Cook For Good's Tomato Sauce With Kale and Raisins

I subscribe to Linda Watson's website, Cook for Good, where she gives recipes for healthful living along with other interesting advice on food and cooking.  She recently posted this as one of her go to recipes for sauce, and after I tried it, I absolutely agree. I'll be saving this one.

1/4 teaspoon olive oil
1 small bunch kale, collards, or chard (about 8 ounces or 230 grams), stems and leaves separated and chopped
1 onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon dried ground chipotle powder (I used smoked paprika)

one 32-ounce can crushed tomatoes, fire-roasted if possible
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup walnut pieces, chopped (I used cashews.)
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  1. In a large skillet or medium pot, heat oil over medium-low heat. Add chopped kale stems and onion. Stir to spread oil around bottom of skillet. Cook chopped onion and kale stems until softened, stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes.
  2. Stir garlic and chipotle powder into kale and onion mixture. Top with chopped kale leaves. Cover pan and reduce heat to low. (Water that clings to rinsed greens will add enough moisture to create steam.) Cook until greens are tender, about 10 minutes, stirring half-way through.
  3. Add tomatoes, raisins, walnuts, and oregano. Bring sauce to a boil over medium heat, then reduce heat to low. Cover skillet and simmer for about 5 minutes, until sauce is hot and flavors blended.
  4. Serve hot tossed with hot whole-wheat noodles or over quinoa or a baked potato. Refrigerate any extra for up to 5 days. Sauce freezes well for up to a year.

I recently made this and stuffed bell peppers with it, and I can envision using it for many different dishes.  She says that it freezes well, so it will be easy to keep a supply on hand for last minute meal preps.

Do check out her website.   I'm sure you will find it as enjoyable and helpful as I do.  And we are proud to have her right here in Raleigh.

Stuffed Bell Peppers with Pimento Cheese

Yellow bell peppers ready to stuff. 
I saw these beautiful yellow bell peppers at the grocery and it reminded me I hadn't had stuffed bell peppers in a long time.  I had just made a delicious sauce from a recipe on Cook for Good, a blog I follow.  The sauce is great to have on hand for spaghetti, pasta, or in this case to use in stuffing the peppers.

To two cups of the sauce I added a cup of black lentils, the diced pepper that I had from removing the top of the peppers, and another cup of fresh thinly sliced kale.  I intended to keep this a vegetarian version of stuffed peppers so no meat. I like to keep on hand pouches of Simply balanced black lentils.  In just 90 seconds in the microwave they are ready to eat.

After removing the top and the inside core of the peppers, I steamed them for about 10 minutes so they would be more tender when baked.  If you like your peppers crunchy then you can omit this step.

To add some protein to the dish, I planned to add cheese to the sauce, but alas I had only pimento cheese.  So why not try that I thought?  I mixed 1 and a half cups of the sauce mixture and 1/2 cup of pimento cheese and stuffed the peppers.

They were baked in a preheated 350 degree oven for about 35 minutes.  The pimento cheese added a wonderful flavor to the peppers.

This is a vegetarian recipe that I intend to keep.

Cottage Cheese and Blackberry Salad

Cottage Cheese and Blackberry Salad. 
Jeanette and I watched the Duke-UNC basketball game together last night.  She  brought oyster stew and mussels from 42nd Street Oyster Bar, and I made a salad and a dessert.  While shopping at the Fresh Market I spied a container of luscious blackberries that I snapped up as an inspiration for my salad.  I had cottage cheese that I wanted to use and I googled for a salad recipe using those two ingredients.  I found just what I needed.

The recipe called for balsamic glaze that I easily made by adding 1/4 cup sugar to 1 cup of balsamic vinegar in a saucepan and reducing it to about half over medium heat.  This took about 30 minutes.  This can be stored in the fridge for a week or two for future use.  It is much cheaper to make your own balsamic glaze if you have balsamic vinegar on hand.
Balsamic glaze.

On each salad plate I placed a cup of mixed greens and garnished them with the blackberries.
Mixed greens garnished with blackberries. 

I drizzled balsamic glaze over the berries and the greens.
 A scoop of cottage cheese was placed in the middle of each (about 1/3 cup) .

I happened to have both sliced almonds and dried cranberries that I used to garnish the final salad.

This salad made for a good first course that was followed by a bowl of delicious oyster stew and a side of steamed mussels in a garlic butter sauce.
Steamed PEI mussels from 42nd Street Oyster Bar.

First course of Cottage Cheese Blackberry Salad.  
And in case you haven't heard the Carolina Tarheels came through with a big win!!!!