10 Drool-Worthy Recipes

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Drool Worthy Recipes - Colleen's Kitchen

This week has been a better one for me as far as my recovery goes. I started doing some exercises at home that the Physical Therapist had suggested for me before I was discharged from the hospital. I went on an outing to a friend’s house for dinner and movies, keeping my leg propped up the entire time per doctor’s orders. I managed to crutch up and down a whopping 8 steps to get in and out of the hair salon to have my roots touched up and hair trimmed. (This was my first encounter with a flight of stairs so I’m more than a little proud of that accomplishment.) And  I had friends, family and coworkers coming out of the woodwork for me this week with calls, texts, and visitors every day of the week. I feel incredibly loved!

But I am still dying to get back in the kitchen.

As of today, it has been 3 weeks since I’ve cooked anything. When the accident first happened, I avoided my Pinterest, Twitter, and Facebook feeds. I just couldn’t handle even looking at all of the scrumptious recipes my fellow bloggers were crafting. This week, though, I’ve found myself poring over the pages for inspiration and jotting down ideas for recipes that I want to experiment with as soon as I’m able to move around better.

Here are 10 recipes that I’m particularly drooling over today:

Braised Beef with Roasted Balsamic Tomatoes Braised Beef with Balsamic Roasted Tomatoes from Life Currents: I have been craving beef like crazy since my surgery. Normally I only indulge in red meat maybe once or twice a month, but right now it’s all I want to eat. My doctor says that the protein found in red meat is good for healing bones, so maybe that’s why my body is telling me to eat more. Regardless, the idea of juicy tomatoes roasted in sweet balsamic vinegar and combined with tender beef is making my tummy growl. I think I might twist this recipe to use a chopped up cut of lean bottom round roast. It has all kinds of possibilities.
Asian Salmon and Green Beans Stir Fry Asian Salmon and Green Bean Stir Fry from iFOODreal: There’s something about the salty, spicy, sweet combination of flavors found in Asian recipes that I just can’t get enough of. Add to that the fact that salmon is crazy good for you, and this recipe is definitely in my drool worthy top 10. I like the idea of using tender french Haricots Verts (green beans) in this dish, but I’m also thinking that as asparagus comes into season in the very near future those fresh baby spears would be an excellent sub for green beans in this recipe.
Crispy Buffalo Style Quinoa Sliders Crispy Buffalo Style Quinoa Sliders with Sweet Corn and Sliders from How Sweet It Is: I am a sucker for anything with buffalo sauce. The salty, spicy tang is so perfect balanced with a little blue cheese. I love that these gorgeous looking sliders are vegetarian yet still packed with protein, it’s exactly what I need right now.
Chicken and Artichokes in Wine Sauce Chicken and Artichokes in Wine Sauce from The Kitchn: My mom says my love affair with artichokes started in utero when we lived in Pescadero, California, where artichokes were an agricultural commodity at that time. These pretty, flavorful globes will be in season soon and the moment I spotted this recipe in my feed I new I had to add it to my menu planning. Lean chicken? Artichokes? Wine? What’s not to love about that?
Lentil and Roasted Tomato Soup with Saffron Lentil and Roasted Tomato Soup with Saffron from Katie at the Kitchen Door: This week my mom said to me “I have a bunch of lentils that need to be used. What can I make with them?” Ding! Ding! Ding! I’ve made lots of lentil soups in my time, but this one with sweet roasted tomatoes and spicy saffron is calling my name. Plus I had the pleasure of meeting Katie at IFBC in 2013 so I know it has to be a quality recipe.
Coq au Vin with Brown Butter Sage Mashed Potatoes One-Pot 45 Minute Coq au Vin with Brown Butter Sage Mashed Potatoes from Half Baked Harvest: I think it was the idea of the brown butter sage mashed potatoes in this recipe that captured my attention. I mean, there are hundreds of recipes for Coq au Vin out there, it’s been done. But ladled over a pile of creamy mashed potatoes mixed with sage cooked in browned butter? Oh. My. Deliciousness. I can’t wait to try this one. It is comfort food at its best.
African Chicken Peanut Stew African Chicken Peanut Stew from Simply Recipes: Exotic spices, creamy peanut butter, tender chicken, and sweet potatoes? Yes please! Plus with the cool, wet weather rolling through the Pacific Northwest right now, a hearty, warming stew is always welcome.
Chipotle Lime Shrimp Tacos with Strawberry Salsa Chipotle Lime Shimp Tacos with Strawberry Salsa from How Sweet It Is: This recipe is going into my future file for when the strawberries in my garden start pumping again. The idea of spicy chipotle peppers with tart lime and sweet strawberries is making my mouth water. What I really love though is how lean and clean this recipe is.
Farro Carrot Pomegranate Salad Farro Carrot Pomegranate Salad from Nutmeg Nanny: I love a good entree salad. They make for an easy filling dinner, and great leftovers for lunch the next day. I also have a fondness for farro, the nutty, slightly crunchy texture is perfect for entree salads. Add to that some sweet carrots and tart pomegranate seeds in a simple dressing of freshly squeezed orange juice and this recipe is a must try for me. I also love that she’s using garam masala, perhaps my favorite Indian spice blend.
Roasted Greek Lemon Cauliflower and Potatoes with Feta Cheese Greek Roasted Lemon Cauliflower and Potatoes with Feta Cheese from Jeanette’s Healthy Living: My list would not be complete without a good side dish recipe, and this one is at the top of my list. I love that Jeanette used ruby red potatoes in this dish, they add such a pretty pop of color to the beautiful photos on her site. Top it off with tart lemon, briny Greek cheese, and fresh mint and I’m definitely drooling over this recipe.

That Bionic Feeling

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Road to Recovery - Colleen's Kitchen

My New Year’s Eve did not go exactly as planned. As I told you last week, I was hit by a car just before Christmas while riding my bike home from work. So I spent the holidays recovering with my parent’s help and learning to manage the pain.

On Tuesday, December 30, I checked in at 1:00 p.m. for a 2:30 p.m. surgery to repair my leg and quickly learned that the surgeon was behind in schedule. Not just a few minutes behind, but hours behind. It wasn’t until about 7:00 p.m. that the nurse came to administer a pre-surgery drug cocktail and wheel me back.

After 2 hours in the OR followed by about 2 hours in the recovery room, shortly before midnight I was transitioned into the hospital room where my mom was anxiously waiting for me. I’m not sure I’ve ever been so happy to see my mom. Emotional from the drugs and the pain, I squeezed her hand and cried like a baby while she soothed me like any good mommy does.

Road to Recovery - Colleen's Kitchen

A front view shows a metal plate with 6 screws holding my fibula together while 2 very long screws anchor the pieces of my tibia together.

Luckily the drug cocktail worked its magic and mostly knocked me out for the night. When the xray technician came in the morning to take new pictures of the surgeon’s handiwork, I was eager to see the results. I had seen the pre-surgery xrays of my bones snapped like twigs, I wanted to see what sort of Frankenstein-ian work the surgeon had done on me.

I wasn’t disappointed.

A metal plate now runs up the fibula on the outside of my right leg, secured with no less than 6 screws holding all the pieces of my bone together. From the opposite side, 2 rather large, menacing-looking screws jut up at a diagonal through my tibia, securing the pieces together.

I stared at the image aghast. Was this really inside of my body? What is this going to mean for my workouts? Am I still going to be able to run? And what in the world is going to happen when I go through airport security?

I instinctively wanted to flex my leg, point my toe, feel the stretch of muscle against bone and see if I could feel that alien metal in there. Of course between the pain and the rather large, heavy splint encasing my leg, that wasn’t a possibility.

Road to Recovery - Colleen's Kitchen

The side view taken from the outside of my leg.

So I now sit pondering the future. I have some exercises from the physical therapist that I’m working with so that once the splint comes off and I’m able to put weight on my right leg again, I will be able to resume normal activity faster. But I still wonder how this is going to impact my physically active lifestyle.

My mind flashes back to one of my favorite TV shows as a kid, The Bionic Woman, and suddenly it hits me. Maybe my physical activity will be different, but different doesn’t have to be bad. Maybe this alien being in my body will teach me to move and groove in different ways.

Maybe I too will be bionic in my own way.

 

Desert Wind 2011 Ruah

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Desert Wind 2011 Ruah with Cherried Brussel Beef Stir Fry from Colleen's Kitchen

Ruah

Ruah is a Hebrew word meaning “breath” or “spirit.” Just pronouncing it “rue” – “ahhh” invokes the meaning of it for me, as my voice trails off the end of the word in a delicate breath.

Ahhhh…

Ruah is also the name for a delicious red blend of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Cabernet Franc from Washington state’s Desert Wind Winery. Located in Prosser, Washington, Desert Wind is owned by the Fries family. Doug and Jo Ann Fries hail from central California and moved to Oregon’s Willamette Valley in the 1980s where they started Duck Pond Cellars, today a leading producer of Oregon’s Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris.

In the early 90s, the family acquired a 540-acre parcel on Eastern Washington’s Wahluke Slope, famous for producing some of the states best big red wines. Dubbed Desert Wind Vineyard, the family began planting Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah and more.

And thus, Desert Wind Winery was born. Still owned by Doug and Jo Ann Fries, today son Greg is the president of the company and oversees the winemaking, having earned his enology degree from UC Davis, while daughter Lisa manages day-to-day winery operations.

Desert Wind Winery boasts a beautiful Southwest-inspired tasting room, restaurant, and overnight lodging that is a must visit destination for any oenophile touring the area. Relax by the kiva fireplace or take in the view from the patio, but be sure to enjoy a tasting flight for just $5, refundable with any purchase.

Desert Wind 2011 Ruah with Cherried Brussel Beef Stir Fry from Colleen's Kitchen

The Ruah is Desert Wind’s flagship red Bordeaux-style blend, the spirit, or ruah, of the winery if you will. With a mix of 45% Merlot, 38% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 17% Cabernet Franc, it’s a big red with flavors of dark cherries, pepper, cedar, and a hint of coffee. And it’s absolutely perfect with my Cherried Brussel Beef Stir Fry.

The dark fruit flavors perfectly complement the cherries and sweet brussel sprouts in the dish, while the bold wine stands up well to the hearty beef and spices. Rarely is a wine so perfect with a meal as the Ruah is with this recipe.

Get the recipe for my Cherried Brussel Beef Stir Fry here.

Buy a bottle of the Desert Wind 2011 Ruah here.

As with any part of a healthy lifestyle, always enjoy alcohol responsibly and moderation.

Top 10 Recipes of 2014

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Top 10 Recipes of 2014 - Colleen's Kitchen

I can’t believe another year has come and gone! I always like to take this time of year to reflect back on the good and the bad, for there are lessons to be found in both. And one of my favorite things to do is to tally up my page views and figure out which recipes you all liked the best.

It was a real mix this year, with something from practically every season, including 2 slow cooker recipes. There’s also a good variety of types of entrees, from vegan to pork. I love that my palate and my fan base is so diverse.

So here they are, my top 10 most popular recipes of 2014 as decided by you, my favorite fans and followers.

Roasted Asparagus and Quinoa Salad - Colleen's Kitchen#10 – Roasted Asparagus and Quinoa Salad
As spring creeps up on us and those tender spears of asparagus start reappearing in the market, this is a wonderful recipe to have in your repertoire. Infused with flavor from two kinds of lemons, it’s a bite of spring in your mouth. Best of all, it’s quick to prep and cook and also vegetarian, making it perfect for a Meatless Monday meal. Wine pairing: Serve this with a crisp, citrus-y Sauvignon Blanc like the Matua 2013 Sauvignon Blanc.

Chardonnay Steamed Lobster Tails with Saffron Risotto#9 – Chardonnay Steamed Lobster Tails with Saffron Risotto
This was one of my favorite recipes to work on. I crafted this as a lover’s meal for Valentine’s Day. I mean, who doesn’t want to treat their sweetie to lobster on this special day? Steamed over chardonnay wine, the lobster takes on a delicate buttery flavor that perfects the dish. Wine pairing: Serve this with a buttery Chardonnay of course, like the Penfolds Koonunga Hill 2012 Chardonnay.

Heirloom Tomato Polenta Tart - Colleen's Kitchen#8 – Heirloom Tomato Polenta Tart
Nothing screams summer like a fat, juicy heirloom tomato. These tarts were the hit of the summer, with a cornmeal polenta crust, creamy filling, and a juicy slab of heirloom tomato to top it off. They’re both pretty on the plate and delightful on the tongue. Wine pairing: A tart like this deserves a nice Italian Chianti Classico, like the Fattoria di Petroio 2010 Chianti Classico, still one of my favorite, budget Chianti Classico buys.

Indian Spiced Grilled Cauliflower - Colleen's Kitchen#7 – Indian Spiced Grilled Cauliflower
Perhaps what I love most about this dish is it can be made just about any time of year. I can cook it in my indoor cast-iron grill pan, or outdoors on my barbecue. It’s also incredibly quick and easy to prep and cook – just slice up the head of cauliflower, dust it with spices, and grill it up. I love the peppery bite of arugula and the juicy crunch of the pomegranate seeds that go with it as well. Wine pairing: I love a rich, fruity French red blend with this like the Domaine Sainte-Eugénie 2009 La Réserve Corbières, a blend of Vieux Carignan, Grenache Noir and Syrah.

Creamy Bacon Leek and Potato Skillet - Colleen's Kitchen#6 – Creamy Bacon Leek and Potato Skillet
I don’t often incorporate bacon into my recipes, it’s just adds so much fat to a dish. However, a little bit can add a lot of flavor, as evidenced in this one pan meal. Layers of crisp, crumbled bacon, spring leeks, gold potatoes and cheese, make this a must try recipe. With leeks about to make their appearance in the markets, it’s a great time of year to add this to your recipe box. Wine pairing: Because of the sharp blue cheese used in the recipe, I like an off-dry Riesling with this, so much so that I also used it in the dish. Try the Kung Fu Girl 2013 Riesling from Washington state.

Spicy Baked Macaroni and Cheese - Colleen's Kitchen#5 – Spicy Baked Macaroni and Cheese
This was one of my favorite recipes to work on. Who doesn’t like mac and cheese? My challenge, though, was to lean it down while still keeping that creamy consistency that makes the dish so good. My secret? Greek yogurt and avocado. My mouth is watering right now just thinking about how good this recipe was. Adding it to my menu this week! Wine pairing: Try a juicy, peppery Chilean Carmenere with this like the Montes Alpha 2008 Carmenere.

Roasted Butternut Squash and Wild Mushroom Risotto - Colleen's Kitchen#4 – Roasted Butternut Squash and Wild Mushroom Risotto
I apparently loved this recipe so much that I tried to re-create it. That’s right. As I was sitting, brain-storming fall recipes earlier this year I started thinking about what I could do with some dried wild mushrooms I had and actually wrote down a recipe idea for a risotto using the mushrooms and butternut squash. A week or so later, I pulled my scratch paper out, read through the ideas I had jotted down and thought to myself “Huh. That looks familiar.” Yes, because I created the exact same dish a year ago! It’s definitely a winner! Wine pairing: Try an earthy Pinot Noir with this dish, like the Red Door Cellars 2010 Pinot Noir from Oregon.

Slow Cooker Carrot Orange Coconut Soup - Colleen's Kitchen#3 – Slow Cooker Carrot Orange Coconut Soup
I love a good slow cooker recipe, I’m not sure there’s anything more satisfying than coming home from work and having dinner ready for you. This creamy, hearty soup is brightened up by a bit of orange. It’s perfect on a cold night with some warm crusty bread spread with a bit of goat cheese. Wine pairing: Serve this with a light, effervescent white wine like this Gioacchino Garofoli Guelfo Verde 2012 Vino Frizzante.

Smokin’ Hot Veggie Loaded Chicken Enchilada Casserole - Colleen's Kitchen#2 – Smokin’ Hot Veggie Loaded Chicken Enchilada Casserole
As much as I love my slow cooker, I also love my cast-iron skillet. I stuffed a ton of veggie goodness into this enchilada inspired casserole, made in a skillet. This adds a ton of flavor and nutrients to the dish without bogging it down with fat and calories. Score! Wine pairing: Serve this with a jammy Argentinian Malbec like this Alamos 2011 Malbec.

And now the top recipe for 2014 as voted by you…

Slow Cooker Red Lentil Sausage Kale Stew - Colleen's Kitchen#1 – Slow Cooker Red Lentil Sausage Kale Stew
Kale was named the most popular ingredient for recipes in 2014, so I’m not surprised this dish came out on top. Red lentils, when cooked all day in the slow cooker, turn into this creamy, deliciousness that is unbeatable in a stew. Throw in some spicy Andouille chicken sausage and tender baby kale, and you have a scrumptious slow cooker recipe that is worthy of repeat after repeat. Wine pairing: The rich, spicy sausage needs a big, bold Cabernet Sauvignon to go with it, like this St. Bartholomew 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon from Washington state.

So what was your favorite recipe of mine that I crafted in 2014? Did it make this list?

How to Keep a Good Girl Down

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How to Keep a Good Girl Down - Colleen's Kitchen

My life took a sudden turn the Monday before Christmas.

Many of you know that I commute to and from work by bicycle. Well, on the way home from work Monday night, I was hit by a car. He was heading west and ran a stop sign at a four-way intersection as I was heading north.

The good news is that the accident could have been much worse, bicycle vs. car accidents usually are. The bad news is that he has altered my life significantly at least short-term, and perhaps long-term. Only time will tell at this point.

When this gentleman hit me, he crashed into the right side of my body, I rolled up on his hood, and then landed on the asphalt. My right leg is shattered, I have multiple fractures in my tibia and fibula, and the ligament connecting my tibia to my ankle is torn. The pain that accompanies this injury is, in a word, excruciating. It is easily the worst pain I have ever been through, and I count childbirth in those experiences.

How to Keep a Good Girl Down - Colleen's Kitchen

My poor Kona bike that I just bought brand new in February.

Luckily for me, an off-duty EMT happened to witness the accident and helped me at the scene until the paramedics, firefighters and police arrived. Another bicyclist stopped and called these good people, who arrived in what seemed like no time. I knew right away that my leg and ankle were damaged because of the pain, the inability to move, and the abnormal curve of my leg as it reached my ankle. The paramedic treating me cleverly used a cervical collar to brace my leg and ankle, and minimize any jostling, as they transported me to the ER.

Once at the ER, a series of x-rays showed just how bad the damage is. I had actually remained fairly calm and in control up until this point, even joking with the paramedics. But when the attending physician told me that I would need surgery and a metal plate installed in my leg to screw my bones back together, and further that they wouldn’t be able to do anything until Friday (4 days away) because of the holiday schedule, I completely lost it. My leg was throbbing painfully and the idea of remaining in that situation for 4 more days just devastated me. Little did I know that things would get worse.

I was sent home Monday night from the ER with a prescription for Percocet and in the care of my parents. They helped get me into the house and into bed. My mother had to help me use the bathroom. They made sure I took my pain pills and cared for my dog as well. The Percocet, by the way, was terrible. It didn’t control the pain well and it kept me awake all night long.

On Tuesday, around noon, the orthopedist called me and said “I just looked at your x-rays from last night and I need you to come back to the ER right now.” What? Well of course we jumped back into the car and raced down there. The orthopedist didn’t like the way the attending had set my leg in the ER the night before so they completely knocked me out with some propyphol and re-set my leg. When I woke up from that ordeal, the pain was even worse than before. I was sobbing in agony while they quickly loaded my IV with morphine.

Then once again I was sent home with my parents, this time with a prescription for Vicodin, and instructions to return for surgery the following Tuesday. There was too much swelling and they needed to allow time for that to go down.

And so here I am, 4 days post-accident and 4 more days until I have surgery. I am completely immobile at this point. I can’t drive, I can’t walk, or indulge in any other sort of movement. Per doctor’s orders, I have to rest at all times with my right leg elevated above my heart. I am only able to get up to use the restroom, with the help of crutches. For someone as active as I am, this is complete agony.

How to Keep a Good Girl Down - Colleen's Kitchen

My view for the past 4 days and likely for the next couple of weeks at least.

Unable to care for myself, I’ve had to temporarily move back in with my parents where they feed me, help me to bed, and even help me shower. This of course means that I’m also unable to exercise my creativity in the kitchen. And, because of the pain medication that I’m on, I can’t even have any alcohol, which of course includes wine.

I am sharing this with you, my dear fans and followers, because my recovery from this accident will impact the focus of my blog for now. Since I am unable to get into the kitchen, I won’t be crafting and posting recipes for a while. And ditto for my wine pairings.

Instead, I will use my blog to update you on my progress as I seek to heal and recover from this unfortunate accident. I will try to remain my positive, upbeat self, which I am finding difficult at present as I struggle through intense pain, boredom, and embarrassment at the intimate care I now require from my mother.

I am waiting with a mixture of anticipation and nervousness for my surgery. I see it as the first significant step on the path to recovery, but I know that the pain I will go through after the surgery will be even greater than what I have already endured. And that frightens me to no end.

Cherried Brussel Beef Stir Fry

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Cherried Brussel Beef Stir Fry - Colleen's Kitchen

Brussel sprouts are so perfect this time of year. The tiny green heads perch on their tall stalks, tightly closed, just waiting to be plucked and prepped into one delicious dish or another.

What? You don’t like brussel sprouts?

Believe it or not, I was right there with you at one point. My only exposure to brussel sprouts was at the holidays when my grandma would steam them to death and then slather their limp bodies in butter. Disgusting.

And then one day at a family dinner, my sister made roasted brussel sprouts.

Oh. My. Deliciousness.

My world changed. They were at once tender and crisp with a slightly smoky, sweetly caramelized flavor. I was smitten. Ever since then, I look forward to seeing the tall green stalks of brussel sprouts at the market in the fall and the kitchen experiments that will surely ensue.

Cherried Brussel Beef Stir Fry - Colleen's Kitchen

This Cherried Brussel Beef Stir Fry is one of those experiments. I love the sweet, chewy cherries offset by the tender brussel sprouts and filling meat. Add in a twist of tart cherry juice and kefir lime leaves, spicy sriracha chili sauce, and a bit of cool mint, and you have a flavor sensation like no other.

For the beef, I like to use a lean bottom round roast. These usually come in large pieces of 2-3 lbs. each, but this is a perfect piece to have your butcher slice up. I then freeze the pieces and take them out for dishes such as this or winter stews.

And the bonus? This entire dish takes only about 20 minutes to prep and cook in total. I love a delicious and easy dinner, especially this time of year when the days are short and packed full of work responsibilities and holiday preparations.

How do you like to prepare brussel sprouts?

Cherried Brussel Beef Stir Fry
 
Author: 
Nutrition Information
  • Serves: 4 servings
  • Calories: 444.7
  • Fat: 9.3
  • Saturated fat: 2.7
  • Polyunsaturated fat: 1.4
  • Monounsaturated fat: 1.3
  • Carbohydrates: 73.6
  • Sugar: 20.4
  • Sodium: 299.5
  • Fiber: 7.2
  • Protein: 19.3
  • Cholesterol: 27.5
Recipe type: Entree
Cuisine: Beef
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
An intense flavor explosion, this Cherried Brussel Beef Stir Fry takes only 20 minutes to prep and cook, making it a perfectly wondrous weeknight winner.
Ingredients
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • 1 lb. fresh brussel sprouts, trimmed and quartered
  • ½ cup chopped dried cherries
  • 2 kefir lime leaves, ribs removed and leaves finely minced
  • pinch of coarse sea salt
  • ½ lb. bottom round roast, cut into 1" pieces
  • ½ cup tart cherry juice
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1 tbsp sriracha sauce
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh mint
  • 1 cup uncooked brown basmati rice, cooked according to package directions
Instructions
  1. Heat the sesame oil in a deep skillet over medium-high heat.
  2. Add the brussel sprouts, cherries, kefir lime leaves and salt and cook for 3 minutes until the brussel sprouts are lightly browned, stirring frequently.
  3. Add the beef and reduce the heat to medium, cooking about 2-3 minutes more until the beef is browned on the outside.
  4. Whisk together the cherry juice, honey, sriracha, and mint. Pour into the skillet and use the back of a wooden spoon to deglaze the pan, scraping up all of the cooked bits off the bottom of the skillet.
  5. Remove from heat. Serve the stir fry over the brown basmati rice.

 

Lido Bay Bitch Tongue 2010 Grenache

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Lido Bay Bitch Tongue 2010 Grenache

Admit it, the name of this wine got your attention. Didn’t it?

Well it certainly got mine! I mean, who wouldn’t want to try a wine with a moniker like Bitch Tongue?

Bitch Tongue is the name of a line of big, fruity reds from Lido Bay that bills itself as “for the mouth that’s ready for fruit-drenched reds and the tongue that’s ready for everything else.” Intrigued? I don’t blame you one bit, my friend. So read on.

Lido Bay was founded by wine aficionado Dave Armstrong in just 2008, so it’s a relatively new winery in the wine world. But what an entrance they’ve made!

I discovered this Bitch Tongue 2010 Grenache several months ago at a tasting I attended and I’ve been hoarding it for just the right dish to serve it with. Now let me ask you, is there any better wine to pair with chili than Grenache? The answer is no.

So when I crafted my recipe for my Chili Roasted Butternut Squash Chicken Chili, I knew this sassy bottle of wine would be perfect with it. The Bitch Tongue 2010 Grenache comes from the Sea Shell Vineyards on the banks of the Huero Huero Creek near Paso Robles, California. The warm days and cool evening ocean air make for a bold, juicy wine with lots of character.

Lido Bay Bitch Tongue 2010 Grenache - Colleen's Kitchen

The Bitch Tongue 2010 Grenache is smooth and silky with jammy flavors of cherries and raspberries and a lingering, peppery finish. It is so entirely perfect with the sweet and spicy taste sensation of my Chili Roasted Butternut Squash Chicken Chili that I had to go back for more, both of the wine and the chili.

The winery says “we want our customers to be consumed by Lido Bay. Hook, wine and sinker.” You’ve got me!

Get my recipe for Chili Roasted Butternut Squash Chicken Chili here.

Buy a bottle of the Lido Bay Bitch Tongue Grenache here.

As with any part of a healthy lifestyle, always enjoy alcohol responsibly and in moderation.

Chili Roasted Butternut Squash Chicken Chili

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Chili Roasted Butternut Squash Chicken Chili - Colleen's Kitchen

Weeks ago when I was working on my recipe for Chili Roasted Butternut Squash Farro Salad, the thought occurred to me: why not use this same preparation technique for the squash in a real chili recipe? Oh my what delicious thoughts that conjured!

And so I set about crafting this recipe for Chili Roasted Butternut Squash Chicken Chili.

Chili Roasted Butternut Squash Chicken Chili - Colleen's Kitchen

I started with the butternut squash prepared exactly as I prepared it for my salad, but that is where the similarities ended. I then used my deep cast iron skillet to brown up some lean ground chicken with red onion and a spicy jalapeno for extra heat. Finally, I mixed in some diced tomatoes, tomato paste, cannellini beans, chicken broth, and the roasted butternut squash cubes.

Chili Roasted Butternut Squash Chicken Chili - Colleen's Kitchen

All that was left to do was to reduce the heat to low, cover, and let the chili cook for an hour. This is probably the most torturous part of this cooking adventure as the amazingly delicious smells that waft from the kitchen will leave your mouth watering and your eyes watching the clock. The final slow cook is absolutely essential to a flavorful, thick chili though.

As with any good chili, I like to serve this with a chunk of cornbread. It’s true comfort food on a cool wintry evening.

Chili Roasted Butternut Squash Chicken Chili
 
Author: 
Nutrition Information
  • Serves: 5 servings
  • Serving size: 1½ cups
  • Calories: 309.8
  • Fat: 12.0
  • Saturated fat: 3.2
  • Polyunsaturated fat: 0.5
  • Monounsaturated fat: 1.4
  • Carbohydrates: 30.6
  • Sugar: 3.6
  • Sodium: 439.1
  • Fiber: 9.6
  • Protein: 25.3
  • Cholesterol: 148.0
Recipe type: Soup or Stew
Cuisine: Poultry
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Butternut squash is roasted in chili spices then folded into an easy, hearty Chili Roasted Butternut Squash Chicken Chili for comfort food at it's best.
Ingredients
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp + 2 tsp chili powder (divided)
  • ½ tsp ground cumin
  • ½ tsp ground coriander
  • ½ tsp smoked paprika
  • 2 cups peeled, cubed butternut squash (about "1/2)
  • 1 lb. lean ground chicken
  • 1 medium red onion, diced
  • 1 fresh jalapeno, minced
  • pinch of coarse sea salt
  • 1 14.5-oz. can diced tomatoes with no salt added
  • 1 15-oz. can cannellini beans
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • 2 cups homemade, salt free chicken broth
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400F
  2. Brush a baking sheet with the olive oil
  3. In a medium bowl, combine 2 tsp of the chili powder with the cumin, coriander and paprika. Toss with the butternut squash cubes until the cubes are well coated.
  4. Spread the squash in a single layer on the baking sheet, leaving space between the squash cubes.
  5. Bake for 30 minutes or until browned and tender.
  6. Heat a large, deep skillet on medium heat.
  7. Add the ground chicken and cook until lightly browned and crumbled.
  8. Add the red onion, jalapeno, and pinch of salt and continue cooking until the onion is transparent, about 5 more minutes.
  9. Stir in the remaining 1 tbsp of chili powder, diced tomatoes, cannellini beans, tomato paste, and chicken broth.
  10. Mix in the roasted butternut squash cubes. Reduce heat to low, cover and cook for 1 hour.
  11. Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve.

 

Holiday Entertaining: Baked Wonton Appetizers

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Holiday Entertaining: Baked Wonton Appetizers - Colleen's Kitchen

This post is sponsored by Nasoya. Nasoya provided me with free product and asked me to provide a review. The opinions provided below are genuine and my own.

It seems that this time of year is a never-ending obstacle course of parties and festive outings, and of course that means I host my own as well. This year I wanted to create a savory appetizer rather than a traditional dessert for my family’s holiday get-together, so when Nasoya offered me the opportunity to try their wonton wrappers my creative juices started flowing.

Traditional wontons are full of fat, being stuffed with cheese and then deep fried. I decided to change mine up by reducing the cheese and baking them instead of frying them. But how to retain the creamy texture without any cheese, cream or butter?

I turned to my trusty vegetable friend that I so love to experiment with this time of year: butternut squash. Roasted and mashed, the butternut squash is creamy and delicious, perfect as a filling for wontons.

I ended up creating two varieties of wontons: Butternut Squash, Fig, and Gorgonzola Wontons, and Butternut Squash, Sage, Chanterelle Mushroom, and Parmesan Wontons. The former are sweeter due to the combination of squash and fig, yet the sweetness is off-set by the sharp bite from the gorgonzola. The latter are much more savory with a distinct earthy flavor from the sage and buttery chanterelle mushrooms, off-set by salty parmesan cheese. Both, are absolutely delicious and were the hit of the party.

Wontons might seem a little daunting to the novice chef, but the Nasoya wrappers are easy to work with and the pictorial instructions on the packaging make it foolproof to create your own wontons. Here’s how I assembled these delicious little nuggets:

Holiday Entertaining: Baked Wonton Appetizers - Colleen's Kitchen

Start by lying the wonton wrapper on your kitchen work surface in a diamond shape.

Holiday Entertaining: Baked Wonton Appetizers - Colleen's Kitchen

Place about 1 tbsp of the squash mixture into the upper half of the diamond.

Holiday Entertaining: Baked Wonton Appetizers - Colleen's Kitchen

Fold the wonton wrapper over the filling into a triangle shape. Brush the edges with water and press with your finger to seal.

Holiday Entertaining: Baked Wonton Appetizers - Colleen's Kitchen

Pull the left and right corners of the triangle back and down, pressing the points of the corners together to hold.

Holiday Entertaining: Baked Wonton Appetizers - Colleen's Kitchen

The baked wontons are golden and savory. There’s no need for a dipping sauce with these wontons, but I like to set out a dish of balsamic glaze for those who want some.

What are you making for your holiday party or potluck this year?

 

Butternut Squash, Fig and Gorgonzola Wontons
 
Author: 
Nutrition Information
  • Serves: 26 wontons
  • Serving size: 1 wonton
  • Calories: 41.6
  • Fat: 1.0
  • Saturated fat: 0.4
  • Polyunsaturated fat: 0.0
  • Monounsaturated fat: 0.3
  • Carbohydrates: 6.5
  • Sugar: 1.2
  • Sodium: 85.3
  • Fiber: 0.7
  • Protein: 1.4
  • Cholesterol: 3.6
Recipe type: Appetizer
Cuisine: Vegetarian
Liven up your holiday party with these savory, baked wontons featuring creamy, sweet butternut squash. Your guests will be vying for the recipe!
Ingredients
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 1 cup cooked, mashed butternut squash
  • 2 oz. crumbled gorgonzola cheese
  • ⅓ cup chopped, dried mission figs
  • pinch of salt
  • 26 Nasoya wonton wrappers
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400F.
  2. Brush a baking sheet with the olive oil and set aside.
  3. In a medium mixing bowl, combine the squash, gorgonzola cheese, figs and salt until well combined.
  4. Place about 1 tbsp of the squash mixture into the center of 1 wonton wrapper.
  5. Fold the wrapper in half to form a triangle. Brush the edges of the wrapper with water and press to seal.
  6. Gently pull the left and right corners of the wrapper down and back until they slightly overlap; press to make the ends stick together.
  7. Lay the wonton on the greased baking sheet and repeat with the remaining filling and wrappers.
  8. Bake for 10-15 minutes or until golden. Let cool 5 minutes before serving.

 
Butternut Squash, Sage, Chanterelle Mushroom, and Parmesan Wontons
 
Author: 
Nutrition Information
  • Serves: 26 wontons
  • Serving size: 1 wonton
  • Calories: 43.4
  • Fat: 1.5
  • Saturated fat: 0.7
  • Polyunsaturated fat: 0.1
  • Monounsaturated fat: 0.6
  • Carbohydrates: 5.5
  • Sugar: 0.1
  • Sodium: 101.9
  • Fiber: 0.5
  • Protein: 1.7
  • Cholesterol: 4.1
Recipe type: Appetizer
Cuisine: Vegetarian
Liven up your holiday party with these savory, baked wontons featuring creamy, sweet butternut squash. Your guests will be vying for the recipe!
Ingredients
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp unsalted butter
  • ½ cup chopped, raw chanterelle mushrooms
  • 1 tbsp minced fresh sage
  • pinch of coarse sea salt
  • 26 Nasoya wonton wrappers
  • 1 cup cooked, mashed butternut squash
  • 2 oz. shredded parmesan cheese
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400F.
  2. Brush a baking sheet with the olive oil and set aside.
  3. Heat the butter in a skillet over medium heat until foamy.
  4. Add the mushrooms, sage and salt and saute until the mushrooms are lightly browned and cooked, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat.
  5. In a medium mixing bowl, combine the squash, cooked mushroom mixture, and parmesan cheese until well combined.
  6. Place about 1 tbsp of the squash mixture into the center of 1 wonton wrapper.
  7. Fold the wrapper in half to form a triangle. Brush the edges of the wrapper with water and press to seal.
  8. Gently pull the left and right corners of the wrapper down and back until they slightly overlap; press to make the ends stick together.
  9. Lay the wonton on the greased baking sheet and repeat with the remaining filling and wrappers.
  10. Bake for 10-15 minutes or until golden. Let cool 5 minutes before serving.

 

Windsor Oaks 2011 Chalk Hill Malbec

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Windsor Oaks 2011 Chalk Hill Malbec

If you’ve been following me for a bit now, you know that I’ve been working on a recipe for a Gluten Free Blogger Bake Off sponsored by Krusteaz. I ended up creating an amazing Gluten Free Chili and Cornbread Pizza for that, and I have to admit that I was a bit stumped as to what wine to pair with it. I mean, if it was chili then I’d go for something substantial to stand up to the meaty-spicy flavor, like a GSM (Grenache Syrah Mourvedre) blend. On the other had, if it was pizza then I would like go for something a little lighter and fruitier, like a Sangiovese.

What to do?

Lucky for me, I visited Windsor Oaks a few weeks ago when I was in Napa and was able to taste their 2011 Chalk Hill Malbec. I have to admit that when I tasted it there, in 90+ degree heat, I was a little underwhelmed. It was a bit on the tart side and didn’t have the heft to go with the fruitiness that is so characteristic of Malbec. I actually thought it would benefit from being put up for another year or two. But knowing that I had a bottle of this in my cellar, and searching for a wine to pair with my Chili and Cornbread Pizza, and away from the California heat of course, I decided to give it another try. Good thing I did!

Windsor Oaks 2011 Chalk Hill Malbec - Colleen's Kitchen

Bridging the fusion of chili and pizza, the Windsor Oaks 2011 Chalk Hill Malbec is a delicious pairing!

This Malbec comes from the Chalk Hill AVA in California, which is right where the Windsor Oaks Winery is located. The altitude, chalky white ash soils, heat of the area and moderating afternoon breezes make it perfect territory for growing big, red wine varietals like Malbec, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Merlot.

The Windsor Oaks 2011 Chalk Hill Malbec is big at 14.8% with characteristic dark fruit flavors of cherries and plum. A well balanced and supple wine, it was a perfect choice to bridge that fusion of chili and pizza. I liked this wine so much better on a cold, damp evening here in my Pacific Northwest home, with some good food to pair it with, than I did during the tasting. I think I’ll have another please!

Get the recipe for my Gluten Free Chili and Cornbread Pizza here.

Buy a bottle of the Windsor Oaks Chalk Hill Malbec here.

As with any part of a healthy lifestyle, always enjoy alcohol responsibly and in moderation.