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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Stuffed Mushrooms with Kale and Cream Cheese

High five for little roasty mushrooms stuffed with onion-y kale and cream cheese, topped with toasty breadcrumbs! These were my recent addition to a family Christmas get-together where I was tasked with bringing some kind of vegetable appetizer. I’m not a crudités kind of girl, I refuse to bring something raw to the party. I’m here to cook and make things creamy and roasted and crispy on top. Can’t stop me. So, vegetables? No problem – earthy, meaty mushrooms + kale. Appetizer? I gotcha – bite-sized + finger food. Let’s party.

Stuffed mushrooms with kale and cream cheese on a white plate
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Harissa Carrots with Yogurt and Chaat Masala Granola

This is how I wan to eat all the time: roasty vegetables, with something fresh and creamy, showered with a crunchy, salty topping. Harissa Carrots with Yogurt and Chaat Masala Granola, I luh’ you. I actually just read in Bon Appetit magazine that charred carrots with yogurt is on their list of things they are ready to see go away. Yet, here I am, posting this recipe. Because it is amazingly good! With the perfect combo of sweet, tangy, salty, roasty, crunchy… I just can’t agree, Bon Appetit! Super-roasted, spicy carrots on top of cooling, tangy yogurt, topped with this crispy, salty granola are still a good thing. So, here we go.

roasted carrots on a swirl of yogurt, topped with granola and chopped cilantro on a white plate with a fork
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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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Jalapeno Feta Beer Bread

Anyone else have jalapenos growing like weeds this summer? Me too and daaaaang they are spicy ones. Thankfully, Joey and I are best friends with the creeping heat of a jalapeno. He prefers them dipped in salt, followed by a shot of tequila on a Friday afternoon. I will take them any way I can get them.

a loaf of Jalapeno Feta Beer bread on a cutting board

For example, in this Jalapeno Feta Beer bread, brimming with salty, cheesy goodness, sweetness from honey, and punctuated with little bursts of spicy heat. Not to mention, the beer adds a nice tang.

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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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Balsamic Steak and Apple Salad

Oh man, am I a sucker for a salad. Good salads. Like, reaaaallllly really good ones. This is because, I have a finely tuned Salad Lame-dar which easily detects such disappointing features as wateriness, blandness, and lack of crunch and contrast. Enter, my new sweetheart: Balsamic Steak and Apple Salad. Cannot get enough of this! Thinly sliced, seared flank steak, sauteed apples caramelized with a little brown sugar and balsamic vinegar, tossed with arugula, green onions, funky/salty blue cheese, and pralines… Aggghh! I can’t with this. I love it so much.

steak and apple salad with arugula, blue cheese, and chopped pralines in a green bowl with a fork
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Vegetable Samosas

Vegetable Samosas: the result of a hungry prowl around the kitchen. Scratch that – the flaky, spicy, delicious, veggie-packed result of a hungry prowl. Mashed red potatoes, sweet peas that were on the verge of frostbite in my freezer, and spinach. And the requisite (for me) sauteed onions, garlic, ginger, serrano peppers, and spices. (OMG -the spices, you guys… this is the best use of cumin seed I’ve found in a long, long time. We’ll get there in a sec.) The flavors in this recipe are a total win for me but you could really, truly, probably work any vegetables (or meat) into these bewitching little hand pies. Basically, use this recipe as a guide, blend in whatever you have on hand, love yourself, and eat some samosas.

vegetable samosas cooked, on a baking sheet with parchment paper
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Chicken and Broccoli Bowls with White Wine Pan Sauce

It’s me, back again with the broccoli! I can halfway promise you these broccoli recipes will taper off as we inch towards spring/summer. Maybe. For now, I can’t not share these chicken and broccoli bowls that are SO easy, completely delicious, good for your body, and yep – totally suitable for meal prep!

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