Monday, June 16, 2014

Making Meal Time Easy + Wild Rice, Kale & Roasted Tomato Gratin with Browned Yogurt Topping

Happy Monday!  We hope you had a fun weekend and are ready to make this a great week!

We know meal planning can be difficult.  It is, even for us.  Sometimes I stare into the refrigerator and the only thing I can come up with is scrambled eggs.  We all need inspiration.  

Here are a few tips I have found to be most helpful for eating well, along with a recipe for using up leftovers and transforming them into a delicious, comfort-food meal, which also happens to be perfect for Meatless Monday!

--When you get home from grocery shopping, wash and prep all of your vegetables, so they are ready to go when you are.  You’re more likely to eat them and not let them wilt in the crisper drawer.

--Wrap lettuce, greens, herbs in a damp paper towel, place in plastic bag and store in the refrigerator crisper drawer.  They last three times as long, which means no waste!

--Go ahead and chop vegetables for snacking, roasting or sautéing.  You’ll be thankful to yourself at mealtime.

--Cook one pot of grains or beans each week and store in the refrigerator, covered.  These can be used for soups, salads, side dishes.

--Make a big batch of roasted vegetables—broccoli, cauliflower, tomatoes, whatever you like.  These can also be tossed into salads, heated for a side dish, or just eaten as a healthy snack.

--Repurpose leftovers into a second day meal .  Transform one meal into another by turning the leftovers into a soup, stew, salad, sandwich, stir fries, or egg dish.

--Use your freezer! Anything saucy freezes well, like soup, stew, lasagna, enchiladas, casseroles.  Every time you make a large family-sized meal, freeze individual portions so you always have an inventory for lunch or for single dinners.

This recipe for a kale and wild rice gratin with yogurt crust was  inspired by a recipe from The Yellow House.  This gratin can be made with any leftover grains and greens that you have in your refrigerator.  You could use quinoa or barley, add roasted squash or zucchini—the options are endless!

Wild Rice, Kale & Roasted Tomato Gratin with Browned Yogurt Crust

Makes 6 - 8 servings

1 pint grape tomatoes
1 garlic clove, sliced
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
Pinch of red pepper flakes
Pinch of salt
1 leek, sliced
1 bunch kale, stemmed and chopped
2 tablespoons fresh basil, chopped
1 cup parmesan, grated
3 cups cooked whole grain and wild rice
1 cup Greek yogurt or 2 cups plain yogurt, strained*
3 eggs
Sea salt

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Place the tomatoes, garlic clove, 1 tablespoon of olive oil, red pepper flakes and a pinch of salt in an oven-proof dish.  Place in the oven and roast tomatoes for about 30 minutes, or until browned and softened.

In the meantime, heat a large skillet over medium-low  heat.  Add the other tablespoon of olive oil, the leeks and another pinch of salt.  Cook, stirring, until the leeks are very soft.  Do not let the leeks brown.  Add the kale and cook until it is just starting to wilt.  Remove from the heat and stir in the basil.

In a large mixing bowl, add the rice, kale, roasted tomatoes, 3/4 cup parmesan cheese and one egg.  Stir together until evenly mixed.  Spread the mixture in a baking dish. 

In another small bowl, mix together the yogurt, two eggs, remaining 1/4 cup parmesan cheese and a pinch of paprika.  Spread the yogurt mixture in an even layer over the wild rice mixture. 
Bake for 40 – 45 minutes, until the yogurt topping becomes browned.  You make turn on the broiler for a few seconds toward the end, just to brown it a little more.  Remove from the oven and let it cool a few minutes before serving.

Enjoy, preferably with someone you love!

*To make a thick Greek-style yogurt out of plain yogurt, just line a fine mesh strainer with cheese cloth.  Pour yogurt on top of the cheese cloth and place the strainer over a bowl.  Place in the refrigerator and let drain for at least 2 hours, or until you get the consistency you want.  The longer you let it drain, the thicker the yogurt will become.  Discard the water in the bottom of the bowl.  

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