Saturday, November 28, 2015

Chicken and Lighter-Than-Air Drop Dumplings

It's that time of the year when much of the country is wet, cold and dreary. We often look to the comfort foods of our childhood on these chilly days. For me, one special dish during winter that I crave is chicken and dumplings. And, even though I do make a few different versions, I always seem to revert back to the classic recipe that I grew up with when I crave the "real deal."

Made on the stove in a big pot.

Hoards of shredded, tender chicken.

Luxurious, but simple "gravy" made with homemade chicken stock.

And, from-scratch dumplings that almost melt in my mouth.

Those are the components of on-point chicken and dumplings in my book. A labor of love. Childhood comfort food at its finest. The ideal weekend dinner on a brisk winter's day. Served with buttery mashed potatoes ... best comfort food ever.

Serves 4 - 6.

Friday, November 27, 2015

Rice Noodle Salad Bowls

The turkey roaster pans, electric carving knives and gravy boats are making their return to the back of our cupboards. Visions of sugar cookies and Christmas ham are stirring in our heads. Stop offs for peppermint mocha coffees and caramel brulée lattes are almost inevitable as we bolt from store to store seeking out the perfect gifts for our loved ones. And, homemade baked goods from neighbors are sure to grace our counters during the coming weeks.
Frankly, most of us could stand to eat a few more salads this time of year. Indulgence is pretty much a given during the handful of weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Having a few go-to salad recipes in our back pocket is never a bad idea - especially when we want/need to take a break from heavy, carb-laden dishes and treats that are the "norm" for most of us during this festive season of the year.
These Rice Noodle Salad Bowls are light, refreshing and chocked full of so many crisp, vibrant ingredients. I make a quick dressing with some basic pantry staples, fresh garlic and scallions. The salad holds up well for a couple of days in the fridge, so it's something nice to make up and have on hand for lunch during busy days, too.

Friday, November 20, 2015

Vegetable Lo Mein

Fresh ginger, garlic, soy sauce, honey and sesame oil come together beautifully in this dish to coat perfectly-cooked noodles and quickly-sautéed vegetables. A sprinkling of black sesame seeds as a garnish brings a nice textural element to finish off the dish. And, while the chopping of the vegetables does require a short bit of time (maybe five-to-ten minutes), everything comes together rather quickly once cooking begins.

One of the things that I love about this particular dish is that it can be eaten hot, at room temperature or cold. This would be a great side dish to serve with my Sweet and Sour Sesame Chicken.

In my opinion, the easiest way to go about this recipe is to prep everything before you start cooking. Get all of your veggies washed and cut. Have your noodles cooked and rinsed in a bit of cool water. I even combine the sauce ingredients together in a small bowl before beginning so that I can dump everything in the pan quickly as I go along. Then, all that you need to do is get your wok or pan hot and get to cooking.

Serves 2- 4 (depending on if you're serving it as a main dish or a side dish)

Tuesday, November 03, 2015

Spiced Cinnamon & Brown Sugar Butter

During the cooler weather months, we eat a good deal of baked sweet potatoes and roasted squash in our house. This Spiced Cinnamon & Brown Sugar Butter is one of our favorite toppings for both. It is so quick to throw together and uses ingredients that we all tend to keep on hand.

French toast, waffles and pancakes are, also, great canvases for this easy-to-prepare spread.

Sunday, November 01, 2015

Fall-Inspired Harvest Salad Bowl

We tend to think of salads as summer fare. But, when the right combination of ingredients come together, salads can be hearty, comforting dishes that fit right in during the cooler months, too.

Perfectly roasted squash shines in this salad. And, I've brought together a blend of bulgur and red quinoa for a great textural element here. Crisp apple slices and several other amazing add-ins make this one over-the-top salad. Of course, some sliced, grilled chicken would be fabulous in this salad if you're so inclined.

Serves 4.