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Posts Tagged ‘onion’

This recipe is one of three featured in a magazine article entitled “3 Ways with Eggplant.” I clipped out the article quite a while back and recently came across it again in my recipe box. When I saw the fairytale eggplant in our first fall CSA box, I decided it was time to try out the Turkish Dip recipe.

I “googled” Turkish Dip and read that this roasted eggplant dip is served everywhere in Turkey. At its most basic it is just eggplant, lemon, olive oil and salt but you can jazz it up with spices or garlic.  It’s traditionally eaten as a cold starter, or ‘meze’ or can be served as a dip or spread at parties.

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WHAT YOU NEED:

1 lb. eggplant

1 clove garlic

½ cup parsley (I used parsley I’d chopped and frozen)

1 Tbl. balsamic vinegar

1 Tbl chopped onion (I used red)

2 tsp. olive oil

1 ½ tsp. ground cumin (I reduced to 1 tsp.)

¼ tsp. pepper

WHAT YOU DO:

If using a one pound purple globe eggplant, pierce a few times and roast in baking pan at 350*  for 1 hour, until soft.  Halve, cool, and scrape out pulp.

I had just over 1 pound of fairy tale eggplant, so I cubed them using my chopper. The skin is so thin and soft that there’s no sense in peeling.

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Cubing eggplant for roasting

I tossed the cubed eggplant with a few tsp. of olive oil and roasted for 30 minutes at 350*.

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Roasted eggplant!

Put eggplant pulp in a food processor with all the other ingredients and pulse until chopped.I do believe I over-processed mine! But it was nice and creamy and very spread-able!

Chill in the fridge for a while.

Serve with toasted bread, preferably pita bread.

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Turkish Dip with pita wedges

Note that I reduced cumin to 1 tsp. I’m very glad I did, for it was very spicy and fragrant. Hubby does not like that flavor, so he wasn’t a fan of the dip, but Oldest Daughter and I enjoyed it with our lunch. She and I agreed that this would be tasty spread on a sandwich with some cheese and turkey.

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This Cajun dish is a good fall-back for me when I’ve exhausted all of my eggplant recipes. It freezes well and is enjoyed by everyone in the family. It makes a filling meal when paired with some peas (purple hull, crowder, or limas) and some fresh fruit.

WHAT YOU NEED: DSC00109

1/2 stick margarine

2 large purple eggplants (peeled and cubed)

1 lb. good ground chuck

1/2 cup finely chopped onion

1/2 cup finely chopped bell pepper

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 cup water

1 tsp. each of salt, pepper, garlic powder, thyme

2 cups cooked hot white rice (I used brown; recipe below)

WHAT YOU DO:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Spray a 9 by 11 inch pyrex dish with a non stick spray.

Prep eggplant. I used Fairy Tale Eggplant from the CSA box.

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Chopped Fairy Tale eggplant

Saute’ onion and bell pepper in melted margarine. I used about half of the amount called for; you could also use olive oil.

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When onion and bell pepper are softened, add garlic and stir to prevent burning.

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Garlic joins the mix!

Add meat and brown slightly; then, add seasonings, eggplant, and water.

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Cover and simmer for 20 minutes on medium low heat.

Add rice* and pour into the pyrex dish.

Sprinkle with 1/2 cup bread crumbs and bake at 350* for 30 minutes.

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Eggplant dressing with beef!

* The original recipe calls for white rice, but it works just as well with brown rice. Since the oven is hot already, I like to bake up two recipes of Alton Brown’s Baked Brown Rice. After reading reviews, I cut back on the rice to 1 cup and use chicken broth rather than water for deeper flavor. I omit the salt because of the chicken broth.

BAKED BROWN RICE: 1 cup brown rice mixed with 2 1/2 cups boiling chicken broth mixed in small baking dish. (I spray dish with non-stick spray.) Cover tightly with foil and bake at 375* for one hour. Fluff with fork and let rest 10 minutes before serving.

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Boiling chicken broth gets brown rice to cooking!

I used one pan in the recipe; the other pan got divided into 1/2 cup portions, bagged, and frozen for future meals. It’s a snap to zap a bag in the microwave for a quick addition to supper!

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Double the recipe and freeze one for later!

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th8BF3NOE5These tender little guys are just screaming for a spot on your dinner plate! Today I’ll show you TWO ways to prepare them.

#1.  BOILED OKRA

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Boiled baby okra with onion and fresh tomato!

WHAT YOU NEED:

fat to sauté onion (I used bacon)

onion

fresh tomato

okra

salt & pepper

Sauté  chopped onion in the bacon fat. I used about 2 tsp. of fat and half of a red onion.

When onion is translucent, add chopped tomatoes and stir. Season with salt and pepper.

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Add okra. My CSA portion was right at a pound. I did cut off some of the upper stem. Stir to coat okra with other ingredients and then add ½-1 cup of water. Bring to boil, cover, and simmer about 6 minutes. Check for tenderness. Mine were done in about 7 minutes.

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That’s it! Easy and delicious! This is how I prepare baby okra, but if I have larger pods that I slice, I use this recipe for Stewed Okra and Tomatoes. I use chicken broth in place of the chicken bouillon. I found the recipe to need more liquid, and the broth takes care of that.  

# 2.  FRIED OKRA

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Super crunchy fried okra “fingers!”

Hubby loves fried okra, but he doesn’t get it very often, for a couple of reasons: health (Hello!) and because I hate the smell of fried food in the house. I control these two reasons by limiting his intake of these deliciously crunchy wonders and by frying them outside on the patio.

I had two FRIED OKRA break-throughs last summer:  I found the absolute BEST recipe for fried okra – a Southern Living method that produces crunchy breading that stays ON the okra! The secret is cornstarch and a tiny bit of sugar. And, I read on a blog about okra “fingers.” I hate chasing little pieces of okra around a frying pan. This blogger sliced the pods length-ways and fried them up like that. Eureka! Okra fingers!

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Slice okra length-ways to create okra “fingers.”

WHAT YOU NEED:

1 lb. fresh okra

¾ cup buttermilk*

1 ½ cups self-rising white cornmeal mix *

1 tsp. salt

1 tsp. sugar

Vegetable oil

*MAKE YOUR OWN self-rising cornmeal mix:

       1 ½ cups cornmeal

       2 Tbl. baking powder

       1 tsp. salt

       1/3 cup + 1 Tbl. cornstarch

*MAKE YOUR OWN BUTTERMILK: to one cup of warmed milk add ONE of the following, stir, and let stand 5-10 minutes:

1 Tbl. lemon juice

1 Tbl. vinegar

1 ¾ Tbl. cream of tartar

WHAT YOU DO:

Slice okra length-ways and add to buttermilk; I used a pie plate.

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okra soaking in buttermilk

Stir together cornmeal mix and next 3 ingredients in a separate pie plate.

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Remove okra from buttermilk, in batches, using a slotted spoon, and dredge in cornmeal mixture. Shake off excess, and put on plate until ready to fry.

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Dredge okra “fingers” in cornmeal mixture.

I use an electric skillet and vegetable oil heated to 375°. You could also use a cast-iron skillet or Dutch oven. I like to use the electric skillet so I can set up my frying station on the patio and keep the smell of fried food out of the house.

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Pretty view while frying okra!

Fry okra, in batches, 4 minutes or until golden, turning once.  Just like shrimp, the okra will stop sizzling when the moisture has cooked out, signaling that it’s time to get out of the frying pan!

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Fry until golden brown!

Drain on paper towels. Salt lightly. Enjoy!

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I opened up the current edition of  Tennessee Farm and Home magazine and saw this recipe! What perfect timing with the garden and our CSA box brimming with these yellow jewels. I don’t normally fry, but I was curious about this quick side-dish, so I whipped up a batch.

Hubby walked by, grabbed one, popped it in his mouth and said, “Wow! That is good!”

That’s all I needed to hear.  I knew I had to share this recipe with you.

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Simple ingredients!

WHAT YOU NEED:

  • 2 cups yellow squash, finely chopped
  • 1 cup onion, finely chopped
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • ½ cup plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • vegetable oil

WHAT YOU DO:

Prep the squash. The recipe says “chopped” squash, but I wanted finer pieces, so I used a grater.

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This size yielded 2 cups grated squash.

Chop the onion. I used the green onions from our CSA box. That way I was killing two birds with one stone: I had white onion AND the green tops to replace the fresh chives called for in the recipe. I did not use a full cup of onion.

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Green onions add flavor and color!

In a large bowl, combine squash, onion, egg, salt and pepper. Mix well. Stir in flour.

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The egg acts as a binder.

In a skillet, heat ½-inch oil over medium-high heat. I used grape seed oil. Drop batter by tablespoonfuls into oil. Cook about 3 minutes per side or until golden brown, turning once.

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Fry 3 minutes per side.

Drain croquettes on paper towels. You should get 10-12 croquettes.

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Crispy squash croquettes!

I always read recipe reviews and made note of these ideas:

* you can use most any type of squash; try mixing different types of squash together

* add grated cheddar, minced jalapeno, a banana pepper, or a green tomato, chopped fine

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Colorful squash croquettes!

* serve with a dipping sauce like ranch or honey mustard. You can make your own honey mustard sauce by mixing together ½ cup mayonnaise, 2 tablespoons honey and 2 tablespoons dijon mustard.

Add this recipe to your “squash recipe” stash. You won’t be disappointed!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Here’s a delicious way to use kale! I read this recipe on a blog and knew I’d be making it soon! It did not disappoint.

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Kale and Smoky Bacon Quiche

WHAT YOU NEED:

A bunch of green Kale, roughly chopped

Several rashers of good quality, thinly sliced smoked bacon (I used bacon from Rose Creek Farms)

1 medium white onion, diced

1 tbs olive oil

3/4 cup of  Parmesan, grated

5 large eggs

3/4 cup of whole milk

1/2 cup of whipping cream

1 tsp of sea salt

1/2 tsp of freshly ground black pepper

1 sheet of pie dough

WHAT YOU DO:

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.

Prepare the pie dough. I enjoy making a homemade one, but there are some delicious refrigerated ones in the grocery story.

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homemade pie dough!

I did not follow the original instructions to butter the pie tin and coat the inside of the pie shell with olive oil. I chose to forego those calories!

Fry bacon pieces until crisp. I removed bacon to drain and then used the bacon grease (rather than olive oil) to sauté the chopped onion. I used a red onion I had on hand and supplemented with some of the frozen green onions I had put up in the freezer.

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Frozen green onions come in handy!

Prep the kale while the onions are cooking. This means wash, de-stem and roughly chop.

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KALE: prepped and ready to go!

Once the onions were tender, I added the chopped kale to the skillet and cooked for about 3 minutes or until it had wilted slightly. Remove from heat and set aside.

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Kale joins the onions.

Next, sprinkle the bacon across bottom of unbaked pie shell and then spread the sautéed kale.

Now it’s time for the egg mixture. I used eggs from Rose Creek Farms.

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Look at those rich yolks!

Beat the eggs and mix in the milk, cream (I used Half & Half) Parmesan, salt and pepper. Blend well and pour into pie shell.

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Egg rich mixture covers kale.

Bake for 15 minutes in the preheated oven at 450 degrees. Lower the oven temperature to 350 degrees and bake for another 10-15 minutes or until the center of the quiche is almost firm.

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This quiche baked up beautifully!

Remove the quiche from the oven and let it stand for about 10 minutes before serving.

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Creamy cheese, smoky bacon and kale!

 

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CHORIZO & KALE SOUP

I have a growing list of recipes using kale, so when I read Farmer Ray’s email about chorizo being available now, I knew I wanted to try this recipe in my file. I grew up (in South Texas) eating chorizo for breakfast, so I was curious about tasting a Tennessee version of this classic. The original recipe calls for chourico which is the Portuguese version of this spicy sausage.

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Chorizo from Rose Creek Farms!

WHAT YOU NEED:

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

3 medium white potatoes, peeled and diced

2 medium onions, chopped

4 to 6 cloves garlic, chopped

1 pound kale, coarsely chopped

Coarse salt and pepper

1 (15-ounce) can garbanzos (chick peas) drained and rinsed

1 can diced tomatoes

1 pound diced chorizo, casing removed

1 quart chicken broth

WHAT YOU DO:

The original recipe calls for adding raw chorizo to the soup. My childhood memory of chorizo is the pool of orange grease on my plate of scrambled eggs, so I wanted to eliminate that fat in my soup. I sliced open the casing, removed the meat, and cooked over a low heat while I prepped the other ingredients.

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The casing slips right off.

Once the chorizo was cooked, I set it to draining and then wiped out the pot so I could sauté the onion and garlic.

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Draining off that orange fat!

Another title for this blog post could be: “FREEZER HANDY COOKING!” I reached into the freezer for frozen chopped onion, blanched potatoes, and homemade chicken stock. I love having these items prepped and ready to go!

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Blanched, diced potatoes!

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Homemade chicken stock!

I added olive oil to the pot and sautéed the green onions from this morning’s CSA box and  more onion from the freezer. Once they were tender, I added the garlic. I do believe garlic is the best flavor enhancer you can use! I use a lot!

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Peeled and ready to be chopped!

While the onion/garlic are sautéing, prep the kale by washing, de-stemming and chopping. Set aside.

Add potatoes to the onion mixture and stir. Season with salt and pepper, but go easy on the salt if your chicken broth is salted. Add kale, stir, and cover pot to wilt greens, about  2 minutes.

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Allow kale to wilt down before adding remaining ingredients.

Add beans, tomatoes, chorizo, and broth to the pot and bring soup to a full boil.

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These go in last.

Reduce heat back to medium and cook 5 to 10 minutes longer or until potatoes are tender. The original recipe suggests serving soup with hunks of crusty bread and butter. This soup is similar to the Zuppa Toscana version using Italian sausage, but the addition of diced tomatoes of this Portuguese version puts a spin on it. I plan to freeze this soup in one serving portions for a quick lunch sometime in the future! (Have I mentioned how much I love having a freezer stocked and “ready-to-go”?) 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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COLLARD GREENS: a method

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I did not grow up eating collards or much of any such “greens,” but with age come knowledge and a change in palate. The last few years have brought an explosion of information about “super foods” and “greens” such as collards are included in that list. We get unique health benefits from collard greens in the lowering of cholesterol and cancer protection.

Collard greens have been eaten for at least 2000 years, with evidence showing that the Ancient Greeks cultivated several forms of both collard greens and kale. The name “collard” is a corrupted form of the word “colewort” – the wild cabbage plant.

They are available year-round, but are tastier and more nutritious in the cold months, so we are enjoying collards in their prime! Let’s cook some!

WHAT YOU NEED:

Collard greens

Fat (butter, smoky bacon grease, olive oil)

Onion

Garlic

Liquid (water or broth)

Two large bowls

Large pot/skillet with lid

WHAT YOU DO:

Fill one bowl with cool water and submerge collard greens. Swish around to loosen any trapped sand/dirt. Remove the tough center stem.

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Tough center stem has to go!

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I hold stem in one hand and run my other hand down the length, stripping away the leaf. Place the leaves in the second bowl. Don’t worry about water on the leaves; it will help in the steaming process. Discard the stems. I toss them in the kitchen compost bucket for our garden compost pile.

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de-stemming process

Next, slice the leaves to help them cook more quickly and to make them easier to eat. I grab a handful, roll them up into a bundle as best I can, and slice into thin ribbons. I then cut across the length. It took me three bundles to chop up two bags of greens.

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Roll and slice!

Set aside while you prep the other ingredients. I read that chopped greens need to sit for at least 5 minutes to bring out the health-promoting qualities, so you’re doing a good thing by waiting!

In a large pot or skillet, slowly heat some type of fat. I prefer the fat I render from the smoky Louisiana sausage I cook for my Cajun husband, but any type fat will do. I used about a heaping tablespoon. Some recipes will suggest using ham hock.

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Smoky sausage fat adds flavor!

Chop onion and add to hot skillet. I used the green onions from the CSA box. Once the onion begins to soften, add chopped garlic and stir.

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Increase the heat and add the chopped greens, stirring to coat with the fat and to distribute the onion and garlic. Salt and pepper to taste.

Now it’s time for some liquid. I used chicken broth, about 6 ozs. Stir, bring to boil, reduce heat, cover and set timer for 10 minutes. At the end of that time, I checked and I still had plenty of moisture, so I re-covered, set the timer for 10 more minutes and checked again. Greens were done! They were tender but not mushy, just the way I like them. Test yours and cook longer if you prefer more tender, but remember, if you turn off the heat but leave the lid on, they will continue to steam for several minutes. Overcooked collard greens will begin to emit that unpleasant sulfur smell, so don’t overcook!

We love collard greens with pork chops or hamburger steak and some type of bean or pea (pinto, black-eyed peas, field peas) and of course, CORNBREAD to soak up the “pot liquor,” that nutrient-rich collard broth.

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Delicious and nutritious!

In domestic refrigerators, fresh collard leaves can be stored for about three days; once cooked, they can be frozen and stored for greater lengths of time.

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Kale with pecans, beans, and rice

Hubby walked in with the CSA box this morning, and I was ready to go! With Farmer Ray’s Friday “heads up” email, I knew I would be working with Red Russian Kale. With just a few steps, lunch was soon on the table!

The key to making a plain green vegetable worthy of an entire meal is adding something with protein or fat (preferably both). Nuts work perfectly, as do any kind of beans or lentils. The basic recipe calls for pecans, which are wonderful, but you could use just about any kind of nut. I read the recipe reviews, and I incorporated some of those ideas, too.

 WHAT YOU NEED:
1 bunch kale or chard
1/4 cup chopped pecans
1 garlic clove, minced
Olive oil
Sea salt to taste
½ cup cooked beans
Cooked rice

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basic ingredients

 WHAT YOU DO:

While you are prepping the green ingredients, toast the nuts in a dry skillet over low heat. Shake every few minutes. I set a timer for 5 minutes, so I wouldn’t forget about them.

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Toast nuts over low heat in dry skillet.

Next finely chop the garlic. Did you know that chopping garlic actually makes it healthier? Who knew? Scientists have long suspected that the active ingredient in garlic is a substance called allicin. A recent study from Queen’s University showed that it is actually a decomposition product of allicin that has the most potent antioxidant activity. Released from plant cells when they are damaged, alliinase is what gives garlic (and onions) their strong odor and is thought to be a self-defense mechanism for these plants. When garlic is crushed, alliinase becomes active and begins creating allicin. As allicin is created and breaks down, the antioxidant potential of garlic is dramatically increased. Optimal antioxidant levels are created about 10 minutes after garlic is crushed. I’m going to start prepping my garlic first! 

Wash, stem, and chop kale. It’s quick to stack the kale leaves, roll, and slice into ribbons. It’s okay if your greens are still wet; the water will help them steam.

The original recipe didn’t call for onions, but since I had so many gorgeous fresh green onions, I threw in some of those as well.

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chopped and prepped!

Remove the toasted nuts from the skillet and heat a little olive oil in the pan. You don’t need much – just a sheen to sauté the onions a minute or two. .Add your chopped greens to the pan, sprinkle generously with sea salt and toss with tongs. Cover. I cooked over low heat for about 10 minutes, stirring often and adding about a tablespoon of water.

 Next, push greens to the side and add a bit more olive oil to briefly sauté the garlic. Be careful! Garlic becomes bitter if burnt!

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Briefly sauté minced garlic.

Stir to incorporate all ingredients. Now add the beans. The reviewer suggested adding  chickpeas, but I didn’t have any. I pulled up the NI for chickpeas and compared it to the cans of great northern beans and cannellini beans I had on hand. They are all very similar in protein, fiber, carbs, etc. I decided to go with the cannellini beans.

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Great source of protein!

Add the toasted pecans.

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LOVE the crunch of toasted nuts!

 One recipe reviewer said that if you would like a little more substance, serve it with brown rice, lentils or quinoa. I steamed up a pot of basmati rice with veggies that I had in the pantry and served the kale mixture on top of a serving of hot rice.

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Bulk up this recipe with rice!

Hubby sprinkled his liberally with Cajun Chef Hot Sauce and dug in! I topped mine with parmesan cheese. And lunch was a done deal!

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Topped with parmesan cheese!

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Another perfect head of cabbage in the CSA box presented an opportunity to try a recipe I got from my sister-in-law years ago. I discovered I’ve been missing out on an easy and delicious one-pot meal!  Bake some hot cornbread to sop up the juices and you’ll be in comfort-food zone on a cold, wet evening.

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WHAT YOU NEED:

head of cabbage

1 lb. ground beef

1/2 lb. breakfast sausage (bulk, not link or patties)

1 onion, chopped

1 bell pepper, chopped

2 cloves of garlic, chopped

1 can cream of mushroom soup

1 can Rotel tomatoes

WHAT YOU DO:

Brown ground beef and sausage. When nicely caramelized, add chopped onion and bell pepper and cook until transparent. You don’t need to add much salt/pepper because of the soup and tomatoes.

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Add onion and garlic to caramelized beef/sausage.

Add garlic and stir to prevent burning. Turn off heat and elevate skillet to drain off fat. While this drains, give the cabbage a rough chop and place in bottom of a greased oven-proof casserole dish.

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Elevate skillet to drain off fat.

Remove fat from skillet. If there isn’t much, I use a paper towel to soak it up.

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Paper towel absorbs fat.

Stir in soup and tomatoes. Mix well. These two ingredients provide the moisture (and seasoning) for the cabbage to absorb.

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Tomatoes and soup provide moisture.

Pour meat mixture on top of cabbage.

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Meat mixture on top of cabbage!

Cover with lid and bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Remove lid, stir well, and cook 30 more minutes, without a lid. Serve with hot cornbread!

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Cold weather comfort food!

 

 

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I’m having so much fun trying out new ways to use our CSA kale! Once again, Real Simple magazine came to my rescue with a slow-cooker recipe. The full recipe name is: Slow-Cooker Sausage and Kale Stew With Olive Oil Mashed Potatoes. Any time I can just chop and throw ingredients into a crock pot and walk away for several hours, I am a fan! Let’s get started!

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WHAT YOU NEED:

1 pound sweet Italian sausage links, casings removed and broken into pieces
1 large onion, chopped
1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 cloves garlic, chopped
kosher salt and black pepper
2 large russet potatoes (about 1 pound)
1 small bunch kale, stems discarded and leaves torn (about 7 cups)
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup olive oil, plus more for serving

WHAT YOU DO:

Wash kale and tear into small pieces or roughly chop and set aside. It will be added to the crock pot last. I used the entire bag of kale; it was about 8 cups or so of chopped kale. I figured if the stew was too thick, I could always add more water or broth.

Remove casing from sausage and break apart. Put into crock pot.

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Remove casings and chop.

Chop onion and garlic and add to crock pot along with the tomatoes and their juices, tomato paste, garlic, 1 cup water, and ¾ teaspoon each salt and pepper. Stir to combine.

Peel the potatoes and then nestle in the liquid.

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Potatoes: peeled and nestled!

Top with the kale.

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Top with chopped kale.

At this point, I realized my crock pot was too small! I had to really pack the kale in there, so I transferred everything to a larger crock pot. It was still very full!

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Full to the brim!

Cover and cook until the potatoes are tender, on low for 7 to 8 hours or on high for 4 to 5 hours. I set mine to high, and after two hours, I checked to make sure the kale was cooking down. It was, and I stirred to mix the ingredients and pushed the kale down into the liquid, making sure the potatoes stayed on top so they wouldn’t get too mushy.

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Cooking down nicely!

At the end of 4 hours, I checked the potatoes for doneness. They were! I removed them from the crock pot into a medium bowl and mashed them with milk, oil, and ½ teaspoon each salt and pepper. I used just a drizzle of olive oil, though, rather than the stated half cup.

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Mashed potatoes!

Serve the stew topped with the mashed potatoes. Drizzle with more olive oil, if desired.

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Comfort food on a cold autumn day!

Here’s a Time-Saver Tip! To make the morning less hectic, prep this the night before: Combine everything but the sausage and kale in the slow cooker and refrigerate, covered. In the morning, just add the sausage, top with the kale, and start stewing.

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