Thursday, August 9, 2012

Roasted Chickpeas

Looking for a healthy snack? RIGHT HERE! Crunchy, salty, packed with protein... YUMMY! My 4 year old ate nearly half of a batch in one sitting! I am going to give you fair warning that these do not keep well. Roasting makes them nice and crunchy but they go soft quickly if you store them. Not to worry, they'll be gone in an hour :) And for goodness sake, they taste like corn nuts! Who doesn't like corn nuts???

So, after trying these a few ways and following a couple of different recipes, I messed around until I came up with the "perfect" method to roasting without burning or having them not thoroughly crispy. Here goes:

2 cans of chickpeas (garbanzo beans)
olive oil
seasonings (we'll discuss this in a minute)

Preheat oven to 400. Cover your cookie sheet in aluminum foil (I do this for everything and can't even recall the last time I washed a cookie sheet! I just throw away the foil, wipe down with a clean towel and put away). Anyways, you need to drain and thoroughly rinse your beans. Blot  a little bit with a paper towel (don't worry about getting all of the water, roasting will take care of that). Put the beans on your pan and stick it in the oven for 20 minutes. Remove from oven and give them a good stir. Put them back in for 15-20 more minutes (you want them golden brown but not burnt). Take them out (again) and drizzle with a SMALL amount of olive oil and your choice of seasonings. Toss to coat and then pop back in the oven for another 5 minutes. VOILA! Let cool a smidge and enjoy!

Alright, back to the seasonings. There are all sorts of combinations I have seen for roasted chickpeas. From salty and sweet to spicy. My preferenace is a good dose of garlic salt and nothing else. You could try some salt and a sprinkle of cumin and cayenne pepper. Or maybe a sprinkle of sugar and cinnamon? Feel free to google roasted chickpeas and see what sort of flavor combinations you come up with. However, I don't recommend straying from this cooking method. Trust me, I've already done the trail and error for you! Enjoy!!!

Summer Veggie and Chicken Manicotti

I have to start by appologizing for being MIA in the blog world lately. Honestly, i've been too lazy to blog my food but have been cooking up some fabulous dishes. So, if and when I get around to it, I'll post what I remembered to photograph. Before I play catch-up though, I HAD to share tonight's meal. WHy might you ask? Well because this meal had my 4 year old eating the same amount I did! No really, my picky 20 month old ate two full manicotti while my 4 year old ate 3! That is A LOT of food! Not to mention, this is a GOOD food, stuffed with veggies and lean meat, YUM!

1 package of UNCOOKED manacotti (about 14 noodles)
2 chicken breasts (about 1 lb)
1 medium zuchinni
2 medium/small yellow summer squash
1/3 of a yellow or sweet onion
tablespoon of pre-minced garlic (If you are gonna use fresh stuff only use about 2 cloves)
fresh herbs (optional, I used about a TBSP of chopped basil and TBSP of chopped parsley)
1.5 cups of grape tomatos cut into 4ths
1 can of spaghetti sauce (I went with a cheap can of Hunt's sauce because that stuff is a little more watery, aiding in the cooking of the manicotti)
3/4 cup of water
1 pkg of shredded mozzarella (2 cups)

Alright, here we go. Preheat oven to 350. Dice all veggies and onion pretty small (dime size). Heat up a little oil in a large pan and saute your onion until translucent, add zuchinni and squash and keep cooking until nearly done, at this point  add your tomato and fresh herbs. Cook for about  more minutes and set aside.

Now, cut up your raw chicken into small pieces (about nickel sized). Season to taste (I used garlic powder, onion powder, pepper and salt). Cook this up but DO NOT overcook as it will be spending an hour in the oven anyways. Mix this with your veggies.

Mix your sauce and water. Pour about 1/2-3/4 cup of this sauce mix in the bottom of a 9x13 glass dish. Now, take those uncooked manicotti shells and stuff them with the veggie/chicken mixture. Using your fingers works best. The nice part? Using uncooked shells makes them so easy to stuff! Be sure to pack that stuff in there good and tight. Lay the manicotti in the glass pan. Pour any left over mix (including that juices and what-not in the bottom) over your stuffed manicotti. Pour the rest of your sauce over everything making sure to cover all exposed noodle!

Cover loosely with foil and bake for 55 minutes. Remove from oven, cover with cheese and put back in oven, uncovered for another 5 minutes.

Please excuse the terrible picture, it was an after thought :) ENJOY!