As much as Laura and I hear from other parents asking for ideas about what to make for dinner, we get as many asking about how to get dinner on the table. Or both. What am I going to make and how am I going to make it happen? It's the Wednesday night crunch: you're home by 5:30 or 6 if you're lucky and you're trying to turn around a meal before everyone's shared blood sugar levels plummet into something ugly. We know, we feel you. We decided it would be fun to know how some of our favourite food bloggers take on the challenge. It's giving us a chance to introduce you to some of our favourite sites and favourite people and send introductory love notes to sites we've only admired from afar.
Our debut blogger is Amy Bronee. I came across her beautiful site, Family Feedbag, when Jamie Oliver — yes, that Jamie Oliver — tweeted that Amy's had won his Blog of the Month award. And I've been a fan ever since. Her recipes are ridiculously delicious and her photography is fresh and bright. I really appreciate Amy's approach to food — she's clearly an ace in the kitchen but there's nothing fussy about her recipes or the way she talks about food. See for yourself!
Q: When did you create Family Feedbag? How would you describe your blog?
A: I started the blog in February 2011 when my second son was about six weeks old. In those isolating early days with a new baby and a preschooler to care for I realized I needed a project to feed my creative spirit. It wasn’t clear to me at first exactly what sort of food blog I would have. I wrote about shopping for food and some of my favourite kitchen tools, but it didn’t take long before I realized that what I really had a passion for was developing my own recipes and photographing them. That’s what Family Feedbag is today – a collection of original recipes and foodtography from my kitchen. It’s yummy food made from scratch for a modern family.
Q: How did Jamie Oliver take notice of Family Feedbag?
A: You know, I have no clue! Receiving the Blog of the Month award was a complete surprise to me! A wonderful, thrilling surprise that I found out about when I suddenly started getting a lot of traffic from his website. There are a lot of passionate people behind Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution, and I owe someone somewhere a big thanks for recognizing my blog in that way. I deeply respect Jamie Oliver, his brand, and his food ideals a lot. So for me personally it is a great honour.
Q: What's your favourite dinner to make on a busy weekday evening? Why do you like it?
A: I usually like to know what I’m making for dinner by lunch time. That way I can plan ahead how I’m going to take care of the kids during their late afternoon grumpies and get dinner on the table at the same time. Seriously, dinner is at the worst time of day! If I leave dinner to the last minute I’m usually reaching for pasta. It’s quick, healthy, tasty, and I usually have the ingredients on hand.
Q: How long does it take to make?
A: What family cook hasn’t whipped together spaghetti and meat sauce in 15–20 minutes? Baked pastas take a little longer, but I think cheesy layers of spinach lasagne are totally worth the wait!
Q: You're sharing a Chicken Chili recipe with us, what do you love about it?
A: Prep time is minimal for this dinner. Just brown the chicken, chop an onion, open some cans, and get it all in the oven. This could even be prepped in the morning or the night before, then kept in the fridge until ready to bake.
Chunky Chicken Chili
2 lbs boneless skinless chicken thighs, cut into quarters
1 cup onion, diced
1 can (796 ml/28 fl oz) whole tomatoes
2 tsp chili powder
1 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp cayenne
1/2 tsp salt
1 can (540 ml/19 fl oz) red kidney beans, drained
1 can (540 ml/19 fl oz) chickpeas, drained
1 green onion, chopped, for garnish
1/2 cup grated cheese for garnish
While your oven preheats to 375 degrees (F), add the chicken pieces to a large non-stick frying pan over medium-high heat. Once the chicken is cooked through, drain off any released liquid and continue cooking until the chicken is golden brown. Transfer the chicken to a large casserole dish with a lid and set aside.
Lower the heat of the frying pan to medium and add the diced onion, cooking just until soft. Add the can of tomatoes to the pan (including the juice), and stir in the chili powder, cumin, cayenne, and salt. Once the mixture comes to a bubble, pour it over the chicken. Stir in the drained kidney beans and chickpeas.
Bake, covered, for 45 minutes. Serve with green onion and grated cheese as garnish.