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Moroccan Chicken Stew – Exotic and Delish!

Moroccan Chicken Stew – Exotic and Delish!
cinnamon, cumin, black and red pepper, and turmeric.

This little jar holds cinnamon, cumin, black and red pepper, and turmeric.

When I find a ready-made food that I really enjoy, I like to try and re-create it in my own kitchen. Campbell’s Soup is trying to reach out to the younger set with new and interesting soups in pouches under the name “Campbell’s Go.”  I’m from the tail-end of the Baby Boomers – not a Millennial, but my taste buds aren’t dead yet! I tried and loved their Moroccan Style Chicken soup, so I made a note of the ingredients and gave it a try. What really helped was finding a jar of a Moroccan spice blend – saved me from trying to figure out how much turmeric –vs- cinnamon or cumin! The first time, I used diced tomatoes for the base, and added some water; I also used leftover rotisserie chicken instead of starting from scratch. It was flavorful, but too soupy – not the consistency I was looking for. This time, I used crushed tomatoes and a tub of concentrated chicken stock (look for it near the broths in the soup aisle) as the base which gave me the consistency I was looking for – more like a spaghetti sauce than a soup. I also used boneless, skinless chicken thighs (3 for this recipe), that I cut up into chunks before cooking, so the prep was longer, but ultimately worth it. Overall, I’d say it took about ½ hour of prep and I simmered it for under an hour. I served it with couscous and flat bread in a soup plate.

  • 2 c. cubed raw chicken
  • ½ c coarsely chopped onion
  • 1 c coarsely chopped carrots
  • 1 tbl olive oil

    Chicken,carrots and onions, sauteed in olive oil.

    Chicken,carrots and onions, sauteed in olive oil.

  • 1-28 oz can crushed tomatoes
  • 1-14.5 oz can garbanzo beans, drained
  • Fresh ground pepper to taste
  • 2 tsp. sugar
  • 1-2 tbl Moroccan spice mix
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 serving concentrated chicken stock

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over high heat. Add onions and cook for a couple of minutes; add chicken and pepper to taste. Stir and cook chicken/onion mixture for 5 minutes and then add the carrots and continue to cook and stir until carrots begin to soften. Dump in the tomatoes and garbanzo beans; add stock and spices, stir. Cover, reduce heat and simmer 30-45 minutes, stirring occasionally. Serve in a shallow bowl with couscous and naan bread.

Moroccan Chicken Stew, couscous, flat bread

Dinner is served!

 
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Posted by on February 1, 2014 in Recipe

 

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Pre-made Simmmer Sauce, Packaged Soup Mix: Is it cheating?

Lemon Artichoke Simmer Sauce

After a recent shopping trip that included World Market, I came away with a couple of packaged recipe starters – a simmer sauce and dried soup mixes. Although some purists may disagree, I don’t believe using such things for inspiration or a jumping off point is cheating. If I am adding 4 or more ingredients I have to prepare myself to make a complete dish, then it is merely one of the steps in the preparation. (Step 5. Dump in Simmer Sauce) Few of us have the time it would take to create a fresh sauce of this sort – at least in time for that evening’s dinner! The one I chose had lemon juice, artichokes and white wine as its main flavors – which sounded like a marvelous combination to me! I used boneless chicken thighs (1 1/2 lb) that I dredged in flour/ground pepper and then lightly browned in olive oil.

4 or more ingredients added? Not cheating!

I added chopped onion (1/2 c), sliced zucchini (2 small), canned artichoke quarters (14 oz., drained), and mushrooms (1 c sliced), as well as the sauce, and simmered for 35-40 minutes. I served it on Basmati rice to soak up the juices. Delicious!

My other recipe starter was World Market’s Bistro Style Lentil Soup Mix. Even though there were dehydrated vegetables in the mix, the instructions called for fresh ingredients like onion (1/2 onion, chopped), garlic (2 cloves – it called for 4!), and carrots (1 c chopped), as well as canned diced tomatoes (14.5 oz) and chicken broth (2 c). I took it a bit further and added mushrooms (1 c sliced), spinach (2 c)  and sliced cooked Aidell’s Sausage (1 pkg. chicken & apple).

Dried Soup Mix

The soup had to simmer for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, so this is not something you can decide to make on the spur of the moment! In all fairness, you would have simmer it that long if you gathered and measured all the lentils yourself. Undercooked lentils are crunchy and not really what you are going for in a soup. The house smelled amazing while it was cooking, by the way. I’m surprised there wasn’t a line of neighbors – or raccoons – outside the door by the time it was ready to be served! I chose a chewy ciabatta roll as an accompaniment to this soup, so we could swipe out our bowls!

Something that could have been done before adding the sausage and spinach (they were added with about 1/2 hour to go), would be to run it through a blender to make it smooth and creamy, but I had to dash out the door after bolting down a quick, still-simmering bowl, so maybe next time!

A hearty soup for a chilly day!

PS When I returned home, I grabbed a second bowl and my ciabatta roll – tasty! Plenty of leftovers, too!

 
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Posted by on October 20, 2011 in Information, Recipe

 

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A Recipe in Progress: Orzo & Red Rice

"I'm late - but dinner won't be!"

When they first came out, frozen dinners were a marvel of science; a product of convenience for the modern woman. Later they became a symbol of poor nutrition and of lack of finesse in the kitchen. Today, you can find frozen dinners that are tasty and healthy. One that I tried when I had a solo weekend was by Healthy Choice (I think) and called “Mediterranean Pasta.” I loved it! It had pasta, rice apples, cranberries, spinach – very flavorful. Naturally, it was discontinued, but not before I wrote down all the ingredients and attempted to re-create this dish for myself! As it says in the title of this post, it is a work in progress…

I still don’t think I have the spices down quite right – none were specifically mentioned on the package (curse them!), but who’s going to know the difference? They don’t make this one anymore! If this sounds like your kind of recipe, please give it a try and let me know what you thought; what changes you made; how it can be improved, etc.

And speaking of changes, I like the flavor of Swiss chard better than spinach and I added mushrooms (small, sliced Portabello mushrooms). I’m calling it “Orzo and Red Rice” because I already have a recipe I use with the original name.

Let’s talk about ingredients: Red rice is an interesting choice and you may need to look hard for it, but I think a wild rice would be an acceptable substitute, nutrition and texture-wise. Fontina cheese is similar to mozzarella, but I’ve also substituted smoked extra sharp cheddar – the recipe only calls for 1/2 cup, so it is not a huge issue. Swiss chard is a fairly new vegetable for me – we bought a farm-share one summer and ended up with a lot of it. My research indicated that the stems are not eaten and the big vein down the middle should be removed, so that is how I prepare it. Also – a bunch makes a big pile of chard shards! Don’t panic because it will cook down in a few minutes. Like most of the other meatless main dish I make, my husband thinks it would be better if it included sausage or some other meat. Up to you! Apple juice was listed in the original ingredients’ list, but that is not something I keep around much. I usually end up buying a 3 pack of 100% apple juice in little boxes. (Hence, I chose 6 oz. as the amount of apple juice needed in the recipe!)

Ready to serve!

This recipe takes about 45 minutes, including prep., so it is very doable on a busy night. It all goes into one pot – in my case, a deep, 12 inch covered skillet (one of my most-used pans!), so you don’t have too much to clean up afterward- especially if you have a dog who will snap up that apple piece you dropped!

Be sure to let me know how/if you liked it and any other comments you wish to make!

 
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Posted by on September 20, 2011 in Asking for Feedback, Recipe

 

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Gemelli Pasta with Bacon & Broccoli Rabe

While on a family visit to Michigan, my husband and I went to the local grocery store to pick up a few things for his mom. At the checkout stand were the usual impulse items: candy, gossip rags, magazines geared toward women and cooking magazines. One of the cooking magazines caught my eye – Cooking Light: 5 Ingredient, 15 Minute Recipes. It had a beautiful picture of grilled salmon with a chutney or something artfully drizzled on it – looked very yummy! I picked it up (just as the merchandiser intended, I know!) and flipped it open to a full page photograph of the finished result of the recipe I’m going to share with you in this post. No – I didn’t tear out the recipe and leave the rest of the magazine! How dare you suggest such a thing! No -I bought it, took it back to the in-law’s and proceeded to go over it with a yellow highlighter and post-it flags. Yes, really. There are quite a few tasty ideas in that magazine and you may see more of them here in the future!

They play a little fast and loose with the definition of “ingredient” in the magazine – spices, water, oil (or other cooking fat) are not included in the “5” promised by the title. And the 15 minute time frame is tossed right out the window. It is clearly typed below this particular recipe, “Prep: 4 min. Cook: 25 min.” I added that up and guess what? Yup – over 15 minutes! (Thank you 2nd grade math!) The prep time – set at 4 minutes, assumes you pre-sliced garlic, pre-cut up bacon, pre-trimmed broccoli rabe*, etc. No – I think it took me probably 45 minutes to pull this together, but that is not too bad in the scheme of things. As always, I altered the recipe – this time by adding quartered artichoke hearts, quartered grape tomatoes and serving with Parmesan cheese. If I had had any feta in the house, I would have ignored the Parmesan, added sliced black olives and sprinkled it liberally with feta cheese – but that will be for another time! For a PDF of the recipe that you can view and print, click here.

To be clear, everything ended up in the large skillet – mine is wok-like with a glass lid and I think it is sometimes referred to as a “chef’s pan” or the “everything pan” – I do use it a lot and rarely use regular skillets.

Gemelli Pasta-Broccoli Rabe-Bacon-Tomatoes-Artichoke Hearts...

*If you are confused about Broccoli Rabe, it is sometimes sold as “baby broccoli.”

 
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Posted by on September 11, 2011 in Recipe

 

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How Do You Cook Corn on the Cob?

Yum! Fresh Sweet corn! One of the best flavors of summer!

Summer is here and one of the best things about this season is readily available fresh produce! Berries, peaches (soon, I hope!), green beans, peas, summer squash and corn on the cob – to name a few. Since I had some corn over the weekend, I thought I’d ask around to see what other people do with their sweet corn.

Do you boil or grill? Do you nuke it? Eat it raw?

How do you serve it? Do you use basics – butter, salt, pepper? Or do you experiment with other toppings? Do you use those little corn holder thingies or tough it out? Do you have those little corn shaped plates?

My way to cook sweet corn is simple. I husk the corn, removing the silks and breaking off any natural “handles” so it will fit into my pot. I put them in a pot of water, cover and bring to a boil. And then I turn off the heat and let stand in the hot water for at least 10 minutes to heat through. That’s it! We have those cute little plates – got them for a wedding gift, back in the day – but don’t always use them. I don’t use the holders – I think my fingertips are made of asbestos or something! We tend to go with straight butter (low-fat margarine, really) and salt and pepper. Basic, classic summer sweet corn!

Your turn! Tell me how you cook and eat your sweet corn…I’ll be waiting right here!

 
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Posted by on July 11, 2011 in Asking for Feedback, Information, Recipe

 

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I feel like chicken tonight…

“Chicken? Again?” Who hasn’t thought or heard that – a show of hands? One, two, three, hmm… ten, oh …40,000…. Face it – we’ve all heard it! We oh-so-often marinate and grill our chicken (in the Pacific Northwest, we grill year round – rain, snow, shine!) which is quick and easy. A no-brainer. I hunted around for a different recipe for chicken with my criteria being “super easy for a super supper.” Too cute? You can almost see the apron around my waist and the pearls around my neck, can’t you? Anyway… I went to a great recipe source called All Recipes and found this recipe for a rosemary chicken that was almost too easy! Of course, even though this was the first time I tried it, I made some changes according to what I thought would taste nice with the basic recipe, but to also accommodate stuff I already had in my fridge. It’s called, “One Pot Rosemary Chicken” and you can print a pdf of the recipe by clicking here, but I’ll describe it below as well. The amounts are in the recipe – I won’t bore you with repetition. You may even have most of the ingredients on hand already – if not, they are easy to find or substitute with what you do have. Hmmm – I guess another criteria for my recipes is “flexible!”

One Pot Rosemary Chicken - tasty and pretty, too!

You’ll need 6-8 boneless, skinless chicken thighs (rinse and pat dry with paper towels), salt, pepper, dried rosemary, canned white beans (drained), stewed tomatoes (I used the “Italian style” or you could use canned diced tomatoes if you have that in the cupboard instead) – undrained, asparagus, slivered red onion, and black olives. Some sliced mushrooms would also be yummy in this recipe…If you don’t like asparagus, about a cup of another green veggie will do.

Mix the seasonings together while you heat a little olive oil in a deep-sided skillet. Sprinkle the seasonings on one side of the chicken; press it on there with your fingers so it sticks well. Place the chicken seasoned side down in the skillet and cook for 3 minutes. You are searing in the juices at a slightly higher temperature than you will use to finish off the dish. Reduce the heat and add everything but the olives. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes or until the chicken is done. Stir in the olives. That’s it! How easy was that? We were too lazy to make a salad when we had it – that would have made the meal too well balanced any way – but made sure we had a nice bread to soak up the juices. Give it a try and let me know how you liked it!

 
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Posted by on March 12, 2011 in Recipe

 

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Super Easy Rice Bowls

I love ordering the Coconut Shrimp Rice Bowl at Anthony’s Beach Cafe in Edmonds and Silver City Brewery in Silverdale used to have a Teryaki Salmon Rice Bowl that was to die for – these were the inspirations for creating my own Rice Bowl recipe. We had grilled some salmon one day and had a good-sized chunk left over (how did that happen?), so I decided to give a variation on the Teriyaki Rice Bowl a shot.I purposefully did not list amounts here because this is a flexible recipe that can be tailored to your own likes/dislikes and desired serving size.

First – the rice. I’ve been making rice for a long time and quite frequently as we use it as a “mix in” for our dog’s meals (shh! She thinks it’s cheese!). I make my rice on the stove top – 1 part rice to 2 parts water. I put it at medium heat, covered, with an occasional stir for about 10 minutes and when the bubbles keep threatening a boil over, I lower the heat for another 10 minutes. That usually does it. We like basmati or jasmine rice better than regular white rice – that’s just us! If you want really special rice, use a can of unsweetened coconut milk for part of the liquid – yum!

Vegetables: Birdseye makes steam packs of vegetables that are fabulous for rice bowls – quick and easy! I usually get the one with broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, snow peas and water chestnuts. You can also prep some raw veggies and steam them until bright and hot. Keep them warm until you are ready to assemble “the bowl.”

Protein: Like I said, I used leftover salmon the first time I did this, but any leftover beef/chicken/seafood will most likely do. Packaged precooked chicken or beef is readily available at the grocery stores and can be kept on hand for – “Hey – it’s nearly 7 o’clock – what do you want for dinner?” nights. For this bowl, I divided the salmon, drizzled some teriyaki sauce over it and nuked it in the microwave until warm.

Assemble the Bowl!: Spoon the desired amount of rice into each bowl. Drizzle a little teriyaki sauce over the rice and add vegetables. Place the salmon (or whatever) on top. I think the first time I made this, I also pulled some baby arugula and frisse from a mixed baby greens “bag-o-salad” to garnish, but I have devolved from that practice! Serve immediately. I usually make enough so that we can throw together one extra bowl for my hubby to take in for lunch – one bowl is plenty for us for an evening meal.

Other sauces: We will also use sweet and sour sauce, orange sauce or a mild curry sauce for these bowls – everyone can pick their own favorite flavor! When doing the bowls this way, however, you wouldn’t put any sauce on the meat before hand to avoid those “ewww! you got sweet and sour in my curry!” moments.

PS: The rice bowl pictured is not one I made – I never think to take pictures of the everyday stuff so this is a generic shot.

 
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Posted by on March 4, 2011 in Information, Recipe

 

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