Fast Five Ways to Enjoy Swiss Chard

Oh, Swiss Chard! The spinach of midsummer, hearty-but-light leafy green that can deal with a Central Illinois July!! Full of potassium and Vitamins A, C, and K!!

In case swiss chard doesn’t inspire your meal prep thinking, though, here are five ideas for dishes that use such common ingredients, they might not even require a trip to the store.

 

 

  1. In a Frittatta. We’re spoiled for local eggs around here, which are absolutely delicious. If you have a well-seasoned cast iron skillet, use it. If not, an oven-safe skillet will work. You want to saute your vegetables first: onion, garlic, greens, potatoes, etc. Beat the eggs in a bowl, then fold in the vegetables, and pour it all back in the hot (medium-high temp) buttered skillet. Spread out gently to distribute the vegetables, and let it cook without disturbing it, until you can see that the sides are set. Then, put in the oven at 400F for about 10 minutes to cook the middle. Or, you can leave it on the stovetop a little longer, and then put under the broiler to finish. I like to add some parmesan or asiago cheese to the top before putting it under the broiler. You can use the ribs in this, if you like; just start sauteeing them earlier than the leaves.
  2. With Polenta and Egg. I don’t generally use a recipe for this, but Bobby Flay’s generous use of butter and cheese for the polenta in this recipe definitely gets my thumbs up. Note that his recipe calls for mustard greens, but swiss chard makes a perfectly good substitute.
  3. With Beets and Goat Cheese. Since swiss chard is pretty much beet greens that have been bred for the qualities we desire in the leaves, cooking them up with the beet roots makes a certain kind of sense. I tend to think beets and goat cheese can do no wrong, and this recipe layers some additional flavors on and makes for a lovely-looking (and tasting!) dish to take or serve to company.
  4. In a Quinoa Salad with Goat Cheese. Just like its cousin the beet, swiss chard also likes having some goat cheese around! This recipe adds garlic, mushrooms and onions, and I’m pretty sure some toasted almond slices would be a delicious addition.
  5. With Potatoes and Garlic. This is just about the easiest swiss chard recipe I know of: boil some small potatoes, put them in a pan with the swiss chard and some oil and garlic (red pepper flakes, if you like some heat), and toss/smash until combined and the chard is cooked. Here’s another, for good measure; the addition of some vinegar is a nice touch.

Market Menu: July 29!

What to make when you have EVERYTHING available at the market? It’s almost hard to choose!!

Breakfasts:

I’m partial to toast and jam or steel-cut oats and peanut butter, but eggs are always a delicious breakfast option.

How to Poach an Egg, by a self-described terrible egg poacher – Smitten kitchen
Worth a read/try. I won’t swear by any method, as I am also a terrible egg poacher, but when you get it right, it’s so rewarding.

Muesli / Refrigerator Oats – Epicurious
I know this has been going around Pinterest for a while, but I can’t think of a better time of year to give it a try. No need to put anything on the stove, not even a pot of water. Check out the Ackermans at the market for local oats, and the Food Forest in Normal is bursting with berries that you can add as-is, or make into preserves.

Radish and Turnip Hash – The Kitchn
If you still have turnips taking up space in your produce drawer, (I do!), here’s a good and tasty way to use them up.

Lunches:

I found these at the grocery store last week while shopping for lunches and snacks for my office while absolutely HANGRY.

I was intrigued! Veggies I hadn’t thought to put together, chopped and raw, with just a small packet of salsa and some cheese, and you microwave them to soften and mix. They weren’t bad! But there’s no reason I can’t make these at home, since they involve no pre-cooking at all.

 

My version of the southwest nourish bowls is below. This made 7 portions, and I plan to add some chicken to them for lunches.

Ingredients:
1 sweet potato, diced
1 kohlrabi, diced
1/2 yellow onion, diced
1 bunch kale, chopped medium-fine
1 medium zucchini, chopped
1 jar (about 2 c.) corn & black bean salsa

You could also add egg or meat or tvp, for more protein (I brought some cheese to add to this one).

 

Other easy, packable lunches include:

Smashed Chickpea Salad – from ‘wichcraft, via Smitten Kitchen
Great on toasted bread, but untoasted would also work in a pinch, especially if you have something crusty like a baguette.

Hummus with Tomato and Cucumber – Smitten Kitchen
If you’re in the market for some pita bread to go with the hummus (and the dip below), check out local baker Chad Sanders’ pita at the Garlic Press or the Downtown Bloomington market — delicious!!

Smoky Eggplant dip – from David Liebovitz, via Smitten Kitchen
I like to do the eggplant on the grill, whole but with slots cut in the outside to stuff whole cloves of garlic into. Throw it on the grill after your meal has cooked, but before you turn the gas off. Leave it while you’re eating, just check on it before you reach for that second bratwurst. When it’s all wrinkly like this, blackened in a few areas, you’ll know it’s done. Set aside until it’s cool. Really — don’t try to handle it until at least after dessert and you’ve played a couple board games or watched a good movie. Scoop out the insides, and proceed with the recipe as written. I feel pretty confident you’ll thank me for the grill+garlic tip. It’s that good — and a totally different way to enjoy eggplant.

Add grilled chicken to any or all of the above, and you have a pretty flavorful lunchbox!

 

Dinners:

I’ve been making a lot of zoodles lately. Well, they’re almost zoodles… but really just thin-sliced zucchini, since I don’t own a spiralizer. Just saute them in a pan with some olive oil and pesto or tomato sauce (or even just some small tomatoes!) until they’re softened, then add some parmesan cheese on top when serving. Cook them like vegetables, but flavor-wise, treat them like pasta. Very tasty, one-pot, and not too time-consuming.

There’s another zucchini-reliant dish I’ve been meaning to try for literally YEARS. I don’t know why I keep putting it off, but as soon as I get my hands on more squash, I’m making New Mexico-style Calabacitas. It’s a summer squash-corn saute with a little tomato, green chiles, cream and cheese. It’s mostly veg; the recipe above calls for 2# of squash and 2 c. of corn, and just 2 T butter, 1/4 c. half and half, and 1 c. grated cheese (both of which are optional).

With all the giant heirloom tomatoes available now, I’m planning to try this caprese quinoa casserole from Delish very soon. It makes use of lots of tomatoes and basil, garlic and shallots, and only takes a few more ingredients (quinoa, mozzarella, and balsamic vinegar). I grew up on cheeseburger pies, and I like that this is a sort of refined version of that. Though now I’m thinking about cheeseburger pie, and if you want to try it, here’s one from Chowhound that looks easy; and one from Food.com that looks like what my mom made (though we used shelf-stable pie crust sticks, which maybe don’t exist anymore? I haven’t seen them in ages). With all the local beef available here, and the broad customizability of this recipe, I should put these recipes into more of a regular rotation, I think!