Tag Archives: fall

Beer Braised Chicken and Pumpkin Muffins

Yeah looking at that title I might run the other way. They don’t sound like they would go well together but that’s okay because they weren’t for the same meal time!

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Yesterday my co-worker Kelly and I are were charge of snack for our monthly staff meeting. I have been dying to break into a can of pumpkin and offered to make some pumpkin walnut muffins. Kelly put together some caramel dipped apple slices. Obviously we went for a bit of a fall theme here. The muffins were a huge hit and my co-workers couldn’t believe I had just “thrown them together” without a real recipe. Lucky for you guys I wrote down the recipe as I went.

For dinner, I threw together an extremely easy make it and leave it dish. Beer braised chicken thighs. Aldi had chicken thighs on sale and I picked some up because I was there for there all things pumpkin sale. This was another sort of tag-team dinner as I went to yoga with my sister. I prepped everything and cooked it all so all Alex had to do when he got home from his run was turn off the stove and he could eat whenever he wished. He was a great fiance and waited until I got home from yoga so that we could eat together. Pretty cute of him.

To make the muffins I mixed two types of sugar (granulated and brown sugar) with whole wheat pastry flour, baking soda, salt, baking powder, and pumpkin pie spices in my KitchenAid mixer.

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In a small bowl I mixed 1 can pumpkin puree (15 oz), eggs, greek yogurt and vanilla extract

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Then the wet got mixed into the dry and mixed together. Once just combined I added in the walnuts and mixed it together before spooning the mix into the muffin tins. The muffins got baked at 350 for about 30 minutes.

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Pumpkin Walnut Muffins (Makes 26+ muffin depending on how high you fill the tins)

3 C whole wheat pastry flour

2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

1 1/2 C granulated sugar

1/2 C packed brown sugar

1 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp ginger

1/2 tsp all apice

dash cloves

1 can pumpkin puree

4 eggs

1 C greek yogurt

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

1. Mix first 9 ingredients together until well combined

2. Mix last 4 ingredients together and combine well

3. Mix the wet into the dry until just combined then add in the walnuts. Stir a couple of times to distribute the walnuts

4. Spoon into muffin tins until about 2/3 full.

5. Bake in a preheated oven at 350 degrees for 28-30 minutes

Nutrition Facts per Muffin: 160 calories, 28 gm carbs, 3 gms fiber, 16 gm sugar, 4 gm protein, 4 gm fat (heart healthy ones!), 4% DV calcium, 6% DV Iron

Expect more pumpkin recipes over the next few months. I have two more cans in my cabinet right now and I would love to get even more! Love me some pumpkin. Also, apologies in advance as Alex and I are sharing a computer right now (his broke) which means less time for me to blog. Hopefully he will have a computer again soon.

What is your favorite way to use pumpkin? Any recipes you want to see this fall?

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Life Update and Some Soup

Well, last time I posted on my little blog was entirely too long ago. I have plenty of excuses but none are a true reason as to why I have left my space here for over 4 months! Let’s start with an update on my little life. Last we left off, Alex and I had just gotten engaged. We have now set our date and booked our ceremony and reception venues! The planning process is slow due to my moving to full time at work.

Starting in mid-July, I took over the pediatric position at my hospital. I am now the RD for our PICU, peds floor and step-down unit. I am absolutely loving it and cannot believe my first full time job is my dream job! It has been a learning experience to say the least.

Earlier this month I ran my very first half-marathon. It was a wonderful race. I ran the Chicago Half-Marathon. I felt great most of the race and finished right at my goal time which was something of a miracle due to how poorly I trained. I am really going to try writing a race review but I am putting it out there if you love running and half-marathons, run the Chicago Half-Marathon. It is well run, a flat course and has awesome crowd support. Can we talk about what a goober I look like in the below picture? Almost every picture my family has of me running the race looks like this.

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Alex and I celebrated our 6 year dating anniversary this month and I cannot believe that in just over a year he is going to be my husband. I worked on our actual anniversary and he greeted me at the door when I got home my favorite flowers. Wonderful surprise! Speaking of celebrations, we celebrated the two marriages of some of our undergrad friends, family friends and my oldest cousin Matt. It has been a wedding filled summer.

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I’ve been spending a lot of time in my wonderful new apartment kitchen but many of the recipes I’ve been making are from other blogs or ones I found on pinterest. I feel like my own personal creativity in the kitchen has diminished some due to “being busy” with all of the changes in my life. It seems that when one thing happens, everything else changes. All in good ways though. It appears that I have now settled into my new routine of living with Alex, being a full time dietitian, managing our own apartment, and planning a wedding. Hopefully this means I can spend more time here on the blog.

To make up for my absence I have a wonderful fall soup for you! Since it is now officially fall and football season, nothing sounds better than soup. I originally found a vegetarian soup on pinterest then took it an ran to make my own version. I added chicken, some other spices, and more beans. This is a protein packed soup that is perfect for a crisp cool fall night of watching football. I made Sweet Tooth Sweet Life’s Cheesy Italian Quick Bread to go along side our soup to round it out.

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Chicken and Bean Soup  (serves 6+, We will probably get 8 bowls out of it which is reflected in the nutrition facts below)

2 chicken breasts, cooked and shredded

1 can chick peas, drained and rinsed

1 can white beans (I used cannellini), drained and rinsed

1 can tomato sauce

6 cups vegetable broth (or use chicken)

1/2 cup brown rice

2 cloves garlic

1 yellow onion, diced

6-8 cups fresh spinach

1 Tbsp olive oil

1 tsp garlic powder

1 tsp dried basil

salt and pepper to taste

1. Saute onion and garlic in the olive oil until soft

2. Add in all of the ingredients except for the spinach and let cook until rice is cooked. You can let it cook longer if you would like to let the flavors blend together. I ended up letting mine cook for about 2-3 hours but it could be as little as 50 minutes if using uncooked rice. Use 1 cup cooked brown rice to cut the cooking time, all you would need to do is let it all warm up together before eating.

3. Once rice is cooked and you are ready to eat, stir in the spinach and ladle into bowls. Top with some Parmesan if you feel so inclined and dig in!

Nutrition Facts: 1/8 recipe (~1.25 cups soup): 290 calories, 5 grams fat, 23 grams protein, 26 grams carbohydrate, 9 grams fiber

Hope all is well with you, my internet friends. What have you been up to all summer?

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Fall Inspired Pasta

Last night I made an awesome dinner. It was probably the best of my creations all fall. For the past two weeks, I have had a 2 lb butternut squash sitting on my kitchen counter. I just could not figure out what I wanted to make with it yet. Then, I bought Chicken Apple Gouda Sausage from Costco. And just like that the inspiration hit. I would make a pasta with roasted butternut squash and the Chicken Sausage. It worked even better than I could have imagined.

I sliced the sausage on an angle and the creamy Gouda melted down to create an amazingly creamy sauce. It was voted a winner in my house. And, it tasted just as awesome this afternoon for lunch. The recipe is as follows:Image

Chicken Apple Sausage, Butternut Squash Pasta in a Creamy Tomato Parmesan Sauce

Serves 4-6

Ingredients:

1 2lb Butternut Squash

1 package (6 links) Chicken Apple Gouda Sausage

2 medium tomatoes

1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese

1/2 box your choice Penne pasta (I used Ronzoni Smart Taste because my family doesn’t like the whole wheat variety)

Olive oil, salt and pepper

1. Preheat oven to 400 F

2. Peel and cube your butternut squash into bite size pieces.

3. Place squash on a baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil. I used about 1/5-1 Tbsp for the entire sheet. Salt and pepper the squash and give it a good mix. Stick it in the oven to bake for 45-50 minutes, stirring at 20 mins. You want it to get a little caramelized so it’ll bake a little longer than what other recipes call for.

4. After you’ve stirred the squash. Start your water in a pot to boil. I used a medium saucepan for mine. Start the next steps while waiting for it to boil.

5. Slice the chicken sausage on an angle getting 7-8 pieces per link. Then dice your tomatoes.

6. Start a large saute pan on medium-high heat. Let warm for 2-3 minutes then add in your chicken sausage and tomatoes. The Gouda and tomatoes at this point will start making the sauce. Mine got a little dry and I added another teaspoon of olive oil to the pan to keep things moving.

7. At this point your water should be boiling so cook your pasta according to the box. Before you drain, reserve a quarter cup of pasta water or so to help make the sauce.

8. Now its just an add everything to the sausage and tomatoes as they finish sort of deal. My order was butternut squash then I added in half the Parmesan to make stirring a little easier. Then I added in my drained pasta and the reserved pasta water. Mixed it all up and mixed in the last of the Parmesan.

There it is! My new favorite pasta dish. Feel free to play around with it. Add more tomatoes or leave them out if you don’t like them. Add more pasta if you want. Cooking is all about feel and what you want. Make it yours.

What has been your favorite dish you have made so far this fall? I’d love to hear about it!

Laura

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