Wilted Kale with Bacon

Bacon and kale is a match made in heaven!

Kale is firmer than spinach, so it doesn’t reduce in volume quite as much.  But be sure to cut out the firm stems before cooking, you’ll eliminate that bitter taste and be left with, well, kale-y goodness.

Then there’s the bacon…I actually used fully-cooked store bought bacon, and it worked just fine.  Raw bacon will only add more flavor!

Just sayin.  My toddler ate this.  Worth a post, in my opinion!

Wilted Kale with Bacon

  • 6-8 cups fresh kale (about 1 bunch), chopped, stems removed
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 3 strips bacon (or to taste)
  • 1/2 cups low sodium chicken broth

In a large pan over medium heat, melt the butter.  Add the bacon and cook until crispy; remove bacon and set aside on a paper towel.

Add the chopped kale, and toss to coat.  Add chicken broth.  Cover with a lid, tossing occasionally, until wilted, about 10 minutes.

Chop bacon and add back to kale; toss.  Serve immediately.  Enjoy!


Three Cheese Stuffed Shells

Mmmmm….stuffed shells.  My version is full of Ricotta, Mozzarella and fresh Parmesan cheese, plus spinach for a nutritional punch.

I always double the recipe and freeze the extra pan – then you can take right from the freezer, bake in the oven at 350 degrees until hot and bubbly and have dinner ready any night of the week!

To my gluten free friends: unfortunately, as of today jumbo shells (or cannelloni shells, or anything else you might stuff with cheese) don’t have a gluten free version available.  If one of you does come across them, please let me know and I’ll add that info here!


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Three Cheese Stuffed Shells

Yield 30-35 stuffed shells.

  • 32 ounces (4 cups) Ricotta cheese
  • 8 ounces (2 cups) shredded fresh Mozzarella cheese
  • 1/4 cups coarsely shredded fresh Parmesan cheese
  • 10 ounces cooked chopped spinach, squeezed as dry as possible
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/2 tablespoon dried parsley
  • 1/2 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 12 ounce box jumbo shells
  • 1 jar spaghetti sauce, any flavor
  • more shredded Mozzarella or Parmesan cheese, for topping

Cook and drain as much liquid as possible from the spinach.  In a large mixing bowl, add cheeses, spinach, eggs, salt, pepper, parsley, oregano, and red pepper flakes.  Mix gently with a spoon or use your hands.

Cook the shells about 3/4 of the time the directions indicate.  Once slightly cooled, fill each shell with the cheese and spinach mixture.

In a 13×9 inch baking dish, spread enough spaghetti sauce to cover the bottom.  Place stuffed shells seam side up in rows.  Repeat until dish is full.

Top with the remaining spaghetti sauce, plus more Mozzarella or Parmesan cheese.  Bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes, then turn the heat up to 375 for another 10-15 minutes.

Serve immediately.  Alternatively, the finished (but uncooked) dish can be tightly wrapped and frozen.  Bake from frozen at 350 degrees until hot and bubbly.  Enjoy!

Creamy Lemon Basil Shrimp with Kale

I’ve been completely enamored with the winter Olympics this year.  There have been so many exciting moments!

Maybe it’s always this way.  This year I’m roped in, for some reason.

So as not to distract me from the games, what can I make for dinner that’s quick and tasty?  And not a huge cleanup endeavor.

The Olympian gods were smiling down on me today.  Shrimp – already peeled, already deveined – tails already removed! – was on sale.  Yes!

So here’s my shrimp pasta.  You could use spinach instead of kale, I just like kale’s crunch.  Or try broccoli or asparagus!

A little lemon zest adds brightness and brings out the basil!

Serve it over rice instead of pasta.  Add some bread (Udi’s makes delicious gluten free dinner rolls!) smothered in butter or basil pesto, and I’d say you’ve got a win.

Gold for sure. [end Olympic references.]

Creamy Lemon Basil Shrimp with Kale

1/2 box (4 servings) pasta of your choice

  • 1 pound medium shrimp, peeled, deveined, tails removed
  • 1 cup Roma tomatoes, diced
  • 4 cups fresh kale, chopped (or use spinach if you like)
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 cup (4 ounces) whipped cream cheese (regular or Neufchatel will also work)
  • 1 cup low sodium chicken broth
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 tablespoon lemon zest
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • torn fresh basil leaves

Boil pasta according to package directions.  Drain, toss with a little olive oil to prevent sticking, and set aside.

Melt 1 tablespoon of the butter in a large saute pan over medium heat.  Add 1 clove of minced garlic, the chicken broth and kale, along with a touch of salt.  Cover and cook until wilted, 5 minutes or so.

Turn heat up to medium-high.  Add rest of garlic and butter, and add shrimp to the pan, cooking until pink.

Turn heat back down to medium.  Add tomatoes, cream cheese, and lemon zest.  Stir; cover until cream cheese is melted.

Add salt and pepper to taste.  Continue to simmer uncovered over medium-low heat until a smooth sauce forms.  Serve over pasta and sprinkle with torn basil.  Enjoy!