What to do with kale stems

Lotta kale going on around here lately. Lots and lots of kale. Creamy kale stuffed into toasty roasted mushrooms. Cheesy kale stuffed into sweet, earthy spaghetti squash. It just seems useful at this point to share my favorite thing to do with all the leftover kale stems. I freeze mine so I usually have a bag waiting for me whenever I need an easy meal or a quick, convenient appetizer. Here is my favorite “recipe”, if you can call it that. It is spicy, garlicky, and served on toast. Plus, it takes less than 10 minutes to make, so… yes, we’re on the simple track to easy town.

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Cheesy Kale-Stuffed Spaghetti Squash

Just waaaayy too busy being delicious and nutritious over here to bother with good looks. I know, this recipe is not very photogenic. But, actually… The longer you stare at it… It kind of becomes beautiful. All golden-bubbly and cheesy, full of a super-savory leek, onion, and kale mixture, with a little extra cheese mixed in for more yum.

Half of a spaghetti squash filled with kale and topped with a cheesy crust on a white plate
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A Chef’s Recipe for a Holiday Symphony

Holidays meals have a rhythm and feel all their own. Chef Joey Russo described it as a symphony, with friends and families playing the music of kitchen hustle and bustle, all culminating in an epic, heartwarming feast. Hoping to capture the almost tangible food energy surrounding Thanksgiving and Christmas, I met Joey in the kitchen at Russo’s Bistro & Bar, ready to cook a holiday dish to share here. But, Joey Russo’s undeniable cooking prowess comes second to his ability to inspire you and make you feel a part of a moment. We cooked food. And I learned a few things, for sure. But the act of preparing a meal, amid talk about holiday memories and traditions was so satisfying; it crystallized for me the basic goodness and peace that’s found in cooking and feeding others. It doesn’t really matter what’s on your holiday table; the celebration and symphony is in getting it there, and sharing it with people you love. 

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Chicken Noodle Soup with Sherry and Cream

Slide over, holiday food… soup season is still going strong and cannot be stopped. This Chicken Noodle Soup with Sherry and Cream is the latest thing I’ve been cooking for any and everyone, any chance I get. After years of making it, following the discovery of a version of the recipe somewhere online and making a handful of tweaks and twists, this soup has finally reached its status as lifelong love, forever in rotation, Best Chicken Noodle Soup Ever.

Chicken Noodle Soup with Sherry and Cream in a white bowl
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Apple Cider Pulled Pork

Apple cider, onions, chipotle peppers, apple butter, apple cider vinegar… and a big hunk of pork cooked right down in it. All of this. Right now. 🙏 This beautiful mess is too easy not to do and it oozes Fall on the Outer Banks. It’s all red-orange leaves and crisp mornings around here and this weather begs for some slow, easy cooking.

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Chicken in Coconut Milk with Swoodles

This creamy, veggie-loaded, sweet and spicy Chicken in Coconut Milk with Swoodles is a twist on this Brazilian Chicken recipe my mom introduced me to a few years ago. Chicken and I are good buddies, I love it and will eat it every night if you let me. If you add warm spices and coconut milk, I’m there, with bells on, fork in hand.

Much like this peanutty-curry-chicken thing, I’ve made this dish so many times over the years that it’s slowly morphed into almost a completely new thing. I stuck with the original recipe’s spice combo: cayenne, cumin, turmeric, and coriander (from my fave spice shop: mine!). But I chopped up the chicken (bite-sized pieces expedite getting this goodness into my mouth), added a little chicken bullion, brown sugar, and extra veggies (flavor!), and stirred in some swoodles to round it all out (swoodles = spiralized sweet potatoes=💗).

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Farmer’s Market Vegetable Frittata

Don’t be jealous, but we have one of the best little farm stands here on the OBX. I know you think yours is good too, and it’s true – anyone selling fresh produce straight or straight-ish from the farm is good stuff. But ours is a little blue shack called Tarheel Too Produce, run by the nicest guy named Ed, and I think I got all my veggies for this frittata for like 75 cents. Not really, but his prices are great and the quality is the best. My favorite is when the veggies are small, because I think they’re more flavorful that way, and still covered in dirt. Like, yes, I am eating from the earth, thank you very much.

farmer's market vegetable frittata on a cutting board with a slice cut out
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Beans and Greens with Sausage

Hello, May! You are here, and the OBX is gettin’ busy. The shop is busy, you guys are busy, we’re all busy. Thank goodness for this easy peasy lemon squeezy recipe for Beans and Greens with Sausage, loaded onto some crusty, olive-oiled bread. It’s good for you (hello beany fiber and greeny vitamin K and iron), it’s simple (hi, one pot), and completely delicious (talkin’ about you, spice and garlic). Let me not forget to mention you can eat it with your hands, unless you don’t enjoy using a big hunk of toasted bread as a utensil, in which case… you’re missing out on an important part of life. I mean… ⤵⤵⤵ … yum.

3 pieces of bread toasting in a skillet
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Stuffed Poblano Peppers in Tomato Cream Sauce

Good news, guys! Your new favorite recipe is here, just in time for Cinco De Mayo. Phew! This is one of those sneakily simple meals with a spicy kick, smoky-tasting roasted peppers, and chorizo-corn-cheese-loaded filling that will make your family/party crowd think you A) planned ahead (but you actually didn’t have to) and B) are amazing (this part is true). You know those meals, right? Yeah – good stuff.

Let’s get to it because I’m super excited to show you these pictures and how easily these Stuffed Poblanos in Tomato Cream Sauce come together.
If you can multitask making the filling, charring the peppers, and warming the sauce, you go girls and boys. You go.

charring and stuffing things

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