Chicken & Chickpea Stew

I love chickpeas, soups and pretty much anything spicy...so seeing that this dish has all three going on it's really no surprise that it's one of my favorite winter dishes. It's one of those rustic dishes that kind of tastes like home, no matter where you're from.  Super simple ingredients, relatively easy preparation and delicious. One thing to note though...I would consider this more of a soup than a stew because the broth is thin, but since it's served over bread I've stuck with calling it stew.

The original recipe, shown below, is from the Bon Appétit February 2012 issue and I've pretty much been making it consistently since then. Usually when I share recipes here I like to share my own adaptions that I think make them even better, but to be honest this one is so good in it's original form that it's pretty much identical to what you'll find here on the Bon Appétit website.

Two changes I do usually make though;  I double the recipe below since it only makes about 4 servings and I roast my own peppers instead of buying pre-roasted peppers. Roasting your own peppers is so easy, cheap and makes your house smell so good that I strongly recommend it. As long as you have a gas stove you can follow my tutorial for how to do it included in this recipe...and then I promise, you'll never pay a premium for roasted red peppers again!

Turkey-Jasmine Rice Meatballs with Baby Bok Choy

This is an oldie but a goodie...we've been making it for at least 7 years so I guess it's become one of our own over time.  I'm not even sure where it originally came from.  I think a healthy cooking magazine, maybe Cooking Light or something along those lines...but I'm pretty sure we've not only adjusted the ingredients but also the cooking method over the years.  Either way, hope you enjoy this favorite of ours as much as we do.  Light, healthy and delicious Asian-inspired flavors.
Slow Cooker Chicken & Mixed Mushroom Casserole

I couldn't find this recipe from my favorite slow cooker cookbook anywhere on the Internet, and while I usually just find one that's similar enough to share I didn't want to risk it with this one.  I've had too many bad casseroles in my life (sorry Mom, but you have to admit they were always bland, sticky, mushy, high calorie/fat messes!), but the reason I wanted to try this one is because of the relatively unique mix of ingredients and seasonings that made me confident it would be delicious and healthy. Adapted from the cookbook "Slow Cooker: The Best Cookbook Ever"   Serves 6-8
Chicken & Biscuit Pot Pie

This is a new, somewhat healthier spin on a classic comfort food that we just made for the first time this week, and it is delicious! It's from one of my favorite cookbooks, Almost Meatless: Recipes that are Better for your Health & the Planet, which is focused on finding ways to have a lower-meat diet.  So while there's certainly chicken in this it's not as much as you would find in your traditional Chicken Pot Pie.  And instead of using a super buttery crust there's a whole wheat biscuit topping that is just fabulous...especially with the scallions mixed in. This dish is almost a hybrid between chicken pot pie and chicken and dumplings, and for a potato-hater like Christian the swap of potatoes for parsnips is perfect.  Classic comfort with a bit less guilt...just how I like it!

The recipe below makes enough for 6-8 servings...I tend to cook it right in the dutch oven that the stew is made in for easier clean-up, but if you were having a dinner party or wanted to portion the meal out for the week the single serving approach is nice as well.  The only changes I make to the recipe is to increase the quantity of vegetables a bit (although a lot of parsnips will make it kind of sweet, which means you'll need more salt to counteract) and ensure that the texture of the sauce is about right before adding the biscuit topping.  Typically this means sprinkling a few extra handfuls of flour into the sauce and letting it thicken and then adding the biscuit topping.  Mushrooms might be a nice addition as well. So no major changes, just a few tweaks.
Chickpea Obsession…

We have recently become obsessed with chickpeas.  I'm not sure exactly when or why it happened, but somehow I keep finding recipes with chickpeas on my weekly menus.  Not only are these chickpea dishes making their way on my menus like some sneaky guest you don't remember inviting, but they're becoming the star of the party!  Week after week these seemingly simple dishes have blown both Christian and I away, becoming our favorite dinner of the week.  You know, the kind where you're excitedly awaiting the leftovers.  Don't get me wrong...we've always liked chickpeas, but all of a sudden we love chickpeas!

Since they've been such a welcome part of our dinners lately I thought I'd share a few of our favorite dishes that feature chickpeas. The name of each dish is linked to the recipe so you can make them yourself.  Besides all having chickpeas, the other commonality that these dishes have is that they are all super simple as well.  What could be better than simple and delicious?!  Oh....healthy.  Yup, these dinners fit that bill as well!
Coriander Chicken Tostadas

This is one of those recipes that has been hiding in my binder for a while....over a year to be exact.  So when I stumbled upon it recently we added it to a menu and boy are we glad that we did!  Christian actually made it since I was running late but he says it was pretty darn easy for how gourmet and delicious it turned out.  We did decide to cheat slightly though...we used canned low-fat refried beans instead of making them ourselves, but it worked out just fine for us!

The recipe can be found here, on the Epicurious/Bon Appétit website from January, 2011.  Perfect for this time of year since fennel is in season!

Mini Spicy Buffalo Chicken Meatballs

Our Pat's are in the SuperBowl this weekend, so we need some yummy treats to sustain us through all of our shouting at the T.V. screen!  Enter one of my guilty pleasures when working from home...having The Martha Stewart Show on in the background.  I was lucky enough to have it on recently when Daniel Holzman and Michael Chernow of The Meatball Shop were on with this recipe for Mini Spicy Buffalo Chicken Meatballs.  Now to be clear, I LOVE buffalo chicken wings.  Love them. But, I almost never eat them since they're not exactly healthy...which is why I love these, now I can get that buffalo chicken wing experience I love more often!  They're certainly a healthier take on buffalo chicken wings but still just as delicious and easier to eat.  Don't get me wrong...they still have butter in the sauce and you want a good blue cheese dressing to dip them in but it's certainly an improvement! And most importantly, boy are they tasty!  These will likely be my go to spicy buffalo dish for a while, which makes Christian happy since he loves them as well!
Spinach & Mozzarella Stuffed Turkey Meatloaf

We've been making this recipe for as long as I can remember...which is funny because neither one of us particularly liked meatloaf growing up.  But this meatloaf has a nice twist and is quite a bit healthier since it's made with ground turkey instead of ground beef.  It's been dedicated to memory by now but here is the general approach below:
Grilled Chicken & Veggie Skewers in the Park

The weather has been so incredible in San Francisco lately that we’ve decided to do something simple yet indulgent for our Sunday dinner this week.

Simple in terms of the fact that it is all store-bought.  Indulgent in terms of it being leisurely, fun and involving a bottle of Champagne while watching the sunset over the Golden Gate Bridge.  Lovely.
Phanang Curry

This is one of our favorite types of curry...the addition of peanuts to red curry paste makes it a bit more rich. As with most curries any meat works well with this, but we like chicken or pork...and this is a pretty spicy one, but feel free to dial it back.

The recipe is adapted from the one we received at Siam Rice Thai Cookery School in Chiang Mai, Thailand