Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Gettin' Busy in the Kitchen!

So it came or was supposed to come an ice storm in Nashvegas today and I acted like a smart adult and went to the grocery store after the gym and before work so Dave wouldn't have to eat Cheerios AGAIN! Then our office left early because we all feared the black ice but much more the people in TN that freak out when anything other than sunshine comes out of the atmosphere! I decided to cook a healthy dinner and a strawberry cake for an office birthday tomorrow! (The cake was pretty healthy too)

I made Kale salad and Pesto Spaghetti Squash with Rotisserie Chicken for din din! I was so pleased with how everything tasted and more importantly Dave loved it!!

Kale Salad!

There are two great places in Nashville (Tavern & Kayne Prime) that have an awesome Kale Salad!  I found the recipe on eat-drink-smile.com via Pinterest!  I only used normal raisins.  It was cheaper just to buy one bag of those!  I used walnuts and shredded parm. cheese!  It was perfect and enough to have as a salad with tomorrow night's dinner!

Parmesan kale salad with raisins

Serves 4-6


1 large bunch of kale, washed, de-stemmed and torn into pieces
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup golden raisins
juice of 1 freshly squeezed lemon (2-3 Tbsp)
1/2 - 1 tsp lemon zest (from lemon above)
1/2 cup finely grated Parmesan
1/4 cup of olive oil
1/2 cup chopped, toasted nuts (I used walnuts, but any kind will work!)
Salt to taste


Take torn kale pieces and in batches, pulse in food processor until finely chopped*. Place chopped kale into medium bowl. Add raisins, lemon juice, and lemon zest. Toss together.
Stir in parmesan and olive oil, evenly coating all kale. Add in nuts and toss. Salt to taste before serving.
*It took 3 batches in the food processor for me to get it all chopped. You should have approximately 4 cups of finely chopped kale when finished.

Pesto Spaghetti Squash!

This was so good and SOOOO healthy!  I had never cooked spaghetti squash before!  It was so easy and I loved it!

I found this recipe on http://theskinnyconfidential.com.  I cooked the squash in the oven instead of boiling it and added rotisserie chicken.

1 medium to large spaghetti squash
4 tablespoons store bought, all-natural pesto
1/2 tomato, sliced
2 tablespoons toasted pine nuts [ warm in a pan until golden ]
3 tablespoons Italian Parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon shredded fresh basil
1 rotisserie chicken ( I only use a little less than half for two servings) 
1/2  lemon
Sea salt and pepper to taste
 Pre heat oven to 375. Cut squash in half with a serrated knife and remove seed portion. Add to  1/2 cup of water to a casserole dishwater and lay halves with the skin side up. Bake until tender for 30-35 minutes.  Allow to cool enough to handle.  Use a fork going to lengthwise, scrape entire squash until you’re left with just the skin. Discard skin. While still warm, add pesto, cheese and salt/pepper and toss. Cook pine nuts stove top on low heat for seven minutes. Add nuts, a dash more cheese & fresh basil on top of spaghetti squash. Squeeze lemon.  I added chicken and then put it in the microwave so that everything was the same temperature and the cheese melted on top.
+ This can be made ahead of time and then be heated up later to serve.

Strawberry Cake-
Tomorrow is Jordon's birthday, (Also known as Love Always, Nancy J) We are all on a healthy eating kick at the office and she is getting married this year so I tried to make this as low-fat and sugar free as possible.  It is a Paula Dean recipe "Lightened Up"  The icing turned out a little thinner than I would of liked but it tasted so good!  

1 cup fresh strawberries, sliced
3 tablespoons sugar-free strawberry jam
1 (18.25-ounce) box white cake mix
1 (0.30-ounce) package sugar-free strawberry gelatin
3 large egg whites
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup water
Fresh Strawberries for garnish (optional)
Strawberry cream cheese frosting:
1 (8-ounce) package reduced-fat cream cheese, at room temperature
4 tablespoons softened butter
1/4 cup sugar-free strawberry jam
1 teaspoon strawberry extract
3 cups confectioners’ sugar
Freshly sliced strawberries, for garnish, optional


Preheat the oven to 350°F degrees. Spray two 9-inch round cake pans with nonstick spray. Line with wax-paper rounds; spray with nonstick spray.
Puree the strawberries and jam in a food processor. Set aside.
Combine the cake mix and gelatin in a large mixing bowl. Beat in the strawberry puree, egg whites, oil, and water with hand mixer at medium speed until thickened, about 2 minutes.
Divide the batter evenly between the pans. Bake until a wooden pick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 20 minutes. Let cool in pans 10 minutes. Invert the layers onto racks and remove the wax paper; let cool completely.
For the frosting: With clean beaters, beat the cream cheese and butter in a medium bowl with a hand mixer until creamy, about 2 minutes. Beat in the jam and the strawberry extract. Gradually add the confectioners’ sugar, beating until smooth.
Place 1 cake layer on a serving plate. Spread 1/3 of the frosting over the cake layer. Top with the remaining layer. Spread the remaining frosting over the top and sides of the cake. Garnish with the strawberries, if using.
Original recipe courtesy Paula Deen:  Simply Delicious Strawberry Cake