I thought long and hard about what I should have as my first recipe after my long hiatis. I needed it to be something easy, comforting, delicious and most importantly healthy. My mother-in-law initially introduced a version of this dish to me. While it was delicious I still felt it needed some more flavors to really make it a star. This dish is truly a perfect explosion of flavor on the palette. It’s spicey, sweet, tangy and most importantly delicious. Pair it with a super easy whole grain cous-cous and you are on your way to a wonderful dish inspired by all the flavors of the Middle East. As the cooler weather threatens to sneak up on us at any moment...I find myself going back to my plethora of recipes and reaching for things that are ooey gooey and warming. Naturally, those are the typical recipes that also add some unnecessary layers of fat to our warmth-hungry bodies. And so this is where my fight for the healthy and the comforting begins. I want to reach for my pasta pot and create a mind blowing concoction of pasta, pancetta, cream and chicken…but that is reserved for special occasions when the calories disappear for just one meal. For now, we need something that will warm our souls and feed our grumbling stomachs. For now, we remember that food is there to nourish us not solve our problems. For now we sit down at the table with our families, friends and loved ones and share a scrumptious meal that inspires stories and tales of other worlds, distant travels and happy endings…at least that’s what I hope for with every meal.
2 Pounds of Boneless, Skinless Chicken Thighs or Chicken Breast; Cut into Large Pieces ¾ Cup Dried Apricots, Roughly Sliced ¾ Cup Dried Prunes, Roughly Sliced 1 Spanish Onion, Diced 3 Tablespoons Balsamic Vinegar 2 Tablespoons Cilantro, Roughly Chopped Juice of One Lemon 1 Tablespoon Olive Oil 3 Garlic Cloves, Minced 1 One-Inch Piece of Ginger, Minced 1 Tablespoon Smokey Paprika 1 Teaspoon Ground Cinnamon 1/8 Teaspoon Ground Nutmeg 1 Teaspoon Cumin 1.5 Tablespoons Turmeric *The turmeric gives this dish its distinct yellow color* ½ Teaspoon Sumac (optional) ½ Tablespoon Salt 1 Tsp Pepper Pinch of Red Pepper Flakes
-Preheat oven to 450-degrees F. Spray down a casserole pan of choice. -While the oven is preheating combine chicken thighs with turmeric, cumin, nutmeg, cinnamon, paprika, cumin, ginger, garlic, salt pepper, lemon juice, balsamic vinegar and cilantro. Toss in a bowl to combine and let stand for at least 20-30 minutes or even overnight. -In a separate pan, combine onions, red pepper flakes with olive oil and sauté until golden; about 10 minutes. -Add in dried fruit and mix to combine. Let cook for 10 minutes. -Place chicken mixture and onion mixture into oiled casserole dish. Mix well to combine and distribute evenly. -Cook uncovered for 15-20 minutes or until meat is tender and cooked through.
Whole Wheat Cous Cous
I always buys Trader Joes Cous Cous and just follow the package instructions.
Years ago, I followed my dreams and went to culinary school. I went to culinary school to continue the dream that my mother and I always shared: to open up a deli or cafe somewhere and call it our own. Whether that cafe will ever open is still up in the air...but my cooking and my love for food I owe to my mother...and in a way this blog is dedicated to her...I only hope that I can inspire other women with this blog the way my mother inspired me...With her love for food passed onto me, I quickly became a food snob after culinary school. Today, a house, a husband' (and his stomach),and an up and coming business keeps me busy enough without all my gourmet concoctions! But, no matter how busy I am, I still go to my kitchen and cook to retain my sanity. Prehaps this is a way I connect to my mother...but cooking is the only thing that truely soothes my soul. My recent transformation has led me to belive that sometimes you just have to Keep It Simple Stupid...and Cook!
I will not eat oysters. I want my food dead - not sick, not wounded - dead. ~Woody Allen
Part of the secret of success in life is to eat what you like and let the food fight it out inside. ~Mark Twain
Great food is like great sex. The more you have the more you want. ~Gael Greene
Tell me what you eat, I'll tell you who you are. ~Anthelme Brillat-Savarin
And, of course, the funniest food of all, kumquats. ~George Carlin
Avoid fruit and nuts. You are what you eat. ~Jim Davis
The trouble with eating Italian food is that five or six days later you're hungry again. ~George Miller
Cooking is like love. It should be entered into with abandon or not at all. ~Harriet van Horne
Life expectancy would grow by leaps and bounds if green vegetables smelled as good as bacon. ~Doug Larson
I didn't fight my way to the top of the food chain to be a vegetarian. ~Anonymous
But those aren't the flavors. That'd make too much sense. Apple and pear, according to Dr. Phil, are body types the bars are made for. Hey, I've got some advice. If you look like an apple or a pear, eat an apple or a pear! [On Dr. Phil's energy bars. ~Lewis Black