Thursday, December 31, 2009


One of my Christmas presents was an æbleskiver pan and some wild blueberry jam courtesy of my youngest sister. I love learning about new culinary treats, so part of the fun was looking up the history of this foreign treat.

The origin is believed to be Denmark, roughly around the time of the Vikings. The word æbleskiver is plural meaning apple slices, believed to be the original filling; although other sources claim it's an ode to the spherical shape of the pancake. Either way, it's delicious.

The Danish usually enjoy their æbleskiver as a dessert or snack in December, with fillings ranging from pieces of fruit, to jams and jellies, to chocolates. The batter is also perfect for savory fillings, such as meats or marinated vegetables. In America, æbleskiver are more often made for breakfast and drenched in maple syrup.

For my version, I used wild blueberry jam and some orange marmalade. The wild blueberry was our favorite. The orange marmalade was too tart for our taste buds.

The batter reminded me of thick eggnog and smelled wonderful. This was also my first time beating eggs whites by hand. It took a few minutes of furious whisking, but I did it! I found it helped to pace back and forth in the kitchen throughout the process.

I didn't realize how many æbleskiver would result from the recipe, and it turns out we ended up with 42 for just the two of us! Since æbleskiver do not keep very well, we'll be eating these all weekend. Next time I'll just cut the recipe in half.

The æbleskiver do taste similar to a pancake, but the nutmeg brings a lovely warmth to the flavors. I would recommend eating these warm, right as they come off the pan. Try them plain or with just powdered sugar first before they become drenched in syrup and the flavors become overwhelmed.

The only catch to making these is you have to have an æbleskiver pan (or a takoyaki pan), otherwise you'll just be making pancakes.


4 eggs, cold, yolk and whites divided
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp salt
2 tbsp turbinado
2 cups buttermilk
1 tsp vanilla

stick of butter

Separate the egg yolks from the whites. Place the egg whites in a medium sized metal bowl and whisk until stiff peaks are formed.

In a large bowl, sift together the dry ingredients (flour through salt) and set aside. In a mixing bowl, cream together the egg yolks and turbinado. Add the buttermilk and vanilla to the mixing bowl, and then slowly add the dry ingredients until just combined (some small lumps may remain).

Using the whisk, add the egg whites to the batter and carefully fold together.

Place the æbleskiver pan on the stove on medium-low heat and allow it to get warm. Take the stick of butter and quickly rub into each divot. Using a spoon, pour 1 tbsp of batter into each divot. Next add 1/2 tsp of filling to each divot, then top with 1 tsp of batter, making sure to cover the filling completely (try and keep the filling from touching the sides, otherwise the æbleskive will have a hole in it). Do not fill each divot to the brim as it needs room to puff up.

After 2-3 min, use a pair of chopsticks to quickly flip the æbleskiver over to finish cooking. The second side will only need 1-2 min of cooking. Remove to a plate and top with powdered sugar.

~Yields 42 æbleskiver.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Potato Chip Cookies

When these cookies starting baking in my house growing up, we knew Christmas was almost here. They were always a special treat saved for the holidays - most likely due to the quick prep and cooking, it takes no time at all to have them ready for guests or to place in a goodie bag as a gift.

I love how each bite is a little salty and a little sweet, with the crunchy chips and the soft cookie. I don't know what recipe my family used, but I found this one from King Arthur Flour (KAF) and actually like it better since it includes oats - one of my favorites! If you're not fond oats, feel free to use two cups of flour instead. Since it's the holidays, try spicing it up with flavored potato chips or adding something a little extra to the cookie dough. I think a combination of adding orange zest and using lime potato chips would taste great!

Happy Holidays!

Potato Chip Cookies

1 stick of butter (room temperature)
1/2 cup turbinado
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp vanilla
1 large egg (room temperature)
1 cup rolled oats
1 cup KAF organic all-purpose flour
1 cup broken plain potato chips

Preheat the oven to 350*F. Prepare a cookie sheet by greasing it with butter or line with parchment paper.

In a mixing bowl, cream together the ingredients of butter through vanilla. Next, add one at a time the ingredients (in order) of egg through flour, and mix until just combined.

In a small bowl, coarsely crush the potato chips (or use crumbs from any bags in the cupboard). Roll the dough into a ball no bigger than a golf ball and press into the broken potato chips.

Place on the cookie sheet and bake for 15-18 min.

Remove to a cooling rack immediately - then enjoy!

~Yields 18 cookies.

My future-mother-in-law gave us one of her dish sets over the Thanksgiving holiday. I think they're beautiful! Thank you again!

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Sweet Potato Bread

I love me some sweet potatoes. We have so many laying around from after Thanksgiving, I've been trying to come up with creative ways to use them up. Smashing and casseroles were out since we had so much of that last week. And roasting them alone seems anticlimactic (although still tasty!). I have a ton of flour sitting in the pantry, so I decided to see if a quick bread loaf was possible with other items laying around the house.

I couldn't help myself and did roast some sweet potatoes before mixing them into the batter. I kept some to the side and munched on them while preparing the bread. I just love the sweet, caramel potato smell that emanates throughout the house while they slowly tenderize in the oven.

I love the consistency of this bread. It reminds me of zucchini bread density, where it's not a solid bread, but it also doesn't taste or feel quite like a cake. The sweetness is also subtle and not overpowering. I spread some butter on top of my warm slice and sat down to slowly enjoy the mellow flavors. This works wonderfully as a snack, dessert, or tasty breakfast.

If you have some plain pecans or caramel walnut pieces laying around, those would be fabulous on top.

Sweet Potato Bread

2 medium sweet potatoes
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 cupturbinado
1/3 cup olive oil
1/3 cup butter
2 eggs

Preheat the oven to 350*F. Peel and roughly chop the sweet potatoes. Toss with olive oil, salt, and pepper and spread evenly on a cooking sheet. Roast for 30min until tender.

In a medium bowl, sift together the ingredients of flour through the baking powder and set aside. Prepare a loaf pan by coating all sides with butter and set aside.

Once the sweet potatoes are ready, combine the wet ingredients (sweet potatoes, and turbinado through eggs) in a mixer and blend until fairly smooth, although small sweet potato pieces will remain. Slowly add the dry ingredients and mix until just combined.

Bake at 350*F for 60min or until a toothpick comes out clean. Allow it to cool in the pan before slicing.

~Yields 1 loaf.

~Adapted from Stylish Cuisine and Bread + Butter.

See that shadow there on the left? That would be my dog's nose a millisecond before she grabbed that bite on the fork. She's never done that before. I think some of those dogs at the park are a bad influence. I'll have to cut down on her fraternization time or at least quiz any dogs for their intention of playing with my dog from now on. Sigh, kids.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Deep Fried Deviled Eggs

My workplace held our Thanksgiving meal this past Friday. We hold our dinner early before things get too crazy with personal obligations and people start going on vacation. Our feast this year was amazing! I work with several others who are great cooks (or have immediate family members who are). This year I volunteered to bring stuffed mushrooms and deviled eggs. Word has spread that I'm a food blogger, so coworkers excitedly asked what I was bringing. When I responded with such a common food answer, the universal comment was, "Oh." I decided to try and find a recipe that would surprise everyone - but there was one catch. I don't eat deviled eggs.

I only started eating eggs a few years ago. They just didn't seemed to settle well in my stomach, plus the flavor and texture of the yolk was never pleasing. Today I am still only able to eat them scrambled. My search for a unique deviled egg recipe would need to be something I was confident in serving without having tasted it personally.

I used every search engine known to food bloggers, but was unable to find anything unique. The recipes only varied slightly on the filling ingredients, but were all still basically the classic deviled egg. I made my way over to Food Network to see what their chefs had created. Amazingly, at the top of the list was a recipe by The Neely's. I've heard of this duo, but have yet to watch their show, so they're still newcomers in my mind. However, the recipe of deep frying deviled eggs caught my attention. Everything tastes good fried, right? I decided to go for it and keep my fingers crossed.

I made the deviled eggs over two days. The night before, I boiled the eggs, made the filling, and then stuffed those little eggs silly. I let them sit overnight in the fridge in the hopes of the flavors being able to mingle and the eggs to stiffen slightly (hopefully not falling apart when rolled in a coating and fried). I kept my negative thoughts to a minimum and went to bed prepared to make a killer deviled egg the morning of the feast.

When I arrived at work and presented my share, everyone just assumed the fried deviled eggs were the stuffed mushrooms! They had come out perfectly golden brown and not one fell apart. Once I started explaining what the golden goodness was, word spread like wildfire. Coworkers began snatching them up and bobbing their heads in approval. I was told they tasted like regular deviled eggs, only with a delicious addition that only deep frying can bring. I was very pleased with the results of seeing everyone happy and eager to share their new experience with others for the holidays. I would highly recommend having deep fried deviled eggs on your table this year.

Deep Fried Deviled Eggs

12 eggs*
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
1 tsp lemon zest
salt and pepper

1 cup all-purpose flour
2 eggs, beaten
1 cup plain breadcrumbs
peanut oil

Several hours before preparing the eggs, place the egg carton on the counter and turn the eggs on their sides. This will center the yolk and allow the eggs to reach room temperature.

Using a large pot, fill 3/4 full of cool water and set on the stove. Gently add half the eggs and turn the burner on high and cover with a lid. After about 6 min, the water should begin to boil. Remove the pot carefully from the burner, add a healthy pinch of salt to the water, and allow to sit covered for 14 min. Repeat with the remaining eggs using fresh cool water.

While the first batch is boiling, prepare an ice bath. In a large bowl, fill 1/2 full of cold water and a few handfuls of ice cubes. Once the eggs have finished cooking, use tongs to carefully place the eggs in the ice bath. Allow all the eggs to sit in the ice bath for 30 min total.

Once cooled, begin carefully cracking and peeling the eggs. (Thankfully, the frying process will cover any divots in the egg whites, but still be careful so the whites do not contain any holes.) Cut each egg in half and remove the yolk. In a medium bowl, mash together the yolks, mayo, mustard, lemon zest, and salt & pepper. Use a spoon to fill the egg whites and refrigerate overnight.

Remove the eggs from the fridge while preparing for the frying process to allow them to come to room temperature. In three separate bowls: add the all-purpose flour with a dash of salt and pepper; mix the eggs together; and lastly place the breadcrumbs in their own bowl. Have a large plate lined with paper towels ready to hold the eggs pre- and post-cooking.

Right before dipping the eggs, add peanut oil to a pot that will cover the eggs slightly (about 2 inches deep). Turn the burner to medium-high. Dip an egg into the flour mixture, then coat well with egg, and lastly roll well in breadcrumbs. Using a spider, add four eggs to the spider and carefully add to the peanut oil. The eggs should brown after only 15 seconds. Remove the eggs with the spider and repeat until all are cooked. Sprinkle the eggs with kosher salt and allow to cool slightly before serving.

~Yields 24 deep fried deviled eggs.

~Adapted from Food Network with tips from The Deviled Egg Gourmet.

*Boiling at least 2 additional eggs will allow room for any that crack or do not peel well - or for snacking!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Blog Awards!

As you can see from the side bar, I was very graciously given two blog badges in October. I would like to thank Marillyn from Just Making Noise for the Friend Badge and Kathy from The Colors of Indian Cooking for the Kreativ Blogger Award. I am so happy to be recognized by two amazing foodies - Thank you!

First, I would like to pass on a Friend Badge to the following foodies who often share their thoughts and hilarious comments with me. In no particular order:

Second, I would like to pass on the Kreativ Blogger award to the following foodies who inspire me with their fabulous recipes and photos. In no particular order:
However, review of the rules shows I have something else to share:

Kreativ Blogger Award Rules:
  1. Thank the person who has given you the award
  2. Copy the logo and place it on your blog
  3. Link to the person who has nominated you for the award
  4. Name 7 things about yourself that people might find interesting
  5. Nominate 7 Kreativ Bloggers
  6. Post links to the 7 blogs nominated
  7. Leave a comment on each of the blogs to let them know of the nomination
I'm not very good at thinking I have anything to talk about, which is one reason why I started this blog - now I have something to contribute to a conversation. But, I will try my best...
  1. I can say the alphabet backwards.
  2. I was a competitive swimmer in high school. My stroke was the backstroke.
  3. I am part Native American Cherokee from my great grandparents.
  4. I am the only person in my immediate family not born in Florida.
  5. I was an extra on the pilot episode of the Nickelodeon show Cousin Skeeter.
  6. I suffer from pretty much every sleeping disorder known to humans.
  7. I am obsessed with cartoons.
Enjoy your awards!

Update: Doreen from Dolly Does Desserts graciously awarded me a Kreativ Blogger badge and Mathea from Peas Love Carrots lovingly shared with me her Blog Love badge.

Thanks so much ladies!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Listada de Gandia

I've been on a purple kick lately. Since the cooler weather appears to be in Florida to stay, I've busted out my purple fleece lounge pants for relaxing at home in the evenings. I also bought some new house slippers that have thick purple and white stripes. And I sprung for a new purple dog collar since I think it looks better on my pup. My purple craze seems to have spread into my diet as well.

The last shopping trip to the local co-op, I kept eying these gorgeous looking mini eggplants, but couldn't bring myself to take them home. I had a bad experience with eggplant last year and have steered clear ever since. These tiny little purple and white striped gems, however, were calling out to me. I went back a week later and they still had some left. I decide to purchase a small handful and try to experiment. I wanted to prepare a dish that was simple so the flavor of the eggplant would come through - and if I ended up not liking it, then I would not have wasted time, money, or my taste buds. I saw some juicy purple potatoes sitting nearby, so I snagged a few of those two.

Cutting into them was like cracking open a geode.

I've been in love with bulgur this year, so I grabbed a cup from the pantry to use as the base of this dish. The co-op did not have a label on the eggplants, but a quick search seems to point in the direction of this being a Listada de Gandia variety of eggplant. The skin is very thin, so no need to peel before preparing. I chose to roast the eggplant and potatoes in the oven to enhance their taste. The salt and pepper made the flavors pop in my mouth.

I was very pleased with this variety of eggplant. My palate recognized this vegetable, but it was slightly milder and sweeter. I was happy I did not choose to hide it under a heavy dish or sauce since I would have lost its pleasurable taste. Both the eggplant and potatoes were slightly crispy around the very edges, but soft and tender in the middle.

I hope the co-op has some left...I'd love to go back for more.

Listada de Gandia in Bulgur

1 cup chicken broth
1/2 cup bulgur
4 mini Listada de Gandia eggplants
2 medium purple potatoes
2 tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper

Preheat the oven to 350*F. Wash the eggplants and potatoes, pat dry. Chop off both ends of each vegetable, then cut into thin slices. Spread the vegetables on a roasting pan and top with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Use your hands to mix together well. Roast the vegetables for 20 min. Remove the eggplant pieces with a fork, turn the oven up to 400*F and roast the potatoes for 20 min.

While the potatoes are roasting...

In a small pot, bring the chicken broth to a boil. In a medium bowl, add the bulgur and pour the boiling chicken broth on top. Cover with plastic wrap for 20 min.

When all ingredients are ready, mix together and serve immediately.

~Yields 2 servings.

~Original by Brie.

Ovenbaked Purple Potato Chips on Foodista

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Happy Halloween!

I hope all the candy is bought and decorations are set up and costumes are on so the fun can begin!

Halloween is one of my favorite holidays. I love the rich, ancient history behind Halloween and the ability to celebrate with so many people from the community. The origins began 2000 yrs ago with the Celts (modern Ireland, England, & France) who celebrated their new year on November 1st called Samhain. They believed on the night before, the veil between the living and dead were blurred, since the summer was ending and the long, dark winter began. They dressed in animal skins and heads, then built huge bonfires where they would all gather and tell each others fortunes. When the Romans conquered the Celts years later, their deity Pomona (the goddess of fruit trees and orchards) was incorporated into the festivities - hence the apple we commonly still use in desserts and treats. Finally, when Christianity became widespread, the church attempted to absorb the popular celebration on Nov. 1st into an approved holiday called All Saints' Day, or in middle English Alholowmesse. The night before, October 31st, was called All-hallows Eve, and this phrase is what morphed into our modern term of Halloween. The tradition of going door to door is roughly based on the belief spirits would use All-hallows Eve to play tricks on the living and they can be appeased through gifts.

This year I attempted to carve a large, round loaf of white mountain bread.

I found this photo online months ago and thought it would be a great centerpiece since spinach dip in a bread loaf is something we feature at nearly every party we throw. (I would gladly give credit, but this was saved to my photo folder pre-blog and I did not think to save the source.)

Hmmmm. Mine didn't turn out scary. He looks more scared at the fact I'm about to carve open his head and stuff it full of gooey spinach dip. I placed the bread loaf in the oven on 200*F for 10 min to firm up the crust so it was easy to carve and became crinkly like the original photo. This will not dry out the middle, which is still nice and soft to use in holding the dip of your choice.

I also made Witch's Finger Cookies.

They have a delicious almond flavor, and came out perfect. They're not too soft to fall apart, but also not hard and crunchy either. I usually struggle to find that happy medium in my cookies.

The recipe can be found here. I also did not bother to put chocolate around the fingernails since it was not coming out as nice as the photo. I left a small bowl of melted chocolate out so our party guests could dip or drizzle the chocolate if they wanted. Some of my almonds fell off and I did use the chocolate to hold them in place, so you can go with that method as well.

Mine were also a little chunky and only yielded 3 dozen, so if made smaller and thinner, they would yield 5 dozen.

I'm off to finish preparing for our party. Enjoy your night!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Greek Food Festival

Guess what's in town this weekend?

That's right, BABY! The Greek Food Festival is in town!

I've waited a whole year for this! The local Greek Church hosts the annual event to share their culture with the locals. The event started about 30 yrs ago as a bake sale and has grown into a festival that brings thousands of people from all over the area. The festivities range from Greek folk music, dancers in costume, and of course - FOOD.

Half of the tents set up for the festival are reserved for gyros. People just can't get enough of them!

The most tender, thin strips of lamb are seasoned to perfection and grilled just right. Then they are placed on fresh, handmade pitas that are also seasoned. The gyros are topped off with fresh tomatoes, red onion, and homemade taziki sauce. Mmmmm!

Our next stop was for a basket of patates, or Greek fried potatoes. The ones served at the festival reminded me of pommes frites, but with seasonings instead of just salt. I wish I had tried to ask someone what seasonings were used on the food, but I was too preoccupied with the highlight of the festival: The Pastries.

The pastries are heavily guarded and patrons are kept in line, literally, to keep things from getting out of control. This process runs like clockwork since the pastries are so sought after. The lines are clearly marked and, as you can see, the pastry line is constantly full.

Here's the middle of the line, but we hadn't quite made it to the building yet.

I was hoping to get more photos of inside so the mounds of pastries could be seen, but I wasn't able to balance a camera and a tray of goodies very well. They handed me a tray and I walked swiftly through the line pointing and calling out which pastries I wanted and how many to load me up with. I was able to control myself pretty well. The pastries lasted us more than one day, so I'd call that a success in willpower.

I savored the handmade baklava and kataifi, which are like giant shredded wheat pieces that are full of honey and walnuts.

However, my favorite Greek pastry is kourambiedes.

This soft, delicate, almond flavored cookie is a half-moon shape and covered in sweet powdered sugar. It is also called a Greek wedding or Christmas cookie. I just can't get enough of them.

Sigh, the only sad part is having to wait another year...

Friday, October 16, 2009

Eat Cheap For A Week Challenge

The recession is being discussed everywhere you look - food bloggers included. People are constantly conversing and comparing notes on how to save money anywhere they can. It seems one of the first things people sacrifice is food.

No more daily take-out or dine-in meals. No more daily coffee runs to the local shop. No more throwing wasted food away because it went bad or no one felt like having left overs.

Suddenly, it's boxed meals and cheap imitation foods, instead of smarter food choices.

Since I'm a big believer in organic foods, I'm not willing to sacrifice my food first. I'd rather continue to eat as healthy as possible for a variety of reasons - level of health, especially as the cold weather approaches and germs tend to spread; mood regulation, to fend off depression or irritability; higher nutrient value in less food consumed, to prevent myself from eating and snacking constantly; etc.

Many of my friends and family believe I'm spending triple digits at the grocery store each week because I'm vocal about eating organic as much as possible. Oh, how I wish I had that kind of money. The truth is I have been frugal in my weekly grocery runs for quite some time now. Sure, I splurge occasionally on a big ticket item if I have a certain recipe in mind or if I'm celebrating a holiday and cooking a lot of food, but the majority of the time I watch my dollars carefully. (I also tend to go weekly since I use fresh vegetables and other ingredients, so they do not keep for several weeks.)

I decided I needed to do something to prove how it's possible to eat cheap organically. I Stumbled upon the food blog Cheap Healthy Good and found my answer. They took a challenge to eat for a week on $25 with a diverse menu that yielded 17 meals. All the recipes they used looked delicious and straightforward. I decided to duplicate their challenge with two differences: buy a week's worth of groceries for $50 and all ingredients must be organic.

Grocery List

2 whole chickens $14.72
8oz self-serve creamy peanut butter $3.99
6 carrots with top $2.99
3/4 lb green bell peppers $2.83
1 medium cucumber $2.70
1.29 lbs red potatoes $2.57
1 can salsa $2.50
6 pack 2 oz raisin boxes $2.09
1.18 lbs celery $1.76
1 lb yellow onions $1.69
Greek yogurt $1.69
1 can black beans $1.67
bundle green onions $1.59
1 lb brown rice $1.49
1 can corn $1.29
4 oz green chilies $1.19
1 can garbanzo beans $1.09
1 can white beans $0.89
2 lemons $0.79
2 oz roasted peanuts $0.44
1 small ginger root $0.28

Total $50.25 (it counts, just round down)

Now, this only works if you're able to shop at a store with self-service items, meaning not everything is in bulk. For example, I was able to purchase 2 oz of roasted peanuts instead of paying several dollars for a big jar of them. I also used several ingredients already on hand, which does not count toward the grocery bill.

Below are the 5 recipes I cooked and how many meals each provided:

Marcella Hazan's Roasted Chicken

2 3 1/2 lb chickens
1.29 lbs red potatoes
3 carrots
olive oil
2 lemons
4 tbsp butter
salt & pepper

Preheat the oven to 375*F. Wash each chicken thoroughly, inside and out, then allow to drain and rest for 10 min.

Roughly chop the red potatoes and carrots into large pieces, saving any scraps. On a 13-by-18-inch pan, place the potatoes and carrots around the edges. Cover with a few tablespoons of olive oil, plus salt and pepper. Wash the lemons well, then roll on a hard surface and puncture with a knife several times; set aside.

Place the chickens on the pan, breast side up and making sure the wings are tucked under, then put one lemon into each cavity. Carefully massage 2 tbsp butter on each chicken between the skin and breast meat without puncturing the skin. Liberally season the chickens with salt and pepper.

Cook the chickens for 160 min (20 min per pound, plus 20 min). Remove from the oven and allow the chickens to rest for 30 min before slicing.

Dinner: 2 chicken breasts & roasted potatoes and carrots

~Yields 2 servings.

~Adapted from Cheap Healthy Good & cooking tips from Robin at Caviar & Codfish.

After this dinner, I had 5 lbs chicken meat left. I did not have to purchase chicken stock since I had plenty of scraps to make my own - a little over 2 quarts in fact. After stripping the chickens of all their juicy meat, throw each chicken into a pot (or throw them into one jumbo pot if you've got it) with 10 cups of water each and food scraps from prepping the vegetables for the week (meaning dice up all the veggies now and store them in tupperware to utilize the left overs in the stock and for faster cooking later - except the carrots, just peel them and leave them whole since one needs to be grated later) and any preferred spices. Let the stock simmer for 4 hours. Strain the stock into several containers and refrigerate overnight.

Before using, skim off the fat and save for cooking in the future by freezing (and don't forget to save the chicken fat from the roast pan, too! It makes the best gravy base.)

Chicken Curry

2 cups chicken stock
1 cup brown rice

2 tbsp olive oil
1 cup onion, diced
1 tbsp curry powder
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 tsp salt
1 tbsp fresh ginger, minced
1/2 cup water
1 1/2 cups shredded chicken
1 can garbanzo beans
1 carrot, grated
4 oz raisins

Greek yogurt

Bring chicken stock to a boil and add the brown rice. Reduce the heat to medium and cook for 30 min until rice is tender.

Heat olive oil on medium-high heat in a large skillet. Add onion, curry, salt and cook for 5 min. Stir in the garlic and ginger, cooking for 1 min. Add the remaining ingredients through raisins and cook for 5 min.

Plate 1/2 cup rice with 1/2 cup chicken curry. Top with 1 tbsp Greek yogurt and cilantro to taste.

~Yields 4 servings.

White Bean Chicken Chili

1 tbsp olive oil
1 cup celery, diced
1 cup onion, diced
1 cup green bell peppers, diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 tsp cayenne pepper
2 tsp cumin
2 cups chicken stock
1 can white beans
1 1/2 cups shredded chicken
1/2 cup raw milk
2 green onions, diced
1 tbsp all-purpose flour
salt & pepper
Greek yogurt

Heat olive oil on medium-high heat in a large skillet. Add celery, onion, bell pepper and cook for 5 min. Add garlic, cayenne pepper, cumin and cook for 1 min. Add chicken stock and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook for 5 min. Add the white beans, chicken, milk and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and add the green onions and flour, stirring well. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve with 1 tbsp Greek yogurt, if desired.

~Yields 4 servings.

~Adapted from Chili Cheese Fries.

Chicken Over Noodles

Soba noodles*
sesame oil
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tbsp ginger, minced
1/2 cup smooth peanut butter
1 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp brown sugar
1 tbsp brown rice vinegar
3/4 tsp crushed red pepper
1 cup chicken, chopped
1 carrot, chopped
1 green bell pepper, finely sliced
green onions, diced
roasted peanuts, chopped

Cook soba noodles according to instructions, then toss with sesame oil (1/2 tbsp per bundle).

In a pan on medium heat, add the ingredients from garlic through red pepper, stirring until well incorporated. Add the chicken and cook until all ingredients are thoroughly warm.

Plate 1 bundle of soba noodles with 1/3 chicken mixture, carrot, and bell pepper. Top with green onions and roasted peanuts to taste.

~Yields 3 servings.

~Adapted from Food Network.

*Use 1/2 cup brown rice if noodles are unavailable.

Chicken Picadillo

2 cups chicken stock
1 cup brown rice
1 can black beans

1 tbsp olive oil
1 cup onion, diced
1 cup chicken
1 1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup salsa
4 oz raisins
slivered almonds

Bring chicken stock to a boil and add the brown rice. Reduce the heat to medium and cook for 30 min until rice is tender. Stir in can of black beans.

Heat olive oil and onion on medium-high heat in a large skillet and cook for 3 min. Add ingredients of chicken through garlic and cook for 5 min. Add salsa and raisins and cook for 2 min.

Plate with 1/2 cup black beans & rice and 1/2 cup chicken picadillo. Top with almonds and cilantro to taste.

~Yields 4 servings.

~Adapted from Cooking Light.

I think the challenge was a success. I ate delicious meals all week long and even had 2 cups of chicken stock left over for another time, and made Smitten Kitchen Oatmeal Cookies with the leftover raisins (which are phenomenal!). I realized afterward a few of the meals doubled up on protein, meaning I ate chicken and beans. I think I could successfully redo this challenge for less money by switching up the menu some. If I was growing my own vegetables or bought dried beans, that would save even more. However, this was a great starting point that hopefully shows how important it is to continue to eat as healthy as possible on a frugal budget.

Thanks to Kristen from Cheap Healthy Good for approval to share my take on their challenge! Be sure to review their challenge which has a more thorough breakdown of prices per meal.

Update: I submitted this post to participate in Food Renegade's Fight Back Friday. Be sure to check out all the other fabulous real foodies!