I hope everyone’s enjoying a day of family, recognizing our blessings, and (of course) good food. This week, I spent my regular blogging time getting ready for Thanksgiving. But now that we’ve enjoyed time with our family, I have a few minutes to spend some time with y’all. I thought I’d give you a couple of recipes that are lighter than the standard holiday fare and that might also be a good way to use up some holiday leftovers.
This first recipe calls for sauteed and shredded chicken breasts, but there’s no reason you couldn’t substitute some leftover turkey. This was a pretty quick weeknight meal that we enjoyed, although for some reason it seemed a bit bland (especially compared to a normal Rachael Ray recipe). I seasoned all the components, but next time I’ll try to amp up the flavor with a little chili sauce or Sriracha. Even though we’d like a little more flavor, I still think this was an enjoyable recipe that’s a bit different from what I usually fix. You could substitute some type of grain for the couscous (which is actually a form of pasta), but it will take more time and probably more liquids for cooking.
Chicken-Broccoli Couscous (from the December 2009 issue of Everyday with Rachael Ray)
1/4 c. extra-virgin olive oil
1 lb. boneless skinless chicken breasts
3 c. chicken broth
1 10 oz. box couscous
1 finely chopped onion
1 head cut in florets broccoli
1/2 c. raisins (I substituted my current dried fruit obsession, cherries!!)
1/4 c. chopped flat-leaf parsley
1/3 c. sliced, toasted almonds
1. In a large skillet, heat 2 tbsp. olive oil over medium heat. Season the chicken with salt and pepper, add it to the pan, and cook, turning once, til it’s cooked through, about 10 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a work surface, let it cool, and shred it.
2. In a large saucepan, bring 2 c. broth and 1 tbsp. oil to a boil and season with salt and pepper. Add the couscous, cover, and remove from the heat. Let it stand for 5 minutes, then fluff it with a fork.
3. In your skillet, heat 1 tbsp. oil over medium heat. Add the onion and cook til softened, about 5 minutes. Add the broccoli with 1 c. broth and simmer 5 minutes. Stir in the chickens, raisins, parsley, and couscous; season with salt and pepper. Toss with the almonds before serving.
This next recipe is a lovely dessert that can help you use up whole cranberries (maybe you bought too many for homemade sauce) OR you could just put in your leftover cranberry sauce. Now maybe you’re wondering why I’m giving you a dessert recipe when I said that the recipes would be lighter. The reason is that this dessert isn’t that sweet. It’s tangy from the whole cranberries, and it has a great balance of flavor. You only need a small piece but you get some crunch from walnuts, spice from cinnamon, tang from the cranberries, and creaminess from the cream cheese. I thought these were a solidly good dessert that really brought the flavors of the season. The only problem I had with this was that my crumble was drier than I wanted. I think the problem was the weather the day I made this. Next time I’d just add a little extra butter to compensate. Also, if you want these to be tangier, eat them straight from the fridge. If you want the flavors more balanced, let them sit at room temp for about 30 minutes or just nuke it for a few seconds.
Cranberry Orange Cream Cheese Crumb Bars (from the amazing Yammie’s Noshery)
For the crumb/crust:
2 1/2 c. flour
1 c. brown sugar
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. vanilla
3/4 c. softened butter
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 c. chopped walnuts
For the cranberry layer:
2 c. cranberries
1/4 c. orange juice
1 tbsp. orange zest
1 tbsp. cornstarch
For the cream cheese layer:
4 oz. softened cream cheese
2 tbsp. sugar
2 tbsp. flour
1 tsp. vanilla
1/4 tsp. salt
1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and grease an 8 inch square pan. Mix together all of the crust ingredients til crumbly. Press half of the mix in the bottom of the pan.
2. In a separate bowl, mix together all of the cranberry layer ingredients. Spread these evenly over the bottom crust.
3. In another bowl, mix together all of the cream cheese layer ingredients. Dollop this mix on top of the cranberries, then spread it evenly over them. Crumble the rest of the crust mix on top and bake for 35 minutes.
And of course today’s post wouldn’t be complete if I wasn’t able to share with you a few of the many blessings that I’m thankful for.
First and foremost, I’m thankful for my salvation. I can’t imagine what my life would be like not knowing what would happen to me when I die, or not having my Heavenly Father to turn to for everything. The most important thing in anyone’s life is their personal relationship with God and whether or not they know Jesus as their personal Savior. I’m incredibly grateful that I was raised in a Christian home and accepted Jesus Christ as my Savior when I was a little girl. (If you don’t know Jesus as your Savior, I’d be happy to show you from the Bible how you can come to know Him as your personal Savior.)
I’m also incredibly thankful for both me and my husband’s wonderful families. My family started out with my wonderful parents and sister. Then while I was in college, I met my incredible husband. Now I have 3 great brothers-in-law (my sister’s husband and my husband’s 2 brothers) as well as my wonderful mother and father-in-law. One of my hubby’s brothers got married last year, and the other is planning to get married next year; so I have 2 amazing sisters-in law as well. And that’s not even counting all the aunts, uncles, cousins, and grandparents.
Next I’m thankful for all of my amazing friends. I’ve got friends here in Texas as well as in several other states. I love keeping up with my friends on Facebook; lots of them have children now, and it’s fun to hear about all the sweet and silly things the kids say and do.
I’m thankful for a Spirit-filled church that I can attend regularly and serve in. It’s almost unbelievable the difference that a Bible-preaching church can make in your life.
There are so many other things, but I’ll just list a few more quickly. I’m thankful for music to listen to and sing. I’m thankful for good food to cook, eat, and share with you. I’m thankful for the beauty of God’s creation. And I’m thankful for a warm apartment during this cold weather.
What are some of the things you’re thankful for?