With Thanksgiving just days away and far-away relatives coming in to visit, my holiday preparations have gone into high gear. While there is plenty to do before the turkey hits the table, I refuse to be stressed out by unnecessary complications in the kitchen. I’m making sure I have plenty of room on my plate (literally and figuratively) by keeping my recipes simple to make and at least a smidgen healthy. One of the featured side dishes I’ll be serving is my Ranch Kale and Quinoa Casserole.
Kale is one of my favorite super foods because of its versatility; this dark leafy green can be served raw, blended, sautéed or even baked into a chip. According to Medical News Today, kale is abundantly rich in vitamins A, C and K and is also a good source for calcium, potassium, iron and other essential minerals. I always knew kale was a low calorie food but I just recently learned that it has protein – a one cup serving has 40 calories and 3 grams of protein! Combine the windfall of protein found in kale with protein-rich quinoa and you’ve got the makings for a really satiating side dish or even a vegetarian entrée. When the kids, cousins or your old-school great uncle start fussing about how good-for-you ingredients like kale and quinoa don’t taste so great, quell their concerns by holding up a bottle of Litehouse Food’s Homestyle Ranch Dressing. Yup, instead of taking the time to make a roux or dumping in a can of “cream of something” soup, I simply added a cup of ranch dressing to keep the experience creamy and comforting. Everyone loves ranch dressing and Litehouse Food’s Homestyle Ranch Dressing is a true classic made with fresh herbs and canola oil for a healthier flavor profile. For a casual, down-home presentation, just toss all the ingredients into a cast iron skillet and bake in the oven until bubbling up with goodness. However, if you’re hosting a more upscale meal, this same side dish recipe can be divided up into individual ramekins prior to baking and then drizzled with additional ranch before serving. This recipe doesn’t use the whole bottle of ranch dressing, so pour the remainder into a small bowl and serve with an assortment of fresh veggies for your guests to nosh on while they wait for dinner to be served. Or, assemble individual ranch and veggie cups by spooning a dollop of ranch dressing into a small cup and adding an assortment of dippers like carrots, snap peas, cucumber slices on top – kids love these!