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rosemary chicken and grits

I’m a big talker.

See, I like to ponder aloud things that I should do or will do when I have time. Somehow, that magical window of opportunity vanishes before most of my plans come to fruition. Turbo has gotten wise to my wolf-crying ways and either ignores my grand plans or encourages me to put my money where my mouth is.

Yeah, yeah, yeah. 

Happily, I’ve found a group of friends who share this somewhat debilitating behavior trait. Apparently when people like this get together, the plans get bigger and even less attainable. We’ve intended to visit apple orchards, hold weekly happy hours, host Christmas cookie swaps and so on. To date, one of the few plans we’ve managed to execute is a trip to Ketner’s Mill Fair.

The event is nothing spectacular – a large “country arts fair” with a boat load of crafts, questionable fair food, exceptional people watching and stone ground grits – made on site by their large mill…hence the name. I’ve got a bag of them in the pantry.

And that, boys and girls, is how this recipe was born.

A little perusing on one of my favorite sites unearthed a delicious dairy-laden recipe, which I modified. Any God-fearing Southerner would be appaled to know I made grits without butter or cream, but it’s true. And neither Turbo nor I missed it. I may have to return my citizenship for that comment but I stand by it. The mushrooms and broth give plenty of richness, and a teensy bit of almond milk gives enough “cream” to the sauce.

So here you go my dairy-free friends…mangia!

(That’s Italian for “eat until your pants get tight.”)

First, I boiled both beef and chicken stock with wine in a heavy saucepan – aka my cast iron skillet – until reduced.

broth and wine

Then I sauteed strips of chicken with a little rosemary, thyme and oregano. I didn’t measure (sorry) but just sprinkle until the aroma makes you swoon in anticipation.

chicken

Add some prosciutto. I like saying prosciutto. Has a nice ring to it, no? But if you can’t find it, any pork product will do like bacon, serrano ham or pancetta (Italian bacon).

chicken and pancetta

Once browned, set aside and try to keep any shifty looking kitchen loiterers at bay. (Turbo is an incurable picker.)

chicken and pancetta done

Guess I can’t blame him. Next, it’s mushroom time…

mushrooms

Mmm. Golden brown. Then add your reduced broth and a little bit of almond milk. I recommend not confusing your regular almond milk for vanilla flavored. I did.

adding broth and milk

Blech.

We still ate it. It was pretty good.

Anyway, let this delicious concoction simmer until reduced to sauce consistancy. It’s not going to be super thick because of the lack of cream, but give it about 10 minutes or so. If you prefer a thicker sauce, you can whisk in about 1 tablespoon of flour.

last step flour

Word of caution, the flour turned into tiny little lumps in my sauce. I tried mashing them with a fork but it was tedious so I just crossed my fingers and hoped for the best. They must have disolved because it tasted delicious but just wanted to warn you. For that reason, flour is optional.

Meanwhile, start the grits by pouring them into boiling water and stirring.

grits

Stir OFTEN with a whisk until thick.

whisk

Add your chicken and prosciutto back to the mushroom sauce and season with salt and pepper.

adding chicken and prosciutto

Once grits are done, spoon onto plates and top with chicken/mushroom combination.

rosemary chicken and grits

Delizioso!

Recipe: Serves 2

Grits:

  • 1/2 cup grits
  • 1 cup water

Chicken:

  • 1 cup beef stock or canned beef broth
  • 1 cup chicken stock or low-salt canned chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 3-4 slices prosciutto
  • 1 boneless chicken breasts, cut into strips
  • 8-10 shitake or button mushrooms, sliced
  • 1/2 cup almond milk (or rice or soy)
  • 1 Tbsp flour (optional)
  • Rosemary, thyme, oregano to taste
  • Olive oil

Boil beef and chicken broths with wine in heavy saucepan until reduced to 1 cup (about 15 minutes). Remove from heat and set aside.

Sautee chicken in olive oil (two turns of the pan) with rosemary, thyme and oregano. When browned on both sides (about 5 minutes) add proscuitto and cook until browned. Transfer to plate with slotted spoon. Add mushrooms to same skillet and sautee until golden (about 4 minutes). Add stock mixture and milk and simmer until reduced to sauce consistancy (about 10 minutes). If you prefer thicker mixture, whisk in flour. Season with salt and pepper.

To cook grits, whisk into boiling water and stir frequently with wire whisk until thick (about 30 minutes).

Spoon grits onto plate and top with chicken/mushroom mixture.

Enjoy!

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 broccoli before

My sister-in-law jokes that growing up, my mother-in-law swore that every childhood illness could be healed with a good night’s sleep and broccoli. If that’s true, then during the month of February you can catch me in bed every night at 8 p.m., and I’ll be serving up broccoli for breakfast, lunch, dinner and two snacks. Why? Well, if I might indulge in a little self pity, I’d love to summarize my month:

January 8: Fuss spikes a fever the day before her baptism. Hubbie has to truck down to the urgent care clinic as my family is pulling in the driveway. Diagnosed with ear infection and a shot of antibiotics saves the big day.

January 9-12: Fuss runs low-grade fever for five days. Feels ABSOLUTELY horrible. I know this because…

January 15: I get Fuss’ “bug.” Feel like death warmed over. Run low-grade fever for five days. Finally go see the doctor: bronchitis.

January 23: After a faux recovery, Fuss spikes another fever (on a weekend, of course).

January 24: Fuss’ fever goes as high as 104 degrees (at 2 a.m. of course). Worried sick. Meanwhile, Turbo gets horrible stomach bug and has to be quarantined in our bedroom. I disinfect the entire house, twice, then yell at him for touching things.

January 25: Go to the pediatrician. Yep, it’s pnemonia. Will this ever end?

January 26: Turbo feeling better but Mom feels sorry for me so comes in town to help. I get first night’s sleep in almost a month. Heavenly.

January 27: Mom gets Turbo’s stomach bug. Drives back to Carrollton with soda crackers and ginger ale. Feel really guilty…and even more paranoid that Fuss will get sick with yet another bug.

So, that pretty much sums it up.

And while everyone seems to be on the mend for now, I think I’ll stick to my broccoli regime just in case. To spice things up, I’ll need new and exciting ways to cook it…like this dandy little recipe. It’s inspired by the Barefoot Contessa, although hers is called Parmesan-Roasted Broccoli. Obviously, some tweaking was in order.

You start with the magical little green trees.

broccoli before

Place in an oven safe dish and coat with olive oil, salt, pepper and a little garlic.

broccoli and olive oil

Roast in a 400 degree oven until nice and crispy, then top with toasted pine nuts and a squeeze of fresh lemon.

broccoli and pine nuts

Mmmmm. Short, simple, perfection. Enjoy and remember, eat your greens!

broccoli plated

Roasted broccoli with lemon and pine nuts (Serves 2):

  • Approximately 2 cups of broccoli florets
  • Juice from half a lemon
  • 1 Tbsp pine nuts, toasted
  • Olive oil to coat
  • 1/4 tsp minced garlic
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cut enough broccoli florets from the thick stalk for 2 people (approximately 2 cups). Place in shallow dish and drizzle with olive oil, salt, pepper and garlic. Toss to coat. Roast in oven until desired crispness, approximately 30 minutes.

Remove from oven and toss with lemon juice and pine nuts. Eat three times daily to avoid stomach bugs and pneumonia. Hey, you can never be too careful.