Thursday, March 18, 2010

Cheesy Dinners

The last couple nights I made a lot of cheesy meals....what can I say, I love cheese!
Last night I made two delicious meals!  The first was inspired by Whole Foods.  Did you know you can find tons of recipes on their website??
Kale,  Swiss Chard, Mushroom and Tomatoes over Polenta
1/2 pound sliced portobella mushrooms
Salt and pepper
15 oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, drained and roughly chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/2 bunch kale (about 3/4 pound), stemmed and roughly chopped

1/2 bunch of swiss chard
1 (18-ounce) roll precooked polenta, cut into 8 rounds
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese (optional) 

Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add mushrooms, salt and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add tomatoes and garlic and cook another 2 minutes. Stir in kale, swiss chard and 1/4 cup water, cover, reduce heat to medium low and cook until greens begins to wilt, about 2 minutes. Toss well, season with salt and pepper, cover and cook until wilted, about 2 minutes more. Heat remaining 1 tablespoon oil in a large nonstick or cast iron skillet over medium high heat. Arrange polenta in skillet in a single layer (working in batches, if needed) and cook, flipping once, until golden brown on both sides, 5 to 6 minutes total.
Arrange polenta on plates, spoon greens and mushroom mixture over the top, garnish with cheese and serve. 

Dave LOVED this dish and so did I!  This is my first time eating polenta and I loved it.  Dave called it a sponge for flavor. And with the oil-paced sun-dried tomatoes, kale and mushrooms- it had a ton of flavor!
I also made a recipe I saw on Confections of a Foodie Bride
Creamy Orzo with Chicken and Goat Cheese
1 lb orzo
2 chicken breasts cooked, cut into 1-inch pieces
1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
6oz log chevre, broken up and crumbled with two forks
Juice from half a lemon (~2 tsp)
4 cups chicken broth
3/4 cup water
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground pepper

Preheat oven to 400. Add orzo, chicken, sun-dried tomatoes, chevre, and lemon juice to a 2.5-3qt baking dish. Bring chicken broth, water, 1 Tbsp butter, salt, and pepper to a boil. Pour into the baking dish, stirring slightly to mix. Bake for 30 minutes. 
 I thought this meal was okay.  I didn't love it, I didn't hate it.  It tasted better for lunch today when I mixed it with the Kale and Swiss Chard mixture.  I love leftovers- especially the next day for lunch.  Speaking of that, I have this new tupperware that I use almost everyday for lunch that I think is the perfect serving size.  Check out my lunch!
Mixture of deliciousness.  Love leftovers.
Tonight we ate leftover orzo and leftover Polenta along with these two cheesy delights I made: Brussels Sprout Gratin with Apple Chicken Sausage & Cheesy Kale/Swiss Chard.  For the gratin, I made a bechamel sauce and had some leftover so I added Kale and Swiss Chard to it along with some pepporoncini's and added that over the leftover Polenta.  The Rainbow Swiss Chard started to turn my Bechemel Sauce red though!
 Brussel Sprout Gratin (inspired by here)
2 pounds brussels sprouts (trimmed, cut in half, core removed)
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons flour
1/2 cup skim milk
1/2 cup cream
salt and pepper to taste
2 chicken sausage apple links, diced
1/4 cup fontina (grated)
1/4 cup parmigiano reggiano cheese (grated)
1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
1/4 cup parmigiano reggiano cheese (grated)
Steam brussels sprouts in bag and microwave until just tender and set aside. Melt the butter in a saucepan. Mix in the flour and let simmer until it just starts to brown a little. Mix in the milk, cream, salt and pepper and cheeses and heat until it thickens. Mix brussels sprouts and sausage into the bechamel sauce and pour into a baking dish. Mix the bread crumbs and cheeses and sprinkle on top of the brussels sprouts. Bake in a preheated 350F oven until it is bubbling on the sides and golden brown on top, about 15-20 minutes.
Workouts Update: I ran yesterday outside with my friend Kimmy during lunch.  4 miles at 8:50 pace.  Today I took off from working out.  Not on purpose- but I just coudn't get out of bed!  Tomorrow morning I am hoping to run 7-8 miles.  Saturday I am taking off and Sunday I am running with my brother for 18 MILES!
Edited to Add:  Just ran 4 of the hardest miles of my life this morning (Friday) on the treadmill.  My legs were heavy, my stomach hurt and I felt slow.  Maybe I will run a bit tomorrow outside but maybe I will just wait for Long-Run Sunday.  You ready Mikey?

Happy Good Weather Weekend!


  1. I looove polenta! And I must say that is a beautiful picture :)

  2. I will give it a try, but I will probably slam into the wall hard at mile 15

  3. The polenta tasted great! But the fact that it was smothered in cheese really improved the situation.