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Kale is closely related to cabbage and was often grown as

an ornamental, since it's colorful and very cold-hardy and will

even survive the  first seasonal frost.  Until the end of the

Middle Ages, it was one of the most popular vegetables in

Europe.  It ranks with broccoli as having tremendous health

benefits as well.   It's high in fiber, and  is also an excellent

source of Vitamin A and calcium.  It one of your best sources

of beta-carotene, one of the antioxidants believed by many

nutrition experts to be a major player in the battle against cancer, heart disease, and certain age-related chronic diseases.  It can also help prevent macular degeneration, dementia, and osteoporosis.  In short, you can't go wrong with kale!



Vegetarian Portuguese Kale Soup

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 tablespoon finely chopped garlic

1/2 cup diced onion

1/2 diced turnip

1/2 cup diced carrot

1 bunch kale, stemmed and roughly chopped

6 ounces soy chorizo, chopped (or sausage, if preferred)

3 bay leaves

3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves

2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme leaves

6 cups vegetable stock

1 cup kidney bean

3/4 cup diced tomato (6 ounces)

10 ounces diced potatoes (about 2 medium)


In a large stock pot, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the garlic, onions, turnips and carrots and cook for 5 minutes. Add the kale, chorizo, bay leaves, parsley and thyme and mix well. Add the vegetable stock, beans and tomatoes. Bring the soup to a boil, and then reduce the heat to low and simmer for 30 to 40 minutes.


Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan, bring the salted water to a boil and add the diced potatoes. Cook until tender, about 10 minutes. Drain the potatoes and add them to the soup. Remove the bay leaves and serve hot.



Kale and Onion Stir-Fry

1 lb fresh kale

2 small onions, sliced

2 tablespoons rice vinegar

2 tablespoons soy sauce

1/2 teaspoon sugar


Clean kale and remove ribs.  Spray wok or skillet with cooking spray.  Heat on high, add kale and onions.  Stir for 1 to 2 minutes.

Pour in rice vinegar, soy sauce and sugar.  Reduce to medium heat and stir until kale and onions are tender crisp.



Mushrooms and Kale with Red Wine

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 tablespoons butter

4 garlic cloves

24 mushrooms, sliced (any kind)

1 lb kale, stems removed & leaves chopped

1/4 cup red wine

salt and pepper to taste


In large saucepan, melt olive oil and butter.  Add chopped garlic and sliced mushrooms.  Saute until browned and then add salt & pepper.

Add chopped kale and wine. Toss and cover.  Simmer for 8-10 minutes until wilted and tender. Before serving, sprinkle on salt and pepper to taste.



Chicken and Kale Saute over Penne Pasta

3 -4 boneless chicken breasts, cut into large cubes

2 tablespoons chicken rub mixed spice (I used McCormick, but you can experiment)

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

splash red wine, if preferred

12 ounces kale leaves, coarsely chopped, stems removed (a large bag, like a gallon-size, I also added some chard from my garden)

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

2 -4 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped

4 carrots, sliced or julienned

1 stalk celery, sliced

1/4 cup green onion, green pepper, onion, jalapeno (depending on family preference, diced)

1 (15 ounce) can diced tomatoes

2 teaspoons italian seasoning mix

2 tablespoons red wine, if desired

10 ounces whole wheat pasta shells (about 1/2 box) or 10 ounces rotini pasta (about 1/2 box)

1/2 cup parmesan cheese, grated


Place chicken cubes in a bowl or a plastic bag. Add chicken rub seasoning mix and shake or stir so that seasoning lightly coats pieces of chicken. (I cut the chicken while still pretty frozen, and the large cubes stayed nice and square for this step.)


Heat oil in large skillet, then brown ckicken cubes, turning occasionally until lightly browned on the outside and the pink is gone on the inside. Splash cubes with a bit of wine.  Remove chicken pieces to a plate or serving dish.


Boil water in large saucepan and cook pasta according to directions. Whole wheat pasta usually take 14-20 mins, so start this before you cook the vegetables.


Heat next 2 Tbsp of oil in skillet at medium-high setting. Add garlic, kale, carrots and celery. Stir often, cooking for about 5-6 minutes. Check the carrots and the kale to make sure they are tender.  Add whatever peppers and onions you desire. Add entire can of tomatoes and juice from the can, and another splash of red wine to the vegetables. Season to taste.


Add cooked chicken to the skillet.  Turn down heat to low, and put on the skillet lid and let vegetables continue to cook and flavors blend while pasta is finishing.


After 10 minutes, all the vegetables should be tender. Check seasoning. If the mixture is too "wet", take the lid off and heat on medium for a minute or two to reduce the liquid.


You can serve the chicken mixture on top of the pasta with the parmesan cheese, or you can drain the pasta, stir it into the chicken mixture, add the parmesan cheese and serve it in one platter.



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