Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Baked Falafel & 2 fun dips/sauces

My husband and I recently had a rare adult adventure to a grown-ups-only housewarming/birthday party. One of the highlights of the outing for me was the food- surprise, surprise. Our friends had prepared a gorgeous veggie-full spread, including homemade falafel tucked into little pita triangles with cucumber dip on the side for topping.
I haven’t stopped thinking about those yummy bean-balls since, and considering the frozen falafel I buy at Trader Joe’s is one of Logan’s favorite foods- hey, might as well make some from scratch, right?
Ok, I know, part of the joy of falafel is the fried goodness of it all, but to keep these on the good-for-you tip I baked them. So there.

Here is what you will need for the falafel:

2 15oz cans garbanzo beans, drained, rinsed & patted dry w paper towel)
3 cloves of garlic
1/3 of a small red onion
1 big handful each of fresh parsley & cilantro (I used one Trader Joe’s package, stems trimmed)- rinsed & dried lightly w paper towel
1 handful of shredded carrot (press dry with paper towel to remove any excess liquid)
1/3 cup flour
2 tsp baking powder
Salt & pepper to taste (about 1 tsp of ea.)
Pita & veggies for serving and one of the two yummy sauces below...

Combine the beans, garlic, onion & herbs in the food processor, mix until all are completely blended smooth.
Move to a large mixing bowl, add flour, baking powder, salt & pepper and stir until combined. Cover and refrigerate minimum 2 hours- or overnight (which is what I did because I prepped everything one day during nap time, and made them the following day during nap time- this is real life people J )
To bake, preheat oven to 375.
Roll mixture into balls.
Line a baking sheet with foil and lightly grease, place balls about an inch apart and bake for 20-25 minutes. They crack a bit, but are still delicious.

For the cucumber sauce/dip (pictured in the bowl, not on the falafel in the topmost photo- keep reading for that recipe):

1 cucumber, peeled-seeded-grated- drained (press dry w paper towel) I had the small Persian cucumbers from Trader Joe's here, so used 3 of those and just sliced em super thin w my slicer- worked fine!

1 1/2 cups Greek yogurt
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 T white vinegar
1 T olive oil
1 lemon (zest it, then cut in half and juice it- chop up the rest and toss in the garbage disposal for a quick freshener!)
1 pkg dill from trader Joe's, finely chopped (it was a big, overflowing handful)
Salt & pepper to taste.

Mix all of the above and refrigerate for at least an hour to let the flavors marry. It's good on everything, and my friend Scott says to try this with the addition of fresh mint- you won't regret it!

I have also very recently had the honor of becoming a contributing blogger for MODERN DAY MOMS (pause for applause) YAY!!! You can find my very first MDM blog post HERE and let me tell you, the coconut lime cilantro sauce is out of this world delicious- we made a giant salad with baby spinach, shredded carrots, edamame beans, 3 falafel balls and then poured the coconut, cilantro, lime sauce alllllllllll over it. Perfect cool, veggie-filled dinner for a summer-like day in spring!

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Crockpot Angel Chicken

Hi Guys!!! Sorry it took me so long to get back to business here. We've been having way too much fun with the house, Logan and the gorgeous weather. Oh. Sorry again. I realize it's still dumping snow on many of my beloved and I apologize for that last dig about the weather....Here. I'll make it up to you- this is a FABULOUS crock-pot recipe that you will adore. Super-comfort food with out being too horrible for you. I've been meaning to make a version of this recipe for quite some time, but my husband hates cream-of-anything soup so I had to go rouge here, and truly enjoyed the results!! Hope you do too!! 

Here is what you will need:

4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
6-8 shiitake mushrooms chopped
4 cloves garlic chopped
1/4 c chicken broth
1/2 block cream cheese
1 pkg Trader Joe's condensed portabella mushroom soup (no mystery ingredients in this one! YAY!)
2 tsp ITALIAN DRESSING MIX  Do yourself a giant favor and make your own, the packet has who-knows-what in it- takes no time and you will use it LOTS!

Toss it all into the slow cooker. Cook on low for 4-6 hours or until chicken shreds easily and is cooked all the way through. As I have stated many times, every crockpot I have ever owned seems to run on the hotter side- if I make a chicken recipe that says "low for 7-8 hours" I get dried out nastiness. So I check it's shredability around 4 hours, this recipe was ready at the 4 hour mark, I noted 4-6 hours just in case. It should shred easily and be at least 165 degrees internally. 
Use a big spoon, transfer chicken & mushrooms to a large bowl- shred with forks. Then add about 5 spoonfuls of the juice and toss well to keep chicken moist.
Serve with rice, your favorite pasta and a big veggie-filled salad on the side.  (or with shredded cheese and cheerios as Logan is demonstrating below....)

Hope everyone has their toes in the sand and face in the sun SOON.