Time to Cook!

Inspiration for wholesome weeknight & weekend cooking.

Posts tagged ‘comfort food’

I’m always looking for a tasty slow cooker recipe.  The slow cooker is such a time saver during the week or on the weekend – after a little bit of prep time, set it and get on with your life.  Then, when it’s dinner time, your kitchen will smell wonderful and dinner is ready!  It’s just hard to find recipes that TASTE good, but this one does!  This chicken chili is great over rice.  Feel free to add extra hot sauce to your bowl if this is not spicy enough for you.

buffalo-chicken-chili

Recipe adapted from Katie Lee on Food Network.

Prep time: 10 minutes

Cooking time: 4 hours

Serves: 8 people

Ingredients:

2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
One 15-ounce can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
One 4-ounce can chopped green chiles
1/2 cup Buffalo wing sauce (or 1/4 cup butter and a scant 1/8 cup hot sauce)
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
4 cloves garlic, minced
3 stalks celery, diced
1 bay leaf
1 rotisserie chicken, skin discarded, meat shredded
1/2 jalapeno, seeds and membranes removed, minced (optional)
1 medium yellow onion, diced

Directions:

In a slow cooker pot, combine the chicken broth, beans, chiles, wing sauce, salt, pepper, garlic, celery, bay leaf, shredded chicken, jalapeno and onion and mix. Cover and cook on high for 4 hours.
Serve over white rice with desired toppings: celery leaves, blue cheese, Cheddar cheese, hot sauce, and/or cilantro; cornbread on the side.

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I know I can’t complain about all of the rain we’ve been getting in California, but this weather is gloomy and it puts me in the mood to bake!  I stumbled upon this recipe for homemade granola and when I read that the amazing restaurant Eleven Madison Park (NYC) hands it out to their patrons as a thank you, I thought that was such a nice touch … and I knew it had to be good!  A quick trip to the bulk section at Whole Foods supplied me with all of my healthy ingredients.  This granola is delicious — healthy, salty, sweet, crunchy, nutty, and well, addictive.  So good on top of plain yogurt (and maybe vanilla ice cream) or on its own!  This would make a nice gift in a mason jar too.

Granola

Recipe from Eleven Madison Park, published in the NYT Magazine

 

Eleven Madison Park Granola

Makes: 6 cups

Cooking time: 40 minutes

Ingredients:

2 3⁄4 cups rolled oats
1 cup shelled pistachios
1 cup unsweetened coconut chips
1/3 cup pumpkinseeds
1 tablespoon salt
1⁄2 cup light brown sugar
1/3 cup maple syrup
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
3⁄4 cup dried sour cherries

 

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 300. In a large bowl, mix together the oats, pistachios, coconut, pumpkin seeds and salt.

2. In a small saucepan set over low heat, warm the sugar, syrup and olive oil until the sugar has just dissolved, then remove from heat. Fold liquids into the mixture of oats, making sure to coat the dry ingredients well.

3. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat, and spread granola over it. Bake until dry and lightly golden, 35 to 40 minutes, stirring granola a few times along the way.

4. Remove granola from oven, and mix into it the dried sour cherries. Allow to cool to room temperature before transferring to a storage container. Makes about 6 cups.

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I love making pancakes for my family on the weekend, but have you ever noticed how much sugar is in a lot of the store-bought pancake mixes?  My friend Sarah told me about this super healthy pancake mix.  She has lots of little mouths to feed, so she makes a big batch of this dry mix ahead of time.  You’ll have to shop for some specialty ingredients at Whole Foods or a specialty store, but you’ll be glad you did.  I will be making this again and again for my family – my boys love it!  The pancakes are healthy, so you will need to top with a dab of butter, real Vermont maple syrup or molasses, and fresh fruit.  Note: the recipe makes a big batch of mix, which is great for storing in a container for future use.Goldie's Whole Grain Pancake Mix Recipe slightly adapted from “Feeding the Whole Family: Recipes for Babies, Young Children, and Their Parents

Goldie’s Whole Grain Pancake Mix

Makes 6 cups dry mix.

“This basic pancake mix comes from Goldie Caughlan, nutrition educator at Puget Consumers Co-op in Seattle.  There are many types of whole grain flours besides wheat that can be used to make baked goods.  This recipe utilizes a combination of several.  One perk of this mix is that it works equally well for waffles.”

Ingredients:

2 cups barley flour

2 cups whole wheat pastry flour

1 cup buckwheat flour

1 cup blue cornmeal

3 tablespoons baking powder

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1 tablespoon sugar

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

Directions:

Combine all ingredients and store in air tight container.

Buttermilk Banana Pancakes

Recipe slightly adapted from “Feeding the Whole Family: Recipes for Babies, Young Children, and Their Parents

Makes ten 5-inch pancakes.

Ingredients:

1 egg, lightly beaten

1 1/2 cups Goldie’s Whole Grain Pancake Mix

1 cup buttermilk (can substitute with plain yogurt and a bit of water)

1/2 cup water

1 ripe banana, cut into thin slices

Vegetable Oil for griddle

Directions:

In a large bowl, combine buttermilk, water, and pancake mix.  Mix thoroughly with a whisk.  Add egg and banana to batter and gently fold in.  Heat griddle to medium high and coat surface with small amount of oil.  Pour enough batter onto griddle to form a 5-inch pancake.  When pancake has cooked on the bottom (tiny bubbles form on the top), flip with a spatula and cook the other side.  Repeat with the rest of the batter.  Keep cooled pancakes in a warm oven until ready to serve.

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If you’re in the mood for comfort food, this is the dinner for you!  Serve with a toasted baguette on the side.  Note: I used a bit less garlic and I prefer to use fresh cooked white beans (any kind) over canned.

Chorizo and white bean stew

Recipe from Bon Appétit.

Chorizo and White Bean Stew

Total time: 45 minutes

Yield: makes 4 servings

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided, plus more for drizzling
  • 1 pound fresh Mexican chorizo or Italian sausage links
  • 1 large onion, thinly sliced
  • 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 sprig thyme
  • 2 15-ounce cans cannellini (white kidney) beans, rinsed
  • 2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper
  • 5 ounces baby spinach (about 10 cups)
  • Smoked paprika (optional)

Preparation

Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add sausage and cook, turning occasionally, until browned and cooked through, 15-20 minutes. Transfer sausage to a plate.

Reduce heat to medium. Heat remaining 1 tablespoon oil in same skillet. Add onion, garlic, and thyme sprig. Cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is softened, 5-8 minutes. Add beans and broth and cook, crushing a few beans with the back of a spoon to thicken sauce, until slightly thickened, 8-10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Add spinach by handfuls and cook just until wilted, about 2 minutes.

Slice chorizo and fold into stew; add water to thin, if desired. Divide stew among bowls; drizzle with oil and sprinkle with paprika, if desired.

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Think of this as an Americanized version of a Chinese stir fry — tasty and only takes 15 minutes to prepare.  What’s not to love?  Also a good excuse to use up any ground beef and/or pork in your freezer (before it sits in there for too long!)  Serve with brown rice and put a bottle of Sriracha at the table for those who want more heat.

Mapo Tofu

Recipe slightly adapted from Food and Wine; contributed by Chef Kuniko Yagi.

“This is totally my way of making this dish,” chef Kuniko Yagi says. “I’m sure Chinese people wouldn’t let me call this mapo tofu.” Yagi’s version has more meat than tofu, but she still relies on jarred toban djan, the chile­-bean paste that gives this Chinese takeout staple its signature heat and deeply savory flavor.”

Serves 4.

Ingredients:

1 teaspoon canola oil
1/2 pound ground beef chuck (85% lean)
1/2 pound ground pork
Kosher salt
1 tablespoon chile-bean sauce, preferably toban djan (or 1 teaspoon chili garlic sauce)
2 tablespoons hoisin sauce or tenmenjan (soybean paste)
1 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce
One 14-ounce package soft tofu, finely diced
1 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch
1/2 cup water
4 scallions, finely chopped
Brown rice, for serving

Directions:

1. Heat a large skillet until hot. Add the oil, followed by the beef and pork. Season with salt and cook over high heat, stirring and breaking up the meat, until crumbly and lightly browned, about 3 minutes.

2. Stir in the chile­-bean sauce, hoisin and soy sauce and cook, stirring, for 3 minutes. Gently fold in the tofu. In a small bowl, whisk the cornstarch into the water. Add to the skillet and simmer until the sauce thickens, 2 minutes. Stir in the scallions and serve with brown rice.

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My mother-in-law Patsy is from New Orleans and she is a great cook.  She can do all of the New Orleans specialties – homemade beignets, crawfish etouffee, shrimp creole, turkey and sausage gumbo, etc.  She serves dirty rice as a side dish at Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner in place of stuffing or mashed potatoes.  This dish is so incredibly flavorful.  I sometimes serve it as our main course for dinner with a side salad.  Every Mardi Gras (this year it’s on Tues., March 4th), I cook something traditional for dinner (complete with colorful bead necklaces and silly hats) so the boys will be aware of their heritage.  Note: if the organ meat in the recipe grosses you out, try it without and I bet it would still be good.  The original recipe calls for all organ meat, but instead, I use mostly ground beef and add just a bit of organ meat, which gives the dish a complex and rich flavor.  Chicken livers and gizzards, although high in cholesterol, do offer a ton of vitamins and minerals (iron and zinc) and protein and are fine in moderation.  You can ask for chicken livers and gizzards at the meat counter at Whole Foods.

Dirty rice

Recipe adapted from The New Orleans Cookbook.

Dirty Rice

Serves 4.

“Dirty rice is a popular Cajun dish made with chicken livers and gizzards, vegetables, long grain rice and lots of pepper.  It is served as an accompaniment to poultry and meat.  If the main dish has a gravy, you pour some of it over the dirty rice.  Don’t use leftover rice warmed up; the dish will have an unpleasant texture.”

Ingredients:

1/4 pound chicken gizzards

1/4 pound chicken livers

1/4 cup vegetable oil

1 pound ground beef

2 tablespoons flour

1 1/2 tablespoons finely minced garlic

1 2/3 cup finely chopped onion

1/4 cup finely chopped celery

1/2 cup finely chopped green pepper

2 teaspoons kosher salt

1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1/4 cup finely minced fresh parsley

3 cups Boiled Rice (see below)

Directions:

Add chicken gizzards and chicken livers to a small pot of boiling water and simmer for 15-20 minutes.  Remove with slotted spoon and purée in blender (I use a Mini Prep Processor).  Set aside only 1 tablespoon of this puréed organ meat for the recipe; discard the rest.  Heat the oil in a large heavy skillet or Le Creuset and cook the ground meat until it begins to brown.  Add the flour, garlic, onion, celery, and green pepper and mix well.  Cook until the vegetables begin to turn soft and slightly brown.  Add 1 tablespoon of puréed organ meat to the skillet along with the salt, pepper, cayenne pepper, most of the parsley, and 2 tablespoons of water.  Cook over low heat for a few more minutes, adding a bit more water during cooking if necessary.  Remove skillet from heat.  Toss in the cooked rice and stir; serve hot.  Garnish with a bit of parsley.

Boiled Rice

“Firm, fluffy, freshly prepared boiled rice is the essential accompaniment to so many of our dishes… Rice is served with gumbos, bean dishes, crawfish bisque, etoufees, and many other dishes.  Preparing it this way takes only 15 minutes, very little more than any pre-cooked convenience rice, and gives you the superb texture and flavor only freshly cooked rice has.  The tiny amount of butter keeps the grains from sticking together.”

Serves 4.

Ingredients:

1 cup long grain white rice

2 cups cold water

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon salted butter

Directions:

Combine all the ingredients in a heavy 3-quart saucepan with a tight-fitting cover and bring to a boil over high heat.  Stir once with a fork, then cover tightly and reduce the heat to very low.  Cook covered for exactly 15 minutes.  Do not lift the cover during cooking.  Remove the pan from the heat, uncover, and fluff the rice gently with a fork.

Note: the rice will keep warm enough for serving second helpings if you use a heavy saucepan and keep it covered after serving.  Another way to keep the extra rice warm is to put the covered saucepan in a pre-heated 175 degree oven.  Do not keep it warm for more than 25 minutes.

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