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whole foods

Slow Cooker Noodle Bowls

April 5, 2019

 

 

You guys…I didn’t know how much I needed noodle bowls in my life until I started skiing at a mountain with a noodle bowl bar. You get to choose the broth: chicken, beef or miso. And the meat: chicken, beef brisket or pork belly. And the noodles: ramen, udon or soba.

The first time I ordered one it was late in the day and they only had Udon noodles left. And basically now I’m hooked on them. They are so chewy and light and velvety. The perfect mix in a bite of meat and broth and crunchy veggies.

When we’re skiing, I dream about the tender meat, and salty broth, and spicy bits of jalapeno and sriracha sauce and those luxurious noodles.  And afterwards, this food makes you feel SO good. Super nourished and comforted and charged with good things so you can ski for hours.

I usually have to fend off all of my kids from grabbing all the noodles, so I decided to try to make noodle bowls at home.

What I did not realize was how easy it could be in a crock pot. Or what an awesome family meal this is, since picky eaters usually love the noodles and the egg (why does the egg just make this dish?) and can be coaxed into some grated carrots. It actually would make great party food too – lay out all the toppings and let friends build them selves a customized bowl to their liking.

All you have to do is cook the chicken and broth with some aromatics and mushrooms for a few hours, and then add the noodles five minutes before you want to serve it.

Then you layout all the toppings…

And then you start to assemble…

Oh man. They are just so good. And I know that you could look around for complex broth recipes and boil pork knuckles with cinnamon and star anise like real pho broth. But the thing is I’m probably never going to make those because I don’t have time.

This broth takes 10 minutes has a complex flavor from the garlic and ginger and onions, as well as the soy sauce and rice wine vinegar.

You could obviously swap beef broth and some cuts like flank steak or brisket to this recipe, and you could also use Ramen or Soba noodles instead. And if you’re looking for any of these ingredients, an Asian section at most grocery stores should have the Udon and Ramen noodles, and I also found some Miso Broth that I can’t wait to try too.

I hope you try these soon, because they are life changing. I don’t say that lightly but THEY’RE THAT GOOD.

Slow Cooker Noodle Bowl (I doubled this to feed 8 and have some leftovers):

Ingredients:

1 diced onion

6 garlic cloves, minced (may only want to do 8 when you double it)

1 T. fresh ginger, minced

4 cups chicken broth (1 32 oz. boxes)

1 lb. chicken breasts

8 oz. sliced shitake mushrooms

¼ soy sauce (more to taste for serving)

¼ rice wine vinegar

½ t. pepper

1 package Udon or Ramen noodles

 

Toppings:

Shredded Carrots

Bean Sprouts

Cilantro

Sliced Jalapeño

Hard-boiled egg, cut in half lengthwise

Sriracha sauce

Directions:

Add onions, ginger, garlic, chicken breasts, chicken broth, mushrooms, soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, and pepper to crock pot. Cover and cook on low for 3 hours.

When finished, remove chicken breasts and let rest, and add noodles to crock pot. Let cook for 5 minutes while you prep toppings. Slice chicken breasts then add back into crockpot, stirring to be sure noodles are broken up.

To serve, ladle broth, noodle, chicken and mushrooms into bowl. Add fresh vegetables and herbs, two halves of the hard-boiled egg, and Sriracha and jalapeños for heat.

Fall Salad with Apple Cider Dressing, Pears, Goat Cheese and Pomegranate

November 7, 2018

I love this salad SO much. It has everything I love about fall produce – pears and pomegranates – plus a tangy apple cider vinegar dressing. The crunchy walnuts and tangy goat cheese just round out the flavors and textures in this dish. It would be beautiful on a Thanksgiving table (and lighter, with a nice note of acid to balance the other heavy foods). You could also sub cranberries for pomegranates too. It’s the kind of dish at a buffet that surprises me and makes me want more.

I recently thumbed through Ina Garten’s Cookbook, How to Cook Like A Pro, and when I got to a page that listed her Apple Cider Dressing, I had to laugh. It was the exact dressing I had just made and put on this salad. I don’t know if that qualifies me as a pro, especially because it’s a very simple, basic recipe that is delicious and easy and you’ll use it all the time.

I actually buy all the ingredients for it in bulk at BJs, including a one pound bag of shallots. I guess I really need to have the makings for it in my pantry. Yes, that is a giant Dijon jar you see there and I love it!

 

This dressing just brings every thing in this salad together. The toasted walnuts…

The pomegranate seeds and crumbled goat cheese…

This salad hits the high notes for flavor but also it’s just so pretty.

That whole ‘we eat with our eyes first’ idea means that our mouths and our tummies will be so satisfied with this on our plate. And you can play around with the ingredients – roasted butternut squash, candied pecans, dried cranberries all play well with this dressing. And I highly recommend grabbing a big wooden bowl like this if you see one! This functions as our fruit bowl but I have made a huge salad in it for parties before and it always dresses up the table and is always one of the first dishes to be polished off.

Hope this salad helps you round out your fall entertaining table! But it is equally as good for a simple dinner or a lunch for one.

Happy Eating! xoxo Katie

 

Fall Salad with Apple Cider Dressing, Pears, Goat Cheese and Pomegranate (printer versions here):

16 oz. of mixed greens (the mix I used had shredded carrot, pretty but optional)

3-4 oz. of crumbled goat cheese

1-2 sliced pears

⅓ cup toasted walnuts

⅓ cup pomegranate seeds (or substitute dried cranberries)

For the dressing:

¼ cup apple cider vinegar

⅓ cup olive oil (I like a 2:3 ratio of vinegar to oil but you make like it 1:2 and use 1/2 cup of oil)

2 teaspoons dijon mustard

2 T. chopped shallots

S & P

 

Directions: 

Slice pears, toast walnuts, and prepare pomegranate seeds and goat cheese, if you’ve bought them whole.

Mix dressing, then add most of it to greens, tasting to see how well-dressed it is. Add more dressing if needed.

Layout in a wooden bowl, then top with sliced pears, pomegranate, goat cheese and walnuts.

 

Mushroom + Goat Cheese Fritatta

October 25, 2018

I love frittatas so much – they are such a blank canvas that you can do anything with.

But I have a soft spot for this combo of mushrooms and goat cheese – that tang from the goat cheese with the umami from the mushrooms – such great flavors.

Making one feels like the same amount of work as scrambled eggs or an omelet. It takes maybe 10 minutes longer, but then you have a delicious breakfast or lunch waiting for you for the rest of the week. Of course you could make this for 6-8 people and I do! Sometimes. But I often just make one for me (plus the babies love frittatas now too!) for a very quick breakfast or lunch during the week that is so satisfying.

They also are the perfect meatless meals. Once or twice a week we try to skip out on meat for the day, and although pizza usually fills the dinner time slot, this is a great dish any meal that day. The mushrooms are kind of meaty, the eggs full of protein. It makes you so satisfied after you eat it you won’t miss meat or carbs.

And at the risk of blowing your mind, I recently saw Ina Garten make a frittata in a baking sheet pan, then cut it into squares as an appetizer for a party. It instantly made dozens of filling apps and the effort was so minimal. If you tripled this recipe, you have that amazing option too.

I learned the weirdest fact about mushrooms – they actually taste better if they are slightly wilted/old/looking pretty soggy. Somehow the flavor concentrates as they are aging. So don’t be afraid to use some that look like they are on their way to the nursing home. (Mold or bad smells should be trashed of course).

In addition to mushrooms and goat cheese I also love leeks and shallots, so I used those instead of onions, though they are inter-changable. Unless you’re feeling the French ingredient vibe like I was apparently. I wrote this recipe how I made it – to speed it up I cooked the mushrooms in a separate pan, so they didn’t get crowded. Sometimes I even cook a bunch of mushrooms ahead and use them up through the week in things like omelets, salads, or frittatas. I always add tarragon to them while they are sautéing since tarragon brings out great mushroom flavor.

Then I add them back to the pan with the leeks and shallots and pour the egg over them, then crumble the goat cheese and the chopped parsley over the top.

Let it set for a few minutes, then slide it into a preheated oven. You’ll know it is done when you touch the center and it is cooked, not wet. In less than 15 minutes you’ll have this:

Hope you find a way to make this for a great weekend breakfast, or if you’re like me, just make it for yourself and you’ll have a weeks worth of amazing, fast, healthy meals. Happy Eating! xoxo Katie

Mushroom + Goat Cheese Frittata

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Serves: 6
Prep Time: 30 Minutes Cooking Time: 10-13 Minutes

Ingredients

  • 2 T. butter
  • 1 8 oz packages of mushrooms
  • 1 teaspoon tarragon, dried (or 1 tablespoon chopped fresh)
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 shallots, diced (or 1 large)
  • 1 leek, white parts only, chopped
  • coarse salt and ground pepper
  • 8 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • ½ cup milk
  • ½ tsp. Salt
  • ¼ tsp. Pepper
  • 3-4 oz. of goat cheese (feta or gruyere work too)
  • Handful of chopped parsley for garnish

Instructions

1

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

2

Heat a large pan over medium-high heat, then add butter. When it’s melted, then add mushrooms, tarragon, and a pinch of salt. Sauté for 7-10 minutes, until the mushrooms are soft and slightly browned and fragrant. (I cook these separate so the pan doesn’t get too crowded, other wise the mushrooms steam instead of sauté.)

3

In a second pan, heat olive oil, and add shallots and leeks with a pinch of salt. Stir to avoid browning too quickly, and cook until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the mushrooms to the pan when they are cooked.

4

In a bowl, mix eggs, milk, salt and pepper. eggs and season with salt and pepper, and stir to combine. Pour eggs over leeks and shallots, then add the goat cheese and parsley evenly throughout. Cook, undisturbed, until edges are set, about 2-3 minutes. Transfer skillet to oven and bake until top of frittata is just set, 10 to 13 minutes.

5

Invert or slide frittata onto a plate and cut into 6 wedges. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Chicken Fricassee

October 17, 2018

Have you ever made a dish that you remembered to be just amazing, and then a year went by and you weren’t sure if it would be AS GOOD as you remembered? But then you made it and you realized, YUP it is that good, possibly even better than you imagined.

Just me?

Chicken Fricassee is the dish to make for your next Boss over for dinner/Priest over for dinner/Dinner Party/Birthday/Holiday or just a very special Tuesday night. It’s a classic that should be revived because everyone needs to try this to know that food can taste this good. (It actually dates back all the way to a medieval cook book from 1300’s).

The reason it’s lasted so long through history is because its DELICIOUS. The alchemy of the lemon juice, and the wine, and the fresh herbs, and the vegetables, simmered with cream and egg to make a velvety texture, and then tender chicken that soaks up all the juices, along with rice and bread – it actually makes me close my eyes to take in all that is happening in my mouth, which is my test for the best things I have ever eaten.

Julia Child in Mastering the Art of French Cooking describes a fricassee as “halfway between a sauté and a stew” in that a saute has no liquid added, while a stew includes liquid from the beginning. Technically in a fricassee, cut-up meat is first sauteed but not browned, then liquid is added and it is simmered to finish cooking. But most recipes have you brown the meat first, so I guess there is some room for interpretation.

I knew this to be a classic French dish, but when my au pair from Columbia tasted this she said “you are cooking with flavors from Columbia. This is the type of dish we would make after everyone has been partying all night, and they are hungry again at 1 or 2 in the morning, and this is what they all eat to feel better again.” (If that doesn’t make you want to try this recipe I don’t know what will). But I looked and there is a popular Spanish dish called fricasé de pollo that has spread to other Spanish speaking countries so clearly this dish has travelled not only through time but geography, again because it is DELICIOUS.

To make it, you start by cutting up your veggies (doing this prep before makes assembling this dish so much easier, I highly recommend it) and the chicken (I like smaller pieces than a whole breast):

After you’ve browned the chicken take it out of the pan to rest and start building flavor with the familiar flavors of mirepoix + mushrooms (I used a leek instead of onion but it is good either way). Then you add flour + white wine to this and let it reduce:

^I can’t tell you how good this smelled. The wine, the veggies, the bay leaf. You’ll just have to make it so you can smell it too.

Then, add chicken broth and herbs, and while that heats up, stir together cream and egg yolks. Then – and this is the most complicated part of this recipe but still doable –  you add a little bit of the hot liquid to the cream + egg mixture to temper the eggs so they don’t scramble, but instead create this velvety, creamy, rich complex sauce that holds everything together.  (I used a 1/4 cup instead of a 1/2 cup as the recipe calls for to be extra sure I didn’t add it too quickly!)

Then you add this creamy mixture back to the pan and let everything simmer. Then at the end you add lemon juice and fresh tarragon. These flavors go together so well that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts and does that thing that makes me love cooking so much – it becomes something special and magnificent and memorable.

My kids love rice pilaf, so I serve it with that but mashed potatoes or crusty bread soak up all that delicious flavor. Or you could just drink it straight. It’s that good.

Last night I was still dreaming of it before I went to bed, and I made a small bowl. And I sat there and thought ‘this is what I would order in any restaurant and be totally blown away and happy.’

I don’t have to wish you Happy Eating with this dish – if you make it I know you will have Happy Eating. Cheers!

xoxo Katie

Chicken Fricassee (I doubled this recipe – printer version here): 

Recipe from the blog Everyday Occasions

4 chicken breasts (I cut them in half for kid portions)

4 chicken thighs (remove skin)

sea salt & black pepper

3 tablespoons of butter

2 tablespoons of olive oil

1 small onion, diced (I used one leek instead, so delicious)

2 carrots, diced

1 rib of celery, dice

8 oz. of mushrooms, sliced

2 tablespoons of flour

1 cup of white wine

3 cups of chicken stock

fresh thyme

bay leaf

1/2 cup of cream

2 egg yolks

2 tablespoons of lemon juice

fresh tarragon

Serving suggestions : Rice, French Bread or Mashed Potatoes

Pat chicken with paper towel.  Season generously with salt and pepper.  Melt butter in a heavy dutch oven. Add oil and brown chicken for 4 minutes on each side.  Remove chicken from pan and set aside.

Cook onions, carrot, celery and mushrooms in the same pot until almost soft.  Sprinkle with flour and cook for another minute until flour is absorbed. Pour in white wine and cook for another minute, stirring.  Add chicken stock, thyme and bay leaf.

In a small bowl, mix cream and egg yolks.  Add a small amount of the hot stew mixture to the cream and yolks, stirring constantly.  Your goal is to slowly warm the eggs so they don’t scramble. Once warmed (after about 2 cups of stew mixture is added), pour into the stew pot with vegetables and simmer for 15-20 minutes, until the mixture reduces and thickens.

Add chicken back into the stew.  Keep simmering until chicken is cooked through.  Keep warm on low simmer or in the oven (about 250) until ready to serve.  Before serving, add lemon, 1 tablespoon of butter and fresh tarragon. Serve with rice, french bread, or mashed potatoes.

See  this and more great recipes from Jenny Steffens at http://jennysteffens.blogspot.com

 

Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup

October 11, 2018

I realized on my meal plan that I’ve never blogged about a staple meal in our house, probably because it feels so ordinary and I like a little fancy in a recipe to be blog worthy. But sometimes the classics deserve a space too.

Whenever my family comes down with a cold, like countless other mothers, I try to make a batch of this chicken noodle soup. I love how every mom makes it just a little bit differently and puts there own spin on it, so feel free to play around and make this recipe your own. This is my basic recipe but I like to change up the pasta and the herbs each time.

Sure in a pinch a can of soup works, but I don’t love the flavor anymore – it tastes like tin to me and I notice my kids don’t eat it. When you are feeding lots of people its just as easy and way more flavorful and nutritious to take 20 minutes and put a pot of this together. I usually have a batch of homemade stock in the freezer, and it really adds to the homemade, put-marrow-in-your bones feel to this dish, but boxed works fine.

Side note: One of my rules of feeding a family is always feel good about homemade stock, but never feel bad about boxed. Maybe you already know about the peaceful and easy rhythm of using up your rotisserie chicken carcass and bottom of the veggie drawer contents, and how good it makes your house smell. If not, see how I make chicken stock in this (very old!) blog post. 

One of my favorite things about this soup is using really fine egg noodles. They are creamier than spaghetti noodles, but about the same diameter. You might already have a preference, like larger egg noddles, but its fun to play around with the pasta in this soup. Ditalini? Alphabet Shapes? Orzo? All so fun especially for younger kids. But I usually have a bag of this vermicelli egg noodles in my pantry for this soup. It also goes by thin egg noodles in some brands but it’s the same thing.

And as for herbs, play around with those too. In general, bay leaf, thyme, rosemary, sage, and parsley are all perfect here. I use either a tablespoon of freshly chopped or a teaspoon of dried. We like it herby.

I could go on about the health qualities of this soup but I’m not a nutritionist. Ok fine – herbs have potent healing properties and so does garlic, so feel free to double the amount if you like. My mom used to scrape raw garlic on Triscuits when were sick, which you could also do if your children will eat it.

Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup (print recipe here):

  1. 2 T. olive oil
  2. 2 medium onions, diced
  3. 5 medium carrots, peeled and sliced
  4. 5 medium celery stalks, sliced
  5. 5 cloves garlic, minced
  6. 8 cups chicken broth
  7. 1 teaspoon dried thyme (or 1 Tablesoon fresh thyme, I was out)
  8. 1 Tablesoon chopped fresh Rosemary (or 1 teaspoon dried Rosemary)
  9. 4 cups chicken, shredded or chopped – you can use raw or cooked, see recipe for when to add
  10. 6 oz. (about half a bag) thin Egg Noodles
  11. salt and pepper to taste
  12. Fresh parsley for garnish
  13. A splash of lemon juice, optional

Directions:

  1. Melt oil in large pot over medium heat.  Add onion and cook for 3 minutes. Add garlic, cook for 2 minutes more. Add carrots, celery, bay leaves, thyme and rosemary. Cook, stirring frequently, for a few minutes until onion begins to soften and brown a bit.
  2. If using raw cubed chicken add it after herbs and cook for 5 more minutes
  3. Add chicken broth.  Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium low.  Simmer for about 5 minutes.
  4. Add noodles.  Return heat to high.  Bring soup back to a boil.  Reduce heat to medium high. Boil for about 20 minutes until noodles are cooked through.
  5. If using cooked chicken add it here
  6. Taste soup and add additional herbs, salt, and pepper to your preference.
  7. Serve with chopped parsley for garnish

Easy Eggplant Parm

October 5, 2018

I know that Eggplant Parm elicits strong feelings in some people. You either like it or you don’t. If you don’t like it, may I suggest checking out my Chicken Parm recipe? It’s similar in construction and my family loves it maybe a bit more than eggplant parm. Still, we try to eat a meatless meal once a week usually on Fridays and this is one I know they’ll eat.

I love eggplant parm – its such comfort food to me.

It is a great meatless meal, and I’m always astounded at how the eggplant takes the place of meat in terms of meatiness, or substance, in a dish.

This is really an assembly dish, and once you get the hang of it you can make it in 15 minutes. The one point of debate I’ve had with others is that they don’t like this dish if the eggplant gets too soggy. A really easy way to avoid this is to salt it before you start breading it. I lay all the slices in a colander with a big handful of kosher salt covering it. Then I put some weight on it to help extract the water.

My weight of choice was a heavy terra cotta planter (#reallife):

Once you’ve rinsed your eggplant from the salt, its time for the standard flour-eggwash-breading assembly line. Be sure to heat up your canola oil in a large fry pan before you start.

It might seem like a lot of work, but it goes very fast and really gives the dish its decadence.

Once you’ve fried all of the eggplant slices, you layer it in your baking dish, with a layer of sauce on the bottom.

And…that’s pretty much it. The hard work is over. Just pour the rest of the sauce on top and layer slices of mozzarella. Bake at 350 for 30-35 minutes or until cheese is bubbly and browned.

Hope your family loves this dish as much as mine! (ps even the babies loved it!)

Happy Eating, xoxo Katie

 

Easy Eggplant Parm (printer version here): 

2 eggplants, sliced 1 inch thick

Kosher salt

½ cup flour

3 eggs, beaten

1 cup bread crumbs

1 cup parmesan cheese, grated

¼ canola oil + more for frying

2 jars of good quality marinara sauce (we love Rao’s)

1 large package of sliced fresh mozzarella (enough to have 9 slices)

Directions:

Slice eggplant and lay in a colander in layers, generously salting eat layer to draw out water.

When each layer is sliced place a plastic plate or container on top and lay something heavy such as tin cans or a heavy bowl on top. This will help draw out more water. Wait 15 minutes, then rinse well.

 

While the eggplant is being salted, lay out three trays or plates.  Put the flour on one plate, the eggs on a second, and the breadcrumbs, parmesan, and a pinch of salt mixed together on a third.

Preheat oven to 350.

Warm up ¼ cup of Canola oil in a large frying pan on medium heat.

Working in an assembly line fashion, take a slice of eggplant, press it in the flour plate, then the egg plate, then the breadcrumbs/parm mixture. Then place into the hot oil. When the pan is filled, flip the eggplant rounds starting with the first one you put in the pan. It should look golden brown. If not, let it cook for a little longer. When both sides are golden, remove eggplant slices and sprinkle with a pinch of kosher salt while still warm.

Keep working until you’ve breaded and fried all of the eggplant slices.

In a large 9 x 13 inch pan, pour a thin layer of the marinara sauce to prevent the eggplant from sticking to the pan. Then layer in the fried eggplant in slices until dish is full. Then pour the rest of the marinara sauce on top. Lay slices of fresh mozzarella on top.

Bake for 30-35 minutes or until mozzarella is melted on top.

Let cool for 5 minutes, then serve over favorite cooked pasta.