Monthly Archives: January 2017

27 January 2017: Slow Cooker Chicken and Apple Stew

2017-jan-27_fournightsaweek_0363Every couple of weeks I like to break out my slow cooker. This week, I found a recipe on WholeFoods Market that used chicken thighs; they stand up to long, slow cooking without loosing any of their moist flavor. I’ve owned a couple of slow cookers over the last 30-plus years, starting with a one-piece Presto that made cleaning up a nightmare.  My current version is a round All-Clad 4-quart model with a black ceramic insert and 3 temperature settings (All-Clad’s newest version has an additional one: high start/low finish). Be sure to read the instruction manual carefully in order to avoid ending up with a cracked insert. 

I did make one adjustment to the recipe: since I buy my poultry at organic markets where I can be assured of the quality (no antibiotics, thank you), even thighs can be pretty pricey. I used half as much poultry as the recipe called for and didn’t miss the extra one bit. The link to Whole Foods Market’s original recipe is here.

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 tsp whole fennel seeds
  • 3 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs (I used 1 lb.)
  • 3 firm, sweet baking apples (like Braeburn or Gala); peeled, cored and cut into 6 wedges each
  • 2 medium sweet potatoes (10 oz each), peeled and cut into 1 1/2 inch chunks
  • 1 large sweet onion, halved and sliced
  • 2 TBSP fresh (yes, it’s worth it) sage leaves
  • 1 1/4 tsp fine sea salt
  • 3/4 tsp fresh ground black pepper

Method

  1. Toast fennel seeds in small skillet over medium heat until fragrant (about 2 mins).
  2. Cut chicken thighs in half.
  3. Add chicken, fennel seeds and ALL the rest of the remaining ingredients to a slow cooker.
  4. Cover and cook until chicken and apples are very tender, (6-7 hours on LOW or 3-3.5 hours on High)
  5. Serves 6-8
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23 January 2017: Roasted Bell Peppers Stuffed with Quinoa

2017-jan-23_fournightsaweek_0351It’s Meatless Monday! We both love stuffed peppers, but I’m not a huge fan of the ground meat and tomato sauce stuffing. This recipe uses quinoa along with chopped veggies seasoned with cumin and cinnamon.  In place of stuffing full peppers, I split them in half – still delish! Visit Whole Foods website for the original recipe.

Ingredients

  • 1 TBSP extra virgin olive oil, plus more for oiling the pan
  • 1 red onion, chopped
  • 1/2 pound sliced mushrooms
  • 1 cup chopped carrots
  • 7 bell peppers (1 cored, seeded & chopped; tops removed and reserved if you are filling the peppers upright, just core and seed the remaining 6)
  • 1/2 cup chopped parsley
  • 1/4 pound baby spinach
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 3/4 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 cup uncooked quinoa (rinse & cook according the package directions ahead of time)
  • 1/4 tsp fine sea salt
  • 1/2 cup roasted cashews (if desired)
  • 1/4 tsp ground black pepper

Method

  1. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add onion and cook, stirring 2017-jan-23_fournightsaweek_0345 occasionally until transparent, 8-10 minutes. Add mushrooms and cook until softened, 4-5 minutes more.
  2. Add carrots and chopped peppers, cook until just softened, then add parsley and spinach (in batches if needed). Let spinach wilt then stir in cinnamon, cumin, and cooked quinoa. Toss gently to combine. Add salt, pepper, and cashews (if using) and cook 1-2 minutes more. Set aside to let filling cool to just warm.
  3. Meanwhile, pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly oil a 9×13 inch baking pan and set aside.
  4. Divide quinoa mixture evenly among remaining 6 bell peppers (or 12 halves), gently packing it down and making sure to fully fill each pepper. Top each pepper with its reserved top then arrange them upright in prepared pan.
  5. Cover snugly with foil and bake until peppers are tender and juicy and filling is hot throughout, about 1 hours. Transfer to plates, and serve.

17 January 2017: Indian Red Lentil Soup

2017-jan-17_fournightsaweek_0242It’s cold and damp and definitely a good night for soup! This recipe comes from Whole Foods Market. No kale, no problem – I used spinach in place of the kale this time around.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 3/4 cup chopped onion
  • 1 (14.5 oz) can diced tomatoes
  • 1 1/2 cup red lentils
  • 2 cups low sodium vegetable broth
  • 1 cup light coconut milk
  • Juice of 1 lemon (about 2 TBSP)
  • 1 1/2 cup shredded kale (I used baby spinach)
  • 1/4 tsp fine sea salt

Method:

  1. Heat a sauce pot over medium heat until hot. Add cumin and toast 1 minute or until aromatic. Add onion and cook, stirring frequently, until beginning to brown and stick to the pot, about 5 minutes. Add tomatoes with their juice and cook 2 minutes longer,  stirring frequently. Add lentils, broth, 2 cups water, coconut milk and lemon juice; bring to a boil.
  2. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer 30 to 35 minutes or until lentils are tender, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and stir in kale and salt.

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