Tag Archives: dinner

Cajun Beans + Rice, and Fish If Ya Want It

In this house, we do SPICE.

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Sometimes, we enjoy a good tongue-burning experience, and I ain’t lying.

We do flavor.  This is not a surprise if you’ve followed for awhile… chilisloppy joesBBQ saucechicken wings… even pumpkin pie oatmeal.  All of this oozes flavor.

This is one of my favorite, favorite, favorite “I need something quick and easy” meals.  It’s quick and easy because beans are already cooked, rice takes so little time to prep, and fish cooks QUICKLY. You don’t have to add the fish to make it enjoyable, but it helps us move towards the “one meal in one pan” kind of thing.  (It’s not an entire meal in one skillet though. Eat your veggies!  You could always saute some green peppers and onions to throw in!)

I do cook a large pot of beans regularly, and then freeze it into smaller portions.  This is WAY WAY WAY cheaper than canned beans, and healthier too.  When you soak and cook them, you reduce the phytic acid (which prevents you from absorbing nutrition), and consequently you are less gassy. :)  (You’re welcome!)

I do this in a crockpot.  If you’d like more information on my process, you can read about it here in this post from Deep Roots at Home.  (Or just google it.  There’s LOTS of info out there on soaking beans.)

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Personally, it’s better to do it in large amounts, which is why I go with the crockpot.  It’s not labor intensive, just takes time (as does all good/real food!).

My finished beans:

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Here are the basic ingredients:

Fish filet (This pictures 4 small Cod filet)
butter for frying (go grass-fed! it’s the healthy butter!)
1 cup prepared rice
1/2 cup prepared beans (pictured are kidney beans)
1/2 to 1 tbl favorite cajun spice blend (depending on your favored level of spice! we do 1 tbl and it’s pretty hot)

Fry up your fish in the butter.

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Throw in your rice and beans.

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Mix them together (the fish will likely fall apart, but that’s ok!), and sprinkle your spice mix, and mix until well combined.

You may have to add more butter as you go to prevent sticking.  I definitely had to as I was using stainless steel, not cast iron.

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And voila! Yes, it’s that easy.

We served ours with some of my much loved roasted tomatoes with cheese. (And I really wish I had thought of green peppers and onions before writing this post! That would be a phenomenal add!)

Do you do spice? Flavor?  What’s your favorite flavor explosion?

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Ancient Grain Lazy Chicken Pot Pie

It’s ancient grain because it uses Einkorn wheat, which is the “original wheat” (no hybridizing or bred for production.  It just is what it is.  And it’s GOOD).  I give quite a bit of information on why I prefer Einkorn in this post – my recipe for waffles.

It’s lazy because I didn’t bother with the crust.

Well, I bothered, but didn’t go crazy.

See what I mean?

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A) I didn’t make it in a pie dish – I actually made the pie right in the cast iron skillet.  So there’s only a top here.

B) I didn’t bother making it perfect looking. And point a) to this is… this was food for my belly, not for presentation.

I’ll add this in now — This recipe =  1/2 green, 1 yellow, 1 red for those on 21 Day Fix. Yes, I did the 21-day fix, and yes, I promise to post my thoughts soon. But for those on the plan now and watching what they eat… there ya go. :)

I grew up on stuff like chicken pot pie.  This time of year I tend to really miss comfort foods. I think, at least here in upstate NY, it’s because we’re inside, and you actually want to cook because there’s the side benefit of warming your home.  You want hot food.  I don’t tend to miss it so much in the summer – for me, this has to do with the amount of grilling I do.

But I digress.  Let’s deal with the weather at hand, and make a clean chicken pot pie.

TOOLS:
Cutting Board
Good Knife
Cast Iron skillet… I would go bigger rather than smaller

NOTE:
I ate a quarter of this in one sitting without guilt. So, if you’re planning on serving this to more than four people, I recommend throwing in some side dishes.

Also, you can cook the chicken and prep the pie crust ahead of time.  No real changes to the latter parts of the recipe are necessary if you choose to do so.

INGREDIENTS:

Pie crust ingredients (you can sub in your own recipe, but I recommend giving Einkorn a chance!) —
1 cup of Einkorn flour
4 tbl salted grass-fed butter
3-4 tbl water
sprinkling of salt

Innards of the pie —
1 1/3 cup chopped cooked chicken (I highly recommend going with dark meat! It will taste better!)
2 cup chopped veggies – what you have around will work
1 tbl salted grass-fed butter
1 cup milk
2 chopped skinned potatoes (about 1 cup)
2 cups chicken broth
lots of salt, rosemary, thyme, sage

DIRECTIONS:

Cook your chicken if you haven’t already done so.  Some families roast a whole bird and then pick off of it for other meals… this is a great option for this recipe.
I sprinkled my chicken with rosemary, thyme, salt and garlic and then roasted it.

I roasted it at 400* for about 35 minutes.  I wasn’t really worried about over-cooking it since I was going to dump it in a creamy-brothy pan later.

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While the chicken is cooking (if you aren’t using leftovers) make your pie crust.

Cut the 4 tablespoons of butter into the flour.  You want the pieces of butter pea-size or smaller. Sprinkle with a little bit of salt.

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Then, drizzle 3 tablespoons of water over the butter-flour mixture.  I would recommend using your hands to mix this together.  If you’ve made pie crust before with a food processor, feel free to do so.  I am without a food processor so it’s up to ingenuity to do without. :)

You want to mix it until it comes together in a somewhat dry dough.  Think play-dough.  You may want to add that fourth tablespoon of water if it’s really flaky or you can’t get it to combine.

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Cover it, and put it in the fridge to harden up.

Once chicken is done and cool, chop it up.  I used the breast pictured above and a few other pieces of dark meat.

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Chop up those veggies.  I used a tiny bit of celery, lots of carrots and onions.  I would recommend whatever combination you do with your veggies that you at least involve a little bit of carrot and onion for flavor. Chop up those potatoes too. (*Note: you can do without the potatoes, if you desire, and sub in more veggies. HOWEVER, potatoes help thicken up the “sauce” later, so I would recommend sprinkling a tablespoon of gluten-free, einkorn, sprouted wheat, or rice flour when you’ve combined the milk in a later step).

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Preheat your oven to 400*.

Melt some butter in your cast iron skillet.  A tablespoon will probably be enough if it’s a well-seasoned cast iron pan.  If you are not using cast iron, you’re likely going to need quite a bit more butter to prevent the veggies from sticking.

Add your veggies to the pan of melted butter. Throw a very hearty dash of your spices – I recommend dried rosemary, thyme, sage and salt.  You could add garlic if you feel so inclined.  Fresh is better, but this time of year I have no fresh, so dried it is.

See this picture below and about the amount I added?  Add twice as much.  (If you’re a visual person.)  The veggies and potatoes should be very covered in spices.  The photographer (erm… me) forgot to take the second picture where I added more. :)

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Let these cook until soft, adding more butter if the food starts to stick.

 

Once all vegetables are soft, stir in the two cups of broth and the chicken.  Bring to a rapid boil.

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While your veggies are coming to a boil, bring out your chilled pie crust.  It’s going to take a little bit of elbow grease to roll it out, but if your kitchen is hot like mine, choosing to NOT cool the crust means the butter starts to melt/soften which means a really sloppy and hardly-stick-together crust.

My preferred method of rolling out is between two pieces of parchment paper.  Roll it until it’s so think it’s nearly transparent (but no holes!) Then, once it’s super super super thin, you can slowly peel one of the parchment layers back.  Set this prepped crust aside, leaving it attached to one of the parchment pieces.

Go back to your veggies… by now they are boiling.

What’s going to happen next is this:  because it’s a wide pan, the water is going to boil off fast.  Keep stirring to prevent any sticking, and your potatoes are going to start to fall apart (only a tiny bit).  This is good because this is what’s going to thicken the sauce in the next step.

After it’s been rapid boiling for about 5 minutes and the liquid is reduced, stir in the milk.  Let it boil for another 2 minutes.  DO NOT LET IT BOIL LONGER THAN THIS. It will cause your milk to separate and turn the mixture a funky texture.  How do I know, you ask?  ;-) Let’s just say lots and lots and lots of failure in the kitchen.

Now turn off the heat, and slowly peel off your pie crust on top of the pan.

Remember… this is about appealing to your belly and not the picture.  If it’s sloppy, it’s ok.  This is a lazy pie.

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Slice through the top of the crust to make tiny slits.  This allows the steam to vent as necessary while baking.

Now, you can put your pie in the oven at 400* and let it cook for about 20 minutes.  This is mostly about letting the pie crust golden and the ingredients in the pie have time to stew.

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Next, your house starts to smell like heaven. And comfort. And yumminess. (How on earth do you spell that?)

You’ll know it’s done when the entire crust is golden, and maybe just a tiny bit brown on the edges.

I served mine with my favorite salad – blue cheese, walnuts, dried cranberries, and olive oil + balsamic vinegar.

My belly was soooo comforted!

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A Sloppy Joe.

I’m not going to go into alot of background on this dish.  I think it’s self-explanatory:

a) We need cheap meals

b) We need healthy meals

c) We need food of which I can cook a bunch, and then husband, who has an insanely high caloric need, can reheat at will

Meat the Sloppy Joe meat.

We eat it lots of ways, in a house with a mouse, in a box with a fox…. no just kidding.  We eat it on bread, without bread, on potatoes, on french fries.  It’s wonderful.

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So! Let’s make it, shall we?

TOOLS:

  • I like a heavy-bottomed dutch oven. You could do a large capacity/deep skillet.
  • Spoon
  • Knife
  • Cutting board

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1lb grass-fed ground beef
  • 1 onion
  • 1 green bell pepper
  • 1/2 fresh tomato
  • 1tbl garlic
  • 1tbl paprika
  • 1tbl chili powder
  • 3tbl sucanat, maple syrup, honey or whatever sweetener of choice
  • 1 7oz jar of tomato paste + 1 jar of water (*or, you can do 2c of unflavored tomato sauce/puree)
  • Salt and Pepper

DIRECTIONS:

Start browning that beef.  And there’s a reason we’re doing it first!

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(ooops! When I was photographing I accidentally did the veggies first. You should do the meat first so you have the leftover fat to saute!)

While beef is browning, chop up your veggies.  I recommend cutting them up as fine as possible.  If you have a food processor, this would be an excellent job for it.

Once ground beef is cooked mostly through (a little pink is okay because you’re going to cook it again) – with a slootted spoon, scoop out your beef.  LEAVE THE GREASE.  Please don’t touch that nutritious grass-fed goodness that gives flavor and healthy fats.

Throw in the chopped onion and green pepper. Cook until onions start to become translucent and peppers are soft and start losing their color.

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Now add the ground beef, tomatoes, spiced and stir it up.

Next add your tomato paste/sauce (whichever you’re going with. I usually just use whichever I already have).

Now.  You let this simmer on a very low boil for 30 minutes.  You can do it for less if you’re in a hurry, and it will still taste good.  But it tastes GREAT if you let it stew for awhile.  The tomatoes will pretty much dissolve.  Just a few remnant tomato skins, but otherwise totally stewed together.

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Now that it’s all done cooking… slop that joe on something good.  Or just put it in a bowl and eat it.  Yes, we’re not beyond that in this house.  It’s really so good… it doesn’t need anything else but a spoon.

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Featured here over a sweet potato. :)

Enjoy!

Sarah’s Chicken Cordon Bleu

You ever just crave something that you know is crazy bad for you, but you just HAVE to scratch the itch?

Yeah, me too.

Terribly.

So I created this mainly because I like those cheap, breaded, pretty-bad-for-you chicken cordon bleu frozen dinners.  And, while I could go buy some and use it as a “cheat” meal, I’m pretty sure I would just continue this bad habit and have more cheat meals than is healthy.  (This is not for everyone… I just know myself well enough.  I usually save cheat meals for special occasions, going over to someone else’s house for dinner, going out to eat, traveling, etc.)

Your chicken breasts will look something like this:  Chicken Cordon Bleu - Foodies Gone Real

I knew I was doing this a little bit different than the conventional cordon bleu recipe … I was putting the cheese on the OUTSIDE instead of in the chicken breast.  So, in order to defend the “original” way of making this dish, I titled it with my own name, just so we understand the difference… however, as it turns out, it seems to be up for debate what chicken cordon bleu “originally” was!

The recipe appeared in U.S. newspapers in the 1960s, and there’s quite a bit of indication that it didn’t even originate in France, but America, as its attempt to mimic popular French dishes that incorporate stuffing one meat with another filling.  (Another great example of Americanizing food?  Look at many popular pizza or Italian restaurant choices, then go visit Italy.)  And, contrary to any sort of “word” connection, there is no origination of this recipe from something at the famous Cordon Bleu cooking schools in France (if you’re up on your food history/gastronomy).

So, as it turns out, I can pretty much make this dish WHATEVER I want because I’m not really dishonoring some great classic piece!

To get this dish started properly, you’ll need to read up on my instructions on stuffing a chicken breast.  You can find the instructions here.  If you have another (or better!) method for stuffing a chicken breast, knock yourself out.  You do not have to use my method of stuffing for this dish to work!

Last note… I recommend that one chicken breast serves two people.  The logic is two-fold:

A) You’re getting more meat in as it’s a LARGE breast, and you’re stuffing it with ham

B) Americans tend to over-do the meat thing.  One serving of meat is the size of your fist.  (Men need a little bit more than women, due to nutritional requirements.)  I don’t have the source for this information, just recalling it off the top of my head.  I did a quick google search on the topic, though, and you can find scores of sources saying the same thing. (Point B.1.: Quality meat is also incredibly expensive.  So we hold very true to one serving of meat per meal as to keep our grocery costs down.)

So needless to say, this is instructions for one breast, serving two people.

INGREDIENTS:

For the meat:

Large, plump chicken breasts

Precooked ham – one ounce per chicken breast is usually enough

Almond Meal/Sprouted Flour (either will work) – you’ll need about 1/4 cup for one breast

For the sauce:

1.5 cups of shredded cheese, I recommend super-sharp cheddar

1 cup milk

1/4 tsp. prepared spicy mustard

Sprinkle of pepper

Sprinkle of nutmeg

2 tsp Sprouted flour, rice flour, tapioca/arrowroot (you’re using it as a thickener)

1 tbl Butter (preferably grass-fed for optimal nutrition)

dash of parsley

TOOLS:

Sharp Knife

Toothpicks

Plastic Wrap

Dredging dish

Oven-safe dish for roasting breasts

Small pan for making sauce

whisk

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat the over to 425*.

Go over to this page and follow the instructions for how to cut and stuff.  You are going to stuff it with all that cooked ham (as pictured in the other post).

Chicken Cordon Bleu - Foodies Gone Real

You’re going to want to bread it – so now is when you’ll throw your almond meal or sprouted flour in your dish for dredging.  Very carefully roll the stuffed chicken breasts in your meal/flour.

Chicken Cordon Bleu - Foodies Gone Real

Once it’s thoroughly covered, move “breaded” stuffed breast to your tray for baking.

If you’re making more than one stuffed chicken breast, repeat the process.

Once all your chicken breasts are stuffed and breaded, cover your dish and place in the oven for 15 minutes at 425*.

While this is cooking, shred up your sharp cheddar cheese.

After the first “set” of 15 minutes, you’ll want to turn the breasts over, uncover, and put in the oven for another 15 minutes.

Now you can start working on your cheese sauce! (And let’s be real… this is what we’re really want!)

Warm your milk to almost boiling.  Once it’s almost boiling, turn the heat down as low as it will go.  Whisk your mustard, pepper, nutmeg, and sprouted flour/arrowroot/tapioca/rice flour.  Make sure there are no lumps!

Slowly stir in your shredded cheese.  Keep stirring.

Stir some more.  You’ll see that your ingredients are combining well (keep that heat on low!) and when you bring your spoon up, it’ll be like a really thick sauce, not too stringy.  If you notice it’s starting to become “stringy,” go ahead and turn the heat off.  Just remember to stir it every so often.

About this time, it’ll be time to take those chicken breasts out of the oven!

Your chicken breasts will look something like this:

Chicken Cordon Bleu - Foodies Gone Real

Stir your cheese sauce some more.

Carefully take the toothpicks out just as soon as you can bear touching the chicken.

Plate your chicken and smother those chickens with your cheese sauce. Top with a dash of dried parsley.

Your chicken breasts will look something like this:  Chicken Cordon Bleu - Foodies Gone Real

And now, you can go guzzle.  Enjoy that cheesy chicken cordon bleu!

Sources:

Cordon Bleu (dish), http://www.en.wikipedia.org

History of Chicken Cordon Bleu, http://www.ehow.com

Just a Monday…

I grew up in a house that almost always ate meals at the table together.  It was understood that life happened together, and that included meal prep, consuming, and clean-up.  We usually had a set table as well.  I am trying to do that as much as possible.  I have always remained close to my parents, and I think my sisters would say something similar.  I don’t think it is coincidental.  Every meal that I share with my family, I learn something new about my little ones heart.  Somehow as food goes in, thoughts go out.  It is a phenomenon that I cherish.  Another blessing that comes from this is that my children learn table manners. We have always taken them to restraunts, and it is usually a good experience.  Why?  Because we practice at home.  It may take me an extra five minutes, but it is so worth it.  20140224_180003

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