Tag Archives: cooking

And Now For Something Different: Adventures in the Kitchen

I am not a cook. I’m the daughter of a cook. And a baker. I grew up in a restaurant. But I’ve not inherited the genes that make one skillful at knowing what spices to combine with what bases.

I’m the one who tried to make her own coconut rice and had it described as “palatable.”

I tried to make a chocolate strawberry tart and the hubs needed a butcher knife to cut it.

Recently, I set a potholder on FIRE! 😀

And so, in our household, it is my partner, Joe, who does the cooking. And I remain ever grateful. But we’ve challenged ourselves to do things a little differently in our partnership and I’ve started making one meal a week with the goals of being health conscious and tasty.

Like a good little wi-fi (my husband’s nickname for me given my love of social media), I trolled pinterest for some recipes that looked good, easy to make, and were healthy. That means I was steering clear of recipes with a lot of dairy, red meat, or carbs. Here’s what the past 2 months have brought about.

*Note: All photographs are my own. I thought you should see what the food looked like when an amateur attempts to pinterest at home. Bon appetit! 

The Contenders

Buddha Bowls

Featuring the 30 Best Buddha Bowls, Yummy Mummy Kitchen included a winter bowl with curried chickpeas that I adapted at the end (scroll to the bottom of her post). I made the chickpeas as she described, then played around with my own vegetable options. I sautéed rainbow carrots and brussel sprouts in olive oil, ginger, and cumin until tender. And I added marinated beets and a thai cocount curry hummus which I purchased from my co-op to the top of the bowl. Everything was dumped on a bed of spinach. It’s a nice mix of sweet, spicy, creamy and tangy.

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White Bean and Avocado Burritos

I am not the best burrito roller, but halfway through I got the hang of it! This dish was really filling and nice for leftovers. Our favorite part was the cilantro lime sauce. Bonus, the recipe from Ceara’s Kitchen is also vegan, so if you’re looking for some meat-free meal options, this one’s good.

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Lemon Poppyseed Pancakes

Alright, so pancakes aren’t exactly at the top of the health food menu, but it was the weekend and I wanted to do something special. Plus we’d received super yummy Canadian maple syrup from my brother’s family as a thank you for dog sitting so pancakes were really the only option.

This recipe from The View From Great Island is a very delicious lemony treat and goes great with fresh blueberries and turkey bacon on the side.

*Notice my absolute lack of skill in pancake flipping. I made Lemon Poppyseed Pan-shmooshes. 

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Chicken Tikka Masala

When the chef preparing this dish says she eats chicken tikka masala multiple times a week, you know you can trust the recipe to be pretty good. Found on Savory Tooth, this chicken tikka masala recipe was indeed, tasty.

This recipe requires an Indian spice blend called garam masala, which for those of you who live in a smaller city, could be hard to find. You can buy it online, but I was lucky enough to find it in the bulk aisle of my co-op and prepare my own baggie full of the spice. Buy extra, cause the next recipe calls for it too!

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Slow Cooker Butter Chicken

I have absolutely no idea why this recipe is called Butter Chicken when there is, in fact, no butter in it. But for folks who like spice, then this dinner from Damn Delicious is the ticket. It’s extra spicy if you pair it, as I did, with Fooduzzi’s recipe for Sriracha Almond Butter Roasted Brussel SproutsZing! 

If you’re trying to cut out excess carbs too, you can put the chicken over a bed of chopped spinach instead of rice like we did, and sprinkle with cilantro.

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The Winning Favorites

The two best recipes, as favored by the hubs and I, were…

Crock Pot Thai Chicken Soup

From The Endless Meal, this recipe for thai chicken soup, which simmers in a crockpot for eight hours was DELECTABLE! Red curry paste mixed with chicken stock and coconut milk makes up the broth. Add chicken, plus whatever vegetables you want, and rice vermicelli noodles – which cook in 2 minutes! For veggies this time, I used red pepper, onion, mushrooms, and tomatoes. So savory and even the leftovers are delicious.

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Roasted Chicken With Vegetables

And the other hit was Roasted Chicken with Vegetables from The Cookie Writer. Another easy one pan meal – hooray! The cook behind this recipe saved time by buying chopped veggies from the grocery store, but I did my own chopping with what we had on hand already. I substituted chicken breasts for the bone in chicken, since we had 3 frozen chicken breasts to use up. And the veggies I cut up were cauliflower, green pepper, and baby carrots. My hubs loved the paprika and basil spice blend.

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There you have my adventures in the kitchen. It’s not going too bad!
Minus, you know, that ONE potholder. 😛

What are the recipes you love and return to?
See any on this list you might try? 

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Holiday Yum: Pumpkin-Curry Chicken and Blue Cheese Bread

Hey Everyone!

I know, I know, I’ve been completely MIA in the blogosphere this season!

Forgive me.  I work in retail.  You won’t see me in full swing until January.

However, doesn’t mean I can’t play along with…

art by Ellen M. Gregg

See the Full Holiday Yum Schedule – Tasty Treats You Won’t Want to Miss!

 

  • On November 17th, Jenny Hansen kicked off the hop with her Gluten-Free Thanksgiving Meal.  There are lots of great tips for folks who need to eat GF, including some sneaky foods to watch out for!
  • On November 19th, I shared the salty-sweet, super-easy Spiced Pecans appetizer.
  • Ellen M. Gregg has us all drooling with The Chocolatiest Chocolate Cake – Evah on Monday, November 26th.
  • Jenny Hansen introduces us to her luscious Almond Roca, famed of song and story, on Wednesday, November 28th.
  • Estee Lavitt shares her mouth-watering Baked Latkes on December 2nd, just in time for Chanukah!
  • Natalie Hartford starts us off on a cookie binge with her fabulous French Lace Cookies on December 5th.  Mais Oui.
  • I’ll be back on Dec 10th with a Christmas cookie staple that’s yummy and versatile – butter spritz cookies.
  • And if those last two posts aren’t enough “cookie” for you, Ellen M. Gregg will also be making her Old-Fashioned Buttermilk Sugar Cookies, along with Bulldog Punch, on December 14th.
  • Natalie Hartford continues the yummy sweets with her favorite cheesecake recipe on December 17th.
  • Jenny Hansen teaches us not to fear candy-making with her super-easy, super-yummy Holly Candy recipe on December 19th.
  • Jess Witkins is still plotting and planning, so we will either be treated to a comfort food or appetizer recipe on December 23rd.
  • On December 26th, I’ll be posting about my super-easy beef rib-eye roast with currant jelly brown gravy that I make every year for Christmas dinner.  Hope my holiday guests don’t mind me taking more pics of the food than of them, LOL.
  • And, finally, to help us ring in the New Year, Natalie Hartford will share some festive and delicious Mocktail recipes on December 28th!

On With the Food!!!

Today, I’m sharing a comfort food dish that I tried this year and loved!  And working in retail, I’m all about the little comforts when I get home!

Here’s what my roommates said about the meal:

If you wanted to make this again, that’d be alright.

and

This is f#$@ing good!

But don’t take their word for it!  Try it yourself!

Pumpkin Curry Chicken

Found in Simple and Delicious Magazine, Contributed by Aysha Schurman from Ammon, Idaho

2 cups uncooked jasmine rice

1 1/2 lbs. boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1/2 inch cubes

4 tsp. curry powder, divided

1/4 tsp. pepper

2 Tbsp. olive oil

1 garlic clove, minced

1 cup canned pumpkin

1/2 cup chicken broth

1/2 cup raisins

1/4 cup apple butter

1/2 tsp. Chinese five-spice powder

1/3 cup chopped cashews, toasted

Minced fresh parsley

Cook rice according to package directions.  Meanwhile, sprinkle chicken with 1 tsp. curry powder and pepper.  Heat oil in a large skillet; saute chicken for 5-6 minutes or until no longer   pink.  Add garlic; cook 1 minute longer.

Curry Chicken

Stir in pumpkin, broth, raisins, apple butter, five-spice powder and remaining curry powder.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, for 5-7 minutes or until heated through.

Stir cashews into rice and serve with chicken mixture.  Sprinkle with parsley.

Pumpkin Curry Chicken

Blue Cheese Herb Bread

Found in Simple and Delicious Magazine, Contributed by Janet Allen from Sarasota, Florida

1 tube (12 oz.) refrigerated flaky buttermilk biscuits

2 Tbsp. butter, melted

2 Tbsp. crumbled blue cheese

1 Tbsp. dried minced onion

2 tsp. dried minced parsley flakes

1 garlic clove, minced

1 tsp. dried tarragon

1 tsp. minced chives

1/2 tsp. celery seed

1/2 tsp. dried oregano

Separate biscuits; cut each into quarters.  Arrange into an 11 inch long loaf on a greased baking sheet.  In a small bowl, combine the remaining ingredients; brush over loaf.

Bake at 375° for 18-20 minutes or until golden brown.

Blue Cheese Herb Bread

Voila!  Gourmet comfort food without all the fuss!

Pumpkin Curry Chicken and Blue Cheese Bread

Cheers to you and yours this holiday season!  May each of you celebrate with all those you love, and take a little comfort in some homemade treats!

Bologna Girl Learns to Cook

My bloggy friend, Madge, more commonly known as author Margaret Reyes Dempsey over at her blog, couldn’t believe that a girl who solved her problems with bologna sandwiches came from a family who owned a restaurant!  So, I’m here today to state the facts.

Fact #1.  Yes, I had a moment of weakness where I ate a bologna sandwich and drank Chardonnay after a bad day.  My only fault was blogging about it (with picture evidence, no less) because now I’ll never live it down.

Fact #2.  My family owned a Steak House for 16 years.  I thought the place was my free-for-all and walked around like I owned the joint, grabbing grape soda from the bar fridge and hoarding plates of my dad’s AMAZING homemade cheese spread.  I was in a sense, raised by a group of cooks and waitresses who let me help make cole slaw.  In fact, the waitresses at our restaurant were actually the ones that named me!  I’m not sure if that’s a charming trait, or a reality check that my mother was about to have kid #4 and just didn’t care anymore.  (Just kidding, mom, I know you love me!)

Fact #3.  My parents have two cooking styles.  My mom (apart from salads and desserts) basically made the same meals for dinner on some kind of rotation.  Baked chicken, meatloaf, chow mein, CHILI MAC (my fav.), and my least favorite, goulash.  Who would like something named goulash?  It tastes like it sounds.  😛  My dad, on the other hand, will make a variety of dishes, but he’ll also make them for 50+ people.  After graduation, my dad enlisted in the Navy, and was the cook on ship during his service.  Add that to years of restaurant managing, and you have a man who inevitably will buy one chicken and make you chicken, yes, but also chicken soup and chicken salad and chicken and rice and chicken tiramisu!  Ok, maybe not that last one, but you get the idea.  How was I, the youngest, supposed to learn to cook in a house with a mother whose idea of taco salad was crumbling doritos on lettuce or a father who never measured a thing and made quantities for storage in a bomb shelter?

Fact #4.  In college, I survived on pasta and frozen vegetables.  My initial attempts at cooking were described as “palatable” and “finger food” by parties subjected to taste testing.  I think back on my attempts to make my own coconut milk as creative!  And so what if I was terrible at following directions and charred many a batch of cookies!  It was the effort that counts, right?

Fact #5.  I eventually learned to cook.  I chalk it up to the wonderful gift of Simple and Delicious Magazine my mother gave me after graduation.  Simple and delicious, you say?  That’s my kind of meal!  So get ready folks, I’m sharing with you two amazing recipes that will make dinner feel like summer’s finally here!  These dishes were so scrumptious, even as leftovers!  My honey and I really enjoyed them.  Both were so flavorful, the burgers had a great little kick to them, and this potato salad was the best potato salad I’ve ever eaten!

Chipotle Sliders from Shawn Singleton in Vidor, Texas

Prep time: 30 min. Yield 10 sliders

1 pkg. (12 oz.) Hawaiian sweet rolls

1 tsp salt

1/2 tsp pepper

8 tsp minced chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, divided

1-1/2 lbs ground beef

10 slices pepper Jack cheese

1/2 cup mayo

Place 2 rolls in a food processor; process until crumbly.  Transfer to a large bowl; add the salt, pepper, and 6 tsp chipotle peppers.  Crumble beef over mixture and mix well.  Shape into 10 patties.

Grill burgers, covered, over medium heat for 3-4 minutes on each side or until a meat thermometer reads 160° and juices run clear.  Top with cheese.  Grill 1 minute longer or until cheese is melted.

Split remaining rolls and grill, cut side down, over medium heat for 30-60 seconds or until toasted.  Combine mayonnaise and remaining chipotle peppers; spread over roll bottoms.  Top each with a burger.  Replace roll tops.

Golden Potato Salad by Linda Behrman in North Merrick, New York

Prep:  25 minutes  Cook:  15 min + cooling  Yield:  10 servings

2-1/2 lbs Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch cubes

1 medium sweet red pepper, chopped

1 small red onion

1/2 cup shredded carrot

1 cup mayo

2 Tbsp olive oil

2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar

2 Tbsp spicy brown mustard

1 Tbsp mustard seed

3 tsp snipped, fresh dill (I used dried)

1-1/2 tsp sugar

3/4 tsp salt

1/2 tsp pepper

Place potatoes in a large saucepan and cover with water.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 10-15 minutes or until tender.  Drain; cool for 15 minutes.

In a large bowl, combine the red pepper, onion, carrot and potatoes.

In a small bowl, whisk the mayonnaise, oil, vinegar, mustard, mustard seed, 2 tsp dill, sugar, salt and pepper.  Pour over potato mixture; gently toss to coat.  Sprinkle with remaining dill.  Refrigerate until serving.

Are your taste buds watering?  What yummy dishes have you made to kick off summer?  Who taught you to cook?  Have you ever tried to make your own coconut milk?  It’s hard, isn’t it?

How to Host a Party from the Floor

I’ve been entertaining lately.  February is the month containing the two parties my boyfriend and I throw together.  The Superbowl and The Oscars.  I’ve been scrambling to see as many Oscar films as I can between now and the award ceremony.  So the other night I enticed one of my friends over to watch a marathon of movies by offering to cook dinner for her.

Menu:  Apricot Chili Pork Chops with Lemon and Spinach Pasta with Herb Dinner Rolls

If you’re going to force your friends to sit through six hours of cinema, I recommend basting the rolls with garlic butter and sprinkling parmesan and herbs over the top right as they walk through the door.  They’ll have to stay to taste them, and then they won’t be able to move after they’ve devoured about four.  Placing the wine bottle on the ottoman also does the trick.

By far the best taste of the evening was the pasta, extremely light and fresh, while still forcing your eyes to roll back in your head.  To make it, you just cook some angelhair pasta as normal, and in a large pan saute garlic, baby spinach, lemon juice and salt/pepper until the spinach is wilted.  Add the pasta and toss!  So delicious!

So far of the nominated best pictures I’ve seen:  Inception, Black Swan, The Social Network, Toy Story 3, The Kid’s Are All Right, and Winter’s Bone.  I still need to see:  True Grit, The Fighter, 127 Hours, and The Kings Speech.

Back to the party.  All was going exceptionally well.  We had viewed The Kids are All Right and spiked up a nice conversation on surrogacy.  To further entice my friend to stay, I rented the second season of The United States of Tara to watch a few episodes.  She can’t tell me no when I’ve brought her schizophrenic Toni Collette and comedy by Diablo Cody!

Somewhere in the middle of the fourth episode it hit me, like an all too real flashback “Live from the Wizard of Oz, it’s Dorothy trapped in a tornado!”  I instantly got the spins.  I fess up to my own body.  I know I didn’t eat much earlier today, I still wasn’t feeling very good.  But dinner was amazing, and a little wine is supposed to be good for you! Mixing in my stomach was the storm of Poseidon!  I guess red wine and cold medicine are not meant to mix.  Suddenly, I became that absurd host who kept excusing herself from the room hoping no one would notice her 5’2″ frame swaying around like Kramer on Seinfeld.  After my poor, but understanding, friend had paused the episode too many times to count, I guiltily said “I don’t feel good” and left the room again.  She finished the episode at my pleading from the bathroom afar, and like the wonderful friend she is, let herself out.  Dear Lord, how embarrassing!  I spent the next half hour lying on the bathroom floor moaning and cursing.  At least we have heated tiles.  *shakes head in shame*

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