Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Pesto Chicken and Veggies

A friend of mine recently posted this recipe on Facebook and I have since made it a few times to great reviews from my family.  Though the original recipe touts its advantages as a make ahead meal to prep for the week (my friend posted it with Whole 30 in mind), I found it makes for a perfect weeknight dinner for my family with just enough left over for lunch the next day.  It is quick and easy and full of flavor.  If you are cutting grains from your diet, this dish stands alone.  Personally, to stretch the meal a bit (and because we are not eliminating grains), I served it with brown rice.  Just thinking of the flavor combination with the homemade pesto is making my mouth water as I type.  I am sure you will enjoy this one!

INGREDIENTS:
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 chicken thighs, boneless and skinless (I used more than 4)
  • Salt, to taste
  • Pepper, to taste
  • 1 pound green beans
  • 2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
  • ½ cup basil pesto
DIRECTIONS:
  1. Microwave green beans with a tablespoon of water for 6 minutes. (Skip this step if you like your green beans crisp.  My family does not.)
  2. Meanwhile, in a large pan, heat olive oil and add chicken thighs. Season with salt and pepper. When the chicken is completely cooked through, remove from pan, slice into strips, and set aside.
  3. Add veggies and pesto; heat until tomatoes and green beans are cooked to desired tenderness. Return the chicken strips to the pan. Stir until fully incorporated.  
  4. Serve immediately or divide into 4 food storage containers and store in the refrigerator. Can be kept refrigerated for up to 4 days.

Difficulty: Easy
Time: about 20 minutes
Source: adapted from recipes seen on Facebook and Buzzfeed


Friday, January 6, 2017

Hoppin' John Soup

There are so many different traditions related to food on New Year's Day. In the area where we live, a common tradition is to have pork and sauerkraut for luck. This year, while perusing recipes online, I stumbled across a recipe for Hoppin' John soup, which is also supposed to be a lucky dish to eat on the first day of the New Year, but tends to be more of a southern tradition. I decided to give it a try as something different.  I have to admit that while it did look good, I was not anticipating it being a huge hit. Let me tell you, it was.  And I hope that this soup isn't meant to be eaten only on New Year's Day, because I plan to make it all year long.  I don't know that I have ever cooked anything with Black Eyed Peas (which are actually beans, not peas, so you can eat them, Dad, despite the fact that you won't go near green peas with a ten foot pole) and my experience with Collard Greens is very limited, but the flavor combination in this soup had my whole family going back for more.  As for the luck it is supposed to bring, so far so good!  Happy New Year, all!

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 small bunch (about 1 pound) collard greens
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 8 ounces smoked ham steak, cut into 1/4-inch cubes
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 medium carrot, chopped (I used a handful of baby carrots because I was out of whole)
  • 1 stalk celery, chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red-pepper flakes
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 6 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 dried bay leaf
  • One 15 1/2-ounce can black-eyed peas, drained and rinsed
  • One 15-ounce can diced tomatoes, with juices
  • 2 cups cooked brown rice (I used a packet)
  • Dash of hot sauce, preferably Tabasco
  • Dash of Worcestershire sauce
  • Parmesan cheese, grated, for topping 

DIRECTIONS:
  1. Remove the stems and center ribs from the collard greens. Stack about six leaves on top of each other, roll into a cigar shape, and slice into thin ribbons. 
  2. Heat the olive oil in a large, heavy pot over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, toss in the ham, onion, garlic, carrot, and celery, and cook, stirring, until the vegetables are tender, roughly 4 minutes. Sprinkle in the red-pepper flakes, and season with salt and pepper. Add the collard greens, and sauté until they begin to soften. 
  3. Pour in the chicken broth, the bay leaf, the black-eyed peas, and the can of tomatoes with their juices. Bring to a simmer, and cook for 30 minutes. Stir the rice into the soup to warm. Taste for seasoning, and add more salt and pepper, hot sauce, and Worcestershire sauce. 
  4. Spoon into bowls, and sprinkle each bowl with Parmesan cheese. 
I wish this picture did it justice!

Difficulty: easy
Time: 15 minutes prep, about 40 minutes cooking
Source: adapted from www.tastebook.com