Friday, August 31, 2012

Easy Chicken Curry with Vegetables and Coconut Scented Rice

This was so stinking good.  So, so yummy.  I feared that by adding the called for amount of curry paste, it would be way too spicy for my won't eat anything remotely spicy 5 year old, but yet, he really enjoyed it too.  My husband, who doesn't typically go for curry dishes, said "Delicious" after his first bite!

I think I overcooked the chicken a little bit here, but the flavor was still amazing.  The coconut rice was really good as well, not at all bland like rice has a tendency to be.

Easy Chicken Curry with Vegetables Source:  Melissa D'Arabian via Food Network

    2 tablespoons vegetable oil
    3 tablespoons red Thai curry paste
    1 yellow onion, sliced with the grain
    2 chicken breasts, cut into cubes
    Salt and freshly ground black pepper
    1 1/2 cups broccoli florets
    1 1/2 cups chopped carrots
    1 teaspoon dried basil
    3 cloves garlic, minced
    Zest of 1/2 lime
    1 1/4 cups coconut milk
    1/4 cup chicken stock
    One 14-ounce can diced tomatoes
    Lime wedges, for squeezing


Cook 1 tablespoon of the oil, the curry paste and onions in a large saute pan over medium heat, stirring often and letting sizzle, 5 to 6 minutes. Pat the chicken dry, sprinkle with salt and pepper and add the remaining oil to the pan. Cook the chicken in the onion-curry mixture until golden on all sides. Add the broccoli, carrots, basil, garlic and lime zest and cook, stirring, until the vegetables are coated, about 2 minutes. Add the coconut milk, chicken stock and tomatoes and bring to a simmer. Let the chicken simmer until cooked through and the sauce begins to thicken, about 20 minutes. Squeeze with lime juice before serving.

Coconut Scented Rice Source:  Melissa D'Arabian via Food Network
1 1/2 cups long-grain white rice, rinsed  (I used basmati rice)
1/2 cup coconut milk
1/2 cup chicken or vegetable stock
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
Zest of 1/2 lime
1/4 bunch fresh cilantro, chopped very fine

1.  Combine rice, coconut milk, stock, and oil in a bowl and follow rice instructions or cook in a rice cooker.  (I used more chicken stock to round out the amount of liquid needed for my rice instructions).
2.  When finished, stir in zest and cilantro.


Thursday, August 30, 2012

"The Best" Tuna Salad

Trying to try out recipes to fill the Boy's lunchboxes this fall, I couldn't resist trying "The Best" tuna salad when I saw it on Sarah's blog

I used chunk tuna, which was probably a much less appetizing way to make this (interestingly, in another version, Cook's Country recommends chunk tuna for their tuna salad sandwich), but it was delicious nonetheless.  We (that's right, ALL OF US) loved this!  It wasn't until I made this that I realized my mom used to put onion in tuna salad, as well as celery, so I had a feeling it would be nostalgic for me, and while it was, it had some flavors Mom never put into my childhood tuna salad sandwiches.

Give this one a try some day for your lunch; you will not regret it!

The Best Tuna Salad Source:  Cook's Country Magazine via I Was Born to Cook

3 cans solid white tuna packed in water
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup minced onion
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon sugar
salt and pepper
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
1 celery stalk, finely chopped

Drain tuna and pat dry with a paper towel.  Microwave oil and onion for about 2 minutes, until onion begins to soften.  Mix with tuna, lemon juice, sugar, and 1/2 teaspoon each of salt and pepper.  Let marinate for 10 minutes.

Stir in mayo and serve.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Light Chicken Enchiladas

When I sit down to meal plan, it takes forever.  One site I often visit is the Food Network site, focusing in on Food Network Magazine because I love their stuff but no longer subscribe.  I came across this one and was intrigued; I love making chicken enchiladas, though they tend to take a long time to make, and am always looking for different methods to try.

This was definitely a different method!  Though I've made enchilada sauce from scratch before, it's never been so fresh tasting.  The sauce was quite delicious on this one.

One issue I had with this was that I used our preferred flour tortilla shells instead of corn ones, which meant that 1/2lb of chicken was not enough to feed the whole family.  My husband had an issue too; his problem was that the filling was pretty bland, being basically just chicken and cheese. 

The short is that this is a great change of pace, and definitely a tasty was to lighten up your chicken enchiladas, but you will miss the standard kind too!

Light Chicken Enchiladas Source:  Food Network Magazine
    2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for brushing
    1 to 2 jalapeno peppers, seeded and sliced
    3 cloves garlic, smashed
    1/2 teaspoon dried thyme or 1 1/2 teaspoons fresh thyme
    1 medium white onion, minced
    1/2 pound skinless, boneless chicken breast, halved lengthwise
    Kosher salt
    3 to 4 tomatoes (about 1 1/2 pounds), cored and roughly chopped
    1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
    8 corn tortillas
    1 1/2 cups shredded muenster cheese (about 6 ounces)
    1 cup mixed fresh parsley and cilantro, chopped


Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the jalapeno, garlic, thyme and half of the onion. Cook, stirring, until soft, about 3 minutes. Add the chicken, 1 teaspoon salt and 3/4 cup water. Bring to a boil, then cover and cook until the chicken is tender, about 6 minutes.

Remove the chicken to a plate. Transfer the cooking liquid and vegetables to a blender; add the tomatoes and allspice and puree with the lid ajar. Wipe out the skillet, add the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil and place over medium-high heat. Add the tomato mixture and cook until slightly reduced, 6 minutes. Pour into a baking dish.

Brush the tortillas with olive oil and put on a baking sheet; bake 5 minutes. Shred the chicken. Top each tortilla with chicken and cheese, then roll up and arrange in the baking dish, seam-side down, spooning some sauce on top. Bake until the cheese melts, 4 minutes.

Toss the herbs, remaining onion, and salt to taste. Sprinkle on top.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Turkey and Watercress Stuffed Portobellos

On a string of hits from Everyday with Rachael Ray, I wanted to make this delicious sounding meal, but could not think of a way to make it meat free; instead I substituted ground turkey for the ground beef.  I know there's got to be a way to make it meat free without using tofu (I wonder, though, how it would be with tempeh?), but I haven't given that a try yet.

This was so delicious.  It was another one of those meals the boys wouldn't eat, but my husband and I both loved it!

 Turkey and Watercress Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms Source:  Everyday with Rachael Ray


    4 large portobello mushroom caps, gills scraped
    2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (EVOO), plus more for brushing
    Salt and pepper
    1 pound ground beef, at room temperature
    1 small onion, chopped
    2-3 cloves garlic, chopped
    3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
    1 teaspoon dried marjoram or oregano
    1 cup watercress, chopped and packed
    1/2-3/4 cup panko breadcrumbs
    1/2 cup grated Pecorino Romano cheese
    1 1/2 cups shredded provolone cheese

Serves 4

Pre-heat the oven to 425°F.

On a rimmed baking sheet, brush the mushrooms with EVOO and season with salt and pepper; situate them rounded-side up. Roast until softened, 8-10 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a large skillet, heat 2 tablespoons EVOO, two turns of the pan, over medium-high heat. Pat the beef dry and add it to the skillet; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring, until browned, about 5 minutes. Add the onion, garlic, Worcestershire sauce and marjoram (or oregano). Cook until the onion and garlic are softened, about 5 minutes. Add the watercress to wilt. Stir in the panko. Remove the pan from the heat; stir in the Pecorino Romano.

Flip the mushroom caps over so they're rounded-side down and fill them with the meat mixture, mounding a quarter of the beef into each cap. Top with the provolone and return to the oven to melt the cheese, 7-8 minutes.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Smoky Skillet Cacciatore

In general, I've shied away from cacciatore; it's time consuming and has so many ingredients.  But when I saw this in Everyday with Rachael Ray, it looked so good and not so time consuming at all.

This was totally delicious.  It was easy to make, and, how could you go wrong when you're cooking anything in bacon fat?

Smoky Skillet Cacciatore Source:  Everyday with Rachael Ray

    2 pounds chicken thighs
    Salt and pepper
    2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil (EVOO
    4 slices bacon, cut into 1-inch pieces
    1/2 pound crimini mushrooms, sliced
    1 onion, quartered and thinly sliced
    1 cubanelle pepper, halved, seeded and sliced
    1 small Fresno chili pepper, thinly sliced or 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
    3-4 cloves garlic, sliced
    1 tablespoon tomato paste
    1/2 cup dry white wine or red wine
    1 fire-roasted crushed or stewed tomatoes (32 ounces)
    1/2 cup chicken stock
    Chopped parsley or celery tops, for garnish

Serves 4

Pat the chicken dry and season with salt and pepper. In a large cast iron or other heavy skillet, heat the  EVOO, two turns of the pan, over medium-high heat until rippling. Add the chicken and cook, turning once, until well browned, about 10 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a plate.

Add the bacon to the skillet and cook until the fat renders, about 2 minutes. Transfer to a paper towel to drain. Add the mushrooms to the skillet; cook until browned, about 5 minutes. Add the onion, cubanelle pepper, chili pepper and garlic; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring, for 3 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste, then the wine. Stir in the tomatoes and stock.

Add the cooked chicken and bacon to the sauce and simmer to cook through, 5-6 minutes. Spoon from the pan onto plates, then top with the parsley (or celery tops).

Meal Plan Monday

I'm so sad to realize that summer is winding down.  Labor Day is one short week away, and my summer has been so crazy hectic that I've barely blogged a summer's worth of good cookin.  Last week's plan to try some new lunches didn't work out, so they're going back into this week's plan, but we are away for the Labor Day weekend, so who knows what will end up happening.

We have an overabundance of eggplant and tomatoes from the CSA, such that I am thinking about learning how to do some canning.

Monday:  Sicilian Eggplant Sauce
Tuesday:  Slow Cooker Greek Chicken Pita Pockets
Wednesday:  Cheese Tortellini Salad
Thursday:  Chicken Parmesan
Friday:  Zesty Lime Shrimp and Avocado Salad
Saturday and Sunday:  At Mom and Dad's!

Happy week!

Monday, August 20, 2012

Meal Plan Monday

Here's my meal plan for the week through Thursday.  This have been a nutty month, since we went away for a few days (and had some EXCELLENT meals out, but are definitely craving something homecooked and, um, with some vegetables) and now have to start thinking about going back to work...

Monday:  Bruschetta Grilled Chicken with Grilled Peach Arugula Salad
Tuesday:  Eggplant Panini with Pesto
Wednesday:  Chicken Curry with Vegetables and Coconut Scented Rice
Thursday:  Mexican Chicken Pizza

I also plan to make some meals for the freezer and for lunches.  These include:

Peach Cobbler Scones
Roasted Vegetable Chickpea Salad
Grilled Chicken and Spinach Salad

Friday, August 17, 2012

Meal Plan

A bit late, what with being away and then being away again.  So, here's how the rest of this week looks:

Friday:  Smokey Skillet Cacciatore
Saturday:  "Beef" and Watercress Stuffed Portobellos
Sunday:  Light Chicken Enchiladas

Have a great weekend!

Monday, August 13, 2012

Berry & Kiwi Salad with Sweet Balsamic Dressing

This week's recipe swap theme was "Too Hot to Cook," with the weather we've been having, this was a totally appropriate theme!  I was assigned this recipe from Sweet Beginnings and it's originally from Pampered Chef.

I very much appreciated the idea of this recipe, fruit and a delicious dressing sweeten up what would be a pretty boring meal (while many of us eat salad, it's not usually super tasty *salads made by my mom aside!* or exciting), but felt it was missing something.  I really missed the heft of some protein, and wished I had prepared some grilled chicken to serve on top of the salad.  I'm glad I served this for lunch rather than as a main course dinner salad since it left me wanting more in the hunger department.

I did not have white balsamic dressing so went ahead and used regular; my son wondered why his strawberry was black but ate said strawberry without complaint.  My boys LOVED the fruit and the dressing and I WAS able to convince them to try the salad greens (ahem, by telling them that was the only way to get more fruit).

In the future, I think I would change the spring mix to baby spinach.  I found the spring mix (which is my preferred salad choice) was only good if it had fruit AND dressing, but on the bitter side on its own or with just dressing.

So, my assessment of this one is that it's a great recipe that I'd like to try again with some modifications.

Thank you to Sarah for hosting yet another fun swap, and to Jaida for a great no cook lunch!

Berry & Kiwi Salad with Sweet Balsamic Dressing Source:  Pampered Chef, via Sweet Beginnings

  • 2 cups Spring salad mix
  • 1 cup strawberries, hulled and halved
  • 1 cup blackberries
  • 2 kiwi, peeled and cut into wedges
  • 1/2 cup white balsamic vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp sugar
  • 1/4 cup half and half
  1. Prepare dressing  by whisking together the vinegar and sugar in a small saucepan. Bring the mixture to a boil and reduce the heat to medium. Cook for 6-8 minutes, until mixture is reduced by half.
  2. Slowly whisk in cream. Cook without  stirring for 2 minutes. Removed from the heat and cool. Cover, and refrigerate until ready to serve.
  3. Assemble the salad by place spring mix in bowls, topped with strawberries, blackberries, and kiwi. Drizzle with dressing and serve.

Friday, August 10, 2012

BBQ Chicken Meatloaf

**I just found this in my drafts.  I seem to have no picture of the meal, but seem to have really liked it!**

Do you like watching food television?  Who's your favorite celebrity chef?

I feel like the Neely's can be hit or miss.  I've never before made any of their food, though it almost always looks so good on tv (and boy, do they seem nuts about their food!), but when Lauren raved about it, onto the meal plan it went.

This was outstanding.  I chose a bottled BBQ sauce, though the Neely's give a homemade version--maybe someday.  Since the BBQ sauce is so forward, it's important to choose a good one.  I used Bulls Eye Memphis Style.  I'm not sure what makes it Memphis Style, but it was an awesome choice in this recipe.

We all liked this one.  I like that the red pepper adds flavor, crunch, and the idea that it's a little bit healthy because, heck, it's veggie!, never mind that it's slathered in a bottle of BBQ sauce veggie...

BBQ Turkey Meatloaf, courtesy of The Neely's via Lauren.


  • 1 tablespoon Neelys' BBQ Seasoning, recipe follows (I used a pinch of paprika, a pinch of sugar)
  • 1 teaspoon crab boil seasoning, (recommended: Old Bay)
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 1/2 cups BBQ Sauce, reserving 1/2 cup for the top (this was a bottle's worth)
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 cup chopped red onion
  • 1 medium red bell pepper, chopped
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 pounds lean ground turkey (I used ground chicken)
  • 1 1/2 cups bread crumbs


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
In a large bowl, mix BBQ seasoning, crab boil seasoning, soy sauce, beaten egg, 1 cup of the BBQ sauce and Worcestershire sauce.
In a saute pan over medium-high heat, add olive oil. Add onion, bell pepper, salt and pepper and garlic. Saute until tender. Remove from heat and add to wet mix.
Pour mixture into bowl with the ground turkey. Add bread crumbs and mix all together with your hands.
Transfer the meat mixture to a cookie sheet or baking pan. Using your hands, shape the meat into an oblong or rectangular shape. *Cook's Note: Alternately, you can pat the meat into a 9 by 5-inch loaf pan and pour 1/2 cup of BBQ sauce on the top of the loaf.
Bake for 35 minutes. Remove and add the reserved 1/2 cup of BBQ sauce to the top and continue to bake for 20 more minutes.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Vegetable Tian

Our CSA has been going what my husband would call "buck wild" with squash this season.  It's been great, except for the obvious problem of my husband's HUGE dislike of any and all gourds.  I was really scared when I received this recipe in the "Farmstand Favorites" recipe swap.  I made it anyway, on a night he was not supposed to be home for dinner.

I made a few, slight, modifications based on what was left from our CSA basket.  I used red onions and red potatoes, and am still using up 8-ball squash.

 I was really sad that the nice Parmesan crust didn't form on mine like it did on the photos that accompany the original recipe, but it was really tasty anyway.  I believe this is meant as a side dish, but I made it as the main.

My boys really weren't into it so much.  I really enjoyed it, but it isn't hefty enough to be a complete meal.  Definitely a great side dish, though!

Thanks, Lauren, for a great recipe, and thank you Jen for hosting a great swap!

Vegetable Tian Source:  Ina Garten via For the Love of Cooking

  • 2 tbsp olive oil (divided)
  • 1 large red onion cut in half and sliced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1-2 red potatoes, scrubbed unpeeled
  • 1 zucchini
  • 1 yellow squash
  • 3 large Roma tomatoes
  • Sea salt, freshly cracked black pepper, to taste
  • Dried thyme, to taste
  • 1/2 cup of grated Parmesan cheese
1.  Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Coat a baking dish with olive oil cooking spray. Heat 1 tbsp of olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Once hot, add the onions and saute until translucent, about 8 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for another 60 seconds. Spread the onion mixture on the bottom of the greased baking dish.
2.  Slice the potatoes, zucchini, squash and tomatoes in 1/4 inch thick slices. Layer them alternately in the dish on top of the onions, fitting them tightly into a spiral, making only one layer. Season with sea salt, black pepper and dried thyme, to taste. Drizzle the last tablespoon of olive oil over the top.
3.  Cover the dish with tin foil and bake for 35 minutes, or until the potatoes are tender. Uncover and sprinkle the Parmesan cheese on top and bake for another 25-30 minutes or until browned.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Ladybug pasta

My son is off to Kindergarten this year, and my other son is going to a new daycare.  For the first time, we have to think about packing lunches for them as well as for ourselves, so this summer, we have been trying out new ideas for lunches.  This one came up in my Facebook feed today just as I was getting ready to go to the store desperate for something other than a sandwich for lunch.  When I told my five year old about the idea, he was excited about having it, even saying he'd rather have ladybugs than peanut butter and jelly!!!

I modified the recipe ever so slightly.  The only mini bowties I could find were the Barilla Piccolini, which have tomatoes and carrots pureed into the pasta; these were also the cheapest in the store.  I also didn't want to spend the money on another jar for my pantry, so I omitted the Coconut Spread (our store only had a Peanut Butter Coconut Spread) instead using a drizzle of olive oil, a drizzle of red wine vinegar, salt, pepper, and Italian seasoning.

I really enjoyed this one!  The best part was the tomatoes I'd plucked from our plant; they were so delicious and sweet.  My sons ate it after some cajoling; the five year old claimed he no longer likes pasta but really enjoyed the fruit I put into little cups on the plate (my first pseudo attempt at Bento lunch!).

Ladybug Pasta Inspired by Bentoriffic
1/2lb shape pasta (I used mini farfalle)
two handfuls grape tomatoes, cut in half
a can of black beans, drained and rinsed
a handful of sliced black olives
salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste
a few shakes of Italian seasoning
olive oil
red wine vinegar
Grated Parmesan cheese

Prepare pasta according to package directions.  Drain.  Meanwhile, add the rest of the ingredients to a large bowl.  When the pasta is finished cooking, drain, and add to the bowl.  Toss all ingredients together.  Refrigerate to cool down (I served it after about 5 minutes in the fridge.)  Serve and enjoy!

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