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What's Cooking This Week? Kale, for Starters

Braised kale takes regular old spaghetti to a new level.
Braised kale takes regular old spaghetti to a new level.
Photo by Whitney

I love cooking for my fiancé and planning meals for us, but cooking for two often proves to be difficult. If I don't make a plan, I end up running around in circles at the grocery store and wasting half the ingredients I've bought (and I hate wasting food). Enter What's Cooking This Week - my meal plan and grocery guide. This way, I can make the most of my ingredients and my leftovers.

Last week, homemade pico de gallo and guacamole topped both Chicken Fajitas and Spicy Black Bean Burgers. This week, pan-roasted kale is tossed in Spaghetti w/ Braised Kale and a Pancetta & Fontina Quiche.

Here's the rest of the plan:

  • Kale & White Bean Soup
  • Italian Stuffed Meatloaf w/ Pan-Roasted Carrots
  • Whole Wheat Spaghetti w/ Braised Kale
  • Turkey Meatloaf Sandwiches
  • Kale, Pancetta, & Fontina Quiche

    Pantry Items

  • Oil (olive, extra virgin, canola, peanut)
  • Cooking spray
  • Balsamic vinegar
  • Eggs
  • Half-and-half
  • Mayonnaise
  • Dijon mustard
  • Ketchup
  • Worcestershire sauce
  • Pickles
  • Italian breadcrumbs
  • Parmesan cheese
  • Chicken stock
  • Hot sauce
  • Dried bay leaves
  • Kosher salt
  • Pepper

    Grocery List based on servings for 2 w/ leftovers

  • 1 lb lean ground turkey breast
  • 8 oz chopped pancetta
  • 8 oz fontina cheese
  • 2 yellow onions
  • 1 head garlic
  • 2 small lemons
  • 2 plum tomatoes
  • 1-2 handfuls mixed greens
  • 1 bunch kale
  • 1 bunch fresh parsley
  • 1/2 lb carrots
  • 1 can cannellini beans
  • 1 box whole wheat spaghetti
  • 2 ciabatta rolls
  • 1 frozen pie crust

    This story continues on the next page.  

    Kale and white bean soup will warm you right up.
    Kale and white bean soup will warm you right up.
    Photo by manray3

    Day 1 - Kale & White Bean Soup *Makes leftover Onion-Garlic Sauté for Italian-Stuffed Meatloaf

    Rinse kale and roughly chop. *Reserve 2/3 for use later in week.

    Heat a saucepan over medium-high heat and drizzle lightly with olive oil. Add 2 oz chopped pancetta to heavy-bottomed pot and cook until just crisp. Remove from pot and set aside. To same pot, add 1 chopped yellow onion and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Add 2 cloves minced garlic and cook for another minute. *Remove half of onion mixture from pan and reserve for use in day 2.

    Stir 1 diced tomato and cook for another 2-3 minutes. Add in 3 cups chicken broth, 1 bay leaf, and 1/2 can rinsed and drained cannellini beans. Bring to a boil then reduce heat to low. Stir in kale and simmer for 10-15 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

    Ladle into bowls and serve topped with parmesan cheese and crispy pancetta.

    Day 2 - Italian Stuffed Meatloaf w/ Pan-Roasted Carrots *Uses leftover Onion-Garlic Sauté and makes leftover Stuffed Meatloaf for Sandwiches

    Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

    Heat a small skillet oven medium-heat and coat lightly with olive oil. Add 3 oz chopped pancetta and cook until crisp.

    In a small bowl, whisk together ¼ cup ketchup and 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar.

    In a large bowl, combine ground turkey, 1 egg, 1/2 cup breadcrumbs, 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley, reserved onion and garlic mixture, 1 grated carrot, 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, 1 tbsp ketchup and 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce. Add a dash of hot sauce for kick and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Mix well and divide in half.

    Spray a baking pan with cooking spray and use one half of the mixture to shape the bottom of the meatloaf. Top with crisped pancetta and 4 oz shredded fontina, then use the other half of the meat mixture to seal the stuffing. Brush the top with balsamic-ketchup mixture and bake until cooked through, about 45-50 minutes, basting as needed. *Reserve half for use in day 4.

    Meanwhile, peel and slice remaining carrots in half lengthwise. Cut on a diagonal into 3-inch long pieces. In a large skillet, bring sliced carrots, a drizzle of olive oil and 1/4 cup of chicken stock to a boil over medium-high heat. Cover, reduce the heat to medium and cook until carrots are tender, about 8-10 minutes. Uncover and cook, stirring, until liquid has evaporated. Drizzle with a bit more oil and cook until carrots are lightly browned. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Finish with chopped fresh parsley and freshly squeezed lemon.

    Serve meatloaf with a side of glazed carrots.

    Day 3 - Whole Wheat Spaghetti w/ Braised Kale recipe adapted from Bon Appétit *Makes leftover Pan-Roasted Kale for Pancetta & Fontina Quiche

    Heat a large, heavy-bottomed skillet to medium heat and drizzle with olive oil. Add 1 chopped yellow onion and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in 6 cloves thinly sliced garlic and cook for another 5 minutes or until onion has browned. Add in the leftover chopped kale and another drizzle of olive oil. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste. Cook until wilted. *Remove half of the kale mixture from skillet and reserve for use in day 5.

    Cover pot with remaining kale and reduce heat to medium-low. Cook, adding teaspoons of water if dry, until kale is very tender.

    Meanwhile, in a pot of boiling salted water, cook 2 serving of pasta to al dente according to package instructions. Drain, reserving 1/4 cup of the cooking liquid.

    Add spaghetti to the skillet, sprinkle with parmesan and toss to combine, stirring in the reserved cooking liquid as needed. Finish with lemon zest, 1 tsp lemon juice, and chopped fresh parsley.

    Serve topped with more parmesan.

    Day 4 - Turkey Meatloaf Sandwiches

    Reheat leftover meatloaf in the oven or toaster oven. Lightly toast un-opened ciabatta rolls until warmed. Slice open and spread insides with mayonnaise.

    Fill the rolls with slices of meatloaf, mixed greens, and sliced tomato. Slice sandwiches in half and serve with pickles.

    Day 5 - Kale, Pancetta, & Fontina Quiche *Uses leftover Pan-Roasted Kale

    Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

    Pre-bake frozen pie crust according to directions.

    Heat a small skillet oven medium-heat and coat lightly with olive oil. Add 3 oz chopped pancetta and cook until crisp. Shred 4 oz fontina.

    In a bowl, whisk together 3 eggs, 1/2 cup half-and-half, and half of the shredded fontina. Stir in leftover kale and onion mixture and crisped pancetta. Season with salt and pepper as desired.

    Lightly brush the bottom of the pre-baked pie crust with Dijon mustard. Pour egg mixture into crust until filled. Top with remaining shredded cheese.

    Bake for about 30-45 minutes until top is golden and quiche is cooked through.

    Slice and serve.


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