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Cass in the Kitchen: Home Made Granola and Rice Stuffed Chicken

:kitchen: Welcome back ya’ll. I have been looking forward to this post all week. I have two recipes to share with you, and about a bazillion pictures. If you are on dial-up you might need to go get coffee, but I can promise the pictures are so worth it. I always like pictures with my recipes, not because I need to know what something should look like but because … hmm, why do I like pictures? Maybe because a good picture lets me know if I will like the dish without slowing down to read the recipe? Who knows, but I like some foodie pictures, don’t you? One more warning: there are both nuts and naked chicken ahead. How’s that for food porn?

Granola

We really like the homemade granola around here. A lot. As in, we’ve gone through 14 and a half cups of it in less than a week. That’s how much this recipe makes, and I also figured out the calorie count because I am on a diet changing my eating habits and needed to know. Please don’t panic when you read the number, because this is not “bad food”. There are two servings of grain, a protein and a fruit in each half cup. And also 227 calories. You’ll need about an hour to make this, and here are the ingredients, more or less:

8 cups of oats
1/2 cup oil (canola preferred)
1 cup maple syrup (you can use brown sugar instead)
2 cups of nuts (I used the mixed, already roasted kind)
2 cups of dried fruit (I used mixed berries and raisins)

You can make this in an oven, and it’s not that difficult, but I used my huge electric skillet this time, and it was much easier without all that oven door opening, and also, it didn’t heat up the whole house. So, turn you heat to about 250 and pour in the oats. Let these cook just until they are hot, and then drizzle the oil over them while you stir. Keep stirring until the oil is mixed in and absorbed. Then cook it for another 30 minutes or so (in the pan, longer in the oven). The oats should look dry and smell vaguely like oatmeal.

nuts in the measuring cupThen you know its time to add the syrup. Drizzle it in just like you did the oil, but be aware that it can get a little clumpy if you go too fast. Aim for a thin ribbon, and stir, stir, stir. Then you can add the nuts. I admit that I got a little camera happy when it came time for the nuts, and so I present two pictures. One of plain ol’ nuts in a measuring cup, necessary, but pretty boring.

And then there is the macro shot, which I think is awesome. You can see the salt dust! I kinda aimed across the cup to get this shot. Umm, ok, I’m hushing. I know you are here for the recipe, not the photography. But I am still showing you the picture.

nuts macro

Okay, moving on. Stir in the nuts. Once the nuts begin to smell roast-y, and that depends entirely on the heat and how dry your mixture is, and whether you are using a skillet or the oven, but you will know it when you smell it, then you are almost done!

Add the fruit:
adding the fruit

Stir in in real well, and turn off the heat. Viola! Granola!

finished granola

You can vary the ingredients and the amounts to customize the granola to your personal taste. It’s different every time you make it!

Here’s how I like to eat mine:

serving the granola

I spoon it over yogurt. That adds a milk to my 2 grains/fruit/protein and gives me a perfectly balanced meal. And it is so stinking good!

Rice Stuffed Chicken

So, I was reading the Everyday with Rachel Ray magazine I mentioned and there was a little blurb in there about stuffing chicken with leftover friend rice. “Hmm”, I thought to myself, “That could get pretty interesting!” I’d never in my life made stuffed chicken before, but I knew that was going to change. When I went grocery shopping, I looked for fried rice, but I ended up with this instead:
yellow rice

We cooked it and spooned it in (thanks Country, for wielding the camera):
spooning in rice

Here it is, ready to go in the oven. Here’s a tip I learned a long time ago. Most folks roast a chicken breast side up. This leads to a nice crispy skin, but also frequently leads to dried up breast meat. I like my boobs juicy and tender, so here’s what I do: I roast my chickens like they walk. That means the breasts are in the pan, and the juices flow over them, basting them the whole time they cook, and you don’t have to do anything extra.

chicken raw

A little salt and garlic powder, and an hour and half later, we had this:

chicken cooked

Oh, doesn’t that look good? The meat had picked up a subtle flavoring from the rice, and it was just so. good! The family reports it was very tasty, but being a calorie nazi, I had mine a little differently. I knew there was no way I could afford that rice, since it had all that chicken juiciness in it, so I had mine like this:

chicken salad

380 calories with a generous 1/2 cup of chicken, 1/3 cup of cheese and 2 tablespoons of salad topping.

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