Tag Archives: Kitchen Casual

Salad with turkey and cranberries

Shortly after Thanksgiving, I was still craving Thanksgiving food. I just felt as though I had not consumed enough turkey. I knew that Christmas was a short time away and that Eric’s dad would have turkey on Christmas, but I needed a hit of tryptophan STAT.

I was wandering around Target one day — as one is wont to do — and found the wheels spinning in my head as I browsed the grocery aisles. I left with everything to make a salad that tasted just like the holidays — and it was delicious. I’ve eaten in for quite a few lunches as of late, and I have yet to tire of it.



It is a way to enjoy the flavors of the holidays without all the guilt — and whenever you want. So enjoy!

Salad with turkey and cranberries

Lettuce (I used my beloved herb lettuce mix)
Turkey (You could use deli turkey. I used the carving board kind. Or use leftovers.)
Cheese of your choice (I used mozzarella, but goat cheese would have been tasty.)
Dried cranberries
Fried onions (the type you top a green bean casserole with)
Salad dressing of your choice (I used an oil and vinegar combo)

Combine all the ingredients and eat immediately. It is really that simple.



Easy Slow Cooker Beef Stew


I didn’t realized when I left DC that I was moving to Seattle.

It has been raining for what feels like a month straight here in Atlanta and it’s getting old. The only thing I want to do is sit in bed with hot chocolate, watch holidays movies and then have some sort of soup or stew for dinner.

This stew is perfect for just that. It’s easy, requires very little prep, and will definitely warm you up on a cool, rainy evening.

Easy Slow Cooker Beef Stew

1 lb stew beef
2 lbs red potatoes, cut in to 1 inch pieces
1 bag baby carrots, cut in half
1 package vegetable dip mix (I used Lipton)
5 cups beef stock (or a water-bouillon mix)

1) Season the meat with salt and pepper. Brown stew meat over medium-high heat. This step isn’t necessary, but it adds a lot of flavor to the stew.

2) Layer potatoes and carrots in the crock pot. Put stew meat on top. Sprinkle with the packet of dip mix and cover all the ingredients with the stock. Cook on low heat for 8 hours or high for 6.

Tip: If you notice your stew isn’t thickening the way you want, take on tablespoon on flour and mix it with some of the broth until it forms a paste. Mix in to the stew and let it cook for another 30 minutes or so.

Friday Five: #foodpornfriday 2.0

Hello! It is time for another #foodpornfriday. Right now I am mostly likely in a Thanksgiving-induced state of bliss. So I want to share some of my bliss with you through delicious food pictures.

Disclaimer: All of these recipes are from Cooking Light. They all look totally amazing, right? I was reading the most recent issue the other night and found myself pinning so many recipes. Delicious looking food made lighter? I’m game. I’ve made a few Cooking Light recipes before and they have all turned out great. Hopefully I’ll be making these sooner rather than later.


Chickpea and Sausage Minestrone. It has been so cold and dreary here the past few days all I want to make is soup. This looks so good and so hearty. Get in my belly.


Couscous with Winter Vegetables. I would eat this as a main but you could definitely serve this as a side. I might try this out with farro instead of couscous because  I am a wild and crazy kid.


Garlicky Turnip Fries. I think I’d try this out with parsnips instead of a turnips (I mean, a root vegetable is a root vegetable, am I right?). I tried to make parsnip fries once and they were OK. I think if I used my fancy new mandolin to cut the fries, I’d have much better luck.


Smashed Potatoes with Goat Cheese. I feel like this really doesn’t need much of an explanation. GOAT CHEESE PEOPLE.

oh-vanilla-bean-baked-custard-lVanilla Bean Baked Custard. I had to include a dessert in this post. And I just love vanilla anything. This uses my trusty vanilla bean paste I mentioned a week or so ago. Must try this one out soon.

Giving thanks

I think everyone knows my feelings about Thanksgiving. I just love it. And tomorrow at this time, I will be surrounded by my entire family, enjoying everything the holiday has to offer.

It has been an exciting year for both Eric and myself. We moved. We both got new jobs. We traveled a lot. I started this blog. I have a lot for which to be thankful.

I just wanted to say thanks to all of you who have read this blog over the past few months. I don’t do it to gain tons and tons of readers. I do it because I love food and I love writing about food and if someone out there finds ones of my recipes, makes it and likes it, then my job here is done.

So THANK you Kitchen Casual readers. I hope all of you and your families have an excellent Thanksgiving.

Falafel-Crusted Chicken with Hummus Slaw

I’m a control freak when it comes to cooking. This should really come to no surprise to anyone who knows me. I like everything to be done a certain way and in a specific order. I also rarely ask for help. This sometimes annoys Eric because he likes it when we cook together and sometimes I’ll insist on doing everything myself. What annoys him even more is when he says he is going to cook for me, and then I butt in and help out when he doesn’t even ask for it.

The other night, Eric cooked dinner for me and I stayed in the living room, drinking wine and watching “Nashville” on our DVR. And you know what? It was magical.  I helped him out only when he asked, but I mostly stayed out of it. And he made a delicious, delicious meal.

photoI could definitely get used to this.

Falafel-Crusted Chicken with Hummus Slaw (From The Food Network)

3 chicken breasts (Eric used chicken cutlets)
1 tablespoon  olive oil
1/2 cup falafel mix
2 pitas, halved
6 tablespoons hummus
Juice of 1 lemon
1/2 teaspoon hot sauce
4 cups shredded coleslaw mix
6 radishes, halved and thinly sliced

1) Preheat the oven to 425 degrees
2) Set a rack on a rimmed baking sheet and coat with cooking spray. Toss the chicken with the olive oil in a large bowl, then add the falafel mix and toss to coat. Arrange the chicken on the rack and bake until golden and cooked through, about 10 minutes. While the chicken is baking, stack the pita halves and wrap them in foil; warm in the oven, about 5 minutes.
3) Mix the hummus, lemon juice, hot sauce and 3 tablespoons water in a large bowl. Remove 2 tablespoons of the hummus sauce and reserve. Add the coleslaw mix and radishes to the remaining hummus sauce and toss. Season with salt.
4) Divide the chicken among plates and drizzle with the reserved hummus sauce. Stuff the slaw in the pitas and serve with the chicken.

Grilled Pizza with Roasted Tomatoes and Goat Cheese

Making pizza at home can sometimes be intimidating. The dough. The oven. How much toppings do I add? How long do I cook it for? There are plenty of shortcuts out there for those who are looking for them — pre-made dough or crusts, pizza sauce for those who want it. But I think I have found a way to take the guess work out of homemade pizza.

Eric and I like to make homemade pizza on a regular basis. We’ve used pre-made dough from Trader Joe’s and Pillsbury before to semi-decent success, but never have we made a pizza that got anywhere near that of a restaurant.

Enter this recipe. I have bread flour and yeast left over from when I made challah, so I figured why not go ahead and make my own dough? And I think that is the key. The crust tasted fresh and added a layer of flavor missing from our previous attempts. Cooking it on the grill is also important, if you have one. The flames mimic those of a pizza oven, cooking the dough quickly and perfectly (well, minus a little burning on the edges in our case. But we still totally ate it).


Roasted tomatoes and goat cheese is our go to topping combination, but feel free to use whatever you feel like.

Grilled Pizza with Roasted Tomatoes and Goat Cheese

For the dough (taken from here)
1 1/2 cup warm water (I put mine in the microwave for about 45 seconds)
1 package of dry active yeast
3 1/2 cups bread flour (you can also use all purpose flour if that’s what you have on hand)
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon sugar

Mix the water and the yeast together in the bowl of a stand mixer (or bowl). Let sit for five minutes. Once the yeast has dissolved, add the rest of the ingredients together. If using a mixer, put on the bread hook attachment and knead on low for about 10 minutes. If you are using your hands, mix the dough together and knead for about five minutes until the dough is smooth and everything is incorporated. Put dough in a bowl coated in olive oil and let rise for an hour or more. This recipe makes enough for two medium size pizzas. I cut the dough in half and froze the part we didn’t use for later use.

Roasted Tomatoes
4 to 6 roma tomatoes, cut in half
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
Salt and pepper

Preheat over to 375 degrees. On a baking sheet, lay out the halved tomatoes. Drizzle with olive oil, add the spices and toss until they are coated. Place in oven and roast for 40 to 45 minutes, until the tops of the tomatoes look a little caramelized, but not burned. Allow the tomatoes to cool before chopping them up.

For the pizza
1/2 cup pizza sauce (either store bought or homemade)
1 cup of shredded mozarella cheese (We actually used a six cheese mix from Sargento)
1/4 cup crumbled goat cheese
Roasted tomatoes
Garlic powder

1) Turn on the grill and heat it to about 450 degrees (medium high). While the grill is heating up, take a ball of dough on a floured cookie sheet or pizza peel and form it out in to a circle (or square). Let the dough sit for a few minutes and push it out again before putting it on the grill.

2) Oil the grates of the grill, either with cooking spray (be careful when you do this over an open flame) or an oiled paper towel. This is a key part of the process to keep the dough from sticking. Slowly slide the dough on to the grill and close the top. Cook for 2-3 minutes. Keep an eye on it — some grills cook quicker than others.

3) After a few minutes, check the bottom of the pizza. It should be browning nicely (not too dark, but slightly golden). Flip the dough over and cook for about 1 minute on the other side. Take the dough off the grill and lower the head to about medium.

4) Add the toppings. Sauce first, then mozzarella, roasted tomatoes and goat cheese. For a final step, sprinkle the top with garlic powder, crust as well. This gives the finished pizza a bit more depth of flavor.

5) Carefully place the pizza back on the grill. Close the top. Cook for about 2 to 3 minutes until the cheese is melted and the toppings are heated through. Remove from grill and let sit for a few minutes (I find this gives the toppings time to meld together). Cut and enjoy.

Note: Depending on the size of your grilled, it might be easier to break the dough ball in to two smaller pieces. We had a bit of a mishap and ended up with a triangle shaped pizza. But it was still delicious.

Chicken and dumplings

I was worried that maybe I built up my Dutch oven too much. That no matter what happened over the weekend, it would not be as amazing as I thought it was going to be. Well ladies and gents, it was pretty freaking amazing.

The finished product. Food styling by my mom.
The finished product. Food styling by my mom.

It was definitely the best chicken and dumplings I have ever made. Granted I don’t know if that had to do with the Dutch oven or the recipe, but I’m going to say it was a little bit of both.

My mom came over for dinner and helped me out a little with the cooking. It was good to have her around because her chicken and dumplings is one of my favorite meals (it was the first dish I requested her to make after we moved back to Atlanta). She also got to experience the awesomeness that is my new Dutch oven.

photo 1

I used Martha Stewart’s chicken and dumpling recipe as a starting off point, but as we were cooking, we realized we were going to have to make some tweaks. Pretty significant ones in my opinion, mostly in terms of the amount of stock that was used. I prefer my chicken and dumplings to have a decent amount of liquid. Even with the changes, it was a delicious and hearty meal. And I’m already craving the leftovers we’ll be having for dinner tonight.

photo 3

You could easily adapt this to work in a crock pot, but from start to finish it only took about an hour. That might be a bit too long on weeknights, but was very manageable on a Sunday night. I also used my mom’s recipe for dumplings instead of Martha’s, but am including Martha’s for reference.

Chicken and Dumplings

3 tablespoons butter
1 medium onion, cut into 1-inch pieces
2 cups of chopped carrots (I just used baby carrots I had on hand, cut in half)
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 cup flour
1 1/2 pounds of chicken (I used equal parts chicken thighs and chicken breasts), cut in to two inch pieces
5 cups chicken stock
Salt and pepper to taste
1/2 package frozen peas

(This is Martha’s recipe for dumplings. I would probably double it given the increase in liquid. Or just follow your favorite dumpling recipe.)
3/4 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup of milk
1 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon dried dill

1) In a Dutch oven or other heavy pot, heat butter over medium. Add onion, carrots, and thyme. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is soft, about 5 minutes.
2) Add flour and cook for  30 seconds. Add broth and bring to a boil, stirring constantly. With the increase in liquid this will take a bit, but stirring is a important part in thickening the base. Add chicken to post and reduce heat the medium-low. Season with salt and pepper. Cover and cook for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
3) While the chicken is cooking, mix together the ingredients for the dumplings. The consistency should be like a biscuit dough. Add milk or flour depending if necessary. Be careful not the over stir the batter.
4) Stir in peas prior to adding dumplings. Spoon dumpling batter on top of the chicken mixture. There should be about 10 dumplings. Make sure to spread them out as they will expand while cooking. Cook for ten minutes with the lid off and then another 10 minutes with the lid on. Once the dumplings are firm, it is ready to serve.