Hi! Welcome to “good mood food” from Kale Me Maybe’s Carina Wolff. If you’re somehow reading this and aren’t yet subscribed, be sure to do so below. You can expect recipes in your inbox every Tuesday, and paid subscribers receive even more!
I’m back from Italy! It felt amazing to travel again. I get a very specific feeling when I’m out of the country, reminiscent of the feeling I get when I’m camping or hiking out in the middle of nowhere, fully detached from my usual distractions and everyday stressors. It gives me a certain type of clarity to be emotionally removed from the thick of it. This sensation is especially pronounced when I’m abroad because I become fully immersed in another culture. I become so focused on the present, soaking in my surroundings, all the sights and all the sounds, that it’s essentially a form of meditation.
Anyway, it was an incredible trip, and it felt especially special (is that redundant?) because I got to share it with Grant. As we get older, and I think about having kids in the next couple of years, it definitely freaks me out to imagine a time when I can’t just jet off to another country. I have been worrying that with the time lost to the pandemic and our wedding already happening next year, I wouldn’t get to do much of traveling the world with Grant before we had children. This trip helped assuage a bit of that fear. Grant always points out how I worry about things before they happen, and maybe this was a case of that, but travel feels like a regular part of my life, and it was strange to me that during our three-year relationship, I had yet to share that part of my life with him.
As far as food goes, I was impressed (but not surprised) at my ability to eat pasta every single day without getting sick of it. Grant has put a one-week ban on when we can eat pasta next, but I’m already plotting with my brother a homemade pasta night using some Italian recipes (hehe). You can find many of the dishes I ate on my journey on my Instagram. I also received many requests for our Italy itinerary, so I’ll be typing that out and likely sending it out here in case you ever choose to go and need some recommendations.
I don’t cook a lot of meat at home, but I like to keep some chicken in the freezer or the refrigerator for last-minute meals when we want something a little different than our usual beans or other plant-proteins (as much as I love beans, I do believe there are limits on how much one can eat). Lately, I’ve been cooking chicken in different variations of yogurt sauces, and Grant, who is the real chicken lover of this relationship, loves it every time. The formula typically consists of yogurt, sauteed onions, and then whatever flavoring or seasoning I choose to go with it — sometimes it’s preserved lemon, other times it’s hot sauce, etc.
For this recipe, I decided to use the flavorings of my Caramelized Onion Greek Yogurt Dip, since you know, half of the ingredients are already in there! The result was almost like a french onion soup, in both flavor and texture. Yes, this dish gets a little soup — or maybe I should say “saucy” since the liquid is extremely flavorful and you’re going to want to slurp it up with a spoon. You can serve it in a bowl on its own or over something like rice or quinoa to soak up that liquid and help the meal go further.
Ingredients (serves 2-3)
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs
1 cup Greek yogurt
1 tbsp garlic salt*
1 tbsp butter or oil, plus 1/2 tbsp oil
1 medium yellow onion, cut into slices
4 heaping cups baby spinach leaves
1 tbsp chopped chives
*If you don’t have the Trader Joe’s onion salt, I recommend using 2 tsp onion powder, 1/2 tsp garlic powder, and 1/4-1/2 tsp salt (start with 1/4 and taste from there, add as needed).
1. Add chicken thighs, yogurt, and garlic salt/seasoning to a medium bowl, and mix together so the chicken thighs are coated in the yogurt. Cover, and refrigerate while you caramelize the onions, and remove when the onions are close to being done.
2. Heat the olive oil/butter in a medium/large pan on medium heat until the oil is hot. Add the onions, season with a little bit of salt, and coat with the oil. Turn the heat down to medium-low (erring closer to low heat), and let the onions cook without touching. Stir every 10 minutes to prevent burning. You’ll want to cook the onions for about 40-50 minutes until they’re sticky and brown. If they start to dry out, burn, or stick to the pan, add a little water for moisture.
3. While the onions are cooking, heat up the remaining 1/2 tbsp oil in a large pan on medium-low heat. Add the spinach, and cook for a few minutes until wilted. Turn off heat, and set aside.
4. When the onions are done, transfer them to a plate or bowl. In the same pan on medium heat, add the chicken thighs with the yogurt. Once the yogurt is sizzling, lower the heat to medium-low, and cover. Cook for 4-5 minutes, and then flip the chicken. Cook for 6-7 minutes more, stirring as needed. The Greek yogurt might start to curdle, and that’s okay, but don’t let the heat get too high. Once the chicken is cooked, mix in the spinach and the caramelized onions. If desired, you can mix in a little more yogurt here to make it creamier. Transfer to a bowl, and top with chives. Serve warm, with a base or alone!
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT!
Last week, paid subscribers received a recipe for Pumpkin White Bean Chicken Chili! I think this one speaks for itself. It’s cozy, flavorful, and nutritious!
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