Kale chips, that is.
I’m about to travel with Noah to visit my parents for a few days and these are the “essentials” that my 2-year old needs:
(Too many) toys and books – check.
Portable booster seat – check.
Favorite “ladybug” bib – check.
Noah has, by far, been the most challenging eater of my 3 kids – what has made this all the more frustrating is that when he started on table food he ate beautifully. Fruits, vegetables, proteins – it was a pleasure to feed him. That lasted about 3 months and then came to a screeching halt. Each and every meal since has been fraught with “will he open his mouth?”, “will he chew?”, and my favorite, “will he keep it in his mouth or spit it out?”. Fun times.
Yes, there have been a few tried-and-true items that I can count on – Cheerios, applesauce, cheese, yogurt – but more than any of these, Noah’s favorite “go t0” food is…………kale chips.
Kale chips are probably the only good thing to come out of our ill-fated experience with a CSA we joined last year (more on that in a future post). Prior to this, my only contact with kale was looking at it in the produce section and promptly passing it by. And now I was getting big bunches of it – every week. The kale just wouldn’t stop coming! So I frantically began searching for kale recipes. And oh, I found them – soups, sautees, braises and salads. But none inspired.
I then turned to one of my favorite web sites, and lo and behold – there was a recipe for kale CHIPS. I was intrigued – and a bit skeptical – but as I have yet to make a single bad dish from this site I promptly baked up a batch of kale chips.
And………….Noah couldn’t gobble them up fast enough.
Noah’s been eating much better these days, and I’m hoping he’ll continue to expand his current limited range of foods. I also know that this too will pass, and hey – isn’t kale one of those new “superfoods”?
I’d love to hear what challenges you have (or have had) with your picky eaters and how you’ve handled them.
Baked Kale Chips
adapted from smitten kitchen
1 bunch of kale – see more on this below**
sea salt or kosher salt
Preheat oven to 300°F.
Rinse the kale and dry it well – remove the center ribs. Cut into any size pieces you like (you can even leave them intact for a pretty presentation in a tall glass or jar – I would NOT recommend this if you’re serving to a toddler).
Divide the kale between 2 parchment-lined baking sheets and drizzle with some of the olive oil. Using your hands, gently toss the leaves till they are evenly coated. Spread them out on the baking sheets so they are not overlapping, and sprinkle with salt to taste.
Bake till crisp – I have found that the baking time on these varies greatly so start checking after about 12-15 minutes. You want the chips to be crispy, with a dark, glossy green color. If they are overbaked they will look brownish-green and have a more bitter taste (Noah doesn’t seem to care either way). The average baking time ranges between 15 and 20 minutes. Place the baking sheets on racks to cool and store the chips in an airtight container (I like to line the bottom of the container with a paper towel to absorb any excess oil).
** I use Tuscan Kale, also called Lacinato Kale, also called Dinosaur Kale – it is long and flat, not the more commonly found crinkly kind. You can use any kind of kale that you like but I find that the crinkly kind tends to shatter when you bite it – and I have enough to pick up off the floor, thank you very much, Play Doh.