Recipe—Roasted Carrot Fries

Roasted Carrot Fries

A couple of weeks back we got these GORGEOUS rainbow carrots in our box of organic produce and when my son saw them he honestly didn’t believe me that they were carrots.  They ranged from a deep purple to red and even white. They were just too pretty to get tossed into a salad or cooked any ordinary way. I wanted these to stand on their own. I know I have mentioned in many previous posts that I am always looking for fun and healthy after school snacks for my little man so we decided to make roasted carrot fries. They were awesome! I just sliced, baked, and served them with a little side of ranch (because every 3 year old loves to dip their food in sauce).  These were super quick and a wonderful way to enjoy these rainbow carrots.

Rainbow Carrots

INGREDIENTS
4–5 large carrots (I used rainbow carrots)
olive oil for drizzling
salt
ranch for dipping (optional)

STEPS

  • Preheat oven to 425º.
  • Carefully cut the carrots into “fry sized” pieces.
  • Place the carrots on a parchment paper lined baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil.
  • Toss the carrots to coat and season with salt.
  • Bake the carrots for 15–18 minutes or until crisp tender, flipping once halfway through cooking.
  • Remove from oven and transfer to a serving dish or plate.
  • Serve with a side of your favorite dressing or enjoy all on their own.
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Recipe—Creamy Chicken Potpies

DivaDiCucina_ChickenPotPies

This year one of the gifts I really wanted for Christmas was a set of large ramekins. I always wanted to make personal potpies, cobblers, and even soufflés. Thanks to my ultra fabulous sister now I can. (Thanks Jess!) With this cold winter weather I knew right away that the first recipe I would be using my new kitchen paraphernalia for had to be chicken potpies. One of my favorite comfort foods!

These creamy chicken potpies turned out to be the best I have ever had! No joke! They were perfect for a cold winter night. My husband, son, and I polished them off.  I like using the pre-cooked rotisserie chicken because it made it a realistic dinner to be able to pull off after a full day of work. The puff pastry is a wonderful change from your typical piecrust. Not only is it super easy to work with but it gives the crust this really great flaky quality that you don’t usually see in a potpie. And the tender chicken with classic veggies smothered in creamy sauce, mmmm… mmmm… mmmm… so good! Give this recipe a try. You won’t be disappointed!

Note: This recipe is written to make four individual pot pies in ramekins but you can also follow the same instructions and make one family size potpie in a large pie dish. Baking time will remain about the same. Also, in place of a rotisserie chicken you can boil 2 chicken breasts for 20 minutes and then cube those up instead.

DivaDiCucina_ChickenPotPies2

INGREDIENTS
1 rotisserie chicken, meat removed and chopped
6 tbsp butter, divided
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
2 tsp garlic, minced
2 carrots, chopped
3 celery ribs, chopped
1 tsp fresh thyme
1 c frozen green peas
salt and pepper
4 tbsp flour
1/2 c chicken broth
1 1/2 c heavy cream
1 tsp Tabasco
1 1/2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 sheet frozen puff pasty (I use Pepperidge Farm), at room temperature
1 egg

STEPS

  • Preheat oven to 425º.
  • Place your chopped chicken in a large bowl.
  • In a large skillet melt 2 tbsp of butter over medium heat.
  • Add onions and garlic and cook for 4 minutes.
  • Add carrots, celery, and thyme and cook for 5 minutes.
  • Stir in frozen peas and heat through.
  • Season veggies with salt and pepper.
  • Transfer veggies to the bowl with the chicken.
  • Add the remaining 4 tablespoons of butter to the skillet and melt over medium-high heat.
  • Stir in the flour and heat for 1 minute mixing constantly.
  • Add the chicken broth and cream and continue stirring constantly until the liquid begins to boil and thicken.
  • Reduce heat to medium and cook for 2 minutes.
  • Remove the creamy mixture from the stove and stir in Tabasco and Worcestershire sauce. Season with salt and pepper.
  • Pour your creamy sauce into the bowl with the chicken and veggies. Stir to combine.
  • Transfer the potpie mixture to four large ramekins. (Mine are 5” in diameter and they were filled perfectly.)
  • Lay the puff pastry out flat on a cutting board and cut into four even squares.
  • Cut a hole in the middle of each or make a couple of slits. (This allows the steam to escape.)
  • Place the puff pastry squares over the top of each.
  • In a small bowl whisk the egg and then brush over the puff pastry.
  • Transfer the ramekins to a large cookie sheet. (The potpie filling may bubble over so this helps in keeping the oven clean.)
  • Bake until the puff pastry is a golden brown and the filling is nice and bubbly, about 20–25 minutes.
  • Allow finished potpies to sit for 5 minutes before serving.

Recipe—Spiced Carrot Bread

With my produce now being delivered weekly, rather than bi-weekly, I am finding myself with leftover items when the weekend rolls around. This equates to some creative cooking. I still had some giant carrots from the previous week and decided to make some spiced carrot bread with them. This bread is quick and easy to make, the challenge is waiting for it to bake and cool because it smells so incredibly good while in the oven. You just want to eat it right away! My entire house had the aroma of sweet spices wafting around for days, perfect for fall. While this would be fabulous with a cream cheese based frosting, I wanted something that didn’t require refrigeration. It gives the bread just the perfect amount of sweetness. Enjoy it as is for breakfast or topped with whipped cream for dessert, either way you will be indulging your sweet tooth while getting in a healthy serving of veggies.

Note: This recipe makes two loaves of spiced carrot bread. Enjoy one now and freeze one for later! 

BREAD INGREDIENTS
1 c oil
4 eggs
1/2 c buttermilk
1 tbsp vanilla
2 1/2 c sugar
2 c shredded carrots (2–3 large carrots)
4 c flour
1/2  tbsp baking powder
1/2 tbsp salt
1/2 tbsp cinnamon
1/2  tsp baking soda
1/2  tsp nutmeg
1/2  tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp ground cloves

FROSTING INGREDIENTS
1/4 c butter, melted
1 tbsp water
1 c powdered sugar
1/4 tsp cinnamon

BREAD STEPS

  • Preheat oven to 350º.
  • Spray two loaf pans with non-stick cooking spray.
  • In a large bowl whisk together oil, eggs, buttermilk, vanilla, and sugar.
  • Stir in the shredded carrots.
  • In a second large mixing bowl mix together flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, baking soda, nutmeg, ginger, and cloves.
  • Slowly add the flour mixture to the wet mixture and stir until well combined.
  • Evenly distribute the batter between the two pans.
  • Bake for 60–70 minutes or until a toothpick comes out almost clean when inserted in the middle.
  • Allow loaves to sit in the pans for 5 minutes and then carefully remove and place on a cutting board or cooling rack.
  • Allow loaves to cool completely before frosting.

FROSTING STEPS

  • Once the loaves have cooled completely stir together the melted butter and water.
  • Add in half of the powdered sugar and beat using the fork until smooth.
  • Add in the remaining powdered sugar and continue beating until the frosting is nice and smooth.
  • Stir in the cinnamon.
  • Transfer the frosting to a pastry bag or a Ziploc bag. (If using a Ziploc bag cut off a small corner of the bag.)
  • Drizzle both loaves with the frosting and allow to set for 15 minutes before slicing.

Recipe—Cheesy Broccoli Gratin

I love my raw veggies, I really truly do but sometimes it can be tough to get my little guy to eat enough of them. What better way to get kids to eat their broccoli than covering it in cheese, ooey gooey bubbling cheese? This is a totally decadent way to enjoy the little green trees. The sauce just melts into the broccoli florets and the top gets a perfect little crisp to it. While this is written as a broccoli gratin I added in carrots too since I had them on hand and they needed to get used. It goes great with or without them. I love serving this dish with a side of grilled meat. Yum! Talk about a perfect comfort food for this fall and winter.

Note: Leave out the panko and you have an indulgent low-carb side dish.

INGREDIENTS
1 lb fresh broccoli florets
2 carrots, thinly sliced (optional)
1/3 c mayonnaise
1/3 c milk
1 tsp mustard
1/4 tsp garlic powder
salt and pepper
1 1/2 c shredded cheddar or Swiss cheese
2/3 c panko or bread crumbs

STEPS

  • Preheat oven to 350º.
  • Steam broccoli and carrots for a few minutes making sure they still have a little crunch to them.
  • In a large bowl whisk together mayonnaise, milk, mustard, garlic powder, salt, and pepper.
  • Add in the cheese and stir until combined.
  • Gently mix in the cooked broccoli and carrots until they’re evenly coated.
  • Pour the broccoli mix into a 9” x 9” greased baking dish.
  • Sprinkle the panko over the top
  • Bake for 14–18 minutes or until the cheese is melted and bubbly and the panko is a golden brown.