Kale Muffins-Two Ways

img_4658Aside from chicken meatballs, muffins are probably my second favorite thing to make.  Over the past few years, I’ve made so many different variations of muffins-from savory to sweet and everything in between-that I’ve lost track.  They’re one of my go-to breakfast options for the work week and also make a great snack.  This past week I ended up making two different versions, both using kale.  I’m a big fan of incorporating extra veggies into my diet any way I can.  I’m also a big fan of incorporating bacon into it, and the first muffins I made did just that! 🙂

Kale, corn, bacon, and jalapeno came together for these muffins, and they were really good!  I ended up eating them for breakfast with tomato butter I made a few weeks ago (see Instagram for recipe), but I think I would enjoy them even more with a big bowl of chili.  I definitely recommend using fresh corn if possible.  I was lucky to still have some ears of Jersey corn on hand for mine.

img_4795The second batch of muffins came from a recipe compliments of the blog Vegging at the Shore.  Vegging at the Shore features fabulous, healthy recipes crafted by Marci Lutsky and her mini chefs!  I’ve done kale and bananas together in smoothies, but I never thought to combine them in muffins.  They proved to be a great combo, and I’m glad Marci shared this recipe!  I followed her recipe except for a few changes.  Since I didn’t have whole wheat flour or apple sauce on hand as the original recipe called for, I substituted in 1 1/4 cups oats and about a 1/2 cup almond butter.  I also added 1/4 cup milk since the almond butter and oats made the batter a little too thick.  Lastly, I added a few coarsely chopped bittersweet chips to a handful of the muffins.  These muffins are a great idea especially if you have extra kale and ripe bananas to use up and are looking for a healthy breakfast option.

1 small bunch kale, cleaned and stems removed
4 strips cooked bacon, torn into bite size pieces
4 tablespoons butter, melted
4 tablespoons coconut oil, melted
1 1/4 cup oats
1 cup cornmeal
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup 2% milk
2 large eggs
2 tablespoons honey
1 jalapeno, finely diced
1 cup fresh corn kernels

Preheat oven to 375º F.  Steam kale until bright green and just tender.  Cool and coarsely chop into bite size pieces.  In a medium bowl, whisk together dry ingredients.  In another bowl, whisk together butter, coconut oil, milk, eggs and honey.  Add to dry ingredients and stir until just combined.  Fold in kale, bacon, jalapeno, and corn.  Divide batter evenly among lined muffin cups.  Bake until golden, about 22 minutes.  Let cool for 5 minutes and then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

You could also use this batter for corn bread  or even add some cheddar cheese.   What are some of your favorite muffin recipes?

*Recipe adapted from Martha Stewart Magazine

Layered Chicken Fajitas

imageIf you’re looking for a new Mexican recipe, then look no further! I made these layered chicken fajitas last week and enjoyed the leftovers all week.  And that never happens!  I’m finicky with leftovers and tend to get bored with eating the same thing for lunch every day.  When I lived with one of my best friends, she would pack the same breakfast, snack, and lunch every day and never tire of it.   She’s a teacher and used to her routines!

But I definitely did not get bored with these fajitas!  It may have been the fresh, sweet Jersey  corn and Jersey grape tomatoes that really made the dish, but I think they’ll be just as good come winter when I have to use frozen or canned corn and non-local tomatoes.  I did recently buy some extra Jersey corn to freeze though.  They were also really easy to make, and you could easily serve them with a side of rice or another veggie and no tortillas.  I have a hard time saying no to tortillas and like La Tortilla Factory’s handmade style corn tortillas the best!

1 small red onion, sliced
1 orange bell pepper, sliced
2-3 ears fresh corn kernels
1/2 cup black beans, rinsed
1/2 pint red and yellow grape tomatoes
1-2 teaspoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 packet Old El Paso fajita seasoning, divided
1/2 cup low sodium chicken stock
1/2 lime, juiced
2-3 cups shredded rotisserie chicken breast
1 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella
Corn tortillas
Mashed avocado or guacamole
Fresh cilantro
Lime wedges

imagePreheat oven to 450º F.  In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium-high heat.  Add the onion, bell pepper, corn, salt, pepper, and half of the fajita seasoning.  Sauté until slightly tender. Transfer mixture to a 9×13 (or two smaller) baking dish.   To the same pan, add the beans, tomatoes, chicken stock, and lime juice.  Cook 2 minutes.  Add the chicken and the rest of the fajita seasoning.  Cook for an additional 2-3 minutes.  Layer chicken mixture over top of corn mixture. Top with cheese and bake at 450º F until cheese is melted and mixture is bubbly.  Divide chicken mixture among tortillas and top with smashed avocado or guacamole, cilantro, and fresh lime juice.  Be prepared to go back for seconds!!!

*Recipe adapted from Cooking Light

Tomato & Corn Pie

IMG_4057I love to entertain.  I would have dinner parties once a week if time and everyone’s schedules permitted.  And it doesn’t always have to be a ton of work.  You can make some great dishes that aren’t time-consuming and don’t include complicated ingredients.  This tomato and corn pie is a perfect example!

I made it a few weeks ago to test out the recipe and then again last weekend when I had company for dinner.  If you have local summer produce like Jersey corn and Jersey tomatoes, this pie showcases them perfectly!  It was easier to make than the my go-to summer tomato tart  and just as delicious!

My mom and good friends of ours, Carla and Lisa, who are originally from Canada (one lives here now and the other is visiting), were my guests.  We try to do this every sIMG_4212ummer, and it’s always a great time.  Carla’s sister Lisa is a fabulous cook so if something gets her stamp of approval, you know you’ve done good!  She loved the pie, as well as, the zucchini and sundried tomato chicken meatballs I made. I also served fresh figs with vanilla fig balsamic and a watermelon salad composed of watermelon, arugula, blueberries, chopped walnuts, IMG_4213bocconcini, and a lemon vinaigrette.  Everyone enjoyed my mix of dishes, which is always a relief!  I’ll be sure to post the recipe for the chicken meatballs.  Also, be on the lookout on Instagram for a quick tomato butter recipe!  You will want to lick bowl after making it!  What are some of your favorite dishes to make for company?

1 package Pillsbury pie crust (I used store brands both times I made this and remembered why I didn’t like  them.  They slide in the pie dish and don’t bake as well.  If you’re not going to make your own, Pillsbury is definitely the way to go!)
1/3 cup light mayonnaise
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
3 large Jersey tomatoes
1 1/2 cups fresh Jersey corn (from about 3 ears)
1 tablespoon finely chopped chives, divided
Freshly ground black pepper
Kosher salt
2 cups grated extra sharp Cheddar
2 tablespoons butter, melted

IMG_4049Preheat oven to 400º F.  Remove pie crusts from box and bring to room temperature.  In a small bowl, whisk together mayonnaise and lemon juice and set aside.  While pie crusts are warming up, slice tomatoes into 1/4″ slices and lay on paper towel lined plates to absorb the moisture.

Once at room temperature, place one of the pie crusts into a 9″ pie plate and gently press down.  At this point you can bake the bottom crust till lightly browned, if desired.  Just be sure to poke a few holes in the crust prior to baking.

To assemble the pie, arrange a layer of tomato slices, half the corn, half the chives and season with salt and pepper.  Add half of the grated cheese.  Repeat with another layer of tomatoes, corn, chives, and salt and pepper.  Before adding the remaining cheese, pour the mayonnaise mixture over the second layer.  Top with remaining cheddar cheese.  Place second pie crust on top and fold overhang under edge of bottom crust.  Brush with melted butter and cut 4 steam vents in the top of the pie.  Bake at 400º F for 30-35 minutes.  Cool on a wire rack and serve warm.  Enjoy!!!

*Adapted from smittenkitchen.com