Colcannon is a traditional Irish dish made of mashed potatoes with cabbage or kale, milk or cream, and often leeks or green onions. There are endless variations of this cozy, rustic, and comforting side dish, and it is a great accompaniment to ham, bacon or sausage. In the recipe below, creamy mashed potatoes are mixed with shredded cooked cabbage, sliced green onions, salt and pepper, and a pinch of nutmeg. A square of butter goes in the center of the bowl to melt, infusing the potatoes with even more comfort and flavor.
There is great value in meals that can be made ahead of time. Sometimes the hour before dinner can be the most busy and full time of the day. In our house, there are often multiple things going on at that time, including kids doing homework, unpacking lunchboxes, frantically searching for clean soccer and/or basketball clothes, shin guards and the appropriate shoes for the practice immediately following dinner, and lots of other things not even worth mentioning! Some evenings, it is a huge relief to know that the main part of the dinner is already simmering away in the crockpot while we tend to all the other issues at hand. And some meals taste better the longer they simmer, allowing the flavors to blend and strengthen. That is the case with these pulled chicken sandwiches. With just a few simple ingredients and a crockpot, the chicken becomes tender and mouth-wateringly flavorful. The recipe below is formed from a conglomeration of a few different recipes for pulled chicken and sloppy joes, based on the combination I feel tastes best while maintaining simplicity. Because there is a fair amount of ketchup in this recipe, I like to get the highest-quality of ketchup I can find, and as always, that goes for the chicken as well. This recipe is really easy to throw together a few hours ahead of time, and is perfect for when you have a little pocket of time in the afternoon and know it will be a busy evening. I like to make a delicious, colorful coleslaw to serve with these sandwiches. This coleslaw can be made with either red or green cabbage, but I chose red cabbage yesterday. Cabbage is really good for us–it has lots of fiber and vitamins K, C, and A. Plus, red cabbage (which can actually also be purple, but is still called red cabbage) contains an extra concentration of anthocyanin polyphenols, giving it extra antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. It is easy to like the health benefits of cabbage! Red (also colored purple) cabbage is so beautiful. I really enjoyed taking photos of this salad. The dressing is mildly tangy, bringing out the flavors of the vegetables without overpowering. I often think of coleslaw as a summer salad, but it works well in the winter too. Cabbage, carrots, and apples keep well over the winter, and goodness knows we all need a burst of color and crunch in the midst of winter. This evening, my husband and I had leftover slaw on a bed of dark, leafy greens, topped with shelled, roasted pumpkin seeds. That was so tasty! I could feel the vitamins and minerals flowing into my body. I cannot write this post without mentioning how utterly cold it is here in Michigan! Today (and probably tomorrow too) my kids are home because their schools are closed due to dangerously cold wind chill temperatures. While we normally enjoy skiing or just being out in the snow, it is even too cold for that. I feel like we need healthy food now more than ever! Whether we are cozied up at home or facing a busy evening driving to and from obligations, a good, nourishing dinner helps us meet whatever life has in store for us. I will be taking this dinner over to Angie’s at The Novice Gardener, for Fiesta Friday. This week’s fiesta is hosted by Tina at Mademoiselle Gourmande and Juju at Cooking with Aunt Juju. With the cabin fever going on here, I especially look forward to checking out what everyone else has posted and look forward to communicating with all of you! Stay warm and have a great weekend!
Pulled Chicken Sandwiches
- 1 cup of onion (red or yellow), finely chopped
- 1 clove of garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 and 1/2 to 2 pounds of skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
- 1 cup ketchup
- 2 tablespoons cider vinegar
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 2 tablespoons molasses
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 8 hamburger buns
Place the onion in your crockpot. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the oil to the pan and swirl to coat the pan. Add the garlic and chicken to the pan and cook, about 3 to 4 minutes per side, or until golden brown. (Chicken does not need to be completely cooked–it will finish cooking in the crockpot). Transfer the chicken and little pieces of garlic to the crockpot and place on top of onions. In a small bowl, combine the next 5 ingredients and pour over the chicken. Cover and cook on low heat for about 4-5 hours, or until the chicken is tender and sauce thickens a bit. Remove the chicken from the crockpot and shred it with two forks. Then put it back in the crockpot. Ladle the chicken and sauce mixture onto each bun and cover with bun tops. Enjoy!
- 1 medium-sized carrot, peeled and sliced into thin strips
- 1 apple, cored and finely chopped
- 2 cups of finely chopped red, green, or napa cabbage
- 2 tablespoons of mayonnaise
- 1 tablespoon of apricot preserves
- 1 tablespoon of lemon juice
- a pinch (1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon) of salt
Wash and prepare the carrot and apple, and put the chopped pieces in a large bowl. Wash the cabbage and peel off the outer layers of skin. Cut the cabbage in half, and then finely chop. Add the cabbage to the bowl with the carrot and apple. In a small bowl, mix the mayonnaise, apricot preserves, lemon juice, and salt. Adjust the amount of salt and lemon juice to your taste. Pour this mixture over the salad and stir well to coat evenly. Enjoy!
I guess I am in a bit of a soup mode right now. What better way to cut the damp chill in the air than to make a pot of hot, steaming, vegetable-filled soup. What better way to soothe a sore throat and nourish a loved one back to health. A couple of us in my house had some kind of a mild illness last week, and homemade soups served us very well. Even without a sore throat, my husband has benefited from the warmth and vitality of the vegetables. At the risk of posting too many soups in a row (my daughter, who isn’t really a soup fan, warned me of this–I think she just wants me to make a dessert), I am sharing a delightful variation of the soup I posted a few days ago. This particular soup has no meat, and it has a smooth, buttery taste, though it also has no butter. The butternut squash gives it just the right creaminess. This soup is chock-full of nutrients with the potatoes, cabbage,onions, and squash. I added some Parmesan cheese to my bowl when I served it, and that gave it an extra amount of richness. Aside from chopping some vegetables, this soup takes almost no effort to make, and can be done all in one pot. You can serve it with some crusty bread, crackers and cheese, a green salad, or sandwiches. Or you can simply sip it on its own for a little comfort and revival of your energy. I’m going to take a couple of bowls over to the the Fiesta Friday link-up party at Angie’s blog, the novice gardener, where there are lots of other delicious dishes to check out!
Golden Potato Soup with Cabbage and Butternut Squash
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/2 cup onion, finely chopped
- 1 cup cabbage, finely chopped
- 1 cup butternut squash, peeled and diced
- 4 cups potatoes, diced
- 6 cups chicken broth–I love Better than Bouillon chicken base because it gives soups a rich texture (if you wish, you can use vegetable broth)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 3/4 cup milk
- dried or fresh dill for garnish
- grated Parmesan cheese (optional)
Wash and chop the onion, cabbage, and potatoes. Wash, peel, and chop the butternut squash. In a large soup pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Saute the onion and the cabbage for about 5-7 minutes, until the onion is soft. Add the potatoes and squash. Then add the broth, a teaspoon of salt, and a 1/4 teaspoon of black pepper. Bring the broth just to a boil, and then lower the heat to simmer (medium-low). Simmer gently for about 20 minutes, until the potatoes and squash are tender. Add the milk and more salt and pepper to taste, if desired. Top with a teaspoon or so of dill, if desired. When serving the soup, add some Parmesan cheese to the bowls, if you wish. Serve with bread, cheese and crackers, a green salad, or sandwiches. Enjoy!