I just couldn’t help myself with this ridiculous title. The runner up was, “A Kale for Help.” Yes, a kale recipe is coming up, but first…
I’m actually terrible at titles (can’t you tell?) and at one point when I worked for the evil empire of MTV Networks it was part of my job to come up with catchy, quirky, and cool headings and you can guess that I did NOT excel at that. At all. It was a rather short-lived job, and actually my last “corporate” one. Then I went on to become a self-defense instructor. Way more fun, and I was much better at it.
*If you want to see me in groin-kicking action, check out the movie, The Brave One, starring Jodie Foster. Um, my brief scene didn’t make the final cut, but it did make the deleted scenes! I can’t say much for the movie itself (I enjoy kicking butt for fun, but I don’t like actual violence, even in the movies) but it was definitely a fun experience being on a movie set. Directors actually yell “Action!” and “Cut!” and the part about waiting around for hours, totally true.*
But I digress. Back to –
Maybe this post should’ve been called, “A Kale for Help” because I need help, people, serious help, with dinner. Bunky is in a picky(er) phase right now and is a sort-of vegetarian, or I should say, cheese-atarian because she pretty much only eats cheese. My husband is picky with most vegetables and beans because of digestive issues. I will not elaborate (you really don’t want to know). He will really only eat potatoes, tomatoes, and green beans right now. I’m only allowed to use a tiny amount of garlic. No onion. My list of “no’s” is long and depressing. If I made food just for myself it would be magical, dishes filled with vibrant veggies and tingling spices. Even Little Guy who formerly ate whatever, is now getting picky. Or at least enjoying his new trick of shaking his head “no.” It was really cute for a few days. Not anymore.
So you see what I’m up against. I don’t want to a short order cook and make everyone individual meals, but I have to admit that sometimes it goes down like that. My goal is to find a meal I can make and truly enjoy, and then tailor the same meal for my picky people. Which brings me to kale.
Bunky ate raw kale at age two when we took a garden class together and it gave me the false hope that she would be a voracious veggie eater. Not true. I am currently the only kale eater in the house, but that is not stopping me from making this awesome dinner…
Creamy Spaghetti with Chicken, Kale and Tomatoes
The meal deconstructed worked out like this: Bunky ate her pasta with red sauce and strawberries on the side (don’t ask). My husband enjoyed his with chicken and tomatoes. I ate it all. The recipe is adapted from With Style & Grace, but as you know, I adjusted it for my picky family.
*This meal is gluten free, obviously, but with a few easy changes it can also be dairy free. I haven’t tested it DF, though, but if you do let me know how it turns out.
- 12 ounces dry gluten free spaghetti (I used Mrs. Leeper’s brown rice pasta)
- 2 boneless chicken breasts, filleted
- 1-2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons butter (sub non dairy spread if you’re Dairy Free)
- 3/4 cup half and half (use full fat coconut milk for DF)
- 1/2 cup, approximately, grated parmesan cheese (sub nutritional yeast here for DF)
- 2 cups kale, cut and removed from stem
- 1 cup of grape tomatoes (or more if you like)
- Salt + pepper, to taste
In a large pot, bring water to a boil and cook spaghetti a few minutes short of the package instructions for al dente. *This is key for GF pasta. If you overcook it, it will be gross – especially brown rice pasta, which gets gummy.* Set aside some pasta water if you remember. If not, don’t beat yourself up.
In a large sauté pan, heat oil over medium heat and cook chicken breasts. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cook 5 minutes on each side, or until it is cooked through. Set cooked chicken aside.
Then melt the butter in the same pan over low heat. Add half & half and mix with the melted butter to combine. Stir frequently and then add the cooked pasta. If you time it right, which I did by sheer luck, you can use tongs to transfer the pasta directly into the pan without draining it. But if not, no big deal. Just use a colander and then add pasta to saucepan.
Increase the heat to medium while you toss the pasta with the butter and half & half. Add 1/4 cup of parmesan cheese, mix well. Add a little cooking water from the pasta if you need more liquid. If not, regular water is fine too. Then add the rest of the cheese and toss again to combine. Decrease heat and throw in the kale and tomatoes and mix well to combine. Remove after a few minutes or until kale is just slightly wilted.
Spoon some of the pasta mixture on a plate and place chicken along side, or on top. Or underneath. It’s up to you. Tell your picky family members to remove what they don’t want and sit back and enjoy.
Pairs nicely with a glass of chilled white wine. (What doesn’t, really?)
I’m happy to have shared this post at the Gluten-Free Friday’s link up party hosted by Vegetarian Mama, Eat.Live.Make, and Gluten Freed R.D., and One Creative Mommy’s Gluten Free Monday link up. Click the links to find more great GF recipes.