Monday, January 28, 2013

Slow Cooked Chicken

I've always avoided cooking whole chickens.  Partly because I was intimidated and partly because, well, because I find chicken absolutely disgusting.  But, I put on my big girl panties and decided that I would try it out.  I can't believe how easy this was (but, I'm not going to lie, the raw chicken was still disgusting!).   I decided to roast potatoes separately, but you could definitely throw some in with the onions and carrots for a one-pot meal.  I used the leftover chicken to make White & Green Chicken Chili. Oh, and be sure to save all the excess liquid, skin and bones to make homemade chicken stock!

Slow Cooked Chicken
Serves 4-6

1 4-5lb whole chicken, giblets removed
4 medium carrots, peeled
1 1/2 onions, divided
1/2 of a lemon
2-3 garlic cloves, smashed and peeled
Salt and pepper
All purpose seasoning (I like Simply Organic) or combo of any seasonings

1.  Rinse the chicken thoroughly inside and out.  Place on a large tray and pat dry with paper towels.  Chop an onion and the carrots into 1 1/2 inch chunks; place in the bottom of the crock pot. Cut the other half of onion in half.  Place that, along with the half of lemon and garlic cloves inside of the chicken.  Place the chicken over the veggies in the crock pot and generously season with salt, pepper and all purpose seasoning.  Cover (do not add any liquid!!!) and cook on low for 8 hours.  Remove from the crock 15 minutes before serving to rest.  Enjoy! 


Sunday, January 27, 2013

Baked Risotto

For the most part, I've been back to my healthy-cooking ways.  I've been tracking calories and exercising on a regular basis.  But, when I got my new issue of Cook's Country magazine (I'm such a sucker for America's Test Kitchen), I just had to try their recipe for Baked Risotto.  It's ah-mazing!  So creamy and cheesy and delicious.  And yes, it's pretty high in calories too, but oh so yummy!!  I followed the recipe to a tee this time, but I'll try and lighten it up the next time I make it.  The recipe recommends making this in a Dutch oven.  I don't have one (yet - I'm getting one soon.  Yippee!!) so I just transferred everything to a 4 qt casserole dish that had a lid.

I totally forgot to take pictures, but managed to snap a quick one once it came out of the oven.  Just believe me when I say that this is one of the most delicious things you will ever eat!

Baked Risotto
Serves 6

5 cups low-sodium vegetable or chicken stock
1/2 cup water
2 bay leaves
4 tbsp unsalted butter
1 onion, chopped fine
2 cups Arborio rice
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 1/4 cups grated Parmesan
1 tbsp fresh or dried parsley
salt and pepper

1.  Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Bring broth, water and bay leaves to a simmer over medium heat.  Cover and keep warm on low heat.

2.  Melt butter in a medium pan over medium heat.  Add onion and 1/2 tsp salt and cook until the onion just begins to brown.  Stir in rice and cook until the edges of the rice begin to turn translucent.  Stir in garlic and cook for 30 seconds.  Add wine and cook for one more minute.

3.  Transfer rice to a 4-6 quartt casserole dish with a tight fitting lid.  Pour the warm broth over the rice.  Place a piece of foil over the top of the dish, gently pushing down so the foil is resting on the broth and cover.  Bake until liquid is absorbed - about 25-30 minutes.  Remove from oven, discard bay leaves and stir in Parmesan and parsley.  Serve and enjoy!

Nutrition Info Per Serving:  Cal: 413, Protein: 14g, Sodium: 513mg, Carbs: 55g, Fat: 15g

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Banana Pudding

This recipe was in my newest issue of Vegetarian Times.  It seemed so simple and easy - and it was!  The recipe called for coconut milk, but I used almond....which in turn made my pudding have a not-so-attractive brown tint to it.  But, it still tasted yummy!

Banana Pudding
Makes 6 servings

1/3 cup pure cane sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/8 tsp salt
3 cups milk (recipe called for Coconut, I used Almond)
1 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
3 ripe bananas, sliced
48 Nilla Wafers
Whipped Cream (optional)

1. In a medium saucepan over medium high heat, whisk together the sugar, cornstarch and salt. Slowly whisk in milk. Bring mixture to a boil and simmer until thickened, about five minutes, whisking constantly. Stir in vanilla and bananas. Remove from the heat.

2. Place 24 Nilla Wafers in the bottom of an 11x8 dish. Pour the hot pudding over the top making sure the bananas are submerged. Top the pudding with the remaining cookies. Cover with plastic wrap and allow to cool. Once at room temperature, move to the fridge to chill.

Nutrition Info (per serving):  Calories: 258, Protein: 2g, Fiber: 2g, Sodium: 216mg, Carbs: 50g, Fat: 6g

Monday, January 14, 2013

Dinner Fail

I was so excited to try out a new recipe that was in my Vegetarian Times magazine - even Jason was excited to try it.  It was a play on Shepherd's Pie with pinto beans and a cornbread top.  I got it all ready to pop in the oven.  See, doesn't it look good!?

Okay, so maybe it doesn't really look good.  But, it was going to taste good, mkay?
And, I'm not exactly sure what happened, but I somehow lost my grip and down it went.  Pinto bean filling everywhere! 

This was LOTS of fun to clean up!  Thank goodness for a self-cleaning oven.
In the oven, into the drawer below the oven, all over all the baking sheets in there, on the kitchen floor and under the stove.  Ugh.  Such. A. Mess!

If this ever happens again, hopefully it will be with something that does not resemble dog puke.
Jason scraped up what could be salvaged and ate it for dinner (raw cornbread dough and all - sure do love that man!)  I'll try again in a week or so and hopefully will have more luck.  I will definitely use two hands when putting it into the oven next time! 

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Slow Cooked Pork Loin

Another great crock pot recipe.  Low in calories and fat and full of flavor!

Slow Cooked Pork Loin
Serves 4

2 lb boneless pork loin
2 tbsp evoo
1/2 cup flour
1 tbsp plus 1 tsp All Purpose Seasoning (I like Simply Organic brand)
Salt and pepper
4 large carrots, peeled
4 large celery stalks
2 large russet potatoes, cleaned (or peeled if that's your preference)
1 large onion
2 tbsp minced garlic

1.  In a large skillet, heat the evoo on medium high heat.  Combine the flour, 1 tbsp of the all purpose seasoning, salt and pepper on a large plate.  Coat the pork loin in the flour mixture and brown all sides of the loin in the hot oil.  While pork is browning chop the veggies into 1/2-1 inch pieces and place in a large bowl.  Add in the garlic, 1 tsp of all purpose seasoning, salt and pepper and mix well.  (if you're lucky like me, you'll have a cute little helper who loves to help me cook!)
2. Once the pork is brown on all sides place in the crock pot.  Arrange the veggies around the pork.  Cook on low 6-8 hours.  Enjoy!
Nutrition Info (per serving):
Calories: 395, Fat: 8g, Protein: 49g, Fiber: 5g, Sodium: 476mg, Carbs: 36g