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No Turkey Today

Yes, I am aware that it’s the week before Thanksgiving. And yes, I am also aware that most food bloggers are posting away about how to brine that free range heritage-breed turkey, healthier ways to make creamy mashed potatoes, and alternatives to BPA-laden canned cranberry sauce (here is my favorite). But as I’ve said before, I’m a fan of leaving Thanksgiving alone. No matter what you eat and how you cook it, it’s probably just perfect — even if nobody really and truly loves green bean casserole. If you do feel like shaking up the feast this year — at your own peril — and you have a spare afternoon or weekend, I recommend perusing the “Thanksgiving” boards on Pinterest, which are overwhelmingly (literally) amazing. Or for some well-vetted holiday dishes, check out Epicurious‘ top-rated Thanksgiving recipes.

This here is an idea for something to eat the night before the big meal — or even tonight. And yes, it would make a lovely, if nontraditional, addition to your holiday lineup. If you’re into that kind of thing.

This recipe is a riff on something I ate recently at True Food Kitchen. I loved their tangy and slightly chewy Tuscan Kale Salad and made several unsuccessful attempts at recreating it before I found the recipe online (doh). Once I got it down, I felt confident enough to create my own version, which is warm and contains mushrooms, giving it more of a winter salad-slash-side dish feel. (Nothing like the original, now that I think about it.) I’m not saying I’m a better chef than Andrew Weil, but this is really good. It’s delicious over whole wheat penne or with grilled chicken, but it also makes a great light meal served with just some crusty bread. Not a bad idea as we prep vats of potatoes and stuffing for the big day…

Warm Kale & Mushroom Salad
4 cups organic kale leaves (any kind but the curly kind), shredded and removed from stems
1/2 pint white mushrooms, sliced (or more)
2 tbs. extra virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
Salt & fresh ground pepper

In a large skillet, simmer kale in about 1/3 cup of salted water just for a few minutes until kale is slightly soft. Drain and transfer kale to a bowl. Heat olive oil in the pan and add garlic and mushrooms. Saute about 5 minutes. Add kale back to the pan, along with about half of the lemon juice, and toss with the mushrooms and garlic. Season with salt & pepper and taste. Add more lemon juice if desired. Sprinkle with cheese. Yum.

Are you in a dinner rut? If you’re sick of the “what’s for dinner” conversation,
you’ll love my sanity-saving Real Life Meal Plan — coming in January 2013!

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