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Posts Tagged ‘healthy’

Remember a few weeks ago when I had that CSN giveaway and asked you guys to tell me what recipes you’d like to see me make?

Well, thanks to YOU, I now have a full page of ideas (double sided) and I’m happy to say that this is the first off of that list.

There are a few dishes that still scare me when I think about making them on my own. Things like chicken pot pie, homemade pastas, and the ever elusive perfectly-even layer cake.

But it’s those dishes that are inherently southern that really get me.

Sure, I grew up in Virginia, but I didn’t grow up eating chicken ‘n’ dumplings. The closest I got to having them was at Cracker Barrel, and I knew I could make my own version that tasted better and was healthier for me, too.

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If you like your dumplings thinner and more like a thick pasta, these are not for you.

These dumplings are thick and doughy and perfectly tender, with a slight tang from the buttermilk. Almost like biscuits without the butter.

I still may be lacking in my deep-south cooking adventures, but I’m getting there. And make sure you’re ready to put these in your regular dinner rotation – it was love at first bite for me and Nick.

 

Chicken ‘n’ Dumplings

  • 1 lb. bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 3 carrots, chopped
  • 3 stalks celery, chopped
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 Tbsp flour
  • 2 cups broth
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 1.5 tsp salt
  • .5 tsp pepper

Dumplings:

  • 1 1/4 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 cup buttermilk

Heat oven to 350. Sprinkle chicken with some salt and pepper and roast in the oven for 1 hour.

While chicken is roasting, heat large pot over medium heat.

Add olive oil, carrots, celery, onion, salt and pepper and saute until vegetables are softened, about 5 minutes.

 

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Sprinkle veggies with flour and stir to combine.

 

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Once you can no longer see any white flour and the veggies have a gummy-looking coating, pour in your broth and water, a little at a time, stirring constantly.

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Each time you add the broth and water, the coating on the veggies will release a bit more, helping to thicken the cooking liquid.

Once all the broth and water have been added, bring mixture to a boil and let simmer for 15 minutes.

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In separate bowl, mix your dry ingredients for the dumplings.

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Pour in the buttermilk and stir until dough just comes together (it will be a little sticky – that’s perfect!).

Right before you add your dumplings, take the chicken off the bone and cut into bite size pieces. Add chicken to the pot (along with the frozen peas) and return to a simmer.

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Drop dumplings by the spoonful into the broth until all your dough is in the veggie mixture.

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Cover and let simmer about 15 minutes or until the dumplings are fluffed.

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Spoon dumplings and broth mixture into bowls and serve.

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You made me do it, and I couldn’t be happier.

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In a quest to save time in my kitchen last week, I tried making some basic granola on the stovetop.

I love homemade granola, but hate the long baking time and the need to stir it every 15 to 20 minutes. I don’t always have the time to do that…or rather, I often forget to stir it and end up with not-so-good granola.

And guess what? It worked beautifully, was super easy, and took me 15 minutes, max.

Basic Stovetop Granola

  • 1 cup old fashioned oats
  • 1 Tbsp light oil, Earth Balance, or butter (could use canola, safflower, coconut, etc)
  • 1 Tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • pinch salt

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Heat skillet over medium/high heat and toss in oats.

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Toast oats, 5-7 minutes, until they turn a slight golden color and smell, well, “toasty”.

Remove oats from pan and add oil/butter, maple syrup, cinnamon, and salt.

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Stir together and let cook 1 minute or until fragrant.

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Toss in the oats, stir to coat, and let cook together 2-3 minutes.

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Once oats are completely covered with the syrup mixture, pour into bowl or onto baking sheet to let cool.

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I made mine very basic (oats only), but that’s only because I always change my mind for mix-ins. This lets me add whatever I want right then! Nuts, dried fruit, seeds, chocolate chips – there’s no limit to the combinations you could make.

So far, I’ve used this in Stonyfield Whole Milk yogurt as a snack at work and just as bowls of “cereal” with some nuts, almond milk, and sliced banana.

The possibilities are endless!

I can’t wait to make more.

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I’m not sure what it is, but I am obsessed with coconut right now.

Maybe all this winter weather is simply too much for me, and, in response, I’m making things that remind me of the light and airy days of summer.

Whatever the reason, I’m okay with it.

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First there was the Banana Pina Colada Muffins. Then German Chocolate Cupcakes.

And now…something I’m calling German Chocolate Cookie Bars.

But I guess they could also be called “I made too much German Chocolate icing and need something else to use it in” bars. Or “those cupcakes disappeared too quickly and we need a new sweet treat in the house” bars.

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Even if you don’t have a good reason to make these, do it anyway. You won’t regret it.

 

German Chocolate Cookie Bars

Crust:

  • 1/2 cup Earth Balance
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1.5 tsp vanilla
  • 1/4 tsp salt

Icing (see this post for icing directions):

  • 3/4 cup almond milk
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 Tbsp Earth Balance
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 3 Tbsp cornstarch mixed with 2 Tbsp water
  • 1 cup coconut
  • 1/2 –1 cup pecans

Chocolate Topping:

  • 1/2 cup dark chocolate
  • 1 tsp coconut oil

 

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Cream Earth Balance/butter and sugar.

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Beat in flour, vanilla, and salt.

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The crust will be ready when the mixture is combined but still crumbly and when it clumps up when you press it together (like above).

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Dump crust into 8×8 baking dish and press into an even layer.

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Bake crust at 350 for 25-30 minutes or until set and golden around the edges. Let the crust cool completely.

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Once the crust is cool to the touch, spread on your cooled icing into an even layer on the crust.

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To make the chocolate topping, put your dark chocolate and coconut oil in a microwave safe bowl and heat for 1 minute, stirring every 20-30 seconds or until chocolate is melted and smooth.

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Dump chocolate on top of icing and smooth out, covering the entire dish.

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Let sit at room temperature until chocolate layer is set.

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I cut these into 16 pieces (from an 8×8 dish), and I’m glad I didn’t cut them any bigger!

These bars are delicious, but very rich, thanks to the coconut icing.

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But the richness didn’t stop me from having two of them right away.

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