Happy Labor Day, everyone! To me, labor day is a bittersweet holiday- “no more white” (pish posh), the pools start to close, fall seems just around the corner (hello riding boots and blazers), and, here’s the saddest bit, summer is over. Talk about summertime sadness. What’s the best way to bid adieu to summer? Put on a sundress, make some pink lemonade, and have a cookout!
This is how Nika does a cook out- BBQ organic chicken drumsticks, homemade kale chips, and quinoa and brown rice. Abandon the burger, hold off on the hot dog, steer clear of the soda, and ditch the diet disaster desserts- this is an Eat. Tone. Love. cookout.
I love the way that food tastes when it has been cooked on the grill, so we picked up these organic chicken drumsticks at Whole Foods for our cookout. We marinated the chicken in Stubb’s Original BBQ sauce, which is also found at Whole Foods. Some gluten free, vegan, and all natural condiments and BBQ sauces can taste way off (cough, sorry Annie’s), but Stubb’s BBQ sauce is downright delicious. The original is really stellar, and reminds me of a Sweet Baby Rays with a little less heat (and also lacking the high fructose corn syrup). I’ve also tried Honey Pecan, which was… quite unpleasant, probably because of the ginger (which is not my fav). Regardless, you can’t go wrong with the original, and I’m sure the other flavors, including Sticky Sweet, Spicy, Sweet Heat, Hickory Bourbon, and Smokey Mesquite, are delicious as well.
After marinating our chicken, we cooked our drummies on the grill for about 20-25 minutes, turning routinely until cooked through.
You can also brush some olive oil on your naked chicken breasts and cook them partially on the grill before coating them with BBQ sauce. With that technique, you’ll get a juicier BBQ sauce coating. Our method (marinating in the BBQ before grilling) results in a milder BBQ taste because some of the sauce cooks off, but the BBQ sauce will caramelize and form a nice crunch on the chicken.
Now for the kale chips, and this recipe is my best kale recipe to date. Everyone loved these kale chips, and someone even commented that this was the best way they’ve ever had kale. Why, thank you. These chips had a perfect amount of crunch and chew. Enough crispness without being overcooked. Enough flavor without being overwhelming. As a lover of all chips, the kale chip is the perfect replacement for potato chips- I still get my crunchy side dish, just minus the fat and questionable carbohydrates.
First, buy some good quality kale, preferably organic, as it is particularly important to buy greens and lettuces organic as they are most susceptible to pesticides. The kale I bought was very leafy, which I think was key to the recipe- lots of surface area. First, cut off the tough spines and stems and discard (or use for juicing). The stems are quite tough and bitter, so using just the leaf will produce a much tastier kale chip.
Here you can see some of my chopped kale leaves. You can make your chips whatever size you prefer, but keep in mind that they will shrink and shrivel in the oven, so cut your chips a little larger.
Place your chopped kale leaves into a large bowl. This may look like a lot of kale, but, unfortunately, it really isn’t when you’re making kale chips! You know how you can put what seems like a gallon of spinach into a skillet and still only end up with a cup of cooked spinach? Yep, same concept. I cut up about ¾ of a head of kale for the cookout, which produced the amount of kale chips seen in my picture at the top of this post.
Coat your kale chips with one tablespoon of olive oil, ¼ tsp of garlic powder, 1/8 tsp of nutritional yeast, and salt and pepper to taste. I use a generous amount of salt, as the salt helps cut the bitterness of the kale.
Lay your kale chips out on a large baking sheet in a single layer. Taking the time to lay out the chips so they aren’t stacked on top of one another will yield a crispier chip.
Place kale chips into a preheated oven set at 350ºF. Cook for 10 minutes and remove. Your chips will begin to darken, shrink, and crisp up. Flip the chips over and place into the oven for an additional 5 minutes.
Om nom nom, healthy kale chip goodness. Not only are these crispy kale chips a perfect side dish or snack, they are low in calories at fat (take that, potato chips), high in fiber, iron, and vitamins K, C, and A, and full of powerful antioxidants. Further, the olive oil adds some healthy unsaturated fats to this treat.
I long to see the day that people show up to cookouts with veggie burgers, organic chicken, bowls of kale chips, homemade salsa, quinoa salads, fruit salads, and healthy vegan desserts. We can make this happen- we can reinvent the American summer cookout, and it starts with you, my Eat. Tone. Lovers! It won’t happen overnight, and you might meet some opposition, but by incorporating healthy yet mouthwateringly delicious recipes like these, you will surely win over even the most stubborn eater.