Sunday, September 18, 2011

Smell-tastic Sunday

Why Smell-tastic Sunday? First, I like the alliteration. That's always uber-important to me. Second, I made two dishes today that filled our house with lovely scents.

After the massive fail of my crock pot cake on Friday and at the request of the kid, I made brownies. He actually asked for "my famous brownies" which are neither famous nor mine (think boxed brownies in a rush). Instead, I made brownies from scratch, because they are healthier and I once again had all of the ingredients on hand. And let's be honest - I like brownies.

For dinner, I turned to one of those cookbooks that I bought with great aspirations of doing every recipe - I even went through it and put sticky notes on my possible faves - and have since picked it up maybe once. Kind of what this challenge is all about, huh? Anyway, the Moroccan Chicken - like the brownies earlier today - has filled the house with a what I can only imagine is the scent of Morocco, seeing that I have not (yet) visited said country. Unlike the RHONYC. (Actually, the house kind of smells oniony-cinnamony-cuminy all wrapped into one. I bet Morocco doesn't smell quite like that.)

Side note - I heart the Emmy's. Who doesn't love Jane Lynch? And the Fashion Police the next day? Obvs I'm tuning in until I get booted by the hubs for football. Or fall asleep.

Moroccan Chicken and Lentils
Source: The Eat-Clean Diet Cookbook, by Tosca Reno (2007)

  • 8c water
  • 3 tsp salt (skip)
  • 1 lb dried lentils, rinsed, drained and picked through
  • 1/4 c. plus 2 tbsp evoo
  • 1/2 c. red wine vinegar
  • 3 tbsp ground cumin
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and minced (used refrigerated minced)
  • 1 large onion, peeled and chopped
  • 2 lbs skinless, boneless chicken, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 tsp ground Cinnamon
  • 1 c. chopped fresh parsley or cilantro (skip - I have decided I don't like parsley)
  • Combine water and 1 tsp salt in stock pot over high heat. Add lentils. Bring to a boil. Cover and reduce heat to medium. Simmer until lentils are soft, about 20-25 minutes. Drain well. Rinse under cold water and drain well. Place in large bowl and set aside.
  • In a small bowl, mix 1/4c olive oil, vinegar, 2 tbsp cumin, 2 tbsp chili powder, garlic, and 1 tsp sea salt. Pour this dressing over lentils. Toss gently and let cool.
  • In large skillet heat 2 tbsp olive oil. Add onion and saute until well cooked, about 5 minutes. Onion should appear dark brown and soft. Add chicken and saute 2 minutes more. Add 1 tsp salt, 1 tbsp cumin, 2 tsp chili powder and 1/4 tsp cinnamon. Saute until poultry is cooked through.
  • Arrange lentils on a large serving platter. Place sliced chicken on top of lentils. Use remaining dressing and pour over chicken. Sprinkle with chopped parsley. Serve at room temperature.
Yield: 12 servings (I assumed 4oz chicken, 1c. lentils - but this book does not break it down. Annoying.)
Per serving: 391 calories; 28g protein; 25g carbs; 5g fiber; 3g sugars; 20g fat; 564mg sodium

I like my food hot, so instead of letting the lentils cool, and serving the food at room temperature, I made the chicken (and the accompanying rolls for the boys) at the same time the lentils were cooking, so I could serve it all at once, hot. I also didn't use even close to all of the dressing - the boys don't like a lot of sauce, and just little drizzles over the lentils and chicken were enough. That said, both the hubs and I liked this dish a lot - lots of flavor, very satisfying. The hubs offered that he usually doesn't enjoy my lentil dishes (huh?), but he really liked how they were prepared tonight. The kid thought the whole meal was just so-so.

Three Forks

Would the Countess approve of this Moroccan dish?

Irresistible Brownies
Source: Prevention magazine, October 2009

  • 1/2 c. all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 c. unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder (I use sodium-free)
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 2/3 c. dark brown sugar
  • 1/4 c. canola oil
  • 1 egg
  • 1 egg white
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 c. mini chips (used 1/2 c.)
  • 1 c. chopped walnuts (skip - don't like walnuts)
  • Heat oven to 350 degrees. Coat 8x8 or 9x9 baking pan with cooking spray.
  • Combine flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt in large bowl.
  • Put sugar, oil, egg and egg white in small bowl. Whisk until smooth. Pour into flour mixture and stir until blended. Stir in chocolate chips and walnuts (batter will be stiff).
  • Spread batter in prepared pan. Put in oven and bake 20-22 minutes or until it comes out clean.
Yield: 8 bars
Nutritional info per serving (this is with the walnuts): 305 cals; 5g protein; 31g carb; 2g fiber; 22g fat (2g sat fat); 73mg sodium

Easy to prepare, but instead of coming out cake-like or kind of puffy, the brownies are very flat - they didn't rise at all, which was kind of disappointing. That said, the flavor is super-delish. Very chocolatey and decadent. The hubs and my 'rents also enjoyed as I so generously brought them samples to try at travel soccer. The kid didn't get a chance to taste one because he had ice cream instead (we don't roll with unlimited sugar).

Three Forks

Halle Berry at the Emmy Awards a few years ago. FYI, in case you were wondering, this is not me.


  1. Lentils were luscious, brownies brilliant and my wifey is by far the hottest Hall(i)e

    Awesome alliteration!!