Spiced Chickpeas and Kale

Once upon a time (last Sunday) I wanted to go to the Pizza Inn buffet.  Unfortunately (or fortunately?) I couldn't find anyone to go with me so I was left to have what I thought was going to be a boring lunch at home.  

Well, well, well wasn't I wrong!  For one thing, it's never a boring lunch at home when there's feta involved.  Also, my Big Browne Hound continues to spice things up regularly.  By shedding.  And generally being awesome.  

But let's talk lunch.  I stumbled upon this dish when cruising the mother of distraction, Refinery 29.  It was billed as the holy grail of easy lunches so of course I'm all over that.  

Well friends, what they say is true.  It is amazing.  It's flavorful, quick, easy, cheap.  You need to run get a can of chickpeas, a bag of kale and a block 'o feta with much haste and do this.  

You're welcome.   
Spiced Chickpeas and Kale
from Refinery 29

1 tbl of coconut oil
1 tsp garam masala
1 can of chickpeas, drained
3 handfuls of kale
1 tsp olive oil
salt and pepper
1/2 of a lemon, juiced
4 tbl feta cheese

In a skillet, heat the coconut oil over medium heat.  Sprinkle the garam masala in the oil and let it sizzle.  Add in the chickpeas and the salt and saute until they are golden.  Add in the kale, olive oil and a bit more salt and pepper.  Saute the kale until it cooks down.  Stir in the lemon juice.  

Divide this dish evenly between two bowls, top each dish with 2 tbl of feta cheese.  

Serving size 1/2 of recipe
Points plus 13


Warm Goat Cheese Dip with Artichokes and Roasted Tomatoes

I'm going to get all crazy town and share with you guys a rare Sunday night post.  About a dip.  A blurry dip.  A dip that you should probably make this New Year's Eve.  Hence the random Sunday night post.  

Guys, this one is really easy and really tasty and will probably leave you leftover-less.  If you are anything like me, leftover-less is a good place to be the morning after a party where you had dips.  And wine.  Way to tempting to dive in there and have apps for breakfast.  

Say leftover-less eight times in a row and see how strange it sounds.  Do it, I'll wait. 

Isn't that weird?  Of course it is, it's a made up word.  

Happy Sunday, party people!  
Warm Goat Cheese Dip with Artichokes and Roasted Tomatoes
from Sugar and Grace

1 pint of cherry tomatoes, halved
1 tsp of olive oil
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp balsamic vinegar
10 0z goat cheese
4 oz cream cheese
1/3 cup of artichokes
Parmesan cheese

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  Add the tomatoes to a baking dish, toss with olive oil and salt and pepper.  Cook until the tomatoes start to blister slightly and get all bubbly. When they are done drizzle the balsamic over them.   

While this is happening, combine the goat cheese, cream cheese and artichokes.  I used a hand blender, you could use a food processor.  Whatever.  Do what works.  Spray a baking dish with cooking spray and spread the cheese/artichoke mixture in a baking dish.  Top with the tomatoes and some grated Parmesan.  

Bake for about 15 minutes or until the cheese is bubbly.  Serve with pita chips.     


'Twas The Day After Christmas.... (Old Fashion Oatmeal)

.....And I'm still a little full. 


(And maybe macaroni and cheese.)

But still, a girl has to eat.  Especially since a girl has to run this morning.  

Enter the day after Christmas conundrum.  What does one eat for breakfast after days of dips?  And what about those cupboards?  Mine are empty aside for Christmas goodies and taco seasoning.  And old fashion oats.  

Enter:  Mexican Oatmeal.  

Enter:  oatmeal with whatever is in your pantry stirred in to make it taste less like, well, oatmeal.  

1/2 cup of old fashion oats
1 cup of milk
1 tbl of jelly
1 banana, sliced

Points plus 8 

There you go.   A hearty cold weather breakfast to help you ease back into normal life post Christmas.  

Happy Thursday, friends! 


Be Merry!!

Merry Christmas to you, dear friends!

The Big Browne Hound reminds you to Be Merry. 



Ritz and Rolos

After the holidays, guys, things are going to change around these parts.  Less dips, more mindful eating; less cream cheese, more kale.  Maybe even some woohoo!! Wednesday post thrown in to ponder on the beauty of life.  

Until then, though, we are going to ponder on the beauty of ridiculous party snacks.  Friends...I present to you Ritz and Rolos.  

Ritz and Rolos were introduced to me this holiday season by my buddy, Swayze, when she brought them to our annual ornament swap.  They are like little buttery-salty-chocolaty disks of crack and I can barely even handle them.  Better yet?  They are easy as can be as the most complicated part is unwrapping your Rolos.  It's kind of like they were meant to be since there are twice the number of ritz crackers in a box than the number of Rolos in a bag.  Coincidence?  I think not...
Ritz and Rolos

1 box of Ritz crackers
1 bag of Rolos

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. 

Lay half of the ritz (salt side down) on a baking sheet; unwrap all of your Rolos.  Place the Rolos on the crackers.  Bake for 3-5 minutes or until the Rolos start to melt slightly.  Remove the crackers, put the rest of the crackers (salt side up) on top of the rolo and smush it down.  Let them cool completely. 


A Few on Friday

1.  I love this prayer

2.  I love this video, too.  Turns out, I'm not a very empathetic responder.  I'm bad to offer someone a sandwich in times of crisis.  I'm working on it, though.   

3.  Speaking of crisis, I got bangs.  I know, I know....getting bangs is not a crisis.  It is a haircut.  And a choice.  Even when there is miscommunication involved.  BUT. Anyone got any bangin' tips?  And to my friends, I promise I'm almost done talking about them.  Almost

4.  I'm off work today, doing things like baking and cleaning and getting ready for the weekend.  You know what else I'm doing? Running 16 miles.  God willing and the creek don't rise, of course.  Would you like to donate 16$ to the OCNA?  Doooo it.  Right here.   

5.  The SNL sketch Michael Buble's Christmas Duets makes me belly laugh ever single time.  Jimmy Fallon = amazing.  Find it. Watch it.  

Happy weekend, friends!  Hope it's festive and filled with gratitude, wonder, people that you love.  Keep it present!


Warm Kale and Asiago Dip

Well hey party people!  Long time no blawg!  Hope you all are doing well, enjoying the Christmas season and eating lots of dips.  I know I have.  'Tis the season for Fritos, y'all. 

Speaking of dips, I've got a good one to share today.  I made it for our annual ornament swap last night, I can't speak for the rest of the bunch but I thought it was a keeper. But I mark most dips with the stamp of "keeper" when they have bacon on top.  Duh. 

As the title implies, this dip features some kale.  Think of it as a modern day spinach dip, one with fancier cheeses and no water chestnuts.  BUT.  I bet this would rock in a bread bowl.  Someone try it and report back.

Happy dipping, friends!!
Warm Kale and Asiago Dip
from Southern Living

5 slices of bacon, chopped
1 lb fresh kale, chopped
1/2 of medium onion, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, chopped
1/4 cup of dry white wine
8 oz cream cheese, reduced fat
1/2 cup of mayonnaise
1 cup + 2 tbl asiago cheese
1 cup + 2 tbl fontina or Swiss cheese
1 tbl red wine vinegar
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper
1/2 tsp black pepper

Heat a large skillet over medium high heat; cook the bacon until crispy.  Reserve 1 tbl of the bacon grease, place the bacon on paper towels to drain.

Wipe out the pan, add the bacon grease back in.  Cook the kale, garlic and onion for about 8 minutes or until the onions are soft.  Add in the wine and stir for 1-2 minutes. 

Meanwhile, place the cream cheese and mayonnaise in a bowl and stir to combine.  Add in the remaining ingredients and the cooked kale when it's done. 

Spread into a baking dish and cook at 350 for 25 minutes.  Top with the crumbled bacon and serve with your dipping vessel of choice!


A Few on Friday

1.  Hey!

2.  What about this crazy weather that's being predicted?  Hope all you cats are staying warm and safe. 

3.  While we are on the topic of this crazy weather...let's talk about this:
It's cheesy Brussels sprouts lasagna and I think someone needs to make it this weekend and bring me a square.  I feel like it could warm ones chili bones right up.  You can find the recipe here.

4.  I can't tell if the Big Browne Hound loves the tree and is trying to snuggle with it or is trying to intimidate it into getting out of his spot.  

5.  Y'all my OCNA fundraiser is 74% funded!!  How amazing is that?  It's so amazing.  Two months and two days to go!  I'm running a half marathon tomorrow.  I meant to sign up for St. Jude but it filled up to fast!  Maybe a good thing because I think Memphis is going to be kind of a hot mess tomorrow.  ANYWAY.  If anyone in Greenwood wants to set up water and / or cheering stations around town tomorrow please do.  I think I'm going to run the Viking Half Marathon Route just for kicks and something different.  Please pray for my toes, they are getting scary looking.

6.  Christmas Cats TV.  

7.  Loving all this good energy and talk of Nelson Mandela

8.  I should be gearing up for the Greenwood Christmas Parade right but instead I'm sitting in my cubical eating a Lenny's sub.  Why?  Because it got canceled due to weather!  NBD, thought, as this just means that next year is going to be even better.....

Happy weekend cuties!  Make it a good one!!         


Chicken Yakisoba

What do you do with that random package of Ramen that's been in your pantry for Lord knows how long?  You make some chicken yakisoba with it.  Never mind that you got it specifically to make that fancy* Martha Stewart  Ramen dish with the fried egg AND that you have no idea what yakisoba is.  Just make it anyway.  It doesn't take that long.   
What it does take, though, is a really really big skillet.  It also makes a mess.  Why?  Because you've got all the chopped vegetables flying all around.  It's also kind of stir fried which ups the chance of an injury.

All of this being said, though, this dish is kind of awesome and brings a bit of excitement to a mid week meal.  It's also a good way to work your veggies back in after you've been engaging in Carbs-giving 2013.  
 This would be a great vegan meal, guys. If you're into that, of course.  At least I think it would be, more research will have to be done on the Ramen noodles.  The seasoning pack isn't but I bet just the noodles are.  These are the great mysteries of life.  And these are the things I think about at 6 am on a Thursday....
*Nothing about ramen is fancy.  

Chicken Yakisoba
from Budget Bytes

2 tbl vegetable oil
2 inch piece of ginger, peeled and grated
1 chicken breast, sliced thin
1/2 head of green cabbage, sliced thin
1 medium yellow onion, sliced
2 medium carrots, grated
1 small head of broccoli, cut into bite sized pieces
2 packages of ramen noodles, seasoning package discarded
1 tsp sesame oil
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup worcestershire sauce
2 tbl ketchup 
(up to) 1 tbl siracha
1 tbl sugar

Prep all vegetables and chicken breast.  Bring a pot of water to boil.  Heat vegetable in a (really big) skillet over medium high heat.  Add the ginger, cook for 30 seconds.  Add the chicken, cook until done.  

While working on the chicken, add the ramen to the boiling water. Boil for about three minutes.  Drain and return to the pot.  Add in the sesame oil and toss.  Set aside.  

Once the chicken is done, add in all of the vegetables.  Allow to cook until wilted down, about 8 minutes or so.  While the veggies are cooking down, combine the soy, Worcestershire, ketchup, sriracha and sugar in a small bowl.  Once the veggies are wilted down, toss in the noodles and the sauce and combine well.  

Serving size 1 cup (makes six)
Points plus 8 


Oven Roasted Greek Chicken and Vegetables

This was one of those dishes that made me want to chest bump Brandon after we finished.  It also made me want to drive to Oxford to chest bump when as she was the one that recommended I make it.  

Instead of chest bumping everyone, though, I just enjoyed the meal and excitedly had it for leftovers.  

This recipe is coming to us from a site called Budget Bytes.  It's got what appears to be some good stuff and it's one that I'll probably be referencing often.  Especially if the rest of the recipes are anything like these guys.

So what, you may be asking, exactly are these guys?  They are oven roasted Greek veggies and chicken to go inside of pita pockets.  If you can chop and preheat your oven then you are going to win this day.  This lovely, Greek chicken day.  

Since this is a budget byte, it's only got one piece of chicken.  I was good with that (since anything other than shredded chicken and I are still kind of in a fight right now) and mainly focused on the veggies.  

Happy roasting, ουσ. φίλος, φίλη !  (That's friends in Greek according to google.  Which probably means that I just said something horribly offensive.  If that's the case, sorry. )

Oven Roasted Greek Chicken and Vegetables
adapted from Budget Bytes

1 chicken breast, sliced thin into strips
1 small eggplant, diced
2 bell peppers, sliced
1 red onion, sliced
2 roma tomatoes, chopped
4 cloves of garlic, diced
3 tbl olive oil
3 tbl lemon juice
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp salt
black pepper
4 oz feta cheese
1 can artichokes, chopped

Preheat oven to 400. 

Place the eggplant, onions, peppers, tomatoes and chicken in a baking dish.  Combine the olive oil, garlic, lemon juice, oregano, salt and pepper in a bowl.  Pour it over the veggies, toss to combine well.

Roast for 60 minutes, stirring every 20 minutes.  In the last 10 minutes or so, stir in the artichokes.  Once it's done roasting, crumble the feta on top.

Serving size 1/2 cup (makes 11 servings)
Points plus 6

Serve warm stuffed in a pita or something awesome like that!



Mom's Creamy Chicken (or Beef!) Enchiladas

My love for coming together around a table with good folk, food and conversation goes back a long, long time.  It's connecting, it's stopping; sitting with each other while eating is one of the most basic, yet most interesting events that goes down between people.  

Family trips to Morrison's after church flowed into Mexican fiestas with friends at Mom's house flowed into supper clubs and cookbook clubs and apps on patios.  Planned or spontaneous, fancy or relaxed....matters not just as long as we are together and there is food.

Let's circle back around to those Mexican fiestas at my mom's house.  I have no idea how or why they started but I do know that there were lots of layered tshirts and slicky shorts.  And talk of boys.  And broken hearts.  And probably some gossip.  There were usually sombreros and there were always cheesy biscuits.  

This enchilada recipe was usually front and center.  When I knew that Brandon and I would be hosting a Mexican themed supper club it didn't take me long to decide that we'd be having this for our main course.  It is just so good.  And it tastes like high school.  I don't really know what that means but if you were at these fiestas....you get it.  

Ole, fine friends!  Let's have dinner together soon.  With these enchiladas.....   
Mom's Creamy Chicken (or Beef!) Enchiladas

1 lb cooked chicken (or beef!)
chili powder
garlic powder
onion powder
salt and pepper
1 can of rotel (drained)
1/2 cup of sour cream
1 can of cream of mushroom soup
6 flour tortillas
shredded cheese (cheddar, Mexican blend, whatevs) ( Not a lot of rules here.

Heat the meat over medium heat.  Add all of the seasonings along with the rotel.  

In a small bowl, combine the sour cream and the soup.  Add two tablespoons of the soup mixture to the meat.  Divide the meat mixture evenly among the tortillas.  Roll them up and place them in a greased baking dish.  Bake at 350 for 30 minutes covered.  Uncover, bake for 5 more minutes.   


Thanksgiving Recipe Round Up

Well hey guys.  Let's talk about holiday recipes.  The good, the bad, the dry.  

For the sake of getting the worst out of the way first, let's start with the bad.  

I stumbled upon this recipe while cruising the always awesome How Sweet It Is blog.  Upon finding something called "Cheddar Chocolate Truffle Dip" most people would kindly say no thank you and keep right on looking.  Not this girl.  Nope  This girl said well that sounds amazing and made a special trip to Cleveland for marscarpone cheese.  I'm pretty sure that I know where I went wrong.  You are supposed to wait to top the cheese dip with the truffles but Captain Lack of Patience over here just didn't have time for any of that.  What I wound up with was a layer of cheese with a layer of melted chocolate on top.  But the fun doesn't stop there.  I didn't just make this dip....I made it for a gathering.  There were lots of confused stares.  At least the pretzel twists were good.  If you're curious, check the recipe out here.   

Let's move on to Thanksgiving day.  My family Thanksgiving involves about a massive bunch of people gathering together at a lodge outside of Jackson.  Each year, everyone is assigned something to bring.  Maybe it's a gallon of sweet tea, maybe it's an app, maybe it's a side.  If you are Chickey, it's almost always a 2 liter coke.  This year, I was got tapped to bring the corn casserole.  I used this recipe from Paula Deen.  It was amazing.  Life changing almost.  Easy.  Kept well in one of those keep it hot bags for like 3 hours.  I mean, it got a little flat but that's not going to ruin any one's time.  I didn't snap a picture but mine looked no different from the Food Network's.  Sally forth.

Thanksgiving night, I cooked supper for me and Brandon.  Check it out!
Meat first.  That there is a turkey that was given to us by Brandon's work.  It was around a seven pound bird (weighed it on my scales) and we cooked it for around 45 minutes at 350.  It was precooked.  And a little dry.  But for the first year, I think it went pretty well.  Sandwiches for days over here.  

Let's move on to the spinach.  I used Ina Gartin's recipe for spinach gratin. It was pretty delish, especially when you stumbled upon a chunk of gruyere.  Kind of like finding a 20$ bill in  your coat.  

You know what's better than finding a 20$ bill in your pocket?  This macaroni and cheese recipe.  Seriously.  It was my favorite of the night and I had it for leftovers no less than three times.  I would have had it for more leftovers but it only made a 9x9 dish.  Bummer of the holiday season.  

Last up for the sides was the stuffing (dressing?).  Due to my inability to make cornbread, this dish was outsourced.  If you are anywhere near Greenwood this Christmas (or next Thanksgiving) order your stuffing (dressing?)  from KKs.  It's legit.  And they give you a zip lock with three eggs and instructions.

Here's how it all looked on the plate:
Last but not least even a little was dessert.  My friend MaryNeff shared this one with me and hallelujah I am so glad she did.  You can find the recipe right here.   
Hope you enjoyed this Thanksgiving recipe round up!  I'll probably be full until December 12.    



If November focused on being grateful then December is all about Advent.  Or being adentagious.  Wait, that's not right?  Oh, sorry.  

OK so Advent.  I didn't grow up with much more than an Advent wreath but I'm looking forward this year to learning more about this magical season.  If you interested, join me in checking out this Advent calendar from Busted Halo. It's got little daily quips to focus on and there is even a micro challenge, which I'm guessing is kind of like a physical challenge but for Advent.  

Today is all about hope.  

I could quote that amazing part from Hope Floats were twangy Sandra Bullock inspires us all but I'm not.  Instead, I'm going to leave you with what my priest, Peter, left us with today.  Or what I took from what he said.  

Be prayerful.  Be grateful.  Trust that God is going to show up exactly where/when he is supposed to.