Turkey, Sweet Potato and Kale Casserole

Busy, busy, busy today, so this will be a short one.

I told you I was on a casserole kick, and this one is even better than yesterday’s Italian Beef and Green Bean Casserole, although it also falls into the “tastes a lot better than it looks” category.

I’m also still carrying on my passionate love affair with Japanese sweet potatoes, but if you can’t find them regular will do, although you’ll miss the sweet richness the Japanese sweets impart to the dish.  And because they are so sweet the red pepper flakes are also a must, although you can adjust them to your taste, of course (I made ours pretty spicy).  Naturally, if you don’t care for coconut milk, you can sub heavy cream (or half and half, if you worry about calories).  You could probably also use just about any leafy, dark green vegetable, but kale is a hearty green that stands up well to this dish – and it’s extremely nutritious, to boot.

Beloved adored the casserole; I made it specifically for the two of us while Jolly, The G Man and Miss Jacki were visiting this week, and they ate pizza brats and mac ‘n’ cheese for dinner one night.  Both girls tasted it and declared it delicious as well (no mean feat; Jolly is as picky as The Young One) – I ended up wishing I’d made enough for everyone!

This reheated very well the next day.

Turkey, Sweet Potato and Kale Casserole

Turkey, Sweet Potato and Kale Casserole

2 small Japanese sweet potatoes, about 1 pound
2 cups cooked turkey, chopped
1 can (15 oz) coconut milk
3 cloves garlic, chopped
3 cups kale, stems removed and torn into pieces
salt and freshly ground black pepper
red pepper flakes

Preheat oven to 350 F. Lightly grease an 8″ x 11″ glass baking dish with coconut oil. Empty the can of coconut milk into a medium-sized sauce pan and add the garlic. Bring to a simmer over medium heat; reduce heat to low and keep warm.

Slice the sweet potatoes very thinly and place a layer of 1/3 of the potatoes, overlapping the slices slightly, in the prepared baking dish. Sprinkle lightly with salt, pepper and red pepper flakes, then add a layer of half the turkey and kale. Pour 1/3 of the warm coconut milk over, and repeat with a layer of potatoes, salt, pepper and pepper flakes, turkey and kale, ending with the last 1/3 of the potatoes. Pour the remaining warmed coconut milk evenly over the top.

Cover with foil and bake for 20 minutes, or until the kale and potatoes are tender. Remove the foil and return to the oven, baking for an additional 10 to 15 minutes, or until the coconut milk is bubbling and mostly absorbed.

Allow the casserole to rest for 5 minutes before serving.

Nutrition (per serving): 468 calories, 28g total fat, 53.2mg cholesterol, 148.1mg sodium, 1073mg potassium, 31.8g carbohydrates, 4.5g fiber, 4.8g sugar, 26.4g protein.

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Italian Beef and Green Bean Casserole

I’ve been on a casserole kick lately.

Part of it is that Beloved loves casseroles; part of it is that they’re generally inexpensive and fairly simple.  Part of it is that despite the mild weather we’re all experiencing, it’s still the time of year we crave them, just like we crave salads and goodies from the grill in the summer.  But whatever the reason, coming up with casseroles that don’t depend on grains, potatoes, milk or cheese isn’t necessarily easy.

You learn, though.  One evening last week, I was getting everything out for spaghetti and realized I had some green beans in the fridge that really needed to be used.  And I wasn’t really in the mood for spaghetti squash.  So, I perused the Box O’ Squash in the garage and came back with two small delicatas, pulled the green beans out of the fridge, popped the lids on two pints of homemade tomato sauce and whipped this up.

And it was good.  So good that The Picky Young One one ate every bite of what was a pretty large portion – even the squash, at which he usually turns up his nose.  So, while this might not be the prettiest dish I’ve ever cooked, it’s certainly one of the tastier ones.

It is, after all, Young One Approved.

Note:  If you don’t want to bother with the oven, you could cook this completely on the stove.  Just make sure to stir it occasionally so it doesn’t burn.  You could also make this low carb by substituting the squash with an equal amount of cubed turnips, although I can’t promise that The Young One would eat it.

Italian Beef and Green Bean Casserole

Italian Beef and Green Bean Casserole

serves 6

2 pounds ground beef, preferably grass-fed
2 teaspoons kosher or sea salt
1 teaspoon freshly-ground black pepper
1 large yellow onion, peeled and diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 can (15 oz) tomato sauce
1 can (6 oz) tomato paste
1 tablespoon fresh basil, chopped or 2 teaspoons dried
1 tablespoon fresh oregano, chopped or 2 teaspoons
dried
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
2 small delicata squash, peeled, seeded and cubed
1 pound fresh green beans, trimmed and cut in half

Preheat the oven to 350 F.

Heat a large, heavy, oven-proof skillet over medium-high heat; add the ground beef and cook, breaking it up with a wooden spoon or spatula, until it’s almost browned and much of the fat and liquid has been released. Season with the salt and pepper and add the onion. Reduce the heat to medium and continue cooking, stirring frequently, until the onion has softened. Add the garlic to the pan, stir and cook for another minute or until the ground beef is completely cooked through.

Stir in the tomato sauce, tomato paste, herbs and red pepper flakes, if using. Add the squash and green beans; cover and place in the oven. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes, or until the squash is fork tender and the green beans are tender-crisp. Serve topped with freshly grated parmesan cheese, if desired.

Nutrition (per serving): 504 calories, 33.4g total fat, 113.4mg cholesterol, 1702.7mg sodium, 1360.3mg potassium, 20.8g carbohydrates, 6g fiber, 10.5g sugar, 31.4g protein.

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Posted in participation of Kelly The Kitchen Kop’s Real Food Wednesday

Make Ahead Monday: Curried Deviled Eggs

It’s the first day of the work week, and we all know what that means.  Yup – it’s time for

So hop on down to the Mr. Linky widget, all you Real Food Bloggers, and link up recipes that can be made ahead!

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We eat a LOT of eggs in our house; they are the breakfast of choice, especially on weekdays.  They’re fast and easy to prepare and are a marvelous balance of healthy fats, protein and nutrients.  Eggs are versatile, too – they can be hard or soft boiled, scrambled, fried, sauteed or baked; made into quiches, frittatas, omelets, custards, souffles and meringues.  They can be dressed up, or dressed down.

And they can be made into deviled eggs.  Who doesn’t love deviled eggs?  Even I, who would gladly toss the egg whites and eat nothing but yolks if given the choice, like them.  This is a nice variation – the curry powder brings a nice touch of heat (to say nothing of a gorgeous scent), and the mustard and vinegar lend them a pleasing sharpness, while the paprika introduces a smoky note.

Who would have thought the humble deviled egg could be described like that?

Note:  I was going to top the eggs with some balsamic capers that have been sitting in my fridge (I really think that would have taken them over the top), but when I read the label I saw – much to my dismay – that they contain sulfites, which I’m avoiding for the duration of this Whole30.  And may continue to avoid once it’s over, but more on that later this week.  At any rate, if you’re caper-inclined and decide to make these, please use them and let me know how they were.  I’m a bit bummed I didn’t get to include them.

This recipe can be easily multiplied if you are making them for a group, or want to keep them in the fridge for a quick and easy snack during the week.

Curried Deviled Eggs

Curried Deviled Eggs

serves 6

6 large hard-boiled eggs, peeled
1/2 cup mayonnaise, preferably homemade
1 teaspoon prepared mustard
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon curry powder, or to taste
salt and freshly-ground black pepper, to taste
smoked paprika

Cut the eggs in half lengthwise; scoop the yolks into a medium-sized bowl and set aside the whites on a plate.

Add the mayonnaise, mustard, vinegar, and curry to the bowl and mash into the egg yolks with the back of a fork until the mixture is well-blended and creamy. Taste, and season as needed with the salt and pepper.

Using a teaspoon, mound the yolk mixture into the center of the egg whites on the plate. Sprinkle with the smoked paprika.

Cover loosely with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Nutrition (per serving): 228 calories, 21.7g total fat, 209mg cholesterol, 122.8mg sodium, 73.5mg potassium, 1.7g carbohydrates, <1g fiber, 1.3g sugar, 6.7g protein.

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Rack of Goat

Yes, another goat recipe.  A good one (I’ll have another one next week, too).

Our anniversary was Monday and I was going to cook this rack of goat, but I was (am) in the midst of a bad bout of insomnia, and by the time dinner rolled around I was just exhausted so Beloved made some delicious hamburgers sans buns along with some of our home-canned green beans.  So I made it Tuesday, and am glad I waited because it benefited immensely from the long marinade.

I have to tell you, I love goat.  Much of the rest of the world – just about every place except the United States, Canada and northern Europe – eats quite a bit of goat, and it is a staple in Africa, Asia and South/Central America.  It has a reputation of being gamey, but depending on how it’s raised (we know our goat farmer!) and is prepared, it can be quite mild in flavor – so far, so good for us.  It’s classified as a red meat, but is very lean and benefits from slow cooking at low heat.

This is a classic preparation for rack of lamb, so you could use it for that meat, but it works beautifully for the goat as well.  An oven safe meat thermometer is very useful here; I roasted ours to an internal temperature of 140 F – slightly rarer than medium – and the more rare pieces were a tiny bit chewy, so I recommend roasting it to 145 F.  Of course, that’s just our preference (Beloved thought it was a tiny bit too rare as well), so if you prefer your goat on the more rare side, roast to 135 F for medium rare.

I served this with roasted beets, peeled, cubed and finished in a saute pan with some sherry vinegar, then tossed with some roasted Japanese sweet potatoes and shallots.  Just delicious.

Rack of Goat

Rack of Goat

serves 2

1 1/2 pound Frenched rack of goat (about 8 ribs)
2 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon kosher or sea salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly-ground black pepper

Whisk the olive oil, salt, pepper, thyme and rosemary together in a small bowl until well-blended. Place the rack of goat in a heavy plastic zip-lock bag; pour the marinade over. Squeeze all of the air out of the bag and seal, then turn over and massage to coat the goat evenly. Refrigerate 24 hours, or at least overnight.

2 hours before cooking, remove the goat from the refrigerator and bring to room temperature; wrap the exposed ribs in aluminum foil to prevent burning. Preheat the oven to 400 F.

Place the goat, fat side up/bone side down, on a shallow, foil-lined baking sheet and roast for 10 minutes. Turn the oven off, and leave the door open for 5 minutes. Insert an oven-safe meat thermometer lengthwise through the center of the goat, avoiding the bone. Turn the oven back on and roast at 300 F until it reaches an internal temperature of 135 F for medium rare or145 F for medium. Remove from the oven. tent loosely with foil and allow to rest for 10 minutes.

Carve between the bones, making separate “lollipops,” and serve.

Nutrition (per serving): 433 calories, 25.6g total fat, 129.3mg cholesterol, 657.2mg sodium, 899.5mg potassium, 1.6g carbohydrates, <1g fiber, <1g sugar, 47g protein.

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Vegetable Frittata

I wasn’t going to post a recipe today (I have started a review of Michael Symon’s Lola Bistro) (as well as the consequences of eating there)(not as bad as you’d expect) but the simultaneous return to work and two nights of insomnia are kicking my chubby little behind.  I do have several lovely new recipes to share with you, and this is one of them.

A lot of my readers, including Only Brother, are doing a Whole30 this month to kick-start their New Year and both Chowstalker and The Foodee (of which I am active members) are showcasing Whole30 recipes, so many of the recipes I’m posting this month will be Whole30 compliant – i.e., no dairy, no sugar of any sort, no alcohol, no legumes, no grains, etc.  This is one of them, and it’s a dandy one – Beloved, who is most definitely not doing Whole30 this month (I saw that homemade ketchup on your plate last night! :P) scarfed it down.  It was absolutely delicious served with some sausage and fruit.

For transparency sake, yes I am doing it as well, although I have no delusions about my ability to stick with it for 30 whole days (remembering my miserable failure 3 or 4 days in last time I attempted it).  However, I hope it will be easier this time around with some support; if you’re at all interested, Only Brother and I are posting our daily menus over on the blog’s Facebook page.  If you’re doing a Whole30 this month and would like to join us, please feel free – the more the merrier!

Note:  I used what vegetables I had on hand, including some baby brussels sprouts that were in danger of turning yellow and wilting.  You can use whatever veggies you have in the fridge you need to get rid of – although the sprouts gave it a wonderful flavor and texture.  And, as always, if you would like to use butter, cream and cheese in the dish go right ahead, but you won’t miss them if you make it with the duck fat, coconut milk and leave out the cheese.  (Use coconut oil if you’re not fortunate enough to have ruined roasting a duck and don’t have half a jar of this glorious fat in your refrigerator.)

Vegetable Frittata

Vegetable Frittata

serves 6

1 cup baby brussels sprouts, shredded
1 small yellow squash, thinly sliced
1 cup yellow and red bell pepper, thinly sliced
1/2 medium onion, diced
2 tablespoons duck fat
8 large eggs
3/4 cup coconut milk
1/4 cup water
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher or sea salt
several grinds black pepper
2 teaspoons dried basil

Preheat oven to 350 F.

Heat the duck fat in a heavy, 12″ oven-proof skillet over medium heat. Sweat the onion until it begins to soften, about 5 minutes; add the brussels sprouts and bell peppers and continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until the sprouts wilt slightly, about another 5 to 7 minutes.

While the vegetables are cooking, whisk together the eggs, coconut milk, water, salt, pepper and basil in a large bowl until well-blended.

Using a wooden spoon, spread the vegetables evenly in the skillet; pour the egg mixture over, making sure it is evenly covered. Lay the squash slices over the top. Reduce the heat to low, cover and cook for 5 minutes to set the bottom of the frittata.

Remove the cover from the skillet and place in the oven. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow the frittata to rest for 5 minutes; slice into wedges and serve.

Nutrition (per serving): 211 calories, 17g total fat, 252.3mg cholesterol, 573.8mg sodium, 300.8mg potassium, 5.9g carbohydrates, 1.3g fiber, 2g sugar, 9.8g protein.

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Posted in participation of Kelly the Kitchen Kop’s Real Food Wednesday