Leftover Veggies Pizza

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My refrigerator is often like a jungle of commestibles, plastic and tin cans, a dense, Amazonian jumble of meals, future meal ingredients, and condiments, where no light gets through.

Sadly, from time to time, I lose something in this food jungle. I hate wasting food, but like everyone else, it does happen from time to time. I’ve been trying a little harder lately to avoid being wasteful, and the recipe I have for today is one of the things I’ve done recently toward that.

I found myself with roasted tomatoes, from this sophisticated BLT idea (though I adapted it a bit to make it more flavorful; see below). I also had extra sauteed kale (again, see below). I took these leftovers, placed then on a garlic pita, topped then with an ounce of mixed Italian cheese, and had a sublime vegetarian pizza.

Roasted Tomatoes Recipe

Four medium-to-large, or 8 small tomatoes, sliced. (The original recipe called for Roma tomatoes, but the regular ones I had on hand did just fine. I’d cut the Romas into thirds, and regular tomatoes into quarter-inch slices.

1T olive oil

Salt, garlic powder, oregano, and red pepper flakes to taste

Put the sliced tomatoes in a bowl. Top with the oil and spices and mix thoroughly.

Place the tomato slices on a cookie sheet in a single layer. Place in an oven heated to 250; roast for 2 to 3 hours until desired doneness. (Mine weren’t super-dry like sun-dried tomatoes; I left in a smidge of liquid.)

Sauteed Kale Recipe

1/2 bag washed kale (next time, I’d remove the thick stems)

1/2 large onion

1 or 2 garlic cloves

1 T olive oil

1 c fat-free chicken broth

Heat the olive oil, and add the garlic and onions; cook until the onions are translucent. Add the kale in handfuls at a time. When some has wilted, add the chicken broth. Simmer until desired tenderness. (I left mine a bit crunchy still.)

Notes: if you wanted, you could add a couple slices of center-cut bacon or grilled or roasted turkey or chicken. Turkey ham our pork loin would also work.

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Between a Vegetarian and a Paleo

My eating tends to be all over the place. By that, I mean that I don’t play favorites with the kind of food that I eat–from being a South Beach Diet follower, to dabbling with vegetarian eating in my 20s, there aren’t too many modes of eating or kinds of food that I turn my nose up at. (With the exception of sardines and okra…I don’t know that there will ever be hope for me with those two things!)

Because of that, I’m not surprised that my Pinterest food board reads like a split-personality eater. I follow a lot of vegetarian and vegan pinners (here’s one of my favorites), and their mealtime picks are heavily represented among the things I like and the things I’d like to try. But on the flipside, I have posted some paleo recipes, and there’s one grill-master in particular whose ideas I’m always excited to see come up on my timeline.

As someone who has had weight loss and healthy eating on her mind for a few years now, one of the most important things that I do is to keep looking out for new foods, new recipes, and new ways of creating meals that are designed for the most nutrition in the most modest amount of calories possible. In my pursuit of new ideas, I’m don’t harbor any biases about the kinds of eaters who are supplying those ideas. I’d encourage you to look beyond the cookbooks, Web sites and pinboards that focus on the kinds of food you typically eat and look to the people who combine ingredients in a different manner to still generate tasty, nutritionally sound entrees.

Here are some things that have caught my eye on the Web lately:

  • Tofu steaks with chimichurri and baby spinach, from Stone Soup: I never knew how to fry tofu, but from the picture, this recipe seems to offer the alternative protein with a beautiful crust. Plus, the chimichurri recipe can be repurposed for a lean steak.
  • Roasted garlic sweet potato and poached egg, from Naturally Ella: Breakfast tends to be the meal that’s hardest for me to consistently come up with good ideas. I like the sound of this because it sounds filling, and the carb is coming in the form of a vegetable.
  • Roasted Dijon chicken, from Framed Cooks: I like that this recipe creates meat and a side. It helps to take the guesswork out of pairing up items on the menu!
  • Kale with oranges and mustard dressing, from MarthaStewart.com: I am a big fan of leafy greens, and I’ve heard of the kale-citrus one-two punch before. I’m curious to try it!
  • Crockpot Indian-spiced lentils, from The Diva Dish: I love Indian food, and I was excited to find a recipe to make some by setting and forgetting.
  • Red snapper Azteca, from Paleo Plan: Fish is always an excellent lean protein choice. In this recipe, it gets a flavor boost that sounds tasty.

I am glad to know that no matter what kind of food I’m looking for, there are tons of people out there with delicious ideas. Happy hunting to you!

Question of the Day: How has your diet changed since you’ve started eating healthy? What foods are you eating that you never thought in a million years would touch your plate?

Whole Foods Kale Salad Copycat: Take 1

When I go to Whole Foods, one of the things I always pick up is their marinated kale from the salad bar. My body is a big fan of leafy greens like spinach and collards, so this salad, with a nutty, tahini taste, black sesame seeds, and carrots and red peppers for color contrast, hits the spot. Kale has been getting its time in the spotlight recently, thanks to its super nutritional profile. This article from WebMD, which calls kale “the queen of greens,” says the vegetable is resplendent with calcium (15% of the daily requirement!), vitamins A, B6, C, and K, as well as magnesium, copper, potassium, iron, manganese, and phosphorus.

With Whole Foods prices being what they are, I decided to experiment with making it myself. This is what I did on my first attempt (note that I completely forgot about the carrot and pepper!), with ideas to refine it for the future.

  • 16-oz bag of cut, prewashed kale (You could also buy a bundle of whole leaves; I just didn’t find it in my grocery store.)
  • 8-10 T hummus (Go with your favorite brand/flavor, but my suggestion? Roasted garlic.)
  • 1T olive oil
  • lt

  • Lemon juice to taste (I used half a large lemon.)

What I did was to rinse the leaves again for good measure, then mix u the other ingredients. (I ended up mixing with my [extra clean] hands, because raw kale leaves are no match for any kind of spoon.) But in the future, here’s what I’d recommend:

Don’t forget the carrot and red pepper like I did! Buy a bag of shredded carrot, or shred your own. Slice the red pepper into thin strips. It’s less of a priority for me to have the sesame seeds, but add them if you want (toasted?), to taste.

Do a little more prep of the kale leaves. Most important: remove the stems. Also, chop the leaves a little more. I wouldn’t want them to be super finely chopped, but I would recommend chopping them into more bite-sized pieces.

Mix the other ingredients together as a dressing. I’m guessing on my next go-round that it’ll be much easier to mix the kale and the tahini, oil and lemon if I have mixed them together first. I’d also add a little water to the mixture, to thin it out, as the Whole Foods original dressing has a slushy consistency.

After the fact, I noticed there are others out there who share my love of the Whole Foods kale salad. Here are some of their recommendations, shared on a Whole Foods message board for another kale recipe. I like the suggestion of pairing chili powder and mango with the kale.

Do you like raw kale? How do you prepare it? What are your tips for making the tough leaves tender and tasty?