Creamy Zucchini Noodles and Chicken Sausage

I tried my hand at Zucchini Chips and I gotta say, every time I made them I burned them…no matter how much I adjusted the thickness. But I still wanted to figure out a way to cook with Zucchini as they’re super low in calories, filled with folate, potassium and vitamin A. I don’t eat bananas so I gotta get that potassium elsewhere! Plus they’re pretty tasty. Zucchini’s are another food that I had never tried before this year! Thanks to this blog I’ve had the opportunity to try so many foods I had not yet tried.

When my sister and her hubby landed in Chicago for Christmas we had to make a quick stop so they could get a white elephant gift for our family Christmas party. What did they pick up? A Veggetti! Oooooo yaaaaaa! We got it all ready to go and headed to the car. The next day when we were wrapping up gifts, my sister realized we didn’t have the Veggetti. It wasn’t in my car, wasn’t in my parents house (luckily my mom got extras for the white elephant exchange). When I got home, lo and behold! There was the Veggetti sitting on my coffee table! YAY! It was quite funny because at my office white elephant party we also had a Veggetti going around and it was THE item to get. We all wanted it! I was going to buy one but thanks to my sister and her hubby I didn’t need to! (she wasn’t too pleased, she wants one now too!)

So I put my Veggetti to good use! It’s pretty easy to use, not super terrible to clean (unlike a cheese grater) and works well to create some tasty Zucchini Noodles!!!

So I whipped up a SUPER tasty creamy zucchini “pasta” dish filled with veggies, chicken sausauge and so much cheese. I just love cheese.

Creamy Zucchini Noodles and Chicken Sausage

Ingredients

3 Medium Zucchini

Package of Chicken Sausage (I used the Spinach/Feta/Garlic Sausage from Trader Joes, it is SO delicious!)

1 Package of Cream Cheese

1/4 Cup Parmesan Cheese

1 Tbl Garlic

1/4 Cup Onion

1 tsp Garlic Powder

1 tsp Onion Powder

1/2 Cup Milk

1/2 Cup frozen spinach

Salt and Pepper to taste

Instructions

Fresh Zucchini Noodles

Fresh Zucchini

Pasta Zucchini

Zucchini Pasta

Creamy Zucchini Pasta

I had all these plans to cook…then I got a hangover instead

I legit had all these plans this weekend to get on top of some posts and bang out a few recipes while I was back in Michigan with access to my parent’s big kitchen and my mom’s camera! Alas, I got about halfway there…managed to loose all the light and then went out with my sister and her fiance. Very fun! But very bad idea…drinking is not for me anymore I think…and this weekend was a shock to my system. I’ve dramatically cut back on drinking in general but this was the first time I’ve really gone out and really drank in quite sometime. Sunday was brutal. I couldn’t even move. There sat my salmon, zucchini and cauliflower and homemade pesto sauce (the only thing I accomplished this weekend) unfinished and me with absolutely no desire to complete it (let alone eat it).

By the time I got back to Chicago it was 10:30, far too late to do any sort of cooking/photography and I couldn’t even keep my eyes open. So no recipe today folks.  I will get a little motivation this evening to whip up my zucchini fries….but I gotta tell you…I found a basic recipe for pesto sauce and did my own little twist on it…it was outta this world! So I’ll certainly be sharing that with you when I get my butt into gear  and get those pictures taken. I did get a chance to use my  mom’s camera and when I do finally get a DSLR camera I’m going to need some serious help on how to use that thing!

I have a plan though. Its been getting cold here in Chicago and my desire to eat comfort foods is growing….So I’ve got some ideas to whip up some soups and teach myself to can. The hard part about batch cooking for me is that I usually end up throwing a lot of it away. Or it goes in the freezer and gets forgotten, freezer-burned or the containers crack so I end up tossing them. I feel like maybe if I canned everything and instead of storing it in the freezer, I’d use it a little more frequently. Plus I like that you can get smaller jars for canning, enough for one portion. My other method usually consists of me shoving as much as I can into the tupperware I have and tossing it in the freezer, its typically two sometimes 3 serving sizes! Heating, cooling, heating again 3 times over isn’t always the best option.  And as much as I like the disposable gladware containers, those often crack in the freezer on me and I somehow manage to buy a pack of 5 and loose 4 of them! Canning seems to be a great solution for some of my troubles.

My plan this week is to work on a soup marathon. And whip up a few different soups that I can store and save for later use. Although for the most part, the soups  I like are dairy based and pureed (which it is recommended that you don’t can dairy or pureed soups) I can still use the freezer safe canning jars to make individual portions and toss in the freezer.

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So my friends…here’s the call to action! Do you have an AWESOME soup recipe that you just think I’m crazy  not to try?? Post a link to the soup in the comments and I’ll be sure to check it out!

Garlic Kale Chips

Garlic Kale Chips

Kale could quite possibly be one of the healthiest vegetables out there. According the ANDI scale (Aggregate Nutrient Density Index) Kale has a score of 1000.  Compared to say…Cauliflower (which appears to be the next big trend in food) which has a score of 315. Pretty dramatic difference. Although I jumped on the Kale bandwagon kind of late, my sister got me hooked on homemade Kale chips. I had purchased some pre-made ones from Trader Joes and promptly tossed the entire bag after trying just one. Ick.  But fresh Kale chips are delicious and a great late night snack that gives you that crispy crunch of regular potato chips without all the calories.

Fresh Kale

Kale is known for being a veggie that has three key features: Antioxidant nutrients, Anti-inflammatory, Cancer prevention nutrients. Filled with massive amounts of Vitamin K, A & C, Kale is a veggie you can’t go wrong with when incorporating into your diet. (World’s Healthiest Foods) Plus one cup of Kale is about 36 calories…You can totally pile it on your plate without feeling guilty.

I try as much as possible to incorporate Kale into lots of different dishes I make. I sub out spinach for kale when I’m making a pasta with veggies and of course mix in with my regular salad greens for added benefit. But Kale chips are my go to when I’ve got a big bag of Kale in my fridge. Its really a satisfying little snack that prevents me from going to Walgreens and grabbing a bag of cheddar and sour cream Ruffles.

Kale chips really are beyond easy to make. Now that I have an oven thermometer its even better because now they’re cooked to perfection.

Kale

Garlic Kale Chips

Ingredients

Kale (enough to put a healthy layer on a large cookie sheet) *when you bake it, it shrinks so it seems like a lot, but it will be half that once its been baked)

Garlic Salt

Olive Oil

Parmesan Cheese (Optional)

Kalechipsstep1

Instructions

Make sure your kale is clean and very dry before putting in the oven. (it will make them soggy)

Preheat your oven to 300.

Unless you like the stems, sort through the kale and toss the stems. Put all of your kale into a large ziploc bag.

Add about 2 tablespoons of olive oil, add a few dashes of garlic salt. (You could of course use minced garlic and sea salt, but I’m lazy…I also went a little heavy handed on mine which nearly made the batch unedible)

After you’ve shaken your bag up and got all the kale coated with olive oil, garlic salt and if you decided to add the parmesan cheese, spread out the kale on the cookie sheet.

Place in the oven for about 15-20 minutes. Checking around the 10-12 minute mark to ensure they aren’t getting burnt to a crisp.

Kale Chips

I like to eat mine warm…but I made a HUGE batch so obviously I’m not going to eat an entire bag of kale in one sitting, so I did a little googling…and discovered that the best way to store kale chips is in a paper bag. Good thing I for some reason have an enormous stash of paper lunch bags in my cupboard that I never use.  It actually makes a lot of sense, if you store your kale chips in a plastic bag, and they’re covered in oil, the oil just moves around in the pastic bag, recoating the kale, allowing them to get soggy.  But in a paper bag, the oil is absorbed by the paper, which helps to keep them crunchy.

Whats your favorite way to enjoy kale? In a salad? Chips?