Homemade Crockpot Chicken Stock

Chicken stock in a crockpotChicken stock is a blessing to the food world. It makes rice and pasta taste amazing, is essential to risotto and soups, and when you’re sick, it’s so good for your recovering body. Especially if your chicken stock is homemade. Homemade bone broth is soothing, flavorful, and SO GOOD FOR YOU. If you haven’t before, I highly suggest you take a quick browse online and read about the benefits of bone broth! Thankfully, homemade chicken stock is so easy to make. This is important to me because all of the stock options (at least that I’ve seen) sold in grocery stores have celery, potato, carrot, AND/or corn-derived ingredients.

Fortunately, with a carcass from a Roasted Chicken Dinner, a few vegetables, and a crockpot, we can make something that is healthier and tastes infinitely better than any grocery store product. Continue reading

Noodle Bowl with Swiss Chard and Poached Egg

Noodle bowl with broken poached eggNoodle bowls are my latest obsession. I’m not sure why I jumped on this bandwagon after wintertime (i.e. soup weather) ended, but it might be because these soothing, one-bowl meals are never too heavy or filling, and therefore are perfect for all seasons. A steamy bowl of whole wheat noodles, sautéed mushrooms, and barely cooked greens floating in rich homemade chicken stock loudly screams “comfort food!” to me. But not too loud, because that’s disruptive and not at all comfortable… Instead of screaming I think it wraps its warm soup hands around my belly and just murmurs “comfort food.” Yeahhh… Continue reading

Healthy Spinach Turkey Burgers with Gouda

Turkey burger lunch

It’s funny, although I love healthy eating and am not a big sandwich fan, sometimes during the week, especially at lunch, I get a solid craving for a thick, juicy burger. I usually try to ignore it and satisfy myself with whatever nutritious lunch I packed that day, but over time the itch gets so unbearable that I usually end up breaking and splurge on a greasy burger laden with mushrooms and bacon and cheese and all sorts of other glorious things. Yes, I’m weak. But the first step is acceptance. 🙂 Well, this week I decided that all of that was going to be different. This week, I would still pack healthy lunches, but would also ease my burger craving before it even came to destroy me. Continue reading

StrictlyDelicious Coq Au Vin

20140309-104755.jpgThe last few Fiesta Fridays I’ve attended I’ve been pretty selfish. My additions to the party have been dishes made just for one, which makes me not a very considerate attendee at all! Although I will most likely bring dishes for one to the party again in the future, my contribution today is made to share. So all of those who enjoy decadent chicken with thick cut bacon, fragrant herbs, and white wine, pull up a chair!

I knew I wanted to make a chicken with white wine sauce for the party, but was less than thrilled with all of the Coq Au Vin recipes I found online. I decided to combine what I liked from the recipes I found, add touches of my process making Beef Bourguignon, and figure out what else it needed as I went along. It’s a great way to cook, and the result was delicious! Continue reading

Spinach & Mushroom Orecchiette with Bay Scallops

20140227-213205.jpgFirst off, I want to apologize that it has been so long since I last posted. Guess who finally got a social life?! Yes, my friends, it’s true. My introverted self has been challenged to actually be around real live people. gasp. How terrifying! But I am enjoying it. Sadly, that does translate to less time for cooking and blogging! But, I am learning balance, and promise to try to not leave for so long again.

I bring to you today another scallops dish.
If I only I could explain the sweet, guilty pleasure that comes from eating something you thought you were allergic to your entire life! Every time I eat scallops or clams, I still can’t believe that I’m eating seafood with no reaction! (Still haven’t gotten the guts to try tuna yet…)

But since my discovery of legal seafood, I’ve fallen in love with scallops. The tender, flavorful, decadent seafood pairs well with so many different things. And they cook up in just minutes! Continue reading

Skillet Duck Breast with Blood Orange, Red Wine Reduction

20140224-164325.jpgI don’t know about you, but I’m not quite done with romance. Specifically, romantic food. Maybe it’s the fact that Valentine’s Day was so recent, maybe I didn’t get to do everything I wanted to on Valentine’s Day, or maybe, just maybe it’s because I never need a reason to cook myself a romantic dinner! On Friday night on the way home from work, I knew I had to romance myself that evening. And what better way to romance oneself than with delicious food?!

I created this recipe a week ago (my first time making duck at home!), and was absolutely thrilled with the result. Decadence that took almost no effort. You know I love that! Continue reading

Seared Sea Scallops with Coconut, Browned Butter, Butternut Squash Purée

20140208-195335.jpgHappy belated Valentine’s Day!! ❤

Words cannot describe my excitement, when, after an entire life believing I was allergic to all seafood, I found that I can in fact legally eat scallops, clams, and tuna. A random trio to be sure… But legal seafood nonetheless! As excited as I was, it took me months to get up the courage to put my body to the test. Scallops were the first I tried. How strange and exciting and forbidden to have the seafood flavor in my mouth, but experience no allergic reaction! The first scallops I tried were seared with crispy edges on the outside and tender and buttery on the inside. I ate them out at restaurants three times, and I was absolutely hooked.

When I began to think of my addition to Angie’s Fiesta Friday blog party (yes, I know I’m a little late with this post) I knew that it was time to try my hand at making scallops at home. Not only were they healthy and delicious, but a very romantic meal 🙂 I knew my creation had to have scallops seared with crispy edges and paired with something smooth and slightly sweet. I started with the idea of butternut squash, and made this creation up as I went. Continue reading

Chicken Curry with Butternut Squash Curry Sauce and Lime Rice

20140121-162127.jpgI love curried food. Vegetables, meats, rice… I love all of it. Unfortunately, most curry sauces use tomatoes, potatoes, and/or carrots, which are all on my allergy list. This month, however, I vowed that I was going to make and enjoy chicken curry that was allergen-free. I created this recipe last week, and can I just say, I am beyond thrilled at the result! This chicken curry is easily on par with what I used to enjoy before discovering my allergies.

Now it is true that things taste better when you know the thought and work that went into making them, and I have been deprived for so long, I was just so happy to taste these flavors again. So I recognize that my opinion is probably biased! But you try it and let me know what you think!

Like most of my recipes, you don’t have to be allergic to certain foods to make this, and it’s not lacking any flavor just because they are made without “normal” ingredients. The chicken is juicy and tender and the sauce is creamy and uber flavorful! Lime rice is truly the perfect accompaniment; so much better than plain old normal rice! (I didn’t have any, but some fresh cilantro would be delicious to add to the rice! If you go this route, add it after cooking the rice.) And an additional plus, all of these ingredients are good for you! The butternut squash sauce is a great way to sneak in extra vegetables.

Please forgive me for the lack of photos below; I made this dish on the fly. And although it’s not beautiful, it sure tastes fantastic. I hope you enjoy this dish just as much as I do!

Chicken Curry with Butternut Squash Curry Sauce and Lime Rice

  • Servings: 4-5
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

For the chicken:
6 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
1 tbs. olive oil
1 tbs. curry
2 tsp. coriander
salt and ground black pepper

For the sauce:
1 1/2 c. butternut squash, cubed (how to peel and cut butternut squash here)
1 c. water
4 leaves fresh basil, roughly chopped
1 tbs. curry
1 tsp. paprika
1/2 tsp. chili powder
salt and ground black pepper
1/2 c. plain greek yogurt

For the rice:
1 1/2 c. jasmine rice
3 c. water
1 lime, juice and zest

In a large pan, heat the olive oil until it’s shimmery. When the oil is hot, add the chicken thighs to the pan on at a time. Sprinkle the curry and coriander over the meat, and season with sea salt and ground black pepper. Don’t worry about the seasonings being too even or pretty because we’re going to chop these babies up later. Cook the chicken for about 15 minutes on each side.

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While the chicken is cooking, in a medium sized pot add all of the ingredients for the sauce, except the Greek yogurt. On low heat, cook the ingredients until the butternut squash is soft and can easily be pierced with a fork. Let it cool for about 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, add the ingredients to a blender or food processor and pulse a few times. I wanted my sauce to be smooth with a few chunks, but you can blend yours as much or as little as you want.

Once your chicken is done cooking, turn off the stove and remove the chicken from the pan. Cut the thighs into bite sized chunks and add the pieces to a large bowl. Spoon the butternut squash sauce over the chicken pieces and add the plain Greek yogurt. Stir gently until the chicken is thoroughly coated.

For the rice: In a medium sized pot, add the rice and water. Cook on medium high heat until it reaches a boil. Then turn down the heat to medium low and cook for 15-20 minutes, or until the rice has absorbed all the water and is soft and fluffy. Remove from heat. Squeeze the lime juice into the rice and stir in the lime zest.

Serve the chicken over the rice and enjoy!

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How to Cook Butternut Squash

Butternut squash is an inexpensive, delicious, vitamin-filled winter vegetable, best enjoyed roasted (as many other winter veggies). However, this vegetable may seem a bit intimidating to tackle if it is bought whole. But this should never keep you from enjoying its goodness!

Below are step-by-step instructions with pictures to peel, cut, and roast butternut squash. Soon to come, a recipe featuring roasted butternut squash!

1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Peel your butternut squash with a peeler or paring knife. Cut off the top and bottom and cut the whole squash in half.

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      2. With a metal spoon, scrape out the stringy insides and seeds in the bulb part of the squash.

butternut coll      3. Place the flat side of the squash down on your cutting board and cut slices or “rings” about 3/4″ across. Then cut your slices into square chunks.

Note: I only used half the squash to make about 5 servings. If you are making it for a large group, use the whole squash. Otherwise, lightly spray a baking sheet, lay the squash cubes in a single layer on it, and freeze. Once the cubes are frozen, store them in a Ziplock bag in the freezer.

20140107-221024.jpg     4. In a large bowl, add the butternut squash cubes, 1 1/2 tbl. olive oil, 1 tsp. sea salt, 1/4 tsp. ground black pepper, and 1-2 tbl. brown sugar. Add any additional seasonings you like (fresh thyme, paprika, cinnamon, and sage are all great to try with butternut squash. Not necessarily all at once though!) and stir to coat. Spread in an even layer on a foil covered baking sheet.

20140107-221032.jpg     5. Roast at 425 degrees for approximately 25-35 minutes.

Enjoy as a delicious side, and stay tuned for butternut squash featured in curry!butternut r

Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Gorgonzola & a Balsamic Reduction

20140107-183652.jpgLike almost every kid, I detested Brussels sprouts growing up. They were like baby heads of steamed cabbage that seemed to turn to mush as soon as I put them in my mouth. Gross! But working for a restaurant in college I discovered that Brussels sprouts actually can be delicious!

The key is to cut them up into smaller pieces and roast them. Cutting them up exposes the layers of leaves inside so they can get brown and crunchy and absolutely delicious. Even if you’ve never liked Brussels sprouts before, I urge you to give these a try! The marriage of balsamic vinegar and creamy Gorgonzola with these is surprisingly perfect.

How do you like to make Brussels sprouts?

Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Gorgonzola & a Balsamic Reduction

  • Servings: 2
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

1 lb. of Brussels sprouts
2 tbs. olive oil
1/2 tsp. sea salt
Ground black pepper to taste
1/4 c. balsamic vinegar
1 tbl. Gorgonzola cheese crumbles

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Cut the bottoms off of your Brussels sprouts and peel off the outer 2-3 leaves. Chop each one into quarters. (Smaller ones can be cut just in half.) Rinse them gently and dry thoroughly.

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In a bowl, mix the chopped Brussels sprouts, olive oil, sea salt, and ground pepper until evenly coated. Spread evenly over a foil covered baking sheet.

20140107-183618.jpgPlace in the oven and roast for 20 minutes or until as deliciously browned as you want them. Remove the pan from the oven and allow to cool slightly. To serve, place in a bowl, drizzle with balsamic reduction (directions below), and sprinkle on the Gorgonzola cheese.

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Balsamic Reduction

On medium heat, boil 1/4 c. balsamic vinegar until it is reduced to 1/4 of the original amount, about 1 tablespoon.

Enjoy!