Monday, April 16, 2012

Eat Your Greens...and Enjoy Them! (That's an order!)

When I began making an effort to get healthy, I would hear about greens and how good they were for you and how they were super foods and yada yada yada (I probably rolled my eyes, too). I had no idea what "greens" were or how to cook them. Not only that, but the thought of eating warm, wet, slimy greens was...shall we say...less than appealing.  But as with so many different foods throughout this process, I've discovered just how good that green stuff can be! 

I wish someone would have taken me by the hand and given me a tour of the "greens" section of the grocery store. I didn't like feeling like I didn't know what I was doing...but everybody's gotta start somewhere, I guess. Obviously these are not the only "greens" out there, but I thought I'd just list my top three favorites with photos and a simple recipe that will work for any one of them. 

My husband is a huge fan of kale - that's his favorite. I, however, am a big fan of swiss chard and collard greens. I find their flavor to be a bit more mellow and mild than kale when they've been sauteed. I tell you, I eat them this way and I feel like it's practically dessert. Here's my simple recipe:

Melt-In-Your-Mouth Greens

2 tablespoons olive oil
one onion, chopped
two bunches of greens (kale, collard greens, or chard - or a combination of each)  
two large cloves (or three little ones) garlic, minced
1 cup chicken stock (or water, if you don't have any stock on hand)
salt + pepper to taste

First, heat olive oil in a large skillet or Dutch oven. Add the chopped onions and saute them until translucent. While onions are cooking, I prepare the greens by slicing the leaves off their center stems (the stem is fibrous and difficult to chew) and then chopping them into pieces (roughly a couple of inches square). Once the onions have become nearly translucent, add the greens to the pan. Add the chopped garlic and salt (I usually throw in a couple of pinches, probably about half a teaspoon worth?) and pepper (probably about 1/4 teaspoon). Saute the greens for a couple of minutes until they look "wilted". Then, add the chicken stock or water. Bring it to a boil, then reduce heat to simmer and cover. Simmer for about 10-15 minutes, or until the greens are nice and tender. Enjoy!

This is my Swiss chard in the pan last night, after I had sauteed them for a couple of minutes, but before I simmered them. (They got eaten so fast by my hungry family, I didn't get a chance to take a picture when they were finished.) They will lose much of their lovely green color during the cooking process, but don't let their wilted appearance at the end fool you...not only are they the most nutrient-dense food you can possibly serve your family, but they also happen to be delicious! I've been completely converted.

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