Easy Naturally Sweetened Oat Granola

by Jessica Randhawa in , ,


I finally made my own granola. You guys, I have wanted to make my own granola for years.

It goes something like this- we run out of granola and so I'll think to myself, oh hey! I'm totally going to make homemade granola now! It's going to be so fun! And then I totally forget about my fun idea, make my list for the week and next thing I know, a year goes by (with some boxed granola sandwiched in between there).

Ridiculous, I know. I mean, don't I have notes on my phone or something? Actually, yes, yes I do, and I use these handy little apps on the regular. Here's the problem, though- I am a pen to paper person. I can enter notes or reminders in my phone, but it's like it's only stored in my short-term memory. So what happens? I forget it's there. 

So then I have to set a reminder to check my reminders. Umm, huh?

I know.

But, if I write it down, like on an actual calendar, that little bit of information isn't going anywhere (literally and figuratively). Sadly, this only applies to things that revolve around me directly, and not to just any information (otherwise I would have done much better in college).

Anyway, where was I?

haha, just kidding!

Granola, oh yes. By some miracle, I remembered (again) that I wanted to make homemade granola. And, by some miracle, this time I remembered when I was planning my menu and meals for the week (very important otherwise I just but the entire market and can't fit everything in the refrigerator).

Oh my, you guys! This granola is fantastic! Super simple, I think that's what I love the most. Naturally sweetened and slowly baked, theres no burning here. It's the perfect granola base. And, since it isn't overly sweetened, you'll actually taste what you're eating (which makes me happy since I love oats and yogurt and fresh sweet fruit).

Easy Naturally Sweetened Oat Granola

Prep Time: 5 minutes | Cook Time: 4 hours
Total Time: 4+ hours
Yield: 5-6 cups
Type: Breakfast, Brunch, Easy Recipes

Ingredients

4 cups instant rolled oats
1 (heaping) cup thick cut rolled oats
1/2 cup buckwheat flour
6 tablespoons coconut oil, melted
4 tablespoons maple syrup
3 tablespoons agave syrup
3 tablespoons water
3/4 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon vanilla

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 200 degrees F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.

  2. In a large bowl mix together the oats and buckwheat flour. In a separate smaller bowl whisk together the melted coconut oil, maple syrup, agave syrup, water, sea salt and vanilla. Whisk well until fully combined.

  3. Pour the wet ingredients into the bowl with the oats and, using your hands, mix well until the wet and dry ingredients are fully incorporated. If you like little granola clusters, use your fingers to squeeze little clumps together (note: due to the minimal sugar and fat added to this granola, the clusters will be small and crumbly)

  4. Transfer the granola to the lined baking sheet and spread evenly over the surface. Place in the oven and bake for approximately 4 hours, checking after the first couple hours to make sure it is baking evenly and not burning (it shouldn't, but all ovens cook differently). At this low temperature there is no need to stir.

  5. After approximately 4-5 hours, turn off the heat and allow the baking sheet to sit and slowly cool with the oven (if time permits). I do not always have time for this last step and the granola still tastes delicious.

  6. Carefully transfer granola to an air tight canister or jar and store at room temperature for up to 1-2 months.

Enjoy!

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Chicken and Spinach Linguini Skillet with Roasted Cherry Tomatoes

by Jessica Randhawa in , , , , ,


This post is sponsored by Grocery Outlet Inc., but the opinions expressed here are entirely my own. Thanks for reading!
#GroceryOutlet #GoGroceryOutlet #Wine #Organic #Sponsored

This delicious Skillet Chicken and Linguine with Fresh Orange and Oven Roasted Tomatoes makes for an impressive dinner party dish or easy weeknight dinner. Head to your local Grocery Outlet and grab a bottle of your favorite crisp white wine, such as a Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Grigio, and enjoy this healthy seasonal dish with your favorite people.

I remember the first time I saw a Grocery Outlet Store. I had just moved to Sacramento and had never heard of them before. To be honest, you guys, I totally wrote them off and never thought about them again. 

That is, until I met my friend Nicole two years ago. Like me, Nicole likes to eat healthy and shop for organic foods as much as possible. However, like most families out there, six dollars for a carton of milk or tub of organic yogurt is just not practical. So one day, like all good housewives do, we talked about where we did most of our grocery shopping (<---totally kidding, you guys!). However, bargain shopping is a frequent (hot) topic of conversation in mommy circles.

Anyway, she mentioned Grocery Outlet.

You guys, I was shocked! I mean, this friend of mine always ate so healthy and always fed her kids organic snacks. What did she mean, Grocery Outlet? That's when I got my lesson about Grocery Outlet and a reminder to never judge a book by its cover (in this case, the book is the market). So I thought, if she can do it, I can do it.

So I went. Like, two hours later.

I felt like I hit the jackpot, literally. Some of Octavian's favorite snacks- Nature's Bakery Fig Bars, Chobani Kids Pouches, Annie's Cheddar Bunnies and Mac n Cheese, etc. were all there. And then there were the organic grains and flours, coconut oil, pasta, yogurt, milk and cheese. All there.

So basically, I was totally wrong about this one.

And then it got better. 

As I turned the corner to purchase our cart full of goodies, I saw it... the wine section. Not even slightly exaggerating, the wine section at Grocery Outlet is legit. And the prices are even better. So, naturally, I stocked up. And, whenever I need to give a last minute gift (to someone over 21, of course), I grab a bottle from my stockpile and I'm good to go.

So in celebration of grocery deals, good food and plentiful wine, I made one of my all-time favorite pasta dishes for you guys today. This is actually my version of a family favorite. I cut out some butter, added some garlic and onion, a little white wine to the cooking process, and finally, some oven roasted cherry tomatoes.

I should mention two very important things about this dish: first, the oranges, both in the cooking and as a side garnish, are essential. The citrus really is the star of this dish. Second, parmesan. Don't skip the parmesan (unless you hate cheese, then skip away!).

Anyway, my mom used to cook this for me and my siblings when we were little. When our family dynamics changed and my big sister took on the role of "mom" she continued cooking this same chicken dish. It was always a huge dinner highlight. 

Nearly five years older than me, I looked up to my sister throughout my high school years. So, when I found myself a pretty serious boyfriend my freshman year of high school and wanted to cook him a nice homemade romantic dinner, this was the meal we (and by we I mean she) picked. Everything went prefect...until he cut into the meat and discovered that the chicken wasn't fully cooked (I don't think "food blogger" would have been on anyone's list of life goals for Jessica at that time). 

Anyway, this chicken and linguini? We go way back.

I think you'll love it as much as I do (just make sure you cook the chicken completely).

And now that I'm old (remember yesterdays post) and can legally drink, I enjoy drinking this dish with a crisp white wine with fruity citrus notes. Some great examples are Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Grigio or Chardonnay. I would not recommend a heavy red or super sweet white.

Chicken and Spinach Linguini Skillet with Roasted Cherry Tomatoes

Prep Time: 5 minutes | Cook Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes
Yield: 4-8 servings
Type: Main Dish, Chicken, Pasta + Noodles, Easy Dinner, Wine, Sponsored

Ingredients

4 tablespoons butter, divided
2-2.5 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts, pounded to approximate equal thickness*
2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
1 tablespoon dried basil
2 teaspoons dried chili flakes
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large yellow onion, diced
6-8 gloves garlic, minced
1/3 cup dry white wine (optional)
24 ounces (2 bags) fresh baby spinach, roughly chopped**
1/2 cup fresh squeezed orange juice
2 packages fresh linguini OR 1 (16 ounce) package dry linguini
1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese, plus more for topping
Orange slices, for serving

FOR THE ROASTED TOMATOES

2 pints cherry tomatoes
2 tablespoons olive oil
salt + pepper


Instructions

First prepare the roasted tomatoes:

  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. In a large mixing bowl toss washed and dried tomatoes with olive oil and salt and pepper. Transfer tomatoes to a large rimmed baking sheet and bake for approximately 18-22 minutes, tossing once halfway through cooking. Tomatoes will be done once they are blistered and beginning to burst. Remove from the oven and set aside until ready to serve.

For the chicken linguini:

  1. Reduce oven heat to 375 degrees F and bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat.

  2. Heat a large oven-safe Dutch oven or cast iron skillet over medium high heat. Add 3 tablespoons of butter. Once the pan is hot and butter is melted, add the chicken breasts.

  3. In a small mixing bowl mix together the Italian seasoning, dried basil, red chili flakes, salt and pepper. Using approximately half the seasoning mix, sprinkle the tops of the chicken breasts. Allow the chicken to cook for approximately 5-6 minutes, or until nicely browned on the bottom side of the chicken. Flip each chicken breast over and season the other half of the chicken breast with the remaining seasoning mixture. Allow the chicken to cook an additional 5 minutes, or until nicely golden on the other side.

  4. Transfer your skillet to the oven and allow chicken to continue cooking until internal temperature reaches 165 degrees F. 

  5. When chicken is fully cooked, remove the pan from the oven (with an oven mitt!) and carefully transfer chicken to a clean plate to rest. In the same pan or skillet that the chicken was cooked, add remaining butter, tablespoon of olive oil and diced onion over medium high heat. SautΓ© onions for approximately 3-4 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the minced garlic and sautΓ© for an additional 2 minutes. Increase heat to high and add the white wine. Gently simmer for 2 minutes, allowing alcohol to burn off. 

  6. Working in batches, add the spinach to the pan, allowing the previous batch to wilt before adding a new batch. It took me four batches of fresh spinach to get it all in there (it looks like a lot, but it shrinks WAY down!).

  7. Once all the spinach has wilted and is fully mixed in with the onions and garlic, add the fresh orange juice. At the same time, add the fresh linguini noodles to the pot of boiling water (fresh noodles should only take 2 minutes to boil)***. Simmer the spinach over low heat keeping a close eye on the noodles as you do not want them to over-cook.

  8. Once ready, drain the noodles and transfer to your skillet. Gently toss to combine the linguini with the spinach and onions. If noodles are too dry, add a bit of chicken broth or pasta water, or even some more orange juice! Remove from heat, sprinkle with the shredded parmesan cheese, add the chicken (and chicken juices) back to the pasta and top with your oven roasted tomatoes.

  9. Serve with fresh orange slices and additional shredded parmesan cheese.
    Β 

Enjoy!
Β 

*Chicken thighs would taste great also, just be sure to adjust cooking time according to meat used.

**You may also use frozen chopped spinach (2 packages), thawed and drained of excess liquid

***If you are using dry pasta noodles, start boiling them when you start sautΓ©ing the onions and cook according to package instructions.

Seeing is believing.
Do you see that wine? And there's 10% off Wine Wednesday!

So, I'm curious, what's your favorite wine and food pairing??

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Buffalo Chicken and Cauliflower Taquitos

by Jessica Randhawa in , , ,


Lately, my 3 year old has been harmlessly discriminating strangers based on their age. We'll be out running errands and he will point out tiny babies, bigger kiddos, or, most frequently, the elderly.

It will go something like this: 

We're walking, minding our own business, stopping to grab a carton of milk when, "Hey mama! Look (he points) at that old person!" Thankfully, my child has at least been pretty accurate with his age accusations and hasn't been calling kids his age little babies.

Until yesterday morning...

Octavian woke up happy as can be; excited for the week. I, on the other hand, felt indifferent. Mondays feel much like every other day (the mom part of my life), but full of opportunity and fun things to create (the work part of my life). I tried to remain optimistic as I pried myself from the bed.

Then my toddler looked at me square in the eyes and said, "Mama, you look old. You are old."

My jaw dropped open. I was, literally, speechless.

You guys, I've seen some of the people he's called old- none of them were even remotely close to 30 years old. The people he's call old are, clearly, old. Of course I didn't take it personally. He's 3. And if my memory serves me correctly (although, I'm old now so who knows) I seem to remember being particularly cruel to my mom as a kid.

One thing is certain, that was definitely not how I wanted to start my Monday. Good thing he's so stinking adorable.

Anyway, the other day I found myself craving buffalo chicken anything. I wanted something that felt really really naughty, but wasn't. Hmm...

Tequitos.

Here's the thing- tequitos can be not-so-healthy as they are often fried. I don't like fried (unless we're talking sweet potato fries), so I knew I would be baking these bad boys. I also wanted some kind of veggie in there somewhere. Sooo...

Cauliflower. duh

Cauliflower is the perfect vegetable. It's the chameleon of vegetables. But, you'll have no idea that cauliflower is even in there.

You guys, these are so good. Like bomb dot com good <--- omg, I am old!

Not kidding, though, they're that good.

Buffalo Chicken and Cauliflower Taquitos

Prep Time: 20 minutes | Cook Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 60-70 minutes
Yield: 18 taquitos
Type: Main Dish, Chicken, Entertaining

Ingredients

2 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 large cauliflower, chopped into florets
1/4 cup olive oil, divided
salt + pepper
1/4 cup plain Greek yogurt (I used 2%)
1/2 cup Buffalo wing sauce + more for serving (use your favorite)
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 cup shredded jalapeΓ±o jack cheese
1/4 cup chopped green onion
18-20 6-inch flour tortillas (taco/fajita size)
For serving: ranch or blue cheese dressing, chopped green onion, Buffalo wing sauce

Instructions

  1. FOR THE CHICKEN: bring a large pot of water to a boil. Carefully add chicken breasts to the pot and return to a boil. Cover with a fitted lid and remove from heat. Allow the chicken breasts to sit for approximately 25-30 minutes, or until fully cooked. Once cooked, remove chicken from the pot (the leftover water makes great chicken stock!) and set aside to cool.

  2. FOR THE CAULIFLOWER: preheat oven to 400 degrees F and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. In a large bowl toss together the cauliflower florets with 1 tablespoon of olive oil and a pinch of salt and pepper. Spread cauliflower onto prepared baking sheet and roast from approximately 20-25 minutes, or until cauliflower is cooked and browning at the tips. Remove baking sheet from the oven and set aside to cool.

  3. In a medium mixing bowl, mix together the Greek yogurt, Buffalo wing sauce, garlic powder, shredded jalapeΓ±o jack cheese and chopped green onion. Set aside.

  4. Once cool enough, shred the chicken breasts (using two forks or your fingers) and chop the cauliflower into small bits. Transfer both the chicken and the cauliflower to a large mixing bowl. To the same bowl mix in the yogurt wing sauce mixture until fully combined.

  5. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Assemble the taquitos by laying each tortilla on a flat, clean surface. Scoop approximately 1/4 - 1/3 cup of the buffalo chicken mixture into the center of each tortilla. Using your hands, tightly roll the tortilla. Transfer to the baking sheet and repeat until all of the buffalo chicken mixture has been used. Use a pastry brush to brush a thin layer of olive oil over the tops of each rolled tortilla and place them in the oven to bake for approximately 10-15 minutes, or until tortillas are just starting to brown at the edges and cheese has melted.

  6. Remove from the oven and serve warm with a side of blue cheese or ranch dressing. Delicious served immediately and eaten leftover.

Enjoy!

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