Le Creuset Dutch Oven

After waiting and waiting and waiting, I finally took the plunge. I went to Williams-Sonoma and purchased my first-ever Le Creuset Dutch oven. My grandma had given me a gift card that had a substantial amount of money on it for Williams-Sonoma, and when I walked into the store last Saturday, the 3.5 quart Le Creuset ovens were on sale. It couldn’t get any better for me in that regard. I had been wanting one of these for a while, but didn’t want to fork over upwards of $300 for the oven. I brought it home and started thinking about what I could cook in it the next day.

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Me being silly, I didn’t take a picture of what I made because it smelled so good my husband and I just devoured it, but I made balsamic Brussels sprouts with bacon. They turned out delicious and I’ll be sure to take a picture of them next time, but you can see the Le Creuset Dutch oven I purchased at the store above.

Balsamic Brussels Sprouts with Bacon

Ingredients

  • 1 bag of Brussels sprouts (I used the pack purchased at Trader Joe’s)
  • 1 small red or yellow onion, chopped
  • 2-3 strips of bacon, chopped
  • 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Salt to taste
  • Pepper to taste

To Prepare

  1. Place Brussels sprouts in a microwave safe bowl. Fill the bowl with enough water that it’s covering the Brussels sprouts. Heat the bowl for 5 minutes (this will make the Brussels sprouts easier to cut).
  2. While the sprouts are heating, take your 2-3 strips of bacon and chop them up to your liking. I did little rectangle size bits. Place to the side.
  3. Once the Brussels sprouts are done, let it cool, then cut them in half and place in a bowl (they’ll cook better when they’re cut in half).
  4. Put the dutch oven on your burner on medium heat. Pour olive oil over the bottom of the oven and sauté your onions.
    1. Option: Cook the bacon in the dutch oven first, so the bits get super crispy then remove and begin cooking the Brussels sprouts in the bacon grease so they soak up the flavor.
  5. Once the onions have been caramelized, place your Brussels sprouts in the dutch oven and begin to sauté them, as well. Add your salt and pepper during this process to give them a little extra flavor.
  6. Add a little of the balsamic vinegar to the sprouts and onions and place the cover on the dutch oven to let cook more thoroughly, about 3-minutes.
  7. Remove cover, turn up the heat to medium-high and add the bacon bits. Make sure to mix often so they don’t stick to the bottom of dutch oven. Add the rest of the balsamic vinegar to coat the Brussels sprouts and the bacon. Once you see that the bacon is cooked and the Brussels sprouts have darkened, turn off burner and put the cover back on to let it cook a little more (another minute or two).
  8. Remove from burner (be careful as Dutch oven heat easily).
  9. Plate with chicken breast or on top of a salad.

I plan on making this again, so I’ll be sure to snap a photo next time. What’s your favorite thing to make in your Dutch oven? I’d love to know!

xoxo,

Leigh

 

 

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Recipe: Banana Oatmeal Breakfast Muffins

Now, I know today is St. Patrick’s Day, and while I don’t have a St. Patty’s Day-themed post, I do have a great foodie one. A majority of my food posts consist of soups or crockpot recipes, but little do people know, I truly enjoy baking. Come spring and summer it’s time to bust out my KitchenAid mixer and get to baking. Even though I love double fudge brownies, I try and opt for healthier baking options. While exploring the amazingness that is Pinterest a few years ago, I discovered these banana oatmeal breakfast muffins that were deemed healthy. Usually that means a Sucralose substitute, however, this recipe is a flourless, granulated sugarless, oil-free recipe. Super easy to prepare and bake, this is a perfect on-the-go snack. So when you’re running late and need a quick breakfast – or that mid-morning sweet treat – grab one of these. Note: these muffins are highly perishable, so be sure to eat them within a week or they will go bad. (Here’s the original recipe).

Banana Oatmeal Breakfast Muffins

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Ingredients

  • 2.5 cups old fashioned oats
  • 1 cup plain low fat greek yogurt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tbsp ground flax seed
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 ripe bananas
  • Optional: unsweetened dark chocolate chips
  • Optional: walnuts, sliced almonds

To Prepare

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Grab a cupcake baking tin and spray with non-stick cooking spray or line with 12 muffin tins (with silicone or foil liners).
  2. Place your 2.5 cups of old fashioned oats in the food processor (or blender) and pulse for about 10-15 seconds. Add the 2 eggs, 1 cup low fat Greek yogurt, 1/2 cup honey, baking powder, baking soda, vanilla and the bananas into the food processor.
  3. Process until everything is mixed together and oats are smooth.
  4. At this step, you can either add unsweetened dark chocolate chips (which is what I did), walnuts, toasted almonds or any other nut or chocolate you’d like in the batter.
  5. Divide batter among cupcake liners, and bake for 18-20 minutes, or until toothpick comes out clean.

Now if your bananas are getting too ripe, you can peel them and put them in a freezer bag and store until your next batch of muffins. These taste great with a warm cup of coffee. They are not high in caloric intake, so perfect for any bride-to-be or person wanting to curb that sweet tooth while trying to stay healthy with their diet.

Planning on making these? I’d love to see how yours turned out, so leave a comment below!

xoxo,

Leigh

Recipe: Slow Cooker Turkey Chili

Did you watch Super Bowl 50 on Sunday? I’m guilty of dozing during the game, but enjoying the commercials and the half-time show. I mean, who doesn’t love Queen Bey, Bruno and Coldplay? While I didn’t bust out the bean dip I usually make to celebrate this sporting event, I did bring out my crockpot and make some turkey chili. I started at around 11:30 a.m., threw everything in the crockpot at around noon and the chili was ready by 4 p.m.

Just like the slow cooker balsamic chicken recipe I’ve shared, this, too, is a staple in my household.

turkey chili

Ingredients:

  • 1 package ground lean Jennie-O turkey (or whatever you have in the freezer)
  • 1 16 oz. can of tomato sauce
  • 1 small can of tomato paste
  • 1 large can (24 oz.) of petite diced tomatoes
  • 1 can of kidney beans
  • 1 can of black beans
  • 1/2 green or red onion, diced
  • 6 celery stalks, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 2 tablespoons paprika
  • 2-3 tablespoons cayenne pepper (or more if you like it spicy)
  • Salt (to taste)
  • Pepper (to taste)
  • Up to 1/2 cup of water

To Prepare:

  1. In a large non-stick skillet, cook your ground turkey 90%.
  2. Once your turkey is cooked, place it in the crockpot along with the tomato sauce, tomato paste, diced tomatoes, kidney and black beans, onion, chopped celery and mix it together.
  3. Add the spices: chili powder, garlic powder, paprika, cayenne, salt and pepper, and mix those in.
  4. If you see that it’s too thick, add a little water and mix again.
  5. Cook on high for 4 hours.

What is your favorite type of chili to make in your slow cooker? Let me know!

xoxo,

Leigh

Recipe: Slow Cooker Balsamic Chicken

Anyone who knows me (and I think you all do by now) knows that I swear and live by my crockpot (see my hot cider recipe here). It’s super convenient – prep something the night before, throw it into the crockpot in the morning and 12 hours later you have a delicious meal waiting for you. Bonus: your home smells delicious all day.

One of my go-to signature crockpot meals is balsamic chicken. I first discovered this recipe on Skinny Ms while I was doing a low-carb diet and it turns out that this recipe is low-carb and low-fat, so double win for me. This chicken dish is good over pasta, rice or my personal favorite – Israeli couscous. This dish also pairs well with a side salad. I hope you try it out! Crockpot balsamic chicken has become a staple in my household, that’s for sure.

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Ingredients:

  • 4-6 boneless skinless chicken breast. I recommend the Eat Right chicken breast from Safeway. It doesn’t have as much fat on it.
  • 2 cans diced tomatoes (14.5 oz) or you can use the 28 oz can
  • 1 small onion, sliced
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil. I use extra virgin.
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil, oregano, rosemary; 1/2 teaspoon thyme
  • 1/2 cup Balsamic Vinegar. I add a little more than a 1/2 cup because I’m obsessed with balsamic vinegar.
  • Black pepper and salt to taste
  • Cook time: 4 hrs (or longer)

To prepare:

1. Pour the 1 tablespoon of olive oil on the bottom of your crock pot.

2. Salt and pepper each chicken breast and then place into the crock pot. I tend to put salt and pepper on the bottom of the crock pot and flip the chicken breasts over after one side is salt and peppered.

3. Place the sliced onion on top of the chicken breast. Make sure the onion slices are spread across every piece of chicken breast.

4. Put in the 1 teaspoon of dried basil, oregano, rosemary, and the 1/2 teaspoon of thyme on top of the onions.

5. Place the 4 cloves of garlic on top of the dried herbs.

6. Pour the 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar over the chicken, herbs, onions, and garlic. Add some extra balsamic vinegar if you like the taste. (I tend to.)

7. Top with the 2 cans diced tomatoes.

8. Cook on high for 4 hours. The longer you cook the dish, the more tender the chicken will be.

The nice thing about this particular crock pot dish, is that it will last you two nights (if you’re just two people) and it even tastes better the next day, in my opinion.

Give this recipe a shot and let me know what you think in the comments!

xoxo,

Leigh

Lucky New Year’s Foods

New Year’s Eve is only days away! Yesterday Veronica shared six sequin-inspired outfits to glam it up at your New Year’s Eve party. Next question is: what food to serve?

Growing up, there would always be bowls of different things to eat at the stroke of midnight: grapes, noodles, a lentil bean soup, something green, something sweet and others. As a kid, I didn’t understand why we had to eat a bite of each thing, but as a teen my godmother explained that each food brings forth potential luck. While I’m not really into the superstition behind it all, but it’s still something different to include in your New Year’s festivities. Reader’s Digest does a good job of explaining each one, but here are four of my favorites you might want to have on your coffee table next to the party poppers and champagne. Or – you can incorporate these into your dinner menu for the evening.

Greens resemble potential money to be made in the upcoming year.

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Noodles resemble a long life, so be sure to find the longest piece of pasta and eat that one.

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Cake (specifically a round cake [go for bundt if you want!]) resembles something coming full circle. Be sure to indulge in this one.

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Grapes resembles how your year ahead will be. I would always eat 12, one for each month, and if I ended up eating a few sour ones, those were the months to watch out for in the new year.

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What are some of your New Year’s Eve traditions? Let me know in the comments.

xoxo,

Leigh