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Spice up your night.

I subscribe to quite a few cooking magazines, as I am always looking for new ideas and forms of inspiration. One of my favorites is Cooking Light. I know some people out there don’t like the magazine as much as they used to and I do admit I was getting a little tired of it myself while reading the past few issues. Well, I received my September issue a week or two ago and I was surprised to see that they have given the magazine somewhat of a face lift. I have to say, I am really liking it. The last few issues prior to this one seemed to be lacking in the recipe and food department. I really hope they keep up this new format because it has so much information on ingredients, nutrition and a huge variety of recipes.

Okay, so why did I give that shout out to Cooking Light? No, I am not getting paid to endorse the magazine. Like I mentioned, this issue had a great variety of recipes. So, of course I made one. I love one pot dishes, so anytime I come across a great one pot dish, I am all over it. This particular recipe was for a Creole Shrimp and Sausage Stew. This dish was really tasty and will be perfect for the cool days to come. Well, the cool days to come for my friends to the north. I most likely won’t be seeing a cool day at least until December or January. This recipe is also a great base recipe for switching things up. You can pretty much use it to clean out your refrigerator if you have some veggies to use up. You can also make it as spicy or tame as you like; I used the spicy Rotel and it gave it quite a kick.  We ate it over brown rice and it made for the perfect meal.

newest-stew

Creole Shrimp and Sausage Stew

Adapted from Cooking Light

2 teaspoons olive oil
1 cup green bell pepper, chopped
1/2 cup onion, chopped
1/4 cup celery, chopped
1/4 cup carrots, chopped
1 cup thinly sliced turkey or chicken sausage (about 6 ounces)
2 cloves of garlic, minced
3/4 cup fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
1 (10-ounce) can diced tomatoes and green chiles, undrained (such as Rotel)
8 ounces peeled and deveined medium shrimp
1 (15-ounce) can of white beans, rinsed and drained
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

Heat a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add bell pepper, onion, carrot and celery to pan; saute on medium-high heat about 5 minutes. Add garlic and sausage to the pan; sauté 3 minutes or until the veggies are tender, stirring occasionally. Add broth and tomatoes; bring to a boil. Stir in shrimp and beans; cover, reduce heat, and simmer 6 minutes or until shrimp are done. Sprinkle with parsley.

Yields 4 servings

Approximate Nutrition Facts (according to Spark Recipe)
Serving size: about 1 cup
Calories: 298.2
Total Fat: 6.3 g
Saturated Fat: 1.7 g
Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.9 g
Monounsaturated Fat: 2.1 g
Cholesterol: 117.1 mg
Sodium: 863.8 mg
Carbohydrates: 32.2 g
Dietary Fiber: 6.9 g
Protein: 27.2 g
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Hearty and healthy for a cool winters night.

While it’s nice to have the traditional meat, starch and vegetable dinner on a plate, I am always looking for one pot dishes. I feel like after a long day of work, a one pot dish is so simple for a weeknight dinner. Not only do you not have to concentrate on three different pots and pans on the stove while you are trying to unwind, but you also have a lot less dishes to wash at the end of the night.

I was delighted when I found not only a great sounding stew dish but a healthy stew dish at Erin’s Eats. My husband is not a fan of a traditional stew because he really doesn’t like gravy, so I love the fact that this stew has more of a light sauce rather than a gravy. It’s light but hearty.

This is also a recipe that you can very simply alter to fit your taste.

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Chicken Stew with White Beans and Spinach

adapted from Erin’s Eats
2-3 slices of bacon, chopped (I used turkey bacon)
2 chicken breasts, cut into bite size pieces (I used boneless skinless)
1 small onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbs. tomato paste
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 cup chicken broth
1 bay leaf
1 tsp. oregano
1 can cannellini, or your favorite white beans, drained
3 cups fresh spinach
salt and pepper, to taste

In a large saute pan with lid, cook bacon until it is crispy. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside. You want about 1 tbs. of fat/oil remaining in the pan. If you used pork bacon then you may need to remove some excess fat and if you used turkey bacon you may have to actually add a bit of olive oil to the pan to compensate.

Sprinkle the chicken with salt and pepper and sear it in the pan, browning both sides. Remove from pan.

Add the onions and cook until tender. Stir in the garlic and once the garlic becomes fragrant, stir in tomato paste. Cook approximately 1 minute.

Add wine to the pan to deglaze. Cook for about 2 minutes, scraping up the brown bits. Add the chicken broth, bay leaf, oregano, salt and pepper to taste, and bring to a boil. Add the chicken back to the pan. Cover, reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, mash about 1/3 of the can of beans with a fork or back of a wooden spoon–not into a paste, but just breaking up some of the beans (this will make the texture of the final product a bit thicker). After the chicken has simmered for 15 minutes, add the whole beans and the mashed beans into the pan. Cover, simmering an additional 15 minutes.

Add the bacon back in and the spinach. Cook just until spinach is wilted, about 2 minutes.

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