Monday, February 27, 2012

Crockpot White Bean and Sausage Stew

I came across this recipe at Kalyn's Kitchen. I decided to give a go at adapting it for the crockpot--especially since it's Sunday night, parent-teacher conference week, and I want an easy dinner for tomorrow! I also made a few changes along the way. Here's my version!

What you need:
-1 cup of dry white beans, soaked overnight (cannellini or great Northern) If you use canned, use 1 can and I'd add them later so they don't turn to mush.
-1 package of chicken sausage--I used Roasted Red Pepper with Asiago Cheese. There are a lot of good varieties out there that add a lot of flavor.
-1 onion, chopped
-1 bell pepper, chopped
-2-4 carrots, chopped (my carrots were puny so I used 4)
-1 can diced tomatoes, with juice-mine were the garlic, oregano, basil type
-1-2 T minced garlic
-2 t. oregano
-1 t. thyme
-2 cups chicken stock or broth (about a can)
-fresh chopped basil (not pictures as it was still growing on the plant)
-1 T balsamic vinegar (not pictured because I forgot)
-2 bay leaves (not pictured because I didn't think of it until later)
-optional-sprinkle with parmesan when serving or a blob of sour cream/Greek yogurt. If you like heat, add red pepper flakes

Do ahead tip:
*REQUIRED FOR DRIED BEANS* Soak the dry beans in water overnight. If you forget, but have an hour to spare, you can quick soak them. If not, use canned.
If you are a working type, it's really nice to have everything ready to go in the morning. I chopped up the onion, carrots, pepper, and sausages and stuck them in the fridge so it's all ready to go in the morning.

What to do:
-Drain the beans and pick out any that look weird.
-Dump all ingredients (except parmesan cheese) in the crockpot, cook on low until beans are cooked (I accidentally had to leave mine for 10 hours-everything was quite soft but it was probably fine after 8. If you make this, add your time in the comments!) If using canned beans, drain and add an hour or less before serving or they could turn mushy.
-Pick out bay leaves and serve!

How it turned out:
Really yummy! My biggest disappointment is that my crockpot isn't fuller! I have a 4.5 quart and I probably would've added another 1/2 cup of dry beans, cup of broth, and more chopped veggies. I really like this.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Curried "Indian" Chicken and Veggies

This is a recipe I've made again and again! I am excited because I'm finally writing it down!! Aside from the fun of eating it, it makes my house smell soooo good-now THAT is a scented candle I would buy! Anyway, I guess you are expecting a recipe.

What you need:

  • 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • olive oil
  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • 2-4 cloves garlic, diced
  • 1-2 T. curry powder to taste (curry powder is NOT hot, but it is flavorful!) Unless you buy the hot kind. I used 2T majarajan curry powder and a sprinkle of the hot stuff. Edit: I still make this all the time, but for more kick I love using a hot curry paste instead!
  • 1 t. ground ginger
  • a bunch (3-4 cups) of veggies: I've used the "Normandy mix" of frozen veggies, but when I have them fresh, that's what I use. Clean out that veggie drawer!  Good options are cauliflower, broccoli, carrots, sweet potatoes, shelled edemame, and bell peppers. Of course, if you're following South Beach or a low-carb plan, find out if you're allowed sweet potatoes or carrots first!
  • 1 can coconut milk (light)
  • 1/2 C. chicken broth
  • salt & pepper
  • optional, rice or noodles to serve with.
What to do:
    Wash and cut all veggies into bite-size pieces. (I always try to do it when the chicken is cooking and can't get it done, and it really stresses me out!)

    Trim fat off chicken and cut into 1" cubes. Salt and pepper the chicken and cook in oil over medium-high heat until lightly browned. Use your giant frying pan! When done, remove from pan.

    Turn heat to medium low. Using the same pan, add onion, garlic, curry powder, and ginger and cook for about 2 minutes.

    Add coconut milk, broth, and sweet potatoes and carrots, if using. They need at least a 5-minute head start on the other veggies to soften up. Cover and simmer for about 5 minutes.

    Then add other vegetables and allow to simmer, covered, for another 5-10 minutes.

    Add chicken back into the sauce and cook for about 5 more minutes. The sauce will cook down.

    Serve hot! If not watching carbs, serve over rice or noodles of your choice. This makes delicious leftovers and freezes well.

    Sunday, February 12, 2012

    Recipe Turned Product Review: Carne Asada

    I really had no idea what I was buying when I came upon something labeled "carne asada" when I was at the grocery store. But I love carne asada from my favorite Mexican place, and the cashier said they were really popular, so I figured it would be a fun experiment.

    I did some research and found some marinade recipes that looked worth trying. Then I get my meat out of the fridge and realize the reason this carne asada is so good is it is basically already marinating in there. Darn. So I stuck it in a marinade for the day anyway (after all, I'd already taken the ingredients picture) and grilled it up that night. This was before my deck and grill were covered in 2 feet of snow, but anyway, it was delicious. I don't think my marinade had anything to do with it, but it was good and pretty spicy. Tender and flavorful. The one reason I'd buy this again is that it's hard to find meat cut so thin already, which was a real plus. The downside (hey, they're not PAYING me for this review) was that some of bites were kind of fatty; it didn't seem all that well trimmed. But I would definitely buy it again! I guess since I'm labeling this as a product review, it is the Safeway Select brand of carne asada.

    For the record, after I took the above pictured meat off the grill I realized it was actually still "folded" in half so I unfolded it and threw it back on the grill for another minute or two.

    In case you buy some sort of meat that is NOT already marinated, here's what I used:
    about 1/2 cup tequila
    about 1/4 cup each lime and lemon juice
    a generous spoonful or two of minced garlic
    salt & pepper
    I pictured the orange juice but didn't end up using it. Some online recipes used it but after realizing the meat was already seasoned, it seemed like a bit much
    Mix ingredients in bowl or zip-top bag and marinate. Grill until done (my  meat was cut so thin it only took a few minutes). I will try this again with unseasoned meat but with the kind I bought, it was unnecessary.

    Wednesday, February 1, 2012


    This is, I'm pretty sure, the most delicious thing I've ever put in my mouth. Make it. You won't be sorry! You might want to eat it in private so you can lick the plate.

    Only changes I made, so I wouldn't have to go to the store were almond butter instead of peanut butter, and curry powder instead of curry paste.

    This is Kalyn's link and recipe, but my picture! Her pictures are better. :) What can I say, I was in a BIG hurry to eat!