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There’s something magical about Sundays. I’m not really sure what it is. Maybe it’s the start of a new week. Maybe it’s the ending of the old week. If you think about it, new possibilities are on the horizon, you just have to take hold of them. For me, Sundays have always been about a no frills, no thrills approach to food and cooking. Slow roasting, slow braising, relaxing, easy breezy – you know – that kind of stuff. Just because there’s no meat involved in my January cooking series doesn’t mean we still can’t have the luxuries of Sunday cooking.

My slow braised greens are perfect. They are completely vegan and they go so well over the creamy grits. The key to grits is to cook them until they’re super thick and almost damaged, then you add butter and cream. That will loosen them up just nicely and they’ll be thick, creamy, and luscious. Since we’re counting calories, I’m using a low fat pepper jack cheese and I use light cream. If you wanted, you could even substitute the light cream for 2% milk. Grits need some fat in order to be qualified as grits, so don’t kill yourself trying to eliminate all the fat from this dish.

Lastly, the chow chow. OMG, if you don’t do anything else in this recipe – make the chow chow. It’s nothing more than apple cider vinegar, sugar, salt, pepper, tomatoes, and onions – and boy, does it take this dish to an entirely different level. You have to give it a try! Oh, and the good news – the whole plate is only 427 calories per serving!

Here’s the recipe…

Slow Braised Greens (109 calories per serving)

Note: Makes 6 hearty servings

-3 bunches of your favorite cooking greens (I used kale, turnips, and mustards) Note: be sure to clean them and cut them into small pieces. I used stems and all.

-1 large onion, chopped

-4 cloves of garlic, minced

-2 tablespoons of olive oil

-1 tablespoon of Kosher salt

-1 tablespoon of black pepper

-1 teaspoon of non-salted Cajun seasoning

-1/2 teaspoon of smoked paprika

-8 cups of vegetable stock

1Put a large stock pot on medium heat and saute the onion and garlic for about 5 minutes until the onions start to turn translucent.

2. Add all the greens to the pot and let them cook down. If they all don’t fit in the pot, don’t worry. Stir them every few minutes and they’ll begin to wilt. Then, keep adding until all the greens are in the pot. Add the lid and let the greens cook on medium heat for about 10 minutes.

3. Then, lower the heat to just above a simmer, add the salt, pepper, Cajun seasoning, and smoked paprika. Then add about 4 cups of vegetable stock. Reserve the rest and add more if you find the liquid is getting too low. You definitely don’t want the greens to scorch or burn.

4. Cook the greens for 1 hour on low heat. Enjoy the aroma they make and eat them while they’re hot.

Pepper Jack Grits (345 calories per serving)

Note: makes 6 hearty servings

-2 cups of quick cooking grits

-4 cups of vegetable stock

-4 tablespoons of light butter spread

-1 cup of light cream

-1 cup of shredded light pepper jack cheese

-salt and pepper, to taste

1In a pot, bring the vegetable stock to a boil. Lower the heat and whisk in the grits. For this recipe, never stop stirring. If you do, the grits could stick to the bottom of the pot and burn.

2. Cook the grits on low heat for about 10-12 minutes. The grits should be super thick.

3. Stir in the light cream, butter spread, and light cheese. Taste, and if necessary, add salt and pepper.

Tomato & Onion Chow Chow (19 calories per serving)

Note: Makes 6 hearty servings

-1 cup of minced tomatoes

-1/2 cup of minced onion

-1 tablespoon of sugar

-1/2 cup of apple cider vinegar

-1 pinch of salt

-1 pinch of pepper

-1 pinch of red pepper flakes

1Combine all ingredients into a bowl and mix well.

2Refrigerate until you’re ready to use the mixture.IMG_7861

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