Monday, November 12, 2012

Don't be frightened there are no bones about it.

As fall sets its sights on us and the days become shorter, it is this time of year that we tend to cling to food that warms our bones. These are the dishes that make us feel real good inside, leave us wanting more.

Though meals that can be this  comforting should not scare you away the task is not daunting.  You can push through and try something a little special.

Okay it is not as bad as being caught up with a satanic crazed serial killer and his enabling grandmother, is it?  No really cooking is not that bad!

Seriously do not look at me as if you are bored, your date is interrupted, or you may be watching a chick flick you were not counting on.  

I promise there might even be a reason to smile and get back in someone's really good graces after a really warm hot meal, with a loving touch.  Trust me, all good things my friends all good things.

Wine & Tomato Braised Chicken

4 slices bacon
1 large onion, thinly sliced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp fennel seeds
1 tsp freshly ground pepper
1 bay leaf
1 cup dry white wine 
1-28-ounce can whole tomatoes, with juice, coarsely chopped
1 tsp salt
10 bone-in chicken thighs, skin removed, trimmed
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh parsley

  1. In a large skillet over medium heat cook bacon until crisp, about 4 minutes. Transfer to paper towels to drain. When cool crumble bacon.
  2. Drain off all but 2 tablespoons fat from the pan. Add onion and cook over medium heat, stirring, until softened, 3 to 6 minutes. Then add garlic, thyme, fennel seeds, pepper and bay leaf and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add wine, bring to a boil and boil for 2 minutes, scraping up any browned bits. Add tomatoes and their juice and salt; stir well.
  3. Place chicken thighs in a 4-quart or larger slow cooker. Sprinkle the bacon over the chicken. Pour the tomato mixture over the chicken. Cover and cook until the chicken is very tender, approximately 3 hours on High or 6 hours on Low. Remove the bay leaf. Serve sprinkled with parsley. Tastes great over egg noodles. 
Squash, Chickpea & Red Lentil Stew

3/4 cup dried chickpeas
2 1/2 lbs butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into 1-inch cubes
2 large carrots, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 large onion, chopped
1 cup red lentils
4 cups vegetable broth
2 Tbsp tomato paste
1 Tbsp minced peeled fresh ginger
1 1/2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp saffron
1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper
1/4 cup lime juice
1/2 cup chopped roasted unsalted peanuts
1/4 cup packed fresh cilantro leaves, chopped

  1. Soak chickpeas in enough cold water to cover them by 2 inches for 6 hours or overnight, or use the quick-soak method.  Place beans in a large pot with enough water to cover by 2 inches. Bring to a boil over high heat. Remove from heat and let stand for 1 hour. Drain when ready to use.
  2. Combine the soaked chickpeas, squash, carrots, onion, lentils, broth, tomato paste, ginger, cumin, salt, saffron and pepper in a 6-quart slow cooker. 
  3. Put on the lid and cook on low until the chickpeas are tender and the lentils have begun to break down, 5 to 6 1/2 hours. 
  4. Stir in lime juice. Serve sprinkled with peanuts and cilantro.
Baked Apples

1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup walnuts, chopped
2 Tbsp butter
1 teaspoon cinnamon
6 Gala or Macintosh apples, cored
1/2 cup apple juice or cider
2 tablespoons orange liquor 

  1. In a large bowl, mix brown sugar, walnuts, butter, and cinnamon. Fill the apples with the filling and place them in the crock-pot. Pour in the apple juice or cider and the liquor.
  2. Set the crock-pot on high heat and preset it for 3 hours.Cover and cook 2 1/2 to 3 hours on high heat until the apples are soft and begin to collapse.

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