Tag Archives: entree

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.

* 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 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: shrimp three different ways

8 Jun

My family LOVES shrimp. I am lukewarm about it but my kids and husband all adore it. As a result, I’ve tried a number of different healthy recipes to find one that I really like.

After reading Mark Bittman’s recipe for the “Simplest and Best Shrimp Dish,” I started tinkering with the ways I cook it, and here are three very easy variations on his cooking method–directions at the bottom of the post.

Shrimp with Lemon and Garlic:
1.5 pounds shrimp (I use raw, peeled, deveined shrimp so that I don’t have to peel them or devein them!)
juice of two lemons
teaspoon olive oil
3 cloves of garlic, minced or pressed (you might use less if you’re not a big garlic fan)
capers (optional) for garnish

Spicy Shrimp:
1.5 pounds shrimp
teaspoon olive oil
3 cloves of garlic, minced or pressed (you might use less if you’re not a big garlic fan)
1 sliced jalapeno or serrano pepper (more or less to taste)
1 teaspoon ground cumin
minced cilantro (optional) for garnish

Citrus Shrimp
1.5 pounds shrimp
juice of two oranges
teaspoon olive oil
3 cloves of garlic, minced or pressed (you might use less if you’re not a big garlic fan)

For any of these recipes, just heat the oil in a skillet until it’s hot but not smoking; add the remaining ingredients (except garnish). Stir frequently until shrimp is opaque (it will only take a couple of minutes). Sprinkle with garnish if desired and serve! This is easy and quick. I often serve it with rice and a vegetable or with a salad and a cooked vegetable.

recipe: Caesar Salad

29 Mar

Makes: Enough for about four people as a meal or with a soup–more if you’re serving it as a first course with an entrée.

• 1 head romaine lettuce (or 1 package hearts of romaine)
• 2 cloves garlic, pressed or finely minced
• 1 tablespoon mayonnaise
• 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
• 4-6 anchovies, chopped (I know–you think this is gross. Don’t leave them out!)
• ½ cup olive oil
• juice from one lemon
• dash Worcestershire sauce
• ground pepper to taste
• grated Parmesan cheese

Mix all ingredients except lettuce and Parmesan cheese and whisk until completely incorporated. Drizzle dressing over lettuce and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Make croutons if you have some French bread laying around: cut it into cubes, sauté in garlic and olive oil, then toast in a 250-degree oven until brown.

You can, of course, turn this into a heartier meal by adding chicken or shrimp. I often make this when I have leftover roasted chicken.

recipe: Hybrid Garlic or Onion Soup

1 Feb

I have made a bunch of new soups in recent weeks, and some of them were…well…transcendent is the word that leaps to mind, but I don’t want to commit hyperbole here. Anyway, the two that I liked best were the Cheddar Parsnip soup from the Sundays at the Moosewood Restaurant cookbook and the 44-clove garlic soup from Smitten Kitchen.

I’ve come to realize that the soups I like best have a few things in common that are easily reduced to a couple of basic elements, which you can then mess with as much as you like! I hereby provide you with the “base recipe” for healthy, delicious, creamy soups (which just happen to be incredibly good winter comfort food). The basic idea is that, instead of thickening with cream (which SK does, by the way, but which is not needed), you puree your creamy vegetables to thicken the soup.

You need:
* some kind of aromatic/spicy vegetable: onion, garlic, shallot, or all three. I use a lot of this–maybe 3 cups of onion.
* some kind of broth (chicken is classic, but you can use whatever you have)
* some kind of spices or herbs (for winter: thyme, dill, or chives are delicious)

and you may want to add:
* a smooth vegetable to puree (parsnips, potatoes, carrots, sweet potatoes)
* some kind of sharp cheese

The basic procedure is this:
1. Cook your onions/garlic/whatevers in a teaspoon of olive oil until they’re tender, or almost tender.
2. Add broth–the amount depends on your other ingredients. I usually just eyeball it and fill the pot about 2/3 full.
3. Add any other vegetable that you want to puree–the “smooth” vegetables listed above will create a smoother soup, but you can add broccoli, asparagus, peas, etc., to make a cream of vegetable soup that is much better than Campbell’s!
4. Simmer until vegetables are soft.
5. Puree in batches (carefully–hot liquids can be difficult in a blender!
6. Return to pot. Reheat. Add your herbs or spices.
7. If desired, add in some cheese and melt it. Parmesan, Gruyere, or Manchego are all highly flavorful choices that make your soup much more interesting without adding much fat or calories, because you only need a little.
8. Taste and add salt or pepper if you need it. If you’ve used packaged broth, you probably won’t want more salt.
9. Serve. Gasp with amazement that it is not loaded with cream or white flour.

This is creamier and thicker if it contains more vegetables. So load it up! It’s very healthful and incredibly satisfying when it’s cold outside. I like to serve these kinds of soups with a salad or sliced fruit and a slice of whole-grain homemade bread.

Sneaky tip that I haven’t tried yet but I plan to use this week: this would also make a great base for a casserole (whatever you’ve been missing because you didn’t want to eat a can of cream of mushroom soup) or, in smaller amounts, a good sauce for poultry or vegetables.

I plan to make a big batch this week of a basic cream-of-onion soup, using this method, and freeze it in smaller packages to use for cooking. It should freeze beautifully because it doesn’t contain milk, which sometimes separates in the freezer.

recipe: Crunchy Chicken

4 Nov

Makes: as much as you want

This is a fairly healthful alternative to chicken strips or nuggets–it’s really good with a dipping sauce like honey mustard or blue cheese. My children love these when I make them into fairly small nuggets. They’re nothing like a McDonald’s nugget–more like a Chik-Fil-A nugget, if you are a nugget aficionado. I often use two pounds of chicken and freeze half of them once they’re cooked; they reheat easily in the oven. They are extremely low-carb, if you’re into that.


chicken tenderloins (you could also use breasts)
milk (enough to cover the bottom of a bowl)
ground almonds (you can buy almond meal or grind them in your food processor)
parmesan cheese (from the can is just fine)
any seasoning you like–I usually use salt, pepper, and garlic powder, or sometimes Old Bay

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Mix the almonds, cheese, and seasoning in a plastic bag. Dip each piece of chicken in the milk, then toss it in the seasoned crumbs until it’s coated. Place chicken on a greased cookie sheet and bake until chicken is cooked (it’ll be fairly quick for tenderloins, longer for chicken breasts). If you make nuggets, aim for fairly consistently sized pieces so that they cook at the same rate.

These are delicious with any dipping sauce that you like on nuggets. I particularly like them with homemade honey mustard salad dressing–look for that recipe soon!