Friday, August 31, 2012

Creamy Chicken Soup over Cauliflower 'Rice'

You know what I just realized? Since I can't eat grain anymore, I don't need a toaster. And my blog is named after my beautiful red toaster which languishes in my cabinet, alone and neglected...what to do, what to do...

Oh, well, I digress.

We are new on this Paleo food journey and after reading some research on Adrenal Fatigue, I discovered that it could take two years to get myself back to normal! Wow. That's a long time with no grain. But I am committed for the long haul, and frankly, I have been enjoying trying all these new foods (or rather new ways of preparing old foods). Which leads me to today.

At two o'clock I realized that there were no dinner plans in my near future and I better get a move on. I had my sights set on reorganizing and cleaning out the pantry and kitchen, but first I needed to get dinner going or there was going to be some serious caterwauling going on around here. I grabbed a recipe I had recently copied from, well, I don't really know WHERE I got this one from, but I did change it (of course) so it is not a direct copy (sorry)! This one is quick and easy and sure to satisfy those empty tummies!

Creamy Chicken Stew

3-4 chicken breasts (frozen ok),
2 T Italian Seasoning (it seems like I actually used 1 tsp oregano, 1 tsp basil and 1 tsp parsley)
1 T basil
2 cloves garlic - pressed
1 can whole-fat coconut milk
2 cups bone broth (or really good chicken broth)
1/2 c white wine
salt and pepper to taste

Now here is the easy part! Mix together everything but the chicken in the crockpot. Add chicken and turn to coat. Cook on high 3-4 hours. Oila! Go clean out your pantry, or climb Mt. Washmore. Or take the kids for a bike ride...the sky is the limit! The house will smell great, and everyone will think you spent hours cooking! I love it when it works!

About 20 minutes before you want to eat you will want to toss together this quick faux rice to put under your tasty chicken. I had heard about "cauliflower rice" but was honestly pretty skeptical. I mean really, how can you make cauliflower taste like rice?!? I have to say, I was pleasantly surprised. Give it a try and tell me what you think!

The only changes I made were to put my riced cauliflower in a large bowl, and season it there, before I put it in the hot pan. I used salt, lots of dried thyme (since there is thyme in the chicken), garlic powder and onion powder.

Once you have the cauliflower steaming, remove the chicken from the crockpot and shred. When everything is ready, it goes together like this: Into your bowl you layer the 'rice', then shredded chicken and then put broth over the top. Your family will rave and you will sit back and admire your organized kitchen and the smiling faces of your loved ones, and chalk one up for the Crockpot Momma.

Now, there is one little thing you should know about. If you make this with a box of chicken broth, your tastebuds are not going to sing. You really need to put together a batch of bone broth which has so much more flavor and depth. You basically do that by taking a chicken carcass or two and cooking them 12-24 hours with onions, garlic, celery, whole peppercorns and lots of water. You can find out more by doing a google search for bone broth. And to be fully transparent, my two cups of bone broth were actually left over from a Chicken Marsala I did a few weeks ago, which had the wine in it, so it had cooked down really well. I do believe it added even another layer of flavor to our soup tonight.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Chicken Curry and Creamed Cauliflower...WOW!

I LOVE savory food. Love it. Makes my heart and my tummy so very happy!!

I have been off grains and sugar for the last 2-3 weeks, eating a huge salad at lunch every day, and some kind of lean meat and veggie for dinner. So far, I have not really missed grain at all, which I find very surprising, since it has driven my food choices for so many years!

In my quest for new recipes, I came upon a chicken curry recipe that was more complicated. You are supposed to brown veggies, then brown the chicken, then make a sauce and...well, you get the idea. It is pretty time intensive! So I made it easy. And fast. And it makes the kitchen smell good Really!!

First off, curry powder. You can use a premade one, but I can't have any peppers, so I threw together a quick blend of pre-ground spices and toasted it in a dry skillet to bring out the aromas. Once I get my new mortar and pestle...look out!

Thai Curry Powder

1 Tbsp ground Turmeric
3 Tbsp ground corriander
2 Tbsp ground cumin
2 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground peppercorns (pref. white, but black will work)
1 pinch ground cloves

Heat dry skillet to medium high and add mixed ground spices. Stir or toss til they are well mixed and the heat has brought out all the yummy aromas and oils. Let cool and store in small glass jar. Makes about 1/2 C. Make it ahead of time and when the taste for curry makes you crazy, you are ready to go!

Chicken Curry

1 can coconut milk
1/2 can water
2 T of curry powder (see above)
2 t freshly minced ginger...though I used dried today, since I was out of fresh
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 Vidalia or other sweet onion, sliced
pinch of salt
4 chicken breasts, cut into strips; you can also use thighs or legs

Mix all ingredients except chicken in bottom of crock pot. Add chicken and stir to coat. Cook on low for 2 -3 hours, or 'til chicken is cooked.

So this deliciousness was wafting through the house all day...and got me hankerin' after something creamy to offset the curry...what to do, what to do? So I got online and found a Creamed Cauliflower recipe that I had to doctor because, well, that's what I do! And I was missing a few of their ingredients! Here is my version:

Creamed Cauliflower

1 large head cauliflower, steamed well (you don't want al dente for this!)
2/3 block cream cheese, softened (it can sit out while the cauliflower steams)
2 Tbsp butter
1/4 cup plain kefir (or other milk sub...that's just what we had)
2 small cloves of garlic, peeled
salt to taste

Add cheese, butter, and garlic to food processor. Cut up cauliflower into chunks and steam cauliflower 'til cooked through. Drain and add to food processor. Turn on and pulse 'til big pieces are broken down, and add kefir/milk only if needed to combine all ingredients. Add salt to taste.

Mercy!! What a good, flavorful dinner! I am sure the cream cheese adds more calories than you have to have, but it was what I had and it sure was good!!

Let me know if you try it, and what you think!