Polenta, turkey, and kale casserole

Polenta, turkey, and kale casserole | Me & The Moose. This casserole requires one oven-safe pan, a few simple ingredients, and is an easy, fast, healthy, and delicious meal for any busy night. #meandthemoose #kalerecipes #polentarecipes #kalepesto #dinnerrecipes #onepotcooking #fastdinnerrecipes #casseroles

I don’t know if the abundance of sugar, salt, and fat change my tastebuds during the holidays, but I always struggle to live by the 80/20 rule in December. I indulge with the eating and drinking and then swear I’m going to be healthy the next day, but the healthy stuff never feels all that satisfying or tastes all that good. So I end up like a moth to a flame with the treats.

But you know what? I don’t have to toggle between bland salads and a dozen cookies. This polenta casserole may just be the middle ground: It’s still delicious and a little indulgent with a garlicky pesto and plenty of cheese on top, but it also features kale and ground turkey breast and is the perfect vehicle for any of those leftover veggies in your fridge that are about to go bad. Throw them in and see what happens!

I used my own kale pesto recipe, but cut down on the oil and nuts. But for ease, feel free to use any store-bought pesto that you can find. And to up the nutrition, add any veggies you have in your fridge. You may need to add a bit more pesto to cover the extra ingredients.

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Polenta, turkey, and kale casserole | Me & The Moose. This casserole requires one oven-safe pan, a few simple ingredients, and is an easy, fast, healthy, and delicious meal for any busy night. #meandthemoose #kalerecipes #polentarecipes #kalepesto #dinnerrecipes #onepotcooking #fastdinnerrecipes #casseroles
Polenta, turkey, and kale casserole | Me & The Moose. This casserole requires one oven-safe pan, a few simple ingredients, and is an easy, fast, healthy, and delicious meal for any busy night. #meandthemoose #kalerecipes #polentarecipes #kalepesto #dinnerrecipes #onepotcooking #fastdinnerrecipes #casseroles

Polenta casserole

1-2 Tbsp olive oil
2 lb ground turkey
Large pinch of salt
¾-1 cup kale pesto (recipe below)
1 log premade polenta
½ cup mozzarella, shredded
½ cup hard gouda (not the softer, smoked variety), shredded
¼ cup grated parmesan

Preheat oven to 425.

In a large oven-safe sauté pan, heat the olive oil over medium flame. Turn the heat to medium-low and sauté the ground turkey until no pink remains and it has just begun to brown, about 7-10 minutes. Season with a large pinch of salt.

Turn off the heat and stir in the kale pesto.

Slice the polenta log into 1/4 –inch pieces and layer over the turkey and pesto.

Top with cheese and cook in the oven for 13-15 minutes, until the cheese is brown and bubbling.  

Yield: 4 servings

Kale pesto

4 cups packed chopped kale
1/4 cup toasted walnuts
2 garlic cloves
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp salt
4 Tbsp olive oil

Bring a medium pot of water to a boil and fill another large bowl with ice water. Wash and chop kale, leaving the middle stems.

When water is at a rolling boil, add the kale and swirl with a slotted spoon a few times. After 1-2 minutes, remove it from the boiling water and add it to the bowl of ice water. Drain the kale (gently squeeze out the water) and add to your blender or food processor.

Roast the walnuts in a 350 oven or toaster oven for about 5 minutes or until just lightly browned and starting to smell nutty. You can also toast them in a sauté pan on the stove top. When browned, add them to the blender or food processor as well.

Add the garlic, salt, and lemon juice and start to blend, slowly adding the olive oil in a thin stream. If using a small food processor or a blender without a top that opens, just add the oil with the rest of the ingredients and process together. Blend until you've reached your desired consistency.

Yield: about 1 cup

Polenta, turkey, and kale casserole | Me & The Moose. This casserole requires one oven-safe pan, a few simple ingredients, and is an easy, fast, healthy, and delicious meal for any busy night. #meandthemoose #kalerecipes #polentarecipes #kalepesto #dinnerrecipes #onepotcooking #fastdinnerrecipes #casseroles

Healthy-ish pizza rolls

Healthy-ish pizza rolls | Me & The Moose. Whole wheat pizza crust, kale pesto, and turkey salami make these lunchbox friendly pizza rolls (just swap the walnuts in the kale pesto for sunflower or pumpkin seeds or leave them out entirely) a healthier pizza option. #meandthemoose #pizzarolls #healthypizzarecipes #healthypizza #lunchboxideas #lunchboxrecipes #lunch #pizza

Today is Pi day and Friday is St. Patrick's Day and the closest we're getting to a themed meal here at M&TM headquarters is kale pesto pizza rollups which are just barely a pizza "pie" and just barely green. Needs must.

We love pizza around these parts, but pizza doesn't always love us. First of all, it's bad for you. Second, it's a mess. A toddler with pizza grease and tomato sauce all over him is just a prelude to an APARTMENT with pizza grease and tomato sauce all over it. These rolls solve these problems: They're a bit healthier, using whole wheat pizza dough (pre-made from Whole Foods because my laziness is well documented on this blog), turkey salami, part-skim mozzarella, and kale pesto. But they really don't skimp on flavor. These rolls also keep well in the fridge or freezer as long as they're re-crisped well in the toaster or the oven before being eaten. 

Healthy-ish pizza rolls | Me & The Moose. Whole wheat pizza crust, kale pesto, and turkey salami make these lunchbox friendly pizza rolls (just swap the walnuts in the kale pesto for sunflower or pumpkin seeds or leave them out entirely) a healthier pizza option. #meandthemoose #pizzarolls #healthypizzarecipes #healthypizza #lunchboxideas #lunchboxrecipes #lunch #pizza

To get this cleaner, healthier version of pizza, you have to do a tiny bit more work than just slapping some sauce and cheese on a rolled out dough and popping it into the oven, though not much more. First, you have to roll the dough into a rectangle, which can take a bit of doing. Make sure your sauce layer is thin since overfilling the middles can cause the rolls to fall apart. You also want to be stingy with the cheese and salami (if using) for the same reason. But the rolling up means that you'll still get tons of cheese and toppings in each bite. 

I took Sally from Sally's Baking Addiction's advice about refrigerating the dough and fillings for 30 minutes after rolling them into a log, but before cutting and cooking them, but I'm not completely sure it was necessary as I've made these without that extra step and found the rolls similarly loose. A few pieces of advice: Try to make this roll as tight as possible. Use your sharpest knife to cut the rolls and don't make them more than 1-inch wide. Also, feel free to tighten and crimp the outside layer of the dough as you transfer the cut pieces to the baking sheet. 

Healthy-ish pizza rolls | Me & The Moose. Whole wheat pizza crust, kale pesto, and turkey salami make these lunchbox friendly pizza rolls (just swap the walnuts in the kale pesto for sunflower or pumpkin seeds or leave them out entirely) a healthier pizza option. #meandthemoose #pizzarolls #healthypizzarecipes #healthypizza #lunchboxideas #lunchboxrecipes #lunch #pizza

Pizza rolls

1 store-bought or homemade whole wheat pizza dough
½ cup kale pesto (scant)
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
3 Tbsp parmesan cheese
4-5 oz Turkey salami or pepperoni
1/8 cup corn meal
Tomato sauce for dipping

Preheat the oven to 425 and line a baking pan with parchment paper. Roll or press out the pizza dough on a separate piece of lightly floured parchment paper until it’s about 1/8 inch thick. Spread a very thin layer of the kale pesto over top and make sure to get all the way to the edges of the dough. Sprinkle with mozzarella. Add salami or pepperoni if using.

Along the longer side, start rolling the dough as tightly as you can. Continue rolling until the dough and fillings form a log. Transfer the log and parchment paper to a baking pan and chill for 30 minutes (or not, see above note).

After chilling, cut 1-inch pieces from the roll and dip one cut side into the corn meal to prevent sticking. Place the cornmeal crusted side on the parchment-lined baking sheet. Once all the pieces are cut, sprinkle lightly with parmesan and bake for 15-18 minutes until the outsides are golden brown.

Yield: about 15 rolls

Healthy-ish pizza rolls | Me & The Moose. Whole wheat pizza crust, kale pesto, and turkey salami make these lunchbox friendly pizza rolls (just swap the walnuts in the kale pesto for sunflower or pumpkin seeds or leave them out entirely) a healthier pizza option. #meandthemoose #pizzarolls #healthypizzarecipes #healthypizza #lunchboxideas #lunchboxrecipes #lunch #pizza

January Whole 30! (and Kale pesto!)

Kale pesto | Me & The Moose. If you’re doing a January Whole 30, cutting down on dairy, or just looking to add more nutrients and veggies anywhere you can, make this kale-packed sauce that is equal parts tasty and healthy. #meandthemoose #januarywhole30 #whole30 #whole30recipes #kalerecipes #kale #kalepesto #pestorecipes

Friends! It's Whole 30 times again. If you want to read about our first go round with this way of eating, check out this post, this post, this post, this post, and this post. And if that last one depressed you about Whole 30 (it depressed me!), read this post that was a little more uplifting after I had some distance from those first 30 days. Technically speaking, we've been easing into this Whole 30 since Christmas because we lost track of how many cookies, cakes, bars, appetizers, cocktails, and glasses of wine we had during the holidays. And technically speaking, yesterday was our first day of this Whole 30. However, today feels like Sunday (even though it's Monday) and since it's the first day of the official #JanuaryWhole30, it felt like the right time to post.

This month, I'll be publishing only Whole 30-compliant recipes here and on Instagram that we're eating regularly and that we also feed to M. Because the only thing harder than doing a Whole 30, is doing it with a kid. While he's not actually doing Whole 30 with us (he'll be eating plenty of grains, legumes, and dairy), I don't want to cook much for him that isn't acceptable for us too because, a) I don't have that much self-control; b) we're making super healthy stuff, so why wouldn't we want to feed it to our kid?; and c) I'm lazy. 

A couple of things we've done to prep for this Whole 30: 
1) Roast a ton of vegetables (and I mean, A TON). At the beginning of a Whole 30, I get really snack-y and while part of the program is about checking in with yourself before grazing to make sure that you're physically hungry and not mentally hungry, the first week is really hard and doing a little damage control is helpful. And by damage control, I mean, cooking things that you can snack on that are Whole 30. Once you get into the swing of things, you can work on eliminating those extras.

2) Stock the fridge and freezer with things that are easy to throw onto a sheet pan or into a pressure cooker. In our freezer right now: Salmon, shrimp, cod, Whole 30 compliant chicken sausages, ground chicken, and skinless, boneless chicken thighs. 

3) Make/buy all of the sauces:
Ketchup, BBQ sauce, and mustard
Mayonnaise
Basil Pesto
Caesar dressing
Romesco
Chimichurri
 

Kale pesto | Me & The Moose. If you’re doing a January Whole 30, cutting down on dairy, or just looking to add more nutrients and veggies anywhere you can, make this kale-packed sauce that is equal parts tasty and healthy. #meandthemoose #januarywhole30 #whole30 #whole30recipes #kalerecipes #kale #kalepesto #pestorecipes

Kale pesto

Adapted from The Kitchn
4 cups packed chopped kale
1/2 cup toasted walnuts
2 garlic cloves
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp salt
6 Tbsp olive oil

Bring a medium pot of water to a boil and fill another large bowl about half way with ice water. Wash and chop kale, but don’t worry about removing the tough stems because everything will be blended anyway. When water is at a rolling boil, add the kale and swirl with a slotted spoon a few times. When kale is a bit wilted (about 1-2 minutes), remove it from the boiling water and immediately add it to the bowl of ice water. I don’t drain the kale very thoroughly (I just take it out of the water and shake it a few times) because I think a little extra water helps to thin the sauce without adding more oil, but you can pat the kale dry if you want a thicker pesto. Add to your blender or food processor.

Roast the walnuts in a 350 oven or toaster oven for about 5 minutes or until just lightly browned and starting to smell nutty. You can also toast them in a sauté pan on the stove top. When browned, add them to the blender or food processor as well.

Add the garlic, salt, and lemon juice and start to blend, slowly adding the olive oil in a thin stream. If using a small food processor or a blender without a top that opens, just add the oil with the rest of the ingredients and process together. Blend until you've reached your desired consistency.

Yield: 1.25 cups or 10.5 oz

Kale pesto | Me & The Moose. If you’re doing a January Whole 30, cutting down on dairy, or just looking to add more nutrients and veggies anywhere you can, make this kale-packed sauce that is equal parts tasty and healthy. #meandthemoose #januarywhole30 #whole30 #whole30recipes #kalerecipes #kale #kalepesto #pestorecipes