Chana Masala

Ah, carb loading…. one of the best parts of marathon training. 🙂 This recipe came to me as a gift from God – thank goodness for Pinterest! I have already professed my love for the chickpea so it should come as no surprise that when I saw this, I knew it must be made and gobbled. Chana Masala can’t just happen on any day – it must be made on the PERFECT day. It doesn’t really require an exhorbitant amount of time so it’s definitely doable after work but the temperature must be perfect. Yesterday was that day – it was cool and rainy and blech. Chana Masala is perfect for perking up a dreary day!

I made a small adjustment to this recipe and it garnered rave reviews. I love Muir Glen fire-roasted diced tomatoes. There’s just something about them. It’s a sad day indeed if I reach in my pantry for a can and there isn’t one. I cry. Literally. Anyway, I left out the jalapeno and used the fire-roasted tomatoes as the “heat.” Delicious! Those tomatoes provided a nice smoky burn that totally complimented the flavors of the spices. This meal literally had me grinning from ear to ear. No Indian restaurants near you? Now you don’t need one. 🙂 Enjoy!

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Chana Masala

2 (15 ounce) cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed
2 garlic cloves, smashed and chopped
1 onion, chopped
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and chopped
1-inch knob fresh ginger, peeled and chopped
1 (15 ounce) can diced tomatoes
3 tablespoons tomato paste
1/2 lemon
1 tablespoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon garam masala
1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
2 tablespoons butter

1.  In a large cast iron skillet, heat the butter.  Once melted, add the onions and cook for about 15 minutes on medium-low heat or until golden brown.  Once the onions have caramelized, add the garlic, ginger and jalapeno and stir well.  Cook for about 2 minutes or until it starts to smell like heaven on earth.

2.  Add the tomato paste and pince.  (Pincing is essentially a browning process.After you add the tomato paste, stir it very well into the other ingredients.  Then flatten the ingredients into one layer on the bottom of the pan.  Turn up the heat and allow the sugars to cook down for a few minutes and create a really nice brown crust on the bottom of your pan.  It may look like it’s burnt but it isn’t so don’t freak out.)

3.  Add the coriander, cumin, cayenne and turmeric and stir well.

4.  Add the diced tomatoes, chickpeas, and garam masala.  Cook for about 5 minutes or until the chickpeas have heated through.  Finish with a squeeze of lemon and top with plain yogurt and cilantro, if desired. Serve with Naan on the side, if desired.

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Recipe from The Culinary Chronicles

Chicken Stew with Shallots, Cider, and Butternut Squash

Last weekend, I flew home for the first round of the NFL NFC play-off games. I’m a huge Redskins fan. HUGE! My dad has season tickets and I generally buy a seat so I can go to every home game with my dad. Football – it’s our thing, it’s what we do. And, even though we didn’t win, I still had a great time. I got to hang out with my dad and, hey, we’re NFC East champs and we swept Dallas! Woot!

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The only downside to my whirlwind play-off weekend was the amount of time I spent in an airport. Unfortunately, especially in the south, it’s difficult to find healthy food choices in the airport. Follow that up with a busy week and a small amount of time for grocery shopping, and this runner is jonesing for some healthy food. Got my grocery-shop on yesterday and I am totally ready to eat well and tackle the week. Tonight’s menu? Chicken stew with shallots, cider, and butternut squash. Yum! Thank you, Cooking Light!

Now, the recipe calls for some fermented dry cider. You’ll find this is the beer sectios of your grocery or liquor store. It’s basically drunk apple cider. 🙂 But, if you can’t find it or would prefer non-alcoholic,  you can certainly substitute non-alcoholic sparkling dry cider.

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Lightly spiced with curry, this stew is comfort food at its finest.  The recipe suggestion is to serve with steamed rice and a green salad. I, however, opted for a baguette (I. Love. Bread.) and some steamed green beans. Do whatever makes you happy! 🙂
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Chicken Stew with Shallots,  Cider, and Butternut Squash
Serves 6

4 teaspoons olive oil, divided
1 cup sliced shallots (about 6 medium)
1 teaspoon curry powder
1/3 cup all-purpose flour (about 1 1/2 ounces)
1 1/4 pounds skinless, boneless chicken thighs,  cut into bite-sized pieces
3/4 pound skinless, boneless chicken breast, cut into bite-sized pieces
1 teaspoon salt, divided
1/2 teaspoon black pepper, divided
2 cups fermented dry cider
1 (14-ounce) can fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth, divided
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 cup water
2 cups cubed peeled butternut squash (about 1 pound)
1/4 cup sliced almonds, toasted
Chopped fresh parsley (optional)

1. Heat 1 teaspoon olive oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add shallots; saute 5 minutes or until tender and golden brown. Add curry powder; saute 1 minute. Spoon shallot mixture into a large bowl.
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2. Place 1/3 cup flour in a shallow bowl or pie plate. Dredge chicken in flour, shaking off excess. Heat remaining 1 tablespoon oil in pan over medium-high heat. Add half of chicken mixture; sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon pepper. Cook 6 minutes, browning on all sides. Add browned chicken to shallots. Repeat procedure with remaining chicken mixture, 1/4 teaspoon sslt, and 1/8 teaspoon pepper.
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3. Add cider to pan, scraping pan to loosen browned bits.
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Combine 1 cup broth and 1 tablespoon flour, stirring with a whisk until smooth. Add broth mixture, remaining broth, and water; bring to a boil. Stir in chicken mixture, remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt, and remaining 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Cover, reduce hest, and simmer 40 minutes, stirring occasionally.
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4. Stir in squash. Simmer, uncovered, 55 minutes or until chicken and squash are very tender and sauce thickens.
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Spoon about 1 cup stew into a bowl and sprinkle each serving with 2 teaspoons almonds and parsley, if desired.

Calories 328 (27% from fat); fat 9.7g (sat 1.8g, mono 4.9g, poly 2g); Protein 35.8g, Carb 24.4g; Fiber 2.9g; Chol 111mg; Iron 3.1mg; Sodium 628mg; Calc 85mg

Fall Vegetable Curry

I decided to sleep in a little this morning before I got up for my run. Okay, honestly, I hit the snooze button until it got frustrated with me and just turned off and then I slept for 30 minutes more. Yes, I was tired. Okay, fine! I was feeling lazy. Sheesh, give a girl a break! Anyway, when I finally did get out of bed – 6:30 on a Saturday! – it was only 47 degrees. YES! (um, I should mention that I live in Florida!) I’m a northeastern girl at heart and I love, love, LOVE cool mornings! That’s the best thing about Fall … um, okay, second to football… oh, and I really love the colors, too! … and, as a runner, the cooler temperatures are a blessing. I’d so much rather run in 40 degree weather than 90 degree weather with 110% humidity. People ask me whether or not it hurts to breathe the cold air in but no, it doesn’t (to me, anyway) and I’d much rather suck in some fresh cool air than feel like I need to chew after I breathe. I’ve even run a half-marathon in DC while it snowed. So peaceful! Plus, there’s just something awesome about running more than a foot and not turning into a gigantic puddle of sweatiness. Of course, the likelihood of it snowing here in Florida is slim to none (hello, El Nino!) but I certainly appreciate the respite from the heat and the humidity.

Another great thing about Fall is vegetables and meals that warm you inside and out. I don’t know about you but we love curry and other Indian/Middle Eastern spices in this house. So, when I came across a recipe for a vegetable curry, I knew I had to save it for the perfect day. Today was that day! Seriously, it was all I could think about while I was running. Um, in case you didn’t know, thinking about food while you’re running is not the best thing to do. I was STARVING by the time I got home!! Actually, I do tend to plan meals and grocery lists while I’m running. I don’t run with an IPod or anything because I like to hear what’s going on around me and my brain just goes off in a million directions. I’ve written papers, planned menus, invented products, and solved the world’s problems on a run. It’s really unfortunate that I can’t remember a single thing once I’ve stretched and eaten. Oh well. But I digress….

So, this recipe is not only perfect for dinner after a long run, but it’s quick so that makes it a prime candidate for a weeknight dinner too! Really, total time including chopping was maybe 35-40 minutes. It’s vegetarian so it’s perfect for all my non-meat eating friends (Wes and Victoria, I’m talking about you!) and it’s simply delicious! It calls for Madras curry powder which is spicy but if you don’t prefer spicy, you can always use regular or sweet curry. You will still end up with a great tasting, light, healthy, and easy dish that will both taste good and make you feel good. I served mine with some Naan (an oven-baked flatbread traditionally served with South Asian and Middle Eastern food) and some hummus. And, I’m not ashamed to admit that I licked my plate clean. Hey, I was hungry! 🙂

Fall Vegetable Curry

1 1/2 teaspoon olive oil
1 cup diced sweet potato
1 cup small cauliflower florets
1/4 cup thinly sliced yellow onion
2 teaspoons Madras curry powder
1/2 cup organic vegetable broth (such as Swanson’s)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 (15 ounce) can chickpeas (garbanzo beans), rinsed and drained
1 (14.5 ounce) can no-salt-added diced tomatoes, undrained
2 tablespoons cilantro
1/2 cup plain 2% reduced-fat Greek yogurt

Heat olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add sweet potato to pan; saute 3 minutes. Decrease heat to medium. Add cauliflower, onion, and curry powder; cook 1 minute, stirring mixture constantly. Add broth and next 3 ingredients (through tomatoes); bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 10 minutes or until vegetables are tender, stirring occasionally. Sprinkle with cilantro; serve with yogurt.

Servings 4
Calories 231; Fat 3.9g (saturated 0.9g, monounsaturated 1.6g, polyunsaturated 0.9g); Protein 10.4g; Carbohydrate 40.8g; Fiber 8.6g: Cholesterol 2mg; Iron 2.5mg; Sodium 626mg; Calcium 106mg