high-five weekend.

This weekend, I…

1. Ate meat for the first time in 6 months.

If you’re wondering how I know that it’s been exactly 6 months since I last ate meat, it’s because on April 16, I decided to go without.  I don’t know.  Something about the weather, the fresh seasonal vegetables.  I had a love affair with vegetables and I didn’t want to miss out on one single fresh tomato.

So.  I just decided that I didn’t need meat, although I still cooked it for the family.

Until this weekend, that is.  That’s when Dad made his beer can chicken and I felt the familiar return of a longing for heartier, autumn inspired meals.  Butternut squash.  Kale.  Chicken stew.  A little meat with a preference for produce.  And that’s that.

2. Cooked with wine for my very first time.

I realize that I’m far, far behind in this avenue, but I do try my best to be honest with you guys.  So there you have it.  I have never before cooked with wine (or any alcohol, for that matter!)

But after tonight’s dinner, there may just be a new trend on the rise.

3. Ran six strong miles.

This is a very big deal for me.  I haven’t been running the distances since my half marathon, really.  To feel strong (pain free!) is huge.  No injuries in sight!  Feeling good.  Who knows where this will take me? 😉

4. Ate a muffin for each and every breakfast.  

That’s how I role.

(Stay tuned for the uber easy, uber delicious recipe!)

5. Fell in love with parsnips.

Gosh, I never thought I’d hear myself saying that.

I really did hesitate before throwing that one pound bag of parsnips into my shopping cart.  Not only do they look like very pale and sickly carrots, I have a horribly bad experience with them.  I first tried them in a casserole dish and (apparently) I hadn’t washed them thoroughly.  The result was a very bitter, very gritty dinner.  You can see why I hold such a grudge?

But I threw that little ninety-nine cent bag into my cart and told the eager little vegetable that I was giving it one more shot (don’t worry, I don’t actually talk to my vegetables…not usually, anyways.)

Maybe it was the white wine that went into the dish, hitting just the right note.  Or the very bright and seasonal kale mixed with caramelized onions.  Who knows?  All I know is that I found myself picking away at the bottom of the cooking pan after all was said and done, just to get one more last bite of sweet and tender parsnips.

So yes.  I’d call that love.

Pasta with Kale, Caramelized Onions and Parsnips–modified recipe, based on the original Cooking Light recipe.

This recipe is easy to throw together.  The most time consuming part is the chopping, which can be done the day before if you’re in a hurry.  Enjoy the leftovers for a quick lunch the following day.  Enjoy!

(serves 4-6)

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 3 cups (1/3-inch) diagonally cut parsnip (about 1 pound)
  • 2 1/2 cups thinly sliced onion
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh (or dried) thyme
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 8 cups trimmed chopped kale (about 3 bunches)
  • 1/2 cup low-sodium vegetable broth
  • 8 ounces uncooked penne pasta
  • 1/2 cup (2 ounces) shaved Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add parsnip to pan; cook 12 minutes or until tender and browned, stirring occasionally. Place in a large bowl; keep warm.

2. Heat remaining 1 tablespoon oil in pan over medium-low heat. Add onion to pan; cook 20 minutes or until tender and golden brown, stirring occasionally. Stir in thyme and garlic; cook 2 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add wine; cook 3 minutes or until liquid almost evaporates. Stir in kale and broth; cook, covered, 5 minutes or until kale is tender. Uncover; cook 4 minutes or until kale is very tender, stirring occasionally.

3. Cook pasta according to package directions, omitting salt and fat. Drain pasta in a sieve over a bowl, reserving 3/4 cup cooking liquid. Add drained pasta to kale mixture. Stir in parsnips, 1/2 cup reserved cooking liquid, cheese, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper; cook for 1 minute or until thoroughly heated. Add remaining 1/4 cup cooking liquid if needed to moisten. Pass around extra cheese at the table.  Enjoy!

QUESTION: What did you do this weekend?


13 comments on “high-five weekend.

  1. dottylizzy says:

    Aww, this is such a lovely post!! It sounds like you have had a deliciously homey weekend!! 🙂
    My weekend? Well, it’s been my birthday weekend!!! 😉 So I had curry with lovely friends on Saturday evening, my hubby bought and helped me cook a fry-up on Sunday, then we had a Fusion/Thai takeaway dinner today with a bottle of champagne to celebrate my birthday and the hubby’s PHD!! 🙂 Isn’t October the best month for birthdays?!? 😉

  2. sofia says:

    what a fabulous weekend. chicken is my main meal and i have no shame. can you explain this beer can chicken to me? i’m intrigued.

    this weekend i… helped a brother (er, my brother) out, celebrated, went hiking in the catskills… and that’s about it!

    • The beer can chicken is my Dad’s territory, but he claims it’s the easiest thing ever.

      Apply your favorite rub to the chicken (we use Weber’s beer-can chicken rub recipe.) Pour out half a can of beer. Pop the chicken with the rub onto the can so that the can is holding it up right. Place on the grill in indirect heat (heat distributed on both sides, not directly underneath it.) Cook 1-1/2 to 2 hours, checking with a thermometer occasionally until it reaches at least 165.

      And that’s that. It’s pretty hands off (no flipping or turning or continuous checking!) Check out weber.com for more details…they’re the grilling gurus when it comes to the beer can chicken. 😀

  3. BroccoliHut says:

    I only recently discovered the joys of cooking with wine too–it makes fish taste lovely!

  4. Emily Clark says:

    Sounds wonderful! I love experimenting with new-to-me foods. I might have to give parsnips a try!

  5. Becky Sue says:

    That last shot is beautiful with the steam rising from the plate! When I graduated from college I reflected back and couldn’t remember the last time I ate red meat so I decided that I didn’t need it anymore. I haven’t eaten red meat since and we are talking many years. Good for you on the six miles! I’ve been doing 5 twice a week and I’ve signed up for a couple 5k’s in November.

    • Thanks, Becky! 😀

      And that’s awesome that you’ve signed up for some 5k’s. I keep saying that I need to do this, but have been continuously putting it off. Today, thanks to you, I’ll actually register. 😀

  6. Was the chicken good? Haha 😉

  7. sarah says:

    This sounds so good!

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