Chicken Stew with Sweet Potatoes & Kale

I can’t believe I have been withholding this recipe from you lovely people for so long. Please don’t hate me. I have been way too busy enjoying it, like, every other week. Thank God my husband loves it just as much.  I don’t know what I would do if he asked me to stop making it. That will never happen, though. I’m sure of it.

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Reasons why I love this dish:

1. It is healthy

2. It is the most delicious stew I have ever tasted. Seriously, I feel like my tastebuds are doing the Electric Slide every time a bite goes in.

3. It will last me 3 days…and I DO NOT tire of it, even after that long.

4. It is super easy to make.

5. I can make bone broth from the carcass and innards after I am done with the chicken.

Chicken Stew with Sweet Potatoes and Kale

2 tablespoons butter

1 large yellow onion, sliced thin

2 large garlic cloves, minced

2 tablespoons flour

2 quarts chicken stock

1 whole, organic chicken, innards removed

1 tablespoon salt

1 teaspoon pepper

2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped into 1.5-2 inch cubes

about 6-9 kales leaves

fresh parsley, finely chopped

Cooked white rice to serve with stew

Preheat oven to 350.

In a large (oven-safe) stock pot, melt butter over medium-high heat. Cook onions until they are soft, then add garlic and stir around until it’s nice and fragrant (about 30 seconds).  Add flour and stir around for another 30 seconds or so. Slowly add chicken stock and stir to get all the flour bits off of the bottom. Submerge the chicken in the stock, add the salt and pepper, and add the sweet potato cubes around the chicken. Bring to simmer.

When the stew is simmering, cover stock pot and place in oven. The cooking time will depend on the weight of the chicken. For a 3lb chicken, an hour will do. I had to cook a 4lb bird for 1.5 hours last week.

When the chicken is done, remove the pot from the oven. Let the covered pot rest while you are cooking your rice. Carefully remove the chicken to a plate or large cutting board.  Cut or tear the kale into bit-sized pieces and add to the stew, along with the parsley. What we like to do is serve the stew over rice and eat the legs the first night. When we are finished with dinner, we go back and shred the meat from the bone then toss it in the stew and refrigerate for the next night.

The next night, I like to use some of the stock in the stew to make the rice. More flavor, baby! Anyway, we eat this for at least 2 nights, sometimes even 3.  It could serve about 6 in one night, though.

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Have a wonderful Tuesday!

 

 

Honey-Garlic Glazed Carrots {side dish}

Not only are these honey-garlic glazed carrots amaze-balls, but they are also healthy {**as long as you are using butter from grass-fed cows and raw honey**}! Oh, and on top of those two awesome things, they’re quick and easy to make! So there is no reason in this world for you not to try these carrots.

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After I put last night’s Butternut Squash & Chicken Pan-Roast into the oven, I realized that I needed just one more thing to complete the meal. I would normally add something green, but I happened to have a whole bunch of carrots on-hand. The color of the carrots ended up being the perfect complement to this particular entree.

Honey-Garlic Glazed Carrots

{serves 4}

8 – 10 good-sized carrots 

3 tablespoons butter

2 minced garlic cloves

3 tablespoons raw honey

Salt and pepper

Peel carrots, then cut into 2 inch increments. Quarter the big fat parts and leave the skinny parts whole. Just aim to get each piece the same size.  Place carrots into a medium sized pot, cover with water, and place over high heat. When water begins to boil, cover and reduce heat to medium-low for 10 – 15 minutes, depending on how tender you want them {I did 15 and the carrots melted in my mouth}.  Drain the water from the carrots and set aside while you prepare your honey mixture.

For the honey mixture simply heat the butter in a small pan over medium heat then add garlic. Sauté garlic for 2 – 3 minutes then add the honey and stir to combine.  Add the mixture to the carrots and carefully coat the carrots using a spoon.  Season with salt and pepper to your liking.

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**Come back tomorrow for an awesome Etsy giveaway!**

Have a happy Tuesday!!

Chocolate & Peanut Butter Cake

I wish I could blame my chocolate-peanut butter addiction on pregnancy, but alas, I have been plagued with it all the days of my life! I love salty/sweet combinations in my dessert, just like I love sweet/savory combinations in my dinner entrees.  

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This recipe is a good balance of sweet and salty, especially with the addition of salted, roasted peanuts crumbled on top! The frosting is a peanut butter cream cheese frosting. Yum! You will definitely need a big glass of milk to wash a piece of this down. 

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I used a basic chocolate cake recipe, so if you have one that works for you, then use it! If not, keep this one handy!

Chocolate Cake

1 3/4 cup flour

2 cups sugar

3/4 cup cocoa powder

2 teaspoons baking soda

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

1 cup milk

1/2 cup neutral tasting oil (I normally use grape seed, but you can use canola or vegetable)

2 eggs

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1 cup of freshly brewed coffee (you won’t taste it!)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Prepare two 8- or 9-inch baking pans by spraying with baking spray or greasing with shortening, then flouring.  Sift the dry ingredients together in a large bowl. In a smaller bowl, combine the wet ingredients, then, with the mixer set on low, slowly add the wet ingredients to the dry. Add the 1 cup of coffee and mix until just combined, scraping to bowl to make sure you got it all. Bake for about 40 minutes, or until cake is done (test with a butter knife or toothpick).

Peanut Butter Cream Cheese Frosting

8oz softened cream cheese

1/2 cup creamy peanut butter

1 teaspoon vanilla

3 1/2 cups confectioners sugar

1 tablespoons milk

handful of salted peanuts, chopped

In your standing mixer, mix peanut butter and cream cheese on high for about 3-5 minutes.  Turn the mixer off {or don’t and see what happens} and add the sugar, one cup at a time. Add the vanilla and milk. Taste and feel the frosting to make sure it’s the consistency of normal cake frosting. If it’s a little dry, add another tablespoon of milk. If it’s a little wet, add another cup of sugar. I sprinkled my cake with a tiny bit of cocoa powder and a handful of salted peanuts. 

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Enjoy!

Sweet Potato & Vanilla Risotto

Fall weather is setting in for most of the US, but it’s still pretty warm here in Arizona.  I’m okay with that because I can still turn my AC to 65, put on a sweater, drink some hot tea, and make yummy Fall meals like this one!

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This recipe was adapted from Giada De Laurentiis’s Giada’s Kitchen cookbook.  I loved her Butternut squash risotto, but I love sweet potatoes and carrots, too! Also, I needed to add some meat to the dish for my husband, so I added shredded chicken and exchanged the vegetable broth for chicken broth.

Sweet Potato & Vanilla Risotto

4 cups chicken broth

1 vanilla bean

2 cups sweet potato, chopped into 1 inch cubes

1 cup chopped carrots

2 chicken breasts, cooked (I boiled), then shredded

2 tablespoons butter

1 small sweet onion

1 1/2 cups Arborio rice

1/2 cup dry white wine

3/4 cup shredded parmesan cheese

2 tablespoons chopped chives

salt and pepper

In a large saucepan, heat chicken broth over medium-high heat. Split vanilla bean down the middle, remove seeds with a small knife, then add seeds and bean to the broth. When the broth comes to a boil, add the sweet potatoes and carrots. Turn the heat down to medium, and simmer for about 10 minutes, or until the sweet potatoes are tender (carrots will still be firm to the bite).  Remove vegetables with a slotted spoon, but keep the broth simmering over low heat.

In the meantime, grab another large saucepan and heat the butter over medium-high heat.  Add the chopped onion an cook for about 3 minutes.  Add the rice and stir to coat with the butter. Pour in the wine and simmer until the wine is almost evaporated.  Add 1/2 cup of the simmering broth and simmer until the liquid is almost completely evaporated (3 to 4 minutes). Continue to do this, while stirring the rice, until the broth is gone (discard the bean pod).  The rice should be tender and the mixture should be nice and creamy! If you like your rice a bit more tender, you can heat a little more broth and keep adding until the risotto is to your liking.

Gently stir in the vegetables, chicken, parmesan cheese, and chives. Taste to see if you need to add salt and pepper. Top with another sprinkle of parmesan cheese and a little bit of chives. Enjoy!

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You can totally leave the chicken and exchange the chicken broth for some vegetable broth to make this a meatless or vegetarian meal. Have a great Tuesday, everyone, and tune in tomorrow for a delicious dessert!

Healthy Pasta Salad with Cucumber-Lime Vinaigrette

This pregnancy has me craving cold dishes. I have probably made 5 different pasta salad variations in the past 3 weeks.  I just can’t get enough of them! Plus it’s a good way for me to get more raw vegetables in my diet, which I need even more since I’m, you know, growing another human being.

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A healthy pasta salad?

Take a look at those beautiful colors! Any dish with that many colors has got to be packed with tons of good stuff, right? And as long as you use whole grain pasta, there will be nothing bad about this salad.

Pasta Salad with Cucumber-Lime Vinaigrette

half a box of your choice of pasta salad noodles (I chose penne)

1 cucumber, peeled, halved lengthwise, seeded, and chopped about 1/4 inches thick

1 yellow bell pepper, seeded and chopped into 1 inch pieces 

1/2 to 1 cup quartered cherry tomatoes (your preference)

1/4 cup chopped cilantro

1/2 cup fresh lime juice (took me 3 juicy limes)

1/4 cup grapeseed oil (or another flavorless oil, like canola)

2 tablespoons honey

1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes (or more if you like things spicy)

generous amounts of salt and pepper for seasoning

Boil pasta until al dente. Drain and rinse with cold water. In a large bowl toss cucumber, bell pepper, tomatoes, and cilantro to mix well. In a small bowl mix lime juice, oil, honey, red pepper flakes, 1/4 teaspoon pepper, and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Pour vinaigrette over pasta and vegetables.

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It keeps pretty well overnight in the refrigerator, so you can make this dish ahead of time. It’s great for Saturday BBQ’s or potluck dinners at church. You can make it gluten-free, too, by replacing the noodles with gluten-free noodles, of course.

Blueberry cornmeal pancakes

It sure has been nice having my other half home with me and Milo. We are all unpacked and cozy in our new home in Yuma, and we are finally falling into place as a family. Of course, that will all be thrown up in the air and run over by a semi truck when Sam leaves for a few weeks to go back to Okinawa to check out! Just when we were getting comfortable…

I am getting used to running my own household again, only this time it’s so much more fun because we have this little person running around here. I’ve had tons of fun cooking every day for my little family! For Pancake Sunday I decided to make corn-cakes since I’ve been dreaming about the ones I had at Cafe Vida when I went to visit my sister-in-law a few weeks ago.  Sam normally doesn’t like sweet things for breakfast, but he LOVED these, so I have decided to make them, at least, a monthly thing in this house.

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I used the recipe on the backside of the Bob’s Red Mill Blue Cornmeal bag, since I’ve used many of these recipes and they have all turned out amazing. Regular cornmeal can certainly be used, I just thought this blue cornmeal would be fun since I was adding blueberries.

Blueberry Cornmeal Pancakes

3/4 cup cornmeal

1 tsp. salt

1 tbsp. sugar

1 cup boiling water

1 egg, beaten

1/2 cup milk

2 tbsp. butter, melted

3/4 cup whole grain flour (or white)

2 tsp. baking powder

1/2 cup fresh blueberries

Mix cornmeal, salt, and sugar in a medium bowl. Stir in the boiling water until all of the ingredients are wet, then cover and let stand for a few minutes. In a small bowl combine egg, milk, and melted butter. Stir milk mixture into cornmeal mixture. Combine flour and baking powder, then stir into cornmeal mixture until just incorporated. Don’t over-mix it! Fold blueberries into batter. If the batter is a little stiff, add more milk until it flows off of the spoon thickly, but smoothly.  Heat cast iron skillet over medium heat, grease with oil or butter, and spoon about 1/4 cup of the mixture into the pan.  You know to flip when the whole surface is covered in bubbles. Serve with pure maple syrup or fruit or peanut butter! Yum!

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I think I love corncakes more than I love regular flour pancakes. They have a little crunch from the cornmeal and a little more saltiness too, which pairs perfectly with sweet maple syrup!

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Next post will be about the new home, promise! Have a great Tuesday!

For my sister

Well, after 42 long weeks, my sister finally gave birth to Annabelle.  It seemed to be an easy labor until she was fully dilated and her epidural slipped out.  My poor sister felt all that terrible pain when she was least expecting it. And to top it all off, Annabelle had to be sucked out by a vacuum! But all is well.  She was born a hefty 8lbs, with a full head of dark brown, curly hair.

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She is still in the hospital at the moment, but should be going home tomorrow morning.  I was thinking of her when I was trying to decide what to make for dinner tonight.  She is nursing, so she needs all the nutrients she can get. If you know my sister, then you know she is not much on healthy foods. Her favorites come in a box having undergone the maximum processing.  And if you’ve seen the things I cook on my blog, then you know I am completely opposite.  So I tried to find a happy medium, for her sake.  This recipe is from the Better Homes & Garden cookbook, I just added a few things to make it a bit more healthy.

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I decided to go with a casserole since it’s a one dish meal that includes all the food groups. And she can make it ahead of time and there will be plenty of left overs.

Tex Mex Chicken Casserole 

Adapted from Better Homes & Garden cookbook

1/2 cup yellow onion

1 box of chicken rice & vermicelli (Rice-a-roni!)

2 cups cooked chicken (I boil 3 chicken breasts ahead of time, then cut into cubes)

2 cups water

1 14.5 oz can of chicken broth

1 cup tomatoes, chopped (about 3 roma tomatoes)

1 small can diced green chills

2 cups fresh spinach leaves

1 can black beans (rinsed)

1/2 cup cilantro, chopped finely

1 1/2 teaspoon chili powder

1 teaspoon dried basil

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

1/8 teaspoon ground cumin

2 cups of your choice of shredded cheese

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.  Sauté the onion over medium heat in a little bit of olive oil until tender.  Add rice, along with the seasoning, and cook and stir for 2 minutes or so. Add chicken broth and water, bring to a boil, then cover the mixture. Simmer on low heat for 20 minutes. The liquid will not all be absorbed.  In a large bowl, combine all of the ingredients, except the cheese.  When everything is combined, transfer mixture to a 3 quart casserole dish.  Cover with foil, and bake for 25 minutes.  Remove foil, sprinkle cheese on top, and place back in the oven for 5 – 10 minutes, depending on how melty you like your cheese.  Sprinkle any remaining cilantro you might have laying around on top of the cheese.

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I know my sister will omit the onion, tomatoes, and cilantro, however, Stephanie, do not omit the spinach or black beans!! Baby Annabelle needs some good food! I love you, and I’m so proud of you. I hope you can get some use from this recipe.