Posts Tagged ‘quick and easy meal’

20th August
2010
written by Steph

Pineapple Chicken Curry

For those of us who love curries, the extensive range of premade jarred sauces and pastes makes cooking up flavorful, international dishes a breeze. When I first began cooking for myself in earnest about five years ago (note that this time coincides entirely with me moving to a different country from my mother, who I fully admit spoiled me with her cooking up until the age of 23…), I certainly relied extensively on these convenient sauces to provide my home cooked meals with authentic rich flavors that I craved but wasn’t confident or knowledgeable enough to achieve on my own. Lately, however, I’ve really been trying to up the ante when it comes to curries and the like, and have been branching out to include meals in my repartee that are done entirely from scratch. It may seem intimidating at first to mix and blend all the spices that Asian cooking is known for, but one of the benefits is that you get to tailor everything to your own palate. The more I experiment with blending spices from scratch, the more I find that it really is possible to achieve the flavors you know and love from your favorite Thai or Indian restaurant from the comfort (and relative frugality!) of your own home. The past week I was craving pineapple curry, and after searching high and low, I managed to find a recipe that did not simply call for one to use a store-bought paste or sauce as the curry base. Below is the version I slightly modified from that on Vazhayila. Ingredients (serves 4)
  • 1 lb chicken, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 3 tbsp oil or ghee
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 inch of fresh ginger, peeled and grated
  • 1 tbsp of lemongrass paste (can be found alongside most refrigerated herbs in your produce section)
  • 2 green chilies, chopped (remove seeds if you like less spicy food)
  • ½ tsp chili powder
  • ½ tsp dried coriander
  • ½ tsp turmeric
  • ½ tsp black pepper
  • ½ tsp garam masala
  • 1 can of coconut milk
  • salt
  • 5 tbsp fresh mint leaves, thinly sliced
  • 1.5 cups of fresh cubed pineapple + 1/8 cup of juice
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28th July
2010
written by Steph

steak tacos with a beet & apple slaw and blue cheese

Growing up, I was not a picky eater (still am not), and certainly wasn’t one of those kids who hated vegetables. My brother went through a phase where he hated carrots and hated peppers, but veggies never bothered me. That said, one vegetable I didn’t get much exposure to when young was the ruby red beet. I suspect my father doesn’t care for them and that’s why they never graced the dinner table, but I decided recently I was at a point in my life where I wanted to explore the less conventional vegetables in order to spruce up meals. After whipping up a beet & pear salad last week (with some kohlrabi tossed in just for kicks), I realized that raw beets are: a) really delicious, and b) actually quite sweet! I’d had pickled/jarred/canned varieties of beets before, and they are nowhere in the same league as fresh, raw beets.

With that in mind, I decided to use up our last beet in another slaw fashion, and suddenly this dish popped into mind. What could be better than steak tacos with beets & apple and some blue cheese? It sounded like a divine combination to me… and it was! Plus, it was a breeze to whip up! These will definitely be on the roster again soon… (more…)
25th October
2009
written by Steph

Spinach and Leek White Bean Soup... my way!

Spinach and Leek White Bean Soup... my way!

Until I started planning out our meals in detail, and vowed to cut out leftover dinners as lunches, I wasn’t a huge fan of soups.  They just never came across as very filling or very interesting to me, so I never really thought to make them.  BUT, I have since done a 180, and have come to see that soups can make a hearty and satisfying meal.  AND they’re cheap!  So cheap, I don’t have to feel bad about not getting up early to make sandwiches… I try to mix it up each week as to whether I’m making a thick, creamy soup, a lighter, brothy soup, or a soup with meat (or without).  To kick off the weekly cookalong, I decided to go with this spinach, leek and white bean soup, as it had relatively simple ingredients and managed to seem both light and hearty.  Of course, I wouldn’t be me if I didn’t deviate from the recipe, so here’s what I actually did: (more…)

6th May
2009
written by Steph
Chicken Enchilads served with a side of Mexican Rice

Chicken Enchiladas served with a side of Mexican Rice

Ok, we’re a day late so today is technically the seis de mayo rather than cinco de mayo, but let’s celebrate anyway with a Mexican recipe! Ai yai!  These chicken enchiladas are adapted from a recipe of a similar ilk over at Simply Recipes, but mine involve more cheese, because come on… everything is better with more cheese!  In the process, they are probably less authentic, but given the yum factor, I think all of you can deal with it.  These enchiladas take a little bit of prep time, but there’s no real reason why you couldn’t get the whole thing put together in 30 minutes if you really wanted to (you might just slightly singe your fingers if you don’t let the chicken cool sufficiently before shredding).  Let’s get to it! Ingredients (I made this for the two of us, but we had enough for one leftover lunch) •    1 jar of salsa verde (you could make the sauce from scratch if you can get your hands on fresh tomatillos, but it’s more work, and I think using the stuff in a jar is perfectly acceptable!) •    ½ cup of chopped white/yellow onion •    2 chicken quarters, cooked, skinned, and shredded (I believe a chicken quarter purchased from the supermarket gives you a drumstick attached to a thigh, perhaps with some back → read: plenty of chicken) •    1 clove of garlic, cut into quarters •    ¼ of a whole white/yellow onion •    1 tsp of salt •    1/3 cup of cream cheese •    1/3 cup of salsa fresca (tomato based salsa, made of fresh chopped tomatoes, onion, garlic, cilantro, and jalapenos… we buy ours in a big tub from Sam’s Club.  This isn’t the really soupy kind you get in a jar alongside tortilla chips.  You’ll find this in the refrigerated section of your supermarket (sometimes in the deli, sometimes by the produce)) •    6 flour tortillas (the little size) •    2 tbsp of sour cream •    1 bunch of cilantro, stems removed, coarsely chopped •    handful of shredded Mexican cheese (we use the pre-shredded Mexican blend), for garnish (more…)
15th March
2009
written by Steph
Hot Pockets!

Hot Pockets!

Anyone out there a Jim Gaffigan fan?  Well, if you are, then you know that the only way you can say the words “hot pockets” is in a high falsetto sing-song voice.  Additionally, you’ll know that the Gaff (as I have decided to fondly refer to him) is no fan of this “white trash” food.  Ah, what the hell, let’s just got to the clip because it’s hella funny, and what better intro to a post could I use than this: YouTube Preview Image OK, so I don’t think I’ve ever had a Hot Pocket in my life – not a real one anyway.  I vaguely remember some kind of breakfast pastry during my teen years that involved egg and ham, and was microwaved in its own little sleeve, but it was definitely not an Official Hot Pocket.  Maybe Tony has had one, but if so, he isn’t sharing.  That being said, one night when I was lying in bed trying to think up a way to use up three left-over spring roll wrappers (which had been chiefly purchased for a somewhat successful samosa-making venture of mine (successful in taste, not so successful in the folding execution)), I was struck with the wonderful insight that I should clearly create crispy golden parcels oozing with cheese and thinly sliced turkey.  Would it be successful?  There was only one way to find out!  [Spoiler alert: it was hugely successful… otherwise, I wouldn’t be posting about it here.] Below is a guide to the honey-smoked turkey and smoked gouda pockets I made one night for dinner one night after coming in from the gym.  There’s a lot of flexibility with these suckers, so you can easily use your favorite kind of meat and cheese and make it all your own! Ingredients
  • spring roll wrappers (found in your local supermarket’s refrigerated section, normally over by the produce)
  • cheese of your choice, thinly sliced (choose something that will melt well – we went with smoked gouda because we LOVE it and it melts really easily, but you could easily do havarti, cheddar, provolone, munster, or something fancy like brie if you wanted)
  • turkey meat (from the deli, thinly sliced… or use ham, or chicken, or whatever kind of meat you want!)
  • country-style Dijon mustard (get the kind that has visible grains in it!  Or don’t!  We prefer the grainy kind, prepared with white wine, as it has a milder, slightly sweet flavor, but pick whatever floats your boat!)
  • grape-seed oil (or other oil with high smoke point)
  • 1 tbsp of water
  • 1 tbsp of flour
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27th November
2008
written by Steph
Provided you like eggs that is (and if you don’t, I really can’t help you on that one… I’m just going to look at you funny).  I’m a big fan, personally, and this quick and easy dish (if you can call it that) combines my love of both a hard-boiled egg as well as a runny yolk.  It’s fast and simple to prepare, and incredibly delicious.  Tony & I often eat them for breakfast, but we will sometimes make them for dinner to if we’re looking for a lighter (or quick) meal that requires minimal fuss. (more…)