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I’m Andrea. I like to cook and bake and take photographs and write about life. Welcome to Bella Eats, where I share these passions of mine with you. I’m glad you’re here.

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Monday
Jan262009

swiss chard, i think i love you

I am a BIG fan of leafy greens.  Collards, kale, mustard greens...you name it, I probably like it.  Except for swiss chard.  I've never been convinced of swiss chard.  Now to be fair, I haven't given it many chances.  I made a chard gratin many years ago with the stems and it turned out mushy and bland.  I sauteed the leaves and they were a little bitter.  And then I gave up because I already had a long-term relationship with collard greens and didn't really feel the need to rock the boat.  

090126-d4

Last week I decided that maybe it was time to give chard another chance, in the name of trying new things and expanding my veggie-loving horizons.  I bought 2 bunches and planned to try preparing them using this recipe.  And then I got busy, and the chard went bad.  So on Saturday I bought another two bunches and made sure to plan a meal with them at the beginning of the week so that there wouldn't be a repeat of last week's waste.  

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We had a couple of ingredients in the fridge leftover from this weekend, bacon and heavy cream, two items I don't get to cook with very often in my quest to eat healthfully.  So, in the name of not wanting to waste more ingredients in my fridge, this recipe was born.

Swiss Chard + Bacon Linguine with Butternut Squash Cream Sauce

makes 4 servings

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound swiss chard, preferably rainbow or red-stem

  • 1/4 pound bacon

  • 1 small onion, chopped

  • 8oz butternut squash puree'

  • 1/2 cup heavy cream

  • 1/2 cup parmesan cheese, grated

  • 3/4 pound whole wheat linguine

  • salt + pepper


Method:

  1. Wash chard and separate leaves from stems.  Course chop both, separately.

  2. Boil linguine for 10-12 minutes, until al dente.  Drain and set aside.

  3. Fry bacon in large, nonstick skillet.  Set aside on paper towels.

  4. Saute' onion in nonstick skillet for 2 minutes, until translucent.  Add chard stems and saute' for an additional 2 minutes, stirring frequently.  Add 1/2 cup of water to pan along with chard leaves.  Cover with a cookie sheet and allow to simmer for 3-5 minutes until stems are tender. Remove from heat and keep warm.

  5. Whisk squash and cream together over medium high heat.  Bring just to a boil then lower heat to simmer, whisking constantly.  As sauce thickens add parmesan cheese, salt and pepper.  Remove from heat.

  6. Pile noodles on plate.  Drizzle with a bit of sauce.  Add chard mixture and crumble bacon on top.  Drizzle additional sauce across the chard.


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This was really delicious.  Swiss chard and I are now good friends, and I think we have quite the future ahead of us... What vegetable have you tried in the past but written off because of an unpleasant first experience?

090126-d6

Ahh routine.  I LOVED spending so much time with friends this weekend and having an excuse to eat several meals out and drink lots of wine, but my body is thanking me for getting back on track.  I was starting to feel a little blah what with all the unhealthy eats, vino and lack of exercise due to a sore foot, so today was definitely a welcome change.  Granted, my dinner included a small amount of bacon and cream, but at least it was whole and homemade.  :)

I started the morning off inspired by the custard oats I've seen pop up on both Sarah's and Heather's blogs.  These two ladies are really fabulous, and their blogs are daily reads of mine. Check them out if you haven't yet!

Breakfast:  custard oats topped with cinnamon, flax seeds, dried figs and a PB spoon.

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To make the custard oats I combined 1/2 cup soymilk, 1/2 cup water, 2 egg whites and 1 tsp vanilla in a small pot on the stovetop.  I set the heat way too high and walked away from the stove, resulting in a very smelly mess of boiled over milk and eggs.  Thank goodness for glass cooktops!  Yuck.  I didn't want to give up, so I quickly jumped back on Heather's blog to read that I was supposed to keep the heat on medium and whisk the ingredients constantly until they thicken a bit.  MUCH better.  At this point I added 1/2 cup of rolled oats and kept the heat on medium, stirring occasionally for 8-10 minutes.  After the oats had thickened quite a bit more, but were still a little runny, I removed the pot from the heat and covered it to allow for additional thickening while cooling.

I topped my bowl with:

  • a sprinkle of cinnamon

  • 1 tsp flax seeds

  • 1 dried fig

  • 1 tbsp natural peanut butter


The verdict?  Well, the oats were certainly very creamy, but I think I prefer the texture of my standard oats much better.  The banana doesn't cream-ify the oats quite as much, and lends such a wonderful sweetness to the whole bowl.  With the egg whites I kept thinking I could taste them, and worried about whether or not they were actually cooked.  Eggs freak me out a little. Don't judge.  :)  I'm glad that I tried them though, thanks ladies!

Lunch:  the other 1/2 of my Amy's Curried Lentil Soup and a big salad.  Look familiar?  It was SO welcome.

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090126-l3

This beauty contained:

  • spinach

  • red bell pepper

  • cucumber

  • hearts of palm

  • garbonzo beans

  • a tangelo

  • poppyseed dressing


YUM!  I finally remembered to take a picture of the dressing bottle for you too.  Its SO tasty, but definitely not low-cal.  Does anybody know of a good low-cal creamy poppyseed dressing?  I'd love to know about it!  I'm addicted to poppyseed dressing on top of fruit on top of salad. The bottle says that its good drizzled on fresh peaches...hmmmm.  

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Snack:  a peanut butter cookie larabar.  After witnessing several of my fellow bloggers ignore the salmonella scare and refuse to waste their favorite bars, I decided to do the same.  Its my favorite flavor, and I can't find them ANYWHERE (or at least can't remember where I found this one) so I decided to risk it. Probably stupid, huh?  It was tasty though!  :)

090126-s1

Ok, this post has been really long.  I'll quickly tell you that I didn't get a run in tonight because I had to work late, but my foot is feeling much better! There is still slight pain, so its probably best that I gave it another day before pounding the pavement.  I do have plans for some yoga tomorrow morning though, and I can't wait!

Oh, and I almost forgot!  Look what was waiting for me when I got home tonight...Quaker True Delights bars from Foodbuzz!!!

090126-d2

I've been dying to try these new bars from Quaker since seeing them on Jenna's and Kath's blogs last fall, so of course I said YES when Foodbuzz asked if I wanted to try them!  Thanks Foodbuzz!!!

The hubb and I split the dark raspberry almond flavor for dessert and it was SO good.  I think I'm in love with a new granola bar...move over Kashi!  :)

Ok, now its bed time.  G'night!
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Reader Comments (32)

I had a bad first experience with brussels sprouts. They were steamed and that's it. No flavor, no nothing. Lucky for me, I had them roasted a few years later and they've been a favorite vegetable ever since. :-)

01.26.2009 | Unregistered Commentersweetandnatural

I bought a bottle of that dressing after seeing you mention it the other day. It is tasty! I find a little goes a long way, so I'm not too worried about the calorie content.

Swiss chard is one of those veggies I may need to warm up to. I bought it at the farmers market a few years back and the recipe I used just tasted kind of bitter and gross. Your meal looks great! I really want to love swiss chard because it's such a beautiful vegetable. :)

Do you have Ukrops in Charlottesville? I found peanut butter larabars at the one in Fredericksburg. My local stores don't carry them.

01.26.2009 | Unregistered CommenterLaura

Yum! Lovely eats for the day..And I still can't get over that photography!

01.26.2009 | Unregistered Commentercourtneym415

As a kid I haaaated broccoli. I remember many dessert-less nights because my parents couldn't get me to finish that vegetable lol. However, now that my tastes have "matured" I have no problem with broccoli!

I've never had swiss chard before. Maybe I should give that a try soon and see just how far I've come as a veggie lover!

01.26.2009 | Unregistered CommenterAmelia

I love your plates! They are so pretty.

01.26.2009 | Unregistered CommenterNicole

Oh my gosh, that dinner sounds and looks divine. Of course, you really can't go wrong with bacon and cream. I love Swiss chard, but rarely purchase it. I need to remember to get some soon! Thanks for the reminder...and thanks for the shout-out. So sweet. I'm glad you tried the custard oats. They are definitely different from a banana sweetened bowl.

Ha-I've always wanted to try the peach/poppyseed combo after reading the suggestion on the bottle. I bet it is good!

So glad the foot is feeling better. Hope you enjoy your morning yoga. My favorite way to start the day.

Oh, and about any veggies I've written off...none. Love them all although I wouldn't dare touch a sweet potato or broccoli back in the day. I never had a bad experience with either...I just never tried them as a child. Once I did, there was no looking back. I'm a veggie addict :)

Hm, I *think* I love swiss chard, but maybe it's only when it's cooked well by other people. I'm a bit afraid of trying it on my own, lest it turn out mushy, bitter, or otherwise disappointing.

I love that Brianna's poppyseed dressing. Yay opiate dressings!

01.27.2009 | Unregistered CommenterMica

Thanks for the shout out. Sorry the oats didn't really do it for you, but at least you tried, right?

Maple Grove Farms makes an AWESOME fat free poppyseed dressing. I love it. I think poppyseed dressing is the best dressing to tie in random salad ingredients, especially fruit!

I'm so glad your foot is feeling better!!! Just don't push it ;)

Freebies rock.

01.27.2009 | Unregistered Commentersarahannmatheny

I think the message is that I should start eating greens other than spinach, yes?

Would you believe I never ate sweet potatoes! Mark's mom once cut and cooked them in a way that I thought they were roasted carrots. I've been in love ever since.

01.27.2009 | Unregistered CommenterHangryPants

I grew up eating more swiss chard than spinach but these days dont eat much at all. I Love the recipe!! I'll give it a try this weekend! Thanks!!

Im the opposite- I prefer the creamy texture of my egg whitey oats...except I do think I make them a bit thicker than yours, however, yum!

YAY for Foodbuzz and the bars!!! :)

01.27.2009 | Unregistered CommenterJen

I don't think I have ever had swiss chard.
There are plenty of vegetables that I had given up on and now enjoy eating on a regular basis. I am all about second chances. I think this year I have taken several things I didn't think I enjoyed and worked them into my daily eats. :)

Also, I am so with you on the PB Larabar. :)

01.27.2009 | Unregistered CommenterMeghann

I ADORE swiss chard!! And your breakfast :-D

I threw out all of my PB Cookie Larabars :-( But it's all good since Larabar sent me a full refund $$ for them :-)

Happy Tuesday!!

01.27.2009 | Unregistered CommenterVeggieGirl

I love swiss chard! So delicious.

Your custard oats sound fabulous, I love baked oatmeal...which uses the same ingredients but I use egg-replacer.

Aww, I'm so jealous of the PB cookie lara! I threw mine away...BOO!!

01.27.2009 | Unregistered CommenterShelby

Your pasta dish sounds great! The swiss chard, butternut squash, and whole wheat pasta cancel out the bacon and heavy cream :)
As a kid, I didn't like many veggies (what kid does?) but I loooove them now!

01.27.2009 | Unregistered CommenterLauren

That meal is making me drool. You are so creative in the kitchen! That dish reminds me of one of my favorite things at a great restaurant. Mmmm.

01.27.2009 | Unregistered CommenterErin

The only thing close to swiss chard I have tried, wait this isn't even similar, basically the only dark leafy green I eat is spinach! But I'm thinkin that a butternut squash cream sauce could really win me over... it looks delish, thanks =)

01.27.2009 | Unregistered CommenterSweet and Fit

all of your food looks amazing - as usual!

with those figs - you just cut them up and eat every part? i saw them at TJ's the other day, but then i was like "oh well, do you pull of the stem, or do you eat it" - I'm such a baby about trying new things!

01.27.2009 | Unregistered CommenterAllison

brussel sprouts for me. :(
I wanted to tell you - I've always seen you eating Oikos on here but had never heard/tried it. We went to the grocery store for a quick dessert and decided on blackberries and yogurt. THere was the Oikos when we went down the yogurt aisle and I figured we'd give it a go. It was DELICIOUS! Thanks for opening our eyes to something new. :)

01.27.2009 | Unregistered CommenterPruett&Daphne

Your dinner looks fabulous! The veggie I wrote off - both mushrooms (which I'm ADDICTED to now) and asparagus.

Hooray for free samples! I love your glass dishes - so chic :)

01.27.2009 | Unregistered Commenterksgoodeats

i wont ever try brussell sprouts.. lol nope not ever! i draw the line there!

im not a big mushroom fan either, but i will cook with them, just no raw mushrooms though.

those bars look tasty- i cant eat them because they have coconut in them : ( i had to give my box that i bought to my sister..

01.27.2009 | Unregistered CommenterMariposa

BTW.. enjoy your snowstorm you are getting today! im getting calls about panicked people who need orders shipped and our plant is closing down at 3.. lol too bad for them!

01.27.2009 | Unregistered CommenterMariposa

homemade?
1/4 cup low fat yogurt, preferably Greek drained yogurt
Zest and juice of one lemon
1 tablespoon sugar or sugar substitute
1 tablespoon poppy seeds
1/4 cup olive or canola oil

01.27.2009 | Unregistered Commenteremlod10

Your pasta dish is so creative and looks amazing! I don't think I've ever ventured into the Swiss Chard world ... this recipe may convince me to do so!!

01.27.2009 | Unregistered Commenterrunningwithfood

I've had bad experiences with cauliflower- i've always thought i was so bland and blase and gross! Actually i still do :D I want to try roasting or sauteeing it to give it some flav! No worries i've had like 2 pb lara's in the past week- still alive!!

01.27.2009 | Unregistered Commentercarolinebee

Does that True Delight wrapper say Coconut Banana? Holy yum!

I had an unfortunate incident with broccoli rabe one time that makes me shudder every time I see it in a recipe. I've never tried Swiss charde. Your post is inspiring me.

01.27.2009 | Unregistered CommenterKatie

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