Monday, January 14, 2013

A side of Healthy with your New Year's Resolution?

Where-ever you look and whomever you talk to these days, it's all about being healthy and saving money in the new year. Including me! I'm all about re-creating my favorite store bought snacks for much cheaper and making them much more healthier! So this weekend I I ditched the $5.99 bag of Kale Chips at the grocery store and went for a couple of fresh bunches of Kale at the local Farmer's Market, which cost me only $2.99!!

I was super excited to make these delicious crunchy treats! It's so simple and take no prep time at all that I wondered why in hell I ever spent $5.99 on a measly bag of Kale Chips! You can flavor these chips with almost anything you like: Ranch dressing (powder); Hot Sauce, Jerk or BBQ spices or just good old Salt and Pepper. I chose to bring out the true flavor of Kale with just a sprinkle of Salt and Pepper and boy were these delicious to much on while watching the Golden Globes!
Popcorn- move over! there's a new snack in town!!
AND you can make 3 bags of Kale Chips for a fraction of the cost of one that you buy at the store!

You will need:
2 Bunches of fresh Kale
Salt and Pepper
1-2 tbsp Olive Oil/Or Pam Olive Oil Cooking Spray
2 tbsp Finely grated Parmesan cheese (optional)

1. Wash and dry the Kale leaves thoroughly and chop them up into bite sized pieces (note that once they cook, the piece shrink so cut them into decent sized pieces or you'll end up with large crumbs of Kale chips)

2. In a large wide mixing bowl, todd the Kales with Salt, Pepper (and Cheese) and Olive Oil. (**At this point you can also add any other seasoning that you like).
Note: You don't need too much oil, a little goes a long way! Alternatively, once tossed with Salt and Pepper, you can line them up on a baking sheet and spray with Pam.
3. Line a sheet pan with a silicon baking mat. Once tossed and coated well, line Kale on the sheet (You may have to cook them in batches so as to not overcrowd the tray).

4. Bake in a 250 degree oven for 30-40 minutes or until crispy

Remove, cool and enjoy!
Try not to eat the whole batch in one sitting!

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Adobo Braised Chicken Stew

Whether you want a kick-ass Taco night with friends, or a unique twist on a Chicken Pot Pie or better yet a warm, cozy and romantic gourmet dinner with your sweetheart; this recipe will lend itself to it all!! It's all abut how you present this beautiful stew and the ingredients you pair with it, that will help elevate it to gourmet status or lend itself to a casual meal with friends and family. 

I decided to serve this elegant stew with some spicy, crispy Polenta Cakes and a simple Arugula salad for some freshness. Weeknight Datenight Dinner with the sweetheart just became even more special!

I also made some pocket Adobo Chicken Pasties (Hand pies) for a friend to take on her train ride (and snuck one in for my lunch tomorrow)! The recipe made enough for me to freeze some of the stew so I'll be able to enjoy some delicious Adobo Chicken Tacos on a night when I just don't feel like slaving over the stove!

This stew will pair well with just some simple yellow rice or even crusty French Bread. I give you Adobo Braised Chicken.

2 Pounds Chicken breast (I used Boneless/Skinless, only because it is easier to shred once cooked. But you can use any cut you like really. Chicken thighs would also work well for this dish)
3 tbsp Olive Oil
1 Medium Onion - finely diced
1 medium Red Pepper - finely diced
3-4 cloves of Garlic - minced
2 medium carrots - cut in 1 inch thick slices
1/2 cup sweet yellow Corn
1/2 cup petite Green Peas
1 packet Sazon
2 tbsp Adobo Paste
2 tbsp Sofrito Sauce
2 tbsp of your favorite Hot Sauce (optional)
Salt and Pepper to Taste
1/4 cup of chopped fresh Cilantro leaves
3-4 cups water or chicken broth

1. Salt and Pepper your chicken and set aside

2. In a Crock Pot, heat Olive Oil, and fry the Onions, Red Peppers and Garlic. Once slightly brown and while the pot is still screaming hot, sear both sides of the chicken breast to get some good color (approx one and half minutes each side).

3. Now remove just the chicken and set aside.

4. In the Onion and Pepper mixture, add Sazon, Adobo and Sofrito (and Hot Sauce), and cook for approx 2-3 minutes. Then add the chicken back into the pot and stir so as to coat the chicken with the paste.

5. Finally, add the corn, carrots and peas and 3-4 cups of water/chicken broth.

6. Cover the pot and cook on low heat until the chicken is tender and cooked all the way through (If you test it with a fork, it should fall apart!).

7. Season with salt and pepper to taste (you won't need much as the Adobo and Sofrito are already seasoned). Finally add the chopped cilantro leaves to garnish.
- Before serving, I removed the Chicken Breast from the stew and shredded it with a fork and then put it all back into the pot.