I still remember the first time that I tried rhubarb. It was probably 10 years ago. I had wanted to try it, but just hadn’t had the chance (I guess) living in suburbia Oklahoma and just didn’t have the inclination … Continue reading
I really have to admit that, honestly, this Chicken with Morel Mushroom Sauce is one of my favorite dishes that I have ever made.
Honestly. Ever. I don’t know whether the magic of the sauce is from the morels or from the sherry-based sauce..or the heavy cream. Who knows. It’s good. Real good.
I came home to a huge bag of fresh picked morel mushrooms on my doorstep! A friend of mine foraged for them and thankfully decided to share his treasure! These puppies can go for as much as $40 per pound! We are eating like royalty over here!
With such a large bundle of morel mushroom-delights, I decided to prepare a recipe that was provincial and special: a french morel mushroom sauce. This sauce deserves a trumpet of announcement. It deserves to be served in a bowl with amazing a crusty baguette, if you can have it. Sop it up. Don’t waste this sauce. With only 1/2 cup of heavy cream added at the end, the sauce is not heavy but it is substantial. I also think that adding champagne vinegar or lemon juice at the end really brings this sauce home with a small acidic kick.
Note – If you are unable to get fresh morel mushrooms, either substitute the mushrooms for equal quantity of cremini or shiitake OR go online and purchase about 2 oz of dry morels. If using dry morels, you will need to rehydrate them. In a small saucepan, bring 2 cups water to a boil over high heat. Turn the heat off and add the morels to the saucepan. Cover the saucepan and soak the mushrooms for 30 minutes to rehydrate. Remove the rehydrated mushrooms out of the soaking liquid using a slotted spoon, gently squeezing out the excess liquid back into the saucepan. Reserve the soaking liquid.
Chicken with Morel Mushroom Sauce
- 1 tablespoon olive oil or butter
- 3 pounds of bone in chicken thighs or breasts (skin removed)
- Salt and pepper
- 1/2 cup minced red onion or shallot
- 1 pound fresh morel mushrooms, washed and cut in half if large (this is how I wash my morels)*
- 1 cup dry sherry
- 1 cup low sodium chicken broth
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 1 teaspoon Champagne vinegar or lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon fresh thyme
- Season both sides of chicken with salt and pepper up to one day in advance.
- Add olive oil (or butter) in a large skillet placed over medium-high heat. Add chicken to skillet bone side up, and cook about 6 minutes per side, turning once. Allow the chicken to become golden brown on both sides. Remove the chicken and place on a plate.
- Lower the heat to medium. If needed, add another tablespoon of olive oil and then add onion (or shallots). Sauté until soft and translucent, about 2 to 3 minutes. Then add washed morel mushrooms and sauté for a few more minutes. Use a slotted spoon and transfer the mushrooms to a separate plate. Add dry sherry to skillet and bring to a boil. Allow the sherry to reduce by half (about 2 minutes). Add chicken stock and chicken to skillet and bring mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cover the skillet with a lid placed slightly ajar. Simmer until chicken is cooked through, about 20 minutes. Check chicken after 20 minutes. After cooked through, transfer the chicken to a platter.
- Add the mushrooms back to the skillet. Add cream, vinegar, and thyme. Simmer uncovered for about 5 minutes or until sauce begins to thicken. Add salt and pepper to taste. To serve, pour the sauce over the chicken on the platter. Sprinkle with additional cracked pepper and fresh thyme, if desired.
We all need a little treat now and then. For me, my favorite treat is always peanut butter eggs or dark chocolate peanut butter cups. Swooooooon. I don’t have them often, but when I do, I prefer the mini ones … Continue reading
For my birthday, a friend of mine gave me an amazing cookbook by Rachel Khoo called My Little French Kitchen. I’ve been wrapped up in her delicious recipes, bright photos, and lovely stories about exploring regional french cuisine as she travels all around France! Ugh…Tough job, I know. I try not to get too bitter at the picturesque seaside photos around Normandy and the nonstop lavender fields of Provance…especially when my fingers are numb by just driving my car to work. Spring needs to come quickly.
As we say goodbye to winter, I am still cooking up stews and comfort meals. This cookbook offers plenty of that as well. There is a wonderful section in her book about Alsace, a northeastern region of France, bordering Germany. The recipes in this section are hearty, winter-loving, comfort foods. One of my favorite recipes in the Alsace region of her book is called Baeckeoffe or “Baker’s Oven Stew”. The history behind the stew refers to a time when french women would often bring this casserole to the baker in the morning on their way to the river to wash their clothes. The baker would bake it in the coolest part of the oven all day. The women would then pick up the baked stew and a loaf of bread for dinner on their way home. Hence the name Baeckeoffe or literally Baker’s Oven.
As I started thinking more and more about that story, I couldn’t help but feel so sorry for those poor women. Those women had to lug that huuuuge cast iron casserole pot full of meat and wine to the baker’s shop PLUS haul their whole families’ stinky laundry to the river in the winter! Then they spent all day doing laundry in a cold river. They then had to pick up a fiery hot casserole and hoped that they wouldn’t drop it or get on their newly cleaned clothes. Hmm…Makes my issues seem pretty petty.
The original recipe used several different cuts of beef (oxtail and beef cheeks) and none of the spices that I mention below. Buuuuut I had a leg of lamb staring me down in my freezer that needed to be used. So there. I decided to adapt the recipe by using lamb and several warming spices such as cinnamon, coriander, cumin, and smoked paprika. These spices pair very well with lamb. It gave the stew a hearty and warm balance. If you don’t have lamb, you can sub out a 3-pound chuck roast and leave out the cinnamon and coriander. This stew is so easy and can be easily adjusted for whatever you have on hand. Don’t have red wine? Use white. Don’t have white? Use chicken or beef stock. Seriously… this is like the compost of all stews. And yet it comes out like magic.
Oh and let’s talk about that lovely top, shall we? It is just a butternut squash and a sweet potato that have been thinly sliced and layered around like a flower petal. It’s quite a treat to take the top off of this stew when it is done and see that beautiful rose and smell the amazingness that wafts out. Just think of it as your winter flower.
Baked Lamb Stew
- 3 lbs lamb shoulder, cut into 1 1/2-inch cubes
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 teaspoon fresh cracked pepper
- 1 1/2 cups dry red wine
- 1 large onion, diced
- 4 medium carrots
- 28 oz can diced tomatoes, undrained
- 2 cups water
- 2 bay leaves
- 1/2 cup chopped parsley
- 1 medium butternut squash, peeled and cut into thin slices
- 2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into thin slices
- Place the lamb in a large glass bowl or baking dish and toss with the cinnamon, coriander, cumin, smoked paprika, salt, garlic, and pepper. Use your hands to massage the seasonings into the lamb meat. Pour the wine over the meat so that it is submerged. Cover with plastic wrap or a lid and allow to marinate in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours (and up to 24 hours).
- When ready to cook the stew, preheat the oven to 325F. Remove the marinated lamb from the refrigerator at least 30 minutes before cook time.
- In a large 6 to 8-quart Dutch oven, add lamb and marinade, onions, carrots, tomatoes with juice, water, bay leaves, and parsley. Stir and bring to a gentle boil. Remove from heat.
- Neatly and tightly place thin slices of squash and potato around the edge of the pot. The layers will begin to look like flower petals as shown in the above pictures. Continue layering the slices and lay them over the top of the stew until it is covered. Sprinkle with a pinch of salt. Place a sheet of parchment paper on top of the stew and then place the lid on top. Bake in the preheated oven for 3 to 4 hours, until the lamb is tender. Remove the lid and parchment paper. Increase the heat to 450 F and bake for 5 to 10 minutes to crisp the top. Serve immediately.
Notes – you can easily use a 3-pound chuck roast in this recipe instead of lamb.
I recently brought this easy Black Bean Soup to a pot luck lunch party at my office. It was a breeze. I actually threw all of the ingredients in the slow cooker in the morning in my office and let it cook there until lunch time. The big problem was that I let it cook in my office next to my desk. I nearly ate my arm off trying to not dive head first into the slow cooker and devour the entire thing.
But thankfully I had enough self control to hold off until it was time to serve so that everyone could try it. You’re welcome people!
I recommend this recipe for anyone looking for something super easy and cheap during the weeknight, weekend, or even for entertaining. This is an all around great soup! If you are going on a ski vacation and want to come home to something hearty and wholesome… this is your soup. If you are just coming home from a long work week, this is your soup. If you are having some friends over for game night, this is your soup.
I promise it to be a winner. It will satisfy both meat eaters and veggie eaters! It also will be easy on your pocket book and be super stress free.
Slow Cooker Black Bean Soup
- 4 cans of black beans (undrained)*
- 1 large onion, diced
- 6 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 tablespoon chili powder
- 1 tablespoon ground cumin
- 1 tablespoon ground coriander
- 1 cup salsa of choice (I use Trader Joe’s salsa)
- 1 bunch of cilantro, chopped (reserve half of cilantro for topping)
- Juice of 1 lime
- salt and pepper
- Toppings: greek yogurt, chopped scallions, lime wedges
- Place two of the four cans of black beans (with liquid) in the bowl of a food processor or in a blender. Puree for about 15 seconds. Add pureed black beans and remaining ingredients through salsa into a slow cooker. Cook on low for at least 6 hours or high for 3 hours.
- Just before serving, stir in half of cilantro and juice of 1 lime. Taste and season with salt and pepper as needed. Serve with greek yogurt (or sour cream), chopped scallions, lime wedges, and additional cilantro.
*Note – this recipe can definitely be made with dried black beans but will take about 2 hours longer to cook. Rinse and soak them overnight. Drain them and then puree half of them (about 4 cups) with 2 cups of water. Add all ingredients to slow cooker as mentioned above. Cooking time will increase by 2 hours, with it taking 8 hours on low and 5 hours on high.
I’m so sorry. INCREDIBLY sorry. I have been M.I.A. for a month. I need to grovel and ask for your forgiveness…. soooo….. I made brownies. Nothing says I love you and I’m sorry for being away like chocolate + butter + … Continue reading
Hello. My name is Alissa and I am an oatmeal-aholic. I am. *sigh*
My all time favorite oatmeal flavor is cinnamon apple. However, my recent new oatmeal passion is this Banana Nut Oatmeal.
I love oatmeal with all of my heart. I actually look forward to having oatmeal every morning. It’s my favorite breakfast and my favorite thing about chilly mornings. Nothing is more cozy to me than a warm comforting bowl of oatmeal. It’s like getting a hug from your favorite person while wearing wool socks in front of a cozy fire in a fabulous log cabin with Otis Redding on repeat on the record player.
I’ve been making this delicous Banana Nut Oatmeal every morning lately which is the perfect marriage between banana nut bread and creamy oatmeal. It is also a fabulously healthy way to start your morning during this crazy holiday winter season. The chia seeds and flax seeds help boost the nutrition, fiber content, and protein content which will help you stay full throughout the morning.
I typically work out in the mornings and have to hurry myself getting ready and end up eating breakfast at work while checking my emails. That is why I prep my breakfast the night before. I add all of my oatmeal ingredients to a microwave safe container and simply add liquid in the morning when I get to work and heat ‘er up! So whether you are rushed or have some spare time, this breakfast is perfect for you. You can either throw all of the ingredients into a bowl and refrigerate overnight before making it in the morning or you can cook it in a saucepan on an oven and fill your home with amazing aromas. This recipe also serves 4 hungry people. You can either make the whole batch and eat leftovers all week, or cut it down and make it for solo servings.
But trust me, this breakfast is so delicious that none of it will go to waste if you make extra! Invite me over and I will help you out! I’ll bring the coffee!
Banana Nut Oatmeal (Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Vegan)
- 2 cups water
- 2 cups unsweetened almond milk (or regular cow’s milk)
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon chia seeds
- 1 tablespoon ground flax meal
- 2 cups gluten free rolled oats
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 2 bananas
- 1/4 cup chopped pecans or walnuts
- Stovetop – Place water, almond milk, and salt in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Add chia seeds, flax meal, rolled oats, and cinnamon to the saucepan. Turn down heat and allow to cook for 5 minutes, stirring frequently so that it doesn’t stick to the bottom. Dice up one banana and add to saucepan and stir. Allow to cook for an additional 5 minutes, adding a bit of water if needed. Remove from heat. Spoon into four bowls, topping each with remaining sliced banana, chopped pecans, and coconut palm sugar.
- Make Ahead – Place all water, almond milk, salt, chia seeds, flax meal, rolled oats, and cinnamon a large bowl, stir, cover, and refrigerate overnight. In the morning, stir and spoon out into four separate bowls. Dice a banana on top of each bowl and add water to desired consistency. Microwave each bowl for 2 to 3 minutes. Stir oatmeal and top each bowl with remaining sliced banana, chopped nuts, and coconut palm sugar.
This Black Eyed Pea stew provides all the good luck that you’ll need for the new year. Well, don’t quote me on that. You may need some other luck besides this stew. So cross your toes and buy a rabbit foot. … Continue reading
Are you feeling adventurous? Of course you are. It’s after Christmas and we are revving up for the New Year. It is time for those New Year’s resolutions…such as trying new veggies!!!!
Drum roll please……….First up is Kobucha Squash!
This amazing and delightful winter squash looks like a green pumpkin and is actually referred to as a Japanese pumpkin. It is often used in Thai curry and is quite flavorful. In fact, I think it tastes better than butternut squash and WAY better than regular orange pumpkin.
*GASP* Yah you heard me. I’ve just found the better pumpkin replacement. Get on it, friends. It even packs a lower calorie count than butternut squash with only 40 calories in a single cup compared to 60 calories per cup for butternut squash. It also has half the carbs of butternut squash (7 grams versus 16 grams). This puppy is WAY healthier than sweet potatoes too!
Once you cut into this green pumpkin, you are greeted with bright orange flesh which provides a fabulous dose of beta-carotene and vitamin A! The Kobucha contains plenty of other awesome attributes such as being loaded with fiber, iron, vitamin C, and some B vitamins. Can I get an AMEN!
Well-stocked grocery stores or farmers markets will have Kobucha Squash. If you are unable to locate this awesome gem of a veg, you can substitute the Kobucha Squash for Butternut Squash. If you don’t have butternut squash, you also could use sweet potatoes.
Now lets talk about this Green Chili Chicken and Kobucha Squash Enchilada Casserole. They are literally the best enchiladas I have EVER made. Literally. The roasted Kobucha Squash help make these comforting and creamy without being doused in tons of cheese. Also, I like making this dish more lasagna style with layers of tortillas, filling, cheese, and sauce instead of nice and neat rolled up enchiladas. To me, it is much easier and just as super tasty.
These enchiladas do take some prep time. However, most of the steps can be done ahead of time. You can marinate the chicken up to one day ahead of time. The Kobucha Squash can be carved and cubed several days in advance, placed in a container, and refrigerated. (Note – I recommend microwaving the Kobucha Squash for 2 minutes to make it easier to carve up.) You can even roast the chicken, shred it, and refrigerate it in advance too. To be honest, this whole casserole can be assembled up to one day in advance and cooked the next day, making it the perfect dish for entertaining or for an easy weeknight meal.
I hope you enjoy this amazingly flavorful, delicious, and nutritious dish. And give yourself a big pat on the back for branching out and trying a new veggie!
Green Chili Chicken and Kobacha Squash Enchiladas (Gluten Free)
- 1.5 lbs chicken thighs or chicken breast (preferably organic)
- 1 1/2 teaspoons ground coriander
- 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 1 1/2 teaspoons chili powder
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- juice of 1 lime (about 4 tablespoons)
- 3 cups cubed Kobucha squash (butternut squash or sweet potatoes could be substituted)
- 1 large yellow onion, diced
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 bunch of cilantro
- 4 oz canned diced green chilis
- 16 oz gluten-free tomatillo salsa verde
- 1 cup shredded Mexican cheese blend
- 8 to 10 gluten-free corn tortillas, cut into quarter sections
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spray two rimmed baking sheets with nonstick spray and set aside.
- Place chicken thighs in a medium bowl. Combine coriander, cumin, chile powder, and salt in a small bowl. Add half of spice mixture to chicken and reserve the other half. Add half of lime juice to chicken. Toss chicken with spices and allow to marinate for at least 15 minutes or refrigerate for up to 8 hours.
- Place cubed kobucha squash and diced onion in a separate large bowl and drizzle with olive oil. Stir in remaining spice mixture. Place cubed winter squash as a single layer on rimmed baking sheet and bake in preheated oven for 15 minutes. Stir vegetables and place back in oven to cook for an additional 25 minutes. At this time, add chicken to a rimmed baking sheet and cook for 25 minutes. Remove both the roasted squash and baked chicken from oven. Turn down the oven to 350 degrees.
- Using two forks, shred baked chicken. Place shredded chicken, roasted squash and onions, juice of half a lime, 1/4 cup diced cilantro, canned green chilis, and 1/3 cup salsa verde in a large bowl and stir to combine.
- Spray or grease an 8X11 baking dish. Place 1/3 cup salsa verde in bottom of baking dish. place 10 to 12 quarter sections of tortillas in bottom of dish on top of salsa verde in a single layer, slightly overlapping each other. Spoon out half of shredded chicken mixture and smooth over the tortillas. Sprinkle 1/3 cup of salsa verde and 1/2 cup cheese on top. Layer with 10 more tortilla wedges. Spread out remaining chicken filling on top of tortilla wedges. Top with remaining tortilla wedges. Sprinkle with 1/2 cup shredded cheese and remaining salsa verde.
- Place baking dish into preheated oven and bake for 20 minutes or until cheese is melted and bubbly. Remove from oven and allow to cool for 5 minutes. Serve with extra salsa verde, chopped cilantro, and greek yogurt.
- For dairy free version, do not use cheese.
- For vegetarian version, replace chicken with 2 cups cooked black beans.
- These enchiladas can be prepared up to 1 day ahead of time through step 5. Cover and refrigerate. When ready to cook, remove from refrigerator for at least 30 minutes before placing in middle rack of preheated oven. Cook for at least 30 minutes.
Welcome the season of “How Many Parties, Booze, Snacks, Sweets, Treats, and Good Times Can I Shove Into My Face and Schedule”.
But there is one big problem with this season.
My stomach. She’s such a fun killer.
Given my cranky belly and gluten intolerance, I often go to holiday parties and find that there is hardly anything that I can eat without severe consequences. Lately, my trick for getting through party after party is to bring a delicious, healthy, and festive dish that I can eat and enjoy. By doing this I hopefully won’t be the one over in the corner munching on a pound of carrots and staring like a voracious dog at others eating seven layer bars, molasses cookies, sausage balls, and chocolate covered pretzels…. “No no no, I’m good. I LOOOOVE carrots. I hate other delicious things. No go on. Please keep eating. Please, I’m fine. I’m FIIIINE.”
This Broccoli, Apple, and Shaved Brussels Sprout Salad with Tahini-Maple Dressing has been my go to Christmas salad this season. It’s incredibly delicious with great crunch from the broccoli and brussels sprouts and crisp apple. Plus the savory tahini-maple dressing will have you wanting to lick the spoon! I have taken this salad to four different parties and have had great responses. It also holds up very well as leftovers for lunch the next day.
Oh and look how festive this salad looks! Greed, Red, and White! Sometimes I even add dried cranberries for more red pop!
So Happy Holidays to you and yours! Make a plan during this holiday season and don’t get overwhelmed! You can do it!
Broccoli, Apple, and Shaved Brussels Sprout Salad with Tahini-Maple Dressing
- 2 broccoli crowns, florets only, chopped
- 1/2 lb brussels sprouts (about 2 big handfuls), stems removed and discolored leaves discarded
- 1 large honey crisp apple, cored and chopped
- 1/4 cup crumbled feta (do not include for dairy free option)
- 1/4 cup sliced almonds
- 1/3 cup tahini
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup
- 2 tablespoons water
- Chop the broccoli into small bite size pieces and place in a large bowl. Use a sharp chef’s knife or mandolin slicer to slice the brussels sprouts as thin as possible. Alternately, a food processor’s slicing disk could be used. Add the brussels sprouts to the large bowl with the broccoli.
- In a separate small jar or bowl, whisk the tahini, lemon juice, and maple syrup together to form a paste. Add water one tablespoon at a time until the mixture is creamy and pourable like vinaigrette (not too watery). Pour the dressing over the broccoli and brussels sprouts and toss to combine. (The salad can be made a few hour ahead of time to this point and refrigerated).
- Add the chopped apple, feta, and sliced almonds to the salad and toss lightly. Serve immediately.
- For paleo friendly, vegan friendly, and dairy free, do not include the feta cheese.
- If you don’t have tahini, almond butter could be used.
- For added protein and a complete meal, add some cooked quinoa or shredded chicken.