Fresh Lemons & Limes – another great thing for marinades and lemons are necessary for hummus.  As my 1st teacher at AIA said, “lemon juice is an abomination” – so I always prefer fresh

15 – A good microplane zester/grater

16 – A good cheese grater (this one’s for you, Schupacks)

17 – Large non-stick saute pan and Large regular saute pan

18 – 4-6 Qt Saucepot

19 – 8-10 Qt Stockpot

20 – Soy Sauce – again, good marinade, good to make stir fry, etc.

21 – Corn Starch- I know, sounds weird, but helpful to make stir fry or thicken any sauce you have

22 – Canned Black Beans – again, just something that can be added to anything and a good staple

23 – Canola Oil – natch

24 – Ground Turkey – Whenever this goes on sale in the 1 lb package, I always buy about 3-4 of them and freeze them.

25 – Pork tenderloin – again, buy it when it is on sale and you can throw the package right into your freezer

25 – Frozen Tilapia – Again, Costco has this fresh in family packages.  You can take it home and separate it into smaller bags

which leads me to:

26 – 1 QT Freezer Bags – a MUST in my house

OK – I think this is a good enough list to start with.  I also always have Pita Bread in the house for hummus – but that is just me!

Bo Benny – hope this helps!