Thursday, February 28, 2013

Braised Chicken with Parsnips

My deepest apologies for the sporadic and lack of posting over the last 3 weeks--work has been so crazy busy doing 2 jobs that the lunch break I take to post was spent doing work, and I stayed late most days so my brain was fried by the time I got home.  I typically write out a post a week or so in advance so it only take 5 minutes to post, but well....  Excuses, excuses, excuses....  It's better now so I am resuming!  Thanks so much for your patience!  <3

So after the success of the roasted parsnips with onions when I saw this braised chicken with parsnips recipe from Whole Living magazine, I really wanted to try them.


Parsnips are a close family member to carrots, and they have several nutritional benefits like 3 grams of fiber and only 55 calories. They are a good source of vitamin C (17% of RDA), folate (11%), and manganese (11%) in 1/2 cup (source).  They are a winter crop with a sweet but slightly nutty flavor (source).

{Parsnips look like albino carrots but have a delicate flavor}

{My grocery was out of leeks so I used onion instead}

{Searing chicken}

{Adding cider vinegar and dreid sage to the pot}

{Adding remaining ingredients}

{Lovely bed of rice}

Braised Chicken with Parsnips

Makes 4 servings

2 tablespoons olive oil
2 pounds skinless, bone-in chicken thighs
1 medium onion (or 2 leeks), sliced in semi-circles
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
1 pound parsnips (or potatoes), peeled and diced
1 pint mushrooms, cleaned and diced
2 tablespoons dried sage (or 10 leaves fresh)
1 3/4 cup chicken broth
2 cups brown rice, cooked
  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. Heat oil in a large, oven-proof pot over medium-high heat. Season chicken with salt and pepper.
  3. Sear chicken on all sides until golden brown on all sides.
  4. Add apple cider vinegar, parsnips, mushrooms, sage, and broth to the pot.
  5. Cover pot and place in oven until parsnips are done, about 1 hour.
  6. Separate rice into 4 bowls, and serve braised chicken on top.
I love one pot meals (yes I think this qualifies although rice is cooked separate) because they are so easy and the clean up is minimal.  What new ingredients have you tried lately?

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Thursday, February 21, 2013

Pork Chops with Dijon Onion Sauce

I love the versatility of Dijon mustard--it can be sweet and tangy, spicy and tangy or just tangy.  It was one of those nights before the grocery store, and I was cleaning out the fridge when I saw a red onion and pork chops needing to be eaten.  Viola!  This recipe was born!

{Dijon onion topped pork chop}

{Sliced onion}

{Searing pork chops--use a splatter screen to prevent messes and burns!}

{Add Dijon and honey}

{Add remaining liquids and simmer to reduce the sauce and cook the onions}

{Add pork chops back and reheat}

Pork Chops with Dijon Onion Sauce

Makes 4 servings


1 tablespoon olive oil
4 boneless pork chops
1 medium red onion, sliced into half moons
1/2 cup aaple cider vinegar
1/2 cup chicken broth
4 tablespoons honey Dijon mustard (or 3 tablespoons regular with 1 tablespoon honey)
3 tablespoons brown sugar
  1. Heat oil in skillet.
  2. Add pork chops and sear on both sides until almost done.
  3. Remove pork chops and finish baking in the oven (if they are very thick).
  4. Add vinegar to the pan and scrape up any brown bits; add remaining ingredients and simmer until onions are tender about 20 minutes.
  5. Add pork chops back to pan to reheat.
  6. Serve pork chops with onion sauce on top.
Do you have a favorite Dijon recipe?  I'd love to hear and try it!

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Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Black Bean Ragout

Ever go to a Mexican restaurant just to eat the little side of beans because they are so delicious?  No?...  Guess I am alone then....  Oh well--so I stumbled across a black bean ragout recipe from the smitten kitchen cookbook which looked promising in that it will make a whole pot to satisfy my cravings (no--I am NOT pregnant--can't someone just have a hankering for delicious food???).  Guess what?  smitten kitchen delivers the goods--again!  It's easy too!

{Serve the beans however you like--cheese, cilantro, plain, you pick!}

{Mixing some of the ingredients together}

{Adding garlic and onions--yum!}

{Simmer for about 1 hour}

Black Bean Ragout

Serves 4 (or 1 if you are really craving it!)


1 medium onion, finely diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
2 teaspoons paprika
2-15 oz cans black beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 teaspoon chili flakes (less if you want less heat)
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 cup beef broth
1 tablespoon lime juice
  1. Put all the ingredients, except lime juice, in a pot and mix together.
  2. Simmer for 1 hour or until beans are tender and flavorful.
  3. Add lime juice.
  4. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
I served this with some deer fajitas I made.  So delicious and easy for Taco Night!

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Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Tuesday Tip: How to Cut Peppers

Cutting peppers is difficult--enough said.  However, today I will show you how to cut up a pepper in about 30 seconds with little waste and no seeds getting everywhere!

Step 1:  Gather pepper, knife, and cutting board

Step 2:  Hold the pepper with your non-kinfe hand and cut with the curve of one side

Step 3:  Turn the pepper and cut with the curve

Step 4:  Repeat until pepper sides are cut off and the center stem remains with all the seeds attached.

Step 5:  Cut the pepper however you will need it--diced or in sticks (julienned).

This method does produce a bit more waste than most people will like.  However, this is fast and less messy than most other methods.  As always--practice makes perfect!

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Monday, February 18, 2013

Clam Chowder

Ben is not a big fan of seafood, so when he asked me to make him some clam chowder, I was delighted!  I got my recipe from the Chef at my hotel who hails from the Northwest, and who makes an incredible one for our lunch buffet.  Needless to say, it was delicious!

{Clam Chowder--a potato based soup with a hint of the sea}


{Helpful hint: buying wine in small bottles is less wasteful than buying large bottles especially if you don't cook/drink it on a regular basis}

{Simmer until thick and potatoes are tender!}

Clam Chowder

Serves 8


1/2 pound bacon, diced
1/2 cup celery, diced
1 onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
2/3 cup dry white wine like chardonnay
2 Idaho potatoes, peeled and diced
1 bay leaf
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
4 cups whole milk
3-6.5 oz cans clams in clam juice (undrained)
4 tablespoons butter
4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  1. Cook bacon until crispy; add celery, onions, and garlic. Cook until transulcent.
  2. Add wine and cook for a minute to burn off the alcohol.
  3. Add potatoes, thyme, bay leaf, and milk; cook until potatoes are tender.
  4. Heat butter in a separate pan until melted; add flour to make a white roux cooking for 2-3 minutes.
  5. Add roux and clams to soup and cook until thicken.
You can definitely add more veggies and lighten it up with skim or non-fat milk (if you want it thick with non-fat milk you will have to make more roux--up to to 6 tablespoons each). 

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Thursday, February 14, 2013

Spaghetti with Greens and Lemon

Growing up in a more rural part of the state than I did, Ben loves eating greens like mustard, collard and turnip.  Since I ask him to try new foods all the time, I try foods that he grew up with including dandelion, catfish, turtle, and (when-I-finally-man-up-and-kill) squirrel.  I saw this recipe in Whole Living Magazine and knew that it was too easy not to try!  Plus, greens are very healthy!

{Good for you greens!}

{Getting everything ready to go}

{Although vegetarian originally, I added chicken for the husband}

{Simmering greens and sauce}

{Use whole grain pasta to make this extra healthy!}

{Before adding some parmesan cheese}

Spaghetti with Greens and Lemon

Serves 2


2 tablespoons olive oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon chili flakes
1 pound chicken, cubed
1 can mixed greens, drained
1 lemon, zested and juiced
Spaghetti, cooked
Parmesan (optional)
1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted (optional)
  1. Heat oil in a skillet; add garlic, chili flakes and chicken. Cook through.
  2. Add greens, zest, and juice.
  3. Add cooked pasta to greens mixture and stir to coat.
  4. Serve with parmesan and pine nuts if desired.
This meal is healthy, cheap, and easy--some of my favorite things!  Do you eat greens like spinach, kale, collard, turnip or mustard greens?  I used mixed greens because that's what we like, but you can definitely highlight and use just one!

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Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Tuesday Tip: Mise en Place

If I took away ANYTHING from culinary school, it was this technique.  "Mise en Place" in French means "everything in place".  When you are working in a kitchen, especially an industrial kitchen with 20+ others using the same resources, having everything in your work station BEFORE you start is key.

Although now I have my own little kitchen and space, I still practice this technique because it makes sense.  Basically, you make sure you have EVERYTHING (spoons, spices, pans, cooking utensils--EVERYTHING) you need to make a recipe in one place.  That way, you don't have to go searching for something mid-recipe and ruin it because you stepped away for too long.

{Black Bean Ragout original recipe}

{Black Bean Ragout Mise en Place}

This also helps to make sure you have all the ingredients you need.  Can you tell me what I am missing in my Mise en Place? 

Lime juice!  (Measuring spoons, knife and cutting board are on the other side of the stove because of space constraint)  I didn't have any so I texted the hubby to pick some up on his way home.  If I hadn't gotten everything together beforehand, I would have been scrambling (stressing) at the last minute because I didn't have EVERYTHING to finish the recipe!  I would have done without in this particular instance, but I can't luck out like that all the time.

Have you ever realized mid-recipe you didn't have everything you needed?  Wasn't it stressful?  Did it turn out?  This is a great habit to get into!

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Thursday, February 7, 2013

Crisped Rice with Beef, Vegetables, and Eggs

Ever have leftover rice and veggies that you really don't know what to do with?  Me too!  I saw this recipe and adapted it a bit to make it faster.  This recipe was filling and tasty; definitely different than your average one skillet meal!

{Crisped Rice with Beef, Vegetables, and Eggs}

This dish can be made with pork or chicken too; this is definitely a versatile dish!

{Good dilemma--the hubby ate the pre-made rice I had for this recipe so I had to make  more.  I included rice cooking instruction with the recipe}

{Crispy rice!}

{Add your choice of meat}


{Add eggs}

{Ready to eat!}

Crisped Rice with Beef, Vegetables, and Eggs

Serves 2


1/2 cup brown rice
2 cups beef broth
1 tablespoon olive oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 medium onion, diced
1 pound beef, cubed (chicken or pork can be used)
2 cups vegetables of your choice
1/2 cup ponzu
2 tablespoons sesame seed oil
2 tablespoons ginger, minced
1/4 teaspoon chili flakes
2 eggs
  1. Combine rice and broth in a saucepan; cook rice until tender. Leftover rice can be used.
  2. When rice is finished, heat olive oil in a pan until hot; add rice and fry until crispy.
  3. Add meat and cook until almost done.
  4. Add remaining ingredients except for eggs; simmer for 15 minutes.
  5. Make two wells in the beef mixture; crack one egg into each well.
  6. Cover the pan and allow the eggs to cook until desired doneness about 3-6 minutes.
If you don't have meat (you know those night-before-the-grocery-store-when-there-is-little-food), you could always just put eggs in it--still is delicious!
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Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Salted Brown Butter Crispy Treats

I have never been a big fan of rice crispy treats--they are sticky and bland.  I'd rather have a chocolate bar!  However, as I was looking through the smitten kitchen cookbook, I saw her variation on rice crispy treats, and I thought I'd give it a try.  My mom gave me some marshmallows that needed using (not a big fan of marshmallows either....), and I had nothing else to do with them.  This recipe, let me tell you, WOW!!!  I LOVE THESE CRISPY TREATS!!!!  The browned butter and salt pair unbelievably well!  My mom tried them (almost mawled me to take them home with her) and BEGGED me to make more for her Super Bowl party!

{Soooo DELICIOUS!!!!}

{Melt butter}

{Slowly brown the butter because it goes quick!}

{Browned butter}

{Add salt and then marshmallows}

{Add rice cereal--brown rice cereal can be used too!}

{Spray wax paper with non-stick spray and press the rice crispies into the pan--be careful because they will be hot!}

Salted Brown Butter Crispy Treats

Serves 16


1 stick unsalted butter, plus more to butter pan
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
10 oz mini marshmallows
6 cups puffed rice cereal
  1. Butter an 8 inch square pan (bottom and sides).  Spray wax paper with non-stick spray.
  2. Melt butter in a large pot over medium-low heat; it will foam, turn clear golden, and then smell nutty.
  3. Stir frequently once butter smells nutty; DO NOT WALK AWAY because it only takes a minute or two until it gets brown.
  4. Once brown, turn off heat, add salt, and stir. 
  5. Add marshmallows and stir; the residual heat should melt them, but if not, turn back heat to low until smooth.
  6. Add rice cereal; folding until cereal is evenly coated.
  7. Pour mixture into butter pan.
  8. Take paper and press mixture into pan; the mixture will be hot so be careful!
  9. Cool; use a serrated knife to cut treats into 16 sqaures.
Share because a diet will get into SERIOUS trouble with these!  (YES MOM I SAID SHARE!!!)  I haven't tried them with chocolate coating or anything...  Because, honestly, I will have to get over how delicious they are on their own first! 
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Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Tuesday Tip: Bananas to Make Ice Cream

I have seen floating around the internet that a banana makes a great base for ice cream--just puree it, and there you have ice cream without the hassle of an ice cream maker!  Intrigued, I froze some bananas a few months ago and forgot about them (oops...).  However, I saw this recipe for nutella banana ice cream on Pinterest (obsessed!) and knew that for World Nutella Day (February 5--today, seriously!!!), I HAD to make it because my family loves Nutella and bananas!  No brainer!

{I might have been caught a few times in childhood/adulthood eating this with just a spoon........}

{Frozen bananas}

{Add Nutella, cocoa, and milk}

{Delicious Nutella Banana Ice Cream!}

Nutella Banana Ice Cream

Serves 4


4 bananas, frozen
8 tablespoons Nutella
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
2 tablespoons milk
  1. Place everything in a blender/food processor and blend until smooth.
  2. Serve immediately for a soft serve consistency or place in a container and refreeze for 1 hour for firmer texture.
This mixture doesn't freeze hard (like a brick); it was perfectly scoopable!  Great for a quick treat without the calories!

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