Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Chicken and Barley Pilaf

My friend, Joy, brought this meal to us after my daughter was born and I loved it so much, I asked her for the recipe the next day! It's super simple and certainly a budget-friendly dish. We enjoyed it with these carrots.

1/4 cup butter
3 cloves garlic, pressed
1 small onion, minced
2 cups sliced mushrooms
1/2 cup dry sherry
1-2 cooked chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized chunks
2 (13.75 ounces) cans chicken broth
1 cup pearl barley
2 tsp dried basil
salt and pepper to taste
2 Tbsp chopped, fresh parsley

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Melt butter in an oven safe large pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Stir in garlic and onion, and cook, stirring occasionally until the onion has softened and turned translucent, about 5 minutes. Stir in the mushrooms, and cook until the mushrooms have softened and released their liquid, about 5 minutes more. Stir in the sherry, and simmer for 1 minute. Add the cooked chicken, chicken broth, barley, and basil; bring to a boil over high heat. Season to taste with salt and pepper, and boil for 5 minutes.

Cover the Dutch oven, and place into the preheated oven. Bake until the barley is tender, 45 minutes to 1 hour. Stir in chopped parsley before serving.

Honeyed Carrots

I found this in Vegetarian Times. It was a great change to our regularly roasted-with-salt-and-pepper carrot side dish.

6 large carrots, halved and cut into 1/4-inch slices (4 cups)
2 medium shallots, sliced into thin rings (1/4 cup)
1/2 cup honey
1 Tbsp cider vinegar (I actually forgot to add this in and it was still good!)
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley

Place carrots and shallots in nonstick skillet, and heat over medium heat. Cook 2 to 4 minutes, or until beginning to brown.

Stir in honey, and season with salt and pepper, if desired. Partially cover, and reduce heat to medium-low. Cook 15 minutes, or until carrots are tender. Uncover, stir in vinegar, and increase heat to medium-high.

Cook 2 minutes more. Stir in parsley, and serve.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Orecchiette with Bacon Tomato Sauce

This was a nice twist on pasta with red sauce.

1 Tbsp olive oil
4 slices bacon, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 medium red onion, halved and thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 tsp red-pepper flakes
1 can (28-ounces) whole peeled tomatoes
salt and pepper
1 pound orecchiette or other short pasta
grated Parmesan and chopped fresh parsley, for serving

In a medium saucepan, heat oil over medium-high. Add bacon and cook until browned and almost crisp, about 4 minutes. Add onion and cook until softened, 3 to 5 minutes. Add garlic and red-pepper flakes and stir until fragrant, 1 minute. Add tomatoes, breaking them up as you go, and season with salt and pepper. Bring sauce to a boil; reduce to a simmer and cook until slightly reduced, 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a large pot of salted water, cook pasta 1 minute less than package instructions. Reserve 1/4 cup pasta water; drain pasta and return to pot.

Add sauce and pasta water to pasta and toss to combine; cook over medium-high until sauce thickens and coats pasta, about 2 minutes. Refrigerate 3 cups pasta for Friday. Serve remaining pasta topped with Parmesan and parsley.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Blueberry White Chocolate Chip Muffins

I followed the directions exactly from Simple Bites on How to Make the Best Muffins Ever and they were delicious! There are lots of fun suggestions for add-ins. I chose blueberries and white chocolate chips. Mmmm. It took longer than suggested for my muffins to bake - almost 25 minutes.

Be sure to read the recipe all the way through before getting started. You will note that the oats soak in the milk 1 hour prior to assembling the rest of the ingredients, so take that into consideration before starting out.

Makes 12 medium muffins

  • 1 cup milk*
  • 1 teaspoon white vinegar
  • 1 cup rolled oats (not quick oats)
  • 1 large egg, at room temperature
  • ¼ cup dark brown sugar
  • ½ cup butter, melted and cooled slightly
  • 1 cup plus 2 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg, freshly ground
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, freshly ground
  • ¾ cup White Chocolate, chopped or chips & 1 cup Blueberries, fresh or frozen
  • (see here for other ideas)

Combine milk, vinegar and oats in a large bowl and let stand one hour.

Preheat the oven to 375°F. Grease a twelve-cup muffin tin and line with cupcake papers.

Crack the egg into the oat and milk mixture; add brown sugar and mix to combine. Stir in melted butter.

Sift remaining ingredients into the bowl: flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, & spices. Gently fold into batter, taking care not to over mix.

Sprinkle add-in and flavorings of your choice and combine muffin batter gently.

Use a large ice cream scoop or 1/3 cup measuring cup to scoop batter into muffin tins. Bake until light brown and tops spring back when gently touched, about 10-12 minutes. Note: Muffins will take slightly longer to bake if you are adding fresh fruit such as blueberries or rhubarb.

Remove from oven and cool in tins. To remove, run a sharp knife around the edges and pop muffins out. Enjoy!

*You may also substitute 1 cup buttermilk, and then omit the vinegar from the recipe.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Southwest Quinoa Salad

Here is another great recipe which uses quinoa that I got from my friend, Tricia. So easy and good-for-you-yummy!

1 cup quinoa
1 3/4 cups water
4 tsp olive oil
1 cup cooked chickpeas
1 medium tomato, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
3 Tbsp lime juice
2 Tbsp (or more) cilantro, chopped
1/4 tsp salt

Add quinoa and water to a medium sauce pan. Bring to boil then reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 15 minutes or until all the water is absorbed. Drizzle with olive oil and then add the rest of the ingredients.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Spiced Butternut Squash Stew

No picture to accompany this recipe (I couldn't get one that made it look even remotely appetizing), but just trust me that it looks like an orange stew and it's worth making! The lemon juice at the end really adds a nice tang.

1 lb pork roast, cut into 1-inch cubes
1/2 teaspoon pepper
3 Tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 Tbsp tomato paste
1 Tbsp Hungarian paprika
1 tsp beef bouillon
dash ground cloves
1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 large butternut squash, peeled, seeded, cut into 1-inch cubes
1-2 carrots, sliced into rounds
2 cups cooked white beans or chickpeas (garbanzo beans)
1 large tomato, chopped
1 garlic clove, crushed
1/4 cup lemon juice

Sprinkle pepper on the meat. In a large skillet (with tight-fitting lid), heat 2 Tbsp of the olive oil. Add the meat and cook over medium heat, stirring, until all the juices evaporate, about 5 minutes. Add the onion and cook stirring, until lightly browned, about 10 minutes.

Add tomato paste, paprika, boullion, cloves, and red pepper flakes. Cook, stirring until the mixture begins to caramelize. Add 1 1/2 cups of water and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce the heat to a low simmer. Simmer until the meat is tender, about 40 minutes.

Add the squash, carrots, beans, tomato, garlic, 1/2 teaspoon salt (I ended up using closer to a full teaspoon), and enough water to just cover the ingredients. Cover and cook until the squash is tender, about 20 minutes.

Using a ladle, pull off as much liquid as you can into a deep container. Add about 1 cup of cooked veggies and the lemon juice. Puree using a stick blender (or electric mixer). Pour back into stew - and you're ready to serve!

Gingery Quinoa Salad

Talk about nutritious AND delicious! We all said, "Yes, please!" to second helpings of this uniquely wonderful warm salad. (taken from Vegetarian Times)

1/2 cup chopped almonds
2 tsp vegetable oil
1/2 cup chopped onion
2 Tbsp minced ginger
1 cup quinoa
1 1/2 cups beet-carrot or carrot juice
1 cup frozen peas
1 medium apple, diced
1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut

Toast almonds in saucepan over medium heat 3 to 5 minutes, or until fragrant and beginning to brown, stirring often. Cool.

Wipe out saucepan; add oil and onion. Saute onion 2 to 3 minutes, or until translucent, stirring occasionally.

Stir in ginger, quinoa, and juice, and season with salt and pepper, if desired. Bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer 15 to 20 minutes, or until all liquid is absorbed.

Remove from heat, and scatter peas over cooked quinoa. Cover, and let stand 10 minutes, until peas are thawed.

Stir apple, coconut, and almonds into salad. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Chicken Adobo with Coconut Rice

I have another recipe for adobo that I've always enjoyed, but after tasting this version, I don't know that I will ever make the other one again!

  • 1 small sweet onion, sliced
  • 8 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 3/4 cup low sodium soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup vinegar (I used apple cider vinegar)
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 (3 pound) whole chicken, cut into pieces or (I used 4 boneless chicken breasts)
  • 2 bay leaves

  • Place chicken in a slow cooker. In a small bowl mix the onion, garlic, soy sauce, vinegar and water, and pour over the chicken. Add bay leaves. Cook on Low for 6 or 7 hours. Shred chicken with two forks. Cover again and cook for another 2 or 1 hours. Serve over coconut rice.

Coconut Rice

One can of coconut milk
1 1/2 - 2 cups water
2 cups white rice

Combine the rice, water and milk in a pot with a lid. Bring to a boil then turn the heat down to low and simmer, covered, until the liquid is absorbed, 30-40 minutes. Makes about 4 cups of rice.

Slow Cooker Chocolate Mess

This got rave reviews from our friends at community group who devoured it after dinner. I think it was a combination of amazement that you can actually make a cake in a crockpot combined with the ooey gooey chocolatey mess! I left mine in for the full 8 hours and the bottom and sides got a little crusty/burned.

1 package chocolate cake mix

16 oz. sour cream
1 small package instant chocolate pudding
6 oz. chocolate chips
3/4 cup veggie oil
4 eggs
1 cup water

Coat inside of crockpot with cooking spray. Mix all ingredients and pour into crockpot. Cook on low 6-8 hours.
Serve with ice cream!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Red Lentil Soup

I thought this was a delicious use of red lentils. I included my notes in the recipe below. The toasted almonds and feta cheese toppings are a must!

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 onion, chopped
3 shallots, chopped
1/2 teaspoon red-pepper flakes

7+ cups good-tasting vegetable stock
1 1/3 cup red lentils, picked over and rinsed
1/2 cup brown rice, picked over and rinsed
as much fine grain sea salt as you need

slivered almonds, toasted
black oil cured olives, chopped
feta, crumbled

In a big soup pot, over medium heat, combine the olive oil, onion, shallots, and red pepper flakes. Let them brown, and caramelize a bit, stirring occasionally.

Stir in the broth, bring to a boil, then stir in the lentils and rice. Simmer, partially covered, for about 45 minutes or until the rice is very tender, and not at all toothsome. Stir occasionally to avoid sticking on the bottom. After about 45 minutes, the lentils will have collapsed into a thick slop of sorts. If you need to add more water/broth at any point do so a splash at a time, until the soup thins out to the point you prefer.

Unless you used a salty broth, you will likely need to salt generously, until the the soup no longer tastes flat. Do so just a bit at a time. Serve each bowl topped with almonds, olives, feta, and a slight drizzle of olive oil if you like.

Serves 4 - 6.

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