I spent most of the last week watching my friend's two daughters while she was out of town. I was their nanny when they were younger and one of the things that I always enjoyed doing with them is cooking. Samantha (pictured above) is quite the little foodie and loves to cook and eat almost everything while her older sister is mostly interested in baking.
Their mom follows a vegan diet and while both girls do eat meat, their diets, by choice, tend to be mostly vegetarian. I have been trying to make more meat free dishes at my house too, dishes that feel like a meal instead of just side dishes. I saw the Pioneer Woman make this dish on her show recently and knew it would be something that we would like. I also knew this would be something that I could make with Samantha and it was simple enough that she could pretty much make it on her own. At 11, she takes great pride in the fact that she can cook complete meals on her own.
The first thing we did was saute the cubed squash in a little butter, salt, pepper and chili and garlic powder. After the squash was browned, we pulled it off the heat and then began to cook the kale.
I decided to add some cheese tortellini to our dish. I cooked it in boiling water, drained it, the added it to a pan with a small amount of butter to brown it. We just watched it and kept it moving in the pan so it would just start to brown and not overcook.
After everything was done, we put the squash and kale together, added a little of the tortellini to each bowl and then topped with some shaved Parmesan cheese. Delicious and filling and enough leftovers for the next day's lunch.
Here is the link to the original recipe for the squash and kale recipe.
And here is how I made my dish:
Kale and Butternut Squash Tortellini
2 cups of cubed butternut squash
4 cups of kale, chopped into decent sized pieces, stems removed
3 tablespoons butter, divided
1-2 teaspoons of chili powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
salt and pepper to taste
1 package of refrigerated cheese tortellini, cooked according to package directions and drained
shaved Parmesan cheese
-Melt a tablespoon of butter in a large skillet, then add the cubed squash. Season the squash with the salt and pepper and chili and garlic powders. Continue cooking until squash is tender and browned. Remove from heat.
-Add another tablespoon of butter to the pan and when melted, add the kale pieces. Saute these until they start to wilt, but do not overcook. You want it to still have a little of the crunch. Add squash back to the pan with the kale.
-In a smaller skillet, melt remaining tablespoon of butter then add the cooked tortellini, cook for just a couple of minutes until they are a light golden brown.
-Assemble in bowls; kale and squash mixture, then the tortellini, finally topping with some Parmesan shavings.