Friday, March 9, 2012

Moroccan Chicken, Chickpea, and Caramelized Vegetable Tagine

I had been meaning to try to make a simple tagine ever since I saw this recipe on Serious Eats. My recipe is based on the one linked above, but with the addition of more veggies (butternut squash and bell peppers) and more spices. This exotic spiced stew studded with sweet fruit turned out delicious. Tagines are traditionally served with couscous, but I liked the idea of serving it with a golden raisin-studded quinoa instead. Quinoa has a similar texture, and its nuttiness pairs perfectly with the sweet and spicy stew. It's healthier, with lots of fiber and a complete source of protein. Plus, my gluten-free BFF could partake.

Moroccan Chicken, Chickpea, and Caramelized Vegetable Tagine
1 large onion, chopped
1 T garlic
6 boneless, skinless chicken thighs (can be omitted for vegetarian)
1 lb squash, such as butternut, pumpkin, or zucchini. Carrots would also work
1/2 lb bell peppers, chopped
1 t salt, or to taste
2 t paprika
2 t cumin
1 t coriander
1 t cinnamon
1/2 t cardamom
1/2 t cayenne
pinch of cloves
2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 (15-ounce) can chickpeas, drained (add 2 extra cans if omitting the chicken thighs)
1 (15-ounce) can fire-roasted diced tomatoes
1/2 cup (about 10) dried apricots, quartered, optional
drizzle of honey or sprinkle of splenda, optional
handful of fresh cilantro, chopped

In a greased dutch oven, brown chicken thighs. Remove and cut into bite sized pieces. In a large pot, saute onion, squash, and peppers until caramelized. Add remaining ingredients and simmer for 20-30 minutes. Garnish with cilantro. Serve with quinoa, couscous, or rice.

"Moroccan" Quinoa
2 cups water
1 cup quinoa
1/2 cup golden raisins
1/2 t salt

Rinse quinoa. Combine all ingredients, bring to a simmer. Reduce to low heat, cook, covered, for 15-20 minutes, until all liquid is absorbed and quinoa is soft and fluffy.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Triple Corn Spoonbread

Inspired by the cornbread recipe in my previous post, I decided to try to make a healthy version of recipe that my mother used to make for me as a child, a very moist corn fritter casserole or spoonbread made with Jiffy mix, creamed corn, corn niblets, and a stick of butter. Since Jiffy contains gluten and lard (yuck!), I decided to use the from-scratch healthy cornbread recipe from the previous post as a substitute. To cut out the butter, I added Greek yogurt instead, making this a lowfat and protein-packed dish. If you don't feel like it, and aren't gluten-intolerant, you can use a box of Jiffy instead.

This spoonbread is comforting and warm, with a texture somewhere between cornbread and custard. It is a versatile dish that I will happily eat any time of day. It makes a great side dish with chili. I especially like it for breakfast with syrup. For a savory, spicy spoonbread, you could leave out the sweetener and add in a 4 oz. can of diced chiles.

Triple Corn Spoonbread
1 1/2 cup finely ground corn meal
1 T baking powder
1/4 t salt
1/3 cup sugar or splenda
(or use a box of Jiffy corn muffin mix instead of the above ingredients)

2/3 cup regular or Greek yogurt (I use nonfat)
2 15 oz cans creamed corn
15 oz can corn kernels, drained
1 egg

Prehead oven to 375. Mix all ingredients together and pour into a greased 9x13 pan. Cook for 50 minutes, until bread is set, but still moist and custardy.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Cornbread/Muffins and Pancakes

I got this delicious corn muffin recipe from my bestie Glutenless Goddess. Most cornbread/muffin recipes call for some combination of wheat flour and corn meal. I didn't know that you could make cornbread without flour. This one only contains corn, which means my gluten-free friend can eat it. It also means it appeals to my love for simple, healthy recipes with only a few ingredients. I made a few tiny tweaks, like increasing the amount of baking powder to cut out the baking soda. (Yes, you can do that, and it means you need one fewer ingredient!). I also experimented with making this into cornbread and corn pancakes, so I've added those tips below.

This would also make a delicious savory cornbread with jalapenos and cheese to serve with chili (you would just leave out most of the sweetener and add a bit of water or milk to make the batter the right texture.

Cornbread or Muffins

1 cup cornmeal
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 cup Greek, plain, or vanilla yogurt (can be low fat or fat free)
1/4 t salt
1/3-1/2 cup maple syrup, honey, sugar, or Splenda (if using sugar or Splenda, you might need to add a bit of water to the batter. You want a cake batter consistency.)
1 egg

*Update: you can stir in a cup of fruit, such as fresh or frozen blueberries.

Stir everything together. Preheat oven to 350. Pour into a 8 or 9 inch baking pan or muffin tin. Bake for approximately 16 minutes.

Corn Pancakes
To the recipe above, add a few tablespoons of milk, enough to create a thick pancake batter-like consistency. Then proceed like you're making pancakes--drop spoonfuls onto a greased skillet on medium heat, and flip. Serve with syrup.