Kale and Butternut Squash Pizza

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We meditate in our staff meetings.

Our coordinator leads the visualization and it’s about 5-10 minutes. Usually it takes me the first two to remember to breathe and relax then I’m good. I can use the time to truly become present which is a great way to start a meeting.

It’s great in practice and normally I love the chance to gather my chaotic brain but today I couldn’t focus for even a second.

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Today I only had one train of thought ricocheting around in this little noggin and that was….

Would I put garlic and sage in the sauce or should I put the sage in with the squash???

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Seriously, I spent the entire time I was supposed to be grounding myself and connecting with my breathe on wondering which herbs would go where and if I should use more or less cheese.

I have come to realize that food is more than a hobby for me and if I ever have an opportunity to make this a career let me tell ya I will jump at the chance. Don’t get me wrong, I love my job. I work with families in a way that I feel brings real hope and we can make a huge impact but all I want to do is feed them and cook with them while we talk.20131113-212750.jpg

Maybe that’s what my goal should be. I could be the cooking counsellor. I would invite people to my kitchen and we would cook together while discussing their concerns and planning what to do. Then we would eat a lovely meal build our relationship and everyone would be the happier and wiser.

There may be some insurance concerns though… Some people just shouldn’t be given pointy things and even I burn myself on an almost daily basis.
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Oh well the idea was fun

Until then here’s the recipe that I worked out while I should have been meditating.

It’s a perfect fall pizza with ingredients that are in season and usually available locally. Kale and sweet squash seem to pair wonderfully and mingling with a little sage and parmesan makes this pizza something I could eat way too much of. I also went with the theory that if you’re feeding non-vegetarians a veggie based meal, cheese usually makes them happy.20131113-212731.jpg

Actually I’m really not using that much cheese compared to an average pizza. The bechamel base adds a creaminess that helped ease the cheese. If you wanted to cut back on the butter too I have made white sauces with olive oil quite successfully.

This pizza was also the first time I have used a home made crust. Usually we just don’t have time but hubby was off and loves baking so he prepped the crust earlier today. We used this Recipe

Kale and Butternut Squash Pizza

2 Tbsp Olive Oil
3 cups diced Butternut squash (about half a medium sized squash)
1 Tbsp chopped fresh sage
1 bunch of kale chopped 
salt and pepper

Garlic Parmesan Sauce

1 Tbsp butter
2 Tbsp flour
1 1/2 cups milk
1 clove of garlic finely diced
1/2 cup fresh grated parmesan
pinch of both chili flakes and nutmeg

1 cup of old white cheddar or mozzerella
Parmesan 

Makes 2 pizzas

Preheat oven to 425F

In a medium saucepan over medium heat warm 1 Tbsp of olive oil. Add the squash, season with salt and pepper sautéing for 5 minutes then add the fresh sage. Continue cooking for up to another 5 minutes until the squash is fork tender then set aside.

In a seperate pan heat the 2nd Tbsp of oil and wilt the kale, cooking for about 2-3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper

In a small sauce pan over medium heat melt the butter and whisk in the flour. Cook for 1-2 minutes regularly whisking. Warm the milk (I used the microwave) and slowly stir into the flour and butter. Continue cooking until the sauce begins to thicken then stir in the parmesan, garlic, chili flake and nutmeg. Once the sauce has thickened enough to coat the back of a spoon remove from heat and set aside.

I used a metal pizza pan sprinkled with cornmeal. I find this helps it not stick and get crisp on the bottom.

Spread the crusts with the garlic cream sauce then layer on the kale and squash. Top with the grated cheese and sprinkle with fresh grated parmesan.

Bake at 425 for 15-18 minutes or until the crust is browned and the cheese is bubbly

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Please leave me a comment letting me know how your family or friends enjoyed it or really anything you have to share:)

I have a Facebook page too if you want to come on over and check it out. I post nightly meals, ideas, and share about how I feed my family healthy and tasty meals.

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Beet and Pear Tart with Goat Cheese and Walnuts

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Our wonderful sweet daughter is such a horrible sleeper that it’s a constant challenge for me and hubby. She did just have five teeth come in so I have some sympathy for the little beast but man am I one sleepy momma.

We were alternating nights getting up with her but hubby just started a new job that has the potential for serious injury if he’s not awake. Being the wonderful wife I am I’ve taken over so that he can eek out that little bit more sleep and hopefully come home with all of his fingers and toes.

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20131017-223103.jpg Continue Reading »

Sweet Potato and Black Bean Burritos

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Every time my husband meets a vegetarian he asks if they eat bacon. The man is convinced that even vegetarians can’t resist it and that they all obviously cheat. I honestly think he struggles to believe that a person could happily choose to not eat meat. It’s terribly embarrassing and thankfully my vegetarian friends have been submitted to sillier questions so they  laugh it off.

I’m not really surprised though. When I met his family and told them that I was a past vegetarian  they had a hard time imagining a person living on carrots and potatoes. Meat was central to family dinners and hubby just came to expect to see it on his plate.

I didn’t help much either, at least at first. When we first started dating I  adapted my mostly veggie ways and made meals more to his tastes and preferences. I guess I believed the saying “a way to a man’s heart is through his stomach”. Over time this started to drive me a little batty, (shocking), and since he isn’t the cook in the house I decided to cook the way I prefer. I dropped the meat-ccentric meals and slowly shifted our diet to the veggie focused way I ate before he came around

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More recently I’ve managed to get us eating  three vegetarian meals a week, (our budget is thrilled). It’s taken some finessing and finagling to keep a meat eater happy with all veggies for dinner, but other than the odd request for an entire ham for supper I think he’s adapted well. One of the tricks I’ve learnt is to give him something that’s familiar like pizza or a burrito. He already knows he likes them so he’s willing to try a veggie version.

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These burritos are a great example. The combination of sweet potatoes, beans and cheese provide not only all the nutrients you need but come in a familiar package. Plus they are filling and hearty enough to satisfy hubby. The kids loved them and I get my way, which of course always makes me happy.20131024-183631.jpg

Sweet Potato and Black Bean Burritos

1 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp butter
1 cup diced onion (about 1/2 medium onion)
1 clove crushed garlic
2 cups small cubed sweet potato
1 Tbsp cumin
1 Tbsp chili powder
1 can black beans
1 cup diced red pepper (about 1 pepper)
1/2 cup chopped cilantro

1/2 cup veggie stock
2 Tbsps lime juice (about 1 lime)
1 tsp honey
salt to taste

2 cups of grated cheese
6 tortillas

In a large skillet melt the butter with the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onions and cook until they start to become translucent. Stir in the garlic, cumin and chili powder cooking another 30 seconds or so then add the sweet potato. Continue cooking for about 5-10 minutes or until they are fork tender.

In a separate bowl combine the stock, honey and lime juice.

Stir the beans and peppers in with the sweet potatoes and pour the stock mixture over top. Cover the pan and leave for 5 minutes. Remove the lid and continue cooking until the sweet potatoes are cooked through and most of the sauce has been absorbed. Season with salt and sprinkle in the cilantro

Lay out the tortillas and place about a half cup of the mixture near one edge of the tortilla and sprinkle in a layer of cheese.

Roll and place in a clean skillet.

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Place a heavy pot or another pan over top and cook over medium low heat for a few minutes on each side until golden brown.

Serve with salsa and plain yogurt:)

I hope these burritos make your family as happy as ours and that they satisfy even your most carnivorous members. Enjoy and have a yummy week!

This is my first time including a video. I’d love to know what you think! I also share dinner ideas on my Facebook page @ www.facebook.com/myweeklydish

Painted Plates

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Curried Cauliflower with Almonds, Raisins, Spinach and Gnocchi

For some people art or music is their source of creative expression. Not me, I can scribble a little and love music but it’s not an outlet or an extension of my personality. For me the most creative and most me I feel is in the kitchen. It’s my canvas

The prep is my meditation, I get into Zen mode thinking out the rough form of a recipe. And as I cut and prep it’s like an artist sketching in pencil before picking up the paints. Then cooking starts and I find myself tasting and dancing around the kitchen. Smelling spices and peeking back in the fridge.  New ideas coming like little jolts from the divine cooking gods. “What about curry….oooohhhhh what about curry and raisins…yes!”. I feel free and joyful and excited to share my masterpiece, (or crayon drawing, depending on the day). Continue Reading »