I’ve seen quite a bit of chatter lately in the blogging universe about whether or not Facebook pages and Twitter accounts linked to blogs can lead to too much of a good thing. I’ll be the first to admit that as soon as I created Cara’s Cravings on Facebook, I also ramped up my Twitter activity, and for a couple weeks the number of status updates, tweets, and re-tweets from yours truly may have verged on obnoxious. But you know what? I was excited! Excited to be in touch with my readers even when I wasn’t posting, and reaching out to new readers who, for various reasons, just aren’t the type to subscribe to a blog (hello, Mom and Dad and all your FB friends!).
Facebook, in particular, gives me a way to converse with readers outside of blog posts. I can chat about what I’m eating for lunch or a great new product I’ve found, even if I don’t intent to write a whole post about it. Better yet, I can get ideas and feedback from you. One of the coolest things ever has to be when you guys remind ME of recipes that I posted long ago. I might have temporarily forgotten about them, but when I hear they’re in your regular rotation, I turn green with envy in a matter of seconds. Because you guys have seriously good taste, and I know I want to be eating these things again as well. All of a sudden, I know what I’m making for dinner and I don’t have to go very far to find it. It’s been right here all along!
I was particularly envious when I heard that one reader and her family were regularly enjoying this Moroccan Chicken Stew with Chickpeas and Dried Fruit. I remembered it being good, but I confess it had been a very long time since I last ate it (ok, fine. It’s quite possible I only made it that once!) If it was tasty enough for someone else to be eating over and over again, I needed to know what all the fuss was about.
My own recipe quickly moved to the top of my “to make” list. But not without a few changes – I firmly believe that even the best recipes always have some room for improvement. And now, I can tell you exactly why this is so good and why you might want to eat it regularly as well.
First, it’s easy. Any time the crock pot is involved, that’s a given. Secondly, it’s healthy and well-balanced. Lean chicken provides the protein, while chickpeas add a good dose of fiber. The rest of the carbohydrates come from fruits in the form of dates and raisins, which add just the right amount of sweetness to balance out the blend of warm, colorful spices like cinnamon, cumin, and ginger. Lastly, if you use a small slow cooker or employ my trick for cooking smaller portions in a large crockpot, you’ll come home after a long day to a hot dinner that is hearty, spicy, sweet, and satisfying – without being the least bit overcooked. Seriously, this meal is something to be excited about.
After the initial excitement, I scaled back my number of status updates and tweets because the last thing I want is to lose anyone by being totally annoying (besides, I have a life outside of blogging too!) But I’ll never go away completely. Whether you choose to subscribe in a reader or by email, follow me on Facebook or catch me on Twitter, you are a valued piece of this puzzle and I will make every effort to stay in touch and engage in conversation. The information exchange is just too valuable. I hope you feel the same way!
Crockpot Moroccan Chicken with Chickpeas, Dates and Raisins
Yield: 2 servings
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 of a large red bell pepper, diced
3/4 cup drained, rinsed garbanzo beans (1/2 of a 15oz can)
40 gm chopped, pitted dates (5-6 dates)
25 gm raisins (2 tablespoons, packed)
1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
pinch of ground cloves
pinch of cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, about 5oz each, cut into chunks
1 cup fat free, reduced sodium chicken broth
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
fresh chopped cilantro, for garnish
Combine the onion, bell pepper, chickpease, raisins and dates in a 2-qt slow cooker, or in a 1.5-2qt covered ceramic dish that will fit inside your slow cooker.
Mix together the seasonings, and toss with the chicken in a bowl; add to the slow cooker or ceramic dish. Pour in the chicken broth and cider vinegar.
Cook on low for 6-7 hours.
Serve the stew over bulgur, couscous, or another grain, if desired. Garnish with chopped cilantro.
Servings Per Recipe: 2
Amount Per Serving
Total Fat: 4.2 g
Cholesterol: 82.2 mg
Sodium: 656.6 mg
Total Carbs: 51.0 g
Dietary Fiber: 10.9 g
Protein: 39.6 g