Aly's Angle on cooking with kale

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Aly's Angle: Cooking Kale

I would say about once a week I try to cook a new dish for dinner, sometimes less often, sometimes more. I enjoy the challenge of cooking something new. This week’s Be Better challenge was just that. I have made kale salads, but I’ve never cooked kale. This week I was inspired to try three different preparation techniques: raw, sautéed, and in soup.

At Be Better, we focus on mental and physical health. Cooking with kale impacts both. There are great physical benefits to kale. It is packed with detox properties, which aid digestion and show anti-cancer benefits.

Mentally, cooking with kale allows me to slow down and focus on what I am putting in my and my husband’s body. What we put into our body, directly affects our mental health. According to womenhealth.org, “the food you eat can have a direct effect on your energy level, physical health, and mood.” I also find when I make the time to cook homemade meals, it reflects that my work and life balancing is in a good healthy place. When I am stressed and overwhelmed, the thought of cooking a meal is too much. I normally pop in the microwave a Trader Joes frozen chicken burrito or grab a bowl of cereal.  At the end of the day, it helps me relax slow down and prepare for the end of the day.

Sauteed KaleThe three kale dishes I prepared this week:
  1. Kale Salad: I loved the sweet apricot vinaigrette dressing. Unfortunately, I bought the wrong kind of lentils, so it changed the flavor a bit. Love the addition of cabbage with the kale.
  2. Sautéed Kale: By this time my husband was a little tired of kale for dinner, but I convinced him that this would taste different. He loved it, and so did I. He is from Maui, and it reminded him of his family’s traditional Christmas dish, which is Lau Lau wraped in Taro leaves.
  3. Kale Soup: I messed up this one. Didn’t cook the sausage before I cut it, put in too little chicken broth and couldn’t find fennel at the store. Regardless, the red pepper flakes and kale made it taste yummy. Weird how you can totally mess up a receipt but make it taste good in a different way. Kale Salad

More than the health benefits of kale specifically, this week’s Be Better challenge helped me remember to have a side dish of greens at dinner time. Now I am curious about all the fun ways I can find to cook other vegetables. I know it sounds strange, but most of the time I eat my vegetables raw . . . now I am excited this month to add them to recipes and cook them.  Wish me luck. I think I am going to start with Food Network’s 50 vegetable side dishes.