/> a mother's heart » Blog Archive » tasty tuesday two-fer! cassoulet & pumpkin spice cookie bars


So you totally win today at A Mother’s Heart:  two recipes for the price of one.  :)

It’s my favourite time of year, which means that I have tons of recipes that enhance the season, are perfect in the chilly weather, and become “comfort foods,” but maintain their healthy-aspects at the same time.  Okay, it’s kind of hard to call my fluffy cream cheese frosting “healthy,” but sometimes you just gotta have the delightfulness known as cream cheese.  😉

The first recipe is a French peasant dish called Cassoulet.  Traditionally, it’s made with two meats (whatever is in season or on hand), a chicken broth, and vegetables; because I’m spoiled and can get kielbasa anytime of year, my recipe is pretty stable.  This simmers together beautifully – I’ve done it in both the crockpot and on the stove and I honestly prefer the stovetop version a bit more.  I think the heat is more intense on the stove and the final product is a bit thicker and heartier than when I make it in the crock.  Regardless, this is a comfort food here – and Mark & Brendan beg me for it regularly.  :)

  • 8 oz. chicken, cubed
  • 2 medium carrots, cut in 1/2″ pieces
  • 3 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 2 cans of great northern beans, rinsed & drained (if you want to soak dry beans & use them, that’s fine too)
  • 1 can of italian style tomatoes
  • 8 oz. of kielbasa, cut in thin slices
  • 2 c. chicken broth (or bouillon to equal 2 c. of broth)
  • 1 T. parsley
  • 1/8 – 1/4 t. crushed red pepper
  • 1 bay leaf (or crushed bay leaf equivalent)

Brown your chicken pieces in coconut oil with the fresh carrot chunks until chicken is almost cooked-through (you don’t want the chicken overdone, so leave it just a tad raw).  Add the rest of the ingredients and stir well to combine.  Bring to a boil, lower the heat to medium-low, and put a lid on the pot. Simmer for about 2-3 hours, stirring occasionally.  Using the crockpot generally means it’s done in 6 hours on low or 3 hours on high.  If you find the stew (or “stoup”) getting too thick, feel free to add more water, as needed.  This is a very forgiving recipe and is quite neglect-friendly, as long as you don’t burn your vegetables.  Serve with a sprinkling of cheese and a good crusty bread.

Pumpkin Spice Cookie Bars
  • 2 3/4 c. all-purpose flour (I have yet to convert this with whole wheat flour)
  • 1 t. baking soda
  • 1/2 t. baking powder
  • 1/2 c. butter, softened
  • 1/2 c. pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie mix)
  • 1 T. pumpkin pie spice
  • 1.5 c. sucanat or brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 t. vanilla

Cream together wet ingredients (butter, sugar, egg, pumpkin, vanilla) until smooth.  With mixer on low, add in dry ingredients (flour, leavening agents, spices) until well-combined.  If the mixture seems a tad too dry, add more pumpkin by the tablespoon until cookie-consistency is achieved.

Spread in 9×13 pan that has been oiled with coconut oil and bake at 375F for 20-30 minutes (checking at 5 minute intervals for doneness).  Allow the bars to cool completely, frost with Fluffy Cream Cheese Frosting (see the recipe for Whole Wheat Carrot Cake), decorate with sprinkles or other festivities.  Enjoy!


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