Braised Kale and Turnips with Smoked Turkey

Braised Kale and TurnipsEat your greens!

Sometimes not the most exciting part of your meal but this recipe will change you and your dull relationship with greens. While living in NYC, I was fortunate enough to work as a recipe tester at Bon Appetit and this was one of my most memorable recipes.

I like greens. I like smoked turkey. But turnips…?

The recipe was easy to follow and didn’t have too many ingredients. I love collard greens and figured this was just a variation using turkey instead of ham hocks. But something magical happens when you cook the greens in the smoked turkey broth. It becomes rich and silky, meaty,  slightly spicy and smokey with a tang of the vinegar at the end to perk up the braise.

Do not doubt this recipe. It is not the most picture perfect but your tummy will thank you later.

 Braised Kale and Turnips with Smoked Turkey

Adapted from Bon Appetit

8 servings

1 serving = 1 ½ cups = 5 PP+

15 minutes prep time

30 minutes cook time

  • ½ # smoked turkey wings
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 cups onions, sliced
  • 1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • 6 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1# turnips, medium dice
  • 16 cups of kale
  • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • salt and pepper, to taste

First, place the smoked turkey wings in a large pot. Add cold water so that the wings are covered. Bring to a boil; reduce to a simmer and cover until the wings are tender. This should take about 1 hour. Strain off the broth from the turkey wings but save 4 cups of broth for kale. Remove the skin from the wings and shred/pick the meat (try not to eat too much of it during this process).

Smoked Turkey Wings IMG_1725

Heat a large dutch oven over medium heat. Add the onions and crushed pepper flakes. Cook until the onions become tender. Add the garlic and sauté for 1-2 minutes until fragrant. Add the turnips and 2 cups of broth. Bring to a boil and cook for 2 minutes.


Add the kale; this will be done in batches. Cook, stirring often and add more broth in ¼ cup increments if the mixture becomes dry. Cook until all the kale is wilted and the turnips are tender; around 10-15 minutes.


Stir in the reserved turkey meat. Add butter and apple cider vinegar. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Now eat your greens!


Cheap White Bean and Ham Soup

This will be one of the cheapest and most flavorful things you will ever make. I was actually shocked when I calculated the cost per serving of this soup. But beyond, the cost the soup is definitely delicious, filling, nutritious, and the perfect thing to keep in your freezer for those days when you don’t feel like cooking anything.

White Bean and Ham Soup

Makes 14 servings

1 serving = 1 cup = 5 Points Plus

  • 2 medium onions, diced
  • 2 large carrots, diced
  • 2 stalks of celery, diced
  • 5 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1# dry great northern beans, picked through and rinsed
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 10 sprigs of thyme
  • 8-10 cups of water
  • 2 ham hocks
  • 14 oz canned crushed tomatoes
  • 1 bunch kale, de-stemmed and roughly chopped

Spray your dutch oven or large stockpot with non-stick cooking spray. Sweat your onions, carrots, celery, and garlic until soft and tender (at least 13-17 minutes). Season with salt and pepper.

Add in your dried beans, ham hocks, bay leaves, and thyme sprigs. Stir to combine and cover with at least 8 cups of water. Bring up to a boil and then turn it down to a simmer and cover with a lid.

While the soup simmers, check the consistency and water level every 20 minutes or so. Adjust accordingly and keep stirring occasionally to make sure there is nothing sticking to the bottom of the pot.

After an hour or so added your crushed tomatoes and kale. (You might have to add the kale in batches depending on how large your pot is.)

Cook for another hour.

After 2 hours or so the ham hocks should be tender. Remove from the pot and let them cool for at least 20 minutes. When they are cool enough to handle remove all the meat from the bones (this will yield a small amount of meat, around 2-3 ounces).

Put the pulled ham meat back into the pot and continue to simmer until the beans are tender and the right consistency has been achieved. (You might have to add up to 2 extra cups of water throughout the cooking process depending on how water is absorbed into the beans or is evaporated. You can make the soup as thick or thin as you want.) Enjoy a bowl now and freeze the rest for later!

Here’s the cost breakdown:

  • Onion                                                                        $0.99
  • Carrot                                                                         $0.75
  • Celery                                                                        $0.50
  • Garlic                                                                        $0.25
  • Beans                                                                        $1.80
  • Bay leaves                                                            $0.40
  • Thyme sprigs                                                            $0.25
  • Water                                                                        FREE
  • Ham Hocks                                                            $3.23
  • Canned Tomatoes                                                $1.50
  • Kale                                                                         $1.79
  • TOTAL                                                                        $11.46
  • Divide by 14 servings                                    $0.82 per serving

Slow Cooker Kale

Adding dark, leafy greens to my new diet has been a fun and interesting challenge. I really love the texture, the nutrition, and the taste of dark greens. However, I do not like the prep work involved. De-stemming, cutting, blanching, shocking, etc. So I decided to come up with a recipe that would allow me to cook a large quantity of greens without much prep work, so all I would have to do throughout the week is re-heat them.

My slow cooker kale is a “spin” on collard greens. It has the sweet and spicy aspects of braised collard greens and I used turkey bacon in place of bacon or ham hocks. I also added some extra veggies to pump up the flavor and texture of the dish.

Slow Cooker Kale

Makes 6 servings

1 serving = 1 hefty cup = 2 Points Plus

  • 4 slices of turkey bacon, cut into small pieces (I prefer using Butterball brand)
  • 1 large onion, sliced
  • 1 red bell pepper, sliced
  • 1 green bell pepper, sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • ½ tbsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 packet of Truvia
  • 1 # kale, de-stemmed and roughly chopped
  • 2 cups of chicken broth
  • 2 cups of water
  • salt and pepper to taste

Spray the bottom of the slow cooker with non-stick cooking spray. Line the bottom of the slow cooker with the onions and pepper.

Place half of the kale on top of the onions and peppers. Sprinkle with half of the turkey bacon, garlic cloves, and crushed red pepper flakes. Place the rest of the kale on top and finish with the rest of the turkey bacon, garlic and crushed red pepper flakes.

Combine the Truvia, chicken broth, and water. Pour this mixture over the kale. Turn the slow cooker on high for an hour. Turn it down to low and cook for 7-8 more hours. Make sure to stir the greens every 3 hours or so. Add more liquid if necessary.

How To Slow Cook in a Small NYC Apartment

This method works great with kale because it softens it just enough while allowing it to hold some texture. I love the sweet and spicy combination with a little smoky background from the turkey bacon. Another great aspect is the liquid leftover after the braising process (also called pot liquor or potlikker). This liquid is super flavorful and delicious! Serve the greens with a little extra liquid…great for dipping cornbread or crusty bread into. Mmm…greens.

Pesto Pasta with Kale, Cauliflower, and Chicken

I made the most FILLING bowl of pasta. Ever. Last Night. It was epic.

I haven’t made pasta in quite a while and I always find that I am never fully satisfied after one serving, but two servings is just too many points and not always the healthiest choice.

To fix this problem I decided to add an absurd amount of vegetables, especially high-fiber greens and a lean protein. The end result was amazing! And after one serving, I was almost beyond full!

Pesto Pasta with Chicken, Kale, and Cauliflower

Yields: 2 servings

1 serving = 1 cup

1 cup = 10 Points Plus

  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1 small red onion, sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, sliced
  • 1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • 7 oz chicken breast, thinly sliced into strips
  • 10 oz cauliflower, cut into florets (about ½ a head)
  • ½ pound of kale (about 1 bunch), simmered in boiling water for about 8 minutes
  • 3 oz Barilla Plus
  • ½ cup of Pesto Sauce (I used the Weight Watchers recipe which is listed below)
  • 2 scallions, thinly sliced

First, you want to caramelize your red onion. The trick to caramelizing onions and still keeping it healthy…is water.

When caramelizing onions, you want your sauté pan to be on medium heat. Add your oil. Then add your onions. Cook your onions, stirring frequently, over medium heat until the edges begin to brown. Drop the heat to low and continue cooking for another 30 minutes.

The problem is that your onions will start sticking to the pan. When this happens, you instinctively will grab some oil and add it to the pan. STOP! Instead of adding oil, add water. This will deglaze the pan and allow the onions to keep cooking without adding additional fat. If you continue to do this for 30 minutes you will have sweet, delicious (low-fat) caramelized onions.

While the onions are cooking, add your garlic and crushed red pepper.

When your onions are caramelized, add your cauliflower and ¼ cup of water. Cover with a lid and cook for 7-8 minutes or until cauliflower is tender. Remove the lid and stir until the liquid has evaporated.

Your pasta should be cooking at this point.

While your pasta is cooking, add your kale and chicken strips to the cauliflower

Side Note: To cook kale, first remove the leaves from the woody stems. Bring a large pot of water to a boil, season with salt and dump in your kale. Continue to cook the kale for about 8-9 minutes until tender. Drain the kale. Let cool slightly. Place your cooked kale into a kitchen towel and twist the towel in order to drain all the water out. Roughly chop kale and set aside.

Make sure you season your chicken and kale when you add it to the cauliflower. Put the lid on again and let it cook for about 5 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through.

When your chicken mixture is cooked through, place it into a large bowl. Drain your pasta, BUT make sure you save 1-2 cups of the pasta water. Add your drained pasta to the chicken mixture. Toss with ½ cup of pesto and the scallion. Use the pasta cooking water to loosen the sauce and bring everything together.

This whole bowl of pasta is pretty much a complete meal. Lean protein, whole grains, dark leafy greens, and some added veggies. I dare you to finish two bowls.

Weight Watchers Pesto Sauce

1 serving = 2 Point Plus

2 tbsp pine nuts, toasted

2 cups basil leaves

½ cup fat-free chicken broth

¼ cup parmesan cheese, grated

1 tbsp olive

salt and pepper


  • Place pine nuts in a small skillet and set pan over medium heat. Cook until nuts are golden, shaking pan frequently to prevent burning, about 3 minutes. Transfer nuts to a plate to cool.
  • In a blender or food processor, combine nuts, basil, broth, cheese, oil, garlic and salt; process until smooth and thick. Yields about 1/4 cup per serving.