Dig for Your Dinner – Growing Kale From Seed

italian kale plant

Kale.  Okay, so not my favorite vegetable on the planet, but The Girl loves it so I’ve decided to plant a few rows of the stuff for her this year. She loves to add kale to her smoothies.  I personally like to add it to my compost pile, but to each their own ;).

Admittedly, Kale is nutrient packed.  It has over 45 flavenoids {not to be confused with excellent flavor–totally different}.  It also has about 1100% of your daily vitamin K intake, which is pretty darn impressive.  It is touted as an anti-cancer food, as it boasts impressive levels of antioxidants.  So, I guess I’ll have to have The Girl whip me up a smoothie and suck it up…literally.

kaleHow to Grow Kale:

Kale is super forgiving.  It is a cold weather crop, so it’s one of the first and last crops you can grow each season.  In some areas, Kale and Arugula will grow all winter–though, very slowly.  You can sow it directly outside about 1-2 weeks before the last frost {I personally think you can do it as soon as the soil can be worked, it just won’t really start to grow until 1-2 weeks before the last frost}.  To sow it outside, sow seeds about 1/4″ – 1/2″ deep depending on the variety {check your seed packet}.

kale plantsWhen seedlings are about 1″ tall, thin them to one every 8″-10″.  Kale will go to seed pretty darn quick in hot temperatures, so plan to grow it early spring or late fall.  You can also start seeds inside about 5-6 weeks before the average last frost.  Then, you can transplant them into your garden or in containers.  Follow the same basic growing guidelines as outdoors.

mavis butterfield picking kale

When is Kale Ready to Harvest?

You can harvest the leaves of Kale pretty much anytime there are leaves.  The smaller leaves actually have a bit better flavor.  Just pull off the outer leaves as needed, and it will continue to produce for you the entire season.

My Favorite Kale Recipes:

Blueberry Kale SmoothieBlueberry Kale Smoothie

Sauteed Kale with Parmesan Cheese

Sauteed Kale with Parmesean Cheesekale-brownies-recipeKale Brownies with Carrots

recipe breakfast quiche bacon kale mushroom Quiche with Kale, Bacon, Mushroom and Cheese

If you live in the Pacific Northwest Region and are unsure what seeds you should be starting right now, or when your transplants should be set out in the garden, this regional planting guide should help you out.

Don’t live in the Pacific Northwest? Find your regional planting guide HERE.

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Blueberry Kale Smoothie

Blueberry Kale Smoothie

Blueberry Kale Smoothie

The Girl and I made this smoothie the other day. She LOVED it! It has kale in it so I tried to love it {honestly, I really did give it the old college try}, but I just couldn’t. So what’s the moral of the story? If you don’t hate kale, this smoothie recipe is going to rock your socks off. But if you are a kale hater like me {anyone? anyone?}, you can always leave the kale out and I’m sure it would be awesome!

Blueberry Kale Smoothie

Ingredients

3/4 cup frozen blueberries
1 cup baby kale
1 tablespoon peanut butter
3/4 cup milk {I used 2%}
1/2 ripe banana
1/2 cup ice cubes
1 tablespoon sweetener, optional {I used agave, but you can use honey, sugar or whatever your little heart desires}

Directions

Throw all ingredients into a blender {I use my Blendtec} and blend until smooth. Enjoy!

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Recipe – How to Make Kale Brownies with Carrots

steamed carrots and kale

Wahooooooo… I just made a batch of kale and carrot brownies!  Kale brownies. Have you tried them?  Holy Canolies.  There may be a way to eat this crap stuff after all.

Thanks for the awesome suggestion Kirsten! The Girl and I tried the brownies and you can’t even tell there are vegetables in there.  Wowza!  I wonder what else I can sneak kale greens into.

This is freakin’ awesome!

Ingredients

1 box Brownie Mix {I used Pillsbury}
1/4 cup water
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 eggs
1 large carrot {I used a handful of baby carrots}
8 leaves of kale
1/2 cup chocolate chips

*I used a boxed mix because  I have a bunch on hand I picked up for free last fall.  If you would like to try a similar recipe made from scratch try this one.

Directions

Pre-heat over to 350 degrees

Steam carrots and kale {I steamed mine in the rice cooker} and place the vegetables in a blender and semi- puree.  Add eggs, oil and water and puree. Add brownie mix and hit the pulse button a few times until everything is blended.

Line a 9″ by 13″ pan with parchment paper {or grease and flour} and pour brownie batter into the pan. Sprinkle chocolate chips on top and stir in.  Bake at 350 for 28 minutes.  Cool. Slice. Serve with a sneaky grin.

The Sneaky Chef By Missy Chase Lapine $11.35 ~ Amazon

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Recipe: Chicken and Kale Enchilada Casserole

recipe chicken and kale enchilada casserole_opt

A few nights ago, I made this delicious chicken and kale enchilada casserole. Reader Erin O. sent me a link {Thanks Erin}.  Not only was it a snap to make, the Handsome Husband even raved about it!  And he’s Irish… so the only thing he ever raves about are potatoes and cabbage. Ha Ha Ha.

Seriously, if you find yourself with some fresh kale, or a neighbor ties a sack of it to your door… Make this for dinner!

Ingredients {adapted from this epicurious recipe}

1/2  pound Kale, rinsed well and drained
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 pound chicken, cooked and chopped
vegetable oil for frying the tortillas
6 whole wheat tortillas {I used Mission Artisan tortillas}
16 oz can Italian seasoned diced tomatoes, pureed
1  cup grated Monterey Jack (about 6 ounces)

Directions

Over medium heat, saute the kale in olive oil for about a minute.  Add the minced garlic and cook until the kale has wilted {about 1 more minute}

Grease a baking dish with olive oil and pour just enough tomato sauce to coat the bottom of the dish. Cover with a single layer of tortillas.  Add 1/3 of kale, chicken, a little tomato sauce and sprinkle with cheese.

Repeat: Cover with a single layer of tortillas.  Add 1/3 of kale, chicken, a little tomato sauce and sprinkle with cheese, two more times for a total of 3 layers.  Add the remaining cheese to the top and bake, covered at 350 degrees for 20 minutes.

Remove cover and bake 5 more minutes or until the cheese has slightly browned and is bubbling.

Cool slightly and serve with a side of Spanish rice or a small salad.

Looking for more delicious casserole recipes?  Check out The Best Casserole Cookbook Ever By Beatrice Ojakangas on Amazon.com.

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