Category Archives: Chicken

Slow Cooker Chicken Stew

Slow Cooker Chicken Stew

Slow Cooker Chicken Stew

I have a new BFF in the kitchen. Her name is wine. I’ve cooked with more bottles of wine in the past two months than I can possibly count. (Just see here, here, and here.) It’s simply the best flavorizer around and any time I add wine to something I’m cooking I know I’m taking it to the next level. I’ve heard it said (achem…Ina Garten…achem) you should cook with wine you’d like to drink, which I interpret as you should use good, high-quality wine and not, like, the boxed stuff.

But you know what? I happen to enjoy drinking Trader Joe’s two buck chuck thankyouverymuch, so that’s what I tend to use when I cook. I usually pick up a bottle of red (merlot) and white (chardonnay) every week when I do my shopping. Two bottles of wine for $6? (They’re actually $2.99 each). Sign me up!

Of course, the bonus of cooking with wine is it would practically be a sin not to pour yourself a glass while you cook. And when you’ve just sweat your way through an hour-long heated Yoga Sculpt class a glass of wine is pretty much all you need (after a big glass of coconut water of course!)

Oh my, I sound like a lush.

But really, when it comes to elevating the quality of a meal with wine I can’t think of a better example than this chicken stew. I’m sure we’ve all had chicken stew before and it always tastes delicious. But add some white wine after sauteeing the onions and garlic and you’ve got yourself a fancy shmancy stew that’s totally weeknight doable AND uses the slow cooker. Win! You can even think of this stew as a classier and healthier version of chicken pot pie since there’s no crust or cream. Serve it with warm cornbread muffins and it’s still every bit as crowd-pleasing and filling.

Slow cooker chicken stew via ABalancedLifeCooks.com

Slow Cooker Chicken Stew

Serves 6

Ingredients

2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs

1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breast

olive oil

2 onions, chopped

6 garlic cloves, minced

1 Tbsp tomato paste

1/2 tsp dried thyme

1/2 cup flour

1/2 cup white wine

4 cups low-sodium chicken broth

12 oz red potatoes, cut into bite-sized cunks

5 carrots, peeled and sliced

1 bay leaf

1 cup frozen peas

Preparation

Season chicken with salt and pepper. Heat some olive oil in a medium-sized pan over medium-high heat. Working in batches, brown chicken on both sides. Add additional oil as needed. Transfer chicken to bowl when browned.

While chicken cooks, add potatoes, carrots, and 1 Tbsp olive oil to a microwave-safe glass bowl. Microwave on high in 2 minute intervals, stirring in between, for a total of about 8-10 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Add to slow cooker.

Once all chicken is removed from pan, heat 1 Tbsp of olive oil in pan. Add onions, garlic, tomato paste, and thyme. Cook about 10-15 minutes until onions soften. Stir in flour, cook 1 minute more. Slowly whisk in wine, scraping up browned bits on bottom of pan. Whisk in 1 cup chicken broth. Transfer contents of pan to bottom of slow cooker.

Add chicken and any accumulated juices to the slow cooker. Cover and cook on low 4 to 6 hours.

Once cooked, transfer chicken to cutting board and shred using two forks. Add chicken back into slow cooker. Add 1 cup of peas, cover until peas are heated through, about 5 minutes. When ready to serve, season with salt and pepper to taste.

Healthy & Hearty Winter Ragout

Sausage, kale, mushrooms, kidney beans, cannelini beans, and tomatoes.

You may recall about a month ago, while watching the Bachelorette wedding, my cable completely went out. It turns out the cable box had a heart attack and we didn’t get a new one for about 2.5 weeks. I can’t even begin to describe the positive impact going without TV (we couldn’t even get the basic channels) had on me during that time–and since.

Robert happened to be traveling for work during those weeks (otherwise it probably would’ve been fixed sooner) so I was left to my own devices to entertain myself. What I discovered: Life without TV in the evening frees up an enormous amount of time. It’s awesome. In fact, some nights I got into bed by about 8:30pm because I wasn’t really sure what else to do. Bonus: I finished a few books way more quickly than I usually do.

Now, don’t get me wrong I love TV. A lot. Often, it’s not what’s on TV as much as how relaxed and zoned out I feel while watching it. Plus, I love getting completely engrossed in shows (Homeland and Downton Abbey are some of our recent faves). And I can pretty much guarantee we’ll have a few Dexter marathons this weekend (we just started watching the first season).

However, those 2.5 weeks were enough to break me of a habit: Eating dinner and watching TV every night until it’s time to go to bed. Lately, I’ve been cooking meals that take just a little bit more time to make (still, not more than 30 or 40 minutes on week nights). More importantly, I’ve really been able to enjoy the process more than ever because I’m not rushing through cooking so I can plop down on the couch ASAP to watch whatever’s on the DVR. If I make it there, great; if I don’t, well that’s great too.

Ingredients. Ready to party.

This was one of those meals that I truly loved cooking. I was able to take my time and when I realized I didn’t have any of the usual suspects with which to deglaze the pan after browning the chicken/turkey sausage (such as white wine or chicken broth) I realized beer would be a stand-up stand-in. Oh my, was I right. I also used some of the beer to steam the kale and I actually can’t imagine this recipe without the depth of flavor thanks to the brew (Boulevard, no less, for you Kansas City folks.)

The result, as Robert summed up in seven words: “This tastes like winter in a bowl!”

Score!

I hope you have a wonderful weekend. Thank you for reading!

Winter in a bowl.

Winter in a bowl.

Healthy & Hearty Winter Ragout

Serves 4

Ingredients 

Olive oil

12 oz chicken/turkey sausage, cut into 1/2 inch pieces

1/4 cup shallot, minced (about 2 shallots)

2 gloves garlic, peeled and minced

8 oz sliced mushrooms

1 bottle beer

2 (14.5 oz) cans of no salt added beans such as kidney and cannellini (FYI: I found them in BPA-free boxes at Whole Foods, which were each 13.4 oz.), drained and rinsed

14.5 oz can diced no-salt added tomatoes

1 bunch kale (about 6 cups), stems removed and chopped

Salt & pepper

1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes

Preparation

Heat oil in a large pan over medium-high heat. Add sausage and saute until browned on both sides, about 5-8 minutes. Remove sausage. Add minced shallot, garlic, and mushrooms to pan. Saute about 2 minutes. Pour about 1/4 cup beer into pan and use a wooden spoon to remove brown bits left from the sausage. Cook until mushrooms soften, about 5 minutes. Add beans, tomatoes, and kale. Pour in 1/2 cup of beer. Cover and cook until kale wilts, about 5-10 minutes. Using the back of a wooden spoon, mash some of the beans to create a thicker consistency. Add sausage back into the pan and continue cooking until heated through. Add salt and pepper to taste. Sprinkle with red pepper flakes and serve immediately.

Adapted from Cooking Light

Chicken with Tomatoes & Mushrooms

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Happy New Year, friends!

I hardly know where to begin. Is it really 2013? For the first time in my life I was really sad to see the year come to an end. It was without question the very best year of my life. The funny thing is when I think about all of the wonderful things that happened in 2012, it seems like they occurred within the span of a single week: I moved into a new apartment with Robert, I passed my yoga audition and officially became a yoga instructor at CorePower Yoga, I learned a book I ghost wrote was accepted by the publisher, and I got engaged! (Read the full recap of that unbelievable week here.)

But the truth is although these mega life events came to fruition within a single week in August, I had been planting the seeds all year long and even before 2012: I took the leap and signed up for yoga Teacher Training early in the year; I scored the writing contract at the end of 2011 and pushed my writing limits throughout most of 2012; and Robert and I had been building the foundation of our relationship since the day we met in 2010 (though I had no idea he would ask for forever in 2012). When I look back at the magical milestones that occurred in 2012, they’re a great reminder of just how far hard work, dedication, and following my heart can take me in my life. They’re also a great reminder for those moments, down the road, whenever I feel stuck that when I keep pushing forward, stay focused, and challenge myself in new ways marvelous things can happen.

Of course there were countless highlights that occurred outside of that week including a few trips to California (L.A., Carmel by the Sea, San Francisco, and Sonoma), New York, Vermont, Kansas City, Michigan, Florida, FRANCE, and a Christmas cruise with Robert’s family.

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Merry Christmas from a Caribbean Cruise

When the clock struck midnight on New Year’s Eve I knew there were so many wonderful things waiting for me on the other side of 2013 and I’m ready to dive in. Of course there’s our wedding in September (!!!) and a honeymoon after that (no idea where we’ll be going yet – happily, Robert’s in charge of that!) We’ll also be celebrating lots of other friends who are getting hitched this year all across the country. Hopefully we can plan another trip for the end of Robert’s busy season (though I’m not sure it’ll be quite as fancy as France). And when it comes to work, well, who knows what the future holds! Every year has been dramatically different from the one before it with new and ever-changing opportunities. So I’ll continue plugging along with my magazine and custom publishing writing and the rest is an open book (PUN!) I also want to continue pushing the limits right here with cooking and blogging. I have big ideas in store for this lil’ blog that could. Thank you so, so much for taking this journey with me : )

For now, I thought I’d kick off the year with a super simple, super delicious, and super healthy home-cooked meal: Chicken with tomatoes and mushrooms. It doesn’t get any simpler than this, folks. Just three ingredients (four if you count the two cloves of garlic (not pictured)…five if you count dried oregano…). Point is: that’s it! With so few basic and inexpensive ingredients it’s a great step toward my eco friendly and budget conscious goals for 2013.

Mushrooms, Chicken, and Tomatoes. (Four ingredients if you count the two cloves of garlic.)

Mushrooms, Chicken, and Tomatoes

It kind of tasted like a stripped down chicken cacciatore. At one point I contemplated adding some onion or even a little red wine, but I wanted to see what would happen if I kept things as simple as possible. I’m so glad I did–it was the kind of soul-warming food you want in early January, took less than 30 minutes to prepare, and created very little mess to clean up (it’s a one-pot meal). I served it over brown rice with a simple salad of arugula, fresh navel orange, toasted blanched almonds, and a dressing of olive oil, lemon juice, and salt and pepper. In a word: success.

Chicken with mushrooms & arugula salad

 Arugula salad & chicken with tomatoes and mushrooms 

Chicken with Tomatoes & Mushrooms

Serves 4

Ingredients

1.5 lb boneless skinless chicken breasts

Olive oil

Salt & pepper

2 cloves garlic, minced

16 oz sliced baby bella mushrooms (or any kind)

1 (14.5 oz) can diced & fire roasted tomatoes with green chiles (or any kind of tomatoes you like)

1/2 tsp dried oregano

Preparation

Cut chicken into 1 inch cubes. Heat olive oil in large pot over medium-high heat. When hot, add chicken to pot. Season with salt and pepper. Cook chicken, turning to cook all sides, until cooked through. Transfer chicken to plate, cover with foil. Add minced garlic to pot and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add mushrooms, cover, and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Add tomatoes and oregano. Cook, covered, until tomatoes break down, about 10 minutes. Add chicken and any accumulated juices back to the pot. Toss to coat and cover until chicken is heated through.

Adapted from Martha Stewart

Hoisin Glazed Chicken & Sesame Snow Peas

I’m beginning to think that moments of culinary inspiration aren’t so different from artistic inspiration. Except, fortunately, artists don’t eat their work–for the most part anyway. The inspiration occurs when several different factors combine at once inside your head and bam! you’ve got an idea for dinner. At least that’s how it happens for me.

Last week my dad sent a photo of a dinner he cooked with the caption, “Still got it!” He made this fantastic glazed pork loin with broiled pineapple. It looked so great, in fact, that I made the very same recipe Saturday night while “watching” the Michigan football game with Robert:

I loved every single part of this meal–the sweet glaze combined with the slightly salty pork, the juicy grilled pineapple, and especially the Asian inspired dipping sauce served on the side (not pictured.) Oh…the sauce! I couldn’t get it out of my mind. Hoisin, pineapple juice, soy sauce, ginger, and garlic. It’s like the best combination of flavors all in one bowl. Robert and I dipped our pork and pineapple directly into the sauce (it’s totally acceptable to do those kinds of things when there are only two of you sharing a meal.) There was also the fact that I bought an entire 32 oz bottle of organic pineapple juice for the original recipe that only required 2 Tbsp. Clearly I have a tendency to overestimate ingredients. So I was also on a mission to use up the juice.

The pork loin happened to be the impetus to help me overcome my fear of the broiler. Yes, I have a complete nonsensical fear of the broiler that probably stems from the fact that the broiler in my old apartment’s electric oven was no better than tossing meat on a radiator. If you were lucky and the food actually cooked all the way through it was rubbery and chewy. Gross! As a result, I’ve always skipped recipes that require me to broil anything. When I asked my dad if he broiled the pork like the recipe suggests he confirmed that he did and responded, “Be brave my daughter.”

I heeded my father’s advice and with only one snafu (the meat was a little too close to the flame at first hence some charring (a.k.a. extra flavor that no one was complaining about)) and learned that a real gas broiler is actually a very easy, efficient, and tasty way to cook.

And then, in a moment, all of these factors combined and the inspiration for broiled chicken thighs using the dipping sauce as a marinade sprung into my head. From there, the rest of the pieces (i.e. the sesame snow peas) fell into place.

Ultimately, I took a slightly more involved recipe (the pork), which makes for a perfect weekend meal when you have a little more time and turned it into an easy peasy weeknight dinner. Just promise me you’ll try both? Deal.

Hoisin Glazed Chicken

Ingredients
1 to 1.5 pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs
4 Tbsp hoisin sauce
4 Tbsp pineapple juice
2 tsp soy sauce
1 tsp dijon mustard
1 Tbsp peeled, minced fresh ginger
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp hot sauce such as Sriracha (optional)

Preparation
Add hoisin sauce, pineapple juice, soy sauce, mustard, ginger, garlic, and hot sauce in a bowl and stir to combine. Place chicken thighs in a bag, pour sauce on top, and marinate at least one hour.

Heat broiler (on high if it’s an option.) Place chicken on a broil-safe baking sheet lined with foil about 4 inches away from flame and broil about 6 minutes on each side.

Sesame Snow Peas

Ingredients
9 oz snow peas
1 tsp toasted sesame oil
1 Tbsp sesame seeds
1/2 tsp soy sauce
1/2 tsp crushed red chili peppers (optional)

Preparation
Steam snow peas for less than 1 minute until they turn bright green. Drain. Toss snow peas in a bowl with sesame oil, sesame seeds, soy sauce, and chili peppers.

Source: Slightly adapted from Recipegirl.com

Chicken with Artichokes & Snap Peas

How on earth is it possible that I’ve never shared this recipe with you before? I was so certain I had that I almost didn’t blog it. Luckily, I happened to snap a few photos while cooking so when I realized you’ve never seen this delicious dish I knew exactly what to do.

This recipe is one of my favorites for many reasons. First of all, you can’t beat a one-pot meal. The fact that you can create a completely satisfying dinner and dirty only one pan is pretty impressive. I need more of those meals in my life (especially with the fiance traveling for work during the week. sigh.)  I also love the variety of textures, flavors, and ingredients going on within this single dish: There’s the tender, golden brown chicken, crisp snap peas, layered artichoke hearts, and crunchy bean sprouts. Plus, the mustard-y sauce and drizzle of tangy champagne vinegar at the end takes things to a whole other levels. Like restaurant quality level.

This meal is also a little nostalgic for me. When I moved from Utah to Vermont in 2008 I lived with my parents for about a year and a half. And you know what? It was awesomeI know not every 20-something who lives with his or her parents can say that, but I’m so grateful for the time I got to spend with them. Sometimes I miss silly little things like watching Dancing with the Stars with my Dad (yes, he’s into it and he’s a tough judge so the contestants who start this week better watch out.) Sometimes I miss the three mile loop my mom and I walked together nearly every single day, rain or shine (or snow, sleet, or hail). And I definitely miss sitting down to dinner with my mom and dad most nights of the week. This meal was one of our favorites and we enjoyed it countless times when I lived with them. Every time I make it I think about those months that I believe played as big a role in who I am today as the 18 years I spent living with them before I went to college.

Now they’re living in New York City and I’m in Chicago and so much has changed since then. But I can always count on this dish tasting exactly the same as it did and bringing back some pretty wonderful memories of the three of us–all a little misplaced and yet somehow totally in the right place–in Colchester, Vermont.

Chicken with Artichokes & Snap Peas
Serves 4

Ingredients
1 1/2 cup low-sodium chicken broth
1 1/2 tsp dijon mustard
3 tsp plus 2 Tbsp flour
salt and pepper to taste
1 pound chicken breast cutlets or chicken tenders
1 Tbsp olive oil
12 oz sugar snap peas
1 14 oz can quartered artichoke hearts in water, drained and rinsed
1/4 cup bean sprouts
3 tsp champagne vinegar or white wine vinegar

Preparation
In a bowl, whisk broth, mustard, 3 tsp flour, and salt and pepper.

Sprinkle both sides of chicken with 2 Tbsp of flour. Heat a pan over medium-high heat and add olive oil. Cook the chicken in batches until cooked through and light brown on both sides. Transfer to a plate and cover with foil. Increase heat to high, add broth mixture to pan with snap peas, artichoke hearts, and bean sprouts. Bring to a simmer and stir to release any browned bits. Cook until snap peas are just a little tender, about 3 minutes total. Add chicken back to the pan in between the veggies. Cook until heated through, about 2 minutes. Remove pan from heat and stir in vinegar.

Adapted from Eating Well for a Healthy Heart

Chicken Cutlets with Wax Bean, Arugula & Avocado Salad

I have a confession to make. When I lived in my old apartment I’d cook dinner in the evening and then photograph the leftovers the next day, when the light was just right, and post the images here. Then the food would go back into the refrigerator and I’d eat it for dinner again the next night or two. But there’s this thing I’ve learned since moving in with a boy: They eat a lot. Especially when they get home from work and go for a run that’s farther than all of the distances you’ve ever ran in your life combined.

As a result, I’m never really sure how much food I’ll have left to shoot. And since my guy loves leftovers more than anyone on the planet the leftovers usually become his lunch the next day. Now don’t get me wrong–I’m not complaining one bit. The fact that he loves to eat as much as I love to cook and the fact that he’ll eat anything I attempt to make (including the flops) is more than I could ever want. And since we’ve been living together I’ve tossed out about 100 percent less food than I used to. Did I mention he does the dishes? Yes, these are all very, very good things.

So I’ve decided to say screw it. Screw what those blogs on food photography say about shooting in the daylight. The point of this blog has never been perfect images. It’s about delicious, inspiring food! So I don’t want to not post something just because the exposure (whatever the heck that is) isn’t quite right. Especially when I make a ridiculously simple meal like this one that made our taste buds do a happy dance and caused us to exclaim between bites things like “it tastes like summer!” and “I can’t believe this is so healthy!” and “I knew there was basil in the salad!” and “do you think we can get the first few episodes of Breaking Bad on Amazon Prime Instant Video?” Okay, that last one had nothing to do with this salad. But we are currently slightly obsessed with Breaking Bad and didn’t DVR the first few episodes of the current season because we were busy doing things like moving, going on vacation, working, editing books, shopping for furniture, and getting engaged : )

Before we sat down to dinner last night I pulled out my camera and took a few shots of the meal because it would’ve been just plain wrong to withhold it from you. The entire concept came from the fact that I had fresh wax beans from a farmer’s market we visited in Michigan this weekend, but I’m sure green beans or haricots verts would work great, too.

And while I’m in the spirit of confessing things to you today I’m going to admit that my dinner didn’t actually look like the plate you see above. You see, I love one-bowl meals where you can toss everything together and get a little bit of everything in each bite. So my dinner looked like this, below. It contains all of the components above plus wild rice and sliced peaches. Because when you have farm fresh peaches in August you find a way to put them on everything.

Chicken Cutlets with Wax Bean, Arugula & Avocado Salad
Serves 4

Ingredients
1 lb wax beans, ends trimmed and beans cut in half
5 oz bag of arugula
1 avocado, pitted and diced
1 tomato, diced
13.4 oz box of garbanzo beans such as 365 Organic from Whole Foods or one 15.5 oz can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
3-4 basil leaves, chopped
Juice of 2 lemons
3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp walnut oil (optional)
1 lb chicken cutlets
Salt and Pepper

Directions
Bring a pot of salted water to boil. Add wax beans, cook for 30 to 60 seconds, drain and run under cold water to stop the cooking. In a large bowl combine arugula, avocado, tomato, garbanzo beans, and basil. Add wax beans. Top with lemon juice, olive oil, walnut oil, salt and pepper to taste. Toss with tongs to evenly coat.

Heat oil (such as olive oil or grapeseed oil) in a large skillet on the stove. Season chicken with salt and pepper and cook on the stove, about 5 minutes per side. Serve alongside salad.

Source: MarthaStewart.com 

Spicy Chicken Meatballs & Raw Kale Salad

It never ceases to amaze me how the brain can juggle two seemingly opposing emotions at once. A huge part of me is so excited about the fact that in six short days my sweetheart and I’ll be cohabitating in our cozy new apartment in Lincoln Park.

And yet another part of me is deeply sentimental about wrapping up this chapter of my life as a single 20-something living alone in her Lakeview apartment. As cheesy as it sounds I feel like I’ve become myself in this apartment over the past two years. Living alone has been the best thing I’ve ever done for myself. The experiences and lessons I’ve gained about taking care of my own health and happiness are priceless. And I know it’s these experiences and lessons that have brought me to a place where I’m ready and wanting to share a home with my guy.

I’m sorry if they look like boobs. Perhaps not the classiest goodbye I was looking for from my kitchen.

When I think about the many ways in which this apartment has helped shape me they always lead back to my tiny kitchen. I believe our passions help define who we are. Read no further than a post or two on this blog and you’ll see my passions are simple: writing, cooking, and yoga. While writing and yoga have been by my side for years cooking is a relative newcomer to my internal matrix. Yet the way it has transformed my life in the past two years is really remarkable.

When I consider the different thoughts that occupy my mind space on a day-to-day basis, food was barely a speck on my radar just a few dozen months ago. It was a means of survival, pleasure, and connection, but I only thought about food when I was around it. Now, I think about cooking nearly on a moment-to-moment basis. And if our thoughts help shape who we are, too, then the number of brain cells now devoted to food means I’ve changed as a person as well.

Yet food and cooking have changed me on a much deeper level than that: It’s how I care for others. It’s a language that allows me say things words cannot. This is above all the most transformational piece to come out of the hours I’ve spent in my apartment’s galley kitchen. Most of the time I’m propelled into that space not only in search of the simple joy cooking brings me or the peace I feel when lost in the flow, but also because it’s an opportunity to speak from my heart. For this, I’m humbled and grateful.

The final meal to come out of my kitchen and onto the blog is a simple one, yet perfectly represents my journey in so many ways. The chicken meatballs are packed with protein while the raw kale salad is brimming with countless nutrients. Just as I use food to care for others I use it to nourish and show myself love, too. What better way to do just that than with this hearty, healthy dinner during such a hectic time in my life? (Did I mention I’m simultaneously moving and editing a book manuscript— both happening/due on the same day?) The meatballs are also my very first 100 percent original recipe. Only weeks ago I was lamenting how I wasn’t ready to remove the recipe-less training wheels, but it finally and successfully happened.

I’ve also discovered that as my cooking skills have expanded so have my tastes. The meatball recipe involves an ingredient you’d never have seen me use two years ago: hot sauce. Thanks to a guy who puts the stuff on nearly every food imaginable I’ve learned to appreciate the unique kick. I found a way to work it into this recipe as a nod to my newfound tolerance for heat and the fact that I’ll be seeing a lot more of it in my near future.

The kale salad is a nod to a food I love and eat so often, but in a preparation I’ve never tried before. When the warm summer weather keeps you away from your oven try this method: simply massage the dressing (yes I said massage the dressing) into the leaves and allow it to sit for 15 minutes or longer so the kale becomes tender enough to eat. Top with avocado chunks because avocado makes everything better.

Thank you so much for reading my blog. It means so much to me and gives me even more purpose for chasing my passion in the kitchen. I always come out of it with much more than dinner. It may be a week or two before I’m able to post again. We’re taking a short vacation the day after we move, but as soon as I dig out my knives and a pot or two I’ll be cooking again in my new (non-galley, gas-stove) kitchen. Except this time, happily, it’ll be for two.

Spicy Chicken Meatballs
Makes about 15 meatballs

Ingredients
.75 lb ground chicken breast
2 green onions, white and light green parts, chopped
¼ cup Italian seasoned breadcrumbs
1 Tbsp hot sauce (such as Sriracha) plus extra for topping
1 egg

Preparation
Preheat oven to 450. In a large bowl, combine ground chicken, green onions, breadcrumbs, and hot sauce. In a separate small bowl beat egg and add to chicken mixture. Use your hand to combine all ingredients.

Spray a 9×13 glass baking dish with cooking spray (you can also use a baking sheet). Taking one heaping Tbsp of chicken mixture at a time, shape into meatballs and place into baking dish. Cook for 15 minutes. When done cooking, top each meatball with one squeeze of hot sauce. Serve hot or room temperature.

Raw Red Kale Salad

Ingredients
1 bunch red kale (or any kind), ribs removed & leaves cut into bite-sized pieces
Juice of one lemon
3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1 tsp walnut oil (optional)
salt and pepper to taste
1 avocado, cut into chunks

Preparation
Prepare kale and use a lettuce spinner to remove any remaining water. The drier the leaves the better the dressing will adhere to them. Place kale in a large bowl.

Combine remaining ingredients in a separate small bowl and whisk until combined. Pour dressing onto kale. Use your hands to massage the dressing into the leaves. Allow kale to sit for 15-20 minutes so dressing can soften the leaves.

Add avocado before serving.

Grilled Citrus-Soy Chicken Drumsticks

Have you tasted dark meat chicken lately? I’m ashamed to confess I’m one of those people who usually avoids dark meat because it’s higher in saturated fat than white. But after last night’s dinner I realize just how much I’ve been cheating my taste buds. Not only that, but dark meat contains a handful of nutrients in much larger quantities than are found in the breast including several B vitamins, zinc, and heart-healthy taurine. (I learned this recently for a magazine story I’m writing, which inspired me to pick up drumsticks at Whole Foods in the first place.) What this means: Just like everything else you put on your plate, variety and moderation are key when it comes to the poultry you choose. Good thing because tossing some drumsticks, thighs, and wings into the mix can really break up chicken-breast monotony and, let’s face it, taste so much better, too. They actually taste like chicken!

In general, I’m not a fan of store-bought marinades. If you look at the ingredient label they often contain things you don’t need such as artificial coloring, MSG, heaps of sugar and salt, and odd ingredients like xanthan gum (I still have no idea what that is). Of course when you make your own, which only takes a few minutes, you know exactly what goes in there and thus what you’re putting into your body. (Clearly I’m on my nutritional soapbox today. We’ll just go with it for now, okay? I’ll make some homemade ice cream or butterscotch brownies after yoga later and gracefully step back down. It’s all about balance, right?) Anyhoo, I like to experiment with different homemade marinades and what I’ve found is that it’s pretty difficult to mess them up (even for me). If you combine flavors you know you enjoy there’s a very good chance you’ll be happy with the result.

This marinade is no exception. Originally, I planned to follow a recipe for one from Cooking Lightbut I soon found myself adjusting quantities, skipping certain ingredients (basil oil…wtf?) and adding others (Sriracha!) The result was a citrus-y, soy, and ever-so-slightly spicy flavor that had me tearing through the skin cavewoman-style. Served alongside grilled asparagus and corn on the cob it was pretty much my idea of summer on a plate.

Grilled Citrus-Soy Chicken Drumsticks

Ingredients
8 oz 100% orange juice
Juice of 1 lemon (about 2 Tbsp)
1 1/2 Tbsp low-sodium soy sauce
1 1/2 tsp bottled chopped garlic
1 Tbsp olive oil
2 tsp balsamic vinegar
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp toasted sesame oil
1/4 tsp hot chili oil
2 Tbsp Sriracha (add more for additional heat)
Salt & pepper
8 chicken drumsticks

Preparation
Add marinade ingredients (orange juice through salt & pepper) in a large bowl. Whisk to combine. Pour into zip-top bag. Add drumsticks. Marinate in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours or up to 12. Turn bag occasionally to coat chicken evenly.

Heat a grill to medium and lightly coat grates with cooking spray. Grill chicken for 30 minutes or until done, turning about every five minutes to prevent burning. Remove from heat and allow to sit for 5-10 minutes before serving.

Tex-Mex Chicken Stew (Slow Cooker)

I always thought that if you weren’t dining out for Valentine’s Day you should cook something with meat. What better way to show your love than with a thick, juicy pan-seared ribeye or boozy beef bourguignon? But as V-Day rolled around the idea of meat became less and less appealing to me. I had just returned from a week in L.A. where many of my meals were light and summery (think: fish tacos, mussels, giant kale, veggie, and quinoa salads, and especially daily fro-yo!) and the idea of beef just seemed…heavy. Plus, I wanted to show myself a little love that day and make it to a yoga class, which meant I didn’t have all evening to cook. There’s also the fact that since Robert would likely be working until 9 or 10 pm slaying accounting dragons I’d probably be dining alone (I can’t wait that late to eat!) So as much as I wanted to whip up something spectacular, I also wanted to be practical and make a meal we’d both enjoy that wouldn’t be too heavy and would provide ample leftovers that we could continue eating throughout the week.

Two things came to mind: Make it spicy (his fave) and use the slow cooker. I browsed through my slow cooker cookbook and landed on this recipe. Done. The heroes in this dish aren’t the main ingredients (chicken, corn, and black beans), but the things you add at the end: Chipotle chiles in adobo, chopped cilantro, and a squeeze of lime. Without them you’d have a pretty great chicken stew that’s similar to a chili. However, those garnishes brighten the flavors and the chiles lend a smoky depth.

While this meal is no beef stroganoff (a serious contender when I was recipe hunting) I’m pretty sure neither of us were disappointed. And in case I had any doubt, Robert’s text the next night at 10:15 pm when he got home from work and heated up dinner (“Best. Leftovers. Ever.”) was pretty high praise from a guy who loves leftovers.


Tex-Mex Chicken Stew
Serves 6 to 8

Ingredients
2 onions, minced
2 jalapeno chiles, seeded and minced
6 garlic cloves, minced
1 Tbsp tomato paste
1 Tbsp vegetable oil
1 Tbsp chili powder
4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes, drained
3 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs
Salt and pepper
2 cups frozen corn
1 15 oz can black beans, drained and rinsed
Canned chipotle chile in adobo sauce (I used 2 chiles, minced) plus 2 Tbsp adobo sauce
Fresh cilantro, chopped
1 lime

Preparation
Add onions, jalapenos, garlic, tomato paste, oil, and chili powder to a microwave-safe bowl (such as glass). Microwave in 1.5-minute intervals, stirring after each one, for a total of about 6 minutes, until onions are softened. Add to slow cooker.

Stir broth and tomatoes into slow cooker. Season chicken with salt and pepper and place in slow cooker. Cover and cook on low for 4 to 6 hours until chicken is tender.

Transfer chicken to cutting board. Allow it to cool slightly and then shred using two forks. Stir corn and beans into slow cooker and cook on high for about 10 minutes. Add shredded chicken, chipotles, chipotle sauce, and allow to heat through–about 5 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Spoon stew into bowls. Garnish with chopped cilantro and squeeze of a slice of lime.

Chicken Saltimbocca & Sauteed Haricots Verts with Shallots

Chicken. Proscuitto. Sage. Squeezed lemon. Haricots verts. Shallots. Zest. Sounds fancy doesn’t it? Go ahead, let your husband/girlfriend/roommate/Mom/neighbor/schnauzer think so. The truth? This dish is ridiculously easy to make. Certainly easier to make than it is to say…chicken saltimBOCCA! And the green beans totally seal the deal for me. They’re pretty much the most exciting green beans (sorry….haricots verts) I’ve ever eaten. Plus, they involve shallots, which currently fascinate me–they’re in bulbs with cloves just like garlic and yet taste like mild onion. What’s up with that? Fascinating. If you’re currently in a chicken, steamed broccoli, and brown rice rut (or salmon,  spinach, and sweet potato as the case may be–trust me, I’ve been there) I’ve got your weeknight solution right here. No reservation necessary.

Chicken Saltimbocca

Ingredients
4 4-6oz boneless, skinless chicken breasts
salt and pepper
12 pieces of fresh sage
2 oz thinly sliced prosciutto (enough for 8 strips–2 per piece of chicken)
extra-virgin olive oil
1/3 cup low-sodium chicken broth
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice (about one squeezed lemon)
1/2 tsp cornstarch

Preparation
Season the chicken with salt and pepper. Place 3 sage leaves on each cutlet. Wrap 2 pieces of prosciutto around each one, securing the sage in place. Heat a skillet over medium heat and add 1 Tbsp oil. Place chicken in pan and cook on each side until done (2 to 5 minutes per side). You may need to do this in 2 batches to avoid overcrowding the pan. Add additional oil between batches, if necessary. Remove chicken from pan to plate and tent with foil.

In a bowl, combine broth, lemon juice, and cornstarch. Stir with a whisk until smooth. Add to pan and bring to a boil, stirring with the whisk constantly. Cook until slightly thickened–about 1 minute. Spoon sauce over chicken or serve on the side.

Source: Cooking Light

Sauteed Haricots Verts with Shallots 

Ingredients
1 pound haricots verts or string beans, ends removed
1 Tbsp unsalted butter
1 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
3 large shallots, minced
salt and pepper
Zest of 1/2 lemon

Preparation
Blanch the haricots verts: Place in a large pot of boiling water for 1-2 minutes (until they turn bright green–string beans may take longer). Drain and place immediately in a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking.

Return pan to stove on medium-high heat. Add butter and olive oil. Once butter is melted, saute the shallots until they turn brown–2 to 5 minutes. Drain the string beans and add to the shallots. Saute, tossing well, until beans are hot. Season with salt, pepper, and lemon zest.

Source: Barefoot Contessa