Friday, November 12, 2010

kale is keen

Where has kale been all my life?

I can't ever remember eating kale as a child...or as a teenager...or as a college student.  I don't think I discovered the stuff until after I got married.  How sad is that!

Kale is one of the best greens out there.  It holds its shape so well that it works excellently in soups.  But, as I recently discovered, it also tastes amazing when it is roasted.  If you've never tried it, I encourage you to give it a go.  It's one of those "superfoods" that really does taste super!

Kale chips are one of the easiest ways to eat kale.  After washing the leaves, run a knife along the stalk on either side.

Put your leaves in a bowl and drizzle with just a small amount of olive oil.  Sprinkle some salt and pepper or (my favorite) Creole seasoning and toss.

Place on a foil-lined cookie sheet and bake at 350 for about 10 minutes or just until crispy. 

Eat these immediately!  They are definitely better when fresh and make a delightful garnish to any plate.

Kale Chips
1 cup kale leaves, separated from stalks
1/2 t. olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

Toss leaves with olive oil and seasonings.  Place on foil-lined cookie sheet and bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes or until crispy. 

Nutrition (entire recipe): 53 calories, 3g fat, 0g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 0mg cholesterol, 29mg sodium, 7g carbs, 1g fiber, 0g sugar, 2g protein, 206% vit. A, 134% vit. C, 9% calcium, 6% iron.

Monday, November 8, 2010

chocolate pecan pie tartlets

Last week, I joined together with my friends from MOM'S CRAZY COOKING and From My Tiny Kitchen to gather the tastiest pumpkin recipes the blogging world can dish up.  We collected a full buffet of fabulous recipes and encourage you to link up your favorites from your own site (or, if you don't have a blog, just add your recipe in a comment)!  

So...what's this week's craving?  Thanksgiving sweets and treats!  

Nothing says Thanksgiving to me like pecan pie.  Ironically, I've never really been a huge fan of it...never, that is, until I had a chocolate version.  There's something magical about adding chocolate to a dessert.  

While I'm not going to do a darn thing to make this chocolate pecan pie any healthier (sorry, folks), I am going to show you some ideas for making the portion sizes a bit smaller.  These miniature versions of one of America's favorite pies will be a big hit at your Thanksgiving get-together!   

To make the pie filling, melt 1/2 cup of butter in a saucepan.  Add 1 cup light corn syrup, 1 cup sugar, and 1/4 cup cocoa.  Cook on low heat, stirring constantly, until the sugar is dissolved.  

Tip: Don't just rely on a quick glance to make sure the sugar has dissolved.  Instead, rub a little bit of the mixture between your fingers...if you can still feel sugar granules, it hasn't dissolved!


Remove your saucepan from the heat, and let it cool slightly.  Then, add 4 eggs, 1 teaspoon vanilla, and 1/4 teaspoon salt, mixing well.

Finally, stir in 1/2 to 1 cup of chopped pecans and 1/2 cup coconut flakes.

To assemble the tartlets...

To make the tartlets, you need pie crusts...lots and lots of pie crusts.  You will use at least 4, possibly 6, when you make these variations on the chocolate pecan pie.  To save myself time and energy, I used the store-bought version, but any pie crust recipe will do.   

Roll it out and cut it into large squares.  If you have one round store-bought crust, cut it into four squares (as shown below), and then combine and roll out the scraps to make at least two more squares.

Place a heaping tablespoon or two into the center of the square.

Fold the square into a triangle, pressing on the edges to keep the pie filling from running out.

Use a fork to crimp the edges and then place on an ungreased cookie sheet.  Bake at 325 for 20-30 minutes, or until golden brown.

To assemble the mini-pies...

If you've got a lot of extra filling, whip up some mini pecan pies!

Place large squares of pie crust into a muffin tin, pressing down gently to form small cups.

Fill cups with pecan pie filling.  Bake at 325 for 30 minutes, or until golden brown.

I'd love to hear what desserts you are cooking up for your Thanksgiving get-together!  Also, don't forget to link up your favorite Thanksgiving treat or sweet down below for This Week's Cravings.  This Thanksgiving is going to be delicious.

 Chocolate Pecan Pie

1/2 cup butter
1 cup light corn syrup
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup cocoa
4 eggs
1 t. vanilla
1/4 t. salt
1/2 to 1 cup chopped pecans
1/2 cup coconut
pie crusts

Melt butter in a heavy saucepan.  Add corn syrup, sugar, and cocoa; cook over low heat, stirring constantly until sugar has dissolved.  Remove from heat and cool slightly.  Add eggs, vanilla, and salt and mix well.  Stir in pecans and coconut.

To make 9-inch pie: Pour into unbaked pie shell and bake at 325 degrees for 55 minutes.

To make tartlets: Cut unbaked pie crust into large squares.  Place 1-2 tablespoons of pie filling in the center and fold into a triangle, pressing the edges together.  Use a fork to crimp the edges.  Bake at 325 for 20-30 minutes or until golden brown.

To make mini-pies:  Cut unbaked pie crust into large squares.  Press squares into muffin tin and fill with pie filling.  Bake at 325 for 30 minutes or until golden brown.

This recipe is linked to This Week's Cravings: Pie!

Thanksgiving Sweets and Treats!

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