Sunday, September 22, 2013

Chicken Apple Meatloaf

Went apple picking today! Nothing beats being outside in the slightly cool, crisp air and tasting a variety of different apples straight from the tree. Instead of making apple crisp or applesauce I decided to think outside of the box and make a meatloaf! This dish is extremely comforting but also packs a big nutrition punch. Adding fennel seed adds a unique flavor and the caramelized onion and apple topper ties the dish together. Serve this meatloaf as a sandwich or serve it with creamy mashed potatoes and carrots for a meal that the whole family will love!


Chicken Apple Meatloaf
Serves 4

All you need:
2 carrots, diced small
2 celery stalks, diced small
1 yellow onion, diced small
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
1 apple (any variety), diced small
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 pound ground chicken (I used ground Smart Chicken; if you can't find ground chicken simply grind 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts in a food processor)
1/2 cup whole wheat bread crumbs
2 egg whites
Salt and pepper, to taste

1/4 cup ketchup
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon dark brown sugar

1 yellow onion, sliced thin
1 apple (any variety), sliced thin

All you do:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium high heat. Add diced carrot, celery and onion and cook for 2-3 minutes or until slightly soft. Season with salt and pepper.

2. Add diced apple, fennel seed and garlic and cook 2 minutes longer. Remove from heat.

3. In a medium bowl, combine ground chicken, bread crumbs and egg whites.

4. Add sautéed vegetables and stir until well incorporated.

5. Coat a baking sheet with cooking spray. Place meat and vegetable mixture onto the pan and shape into a loaf.

6. In a small bowl, combine ketchup, mustard, Worcestershire and brown sugar. Spread an even layer of this mixture over the meatloaf. Cover pan with foil and bake for 45 minutes. During the last 15 minutes of cooking, remove foil to allow the top of the meatloaf to brown.

7. Meanwhile, heat the additional tablespoon of olive oil in a skillet over medium high heat. Add the sliced apple and onion and cook until slightly golden and caramelized, about 5 minutes.

8. Transfer meatloaf to a platter, slice and top with caramelized onion and apple.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Pan Roasted Chicken Thighs with Fennel and Olives

With fall right around the corner, we soon reach a point where you have to get a little creative with seasonal ingredients. This week I wanted to cook with an ingredient that not many people know how to use (or would choose to use): fennel.

When eaten raw, fennel bulbs have a licorice-like flavor. When sautéed or roasted, they take on a sweet flavor, which is my favorite way to eat it. You can add the stalks to vegetable stocks for added flavor. Also, you can add the fennel fronds (the fluffy dill-looking tops) to salads.

Here is a great way to try fennel. This dish is super fresh and it only uses one pot!


Pan Roasted Chicken Thighs with Fennel and Olives
Serves 6

All you need:
1 tablespoon cumin
1/2 tablespoon paprika
1/2 tablespoon coarse sea salt
1/2 tablespoon minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
6 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 fennel bulbs
2 1/2 cups reduced sodium chicken broth
Juice of 2 lemons
1/2 cup green olives
1/2 bunch fresh cilantro, coarsely chopped

All you do:
1. Combine spices in a small bowl.

2. Place chicken thighs in a large bowl. Sprinkle seasonings over and toss until chicken is well coated.

3. In a large pot, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium high heat. Add chicken and cook for 3 minutes on each side. Transfer to a plate.

4. Cut stalks from fennel. Then, cut fennel in half, remove the core and slice thin.

5. Heat 1 additional tablespoon of olive oil in the pot. Add fennel and cook until slightly golden, about 5 minutes.

6. Add chicken broth and fresh lemon juice. Add chicken thighs back in, cover the pot and simmer for 10 minutes.

7. Add olives and simmer for 3-5 minutes longer, or until sauce is slightly thickened.

8. Finish with fresh cilantro and serve.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Roasted Brussel Sprout and Bacon Flatbread Pizza

Recently, I went to Cedar Ridge winery for lunch and a wine tour. The food there is so comforting and fresh and they have a wide variety of fresh pizzas. One especially stood out - it had brussels sprouts! Those little cabbage-like nuggets were one of my least favorite vegetables growing up but once I tried them roasted my world was changed. I decided to make my own version of that fabulous pizza but with more veggies! Paired with a glass of red wine, this dinner is super satisfying and unique. And it has bacon and smoked gouda - that's one way to get your friends to eat more green veggies, right?


Roasted Brussels Sprout and Bacon Flatbread Pizza
Serves 8

All you need:
1 lb. brussel sprouts, cored and halved
1 large yellow onion, peeled and sliced thin
1 whole wheat flatbread pizza crust
5 slices bacon, cooked
4 oz. smoked gouda cheese
Balsamic vinegar, for drizzling (optional)
Olive oil
Kosher salt and black pepper, to taste

All you do:
1. Preheat oven to 450. Place brussel sprouts on a baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper. Roast for 15-20 minutes, or until golden and crispy.

2. Meanwhile, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large skillet. Add yellow onion and season with salt and pepper. Cook for 5-7 minutes, stirring occasionally, until slightly caramelized.

3. Place pizza crust on a baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil.

4. Top crust with caramelized onion and roasted brussel sprouts.

5. Chop bacon into small pieces and sprinkle on the pizza. (Colby was on deck for this one!)

6. Finish the pizza with diced gouda cheese. Bake for 5 minutes longer (at 450).

7. Drizzle balsamic vinegar on top (if desired) and serve!

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Barley Salad with Roasted Butternut Squash and Kale

Fall is slowly approaching! Although it doesn't feel like it outside quite yet, I took it upon myself to get a jump start on testing dishes with fall flavors.
Butternut squash is one of my absolute favorite veggies. It's creamy and buttery texture is so comforting. Paired with kale and sundried tomatoes, this dish is full of flavor, color and added health benefits. Cheers to that!


Barley Salad with Roasted Butternut Squash and Kale
Serves 4-6

All you need:
1 small butternut squash
1 small red onion, peeled and diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup sundried tomatoes, julienned
2-3 kale leaves, stemmed and chopped
15 kalamata olives, halved
5 basil leaves, chopped
1 cup dried barley, cooked and cooled
Olive oil
Salt and pepper, to taste

1/4 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon honey

Feta cheese, for topping (optional)

All you do:
1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Peel butternut squash and dice into pieces. Drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper and bake for 20 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add red onion and cook 2-3 minutes, or until slightly golden. Add garlic and cook for 1 minute longer.

3. Add sundried tomato and kale and stir until kale is slightly wilted, 4-5 minutes. Remove from heat.

4. In a large mixing bowl, combine roasted butternut squash and kale mixture.

5. Add olives, basil and cooked barley.

6. In a small bowl, combine dressing ingredients. Pour over the salad and toss to combine.

7. Spoon salad into bowls and top with feta cheese, if desired. Serve warm or keep in the fridge for up to 2 days.