Banana Bread Granola

Hi friends!  We had an awesome long weekend celebrating my youngest brother’s wedding this past weekend.  The Bell family just keeps growing! The wedding took place at Trump National on Lake Normal and the venue couldn’t have been more beautiful.  Welcome to the fam, Sara!

On Monday I had the urge to dirty up the kitchen a little bit and I am more than happy with the banana bread granola that I made.  The ingredient list is short and your kitchen will smell AMAZING as you bake the crunchy goodness.  The granola is perfect for snacking by the handful (yes, please), on top of yogurt, or with a little milk in a bowl.

The base of the granola is oats along with walnuts and pecans for the nuttiness that we all love in banana bread.  For sweetness, maple syrup and a little raw sugar.  I love coconut in banana bread and this recipe calls for coconut oil to help it “clump” and become granola. Everything is spiced with a little cinnamon and salt and a mashed banana lends it’s flavor to really give it that banana bread flavor.

bananabreadgranola

Addicting.

A little sweet.

Super crunchy.

Nutty.

And tastes just like Momma Bell’s banana bread.

Slow Cooker Chicken with 40 Cloves of Garlic

Some days are busier than others.  And those days are when I’m glad I decided to let my slow cooker do all most of the work.  The hardest part about a slow cooker dinner – smelling it all.day.long.

While there are some slow cooker recipes that require you to sear or saute before adding it to the slow cooker, this is not one of them.

That’s right – you simply mix, add all the ingredients to the base of the slow cooker and let it roll.

The end result is melt-in-your-mouth chicken with tender potatoes and the most mellow, delectable garlic ever. The platter is finished with a squeeze of lemon for brightness and some parsley for a pop of freshness.

garlicchicken

The only changes I made to the recipe was not using white wine (instead I used 1/4 cup more of chicken stock), I used brown rice flower instead of all-purpose, and I used baby potatoes instead of red potatoes.

Don’t let the 40 cloves of garlic scare you.  Unless you try to peel 40 cloves.  Use the pre-peeled garlic and trust me when I say they mellow.  After 8 hours in the slow-cooker, the pungent flavor is replaced with the most delicate, butter flavor.

But seriously, don’t peel 40 cloves.  You’ll smell like garlic for 40 days.

Pasta with Spinach-Avocado Sauce

I am still thinking about this bowl of pasta.

It was that good.

Not only that but it seriously took less than 20 minutes to prepare.  Letting the water come to a boil took the most time.  So if you can boil water, you can make pasta with spinach-avocado sauce.  Oh, and it’s a gorgeous dinner that simply perfect for the start of Spring.

greenpasta

I seriously just had a moment of silence while looking at the picture of deliciousness.

I used {gluten-free} rigatoni instead of spaghetti because it’s what I had in the pantry.  But I really loved how the nooks and crannies in the pasta held on to the pasta sauce.  But I honestly think any noodle would work.

For the sauce, simple throw all the ingredients in a food processor and let it whirl.  See, I told you it was easy.  The sauce includes spinach, white beans, EVOO, basil, lemon zest, lemon juice, salt, garlic, an avocado plus a little pasta water.

Once the pasta is finished cooking, toss it with the sauce and then top with chopped tomato, nuts (I used pistachios) and a few more baby basil leaves.

Almost too pretty to eat.

Almost.

Because we had no problem digging in.  And we were more than impressed with each and every bite.

 

Lemon Chicken Teriyaki Rice Bowl

You guys!  This weather is AMAZING.  After work yesterday I decided to take a stack of cookbooks outside and just browse while letting the sunshine warm my back.  I’ve missed the sun and 70+ degree days.

Last night’s dinner was pretty amazing, too.

Chicken + Rice + Broccolini is the base of this dinner in a bowl and the sauce is where all the flavor is at.

Start cooking your rice first – this is what takes the most time.  I decided to cook our rice in beef broth (I had some in the fridge and it adds SO much flavor).  I also added the juice from half a lemon right before plating the rice.

Go ahead and put on a pot of water so that it can come to a boil so you can cook your broccolini.  The broccolini only needs about 3 minutes to cook but dangggg, it takes water a long time to boil.

The sauce is a mix of soy sauce (or tamari) with a cornstarch to thicken everything up.  To that mixture, brown sugar, mirin, and lemon juice.  Allow this to come to a boil and then cook for a minute or two until it thickens.

Now for the chicken – simply season with S&P and sear on the stovetop for about 4-6 minutes (depending on the size of your chicken).  Flip, top with a little bit of the sauce and then place in the oven to finish cooking, about 10 minutes.  Let rest and then slice.

In the bowl – rice on the bottom, a little broccolini, sliced chicken, and the full-of-flavor sauce.  I also topped it all with some sliced green onions.  Why let them go to waste?

lemonteriyaki

So many flavors – so many textures.  And so much light!

 

Basil, Feta, and Quinoa Stuffed Chicken with Carrot “Tabbouleh”

This has to be one of the most flavorful weeknight dinners that I’ve had in a while.  In fact, I’m still thinking about how all the ingredients played a crucial part in the flavor profile of both the chicken and the “tabbouleh.”

The chicken is stuffed with a mixture of feta cheese (feta makes it betta’), a little bit of cream cheese, basil, sweet piquanté red peppers and cooked quinoa.  The peppers are an ingredient I just recently starting cooking with and they add the perfect tang and sweetness.  You can find the peppers jarred with pickles or near the cheese with olives.  I was able to find some fresh ones and I simply adore them.  Don’t leave them out – they are not spicy.

The chicken is seared in a little EVOO in a hot skillet and then finished in the oven.

While the chicken is cooking, prepare your no-cook gluten-free “tabbouleh” salad.  And I dare say this is one of my favorite preparations of carrots.  Ever.

Thanks to Big Guy’s green thumb, I was able to use our homegrown carrots in this salad.  Simply peel the carrots, chop and add to the food processor.  Pulse until they are coarsely chopped.  I went ahead and added in the red onion at this point – hey, one less thing to chop!  Walnuts are added into the food processor and then the carrot mixture is added to a bowl.  The rest of the ingredients include parsley and mint (traditional tabbouleh ingredients) along with sweet golden raisins, cumin, and a dressing of EVOO, white wine vinegar and salt.

chickendinner

Yes, yes, yes.

I am obsessed with the carrot “tabbouleh” and might have even contemplated having it for breakfast.  It’s THAT good.

Weeknight dinners rarely make me this happy – but seriously, this one deserved a glass of wine!

Cinnamon Roll Toast

There are more recipes on my radar than I’ll ever be able to actually make and try.  It’s actually quite sad.  And stressful.  Our most difficult decisions these days involve “what are we going to make?”

But sometimes there is a recipe that I can’t get off my mind – and sometimes it’s not really even a recipe.

When I posted cinnamon roll toast on Friday Favorites last month, I knew it had to happen.

It’s so, so simple and would be perfect for breakfast or a snack.  But I can’t lie – I had it for dinner.  With some scrambled eggs to round out the plate.

cinnamonrolltoast

Here’s the 2-minute recipe:

– Toast up a couple slices of bread.  (I went with a gluten-free bread I had stashed in the freezer.)

– Slather on a little coconut butter.  (this mimics the icing on a cinnamon roll)

– Sprinkle with cinnamon.

– Dot with a few raisins.

Ta-da!  Cinnamon Roll Toast.

And it seriously tasted like a cinnamon roll.

Chicken Tikka Masala

I’ve had my eye on two different tikka masala recipes for the past month or so and I finally added it to the menu plan this week!  This dish was the perfect end to a frigid day.  And when I say frigid, I mean frigid.  A high of 32 degrees just isn’t my idea of a good time.  Can we please plan a tropical vacation soon?

Tikka masala recipes vary greatly – from the amount of time to the spices used.  This particular recipe comes together relatively quickly and the end result warmed my soul.

Chicken breasts are cut into bite-size pieces before being sautéed in a little olive oil with salt, cinnamon and cumin.  This is where the flavor starts.

Once sautéed, the chicken is removed from the pan and diced onion, diced serrano, garlic and ginger were added into the pan with a little more EVOO.  Once the peppers and onions soften a little bit, garam masala (flavor!) and a little cayenne pepper is added followed by tomatoes, half-and-half and chicken stock.  Don’t forget to scrap all the bits off the bottom of the Dutch oven (more flavor!).  The chicken is added back and the entire mixture simmers so that the flavors can all combine and meld together.  The final touch is butter that is swirled until melted and a sprinkle of fresh cilantro for a POP of freshness (and flavor!).

12558286_503948666455034_1313681640_n

So delicious!  It was exactly what I wanted (and needed) on a chilly freezing day.

The chicken tikka masala is served over a bed of rice – feel free to use your favorite style of rice – I went with a white basmati.

The best part – leftovers.

(To note:  I halved the recipe since the original makes 12 servings)