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It is a winter wonderland out there today! And while the weather outside might be frightful…  I’m lucky to be coming to you *LIVE* from my comfy, cozy couch with a big ole [delightful] bowl of creamy, filling….bean-filled … ragout?

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Didn’t see that coming, did ya? haha

After scanning the pantry  and stumbling across a recipe for Butter Bean Ragout from Bon Appetit, I knew exactly what I was wanted to make. For one, their photo of the dish is gorgeous (I’m a sucker for some food porn)… but also, all of the ingredients were ones I had in the house… and I’m always down for a good pantry or fridge clean-out recipe!

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Once I gave the recipe a look, I did know I wanted to make a few changes.. namely cut the time with some canned beans (versus using dried) and reduce the amount of oil used… because well, almost 2 cups is … a lot! I also upped the amount of fennel because I love it. The recipe below is modified from the original, which you can find at Bon Appetit.

The result? A creamy, comforting, veggie-filled dish with a punch of freshness and bite from the parsley and garlic. I enjoyed mine with a sprinkle of hot red pepper flakes on top as well.

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Butter Bean Ragout

Perfect for a cold winter day.


Recipe modified from the July 2015 issue of Bon Appetit.

Ingredients

  • 4 15.5 oz. cans of butter beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste
  • 1/2 cup + 2 Tbsp. olive oil, divided
  • 3/4 cup finely chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped, divided
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 small fennel bulb, chopped (remove and discard green fronds)
  • 1/4 large celery root (celeriac), peeled, cut into ½-inch pieces
  • 1 celery stalk, chopped
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 3 cups pieces spinach, chopped
  • ½ cup panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)

Directions

Preheat oven to 400°.

Then, heat 2 Tbsp. oil in a large skillet over medium-low. Add chopped onion, fennel, celery root, garlic clove and celery; bay leaves and 1 tsp. salt to skillet, cover, and cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are soft but haven’t taken on any color, approximately 15–20 minutes. Once cooked, remove and discard bay leaves.

Place drained and rinsed beans in a large pot and add cold water to cover the beans by 1/2″. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer, occasionally skimming surface, until beans are warmed through and easily smashed with the back of a spoon. Season with salt and stir in 1/4 cup oil. Once beans are heated through, mix cooked vegetables into cooked beans.

Purée 3 cups bean and veggie mixture and liquid in a blender or with an immersion blender until smooth and creamy (be careful pureeing hot liquids!); stir puree back into bean mixture. Then, stir in spinach and season with salt.

Pour ragout into a 3-qt. baking dish and bake in a 400 degree oven until bubbly and the top is browned, about 30–35 minutes (depending on how much water you used, this could take longer). Let cool 10 minutes before serving. Keep in mind, the ragout will thicken as it sits and cools.

Meanwhile, in a food processor, blend parsley, 1 clove of garlic, and 1/4 cup oil. Cover and set aside. Don’t have a food processor? You could try mortar and pestle or even just finely chop and mix with oil! Heat 2 Tbsp. oil in a skillet over medium-high and toast panko breadcrumbs until golden brown. Keep a close eye on them, this happens fast!

Serve ragout drizzled with parsley and garlic  and topped with toasted panko.


Couple of notes:

  • beans8.jpgSeason as you go! It’s beans so they definitely need some help! While you want to make sure you don’t end up with a SALTY dish, seasoning is definitely important!
  • Speaking of beans — you can use any bean you want! I really love the large butter beans but any other bean you like or have would definitely work here!
  • I’d never used celery root before this recipe! While it looks intimidating, it was actually very easy to cut and peel! Just break out your regular ole vegetable peeler — no special equipment needed. I plan to use my leftover for some oven roasted celery root “fries”. If you don’t want to use, or can’t find celery root (aka celeriac) — the recipe suggests that you can sub in carrots.
  • This definitely thickens up as leftovers — if you’re reheating and it seems too thick — just add a splash of water into whatever you’re heating and it’ll loosen it up!
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Crunch Factor

We’ve all been there — craving something crunchy, something salty — sometimes even sweet. When you’re trying to be good (I mean, let’s be real, sometimes there is no substitution for some good ole potato chips), you can now find endless options of “better for you” snacks… I’m talking kale chips, edamame, chickpeas. Only problem is that 1.) Sometimes, other than some extra fiber, they’re really no better for you than a bag of crinkle cuts and 2.) They’re expensive as hell!

Earlier this week, I got together with my friend Delia for a day of cooking and food photos, and one of the things we made was a salad topped with some roasted chickpeas (Delish and on her blog now!).

Welp, needless to say I was inspired. They’ve been on my mind, and today I took the plunge. Best of all — this batch cost me a whopping cost of 89 cents … regardless of the cost of your can, I can guarantee it’s less than what they’re charging you in the snack aisle (and full of way less junk).

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What do you need?

  • A can of chickpeas (or soaked from dried — just follow the directions that come with your beans)
  • Olive oil cooking spray
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Any spices that tickle your fancy (in this case, I used to smoked paprika)

The process?

  • Preheat your oven to 375*
  • Drain your chickpeas, rinse and blot dry
  • Spray  your baking sheet with oil (make sure it’s a pan with a lip… don’t want these suckers rolling all over your oven)!
  • Place your beans on the sheet tray
  • Spray the top of the beans with additional cooking spray
  • Sprinkle salt & pepper (to taste)
  • Sprinkle spices (to taste, approximately 1/4 teaspoon of smoked paprika for this batch)
  • Roast until chickpeas are toasted and crunchy (approximately 35 minutes)
  • Remove from oven and let sit on the sheet tray to cool and crisp up

These probably won’t last too long (they didn’t in my house)– but, unlike some other healthy snack alternatives, these travel super well! Perfect for lunches, trips to the movies, travel, hiking — all that jazz!

Next up for me, trying a sweet alternative.

Now — get snackin’!

Taco Tuesday… or any day

This week’s theme? Spring cleaning…. out my freezer.

I’ll admit it. Some days, my freezer can feel like a high stakes game of Jenga. I really want that frozen pizza at the back… but is it worth disrupting the weird balance of frozen items…potentially costing myself a toe when a pack of frozen chicken comes flying out by accident!? (Yes)

From frozen veggies, to pre-made items and frozen meats that were on special — it’s chock full of awesome stuff… buuuut sometimes I forget it’s all there! This week, I decided it was time to put all my freezer items to work … just in time for me to fill it with new ones.

One thing that had spent way too long shoved in the back of the freezer was a package of Mahi Mahi Burgers from Trader Joe’s. And, yeah, they would have been really good, just grilled up according to the package directions and slapped on a bun with some arugula and avocado…. but I had bigger plans for those humble little hockey pucks.

Blackened Fish Tacos.

And, to use up the broccoli slaw that was probably teetering on the brink of it’s acceptable shelf life… I whipped up a lime, vinegar and honey slaw to go with it! Easy, peasy! I swear!

Now, I hadn’t put together a blackening seasoning before soooo… Google to the rescue. I found a relatively simple mixture on That Oven Feelin that contained spices that I already had in my cupboard…and it was used on mahi mahi — so I figured, win, win!

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Blackened Fish Tacos with Honey-Lime Broccoli Slaw

  • Serves 2 

Spice mix:

  • 1 Tbsp of paprika
  • 2 tsp of dried Italian Seasoning
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper (to taste!!)
  • 1/2 tsp of garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp of onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp of black pepper

For the tacos:

  • 4 Trader Joe’s Reduced Carb Tortillas
  • 4 Mahi Mahi Burgers
  • Spice mix (to taste)
  • Salt (to taste)
  • Nonstick Spray

I took the four mahi burgers out of the freezer for maybe 10-20 minutes before frying up (pictures!! haha) — they were still frozen when I cooked them (as instructions indicate). I sprayed a pan with non-stick spray and sprinkled both sides with blackening seasoning and a little salt. I went a little light on the blackening seasoning this time around because I was cooking for someone who is not a huge spice fan, but I’d probably be a bit more generous with it next time.   

Follow the package instructions to cook the fish through; I turned up my heat once they were totally done to get a bit more color of the burgers.

Once done, break up the burgers into chunks and evenly split between four tortillas.

Broccoli slaw (approximately 1 cup of slaw per person):

  • 2 cups of broccoli slaw (I used Green Giant brand)
  • 1/4 cup of thinly sliced red onion (to taste)
  • Fresh parsley or cilantro
  • 1 lime (zest and juiced… approximately 1-2 Tbsp of juice)
  • 1/2 Tbsp of apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 Tbsp of honey (can add more or less to taste, may affect point value)
  • Salt and pepper (to taste)

In a bowl, zest and juice one lime. Add vinegar, honey, salt and pepper (to taste). Whisk. Add slaw, onion and parsley. Mix together and let sit for 20-30 minutes (or longer in the fridge!).

Top tacos with broccoli slaw and any other toppings you might want (may affect points).

I will definitely be making these again — and probably spice up my toppings a bit more (I was limited to what we had in the house yesterday). Hope these spice up your Taco Tuesday… or any day of the week for that matter!

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Set it and forget it: Maple dijon chicken

I don’t know about you — but my slow cooker is way up there on my “most-used kitchen appliances” list…. it’s probably second… only my coffee maker(s)… yes, plural… Sure, I love my food processor or my mixer…. but let’s be real, they tend to collect a little dust.

I love it. So much. I mean, what’s not to love about a device that will take seemingly ordinary ingredients, cook them for an inordinate amount of time, allow you to do something other than stand in your kitchen all day….and somehow, turn them all into something amazing.

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via the chatty yogini

 

This past week, I made a Skinnytaste’s recipe for Crock Pot Maple Dijon Chicken Drumsticks for the first time….. aaaaand….. I’m obsessed. I will probably be making it again ASAP.

The first step was removing the skin from drumsticks (I couldn’t find skinless, and, if you roll up your sleeves, it’s not a difficult task to accomplish — plus, they cost less that way!). Not-so-pro-tip: Have a paper towel on hand, helps to grab the skin and pull it off the chicken!

 

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The only changes I made to Gina’s recipe were the number of drumsticks (my package just had six) and at the end, I placed the cooked drummies on a sheet pan and threw them under the broiler to get a quick char on them! Yes, I’m that person that loves the most charred hot dog on the grill….

Regardless, I think the quick char adds some really nice flavor!!

I think next time I might try with chicken thighs (even more economical!) and I’m sure this would taste great with chicken breasts as well.