Archive | recipe RSS feed for this section

two-ingredient strawberry “sorbet”

24 May

Ready for something cool, easy, cheap, and fairly healthy to kick off the summer? Well, here you go.

I thought I was going to make a smoothie for the kids, but then I discovered the easy way to strawberry sorbet! This is not super-sweet, but it’s sweet enough to be dessert for sure.

Ingredients:
* frozen strawberries (I’d estimate I used about three and a half cups, still frozen)
* 2 6-oz cups vanilla yogurt

Combine the strawberries and yogurt in the bowl of your food processor. If necessary, let the strawberries soften slightly (10 minutes or less) to make it easier to blend them. Blend until smooth and enjoy!

My kids also enjoyed the leftovers the next day; I let the sorbet thaw and it did, indeed, make a tasty cold drink. It was nice and thick like a strawberry smoothie.

recipe: super-lazy coconut-lime curry chicken

24 Mar

This is almost laughable, as recipes go: four indispensable ingredients and a few optional ones. But I make it pretty often, and my family likes it. This Thai-inspired dish is very quick and easy, which makes it a good choice when I leave dinner to the last minute. It also goes well in the slow cooker, and most of the ingredients are things that I usually have on hand.

It is most delicious if you use all of the ingredients, but I don’t scorn it if I don’t have everything. And no, I don’t know why it’s called a curry–it hasn’t got any of the spices in it that I associate with curry.

Ingredients:
* chicken (I usually use two boneless, skinless breasts or a package of chicken thighs–bone-in is even more delicious)
* one onion, diced
* two or three cloves of minced or pressed garlic
* 2 cans of coconut milk (I recommend Trader Joe’s light coconut milk, which has a great flavor and is fairly healthy)
* juice from two limes, or the equivalent in bottled lime juice if you must
* a few shakes of fish sauce
* the zest from your limes

garnishes (use any or all):
* sliced hot peppers (I like Serrano, but any kind works)
* chopped cilantro
* chopped green onions
* chopped peanuts

You can make do with just chicken, onion, coconut milk, and lime, if that’s all you’ve got on hand. It’s not terribly interesting that way, but it’s still tasty and sort of comfort food-y.

Spray a heavy pot with cooking spray and cook the onions and chicken in it. If you’re using boneless, skinless chicken, you may want to dice that, too–it’ll cook more quickly and evenly. When it’s almost done, add the garlic.

When the chicken is cooked through, pour in the remaining ingredients (except garnishes) and cook until hot.

Serve over rice or some other delicious whole grain and top with garnishes.

If you would rather have soup, just add a few cups of chicken broth and ditch the rice. Voila–soup.

If you are in more of a seafood sort of mood, this is also good with shrimp instead of chicken.

If you want to put it in the slow cooker, just toss everything in together (except the garnishes) and cook until the chicken is completely cooked (in my slow cooker that’s about 4 hours on high, but yours may vary). If the chicken is frozen, your slow cooker can handle it–just add some cooking time.

recipe: homemade applesauce

22 Feb

One of the most satisfying snacks–or desserts–is a bowl of warm homemade applesauce. I’m not a fan of regular applesauce (you know, the kind that’s thin and very regular in its texture?). But I like a chunky, very cinnamon-heavy warm applesauce.

This is a very easy recipe, and if you have any canning know-how, you can preserve this and stick it in the pantry. My kids eat lots of applesauce, and I like knowing what’s in it. If you make a smaller batch, just keep it in the refrigerator. (Actually, there’s also no reason you couldn’t freeze it.)

If you want to make a large batch to can or freeze, buy a half-bushel of apples. Otherwise, use as many as you think you’ll eat in a few days–a few pounds is enough for a small batch. Obviously, you’ll get the best apples and prices in the fall, but I’m making this today so I thought I’d post it.

As for the best kinds of apple for this dish, it’s up to you. A tart apple will produce a tart sauce, unless you add sugar/honey; I like to mix in at least some sweeter apples instead of adding sugar. My favorites for sauce are Jonagolds, Romes, Galas, and Cortlands. Mix together whatever kinds you like! My only observation here is that Granny Smith, which I like for eating raw, is too tart for many people’s taste in applesauce.

Ingredients:
Apples (as many as you want)
Cinnamon (as much as you want)

Peel, core, and chop the apples. I don’t get too carried away with this–even quartering the apples is really enough.

Put the apples in a large pot. Cook over medium heat until the apples are soft enough to mash with a potato masher. Mash them until they reach the texture you like. If you like very smooth sauce, you could use a blender or food processor to puree them instead, but be careful pureeing hot food.

Add cinnamon to taste. I really like cinnamon, so I use a lot, but it’s entirely a matter of preference. If you do want to add some sugar or honey, this is the time; I find that it isn’t necessary at all.

If you want to can the applesauce, fill your canning jars and process them in a hot-water bath. My canning book recommends 15 minutes for pints and 20 minutes for quarts, but I suggest that you consult the most recent recommendations to assure best food safety.

This sauce also makes an excellent filling for apple turnovers, if you’re feeling decadent. If you cooked slices of apple and didn’t mash them, you could use this process to make pie filling that would be a lot less sugary than most recipes.

recipe link: vietnamese sweet potatoes with beef

8 Feb

This, my friends, is officially the most delicious dish I made in 2011. It’s from the Food Matters Cookbook, and it’s fantastic.

I have to warn you, though, that when I made it (all four or five times!) it looked–well–not like the photo.

It looks like orange glop.

But trust me. Try it. It is soothing and satisfying without being boring–comfort food, but with an exotic spin.

The only change I made was to cut the oil back to one tablespoon. I used olive oil, as I generally do, because that’s what’s next to the stove, and it was plenty. I worry with stir-fries that olive oil will burn; that might happen if your stove gets really hot, so use your judgement and pick something with a higher smoking point if you have a really hot range instead of a sissy stove like mine.

I am loving this cookbook more and more, by the way, and I recommend it. This recipe is typical: lots of vegetables, a smaller proportion of meat, and enough interesting spices to make the result into something more than you expected. (The braised chard with chicken and steel-cut oats turns out to be the only thing I’ve ever cooked that somehow fulfills the void left in my life when I stopped cooking chicken breasts in cream of chicken soup from a can, over rice. I have no idea why, but the sauce reminds me of that, in the best possible way.)

recipe: roasted chickpeas

26 Jan

Okay, stay with me here: these are really good. Seriously. I saw recipes for these all over the place, but I don’t actually like chickpeas. (I like hummus and falafel, but just chickpeas themselves? Nah.)

When you roast them, though, they get crunchy and delicious. It’s quick, it’s easy; it’s high-protein; it’s easy to take along for portable snacks or lunches.

This is more of a method than a recipe. Use whatever spices you like. I’ll list a few of my favorite spice variations at the end.

Ingredients:
* canned chickpeas (you could also cook your own dried ones; I just don’t usually plan ahead that far)
* a drizzle of olive oil
* spices of choice (see below)

Rinse the chickpeas well in a colander, until bubbles are gone (you’ll see some bubbles when you start rinsing). I don’t bother to remove the chickpea skins, though I have read that you should; they get crispy and delicious, too, in this setting.

Toss chickpeas with olive oil in a baking dish. I like to use a glass one.

Add your spices and stir. Bake in 450-degree oven until the chickpeas are brown and toasty. Make sure you really let them brown; they are not nearly as good if they’re not crunchy!

Spice Suggestions:
* garlic: add two or three cloves minced or crushed garlic and some ground pepper.
* lemon-pepper: sprinkle with lemon-pepper seasoning.
* Chesapeake: sprinkle with Old Bay or other Chesapeake-style crab seasoning.
* Indian: sprinkle with curry powder, cumin, and/or garam masala.
* Mexican: sprinkle with cumin and chili powder (for a smokier kick, use chipotle powder).

recipe link: Spaghetti Squash Pomodoro

7 Dec

My spouse tasted this when they were handing out samples at Wegmans and came home talking about how good it was. I was a bit skeptical, but I have to admit, he was right. It’s fantastic. 

Spaghetti Squash with Pomodoro Sauce

I’m seriously considering making everything with pomodoro sauce from now on.

recipe: barley risotto

17 Jul

Do you read Smitten Kitchen? If not, you should. Well, maybe you should. Sometimes it features totally decadent recipes that are nearly irresistible.

But Deb, the blogger at SK, also posts some great healthier food. She has a light hand with vegetables. I recently made her Barley Risotto with Beans and Greens. It was pretty darn good, although it’s not going to be what you’re after if you love real risotto made with arborio rice–it has a much firmer texture. It’s delicious in its own right, though.

I have also made a risotto-style dish using steel-cut oats, and that was good, too. You’ll probably like these better if you can think of them more as a sort of savory porridge than as a substitute for traditional risotto. I highly recommend that you try Deb’s recipe–the beans and the greens are great–but I have also included, for your lazier moments, a very basic process for making risotto, whether with barley, oats, or the traditional arborio rice. (I’m told brown rice can make a nice dish too–but I haven’t tried preparing that this way.)

Grain “Risotto”

1 onion, chopped
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced or crushed
1 to 1.5 cups pearled barley or steel-cut oats, or arborio rice for traditional risotto
8 cups of low-sodium stock (or water; you can add spices if you would rather flavor the risotto that way than with stock)
grated Parmesan cheese (or similar type), if desired

Cook the onion in the oil. At the same time, heat the stock or water in a separate pot.

When the onion is softened, stir in the garlic and cook for a minute or two. Add the barley or oats. Cook and stir until the grain starts to smell a bit toasty. Add a ladleful or two of the stock. Stir. Cook until the water is all absorbed, then add another ladleful or two. Repeat, adding liquid whenever it’s absorbed, until the grains are tender (they’ll still retain some chewiness). If you use arborio rice, it will probably take a bit less stock.

Stir in the cheese or sprinkle it on top and serve. You can stir in almost anything you want here: chopped tomatoes or cherry tomatoes; green vegetables, lightly steamed; herbs of any kind; pesto; even meat (a little bacon in with the onions at the beginning is lovely and it only takes a strip to season your whole pot of grains). With barley or oats, this is a very filling whole-grain side dish. I like it the next morning with a poached egg, but that’s just me.