Monday, February 13, 2012

"Where's the Kale?" Recipes

I was stoked when Jolie picked kale because I keep running into cool articles all about kale and its health benefits. I asked my brother the other day if he's ever had kale and his was response was "Yeah, that's the stuff we'd use as garnish for the salad to make it look pretty." 

Unfortunately Popeye didn't eat kale so we (I) never realized how superfoodie it really is until recently. Now that I think of it, Popeye needs to make a comeback. Hollywood is remaking every other childhood cartoon in theaters; maybe a superhero who gets strong and awesome from eating his dark, leafy greens should be next. Pleeease, for the sake of my child!

I really do like kale. I only got a small taste of Emily's peanut sauce kale salad and I'm still dreaming about it. But the kiddo gives me a tight-lipped, vigorous head shake when I present anything green to him. So I went a different direction and tried to hide kale in foods I thought he might eat. 

I'll start with smoothies. I've been making green smoothies in my blender for a while now. And I know there are a thousand recipes out there for the perfect smoothie but you know how I don't like to follow recipes, so here's how I roll:

Smoothie base:
1 cup kale (fresh or frozen)
1 banana (for texture)
Coconut milk
Optional: 1 tbsp honey 

Add-ins, fresh or frozen:
Mixed berries
Pineapple chunks

Chop, blend, puree, drink, done! Use more or less of the water/coco milk for your desired thickness. Drink one each day for a week and see if you start to feel better, fuller, more energy. If you don't like your blended drink, switch it up. I love banana/strawberry/kiwi or mixed berries/apple/pineapple. Make stuff up. Choke it down if you have to. And you can thank me later...

Hard to notice that slushy green drink behind such a pretty nail, I know.
Sally Hansen's "Wined up" in case you wondered.
My toddler loves the smoothies and I don't even add sweetener. It makes me feel like a superhero when I see him chugging one down. The other way I sneak attack kale or spinach into his food is by stuffing it into a grilled cheese sandwich. A green smoothie with kale grilled cheese sandwich -- meal of champions.

Little Popeye
I tried to get a little more creative with kale than just smoothies and grilled cheese, so I decided to stuff it in an appetizer I wanted to try for the Super Bowl. And since I was heading to Emily's to watch the game, I knew she'd be down to eat some kale with me. In fact, kale made an appearance in pretty much everything we ate that day, thank you BATF.

On Pinterest I found a recipe for Southwest Egg Rolls (from that looked appetizing. So naturally, I created a slightly cheater version. And let's sub the spinach for kale this time...

Pictured here are the SW Egg Rolls, Avocado-Sour Cream Dip and some rolls stuffed with Emily's leftover Butternut Squash Sausage filling -- with kale added. Mmmm.
Southwest Egg Rolls:
2 cups frozen southwest corn blend (with black beans and peppers)
1-9 oz package frozen chopped kale, thawed and squeezed dry with paper towel
2 cups shredded Mexican cheese
1-7oz can diced green chiles, drained
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp chili powder
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1 package of egg roll or wonton wrappers (I used egg roll)
Mix all ingredients together. Spray pan and line with egg roll wrappers. Brush egg white on top of wrappers and fill with mixture. Roll wrappers, tucking in corners as you go. Brush more egg white over top of roll. Cook in 425 degree oven for 15 minutes, turning once, until slightly browned. 
Don't stop there. I had a bunch of leftover egg roll wrappers (btw, loving how fun and easy egg rolls are) so I created another roll for dinner later in the week. I present to you:
Chicken and Wild Rice Egg Rolls: 
1lb chicken, seasoned, cooked and chopped (leftovers work great)
1 box of wild or brown rice
1 cup of frozen peas
1 cup of kale, raw and torn into pieces
Egg roll wrappers
1 egg white

Make your rice according to package directions and if the instructions call for the rice to simmer, add the peas to the pot then. Add cooked rice, peas, kale and chicken to a bowl and mix together. Spray pan and line with egg roll wrappers. Brush egg white on top of wrappers and fill with mixture. Roll wrappers, tucking in corners as you go. Brush more egg white over top of roll. Cook in 425 degree oven for 15 minutes, turning once, until slightly browned.

The theme here is you can go wild with egg rolls and smoothies and be as inventive as you want. Plus, they mask the healthy stuff really well. I'm happy to give this post the seal of "kid" approval. Enjoy!
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  1. Little Popeye is so cute! Maybe if Hollywood doesn’t come thru, you can write a children’s book featuring J-Bud and kale. Your egg rolls rocked! And I love how creative you can get with the fillings… having chicken, wild rice and kale egg rolls as a main dish sounds delicious (and healthy)!

  2. Great post, Missy! And, thanks for the painted nail inspiration. I really thought: wow! pretty nail! And then I read your caption. I'm inspired by the smoothy idea. I think the boys would love that. And it is so healthy!

  3. Wait - was this post about food? Couldn't get past the pretty finger nail!! ;) No, seriously though, just like Amber, I thought that before I read the caption too!!! :)
    This all looks amazing, and I THANK YOU for three new recipes to try with my non-green-food-eating little one! I think I'm about to jump on the smoothie bandwagon, beauties!