Chicken and Turnip Stew

Chicken and Turnip Stew

I have gotten some wonderful turnips and turnip greens from my CSA the past couple of weeks. My little one has requested turnip pickles, so I have set aside some turnips for that. Luckily, I still have plenty left for other recipes. I made this soup for lunch today. It’s earthy and comforting.  Definitely a keeper. I revamped this recipe I found in the current issue of Eating Well magazine.

1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cubed
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, quartered and sliced
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 large turnips, peeled and diced
8 ounces baby bellas mushrooms, sliced
4 cups turnip greens, chopped
5 cups chicken broth
2 teaspoons fresh rosemary, minced (optional)
3 tablespoons cornstarch
3 tablespoons water
salt and pepper, to taste

Heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a Dutch over medium-high heat. Add the chicken, season with salt and pepper, and cook, until no longer pink. Remove the chicken to a plate and set aside.

Add the remaining 1 tablespoon of the olive oil to the pot. Add the onions and cook until they start to soften. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the turnips, mushrooms, greens, broth, and rosemary. Bring to a boil. Add the chicken (and any accumulated juices) and reduce heat to medium-low and cook 10 minutes or until the turnips are tender. Season the soup to taste with salt and pepper.

Mix the cornstarch and water in a small bowl. Stir the mixture into the stew and cook until thickened.

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Spiced Mustard Greens and Garbanzos

Spiced Mustard Greens and Garbanzos

I’ve been getting some beautiful greens from my Pinckney’s Produce CSA box. This recipe was inspired by one of my favorite Indian dishes, Saag Chole. A little Indian fusion in a Southern-style meal. My hubby raved about the greens and beans. They were pretty good. I served the spiced mustard greens and garbanzos alongside tilapia and grits. The leftover greens were delicious with a little brown basmati rice.

Tilapia and Grits

Spiced Mustard Greens and Garbanzos

1 large bunch mustard greens, cleaned well, tough stems removed, and chopped *
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, halved and sliced
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 jalapenos, seeded and minced
1 15.5 ounce can garbanzo beans (chickpeas), drained
1/2 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
juice of 1/2 a lemon

*To clean the mustard greens, fill a clean sink with enough cold water to cover the greens. Add the greens and agitate with your hands. Pull the plug on the drain and let the water drain out of the sink. Remove the greens and rinse the sink. Refill the sink with water and repeat the process at least two more times. Some people say that adding salt or flour to the water helps remove the grit from the greens.

Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Add the mustard greens and cook until tender, about 8 minutes. Drain the greens.

Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the onions and cook until the they start to brown. Add the garlic and jalapenos and sauté a minute more. Add the drained greens, drained garbanzos, and all the spices. Cook until the beans are heated through. Stir in the fresh lemon juice and serve.


Spicy Beef Noodle Soup

Beef Noodle Soup - medium (640x480) (640x480)

I really liked this soup. The ingredient list is kind of long, but it results in a very flavorful soup. This soup doesn’t contain sugar, gluten (unless you use soy sauce), or dairy.

I love Southeast Asian inspired foods, so I pretty much always have the ingredients in this recipe on hand. I don’t use ginger on a weekly basis, so when I do buy ginger, I peel and mince it and then freeze it in 2 tablespoon- size portions. If I happen to find fresh lemongrass (usually at Asian markets) I buy a couple of bunches and cut it up and put in freezer bags for later use. I always keep a jar of sambal oelek (easily found at Asian markets) in the pantry. I like Huy Fong Foods brand (they also make that sriracha in the bottle with a rooster on it)

Spicy Beef Noodle Soup

1 tablespoon canola oil
1 onion, slivered
8 ounces beef, thinly sliced (I like sirloin)
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 1-inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and minced
2 cups dried shiitake mushrooms, rehydrated in 2 cups of hot water, stems removed, and sliced (save the soaking water for the soup)
6 cups of beef broth (or more if you like a more brothy soup)
1 carrot, peeled and cut into matchsticks
8 ounces snow peas, ends trimmed, and sliced lengthwise (sugar snap peas would work too)
2 tablespoons fresh lemongrass, finely minced
1 tablespoon sambal oelek (a ground chili paste)
1 teaspoon ground coriander
2 tablespoons tamari (or soy sauce, which contains wheat)
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 small head bok choy, root end removed and roughly chopped (or spinach)
1 tablespoon sesame oil
rice noodles, cooked (I like rice vermicelli)
fresh cilantro

In a large Dutch oven or pot, heat the canola oil over medium heat. Add the onions and sauté until they start to soften. Add the beef and continue to sauté until the beef is no longer pink. Add the garlic, ginger, and mushrooms and sauté for 4 more minutes.

Add the beef broth, mushroom soaking liquid, carrot, snow peas, lemongrass, sambal olek, tamari, ground coriander, and black pepper. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 5 minutes. Add the chopped bok choy and simmer 10 more minutes or until the vegetables are tender. Turn off the heat and stir in the sesame oil.

Serve soup in bowls over cooked rice noodles. Sprinkle with fresh cilantro.


Spelt Biscuits

Spelt Biscuits

Spelt is an ancient type of wheat. It contains gluten, but it’s gluten is a little different in that it is water soluble and easier to digest. Those with Celiac Disease should not eat spelt, but people with wheat allergies, intolerances, or who are specifically avoiding wheat  may be able to eat it with no problems.

I have been on a wheat-free, sugar-free, dairy-free (except for butter), soy-free, alcohol-free, fun-free diet since mid-September. I’m trying this diet to help me get my thyroid disease under control (and weight loss would be an added bonus). I feel a tiny bit better since being on the diet and I have less of that hypothyroidism puffiness, but I have not lost any weight (curse you thyroid!). I’m struggling a little right now because the benefits of this diet are not outweighing the suckiness of the diet. I intend to stay on the diet until at least my next doctor’s appointment in November, but all I really want to do is consume crusty bread, goat cheese, and red wine.

I have been thinking of biscuits and gravy lately. I set out to make a wheat-free and dairy-free version. These biscuits actually turned out well. My 13 year old even liked them, which is saying something since he is the pickiest eater in the world. The biggest surprise was the gravy I made using unsweetened almond milk and spelt flour. It was fantastic! I didn’t use exact measurements for the gravy. I just made a roux with a little butter and spelt flour (about 1 tablespoon each) and added almond milk (maybe 1/2 a cup?), a little at a time, and cooked until a gravy came together. The gravy wasn’t pretty, but tasted fine on the spelt biscuits and satisfied my craving.

Spelt Biscuits 2

Spelt Biscuits

2 cups of spelt flour (can be found in bulk bins at natural food stores)
4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons shortening
3/4 cup unsweetened almond milk

Preheat the oven to 450° F.

Combine the spelt flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl. Using a fork, pastry cutter, or your hands, work the shortening into the spelt flour mixture until it looks like crumbs. Add the almond milk and stir until the dough comes together. The dough will be sticky. At this point, you may have to add additional spelt flour if the dough is too wet to get the dough to a state that is easy enough to handle.

Pour the dough out onto a (spelt) floured surface and sprinkle with little more spelt flour. Fold the dough over onto itself a couple of times and then press it out until it’s about an inch thick. Cut out the biscuits and place them on a baking sheet. Reform remaining dough and cut out more biscuits and place them on the baking sheet.

Place the biscuits in the oven and bake until done and golden, 15 to 20 minutes.

Makes 12 biscuits.


Thai Green Curry with Eggplant

Thai Green Curry with Eggplant

I have been getting some beautiful eggplants in my Pinckney’s Produce CSA box the past couple of weeks. I love making Thai curries and eggplant is one of my favorite curry ingredients. Using canned Thai curry paste and canned coconut milk, this eggplant curry couldn’t be easier.

I keep a variety of Thai curry pastes and canned coconut milk in the pantry for quick meals. The Maesri curry pastes are so amazing and functional. There are many different flavors available. My favorites are the red curry, green curry, prik khing, and masaman varieties. You can find Maesri curry pastes at Asian markets. I have even seen them on amazon.com at triple the price (or more) than what they sell for at Asian markets. If you have never been in an Asian market, you should go. They are fascinating places with all kinds of ingredients you have never seen before at really good prices. I have left Asian markets with 6 bags of groceries that cost me less than $40. Many of the ingredients in this recipe are easily found at an Asian market, but may be harder to find at the grocery store. So, use this recipe as an excuse to explore an Asian market.

Here is a picture of the Maesri green curry paste:

Maesri Green Curry Paste

My favorite coconut milk is Chaokoh brand. Here’s a picture:

Chaokoh Coconut Milk

Thai Green Curry with Eggplant

.1 tablespoon coconut oil (or vegetable oil)
.1 4 ounce can Maesri green curry (This amount will make a very hot curry. You may want to start with 1/4 or 1/2 of the can and then add more if you like. It’s easier to add heat than take it away.)
.1 13.5 ounce can of coconut milk (shake the can before opening)
.1 large Italian eggplant (or 2 smaller ones), ends removed and cut into bite-size chunks (you can use any kind of eggplant, really)
.1 green or red bell pepper, seeded and sliced
.1 8 ounce can of bamboo shoots (sliced), rinsed and drained (you can also use fresh slice bamboo shoots that can be found in the produce section at Asian markets)
.1 tablespoon brown sugar (white sugar or coconut palm sugar is fine too) or to taste
.1 tablespoon of fish sauce (also found at an Asian market – my favorite brand is 3 Crabs, but other brands can sometimes be found in the Asian section at the grocery store) – leave this ingredient out to make this a vegetarian dish
.1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped (or 1/4 cup chopped Thai basil and 1/4 cup chopped cilantro)

In a wok (or skillet), over medium-high heat, heat the oil and then add the curry paste. Saute until fragrant and then stir in the coconut milk. Once combined, reduce the heat to medium and add the chopped eggplant, bell pepper, and bamboo shoots. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the eggplant is tender. Season the curry with the sugar and fish sauce. Add the chopped cilantro (and Thai basil, if using) and serve with rice.

Thai Green Curry with Eggplant 2


Strawberry Bread

Strawberry Bread(640x422)

I bake quick breads and muffins often because my boys, who are very picky eaters, will eat them. I feel like quick breads and muffins are vehicles to get extra fruit (or vegetables) into my children. Plus, they are delicious. I usually have frozen strawberries in the freezer, so I can make this strawberry bread without having to plan ahead too much. My sons really like this strawberry bread (although they prefer it without the pecans).

Strawberry Bread

1 10 oz. package frozen sliced strawberries, thawed
2 eggs
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
3/4 cups sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup chopped pecans (optional)

Preheat oven to 350°.

Spray a 9 x 5-inch loaf pan (or 4 mini bread pans) with cooking spray and set aside.

In a medium mixing bowl, combine strawberries, eggs and oil. In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, sugar, cinnamon, baking soda, salt and pecans. Add the strawberry mixture to the flour mixture and stir just until blended. Pour batter into loaf pan(s) and bake for 1 hour (35 to 40 minutes for mini loaves), or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.


Cubanelle Peppers Stuffed with Chicken and Quinoa

Cubanelle Peppers Stuffed with Chicken and Quinoa

I got Cubanelle peppers in my Pinckney’s Produce CSA box this week. I knew I wanted to stuff them. I had left-over quinoa and black beans in the fridge that needed to be used. I decided to mix those ingredients with shredded chicken and some homemade salsa . The results were fantastic! These stuffed peppers have so much flavor. Paired with a simple salad and freshly cut-up cantaloupe, a dish like this makes eating healthy easy.

Cubanelle Peppers Stuffed with Chicken and Quinoa 2

Cubanelle Peppers Stuffed with Chicken and Quinoa

1 cup cooked, shredded chicken
1 cup cooked quinoa
1 cup canned black beans, rinsed and drained
1 1/2 cup prepared salsa (see recipe below), divided
6 Cubanelle peppers (or other mild peppers like banana peppers or Anaheims)

Preheat oven to 400° F.

Cut the tops off the Cubanelle peppers and the remove seeds.

Spread 1/2 cup of salsa in the bottom of a baking dish that is big enough to hold all the peppers.

In a bowl, combine the shredded chicken, quinoa, black beans, and 1/2 cup of salsa. Stuff the peppers with the chicken mixture. Place the stuffed peppers in the baking dish. Spoon the remaining 1/2 cup of salsa over the peppers.

Bake in the oven for 45 minutes to 1 hour or until the peppers are tender.

Salsa

1 15 ounce can diced tomatoes, drained
1/2 medium onion
1 clove garlic
2 – 3 jalapenos, stem end removed
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
handful of fresh cilantro
juice of 1/2 lime

Blend ingredients together in a blender or food processor.