Kale me Crazy

flickr photo credit, Glory Foods

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 –

flickr photo credit, krupp

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

Not the prettiest picture, but everyone was hungry and grumpy when I was trying to take it.

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.

24 thoughts on “Kale me Crazy

  1. Love your title and the recipe that’s one for my weekend cooking!!! Can I kale you for help if I mess up this recipe tee hee hee. Thanks for posting

  2. As a fellow veggie lover with picky kids and hubby, I feel your pain. I love your writing style. You had me giggling with your humor. My family will eat most veggies, though. It’s the main dishes they won’t eat. So frustrating! Your pasta looks yummy–kale and all. I hope you’ll link it and any other gluten-free recipes you’d like to share to my Gluten Free Monday party on OneCreativeMommy.com.

    • Oh thanks for your empathy Heidi! I do appreciate it. Some days I feel like I have the pickiest family ever. Your recipes look great, by the way, I have been meaning to try them out on my tough crowd, ha. I will definitely link up to your GF Monday party, as you might have noticed I already added your link because if I don’t do it all at once, I will totally forget! Thanks for having another place for recipes (not to mention, awesome crafts!).

    • Oh, thank you! It’s really so good. Speaking of so good, your delicious looking broccoli soup inspired me to make my own version! I’ll be posting next week with a link to your recipe.

  3. Hi Dana,
    I couldn’t find any means to contact you via your blog. Can you drop me a line at carli {at} onefitmom {dot} ca? I was wondering if I could ask you a couple of questions for an article I’m writing?
    Thanks 🙂

  4. Hi Dana,
    This recipe looks delicious!! I totally empathize! I love kale – but struggle finding ways to get the rest of my family (i.e., also picky kids) to eat it too.
    And I always have to use tricky methods to sneak anything green or red (ketchup and peppermint candy canes aside 😉 ) into my 4-year-old. I definitely will try your pasta recipe – although I likely will have to cut up the kale and tomatoes even more to camouflage them as a “seasoning” or just part of the sauce. 😉 At least Baby Girl still isn’t too picky.
    Thanks so much again for visiting Nom Yum & Free and for all your kind words!!

    • Oh, I’m glad to hear your baby girl isn’t as picky! My son is also less picky – so far. Though he just learned how to shake his head “no” which is very adorable, but also a bit nerve wracking. I need to teach him to nod “yes” right away!

      I love your site, and have a list of recipes to try. I think the peppermint park is definitely on the top of the list 🙂

  5. Yum!! I love kale… my family is on the fence. So I keep feeding it to them anyway. I’m such a mean mom! I am going to have to give this recipe a try though- my kids LOVE spaghetti… maybe I could trick them into trying a bite.

    My favorite thing to do with it is braise it on the stove for about a half an hour, but my kids will eat it if I bake it into “chips.” And my sister in law uses it for salads. All in all- pretty versatile! And I totally applaud you for your efforts in the kitchen- the fact that you post about them is amazing to me! Thank you. Keep doing it! I love the extra ideas! And the fact that they come from another mom that has to cook gluten free too- is just the icing on the cake. I feel your pain!! I’ll have to share a few of our “favorites” and you can see what you think- my kids love cheese too and will eat almost anything if it has it on it.

    love jess

    and ps… I giggled at your title- thanks for making me chuckle during my midnight blog wandering.

    • Making you laugh is now my new goal for every post, ha! I love that 🙂 Yeah, kale is great. One day maybe Bunky will like it again, until then, more for me. She used to eat kale chips, but alas, no more.

      Thanks for your kind words about my recipes. I rely on other GF bloggers for help and inspiration, so it’s nice to be on the other side, too! Please do share your favorites. I need all the help I can get.

  6. Oh my gosh, you have me laughing so hard with your kale humor! LOL Love it! 🙂
    Thanks for linking up at our Gluten Free Fridays party! I have tweeted and pinned your entry to our Gluten Free Fridays board on Pinterest! 🙂
    I hope to see you again this week!

    This week is sponsored by Sugar and Spice Market! They are giving away a package of their gluten free sugar cookie mix and a package of their gluten free pancake/waffle mix! It is just in time for the holidays!

    Link up starts tomorrow (thursday) at 7:05pm eastern time! Cindy from vegetarianmamma.com

    • Hi Cindy, thanks for so much for your comment. I’m glad you enjoyed my kale humor! I was about to change the title thinking it was too goofy, but I’m glad I didn’t because people seemed to like it 🙂 I’m working on another recipe post now for this week’s Friday link up. Love the idea of another give away. Perfect time for the holidays, for sure!

  7. Pingback: Broccoli + Cheese = Love, right? | celiac kiddo

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