The smoky bacon and sweet pineapple combine in perfect harmony. I knew I had to create something with this deliciousness, so I grabbed a package (or two) and headed home to my kitchen.
I start by dicing up the sausage and sauteing it with thin slices of red onion. I only use a little bit of olive oil in the pan as the sausage will release some fat when it cooks that helps keep everything from sticking.
Then I add in some chopped, dried cherries and crushed pineapple, toss it with whole wheat couscous and fresh arugula, and that’s it! The entire dish takes about 15 minutes to prep and cook, making it perfect for those busy weeknights.
What’s your favorite Aidells product?
Pineapple and Bacon Chicken Sausage with Fruited Couscous
This week as I crafted my Tuscan Chicken Stew, I just had to have an Italian varietal wine to use in the recipe. I mean, anything else in a Tuscany inspired dish such as this would just be a crime. Plus, what better way to warm up on a cold winter night than with a glass of Italian red wine?
Normally, I would select a Chianti or Chianti Classico for this recipe. But as I searched for just the right bottle of wine, I decided to look closer to home. After all, while the Italians have been crafting old world varietals into delicious red wines for centuries, there are so many great varieties being produced domestically. Chianti wines are primarily Sangiovese grapes, which can be found in the warmer climes of California and south-central Washington state.
Plucked from carefully groomed vineyards nestled in California’s Sierra foothills, the Sangiovese produced by Montevina Winery under their Terra d’Oro label is an excellent example of new world craftsmanship of an old world varietal. Established in the early 1970’s by Cary Gott and his father-in-law, Walter Field, Montevina Winery has the distinction of being the first post-prohibition winery in the Sierra foothills.
The warm summer days and shallow, rocky soil of Amador county are well suited for growing Sangiovese, but the grape’s thin skin also means that it burns easily and requires a lot of attention on the vine. Workers take particular care in grooming the vineyard as well as trellising and irrigating the vines. The attention pays off in a quality wine to rival a classic Italian Chianti.
Aged in American oak barrels, Terra d’Oro’s Sangiovese is light, smooth and supple. It’s rich with fruity cherry and raspberry flavors, peppery, and spicy. It’s absolutely perfect with the rich, creamy flavors of my Tuscan Chicken Stew and a great companion to warm up with on a cold winter night.
This past week has been so cold and blustery here in the Portland area that my dog has taken to lying directly on top of the heater vent. The wind gusted through the city, knocking down limbs and and blowing over my trash and recycling cans. The rain pelted down, turning my backyard into mud. And I? I sat inside, still confined to my couch with my injured leg, and listened to the commotion outside.
In other words, it was the perfect weather for stew.
I love a thick, hearty stew this time of year. It warms me from the inside out and is so much more filling and satisfying than soup. Of course, it must always be accompanied by a hunk of hot, crusty bread. Buttered, preferably.
This week I decided to craft a Tuscan-inspired stew, full of chunky red potatoes and hearty cannellini beans, slowly simmered in a red-wine based broth. Doesn’t that sound divine? I added in some tender chicken breast and juicy tomatoes to bulk it up, as well as some fresh rosemary for flavor. I think this may be the perfect cold weather stew.
Heat the olive oil in a deep pan over medium-high heat.
Add the chicken and sear just until lightly browned on the outside but still pink on the inside, about 1-2 minutes, stirring continuously.
Remove the chicken from the pan onto a plate or bowl and set aside.
Reduce heat to medium and add the carrots, onion, salt, rosemary and garlic to the pan. Continue cooking about 10 minutes or until the onion is transparent.
Add in the potatoes and cook about 5 minutes more, stirring frequently. There should now be a good amount of crusty goodness stuck to the bottom of the pan.
Pour the wine into the pan, over the vegetables, and use the back of a wooden spoon to deglaze the pan, scraping up all that crusty goodness from the bottom of the pan. Let cook until the wine reduces by half.
Add the chicken back into the pan then stir in the diced tomatoes, cannellini beans, chicken broth, and red chile pepper flakes until well combined.
Submerge the bay leaf in the stew then cover, reduce heat to low, and cook for 1 hour.
Remove and discard the bay leaf. Season with salt and pepper to taste (not included in the nutritional information).
Serve yourself a steaming bowl of stew and enjoy!
Be sure to use a good Tuscan-style wine in this recipe. A Chianti is always a good choice, which is made from Sangiovese grapes.
Can you believe that I went over a month without drinking any wine? Because of the pain medication I was taking following my accident and surgery, I was forced to abstain from any alcohol. For a girl who loves her wine and wineries as much as me, this was pure torture.
However, I have now been able to level back on the prescription medication and indulge in a glass or two each week. And what better way to start than with a nice, big cab from Washington’s Wahluke Slope?
The Wahluke Slope AVA is situated in south-central Washington state, bounded by the mighty Columbia River on it’s south border. It has one of the driest and warmest climates in the state, making it perfect for bold, red wine varietals like this one.
Jones of Washington is a family-owned and operated winery in Washington’s Columbia Valley that owns, farms and produces all of it’s own grapes, ensuring high quality wines. The attention to detail and craftsmanship has resulted in numerous awards, including being named Washington’s Winery of the Year in 2012.
Their Estate Cabernet Sauvignon is a good example of the Jones family’s commitment to producing exceptional wine. Peppery with notes of juicy cherries and blackberries, it’s complex and smooth on the palate.
I especially loved the 2011 Estate Cabernet Sauvignon with my Chipotle Quinoa Stuffed Yams. The meatiness of the wine gave the dish heft while balancing the spicy and sweet flavors. It was a delicious welcome back to my cherished world of wine.
You might remember that I was invited to participate in the Krusteaz Blogger Bakeoff late last year using one of their delicious new gluten free baking mixes. As a result of that I created this scrumptious Gluten Free Chili and Cornbread Pizza. I should hear this week if my entry resulted in any award, but in the meantime how about a giveaway?
I knew right away that I wanted to make something with Krusteaz Gluten Free Honey Cornbread.
I have a Krusteaz Gluten Free prize pack for one of my lucky readers! The winner will receive:
A handy jute tote shopping bag
A Krusteaz rubber spatula
Krusteaz Gluten Free Double Chocolate Brownie Mix
Krusteaz Gluten Free Honey Cornbread Mix
Krusteaz Gluten Free Blueberry Muffin Mix
Krusteaz Gluten Free Buttermilk Pancake Mix
I had the pleasure of trying each of these as I experimented with my recipe creation and I have to say I was not disappointed in any of them. In fact, the texture and taste was so good that I was surprised they were gluten free. I must admit I was especially enamored with the Double Chocolate Brownies. I love a good, gooey brownie and these definitely filled that bill with dense, chocolately, chewy flavor.
To enter, simply login to the widget below and then tell me in the comments what mix you’re most looking forward to trying!
It seems like forever since I’ve posted on my blog. Not being able to really get into my kitchen, and advised by my attorney to limit any discussion of my accident and recovery, I’ve been at a loss for writing material.
I moved back into my house 2 weeks ago, after outfitting it with wider paths for my crutches and scooter, a shower chair, and toilet safety rails, and moving my bedroom things downstairs into the spare bedroom since I still am unable to navigate stairs. My cooking, however, has primarily consisted of reheating frozen food in the microwave or assembling the basic sandwich. Not my idea of culinary fun, but it’s a start.
This past week, though, I started accessing my kitchen muscle memory with some extremely effortless dishes, like these Chipotle Quinoa Stuffed Yams. I mean, I simply bake the yams whole, let them cool for a bit, scoop the meat out and mix it with some additional goodness, then spoon it back into the skin and bake it a little more. Easy peasy.
The bonus? It’s also scrumptious, filling, and perfect for Meatless Monday. As I’ve said many times, going vegetarian 1-2 times a week has been a cornerstone of my success in both losing and maintaining my weight.
What’s better than an easy, delicious and good-for-you meal?
These effortless, vegetarian Chipotle Quinoa Stuffed Yams are full of scrumptiously sweet and spicy flavors that will leave you feeling satisfied and guilt-free!
2 yams (5.3 oz. each), baked and cooled to the touch
⅓ cup raw tricolor quinoa, cooked according to package directions and cooled
1 chipotle pepper in adobo sauce, minced
1 medium tomato, diced
¼ cup minced fresh cilantro
2 oz. part skim queso fresco, shredded (divided)
Preheat the oven to 375F.
Cut the top of the skin of each baked yam lengthwise to create a boat-shaped opening.
Scoop the cooked yam meat out and into a medium mixing bowl. Place the yam skins, intact, into a shallow baking dish.
Mix in the cooked quinoa, chipotle pepper, tomato, cilantro, and 1.5 oz. of the queso fresco.
Spoon the mixture back into the yam skins. Sprinkle the remaining queso fresco over the top of the stuffed yams.
Bake for 20 minutes or until the cheese is melted and the stuffing is warmed through.
Let cool for 5 minutes and dig in!
To prebake the yams, simply pierce them a few times with a fork, place them on a baking sheet, and bake them for 45-60 minutes at 375F. Test with a fork before removing from the oven; it should pierce the yam easily.