Pork Belly Sharp Cheddar Broccoli Bake

Oven baked casserole that is deliciously yummy and the cheesiest smoked pork belly, white sharp cheddar cheese, broccoli, cream cheese and green onions.

This meal is a one dish meal that is easy to bring together all in under an hour.

We searched the internet and found most people making this dish used either velveeta, orange cheddar, or Swiss cheeses.

This recipe uses white sharp cheddar cheese.

Sharp Cheddar is an aged cheese, with a golden color and a piquant taste. Regular mild cheddar has a sweeter flavor.

We’re as the orange cheddar is a variety colored with Annatto seeds.


You like the taste of cooking meat with cheese – than you’ll enjoy this Teriyaki Cheesesteak Sandwich.


Sharp Cheddar The Go To Cheese

Cheddar tends to have a sharp, pungent flavour, often slightly earthy. The “sharpness” of cheddar is associated with the levels of bitter peptides in the cheese.

According to Cheese Pro Club, sharp cheddar is the go to cheese for many when they make a grilled cheese sandwich or a Macaroni and cheese dish.

Sharp Cheddar, inexpensive or not strikes just the right balance between meltability and flavor.

And that is what you want with a dish that is baked with cheese.

You often do get some pooling of fat when you add cheddar to the top of a dish.

If this happens just enjoy the flavor, or you could gently lie a paper towel over the top to soak it up.

Other cheese that would make this dish stand out in flavor could include, Asiago, Canadian Cheddar, or Manchego.


Enjoy reading more about the Top Nine Varieties Of Cheese’s Enjoyed By Food Lovers


Pork Belly Sharp Cheddar Broccoli Bake

8 thick slices pork belly bacon, smoked

1/4 cup butter

1/3 cup flour

8 oz cream cheese, soft, room temperature

2 cups milk

1 tsp salt

1 tsp fresh ground black pepper

1/2 tsp paprika

1 1/2 cup grated white sharp cheddar cheese

10 green onions , sliced

4 cups broccoli, cut into medium sized florets

Preheat oven to 350F.

Cook the bacon until crispy. Drain and then crumble. Set aside.

Steam the broccoli until almost tender. They should seem a little undercooked.

Melt the butter in a medium saucepan. Add the flour and stir until thoroughly mixed. Add in the cream cheese and stir until melted.

Add the milk and spices. Stir until well heated but do not bring to a boil as that might scald the milk.

Stir in 1 cup of the grated cheese and remove from the heat.

Dump the broccoli in a 13×9 baking dish. Pour the cheese mixture over the broccoli. (Optional to sprinkle some bacon pieces and sliced green onions).

Gently fold so that the broccoli is coated in the cheese mixture and the bacon and green onions are mixed throughout.

Evenly spread the broccoli in the baking sheet. Sprinkle remaining cheddar cheese, bacon and green onions on top.

Bake for about 20 minutes or until bubbly and the cheese is melted.

You’ll also enjoy the baked dish without meat but with the addition of cauliflower – Broccoli & Cauliflower Cheddar Cheese Casserole.


Broccoli & Cauliflower Cheddar Cheese Casserole

Broccoli & Cauliflower Cheddar Cheese Casserole

This broccoli and cauliflower cheese casserole is not only delicious but super quick and easy to bring together.

Now days you can buy a selection of packaged raw ready to go vegetables. Some supermarkets offer packaged raw broccoli and cauliflower florets.

If not, just grab a frozen bag or two of broccoli and cauliflower florets.

It is recommended to stick with a sharp cheddar cheese. The sharp pungent earthly flavor is what gives this casserole dish it’s flavor.

Sharp cheddar is also a go to cheese for soup, sauces, dips, mashed potatoes, nachos, mac and cheese and shepherd’s pie and this casserole.

putting a casserole of Broccoli & Cauliflower Cheddar Cheese into heated oven

Though you can substitute with a milder cheese, such as Monterey Jack or Provolone.

If you do use a milder cheese, add handful of Parmesan which will add the sharp pungent earthy flavor of white cheddar.


Want to know more about cheese – Read more here about the Top Nine Varieties Of Cheese’s Enjoyed By Food Lovers


Broccoli & Cauliflower Cheddar Cheese Casserole

Close up spoonful of Broccoli & Cauliflower Cheddar Cheese Casserole

1 pound package of raw broccoli and cauliflower florets

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 large onion, diced

2 garlic gloves, minced

4 ounce cream cheese, room temperature

1/2 cup sour cream

1 1/2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese, divided

1/2 teaspoon Himalayan salt

1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper


Try this creamy tasting Parmesan Roasted Cauliflower. Yummy!!


Instructions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Bring an inch of water to a boil in a large pot fitted with a steamer basket. Add bag of vegetables, cover and steam until just tender, about 5 minutes.

Coarsely chop the broccoli and cauliflower. Set aside.

Next heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and cook, stirring, until starting to soften, about 3 minutes. Add garlic and reduce heat to medium-low.

Continue stirring until the onion and garlic are starting to brown, about 5 minutes more. Remove from heat.

Combine cream cheese, sour cream, 1 cup Cheddar, salt and pepper in a large bowl. Add the onion mixture and stir until well combined. Add the chopped vegetables and stir until coated.

Transfer to an 8-inch-square baking dish and sprinkle evenly with the remaining 1/2 cup Cheddar.

Bake until the casserole is hot and the cheese has melted, about 25 minutes.

Let cool for at least 10 minutes before serving.

plated side dish - Broccoli & Cauliflower Cheddar Cheese Casserole

If you like using broccoli and cauliflower in a casserole, than you love using them in a salad – Chopped Broccoli Tomato and Bacon Salad.


Enjoy Warm and Tasty Winter Vegetables

Enjoy Warm and Tasty Winter Vegetables

Just because the weather is cold shouldn’t keep you from enjoying in season fresh produce. Nature gives us a collection of its best winter vegetables that have proven to be flavorful. Winter root vegetables can contribute an interdependent, sweet flavor to a hearty winter soup recipe, like carrots, or sweet potatoes.

Roasting most winter vegetables brings out their best flavors. Even using complementary herbs and spices helps add some extra exceptional tastes.

Available In Season Winter Vegetables

Brussels sproutsAlthough Brussels sprouts are available year-round, their peak season is from September to February.

When looking to purchase them, remember to look for small firm sprouts with compact bright-green heads, and the smaller the head the sweeter the taste. Roasting Brussels sprouts lightly caramelizes their edges but keeps them tender inside.

To view a few recipes using Brussels sprouts one of the following links:

Roasted Root Vegetables with Brussels sprouts and Bacon 

Warm Brussels sprouts and Dilled Potato Salad 

Brown Butter and Brussels Sprout with Fennel

At All Recipes (allrecipes.com) they call Broccoli the star vegetable in stir-fries, soups, salads, and casseroles.

Broccoli can be purchased year round. But when in season, as a winter vegetable when roasted retains its entire flavor and even gains deliciously crisp bits when.

preparing broccoli to eatWhen asked the question – How Do You Describe Broccoli? – to a community of online people at answers.com, one member answered saying, “Broccoli is good chopped into small pieces or cut into larger piece and cooked until tender.

It’s delicious to eat as it is when cooked naturally and also in recipes.

The popular dish, broccoli and cheese is made with cooked, tender broccoli before draining and stirring in cheese until it melts and mixes in with the broccoli.

You can also make cheese sauces, which you serve, poured over the broccoli on a plate.

Either way it is cooked or served, broccoli is a favorite among vegetables and nutritionally powerful” (Answers).

To view a recipe using broccoli click here: Baked Garlic and Broccoli

The Sweet Potato is a dicotyledonous plant that belongs to the Convolvulaceae family.

This species of plants are known commonly as the bindweed or morning glory family, which has more than 1,650 species of mostly herbaceous vines, but also trees, shrubs and herbs.

Stuffed Sweet Potato with Chipotle Black Bean and Corn SaladStuffed Sweet Potato with Chipotle Black Bean and Corn Salad

The sweet potato is a starchy, sweet-tasting, tuberous root. There are about 1,000 species of sweet potatoes, with some varieties sold at market for food, while others are not for consumption, as they are poisonous.

The sweet potato is only distantly related to the common potato, though it is not part the nightshade family.

The website – “The Worlds Healthiest Foods” – has this to say about sweet potatoes when preparing to eat them, “It can be helpful to include some fat in your sweet potato-containing meals if you want to enjoy the full beta-carotene benefits of this root vegetable.

Recent research has shown that a minimum of 3-5 grams of fat per meal significantly increases our uptake of beta-carotene from sweet potatoes. Of course, this minimal amount of fat can be very easy to include.

In our Healthy Mashed Sweet Potatoes recipe, for example, we include 1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil, and with just this one tablespoon, each of our 4 servings for this delicious recipe provides 3.5 grams of fat (whfoods).

To view a few recipes using sweet potatoes click one of the following links:

Sweet Potato Pilaf with Cranberries and Pecans

Southwestern Black Bean and Sweet Potato Soup

Baked Beets and Sweet Potato Chips

KaleKale is considered to be the most robust of the cabbage family. Its high nutritional worth and intense flavor make kale an exceptional addition too many vegetable recipes.

At Mind Body Green, Alison Lewis makes note of kale as “the new beef,” “the queen of greens,” and “a nutritional powerhouse”(MBG).

To view a few recipes using kale click one of the following links:

Red Kale Cannellini Beans and Chorizo Soup

Moroccan Three Bean and Kale Soup

Red Kale Beets and Sweet Cilantro Vinaigrette

Leeks are winter root vegetable that looks much similar to onions, and to which they are also related. Their flavor is onion-like but much milder, mellower, and not overpowering, as onions sometimes can be.

The darker green parts have plenty of flavor. They can either be cooked longer then the root parts to tenderize them, or used when making homemade soup stock, like chicken broth base soup along with potatoes, carrots, and herbs.

They can also be eaten raw or joined with a salad of leafy greens to divulge a wonderful crisp crunchy flavor.

Link here for a recipe using leeks: Endive and Fruit Salad with Chicken –  includes a video

Turnips are a a round, light-colored root related to the mustard family. Though the vegetable is grown for its eatable root, the top green parts are also enjoyed in salads.

Turnip greens are a common side dish in southeastern U.S. cooking, primarily during late fall and winter months.

Smaller leaves are preferred when boiling them in water, as the larger the leaf the stronger the flavor.

However, if you find yourself cooking with larger turnip greens, any bitter taste can be reduced by pouring off the water from initial boiling and replacing it with fresh water.

The natural sweetness of Parsnips comes alive when they’re roasted and caramelized.

The addition of fresh rosemary, balsamic vinegar, and brown sugar makes a sweet, aromatic glaze.

Roasted parsnips make a great side dish for pork tenderloin.

Link here for a recipe using parsnips :  Roasted Root Vegetables with Brussels sprouts and Bacon

Belgian EndiveThe genuine Belgian endive is deeply rooted in its country of origin – Belgian, were it was discovered in 1830.

This compact white colored small cylindrical shaped leaf vegetable with light green tips is a tangy, but tender and delicious vegetable.

Some cooks add the leafy vegetable to soups, while others use it in salads.

Link here for more about endives discovery and for a recipe: Endive and Fruit Salad with Chicken –  includes a video

Other winter vegetables that can still be found in your local market are…

Buttercup Squash – Collard Greens – Delicata Squash – Sweet Dumpling Squash – Winter Squash

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Gluten-Free Mexican Chocolate Pumpkin Pie

Gluten Free Mexican Chocolate Pumpkin PieWe had a small sugar pie pumpkin that was given to us around the middle of November (2015), and I just got around to roasting it. We took too long to get to it, but the pumpkin flesh was still good. After roasting it, we were able to get 30 ounce of puree, which is equal to two 15 ounce store bought cans. collage of Roasted PumpkinWe needed to see how good the puree would taste, so it could be used to make either some pies, pumpkin bread or cookies, and even a pumpkin cheesecake. After roasting and pureeing the pumpkin, we wanted to taste the flavor of the flesh, so we mixed some with real maple syrup and some pecan pieces, and wow it was very tasty.

fresh pumpkin puree with real maple syrup and pecan pieces

Better Homes and Garden Novemeber 2015 issueThe pumpkin pie recipe we decided to make with 15 ounce of the puree was adapted from Better Homes and Gardens November 2015 issue.

gluten free pie shell packagingWe did change the recipe a bit, as we used a gluten free pie shell.

What makes this pumpkin pie a Mexican chocolate pie is the use of Cayenne and smoked paprika.

No need to worry as it is not spicy.

Here is what you will need to prepare your own: Gluten Free Mexican Chocolate Pumpkin Pie.

3 ounces dark chocolate (original recipe calls for 1 3.1 ounce disc of Mexican chocolate)

2 tablespoons butter

1 cup coconut sugar (original recipe calls for 3/4 cup packed brown sugar)

1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

1/4 teaspoon Himalayan salt

1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika ( original recipe called for milk chili powder)

1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1 15 ounce can pumpkin puree (we used our fresh roasted pumpkin puree)

4 eggs, lightly beaten

1 cup half and half or light cream

Chocolate Ganache (recipe follows)

Bake pie crust according to packaged instructions.

For pie: Preheat oven to 350 degrees

In a small sauce pan heat chocolate and butter over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, just until melted, then set aside to cool.

pumpkin pie mixIn a large bowl combine coconut sugar, pie spice, salt, and chili powders. Stir in pumpkin puree and eggs until combined. Next gradually stir in half and half until combined.

stirring in pumpkin pie mix with melted chocolateStir 1 1/2 cups of the pumpkin mixture into the cooled chocolate mixture, then pour into pie crust.

second layer of Gluten Free Mexican Chocolate Pumpkin PieNext pour remaining pumpkin mixture over chocolate layer.

Bake for 60 minutes or until center appears set. Cool pie, then chill within 2 hours.

Chocolate Ganache

simmered cream cinamon and shaved dark chocolateIn a small bowl add 3 ounces of shaved dark chocolate and 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon. In a small sauce pot bring 1/4 cup cream to a simmer, and pour over shaved chocolate. Let stand 5 minutes, then stir until smooth.

Gluten Free Mexican Chocolate Pumpkin PieSpoon Chocolate Ganache over pie, then add shaved dark chocolate and some powdered chili.

Slice Of  Gluten Free Mexican Chocolate Pumpkin PieServe a piece of Gluten Free Mexican Chocolate Pumpkin Pie, and enjoy!!

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Mexican Squash Pasta with Chorizo Meat Sauce

Mexican Squash Pasta with Chorizo Meat Sauce

All squash varieties are members of the Curcurbita family. They come in varying colors, textures, shapes, sizes, and a range of flavors.

The three main categories of the Curcurbita family are:
Curcurbita pepo– include but not limited too zucchini, summer squashes, acorn, and spaghetti squash
Curcurbita maxima– includes but not limited too: banana squash, and pumpkin
Curcurbita moschata– includes but not limited too: butternut squash, and calabaza

Squash is a low carbohydrate food, including a low glycemic index food, between 0 and 35. The low number indicates no spiking of insulin in the blood stream. Most squash have small amounts of vitamins A, C, E and K, and including the B-vitamins. They also contain trace minerals including iron, calcium, magnesium, potassium, zinc, and copper.

Squash is great for heart health and every muscle of the body. Magnesium is great to help the muscles relax, preventing what is called charlie-horse or cramping of the muscles.

As for potassium, one half cup serving of Grey Squash as an example has 603 mg, raw zucchini has 459 mg, cooked has 194 mg, and baked Butternut squash has 289 mg.

Mexican Grey SquashThe squash we are using in our featured recipe is a hybrid of the zucchini squash, and is referred to in Mexico as the Mexican squash or the grey squash.

The grey squash has the same texture and flavor as the zucchini. Unlike the zucchini when harvested at a larger size, the grey squash tends to still have a tender skin.

Now for our featured recipe: Mexican Squash Pasta with Chorizo Meat Sauce. The recipe is simple and easy, as it contains 3 ingredients as follows…

principle ingredients for Mexican Squash Pasta with Chorizo Meat SauceYou can use any type of spaghetti sauce, but we chose to use a tomato base with cream and vodka included, 2 cups.

One pound of organic pork chorizo, which we purchased on sale at the Whole Foods Market, and 3 Mexican squash, which will make about 2 to 3 servings. Here we have a larger harvested Mexican squash given to us from a friends organic home garden.

makng squash pasta with a julienne peelerUsing a julienne peeler, run it from top to bottom all around the squash until you arrive to the seeds in the center. Set the squash pasta aside.

Pork ChorizoHeat a large ceramic coated skillet over medium heat, add a tablespoon of pastured unsalted butter, and when melted add the pork, and cook until done, about 10 minutes. remove from heat, and set aside.

cooking squash pasta in skillet In a large ceramic coated skillet over medium heat, add 4 tablespoons of olive oil. When heated, add the stringed squash and cook for about 5 minutes. You want the oil to cling to the squash strings. If the oil clings then in turn the spaghetti sauce will cling to the squash pasta. Do not over cook the squash, you want a little crunch, and at the same time you want a fork to twirl it, the same as is done with traditional pasta.

sauce and chorizoRemove skillet from heat and transfer squash past to a serving platter. Return the skillet to the heat and add the spaghetti sauce and cooked pork chorizo, and mix together. Allow the heat to warm the meat sauce.

Mexican Squash Pasta with Chorizo Meat Sauce - 2

Remove meat sauce from heat and pour it over the squash pasta arranged on a serving platter. Serve with grated Italian cheese, and enjoy.

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Italian Five Cheese Chicken Roll Ups

Italian Five Cheese Chicken Roll UpsWith little more than your favorite spaghetti sauce (we used a sauce made with cream and vodka – from the Whole Foods Market), cream cheese and a shredded Italian cheese blend, you can have yourself some chicken roll-ups. They are super easy to prepare.

Here is what you will need:

2 oz. of cream cheese softened

¼ cup bell pepper; diced (red, yellow, orange, green, use all colors, or your choice – we buy tri-colored frozen bell peppers)

¼ tsp. garlic powder

4 chicken breasts; boneless skinless

1 cup Italian 5-cheese blend, finely shredded

½ teaspoon dried oregano leaves

1 cup spaghetti sauce (your favorite)

salt to taste, optional

Heat oven to 400°

ingredients for Italian Five Cheese Chicken Roll Ups

 

mix ingredients  togetherIn a medium bowl mix cream cheese, ½ cup of cheese, bell pepper, oregano, garlic and salt to taste.

When we salt in our recipes, it is always use Himalayan salt.

After you mix up the ingredients, set aside.

slicing chicken breast and flatting it with a robber mallet

Cut chicken long ways across breast. Place each cut chicken piece one at a time in a large plastic bag, seal it and with a rubber mallet or rolling pin flatten chicken to ¼-inch thicknesses.

preparing chicken roll ups

At one end of chicken strip roll up with cheese mixture, tucking in ends around filling to completely enclose the filling.

Place seam sides down in 13 x 19 inch baking dish coated with olive oil. Pour spaghetti sauce evenly over chicken, and cover with aluminum foil.

chicken roll ups out of the ovenPlace in preheated oven and bake for 30 minutes or until chicken is cooked through.

Remove foil, sprinkle chicken with remaining ½ cup shredded cheese. Bake an additional 3 to 5 minutes or until cheese is melted.

 

 

 

Italian Five Cheese Chicken Roll UpsPlate and enjoy your Italian Five Cheese Chicken Roll Ups with a salad or your favorite vegetable.

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Baked Garlic and Broccoli

Baked Garlic and Broccoli

Broccoli is a cruciferous vegetable, capable of irradiating cells from your body that would otherwise become cancerous. It is a vegetable among others in its class that stimulates the lymphatic system to detox your body as well.

As for garlic, it’s your digestive aid, antibacterial, and anti-inflammation friend. If you don’t like garlic, maybe you should get to know it better, because it fights off cancer as well.

Let’s get started with our featured recipe: Baked Garlic and Broccoli. It’s a very simple and tasty recipe, as well as a nice way to enjoy broccoli with the pure flavor of fresh garlic.

Here are the few ingredients you will need.

Ingredients for - Baked Garlic Broccoli1 cup broccoli florets

6-8 garlic cloves

2 tbsp. olive oil

Salt and pepper to taste

This recipe makes two (2) servings. Double it to serve four (4) servings or triple it to serve six (6).

Tenderizing the Broccoli Marinate the broccoli florets for 30 minutes with the olive oil and salt, so that they become tender.

Garlic and Broccoli on a baking sheetPreheat the oven to 350 F for 5 minutes. Spread out evenly the broccoli florets and garlic cloves onto a baking sheet.

Place the baking sheet in the oven, and bake for 10 minutes. Toss the broccoli and garlic, then continue to bake for for another 10-15 minutes or until broccoli browned a little but not burnt.

Baked Garlic and BroccoliRemove from oven and let cool about 3 to 5 minutes. Place into a serving bowl, and make it a side with your favorite meat dish.

If you wish you can add other vegetables to the baking sheet, like carrots or zucchini. Enjoy!

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Tomato Basil Chicken

Tomato Basil ChickenYou have some chicken breasts and are looking for a new idea to prepare them? Well you have arrived to the right place for a quick and easy recipe. It’s our Tomato Basil Chicken entrée. Besides being healthy with all fresh ingredients that include tomato, basil, and garlic, this recipe is reminiscent of warm weather and luscious Mediterranean summers.

According to Spice Pages by Gernot Katzer, basil is native to India, though it is not used as a culinary herb, but rather is considered sacred and use in religious rites. Besides the most common Mediterranean type basil sold in the Western world, there is also varieties from the Asian world, such as Thailand‘s sweet basil with a licorice flavor, and a lemon basil which has a distinct balm-like flavor. Katzer states there are also verities introduced to European gardeners from Africa as well (Spice Pages: Basil).

Now for our featured recipe: Tomato Basil Chicken, and here is what you will need.

Tomato Basil Chicken - ingredients

1 lb boneless chicken breast (about 2-3 medium sized pieces) with the skin on

1 teaspoon of rock salt, Himalayan or Sea salt, 1/2 teaspoon if salt is ground

½ teaspoon black pepper

2 handfuls of fresh chopped basil, about 1 1/2 cups

1 ½ -2 cups fresh diced tomato

¼ cup olive oil

½ cup grated parmesan cheese

2 cloves of garlic

Fresh chopped ingredients for Tomato Basil ChickenDice the tomatoes, and chop the garlic. Tear the basil apart by hand.

adding salt and pepper to chicken breastNext, season the chicken breasts with the salt and pepper. You may use the ground salt, but the rock salt lends a more rustic appeal to the dish.

adding chicken meat to a preheated pan with olive oilIn a preheated ceramic coated pan over medium-high heat, add olive oil and place the chicken skin side down.

adding garlic and browning the meatNext add the garlic and allow the chicken to brown on both sides, turning once.

adding tomatoes and basilOnce both sides are adequately cooked, add the tomatoes. Sauté for about 3-5 minutes until the tomatoes have softened and some of it has formed a sauce with the olive oil and garlic. Next add the basil and cook for another minute.

adding cheeseNext add the grated Parmesan cheese and remove from the heat.

plated- Tomato Basil ChickenPlate and serve. Makes 2 to 3 servings. Add a side of cooked Mediterranean vegetables or a Greek salad.

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Enchilada Casserole with Kale and Sweet Potatoes

Enchilada Casserole with Kale and Sweet Potatoes

Remember when kale was only used as a garnish with an orange slice on your favorite plated food? Or even used to decorate a salad bar? Kale has come a long was in the whole foods movement.

Facts About Kale

During the Middle Ages, kale was one of the most common green vegetables in Europe, as it was easy to farm.

During World War II, the farming of kale in England was encouraged by the Dig for Victory campaign. The leafy green vegetable was easy to grow and provided important nutrients to supplement those missing from a normal diet because of rationing (DailyMail).

The author of Taylor’s Guide to Heirloom Vegetables, Benjamin Watso writes that Kale and collard greens freezes well and tastes sweeter and more flavorful after being exposed to a frost.

Two servings a week of kale or any of its cruciferous vegetable cousins can help prevent cancer. 

The Classification and Colors of Kale

Kale is classified by its leaf type:

  • Curly-leaved (Scots Kale – Blue Curled Kale)
  • Plain-leaved
  • Rape kale
  • Leaf and spear (a cross between curly-leaved and plain-leaved kale)
  • Cavolo nero (also known as black cabbage, Tuscan Cabbage, Tuscan Kale, Lacinato and dinosaur kale)

The different colors of kale can range from green, light green, dark green, and violet-green to violet-brown.

If all of this has your saliva moving, then let’s move on to our featured recipe: Enchilada Casserole with Kale and Sweet Potatoes, and here is what you will need.

1 large sweet potato, grated (making about 2 cups)
1 small onion, sliced
1/2 teaspoon cumin seed
1 bag Fresh Baby Kale Mix
1 – 14.5-ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 – 14.5-ounce can tomato sauce, no salt added
1/4 cup chipotle salsa
1/4 cup shredded Cheddar cheese (for a vegan dish use tofu or nutritional yeast)
4 corn tortillas cut into strips

Preheat oven to 425 degrees

Coat a 13 X 9-inch baking dish with butter or coconut oil (for a vegan or vegetarian dish)

Evenly spread the grated sweet potato in the baking dish, then layer the onion. Next sprinkle with the cumin seed, then layer on the kale and black beans (you can opt for adding 3/4th pound of cooked ground beef or chicken at this point).

Pour the tomato sauce over the dish, along with the chipotle salsa. Sprinkle with cheese, then spread the tortilla strips on top.

Cover and bake for 25 minutes. Let cool about 5 minutes. Plate and serve.

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Creamy Brussels Sprouts Casserole

Creamy Brussels Sprouts Casserole

Brussels sprouts look like mini-cabbages more than anything are packed with vitamins and minerals that support a healthy immune system. Their highly nutritious, and extremely versatile in preparation with a number of different recipes.

With a variety of options for how to add them to your diet, you won’t ever get bored with these perfectly crafted vegetables made by nature for you.

brussels sproutsWhat Are Brussels Sprouts?

These little cabbages are grown for their edible buds and may have gotten their name from Brussels, Belgium, where they are believed to have originated and are highly popular. Ancestors of the modern Brussels sprout were most likely cultivated in ancient Rome, but the sprouts we know and love today were likely grown as early as the 13th century in Belgium (Wikipedia).

Nutrition of Brussels Sprouts

They are a small round leafy vegetable, and are packed with phytonutrients, including protein, vitamins, minerals, and fiber.

brussels sprouts in the gardenThe vitamins include, vitamin C and K , some B-complex vitamins, like B-6, and folate. The minerals include, trace amounts of selenium, copper, zinc and manganese, iron, calcium, potassium and phosphorus.

Brussels sprouts are also a great source of vitamin A, which is an antioxidant required for maintaining healthy mucus membranes, skin, and promoting optimal eye health, reducing the risk of macular degeneration.

They can also cause gas and bloating if eaten raw, as they have an enzyme that is difficult to digest. Cooking them breaks this enzyme down and the nutrition of the vegetable becomes more bio-available to the body.

Brussels Spouts and Cancer

Vegetables rich with vitamins A and C have shown to offer protection against some cancers such as oral cavity, and lung cancer. The extent of cancer-protection in Brussels sprouts is still widely researched, but findings hint that this vegetable among others, can help fight cancer causing agents, as well cleansing the body of toxins.

Preparing Brussels Sprouts

Brussels sprouts can be roasted in the oven, used in stir-fry’s, shredded and used in salads, added to soups, casseroles, pasta dishes, and used as garnish around poultry and fish.

There is really no right or wrong way to prepare them!

Now that we have your taste buds going, let’s present our featured recipe: Creamy Brussels Sprouts Casserole, and here is what you will need.

Creamy Brussels Sprouts Casserole

1 – 8 ounce package, cream cheese, room temperature

1 cup sour cream

1/2 pound sliced fresh mushrooms (optional)

1 medium onion, chopped

2 tablespoons butter (or coconut butter)

1 ½ pounds fresh Brussels sprouts, ends cut off

Optional to use 2 packages – 10 ounces each of frozen Brussels sprouts, thawed and drained

3/4 cup shredded cheese, your choice, cheddar, Monterey, Mozzarella, goat cheese, or any hard cheese

Heat Oven to 350 degrees

In a small bowl, beat cream cheese and sour cream until smooth. Set aside.

In a large skillet, sauté mushrooms and onion in butter until tender. Stir in Brussels sprouts. Remove from the heat and stir in cream cheese mixture.

Grease a 2 quart baking dish, and spoon mixture in spreading out evenly.

Cover dish and bake for 25-30 minutes or until bubbly. Uncover and sprinkle with cheese. Bake 5 minutes longer or until cheese is melted. Make 6-8 servings

Enjoy as a stand alone dish, or as a side dish with your favorite meat recipe.

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More Brussels sprouts recipes here at Splendid Recipes and More…

Roasted Root Vegetables with Brussels sprouts and Bacon

Warm Brussels sprouts and Dilled Potato Salad

Brown Butter and Brussels Sprout with Fennel

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