Kale

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Emily Stokes
I'm a lady who loves cheese, sour cream, & ice cream, but I recently became lactose intolerant. My key focus in recreating dairy recipes is taste, but I try to be as health conscious as possible. Some of my recipes are low lactose rather than dairy free. I'm also a writer, teacher, nanny, dog mom, housewife, native Yinzer, current Californian, and social organizer extraordinaire.

Kale

Simple Crock Pot Italian Wedding Soup with Kale

I just came back from a month long trip to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania where I was born and raised. We have an amazing soup there called Italian Wedding Soup, which, I just found out, is not actually Italian.

At any Italian restaurant (or often any restaurant) in Pittsburgh, you can order a bowl of Italian Wedding Soup. My favorite kind is the light version served at the chain restaurant Olive Garden. Since I was not very cultured and didn’t travel much before moving out of Pittsburgh, when I went to the Olive Garden in California I tried ordering Wedding Soup. It’s not usually on the menu in Pittsburgh because it’s such a popular item and everyone knows it’s there–you just have to ask for it. But the California waiter had no idea what I was talking about.

I always thought Italian Wedding Soup was an Italian tradition. Though, apparently, Italian Wedding Soup is a Western Pennsylvania tradition started by immigrants to the area. According to my quick research, Italian Wedding Soup is a mistranslation of a soup called “marriage soup,” which is actually Spanish.

Here is a quick version to make in the crock pot using kale instead of the traditional spinach. Italian Wedding Soup is usually made with really tiny meatballs and pasta. Unless you make the meatballs yourself, you might not be able to find them small enough, but you can always cut slightly thawed frozen Italian meatballs into quarters before putting in the crock pot.

Ingredients:

1 small package frozen italian meatballs (15-20)
5 oz can low sodium chicken, rinsed and drained
32 oz chicken broth
2 cups kale, stems removed and chopped (can also use spinach)
1 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 bay leaf
1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 yellow onion, chopped
1/4 cup-1/2 cup pastina pasta
parmesan reggiano for serving

Directions:

1. Add meatballs, chicken, broth, spices, and onion to slow cooker and stir to combine. Cook on high for 3 hours.

2. Add pasta and kale (or spinach) to the pot, and cook for an additional hour on high. Serve
topped with parmesan reggiano if desired.

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30 Minute Tomato and Kale Pasta for Two

I love this dish not only because it uses all my favorite super fresh vegetables, but because it is so easy! You just throw all the ingredients into a dish and put it in the oven. It’s absolutely delicious comfort food.

I used a cute curly pasta to go with my dish, but you can use whatever you have on hand. This is better for the summer when all the ingredients can be at their freshest. Sprinkle with Parma before serving! If you can find it, it’s a parmesan cheese imitation topping made from sea salt, walnuts, and nutritional yeast.

Ingredients:

2 cups uncooked pasta
1 package whole cherry tomatoes
1 teaspoon minced garlic
2 large kale leaves, stems removed and leaves shredded
1/4 cup yellow onion, chopped
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon dried basil

Directions:

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit  Add whole cherry tomatoes, garlic, kale, and onion into a small glass casserole dish and toss. I used a loaf dish.

2. Drizzle olive oil on top, toss to coat. Add salt, pepper, oregano, and basil and stir to coat evenly.

3. Bake in the oven for 25 minutes. While the sauce is cooking, start your pasta according to the directions so that it’s hot, fresh, and ready as soon as the tomato and kale sauce is done. I hope it becomes your go-to comfort food!

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Dairy Free Quiche with Ham and Kale

How else can I use this leftover ham from Christmas dinner? I’ve made ham and cheese crescent rolls, pasta carbonara, mac’n’cheese with ham, and had ham and eggs–all dairy free of course. For breakfast today, let’s try a dairy free ham and cheese quiche. I have green beans, lettuce, and kale in the fridge. Kale wins! I made a wonderful gluten free pasta dish with it last night.

I love having some extra time around Christmas to come up with delicious recipes. This year I tried out a couple dairy free cheesecakes and the final result was a delectable triple chocolate cheesecake that I need to post soon. Some other dairy free snacks we had for our Christmas feast were buffalo chicken dip with tortilla chips and onion dip made with Toffuti Better Than Sour Cream, served with pretzels. Both of these I am happy to announce were big hits among my dairy eating friends.

I didn’t go all out this feast like I did for Thanksgiving; in fact, I felt like a horrible hostess. I was so tired this year that all I did was make the snacks and cheesecake. Eric made the ham on his own, and each guest brought a dish. I even forgot to make the crescent rolls I had bought (hence the ham and cheese crescent rolls above) and never served the coffee and hot chocolate. At least I can safely say everyone had enough champagne to drink. I proceeded to sleep in for three days after Christmas.

This recipe calls for all of my favorite dairy free goodies. Silk Nog, the soy alternative to egg nog, is dairy and egg free, but it still contains the perfect blend of spices to flavor a good quiche. If you are looking for soy free, try SO Delicious Nog, which is made of coconut. I always recommend Silk Very Vanilla Soymilk to cook with if you choose something else. You can find these items at your local grocery store. Daiya Chedder Style Shreds are a key ingredient in my buffalo chicken dip, as well as this quiche. Daiya is a soy and dairy free cheese alternative made from tapioca. I usually find it at Whole Foods.

Ingredients:

1 refrigerated pie crust
2 cups chopped kale, stems removed
1/2 yellow onion, chopped
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1 cup chopped ham
3/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese alternative (I used Daiya Shreds found at Whole Foods)
4 eggs
1 cup Silk Nog (or other dairy milk alternative)
1 tsp curry powder
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt

Directions:

1. Let the pie crust sit out to adjust to room temperature for at least 15 minutes, then mold it into a 9inch pie dish. Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.

2. In a large heated skillet, add olive oil, onions, kale, 1/4 teaspoons of salt and pepper, and onion powder. Cook over medium heat until onions and kale are tender, about five minutes.

3. Beat the eggs in a medium bowl, then add Silk Nog, curry powder, salt, and pepper and whisk until blended.
4. Layer the ingredients into the pie dish in this order: ham, onion and kale mixture, and shredded cheese alternative. Pour the egg mixture over the top so that all ingredients are evenly covered.

5. Bake for 40 minutes or until center of the quiche is cooked through. Hopefully the ham is all used up!

           

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