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Friday, March 30, 2012

Balsamic Swiss Chard

      This is a fast, easy, and super nutritious side.

      At the Farmer's Market on Saturday, Punky picked out a gorgeous bunch of colorful Swiss Chard from a local organic farmer.  I love Swiss Chard because it is so vibrant and beautiful in addition to being very, very good for you.

One bunch Swiss Chard (though you could do this with any fresh green - Kale, Spinach, Collards, Mustard Greens, etc.)
1 - 2 tbsp Balsamic Vinegar
One medium Onion
Half a Red Bell Pepper (optional, I added it b/c it was left over from the previous night's vegetarian Taco Salad)
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tbsp Grape Seed Oil or a splash of Veggie Broth to sautee in

      Dice the onion and let rest at least 5 minutes (I just trow it in the pam with the heat off). Chop the Chard. Do not discard the beautiful stems!  Dice the pepper.  Sautee the onion and pepper over med-high to high heat unti the onions start to brown.  Add the garlic and any other seasonings you desire.  I feel that simpler is better with this dish.

      Toss in the Chard and sautee until gently wilted.  Remove from heat.  Splash with balsamic and mix until evenly coated.  Serve immediately OR cool in the fridge for a cool summer lunch side.

       Please let me know if you try it!

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Veggie Kabobs

       This is one of my favorite fast, easy dinners.  It takes a little forethought because you need a variety of veggies that aren't being saved for other meals to do it, but that's rarely a problem for Farmer's Market addicts like us.

       All you need is 4 - 6 different kinds of veggies, some Earth friendly re-usable skewers, a touch of olive oil (optional), and seasonings of your choice.  Last night, I used onion, zucchini, summer squash, broccoli, and cherry tomatoes.  I was really sad when I realized I forgot the pineapple chunks!  Other good choices include cauliflower, mushrooms, carrots, and all kinds of peppers.  That's another glory of this meal: it's so flexible that you can make it often, but it can always be different.  Especially if you have family members like MacGyver and Punky, who don't like to eat the same thing very often.

      Chop your veggies into hearty, bite sized chunks, keeping them big enough to easily skewer, but not too big to be bite sized.  I cut everything up into one big bowl so I can season it all together.

      I mist the veggies with just a touch of olive oil so the seasonings will stick.  Sprinkle with your chosen seasonings.  Last night I used garlic, pepper, garden fresh rosemary, and a touch of ground bay.  Be very careful with ground bay as it can cause upset stomachs. It's better to used bay leaves, you can even put the leaves on the skewers between the veggies.  Be creative with your spiced for variety.  I'm thinking of doing some Indian seasoning next time.

       Shake up the bowl to evenly distribute the seasonings, then just thread them onto the skewers in whatever kind of pattern you choose.  Older kids will enjoy doing their own, and littler ones can help pick their own veggies.

      Once your veggies are skewered, you can either throw them on the grill or broil them.  They are a great summer grilling out meal.  But last night time was my main concern, so I broiled them on a cookie sheet on high.  Broil for about 5 minutes (depending on your broiler), then turn.  Your goal is veggies that are just starting to brown all the way around.

      For even more variety, you can baste your veggies with a sauce.  Punky is a total BBQ addict, so as a special treat for her last night, I basted the veggies with BBQ sauce for the last couple minutes of cooking.  Use only sauces free of high fructose corn syrup, preservatives, and artificial colors.

       You can also use Teryaki, curry sauce, korma, etc.

       These are fun to eat right off the skewer, but easier if you slide them off into a bowl. 

      This is a really great, all veggie dinner, and it only takes about 20 minutes to cook, including veggie chopping!