Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Chicken-Bean Spinach Stew

Yum! I love this recipe so much, it's one of those that I will keep making for years to come. You can omit the bacon if you want, but it doesn't add too many calories because it is a small amount and the flavour is wonderful! If you are vegetarian, omit the bacon, use coconut oil or butter to cook the veggies, and substitute the chicken for butternut squash (adjust the cooking time and broth accordingly). 

(Serves 3 very hungry people, or 4 with a side salad)

What you need:

3-4 roma tomatoes (depending on servings, one for each person) (to conserve energy, you can roast several veggies at once using this method)
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 chicken breasts
2 carrots, sliced
2 stalks of celery, sliced
1 onion, chopped
1 slice of thick bacon (or two depending on taste)
1 15 oz can drained and rinsed white beans(navy)
2 - 3 cups vegetable or chicken both
2 cups spinach
2 cloves garlic
1 teaspoon herbes de province (optional)
salt and pepper to taste

What to do:

Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees. Cut tomatoes in half, season with salt and pepper and drizzle olive oil on them. Bake for about 20-30 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat a medium pan and add bacon. Cook bacon until ready, chop and set aside.

Add chopped onions, celery, and carrots to the pan with bacon grease, which shouldn't be too much if you use a good quality bacon which should just coat the pan. Let cook for 4-5 minutes, and set aside for later.

If the pan needs a little oil, add some olive oil to coat, now add the chicken breast. Sprinkle with salt, pepper and herbs de provence, repeat when you flip and cook until done. Place the chicken out of the pan and let rest, then slice into mouth-sized pieces.

Place spinach and garlic in the pan, cook until the spinach is wilted. When the spinach and garlic are ready, add beans, vegetables, chopped chicken, and chopped bacon, cover with broth. Bring to simmering for about 5-7 minutes and season to taste. When spooning into bowls, place two baked Roma tomato halves in each bowl.

Serve and enjoy!

Chicken-Bean Spinach Stew

Why Another Food Blog?!?

I created this blog to journal my cooking and baking pursuits.

As someone who is conscious of the environment and the people who grow and harvest my food, most (if not all) of the ingredients I use are organic (or "free of pesticides"). Every time I choose to buy wild, local, organic, grass-fed, I choose against conventional factory farms, and mono-cultures. I choose to support farming practices that do not create toxic conditions for workers that pick my produce, as well as the pollinators that we rely greatly upon for so much of our food. I also try to be aware of genetically modified organisms (GMO's) as we are still uncertain on how they will affect us in the long-term. I vote with my dollar.

I try to cook using whole foods, while limiting my consumption of refined sugars, wheat, an processed foods. This is primarily for health reasons, as I have noticed that while consuming processed foods laden with refined sugars, wheat, and unhealthy oils, I've become very unhealthy. I'm learning while I go, remaining fluid throughout this journey.

I hope that we, as a society, begin to value food systems that are locally centered, support small farmers, small businesses, and individuals. As well as embrace fair trade and sustainable practices for coffee, chocolate, bananas, coconut, ect. in the communities that rely on exporting their goods.

I acknowledge that having these ethos can cost more for groceries, but I have also learned a few tips along the way to help keep costs down:

1. Shop at your Farmer's market!! You would be surprised on how inexpensive buying organic at the market really is, especially if you buy items right before they close (although, you can' t be too picky about what you get at these times). Ask for deals when you are there (especially at end of market)! Also, ask the farmers what their farming practices are, many grow organic and simply cannot afford to (or do not want to) certify.

2. Eat seasonally! Eating seasonally means less miles traveled, fresher ingredients, and lots of inspiration to work with! Get comfortable with food and working with different flavours.

3. Buy bulk! Buying bulk is a great way to reduce costs. If you have the motivation and the resources, pitch in with a group to get items at bargain prices!

4. Use those coupons! Most of the time coupons are used to advertise for processed foods and unhealthy items. However, the big chain natural food grocery stores often have really good deals and can be less expensive than their conventional counterparts.

5. Get gardening! Since I started planting my own food, I've become even more aware of what I eat and how it's grown. Even if you live in a small space, there are many things that you can grow in containers. Start with a few herbs, cherry tomatoes, and maybe even a container melon! There are endless possibilities here, and there is a great satisfaction in knowing how to grow your own food.

6. Barter! Try to trade or barter within your circle of friends, and maybe beyond. I know this may sound a little wacky to people who live in a society that is based off the dollar, but if you think about it, we all try to buy the same things anyways. Bartering or trading with your friends and/or neighbours can provide you with variety and a sense of community. You can make this fun by creating an event out of it! Trade canned goods, baked goods, and your own homegrown produce!

7. Experiment with herbs and spices! I haven't physically traveled much, but through the pursuits of my cooking adventures I've been all around the world! I still have many countries and regions to discover as food is a great way to learn about people around the world. You can buy spices fairly inexpensively in bulk at natural food stores.

Lastly. Have fun with it!

Thank you for reading.