Asian, Meat, Quick Dinner, Savory

Sunday Stir-fry, Part 2: Beef Teriyaki

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In this stir-fry series (refer to part 1 for a more detailed recipe), I decided to change up the sauce and the protein.  I still but the Tsang brand of stir-fry sauces because they have the least amount of sugar in them.  This time, Teriyaki Beef was on the menu.  I like to but the think strips of beef that are cut for “stir-fry” (you can find the same cuts for chicken and pork too).  The trick to a good stir-fry is to have the meat at room temperature, the veggies cut, rinsed and dried, and a wok with hot oil! Start off by frying the 1 pound of beef strips on high heat for 5 minutes, remember, if you over-cook it, it will get tough and chewy.  Next, add the veggies (1 bag of frozen broccoli, 1 can of baby corn, 1 can or water chestnuts), 1tsp of red pepper flakes, 2 tsp of white pepper, and 1 tsp of ginger powder.  “Stir” “fry” the veggies and meat for an additional 2 minutes and then add 1/2 bottle of Teriyaki sauce and 1Tbsp of toasted sesame seeds.  Cook for an additional 5-7 minutes and serve hot over a bed of rice or with ramen noodles.  We devoured it just as it is!!!!

Indian, Poultry, Savory

Murgh Kofta Rogan Josh

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15 years ago I would scoff at the idea of using “curry” from a “jar”.  15 years ago,  I was not putting food on the table after a busy day at work.  I will admit, I am a curry snob.  Well, let’s get one thing clear, curry really just refers to a slow-cooked, spiced, sauce–it is not a recipe on its own!  However, to keep things simple, I too have fallen into the practice of referring to any Indian saucy dish as curry.  Purists, please forgive me!

Now back to sauces in jars.  There is only one brand that I trust (and no, I don’t get paid by them!) is Pataks.  My Mom used it when we lived in the USA during the early 90s, which means this brand has her seal of approval.  Back then, you would have to drive several miles to get to the nearest Indian Grocery to stock up on these staples.  Now, you can walk into most food stores and find them easily.   One thing I always try to do with these store-bought shortcuts is to add more nutrients to them.  I almost always add vegetables to the sauce, not only does it stretch the meal, but I can get a certain picky eater to eat veggies!!  For this particular “sauce”, I have found that sweet potatoes work really well.  You can use any kind of protein you like (animal or plant-based).  For this version I used mini chicken meatballs, another ode to a childhood “curry” my mother made.  You can check out the recipe for the chicken meatballs here.  With that, here is how I assembled this meal.

Ingredients:

1 batch of mini chicken meatballs

3 medium sweet potatoes, diced.

1 jar of Patak’s Rogan Josh sauce.

1Tbsp of olive oil

1 cup of water

1tsp of chili powder

1 tsp of garam masala

Method:

Heat olive oil in a pan.  Once the oil is hot, add the diced sweet potatoes.  Saute till the potatoes start to become tender.

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Add the whole jar of sauce and 1 cup of water to the sweet potatoes.  Cover the pot and cook on medium-low heat for 30-40 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes or so.  You don’t want anything to stick to the bottom off the pot!

After about 40 minutes, the sweet potato will become tender.  Using the back of a spoon, I roughly mash the sweet potatoes into the sauce.  This adds thickness and a delicious sweetness to the curry.

Add the meatballs to the sauce, cover and cook for another 10 minutes on low heat.  Remember, the meatballs are cooked, so you don’t want to over-cook them or use high heat.  That will toughen the meatballs and nobody likes that!

At the very end, I added chili powder and garam masala, stirred the spices in the sauce and turned the heat off.    At this point, you an let the dish cool down to room temperature, portion it and freeze it for later.

If you are planning to eat right away, I would add the spices along with the meatballs, cook the dish for 10 minutes and serve hot with either rice or Naan or both!!!  Enjoy!

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Appetizers, Indian, Poultry, Savory

Murgh Kofta (Chicken Meatballs)

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This is a “house” recipe.  Traditional kofta has more ingredients and the recipe changes from country to country (India, Pakistan, Turkey etc.).  This version is packed with flavor, has only a few ingredients and can be whipped up in 30 minutes.  It is also a different way to use ground chicken which often goes on sale.  I like to make mini balls and have them with hummus, pita, and a garden salad.  You can certainly make larger patties and make it into a burger!  Here is the recipe.

Ingredients:

1 pound ground chicken

1 medium onion, grated directly on to the chicken (you want the juices from the onion)

1 tsp of minced garlic, minced ginger, chili powder, salt, and garam masala.

1 Tbsp of chopped parsley (this time, I did not have any, but I would highly recommend it)

1Tbsp of olive oil

Method:

  1. Mix all the ingredients in a bowl.  Don’t over mix–you will get hard koftas!

2. Heat oil in a pan.

3. Use a 0.5-inch ice-cream scoop to form mini chicken balls.  If you wet your palms before rolling, you will get smooth, round koftas!

4. Fry on medium-high heat till deep golden brown and cooked through.

5. Serve piping hot!!

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Comfort food, Poultry, Savory

Saffron Chicken and Rice

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Over Christmas break, I went back home to India.  It was a glorious three week holiday filled with lots of home-cooked food, family, R&R, and of course shopping.  One thing that I brought back was good saffron from Kashmir–nothing quite like it.  I love the vibrant orange hue and the lovely floral fragrance that saffron lends to any dish.  Spanish saffron is equally delicious and is the appropriate substitute for this recipe, especially since this version is inspired by Spanish-Style Arroz con Pollo

Ingredients: (cooking for two)

5 chicken tenders

1 red pepper, 1 green pepper, and 1 onion–diced

1tsp of minced garlic

1tsp of sweet paprika

2 cups of hot chicken broth

1tsp of crushed paprika

3/4 cup basmati rice

2Tbsp of olive oil

Salt and pepper to taste

Parsley for garnish

Method:

Heat 1 Tbsp in a deep skillet.  Chop up the chicken tenders, season with salt and pepper, and fry in the hot oil till pale golden.

In the meantime, soak the rice in cold water–it shortens the cooking time and improves the flavor!

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Remove the chicken and add the rest of the oil in the same pan.  Add the peppers and onions and saute till they are very soft.  Halfway through this process, add garlic and paprika.

While the peppers and onions are softening in the hot oil,  heat 2 cups of chicken broth and add the saffron.  Allow the saffron to bloom–the yellow stock will turn into a dark orange color.

Once the onions and peppers are softened, add the soaked and rinsed rice to the skillet.  Sautee the rice for 2-4 mins till the grains are lightly toasted and fragrant.

Finally, add the hot chicken stock and saffron solution, reduce the heat to medium-high and wait for the rice to cook through.

Once most of the liquid has evaporated, add the chicken to the skillet and continue cooking till all the liquid is gone and the rice is cooked through.

Finish with a garnish of fresh chopped parsley.  Serve piping hot!!!

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Classics, Comfort food, Poultry, Savory

Chicken Pot Pie

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Chicken Pot Pie is a hearty meal that will fill you up on any cold night.  I first made this for my father–he loves chicken pot pie!!  When I was reading recipes for chicken pot pie, I was shocked at the amount of butter that the recipes were calling for–and that was just for the filling!  I was not doing that, so I went and got some store bought shortcuts–and it came out really well.  Since then,  I have been following this recipe and it has never failed me.  The additional benefit is that you make the entire meal in a couple of hours and freeze it OR spend another 20 mins to bake it off and you have dinner!  I love making it on a weekend and freezing it down in serving size portions—dinner is then ready in jiff on a weeknight.

Ingredients:

Pre-cooked, store bought chunks of white meat chicken.  I usually get two, 12oz packages.

One, 14.5 oz container of Mirepoix (carrots, onions, celery–all pre-diced!!!!)

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1 package of store bought pie crust

2 tbsp of butter

3 tbsp of flour

2 tsp of Herbs de provence

1/4 tsp of crushed red pepper flakes (more if you want it spicier)

1/2 tsp of cracked black pepper

1 quart chicken stock

Salt to taste (this will vary depending on how salty your chicken stock is)

Method:

In a large stock pot, melt butter on medium heat.

Once butter is melted, add mirepoix and saute till soft and pale golden

 

Add chicken chunks, spices, and flour and stir well till everything is well mixed.

 

Add chicken stock and cook on medium low heat for 20-30 minutes.  You want the filling to thicken.

Once the filling is made, divide into individual bowls.  I have pot pie bowls, and this recipe makes about 4 servings.

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Let the filling cool completely in the bowls.

Cover with store bought pie crust, crimp and seal the edges.  At this point you can wrap the pies with freezer friendly  plastic wrap and freeze down for later.

Cooking instruction:

If cooking immediately:

Preheat oven to 375F.  Brush the top of the crust with some egg wash ( 1 egg beaten with a little bit of water), and cut a slit to allow for the steam to escape.  Bake for 15 mins till crust is golden.

If cooking a frozen pot pie:

Thaw pot pie in refrigerator for 1-2 days.  Once the pie is thawed, follow the above instructions to cook.  You may need to increase the baking to 20-25 mins to ensure the filling is piping hot.

ENJOY!!!

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Fish & Seafood, Savory

Baked Cod with Red Chermoula

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It was time to change up my Cod recipe.  I usually stick to the classic, New-England Style, cracker crusted cod.  But I was out of wine and crackers and really needed a change in flavor.  I found this recipe from bon appetit magazine and changed it slightly–I replaced the cilantro with parsley and did not add the cherry tomatoes.  You can read the original recipe here.  Refer to my version below:

Ingredients:

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  • ¼ bunch parsley, leaves and stems separated, stems finely chopped
  • 1 tsp of minced garlic
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • ½ teaspoon honey
  • ¼ teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1 tablespoon  red wine vinegar
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

 

Method:
Preheat oven to 350°. Mix cilantro stems, garlic, oil, tomato paste, paprika, red pepper flakes, honey, allspice, and 1 Tbsp. vinegar in a small bowl.


Place fish in a 3-qt. shallow baking dish.  Pour chermoula over the fish, spreading across the surface with the back of the spoon. Season with salt and pepper and bake until fish is cooked through.  This will take about 15-20 mins.  Broil on High for an additional 5 minutes once the fish is cooked through, it gives the sauce a nice finish.
Serve hot with your choice of vegetables.  I made oven-baked zucchini sticks.This was a goo recipe and I would really want to try the sauce on chicken breast.  You could even marinate chicken tenders in the sauce and grill them.

For another version of the “charmoula” sauce, you can check out this tilapia recipe.

 

Appetizers, Savory, Sides

Oven-baked Zucchini Sticks

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Super easy side dish that is healthy and flavorful.  It is just different enough to make it taste special too.  With only 5-ingredients, this recipe could become your go to zucchini recipe.  It tastes almost like fries so picky eaters may enjoy them.

Ingredients:

2 small zucchinis, cut into sticks

1/2 tsp of lemon pepper

1/4 tsp salt

1 tbsp olive oil

2 tbsp of Italian seasoned  breadcrumbs

 

Method:

Preheat oven to 375 F

Mix all the ingredients in a bowl and spread on a lined, rimmed baking sheet in a single layer.

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Bake for 15-20 mins and finish off by broiling on high for 2 mins.

Serve hot with ketchup and/or hot sauce !

Classics, Comfort food, Meat, Savory

“Winter is Coming” Meat Pie

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I recently jumped on to the “Game of Thrones” bandwagon. Yes, I know I am about 8 years late, but I am here now, completely obsessed and can’t wait to see how the story wraps up.  This past week has been everything “thrones” especially with the HBO marathon going on.  In Season 4, there is an extensive description of a particular “Steak and Kidney Pie” made by the character “Hot Pie” at the “Inn at the Crossroads”.  As Brienne of Tarth and Podrick Payne hungrily tucked away large bites of the pie, I couldn’t stop thinking about how delicious it must be.  Decision made.  I am was to make a classic English Meat Pie (you can read the “mini” versions of these pies here–slightly different recipe though) to celebrate the premiere of Season 8.  Yes, the weather is warming up, but I hope you choose to make this recipe soon, we only have Game of Thrones on till the middle of May !!!

Ingredients:

1.5 pounds stew meat, cut into small bite-sized pieces

Chopped button mushrooms, carrots and onions – cut them small enough so that they are the same size as the meat.  You can change up the ratio, but I went meat heavy since that is the way my husband likes it.  I would reckon about 1/4-1/3 cup for each veggie would be sufficient.  

1/4tsp of dried rosemary, thyme, and sage

3tbsp of flour

2tbsp of good red wine, you know what to do with the rest of the bottle

1tsp of Worcestershire sauce

1tsp of paprika

1 can of chicken stock

salt and pepper to taste

olive oil for frying

Store bought pie crust

Method:

In a heavy bottom pan (I like my dutch oven), heat olive oil and brown beef in batches, seasoning it salt and pepper.  Once browned, set aside.

 

 

In the same pan, add a little bit more oil and add all the veggies and saute till pale brown.  Once browned, added dried herbs, salt and pepper and saute for 5 more minutes.

 

Add the beef back in with all the veggies.

Add flour, and saute till all the meat and veggies are coated with the flour and browned (5-7mins)

 

Add 1 can of chicken stock, paprika, wine and Worcestershire sauce.  Cover and simmer on medium low heat till the gravy thickens, the carrots are soft and the meat is fork tender.  This is a pie filling, so it has to be nice and thick.

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Divide the filling into individual “pot pie” dishes (OR one big pie pan) and cool the filling completely.  In the past, I have made a meat and potato version of this in muffin tins, with a double crust.  You can find that recipe here

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Cover the filling with thawed pie crust.  Crimp the edges to seal in the filling, add a slit on the top for steam to escape.

 

 

Brush the top with egg wash–this will ensure a deep golden crust.

 

 

Bake in a 375F oven for 40-45 mins till the crust is golden brown and the filling is bubbling underneath.

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Serve Hot !!!

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Fish & Seafood, Lent, Savory

Roasted Salmon

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You either love it or hate it.  I happen to love salmon and my husband is not a big fan.  So on nights when I am cooking for myself, this is a go to favorite.  It is quick and simple, but the most important step is to purchase fresh, sustainably sourced salmon.  Frozen fillets never taste good, especially when the preparation is so simple.  I love to have a fresh garden salad with this roasted salmon.

Ingredients:

2 fillets of salmon (6-8oz)

1/4 tsp of salt

1/4 tsp of coarsely crushed black pepper

Zest of one lemon

Olive oil for drizzling.

Method:

Pat the fillets dry and arrange on a tin foil lined baking tray.

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Season fish with salt, pepper and lemon zest.

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Drizzle with olive oil

Bake at 350F for 25-30 mins.

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Now FEAST!

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Breakfast, Savory

Baked Oatmeal with Walnuts and Figs

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Oatmeal is good for you.  It can also be really bland and boring.  The store-bought instant packets are also filled with sugar.  So, I resort to baking my oatmeal.  It usually add some combination of fruits (fresh or dried) and/or nuts –but the base is always the same; oatmeal, yogurt, almond milk, honey and eggs.  I bake it in a casserole dish, or in a muffin tin; it really depends on what I am in the mood for.  I found some off-season figs and just had to buy them.  I also had half a bag of walnuts left from baking a walnut cake .  So, this week, my breakfast will consist of oatmeal, walnuts and figs ! I hope you make this recipe and remember, feel free to add any kind of fruit and/or nut that you like.

Ingredients:

3 cups oatmeal

2 eggs

8 oz plain or vanilla Greek yogurt

1.5 cups of almonds milk

a pinch of cinnamon and a dash of vanilla extract (I rarely measure these!!!)

chopped walnuts and figs for the topping

drizzles of honey

Methods:

Preheat oven to 350F.

Mix eggs, yogurt, almond milk with cinnamon and vanilla

 

Fold in 3 cups of oatmeal

Pour mixture into a greased 7×11″ baking dish.

 

Top with chopped walnuts and figs and press down with your hands

Drizzle with as much honey as you like (maple syrup would be a great alternative)

Bake for 25 mins.

Serve warm!

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