I'm just a busy wife and mom who loves to cook (and hates to clean up afterward), balancing the many hats I wear and trying to look cool, calm, and collected while doing it...

Oh, and I rarely measure anything when I cook, so consider yourself warned. Love good food. Try new things. Eat to your heart's content.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Gnocchi with Bacon, Tomatoes, and Kale

Don't mind my crappy counter tops...

I've been so busy with nurturing my newest geek-mom blog, I've hardly been here to post. It's been months! I'm so sorry for the neglect!

So, I'm not sure how many of you out there subscribe to the Food Network Magazine, but in our house, it's one of our favorites! We love the way the recipes are laid out and easy to find, not to mention actually do-able, unlike other cooking magazines (I'm lookin' at you Bon Appetit!).

This recipe is one I got from the most recent issue of Food Network Magazine, only I added to it, and put my own spin on things, like I usually do with recipes.

Of course, my four year old hardly tried it, since it didn't look like pizza or a hamburger.

My eight year old, however, really liked it, even though it had the dreaded "green stuff".... Kale!! She ate it all. Even though she's still complaining that I made her eat kale. Two. Hours. Later.

This recipe seems fancy, so you could serve it at a dinner party, but it's also easy enough to throw together, and would even be great for potlucks.

It's hearty, somewhat quick/easy, and pretty cheap (about $3/serving).

And gnocchi (pronounced nyo-key) is fun to say.

Gnocchi with Bacon, Tomatoes, and Kale
3-4 Tbsp. Olive Oil
3 Strips Thick Cut Bacon, cut into 1/8-1/4 inch bits
1/2 Onion, diced
3/4 Bag Pre-Washed, Pre-Cut Kale (I get mine at Trader Joe's, but Costco sells it too. Or about 4-5 cups hand chopped kale)
2 Packages Potato Gnocchi
2 Cup. Cherry Tomatoes, cut in half (Plus a drizzle of Olive Oil for roasting)
3/4 cup Fresh Grated Parmesan-Romano Cheese
1/3 Cup Fat Free Half and Half
Salt and Pepper
Preheat your oven to 425. Toss your cherry tomatoes with a drizzle of olive oil, and sprinkle with salt and fresh pepper. Roast for about 10-12 minutes, until tomatoes are soft and starting to brown on the edges. Remove from oven and set aside. (You don't have to roast the tomatoes if you don't have time, or just don't feel like it. It just adds to the flavor of the dish when they're roasted. If you choose not to, just add the halved tomatoes right before the gnocchi to make sure they cook through.)
At the same time the tomatoes are cooking, bring a large stockpot of salted water to a boil, like you would for noodles. When it comes to a boil, add the gnocchi. When they float to the surface, cook them for another 4-5 minutes. The package will have different directions, but they never come out done enough for us, so I always cook them a tad longer. but if you like 'em firmer, cook according to the directions.
While those things are going (there's a bit of multi-tasking going on here, I know... but I believe in you!), you can heat the olive oil in a large skillet, and add the bacon. Cook the bacon until it is well browned and crispy.
Add the onions and cook then until they're tender and translucent.
Add the chopped kale, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cook until the kale is completely wilted and soft.
Stir in the roasted cherry tomatoes.
The gnocchi should be done now. Carefully scoop it out of the pot with a spider (The cooking tool. Not the arachnid.) or a slotted spoon. Add about 3/4 cup of the gnocchi water (this sounds odd, but trust me. It makes for a great sauce base.).
Stir it together.
Add the Parmesan-Romano cheese and the half and half, and more salt and pepper if needed. Heat until thickened, about 3-4 minutes more.
Serve with more Parmesan-Romano, and maybe even a little crushed red pepper flake if you want to spice it up, sprinkled on top.
This makes about 6 hearty servings.

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