I’m not much for roller coasters after getting sick many years ago at both Knott’s Berry Farm and Disneyland. (Never again!) So while the Brandcation gals were riding the Wild Eagle (and being filmed by the Discovery Channel), I was busy nerding out over the food at Dollywood as well as the folk art and crafts.
There’s a section of Dollywood called Craftsman's Valley that’s perfect for anyone who isn’t into the rides, has time between music shows to take a stroll, and has already visited the Chasing Rainbows Museum, or the Southern Gospel Museum and Hall of Fame. (I did all the above and had a great time.)
My foodie favorite was the Grist Mill where they grind meal and flour for sale. I also enjoyed watching the woodcarvers, blacksmiths, glass blowers and more practice their trade before the Brandcation group met for lunch at Granny Ogle’s Ham N Beans. There we dined on Southern favorites like greens, corn bread and shredded pork. Yum!
However, the cool discovery I made – even the PR person hadn’t seen it yet – was the sorghum making demonstration in The Village. Sorghum syrup is a sweetener made from pressing sorghum cane. The old fashion way is to feed the cane into a mill that is powered by a horse. The day I was there, they had a four-month-old colt tied up to the mama horse. This way mama could teach her baby how to run the mill. It was fascinating and the baby was darling.
The sorghum cane juice is then boiled into a thick syrup that tastes like a cross between honey and molasses. I bought a small container of it at one of the Dollywood stores and wish I bought more because it’s delicious! I hope I can find some here in Georgia, but if not, I may just have to drive back up to Pigeon Forge and buy a gallon or two!
Cooking with sorghum – Apple, Sausage and Sauerkraut Slow Cooker Stew
You can use sorghum in any recipe that calls for agave, honey, molasses or maple syrup. It’s very thick, so you may have to make adjustments by adding a little water or juice to your recipe. I used it in a slow cooker recipe I used to make all the time. I’ve since lost the clipping from the Denver Post, but found a recipe that’s close but without the potatoes. I healthed it up by using chicken apple sausage and using half veggie broth and half apple juice. I also tried to use organic ingredients since I didn’t peel the apples and potatoes.
This was a big hit with my son Nathan who adores sauerkraut and thinks chicken sausage – unlike other forms of chicken – is yummy. My daughter Lucie just ate the sausage, which is odd because she loves pickles. Darn kids!
Apple, Sausage and Sauerkraut Slow Cooker Stew
- 1 (32 ounce) jar sauerkraut (Claussen is our favorite brand)
- 24 ounces (2 packages) sweet apple chicken sausage, sliced into 1’’ pieces
- 4 small organic granny smith apples, cored and cut into 1” pieces
- 1 pound baby potatoes (leave whole)
- 1/4 cup sorghum syrup
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/8 teaspoon pepper
- 1 cup apple juice
- 1 cup vegetable broth
- Pour sauerkraut – juice and all – into your 6 quart or larger slow cooker or Crock-Pot.
- Add the cut up sausage, apples and whole baby potatoes to the crock.
- Add the sorghum, salt, pepper, juice and broth.
- Cover and cook on high 4 hours, or low 6-7 hours.
- Stir before serving.
- Serving size: 1/4 to 1/6 of recipe
Disclosure: The Brandcation bloggers received special discounts and passes to many of the attractions we visited. All experiences and opinions expressed here are my own.
This time of year is hectic for many families – it certainly is at my house! Many of us are in back-to-school mode, trying to figure out new schedules and homework. On top of that, if we’re gardeners, we’re inundated with all that zucchini from our garden. Or for the non-gardeners, all the wonderful eggplant and zucchini we find at the grocery store or farmer’s market!
This one-pot meal for Moroccan Chicken with Eggplant-Zucchini Ragout is an answer to both problems. It’ll use up some of those garden goodies, and it’s a simple dish to make on a school night. While it cooks, you can help the kids with homework, organize backpacks, and unload the dishwasher.
This recipe is courtesy of the National Chicken Council. Check out their website at eatchicken.com for more chicken recipes and chicken resources. You can also connect with them on Facebook at For the Love of Chicken.
Moroccan Chicken with Eggplant-Zucchini Ragout
- 1 1/2 to 2 pounds chicken leg quarters
- 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 1 teaspoon salt, divided
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided
- 1 small eggplant, cut into ½-inch dice
- 1 medium zucchini, cut into ½-inch dice
- 1 small onion, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 14 cup white wine or water
- 1 (14.5 ounce) can diced tomatoes with juices
- 1/4 cup pimento-stuffed green olives, roughly chopped
- 2 tablespoons capers, rinsed
- 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 2 tablespoons parsley, minced
- In large skillet over medium high-heat, warm 2 tablespoons olive oil. Season leg quarters with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper. Add leg quarters to pan, skin-side down. Brown chicken, turning once, 8 to 10 minutes per side. Remove chicken to plate and drain off all but 2 tablespoons oil.
- Add eggplant to hot pan and cook, stirring, 5 minutes. Add remaining tablespoon olive oil, along with zucchini, onion and garlic. Cook 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Raise heat to high and add white wine to pan, stirring to scrape up any browned bits. Add all other ingredients, except parsley, and place chicken legs in mixture. Bring to boil, reduce heat to medium-low, cover and simmer for 35 to 40 minutes or until cooked through or until an instant read thermometer reads 170 degrees F.
- To serve, place some of the eggplant ragout onto plates, top with a leg quarter and sprinkle with parsley.
- 370 calories
- 20 g fat
- 4 g saturated fat
- 900 mg sodium
- 17 g carbohydrate
- 6 g fiber
- 8 g sugars
- 28 g protein
Recipe and picture used with permission from the National Chicken Council.
As promised, here’s another pomegranate recipe from the folks at POM Wonderful. This one’s a little involved, so save it for a special occasion or weekend meal. Overall, this is a very healthy dish. You can make it even healthier by substituting stevia for sugar. If you have a nut allergy, use pine nuts (which are seeds) instead of walnuts.
POMegranate Grilled Chicken Mohammara by Chef Jose Andres
Time to Table: 20 Minutes Prep, 4 Hours Marinating, 1 Hours 45 Minutes Cooking
Servings: 2 to 4
- Juice from 8–12 large POM Wonderful Pomegranate*, or 4 cups POM Wonderful 100% Pomegranate Juice, or the equivalent amount of POM Wonderful 100% Pomegranate Juice Concentrate, reconstituted.**
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
- 2 tablespoons POM Molasses (directions below)
- 1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 clove garlic
- zest from 1 lemon
- 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into 1/2-oz. pieces
- 1/3 cup arils from 1 large POM Wonderful Pomegranate or POM POMS fresh pomegranate arils
- 1-1/2 tablespoons POM Molasses (directions below)
- 3 red bell peppers
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 3 tablespoons minced garlic
- 1 cup minced shallots
- 2/3 cup chopped walnuts, lightly toasted
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
- 1/2 teaspoon ground long pepper (also known as Java pepper) or red pepper flakes
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves
- Prepare fresh pomegranate juice.*
- Combine the pomegranate juice, sugar and lime juice in a saucepan over medium heat and stir until the sugar has dissolved. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook until the liquid has reduced to 1 cup, about an hour. It should be dark in color, and the consistency of thick syrup that coats the spoon. Set aside to cool. Store pomegranate molasses in refrigerator in a clean jar with a tight-fitting lid.
- Combine the bell pepper, 2 tablespoons POM Molasses, paprika, bay leaf, garlic and lemon zest in a food processor; puree into a paste. Coat the chicken pieces with the marinade, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 4 hours (or overnight for best results).
- Score 1 fresh pomegranate and place in a bowl of water. Break open the pomegranate under water to free the arils (seed sacs). The arils will sink to the bottom of the bowl and the membrane will float to the top. Sieve and put the arils in a separate bowl. Reserve 1/3 cup of the arils from fruit and set aside. (Refrigerate or freeze remaining arils for another use.)
- Place the bell peppers on a foil-lined baking sheet. Brush peppers all over with olive oil and roast in the oven under the broiler for about 10 minutes, turning frequently to prevent burning, until the skins are blistered and blackened on all sides. Remove peppers from the oven and lay a clean kitchen towel over them until cool enough to handle, about 10 minutes. This will make the skins easier to remove.
- Peel off the skins, and then remove the stems and seeds, and slice into strips.
- Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a sauté pan over medium-high heat, and cook the garlic and shallots, stirring often, until light golden, about 7 to 10 minutes. Reduce heat to medium and add half of the walnuts, all of the cardamom, long pepper, cinnamon, 1/3 cup POM Molasses and vinegar. Stir until well combined and cook for another 15 minutes. Add the roasted peppers and cook for 5 more minutes. Season to taste with salt and set aside to cool.
- Transfer mixture to a food processor and blend until well combined.
- Remove chicken from marinade and slide pieces onto four long metal skewers. Discard remaining marinade.
- Grill chicken pieces over medium-high heat until cooked through, about 8 minutes on each side. Set aside to rest slightly.
- To serve, spoon some Mohammara sauce onto each plate, and carefully slide chicken pieces off skewer onto the plate, keeping the pieces together in a row. Garnish with fresh pomegranate arils, the remaining toasted walnuts and parsley.
* For 4 cups of juice, cut 8–12 large POM Wonderful Pomegranates in half and juice them with a citrus reamer or juicer. Pour the mixture through a cheesecloth-lined strainer or sieve. Set the juice aside.
**0.5 fl oz of concentrate = 1 tablespoon To make pomegranate juice, mix 1 part concentrate with 4 parts water.
***José’s tip: Serve any remaining Mohammara sauce with toasted pitas.
Recipe and photo courtesy of POM Wonderful and used with permission.
This is one Recipe Rehab episode where I’m totally in disagreement with the Holden family. Chef Jet uses too many processed foods like canned soup, prepared rice and canned fried onions for my comfort in his Chicken and Rice Casserole recipe. On the other hand, Chef Daniel prepares an elegant, one pot dish that takes about 30 minutes to cook from wholesome ingredients – chicken, rice, lemons, chicken broth, and rosemary. I also like that he says his 10-year-old daughter loves his version of Chicken & Rice – a big endorsement if you’re cooking for kids.
Recipe Rehab episodes air every Friday at 1 ET on the Everyday Health YouTube .
Amount Per Serving
Total Fat: 19.90g
Total Carbs: 44.76g
Dietary Fiber: 1.87g
Amount Per Serving
Total Fat: 9.45g
Total Carbs: 87.27g
Dietary Fiber: 5.74g
Amount Per Serving
Total Fat: 9.79g
Total Carbs: 39.87g
Dietary Fiber: 3.98g
Original Chicken and Rice Recipe
- Used 1 cup white rice
- Uses ¼ cup (1/2 stick) butter
- Used 1 cup whole milk
- Uses full fat canned soups: cream of chicken, cream of celery, & onion soup
- Uses 2 pounds chicken breast
- The casserole bakes for 2 ½ hours!!!
Chef Daniel’s recipe
- Replaced white rice with long grain brown for fiber
- Eliminated butter
- Used only 1 tablespoon butter
- Eliminated milk
- Only used low-sodium chicken broth and not canned soup
- Cut amount of chicken breasts down to 1 pound
- Added fragrant lemon, garlic, and rosemary (all without fat or calories)
- Cooked in a pot on the stove for only 30 minutes
Chef Jet’s recipe
- Used rice pilaf for added fiber
- Eliminated butter
- Used nonstick cooking spray and only 2 teaspoons olive oil
- Replaced whole milk with low fat and reduced to ¾ cup
- Used only 1 can of fat free cream of mushroom soup
- Reduced the chicken breast down to only 2 cups
- Added vegetables: green beans, mushrooms, onion, and pepper
- Topped with fried onions for a little crunch
- The casserole bakes for only 20 minutes
Which version of the Chicken and Rice Casserole did you like – Chef Jet’s or Chef Daniel’s?
Picture, video and nutritional information courtesy of Everyday Health.