Chicken Divan*

Clearly I’m the last person in the world to want or think about dieting, or restricting my eating habits in any way, (we all saw what went on over Valentine’s Day at our house) so I don’t even want to put this label out there.  But here goes: this “chicken divan” is paleo.

Let me explain myself for a moment here: this recipe was shared with me by my future SIL, H, who has been on a month-long kick to figure out what has been ailing her stomach.  Turns out, it’s probably dairy.  Turns out, that really, really stinks.  To make up for it, I’m on a mission to consume all the ice cream she can’t.  You’re welcome, H.  Don’t mention it.

Also: this recipe is actually all sorts of delicious.

IMG_4486

Chicken Divan*

(*sort of)

  • 2 cups raw cashews
  • olive oil, ghee or, (gasp) butter
  • 1 pound chicken breasts, cubed
  • 3-4 heads broccoli, chopped into florets
  • 2-3 cloves garlic
  • 1 white or yellow onion, diced
  • 1-2 cups chicken stock
  • salt, pepper
  • large handful curry powder
  • small handful ground coriander
  1. Soak your cashews – either by placing them in a bowl of water overnight (which takes forethought and planning, which I didn’t have) or by placing them in a sauce pan with about 3 cups of water, bringing to a boil, and then turning off the heat, leaving them to soak for about an water.
  2. Heat a deep skillet, add olive oil or butter to the pan.  Season your chicken liberally with salt and pepper and then add it to the pan and cook until it turns golden brown.  Put the broccoli over the chicken and cover the pan, allowing the steam to cook the broccoli.
  3. While all that cooks away, drain the cashews and add them to your food processor, along with the garlic, onion, salt, pepper, coriander, and curry.  Pulse a few times, and then slowly add the chicken stock, turning the food processor on all the way.  Add stock until you achieve your desired consistency.
  4. Pour the cashew sauce over the chicken and broccoli mixture and give it a good toss, making to sure to coat the whole thing.  Give it a moment or two to cook down (the raw garlic, in particular!), and then serve…with couscous.

 

The Verdict:

As you’ll note if you check out the original recipe and what I describe above, I doubled the sauce and the broccoli (not the chicken) and found this is more than enough to feed 2 people, with LOTS of leftovers.  We’re making up for Vday, after all.  Have no fear though: this is actually really good and makes you feel sort of virtuous at the same time.  Pass the couscous, though.

 

 

 

 

Broccoli & Cauliflower Quesadillas

One of the nicest things about living where we live is that we walk to and fro work. (I won’t lie: during the week, I get to feeling pretty self-righteous about the numbers on my Jawbone.  Of course, those numbers take a swan dive off a very high cliff on weekends, when I prioritize catching up on all my Hart of Dixie.)

Sometimes, I walk home with my friend and co-worker, K.  We spend most of the walk talking food.  Tonight, K suggested making these – inspired by Smitten Kitchen.

mostly, i'm in it for the cheese.
mostly, i’m in it for the cheese.

Broccoli & Cauliflower Quesadillas

  • 1 bag mixed broccoli & cauliflower florets
  • olive oil
  • salt, pepper, chili powder
  • 1/2 large onion or 1 medium onion, sliced
  • 1 poblano pepper, seeded and roughly chopped
  • 1 jalapeno, seeded and roughly chopped
  • juice from 1/2 lime
  • 3-4 scallions, chopped
  • about 2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • flour tortillas
  • optional: sour cream, cilantro, avocado
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  Scatter the broccoli and cauliflower florets in a large baking pan, coat with a bit of olive oil, and toss with salt, pepper, and a dash of chili powder.  Roast for about 20 minutes.
  2. As the florets roast, heat olive oil in a saute pan, add the onions and cook over medium heat for a few minutes, until translucent.  Add the jalapeno and poblano peppers and cook another 5-6 minutes.
  3. When the florets are done roasting, add to a food processor and roughly pulse them just a few times – you don’t want them turning them to mush.  Add the lime juice and give a quick stir with a fork.
  4. Build your quesadilla: spread the broccoli/cauliflower mixture over one tortilla, add the onion and peppers over it, top with cheese and a couple of scallions.  Cover with one more tortilla on top.  Heat a large grill pan over medium heat and cook the quesadilla for about 3 minutes before flipping – very carefully – to the other side, and cooking another 2-3 minutes.
  5. Cut into wedges and serve with a bit of sour cream (I gussied mine up with a little lime juice and cumin), cilantro, and avocado.
good times.
good times.

The Verdict:

Did I use one too many pans to make…quesadillas?  While we’re on the subject, does anyone need to use a food processor to make…quesadillas?  Yes, and absolutely not, respectively.  Still, these were delicious (although honestly, how could they not be, between veggies, cheese and carbs?!).  I think the Husband will be mighty pleased to find these in his lunch bag tomorrow.

Everything But The…Pesto

So, I won’t be making candy cane kiss cookies for my co-workers.  I sort of had a hunch that would happen.

I have now consumed two entire bags of these delicious, addictive, terrible-for-you candy cane kisses.  My only hope is that this will now hold off my insatiable craving until next year’s holiday season.  My co-workers will be getting pumpkin bread instead, the recipe for which I will not be posting here, as I rely heavily on a Trader Joe’s mix (sssh).

While that bakes, I’m hungry for dinner.  And there are a lot of leftovers – not all of them pulled chicken – in the fridge.  I’m talking broccoli, not just tired but exhausted looking herbs, and zested lemons.  This will all go bad in a few days…which means it’s food processor time.

Everything But the Kitchen Sink Pesto

  • whole wheat spaghetti
  • 2-3 cups broccoli florets
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup basil
  • 1/2 bunch parsley, stems included
  • 1 cup arugula (both for the peppery taste and to offset the very tired basil’s color!)
  • about 4 tablespoons olive oil, plus more as you see fit
  • 3 garlic cloves (let’s be honest, I used more than that, but I guess not everyone is into that sort of thing)
  • 3 tablespoons pine nuts
  • 1 big handful Parmesan cheese
  • 1-2 tablespoons lemon zest
  • juice from 1/2 lemon
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • crushed red pepper
  1. Bring a pot of salted water to a boil and cook your pasta according to directions.  Drain, reserving at least one cup of the starchy water.
  2. Microwave your broccoli florets for 2-3 minutes.  Combine broccoli and the rest of the ingredients (through crushed red pepper) in a food processor and pulse until it starts to resemble a sauce.
  3. Slowly add the reserved pasta water and keep pulsing until sauce gets to your desired consistency.
  4. Don’t be fooled: this is not an exact science, or an exact recipe.  Keep playing with the ingredients until the pesto tastes right – more salt? more olive oil? more cheese? – to you.  Serve, well mixed, with pasta.
fighting off all the vampires tonight.
fighting off all the vampires tonight.

The Verdict:

This is a go-to for using up leftover vegetables and herbs.  You can make with almost any combination of things you have already in your fridge, and if you don’t use too much olive oil (or cheese), it actually feels like you’re doing ok health-wise.  You can also freeze pesto – pop it into a ziploc bag, snip off one corner, squeeze into ice cube trays, and cover with saran wrap.  That way, you can use one (or two, or three) cubes without having to chip it off a frozen solid block.  Presto pesto.

The Ultimate Go-To: Spicy BBQ Pulled Chicken with Broccoli Slaw

When I started this blog, I wanted a way to quickly catalog those recipes that were home runs, ones that I could turn to over and over again every time I started thinking “I have no idea what to make tonight.”  In other words, I wanted to catalog our “go-tos.”

The following is THE go-to in our house.  Cooking for a crowd?  Need a lot of leftovers?  Don’t have more than 10 minutes to cook? Going to happy hour and you’re not sure if you’ll be eating there or at home?  This is the answer, every time.  It’s not elevated cooking, but it’s delicious, it’s plentiful, and it’s oh-so-easy.

Spicy BBQ Pulled Chicken

  • 3/4 of 1 can cola (not diet!)
  • 1 jar spicy BBQ sauce – our favorite is Stubb’s
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 1-2 lbs chicken breasts (can obviously also make with pork)
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, peeled and roughly chopped
  • freshly cracked black pepper, crushed red peppers
  • good buns
  • optional: chips, pepper jack cheese
  1. Add onions and garlic to a slow cooker.  Season the chicken breasts with black pepper and the crushed reds and then layer them on top of the onions and garlic.  Cover the chicken (just barely) with the cola and BBQ sauce.  Set heat on low and cook 8-9 hours.
  2. At the end of the cook time, use forks to shred the chicken (if there’s too much liquid, mix in a teaspoon of cornstarch to thicken up the sauce).  Serve with warmed buns; top with coleslaw.
tastier than it looks.  i promise.
tastier than it looks. i promise.

Broccoli Slaw with Homemade Dressing

  • 1 package broccoli slaw (Trader Joe’s carries this, but I’ve recently seen in Harris Teeter and in Safeway, as well!)
  • For the dressing:
    • 1/2 -1 cup light mayonnaise
    • 1 tablespoon sugar
    • 4-5 tablespoons cider vinegar, depending on how tart you like your dressing
    • 2 teaspoons pepper
    • dash salt
    • one heaping tablespoon prepared horseradish
    • teaspoon Dijon mustard
    • optional: dash celery seed
  1. Prepare the dressing by whisking all of your ingredients, minus broccoli, together in a bowl.  Stir thoroughly, until the sugar dissolves.  Do a bit of taste-testing along the way to make sure it has the right amount of tang for you.
  2. Toss thoroughly with the broccoli slaw.  If you like, refrigerate a bit before serving.
hello, comfort.
hello, comfort.

This is my Mom’s Pork Loin.

I grew up in an incredibly food-rich household.  We sat down to dinner as a family every single night after my dad got home from work.  We said grace (because of or despite being Unitarians, not really sure).  And every single night, my mom made a fully balanced, completely delicious and nutritious meal, composed of vegetables, a starch and some protein.

I never ate it.  If you’ve been following along, you know I was a picky, word-class, non-eater.  I’d devour the starch (usually pasta, as I maintain an aversion to rice for whatever weird reason, even to this day), pick at the veggies, and that was that.

Did I mention my mom is a trained chef?

I’m sorry, Mom.  You were right.  Food is awesome.  Especially yours.

Mom’s Dijon and Tarragon Pork Loin with Roasted Broccoli

For the pork–

  • 1 lb pork tenderloin
  • Dijon mustard
  • fresh or dried tarragon
  • salt & pepper
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 3 tablespoons sour cream

For the broccoli– (inspired by my girl Ina, obvi.  You can do almost ANY vegetable this way, adjusting the time in the oven: Brussels sprouts, asparagus, cauliflower, you name it.  I was hoping for Brussels sprouts tonight, but they were just so…le tired looking at le Safeway.)

  • as much broccoli as you can stand, cut into florets
  • olive oil
  • salt & pepper
  • 3-4 cloves garlic, peeled and roughly chopped
  • lemon zest
  • optional: lemon juice, basil, pine nuts, parmesan cheese
  1. First, get all your veggies prepped.  If you time it right, you can have both of these dishes coming out of the oven around the same time.  Peel and chop your garlic, cut the broccoli, wash and (important!) dry the florets thoroughly.
  2. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  In a pan that can go from oven to stovetop, rub the pork loin all over with Dijon mustard, sprinkle tarragon, a bit of salt (not too much! there’s salt in the mustard) and a good amount of pepper over the loin.
  3. Spread your broccoli on a separate baking sheet.  Drizzle with olive oil, salt, pepper and the garlic.  Give it a good toss – don’t be afraid to use your hands.
  4. Put both the broccoli and the loin in the oven for 20-25 minutes.  Take out the broccoli when it starts to brown at the edges; take out the loin when just slightly pink in the center.
  5. Take the pork out of the dish and let it rest (don’t cut into it just yet).  In the same pan it cooked in, add wine and sour cream, bring to a boil on the stove and reduce.  Be careful not to let the sour cream burn.
  6. Toss the broccoli with lemon zest and Parmesan cheese.  Add a few squeezes of lemon juice, some basil and pine nuts if you please.
  7. Slice the loin, serve with the sauce and veggies.  Think about how fast, easy, and tasty your dinner is!
is it weird to love broccoli this much?
get your broccoli on.
this sauce is #killingit
this sauce is #killingit

The Verdict:

This was fast, easy, healthy, and tasty.  What more could you ask for?