You want to make the most of your evenings during the week. After working all day you’re tired and hungry. You don’t want to eat out or even eat prepackaged dinners.
You want a simple quick but delicious one-pan dinner recipe that can be made with minimal effort.
Cider Braised Chicken With Apples and Kale is that recipe. It’s a one-skillet meal that won’t leave you with an overflowing sink of dirty pots and pans.
One skillet meals can either be cooked on the stovetop or roasted in the oven.
About Kale The Leafy Green
Dark leafy greens like kale, are a good source of fiber, vitamin-C, Vitamin-K, and phytonutrients, that protect against disease.
Green leafy vegetables also contain carotenoids, indoles, saponins, and chlorophyll – all which are antioxidants that fight against certain cancers, preserve heart health, eye health, and help to keep your immune system in check.
If you’re asking why kale is bitter tasting, it is because it contains a chemical compound known as glucosinolates.
Kale is a members of the Brassica family, also known as cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, cabbage, spinach, among many others.
Glucosinolates are sulfur-containing compounds that are broken down into compounds called metabolites.
Metabolites are naturally occurring substances in nature that affect the pace of your bodies metabolism and trigger specific enzymatic reactions to help protect your cells from damage. Including the damage that leads to cancer (Source).
Glucosinolates found in butter tasting cruciferous vegetables have a antibiotic like effect helping to ward off bacterial, viral, and fungal infection in the intestines and other parts of the body.
Eat More Apples
You know the saying, “An Apple A Day Keeps The Doctor Away.” And that just could be true.
Apples are a good source of fiber and vitamin-C.
They also contain polyphenols, which have numerous health benefits.
Such preventing some cancers, promotes heart health, lowers blood pressure and so much more (Source).
Cider Braised Chicken With Apples and Kale
2 bunches kale
4 slices thick cut bacon
4 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs
1 large shallot clove, diced
1 small apple, cored and sliced
1 1⁄2 cups apple cider or juice, not spiced
1 tablespoon Dijon Mustard
1 tablespoon thyme, fresh or dried
Preheat oven to 425° F.
Remove stems from washed kale and set aside. Tear kale leaves into bite-sized pieces. Slice the ends off of kale stems and thinly slice.
In a large oven-safe Dutch oven, cook bacon over medium heat until crispy. Remove bacon and drain on a paper towel-lined plate. Drain all but about 1 tablespoon of the bacon fat from the skillet, leaving enough to lightly coat the bottom of the pan.
In the same skillet, sear the chicken thighs, skin side down, until they easily release from the pan. Remove and set aside.
Add kale stems to the skillet, and cook for about 1 minute. Add the shallot and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the apples and kale, cover, and cook until kale is wilted and apples are slightly softened, 2-3 minutes. Remove from skillet with a slotted spoon and set aside.
Remove the skillet from heat, add cider, and scrape the bottom of the pan, releasing the browned bits. Add mustard and thyme and mix well.
Add kale mixture back to the skillet and mix to coat in the cider sauce. Crumble the bacon, mix in, and top with the chicken, skin side up.
Roast in the oven, uncovered, until an instant read thermometer in the chicken reads 165-175° F, about 20 minutes.
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)
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.
Your diet has a large impact on nitric oxide (N-O) production. Beets, spinach, kale and any leafy greens are rich in nitrates. As you chew these foods the good bacteria in your saliva converts the nitrates into nitrites. Once in the stomach, the digestion continues acting on the nitrites and converts them to nitric oxide, among other compounds.
The antioxidants contained in these vegetables react with the nitrogen dioxide produced by the digestion process, scavenging the oxygen molecule, to reduce it to still more nitric oxide. Once completely digested, the N-O is then absorbed through the intestinal tract and pasted into the bloodstream.
Why should all of this be of interest to you? Because nitric oxide circulates through your body helping to keep it alive. Your heart uses it to keep pumping vital nutrients and oxygen throughout your body.
N-O is also produced in the lining of our arteries, but as we age the body does not produce as much nitric oxide. Studies show as you complete your 4th decade of life, your body is only making about half, if not less then half of what it made when you were 20.
That is why it is important to eat a variety of nitric oxide containing plants, and our featured recipe fits the bill.
Our featured recipe is: Red Kale Beets and Sweet Cilantro Vinaigrette, and here is what you will need.
Place all ingredients into a blender or food processor, and blend or process until smooth.
Place into a jar with a tighten lid, and store in the refrigerator for up to 10 days.
For the salad you will need:
2 cups red kale, about 3 steams
1/3 cup beets, steam, and diced ( 1 small beet or 3 baby beets)
2 -3 tablespoons pine nuts
3 – 4 tablespoons goat cheese
Remove leaf parts of kale from steams and wash under fresh cool water. Next cut kale into smaller bite sizes portions with a pare of kitchen shears and arrange on a dinner plate.
You have the option to use canned beets (preferably organic grown), dicing the sliced beets into 1/2 inch squares. If you chose to use fresh beets, slice the beets, about 1 inch slices, and place into a steamer, until slightly soft. Remove, and cool a bit, and dice into 1/2 inch squares, making a 3rd of a cup. Arrange the beets over the kale.
Next add the pine nuts and goat cheese. Drizzle with Sweet Cilantro Lime Vinaigrette, and enjoy with slices of olive bread (we used an olive bread made with olive oil and black olives, no canola oil) or your favorite bread .
Orange colored vegetables and fruits have a lot of health benefits. Such as beta-carotene not only good for eye health, but can also delay cognitive aging and protect skin from sun damage.
Beta carotene is a precursor for vitamin A, which is commonly referred to as retinol. Vitamin A is important for night vision, also an antioxidant that can neutralize damaging free radicals in the body.
The old days always taught us that only citrus fruit had vitamin C. But all orange foods are full of vitamin C, an antioxidant that protects against heart disease and helps rebuild collagen in the skin. Also as an added note: Vitamin D is not the only vitamin for bone health and suppport, your collagen also helps make and maintain strong bones.
This recipe calls solely for Kale, but as you can see on the cutting board above, we mixed in other greens. Such as some spinach, arugula, white and red cabbage and julienne cut broccoli.
In a large mixing bowl toss sweet potatoes with the olive oil, salt and pepper.
On two rimmed baking sheets, arrange diced sweet potatoes on one sheet and frozen breaded chicken strips on the second rimmed baking sheet.
Put in the preheat oven and bake 20 minutes or until potatoes are tender and chicken is cooked through. Let cool to room temperature.
Make the dressing while the chicken and sweet potatoes are baking.
Mango Chipotle Dressing
2 Mangoes, peeled, pitted (about 1 ½ to 2 cups)
4 garlic cloves, peeled
2 Chipotle Chili Peppers in adobo, wash peppers and de-seed *
Place mango flesh, garlic gloves and peppers into a food processor and puree. Next add oil, vinegar, lemon juice and processes until well incorporated, about 1 minute. Add sugar and salt process a few seconds.
In a large serving bowl toss potatoes, chicken, and kale with dressing and sprinkle with cashews. Plate and serve.
Here’s another health tidbit….the Kale, broccoli, and spinach are cruciferous vegetables that ward off cancer with only four servings a week. That red cabbage you see there has more vitamin C than an orange and has sulfur as well. Sulfur also helps build beautiful skin.
Have you forgotten what you just read, red cabbage can help you with that. Current research reports that red cabbage increases brain function.