Kale, baby!

Does kale freak you out a little bit? If it does it's ok. It used to freak me out too. I liked eating it, if someone else had prepared it in some delicious way, but every time I saw it in the store I felt like I was suspicious of it. It looks complicated and troublesome when it's raw, or so I used to think. Then I learned about kale chips, which are so suddenly so ubiquitous they're being served for snack in public schools in Vermont, and probably elsewhere too. But the important thing is, kale chips opened my mind to the possibilities of kale. Pretty soon I was trying to put it in everything, and this recipe was the result of my new enthusiasm. It works for meatballs, burgers, and meatloaf, but on this day meatball sandwiches were on the menu, so we'll call it ...
Turkey, kale and Quinoa Meatballs!

When I make them at school I start with about 9 lbs of ground turkey, but I'm going to scale it back to 1 1/3 pounds, since that's the amount lots of prepackaged brands contain. So get a big bowl, put the ground turkey in it, and season with salt, pepper, and two cloves of finely minced garlic. 
Then, finely chop a medium yellow onion (by hand or in the food processor) and toss it in with the meat. 
Next, trim the leaves off a nice sized bunch of kale, then chop those leaves into bite sized ribbons. you want about 2 - 3 cups of kale here. Toss it in the bowl!
Last, add 2/3 cup of uncooked quinoa. That's right, uncooked. 
Now, get your hands in there and mix well. Everything has to be very well combined for this to work. 
Once it's all mashed together nicely, make meatballs! I like to go for about 2 inches round, and then cut them in half for sandwiches. Remember, at this point you can also form them into burgers or loaves of any shape or size. 
Bake on sheets or in a shallow pan at 375 degrees for about 25 minutes. You want them to reach an internal temp of 165 degrees, but more importantly you want to make sure the quinoa and kale have thoroughly cooked and are no longer crunchy. If they need an extra five minutes, don't be afraid to give it to them.  
And here's the end result! Tossed with a little marinara sauce and served with whole wheat bread, sautéed haricot verts, and orange or apple slices. If your kids like meatballs they will eat these, especially if you try them first with spaghetti or your favorite pasta and plenty of sauce. 

New recipe day...

I looked up "quinoa salad recipes" online today and then checked out the images that came up. I saw one that looked like quinoa mixed with black beans and corn and improvised from there. I cooked the quinoa and then tossed it with equal parts frozen corn kernels and beans, then added finely chopped yellow peppers, salt, pepper, garlic powder, cumin, chili powder, olive oil and lemon juice. It looked great and was pretty tasty too!

VT Foodbank Hunger Action Conference

So excited to be here todayat the Sheraton with Sarah and BCS Board member Sue Chayer! More on our day later...